Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Section 1: How Benjamin Established the Public Library in Philadelphia
At the age of 21, Benjamin was a printer at Philadelphia and a great intellectual. Franklin and a few of his friends established a group which had mutual objectives of improving each other’s reading culture, which was known as the Junto. The held discussions every Friday on politics, philosophy, and matters on moral. They later started to meet at a quieter place of one of the friends who was wealthy. This was where Benjamin got the idea of developing a plan for a public library. Benjamin enjoyed reading “reading was the only amusement I allow’d myself” (FRANKLIN Chapter 8). The library he started allowed members to pitch books and will enable them to access them. However, the library dissolved and everyone withdrew their books because the process became tedious and poor book upkeep.
However, Benjamin did not give up. He wanted to spread the joy he found in books, all over in the community. He became resilient and determined, “And now I set on foot my first project of a public nature, that for a subscription library” (FRANKLIN, Chapter 8). The library became a great asset to the community as they valued it and enjoyed reading. Franklin observed that the visitors who came to Philadelphia were amazed by the reading culture and intelligence of the city. This impressed Franklin and made him famous in the town and the neighboring states.
The library company grew in size and operation, and Franklin started to offer employment to the Philadelphia community. This created job opportunities for the jobless in the community, giving them a chance to earn revenue and take their children to school. The community was able to understand the value of a reading culture. This made them grow their knowledge in many ways, either, politically, socially, psychologically and learn about history. Through the library, Benjamin was able to read deeper and enhance his writing abilities. He also expanded the library into a bigger collection of books, and other materials such as fossils, coins, and telescope, prints and works of art (Smith, 2014).
Section 2- Franklin’s Quest for Moral Perfection
Franklin believed that morality was an individual manner of behavior that brings about a balanced life that is made up of all experiences involved in their life. He said it was the best legal way to act in any circumstance. It encompassed what an individual private and private life is about and their personal and social, physical and spiritual concerns. According to Benjamin, for any person to achieve moral perfection, they have to have the following virtues; first is temperance, which he meant that one should not eat to dullness nor drink not to evaluation. Secondly, is silence which means one should speak only when it is benefiting to them or others. The third is the order that ensures one has each thing have their places.
Fourthly is a resolution where an individual should resolve to perform without failing and delivering what they ought. Fifth is frugality which means one should aim at making no expense or wasting nothing but only doing good to others. The sixth is an industry which encourages everyone to be productive always. The seventh is sincerity which means that everyone should not aim at hurting and they should think innocently and justly. The eighth is justice which means doing no wrong to none. The ninth is moderation which ensures individuals avoid the extremes. The tenth is cleanliness which means one should maintain a clean body, clothes, and habitation. Eleventh is tranquility which means one should not be disturbed by things or accidents they cannot avoid or have control over. Twelfth is chastity which means never to dullness or interruption of another’s peace.
The last is humility where Benjamin emphasizes on imitating Jesus and Socrates who are very humble beings. Franklin tried his best to lead these virtues to achieve so as to be successful in attaining moral perfection. “Tho’ I never arrived at the perfection I was (by trying) a better and a happier man than I otherwise should have been” (FRANKLIN Chapter 10). The most challenging virtue was frugality because it was difficult to maintain a no waste environment. It was challenging to go in no expenses since Franklin did fail severally. The speckled ax story talked of a smith who wanted the ax to be shined and sharpened perfectly, and he wants the neighbor to make it shiny. The neighbor got tired and said that the speckled ax was the best. It means welfare should not be made more appealing than work.
Section 3 Franklin’s Spirituality
Franklin was a religious man who believed in Christianity and had faith in God. Ezra Stiles was the Calvinist president of Yale College was curious about Benjamin’s faith. Franklin wrote to the president of a creed that he believed in God the creator of the universe. He believed in the resurrection and claimed that every being would be treated with justice in respect of their conduct while they were alive. This showed that he found that religion was worthless unless it promoted virtuous behavior. He believed in Jesus and referred him as the most humble being. He loved that the fact that Jesus preached morality, which was one of the best teachings. Franklin was also raised from a Christian based family as his father, Josiah, belonged to the Old South Church in Boston (SMITH, 2014).
However, Franklin at the age of 15 years was committed in Deism which is a belief that God created the world, but he allowed it to operate in its own laws. The belief did not believe that God performed any miracles, answer prayer and did not sustain the world in any manner. His commitment did not last long, and he continued believing that God made him become what he is. He wrote prayers and took time to rewrite the Lord’s Prayer. For instance, at a political meeting in July 1787, he called for prayers to reconcile the political parties. He, however, did not insist much on Christian beliefs than the way he did insist on morality and upholding right.