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mechanical execution of the work excelled that of any of its predecessors; but this literary feature marked the almanack as marvellous. It became popular at once. Everybody who saw it, admired and bought it. The Philadelphians were proud that such a document originated in their town. Copies were sent to friends in other parts of the country, until "Poor Richard's Almanack" was known throughout the land. Three editions were exhausted in about a month. For twenty-five years Franklin continued to publish a similar almanack, the average annual circulation of which was ten thousand copies.

The large stock of wisdom and wit which the almanack contained added wonderfully to Franklin's fame From the first issue his mental powers were widely praised.

He was only twenty-six years of age, but now his intellectual ability was considered superior to that of any other living man under fifty years of age. The members of the Junto were greatly elated over his success.

"You have beaten yourself," remarked Coleman to him, "exceeded by far what I expected, high as my expectations were. Nothing has been published yet, that has created so profound interest as the almanack.”

"That is all true," said Grace. "Franklin is the theme of remark now everywhere. People seem to be surprised that he could produce a document of so much value. Both his business and newspaper will be advanced by this stroke of wisdom."

"And the Junto, too," suggested Parsons; "the father of the Junto cannot receive so much applause without benefiting his child. Everybody will want to join now, to meet him here."

Each member present was too much elated to remain silent. No words were too extravagant to express their admiration of Franklin's ability. To their decided friendship and respect was now added an honourable pride in being able to point to such a friend and associate.

The success of his newspaper and almanack provided Franklin with a supply of money, which he wisely invested. His own words about it were:

"My business was now constantly augmenting, and my circumstances growing daily easier; my newspaper having become very profitable, as being, for a time, almost the only one in this and the neighbouring provinces. I experienced, too, the truth of the observation, that after getting the first hundred pounds, it is more easy to get the second,' money itself being of a prolific nature."

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Franklin was aided very much, in the conduct of his paper, by the Junto, where different features of journalism were often discussed.

"In Boston I made a mistake," he said. "I was but a boy then, without experience or discretion, and found great delight in personalities. I mean to steer clear of libelling and personal abuse."

"You have so far," replied Coleman; "and thereby you have added to the dignity and influence of your paper. There is a kind of sharpness and critical remark that ought to characterize a good paper; and the Gazette is not deficient in that."

"That is what makes it sparkle, in my judgment," remarked Scull. "It is not best to be too cautious; some things ought to be hit hard; and that is true of some men, not to say women."

"That is one thing a newspaper is for," interjected Parsons, "to expose and remove social and public evils, and, in doing that, some men will get hit."

"You do not quite understand me," answered Franklin ; "I accept all that Scull and Parsons say, which is not what I mean by libelling and personal abuse. Here is a case. A few days ago a gentleman called with an article for the Gazette. I looked it over, and found it very objectionable. "I cannot publish that,' I said to him.

"Why not?' he asked.

"Because it deals in personal abuse, if not in downright libelling.'

"I will pay for its insertion,' he said.

"So much the worse for me, to insert a libellous article for money,' I said. 'On the face of it it appears a personal pique against the party.'

"But we have a free press in this country,' he insisted. "Free to do right, and be just and honourable toward all men, and not free to injure or abuse them,' I retorted.

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"I supposed that a newspaper was like a stage coach, in which any one, who pays for a place, has it,' he continued. "That is true of some newspapers, but not of mine,' I answered. But I will do this: I will print your article separately, and furnish you with as many copies as you want, and you can distribute them where you please, but I will not lumber my columns with detraction, and insult patrons to whom I am pledged to furnish a good paper for their families.' The party did not accept my proposition, but left in high temper."

Every member acquiesced in Franklin's views, and encouraged him to continue the conduct of his paper on that line. It was an age of vituperation and libelling. Probably there never has been a time since when so many editors, in proportion to the number of papers, believed that the newspaper was for that purpose. The gentleman of whom Franklin spoke wanted to abuse another; but would have complained bitterly, no doubt, to have been the object of abuse himself.

Franklin's stationer's shop proved a success; and very soon he added a small collection of books. From 1733 he imported books from London, and aimed to keep the market supplied with all that were popular there. His trade in books grew to considerable proportions.

With all his business, and the improvement of odd moments in reading and study, he found time to attend to music, and became quite an accomplished player on the

harp, guitar, and violin.

His family and company were often entertained by his musical performances.

In 1733 Franklin resolved to visit Boston. He had not visited there for ten years.

"I must go now," he said to his foreman, "because my brother at Newport is so feeble that he is not expected to live long. I shall stop at Newport on my way back."

"And when will you return?”

"As soon as possible. It is only a flying visit I propose to make. I have some business in Boston, and wish to spend a little time with my parents, who are getting old and infirm."

He put everything into a good condition for his foreman to handle, in his absence, and then left for Boston, where his parents embraced him with tears of joy. There was no trace of the boy left on him now, he was noblest sense of the word.

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Necessity compelled Franklin to cut short his visit and return, stopping at Newport to see his brother. This was his brother James, the printer to whom he was apprenticed in Boston. He had a prosperous printing business in that town.

"I am very glad to see you," said James, giving his brother a cordial and tender welcome. "You find me very feeble; and I was afraid that I should never see you again."

"I heard of your sickness, and felt that I must come to see you at once," Franklin replied. "I hope that your prospects are more favourable than you appear to think they are."

"It is only a question of time; and short time too. My disease is incurable, and I am waiting for the end. We will let bygones be bygones; I have only love for you now, my dear brother."

"You can hardly conceive how glad I am to hear you say that; for I cherish only the sincerest affection for you. I am truly sorry for any wrong I did you in Boston."

"That is all blotted out now," continued James. "I have one request to make, and, if you can grant it, I shall be very happy."

"What is it?"

"My son is now ten years old, and the loss of his father will, indeed, be a great loss to him. I had intended to instruct him in my trade; and, after my death, I want you should take him to your home in Philadelphia, where he can learn the printer's trade, and, when he understands the business well, return him to his mother and sisters, who will continue the printing house here.”"

"With all my heart I will do it; and I am glad to grant this favour, not only for your sake, but for my own," responded Benjamin. "He shall be one of my family, and I will be to him as a father, and he shall be to me as a son.”

Thus, at the grave's side, the two brothers were thoroughly reconciled to each other and it was not long before Franklin had James' son in his own family.

In 1736 Franklin buried a son, four years old, a child so bright and beautiful that strangers would stop on the street to behold him. It was a terrible blow to the parents. He was laid in Christ Church burying ground, where the defaced and much-broken headstone still bears this inscription :




DECEASED NOV. 21, 1736,


Franklin proved a staunch friend of the celebrated George Whitefield when he visited Philadelphia in 1739. There was great opposition to his work. At first, one or two pastors admitted him to their pulpits; but the opposition grew so intense, that all the churches were closed against him, and he was obliged to preach in the fields. Franklin

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