Nonfiction > Harvard Classics > Benjamin Franklin > Autobiography
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Benjamin Franklin. (1706–1790).  His Autobiography.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
Chief Events in Franklin’s Life
 
 
[Ending, as it does, with the year 1757, the autobiography leaves important facts unrecorded. It has seemed advisable, therefore, to detail the chief events in Franklin’s life, from the beginning, in the following list:

1706He is born, in Boston, and baptized in the Old South Church.
1714At the age of eight, enters the Grammar School.
1716Becomes his father’s assistant in the tallow-chandlery business.
1718Apprenticed to his brother James, printer.
1721Writes ballads and peddles them, in printed form, in the streets; contributes, anonymously, to the “New England Courant,” and temporarily edits that paper; becomes a free-thinker, and a vegetarian.
1723Breaks his indenture and removes to Philadelphia; obtains employment in Keimer’s printing-office; abandons vegetarianism.
1724Is persuaded by Governor Keith to establish himself independently, and goes to London to buy type; works at his trade there, and publishes “Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain.”
1726Returns to Philadelphia; after serving as clerk in a dry-goods store, becomes manager of Keimer’s printing-house.
1727Founds the Junto, or “Leathern Apron” Club.
1728With Hugh Meredith, opens a printing-office.
1729Becomes proprietor and editor of the “Pennsylvania Gazette”; prints, anonymously, “Nature and Necessity of a Paper Currency”; opens a stationer’s shop.
1730Marries Deborah Read.
1731Founds the Philadelphia Library.
1732Publishes the first number of “Poor Richard’s Almanac” under the pseudonym of “Richard Saunders.” The Almanac, which continued for twenty-five years to contain his witty, worldly-wise sayings, played a very large part in bringing together and molding the American character which was at that time made up of so many diverse and scattered types.
1738Begins to study French, Italian, Spanish, and Latin.
1736Chosen clerk of the General Assembly; forms the Union Fire Company of Philadelphia.
1737Elected to the Assembly; appointed Deputy Postmaster-General; plans a city police.
1742Invents the open, or “Franklin,” stove.
1743Proposes a plan for an Academy, which is adopted 1749 and develops into the University of Pennsylvania.
1744Establishes the American Philosophical Society.
1746Publishes a pamphlet, “Plain Truth,” on the necessity for disciplined defense, and forms a military company; begins electrical experiments.
1748Sells out his printing business; is appointed on the Commission of the Peace, chosen to the Common Council, and to the Assembly.
1749Appointed a Commissioner to trade with the Indians.
1751Aids in founding a hospital.
1752Experiments with a kite and discovers that lightning is an electrical discharge.
1753Awarded the Copley medal for this discovery, and elected a member of the Royal Society; receives the degree of M.A. from Yale and Harvard. Appointed joint Postmaster-General.
1754Appointed one of the Commissioners from Pennsylvania to the Colonial Congress at Albany; proposes a plan for the union of the colonies.
1755Pledges his personal property in order that supplies may be raised for Braddock’s army; obtains a grant from the Assembly in aid of the Crown Point expedition; carries through a bill establishing a voluntary militia; is appointed Colonel, and takes the field.
1757Introduces a bill in the Assembly for paving the streets of Philadelphia; publishes his famous “Way to Wealth”; goes to England to plead the cause of the Assembly against the Proprietaries; remains as agent for Pennsylvania; enjoys the friendship of the scientific and literary men of the kingdom.
[HERE THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY BREAKS OFF]
1760Secures from the Privy Council, by a compromise, a decision obliging the Proprietary estates to contribute to the public revenue.
1762Receives the degree of D. C. L. from Oxford; returns to America.
1763Makes a five months’ tour of the northern colonies for the purpose of inspecting the post-offices.
1764Defeated by the Penn faction for reelection to the Assembly; sent to England as agent for Pennsylvania.
1765Endeavors to prevent the passage of the Stamp Act.
1766Examined before the House of Commons relative to the passage of the Stamp Act; appointed agent of Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Georgia; visits Göttingen University.
1767Travels in France and is presented at court.
1769Procures a telescope for Harvard College.
1772Elected Associé Etranger of the French Academy.
1774Dismissed from the office of Postmaster-General; influences Thomas Paine to emigrate to America.
1775Returns to America; chosen a delegate to the Second Continental Congress; placed on the committee of secret correspondence; appointed one of the commissioners to secure the cooperation of Canada.
1776Placed on the committee to draft a Declaration of Independence; chosen president of the Constitutional Committee of Pennsylvania; sent to France as agent of the colonies.
1778Concludes treaties of defensive alliance, and of amity and commerce; is received at court.
1779Appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to France.
1780Appoints Paul Jones commander of the “Alliance.”
1782Signs the preliminary articles of peace.
1783Signs the definite treaty of peace.
1785Returns to America; is chosen President of Pennsylvania; reelected 1786.
1787Reelected President; sent as delegate to the convention for framing a Federal Constitution.
1788Retires from public life.
1790April 17, dies. His grave is in the churchyard at Fifth and Arch streets, Philadelphia.  Editor.]
 

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