Chapter IV
Business, Personal, and Civic Virtue

FRANKLIN TELLS us that after his first night in Philadelphia, "I made myself as tidy as I could, and went to Andrew Bradford the Printer's." That same day he demonstrated his skill with a printer's composing stick, began to rebuild a press, and undertook to do odd jobs. Since the printers already established in town were "poorly qualified for their Business," Franklin soon convinced leading men in the province that he was a promising young man worthy of support. After his father refused him financial help, Franklin went to London, where for eighteen months he worked hard in the best printing houses and took advantage of the shelves of books available in them. To maintain his strength, he tells us, "I carried up and down Stairs a large Form of Types in each hand, when others carried but one in both Hands." He saved money and kept his head clear by having bread and hot-water gruel instead of beer. He paid for part of his cheap lodgings by helping with the housework. He earned his master's favor by avoiding Monday-morning hangovers and by an "uncommon quickness at composing." He returned to Philadelphia employed by a merchant from whom he learned accounting and soon became "expert at selling." Back at printing,

-55-

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Benjamin Franklin
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The GREAT AMERICAN THINKERS Series ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Chronology xi
  • Chapter I Boyhood Training 1
  • Chapter II Early Readinq 9
  • Chapter III Skepticism and Orthodoxy 32
  • Chapter IV Business, Personal, and Civic Virtue 55
  • Chapter V Science 78
  • Chapter VI Politics 88
  • Chapter VII Vision of Empire: From Loyalty to Revolution 111
  • Chapter VIII The Art of Congeniality 135
  • Chapter IX International Relations 149
  • Chapter X Religion 163
  • Chapter XI The Public Philosophy of a Saqe 185
  • Selected Bibliography 213
  • Index 221
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