Benjamin Franklin observed his life as a blessing from God. This is concerning the fact that he rose from the life of a poor child to the height of being recognized by the world as one of the key makers of history. It is in this regard that he asserts that he rose from poverty and obscurity to affluence and a state of reputation. (Franklin, B. 1906, pp 34) It is for this reason that he asserts that given a chance to relive his life he would gladly accept the offer. However, being no chance available he opted to have a relief in writing his autobiography to ensure that those who read it may find inspiration in life and remedies any situation where accidentally he failed.
Having learned of his ancestry from a note handed to him by his uncle, he learnt that his family came from Northampton shire for over three hundred years. The family lived on a 30-acre freehold land conducting the business as smiths. Normally this business was trained to the eldest sons in the family thus continued the lineage in business. His grandfather had four sons all of whom were trained in various trades. The family had deep roots in the Church of England faith and continued to the times of Benjamin’s father Josiah. However, the rest of family members joined the Episcopal Church and remained faithful adherents.
His father Josiah married young and later relocated to New England with his wife and three children. There the father married a second wife and together they had 10 children with the former having seven, four more after relocation. Benjamin was the last-born child of his father. With all his brothers being put as apprentices in different trades, Benjamin was sent to the grammar school to act as the family’s tithe. This was a devotion to the service of the church. Though young and talented in educating Benjamin was withdrawn from the grammar school after his father’s view of the high cost of college education. He was enrolled under care of one Mr. George Brownell who ran a school for writing and arithmetic. He fared well in writing but failed to make good results in arithmetic. At the age of ten years, he was then withdrawn and enlisted in his father’s business as an apprentice. His father was in the business of soap and candle making.
The trade did not impress Benjamin. He was however interested in the sea but his father would not hear of it. Living near the shores gave Benjamin an opportunity to learn swimming quite early and as well did well in governing boats and canoes. This earned him respect among his peers and as such, he was always a leader to the boys around. In this, the boys followed him patiently and at one time, they created their own wharf. In building this, the boys stole stones from other workers and they faced dire consequential measures from their fathers. This, though admired by many was much rebuffed by his father who noted that procession of anything stolen was not good (Franklin, B. 1906, pp 11)
Josiah, Benjamin’s father was a highly regarded member of the society this for the reason that he was considered knowledgeable and was widely consulted by people of all cadres. He could sing fairly as well as play the harp. This made him to be consulted even as an arbitrator in private, public as well as church affairs. He was masculine and tough in his trade. These traits he shared to his children by giving them opportunities to listen to his wise conversations hence giving them a chance to learn the good things in life. According to Benjamin, both his parent did not at any time in their life fall ill up to their old age when they passed away in their late 80’s. Benjamin in their respect placed a marble on their grave sharing his love and passion for their lives.
With the idea of his father’s business s still not entrenched in his mind, Benjamin was put under patronage of his cousin Samuel who was in construction industry. This was after his father noted that he could learn and construct things with ease. This was however, cut short after his cousin asked for a fee to train him wish was against his father’s wishes and means.
Back home Benjamin proceeded with his passion for books and read on almost any material he could lay his hands on. This led his father to believe that his son could make it better as a printer. This was further aggravated by the fact that already he had one of his elder sons known as |James as a printer in England. Upon his brother’s return to start his own firm in Boston, Benjamin was signed in as an apprentice at the tender age of twelve years. He was to remain in the position until he was twenty-one years when he would be allowed to receive wages. This offered a better chance to access reading materials with a trade’s man by name Mathew Adams giving him access to his well-stocked library. This inspired the young Benjamin to start writing. Among his first pieces was a poem titles The Lighthouse Tragedy, which contained an account of Captain Worthilake and his daughters drowning among others (Franklin, B. 1906, pp 15) being printed sold pretty well. However, there was much discouragement from his father who insisted that verses writer were equivalent to beggars.
These remarks made Benjamin focus further; he acquired more books and read more while practicing writing. At around the same time his brother started on a newspaper that was meant for sale in America. This gave Benjamin a chance to try out his writing skill and wrote anonymous articles, which he passed through the door. These articles got approval from the publishers thus boosting his record. With time, his brother rubbed the shoulders of politicians through an article and was imprisoned. This offered a chance for young Benjamin to lead the firm in his brother’s absence. Upon his release, the print was changed to Benjamin since his brother was banned from printing the newspaper.
It is after this that Benjamin left Boston later to be received by Governor William Keith. After learning of the young man’s capabilities, the governor promised to assist him set up a printing business. This set the young Benjamin on a journey to acquire printing equipments where he would make many acquaintances on the way. These lend him to London where the governor had promised to send a letter of credit in his regard. To his dismay however, on arrival, there was no letter and this prompted him to search for work at the print houses in London. It was while working at the print house that he would influence his workmates from drinking beer during the working hours to hot water gruel. This earned him admiration as this kept their heads lighter (Franklin, B. 1906, pp 47).He would later take a leave of printing and join Mr. Dehaln who was a merchant as his bookkeeper. This led to migration to Philadelphia.
He would later part ways with his employer and start his own business. This led to starting a new print that with time rose to be the talk of town in Philadelphia. This was after making an agreement with William Coleman and Robert Grace. The need for additional paper money within the province also gave an opportunity to prosper further. This was after writing an article on the need for paper money and being applauded by supporter to get the contract (Franklin, B. 1906, pp 65). In around 1930’s Benjamin met his past lover Miss Read and the two married. Together they drove his print business to be one of the leading print houses in America with many subscriptions.
It is in the year 1732 that Franklin wrote his most reputed issue name “Poor Richards Almanac”, this was based on the enrichments borrowed and were mostly quotes of wisdom. This was followed by his print titled “Father Abraham’s Sermon”, done in 1758 and was regarded as the most famous piece ever done in Colonial America at the time. This was one of his last writings and he moved on to being involved in public affairs. In this part, he set forth a scheme for an academy, which was later to become the University of Pennsylvania. At this point, he established “American Philosophical society” which was aimed at enabling scientists to share their discoveries with each other. By this time, Franklin had also become a scientist in the field of electronics. He proceeded in this line with time engaged in politics. Franklin retired from business in the year1748 and sold his business to retire.
In this retirement, Franklin proceeded to engage in politics and was greatly regarded as an administrator and a politician. He was known to agitate for reforms in the postal system thus gaining a higher notable service as a statesman. This is despite the fact that he was accused of nepotism by using his position in power to advance his relatives. Due to his great influence and being associated with influential people saw him being sent to England in an effort to raise protests against using Pennsylvania as a government of the colony. He remained an active member on agitation for reform but lost his seats in the assembly and later as the postmaster general. Upon his return to United States in 1785, he received a hero’s welcome being placed second to Washington as a reformer.
At the end of his autobiography Benjamin, points out that all his writing are intended for the good use, which is the aim to educate people through his achievements and failures (Franklin, B. 1906, pp 70). It ends with a number of letters to his acquaintances acknowledging the purpose and their efforts in making him get to his success.
Benjamin Franklin. The autobiography of Benjamin Franklin http://books.google.co.ke/books?id=ZooEAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=autobiography&redir_esc=y , 1906.