Were we to create an alphabetical list of the many life accomplishments of Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), it might look something like this: ambassador, anti-slavery advocate, businessman, civic leader, Deist, electrician, Founding Father, grandfather, historian, inventor of the Franklin stove....Mason, philanthropist, philosopher, politician, scientist, writer...to zealot (and advocate of self-sufficiency. His achievements are legendary, and it is quite possible that we would have to repeat a number of letters in the process! In the preface of The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, grandson William Temple Franklin describes the text as "the genuine copy" of his illustrious grandfather's work taken "verbatim," from the original manuscript . As W.T. Franklin notes, an earlier French translation, undertaken by a friend of Benjamin Franklin's, appeared in Paris not long after his death, and it was this copy that was subsequently retranslated into English prior to the 1850 edition. Replete with down-to-earth witticisms, engaging aphorisms, and philosophical musings, his discourse frequently imparts the pragmatic, such as his list of 13 virtues. Regarding the value of industry he writes, "Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions." Representing the first 50 years of the author's life, Franklin's autobiography concludes with his deputation by the Assembly to petition the king (as agent for Pennsylvania) and his arrival in London on July 27, 1757. And throughout his book he reveals the intrinsic value of continually being usefully employed. Reprinted by Silver Street Media from the original edition published by Henry G. Bohn in 1850.
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