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with expence and inconvenience, besides the perpetual risk of injuring my health, and catching a disease which I dreaded above all things. But I was fortunate enough to escape this danger.
As a neighbour and old acquaintance, I had kept up a friendly intimacy with the family of Miss Read. Her parents had retained an affection for me from the time of my lodging in their house. I was often invited thither; they consulted me about their affairs, and I had been sometimes serviceable to them. I was touched with the unhappy situation of their daughter, who was almost always melancholy, and continually seeking folitude. I regarded my forgetfulness and inconftancy, during my abode in London, as the principal cause of her misfortune; though her mother had the candour to attribute the fault to herself, rather than to me, because, after having prevented our marriage previously to my departure, she had induced her to marry another in my absence.
Our mutual affection revived; but there ex isted great obstacles to our union. Her marriage was considered, indeed, as not being valid, the man having, it was faid, a former wife still liv. ing in England; but of this it was difficult to obtain a proof at fo great a distance; and though a report prevailed of his being dead, yet we had no certainty of it; and supposing it to be true, he had left many debts, for the payment of which his successor might be sued. We ventured nevertheless, in fpite of all these difficulties; and I married her on the first of September 1730.. None of the inconveniences we had feared happened to us. She proved to me a good and faithful companion, and contributed essentially to the success of my shop.. We prospered together, and it was our mutual ftudy to render each other
happy. Thus I corrected, as well as I could, this great error of my youth.
Our club was not at that time established at a tavern. We held our meeting at the house of Mr. Gráce, who appropriated a room to the purpose. Some member observed one day, that as our books were frequently quoted in the course of our discussions, it would be convenient to have them collected in the room in which we aflembled, in order to be consulted upon occasion; and that, by thus forming a common library of our individual collections, each would have the advantage of using the books of all the other members, which would nearly be the same as if he pofsefled them all himself. The idea was approved, and we accordingly brought such books as we thought we could spare, which were placed at the end of the club-room. They amounted not to fo many as we expected ; and though we made confiderable use of them, yet some inconveniences resulting, from want of care, it was agrced, after about a year, to destroy the collecti. on; and each took away such books as belonged to him.
It was now that I first started the idea of establishing, by subscription, a public library. I drew up the proposals, had them ingroffed in form by Brockden the attorney, and my project succeed. ed, as will be seen in the sequel
[The life of Dr. Franklin, as written by himfelf, fo far as it has yet been communicated to the world, breaks off in this place. We underitand that it was continued by him somewhat farther, and we hope that the remainder will, at fome future period, be communicated to the pulic. We have no hesitation in supposing that
every reader will find himfelf greatly interested by the frank fimplicity and the philofophical difcernment by which these pages are so eminently characterised. We have therefore thought proper, in order as much as possible to relieve his regret, to subjoin the following continuation, by one of the Doctor's intimate friends. It is ex. tracted from an American periodical publication, and was written by the late Dr. Stuber * of Philadelphia.]
THE promotion of literature had been little attended to in Pensylvania. Most of the inhabitants were too much immersed in business to think of scientific pursuits; and those few, whose inclinations led them to study, found it difficult to gratify them, from the want of fufficiently large libraries. In such circumstances, the establishment of a public library was an important event. This was first set on foot by Franklin, about the year 1731. Fifty persons subscribed forty shillings each, and agreed to pay ten shillings annually. The number encreased ; and in 1742, the company was incorporated by the name of “ The Library Company of Philadelphia.” Several other companies were formed in this city in imitation of it. These were at length united with the library company of Philadelphia, which thus received a considerable acceffion of books and property. It now contains about eight thoufand volunies on all subjects, a philosophical apparatus, and a good beginning towards a collectition of natural and artificial curiosities, besides landed property of considerable value. The company have lately built an elegant house in Fifth. street, in the front of which will be erected a marble statue of their founder, Benjamin Franklin.
* Dr. Stuber was born in Philadelphia, of German parents. He was fent, at an early age, to the university, where his genius, diligence and amiable
temper soon acquired him the particular notice and favour of thofe under whose immediate direction he was placed. After passing through the common course of Audy, in a much shorter time than usual, he left the university, at the age of sixteen, with great repu. tation. Not long after, he entered on the study of Phyfic; and the zeal with which he pursued it, and the advances he made, gave his friends reason to form the most flattering profpects of his future eminence and usefulness in the profession. As Dr. Stuber's circumstances were very moderate, he did not think this pursuit well calculated to answer them. He there. fore relinquished it, after he had obtained a degree in the profeffion, and qualified himself to practise with credit and fuccefs; and immediately entered on the study of Law. In pursuit of the last mentioned object, he was prematurely arrelled, before he had an opportunity of reaping the fruit of those talents with which he was endowed, and of a youth spent in the ardent and successful pursuit of useful and elegant literature.
This institution was greatly encouraged by the friends of literature in America and in Great Bri. tain. The Penn family distinguished themfelves by their donations. Amongst the earliest friends of this institution must be mentioned the late Peter Collinson, the friend and correspondent of Dr. Franklin. He not only made considerable presents himself, and obtained others from his friends, but voluntarily undertook to manage the business of the company in London, recommending books, purchaling and shipping them. His extensive knowledge, and zeal for the promotion of science, enabled him to execute this important trust with the greatest advantage. He continued to perform these services for more than thirty years, and uniformly refused to accept of any compensation. During this time, he communicated to the directors every information relative
to improvements and discoveries in the arts, agriculture, and philofophy.
The beneficial influence of this inftitution was foon evident. The cheapness of terms rendered it acceflible to every one. Its advantages were not confined to the opulent. The citizens in the middle and lower walks of life were equally partakers of them. Hence a degree of information was extended amongft all claffes of people, which is very unusual in other places. The example was soon followed. Libraries were established in various places, and they are now beconie very numerous in the United States, and particularly in Pennfylvania. It is to be hoped that they will be still more widely extended, and that information will be every where increased. This will be the best fecurity for maintaining our liberties. A nation of well-informed men, who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them, cannot be enflaved. It is in the regions of ignorance that tyranny reigns. It flies before the light of science. Let the citizens of America, then, encourage institutions calculated to diffuse knowledge amongst the people; and amongst these, public libraries are not the least important.
In 1732, Franklin began to publish Poor Richard's Almanack. This was remarkable for the numerous and valuable concise maxims which it contained, all tending to exhort to industry and frugality. It was continued for many years. In the almanack for the last year, all the maxims were collected in an address to the reader, entitled, The Way to Wealth. This has been tran. slated into various languages, and inferted in dif. ferent publications. It has also been printed on a large Theet, and may be seen framed in many houses in this city. This address contains, per-,