Slike strani

judgment. It is a good sign for any boy to accept cheerfully the plans of his father, who has had more experience."

Benjamin was usually very prompt to obey his parents, even when he did not exactly see the necessity of their commands. He understood full well that obedience was a law of the household, which could not be violated with impunity; therefore, he wisely obeyed. His father was quite rigid in his requirements, a Puritan of the olden stamp, who ruled his own house. Among other things, he required his children to observe the Sabbath by abstaining from labour and amusements, reading the Scriptures, and attending public worship. A walk in the streets, a call upon a youthful friend, or the reading of books not strictly religious, on Sunday, were acts not tolerated in his family. A child might wish to stay away from the house of God on the Sabbath, but it was not permitted. 'Going to meeting" was a rule in the family as irrevocable as the laws of the Medes and Persians.

[ocr errors]

It was fortunate for Benjamin that he belonged to such a family; for he possessed an imperious will, that needed to be brought into constant subjection. Though of a pleasant and happy disposition, the sequel will show that, but for his strict obedience, his great talents would have been lost to the world. Nor did he grow restless and impatient under these rigid parental rules, nor cherish less affection for his parents in consequence. He accepted them as a matter of course. We have no reason to believe that he sought to evade them; and there can be no doub that the influence of such discipline was good in forming his character. He certainly honoured his father and mother as long as he lived. In ripe manhood, when his parents were old and infirm, and he lived in Philadelphia, he was wont to perform frequent journeys from that city to Boston, to visit them. It was on one of these journeys that the following incident is related of him.

Landlords, and other people, were very inquisitive at

that time. They often pressed their inquiries beyond the bounds of propriety. At a certain hotel the landlord had done this to Franklin, and he resolved, on his next visit, to administer a sharp rebuke to the innkeeper. So, on his next visit, Franklin requested the landlord to call the members of his family together, as he had something important to communicate. The landlord hastened to fulfil his request, and very soon the family were together in one room, when Franklin addressed them as follows:

"My name is Benjamin Franklin; I am a printer by trade; I live, when at home, in Philadelphia; in Boston. I have a father, a good old man, who taught me, when I was a boy, to read my Bible and say my prayers; I have ever since thought it my duty to visit and pay my respects to such a father, and I am on that errand to Boston now. This is all I can recollect at present of myself that I think worth telling you. But if you can think of anything else that you wish to know about me, I beg you to out with it at once, that I may answer, and so give you an opportunity to get me something to eat, for I long to be on my journey that I may return as soon as possible to my family and business, where I most of all delight to be."

A more cutting rebuke was never administered. The landlord took in the full significance of the act, and learned a good lesson therefrom. It is doubtful if his inquisitiveness ever ran away with him again. But the narrative is given here to show that the strict rules of his father's house did not diminish filial affection, but rather solidified and perpetuated it.

It is good for boys, who are likely to want their own way, to be brought under exact rules. Franklin would have gone to ruin if he had had his way. The evil tendencies of boyhood need constant restraint. Obedience at home leads to obedience in the school and State.

Sir Robert Peel ascribed his success in life to such a home; and he related the following interesting incident

to illustrate the sort of obedience that was required and practised in it :-A neighbour's son called one day to solicit his company and that of his brothers upon an excursion. He was a young man of fine address, intelligent, smart, and promising, though fond of fun and frolic. He was

a fashionable young man, too; we should call him a dude now. He wore dark brown hair, tied behind with blue ribbon; had clear, mirthful eyes; wore boots that reached above his knees, and a broad-skirted scarlet coat, with gold lace on the cuffs, the collar, and the skirts; with a long waistcoat of blue silk. His breeches were buckskin; his hat was three-cornered, set jauntily higher on the right than on the left side." His name was Harry Garland. To his request that William, Henry, and Robert might go with him, their father replied,

"No, they cannot go out. I have work for them to do, and they must never let pleasure usurp the place of labour."

"The boys wanted to go badly, but there was no use in teasing for the privilege; it would only make a bad matter worse. Our father's yea was yea, and his nay, nay; and that was the end of it."

The three brothers of the Peel family became renowned in their country's brilliant progress. But Harry Garland, the idle, foppish youth, who had his own way, and lived for pleasure, became a ruined spendthrift. The fact verifies the divine promise, "Honour thy father and mother (which is the first commandment with promise), that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth." True filial love appears to conciliate the whole world by its consistent and beautiful expression. Such an act as that of the great engineer, George Stephenson, who took the first one hundred and sixty dollars he earned, saved from a year's wages, and paid his blind old father's debts, and then removed both father and mother to a comfortable tenement at Killingworth, where he supported them by the

labour of his hands, awakens our admiration, and leads us to expect that the author will achieve success.

When the statue of Franklin was unveiled in Boston, in 1856, a barouche appeared in the procession which carried. eight brothers, all of whom received Franklin medals at the Mayhew school in their boyhood, sons of Mr. John Hall. All of them were known to fame by their worth of character and wide influence. As the barouche in which they rode came into State Street, from Merchant's Row, these brothers rose up in the carriage, and stood with uncovered heads while passing a window at which their aged and revered mother was sitting-an act of filial regard so impressive and beautiful as to fill the hearts of all beholders with profound respect for the obedient and loving sons. They never performed a more noble deed, in the public estimation, than this one of reverence for a worthy parent.

We have made this digression to show that Franklin's home, with its rigid discipline, was the representative home of his country, in which the great and good of every generation laid the foundation of their useful careers.






Benjamin was taken out of school, as his father decided, and was put under Mr. Brownwell's tuition in arithmetic and penmanship. As he had endeared himself to Mr. Williams, teacher of the public school, so he endeared himself to Mr. Brownwell by his obedience, studious habits, and rapid progress. He did not become an expert in arithmetic, though, by dint of persistent effort, he made creditable progress in the study. In penmanship he excelled, and acquired an easy, attractive style that was of great service to him through life.




HILE Benjamin was attending Mr. Brownwell's school, his "Uncle Benjamin," after whom he was named, came over from England. His wife and children were dead, except his son Samuel, who had emigrated to the United States. He had been unfortunate in business also, and lost what little property he possessed. With all the rest, the infirmities of age were creeping over him, so that nearly all the ties that bound him to his native land were sundered; and so he decided to spend the remnant of his days in Boston, where Samuel lived.

Samuel Franklin was an unmarried young man, intelligent and enterprising, willing and anxious to support his father in that country. But having no family and home to which to introduce his aged parent, "Uncle Benjamin" became a member of his brother Josiah's family, and continued a member of it about four years, or until Samuel was married, when he went to live with him.

"Uncle Benjamin " was very much pained to find that his namesake had relinquished the purpose of becoming a minister. His heart was set on his giving his life-service to the Church.

[ocr errors]

Anybody can make candles," he said, "but talents are required for the ministry, and, from all I learn, Benjamin has the talents."

[ocr errors]

Partly right and partly wrong," rejoined Josiah, who seemed to think that his brother's remark was not altogether

« PrejšnjaNaprej »