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Bolingbroke and Swift: he also became jealous of her partiality to Lord Harvey. Lady Mary had besides omitted to consult him on any new poetical productions; and when he had been proposing emendations, would
say, "Come, no touching, Pope ; for what is good the world will give to you, and what is bad will leave to me." Lady Montague continued to shine, both in the world of fashion and that of literature, till the year 1739, when her health declined, and she formed the resolution of passing the rest of her days abroad. Having obtained Mr. Wortley's consent, she left England, and proceeded to Venice, and determined to settle in the North of Italy. In her letters to her husband, she gives an animated description of the Italian manners, with which she appears to have been pleased. She made a short tour to Rome and Naples, and returned to Brescia, one of the palaces of which city she inhabited. Her summer residence was Louverre, on the shores of the Lake Isco, in the Venetian territory, where she was attracted by some mineral waters that she found beneficial to her health. There she took possession of a deserted palace, planned her garden, and was happy in the superintendence of her vineyards and silkworms. About the year 1751, she quitted her solitude, and settled Venice, where she remained till 1761, when, on the death of Mr. Wortley, she was prevailed on by her daughter, the Countess of Bute, to return to England; and, after an absence of twenty-two years, she arrived, once more, on the shores of her native land.
But age, and ill-health, had impaired her constitution, and a gradual decline terminated her life, in the seventy-third year of her age, on the 21st of August, 1762. In the cathedral at Litchfield a cenotaph is erected to her memory, by the widow of J. W. Inge, Esq., to express her gratitude for the benefit she had herself received from the alleviating art introduced by Lady Montague.
The letters of the Marchioness de Sevigné have been frequently compared to those of Lady Mary, but I cannot allow my fair countrywoman to yield the palm to her rival; her letters are written with equal elegance of style, and playfulness of manner; and, from the superiority of subject, possess that intrinsic interest of which Madame de Sevigné's are destitute.
But as an authoress, and as being indebted to her for the introduction of an inestimable art to her country, I think our sex has reason to be proud of Lady Mary Montague.
LIFE OF DR. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.
It would be difficult to find a better instance of the power of industry and perseverance to raise a man from an obscure situation in life to distinction, and from great poverty to independence, than is afforded us by Benjamin Franklin. This celebrated man was an American, and a great honour to his country When he became old he had much pleasure in looking back on his past life, for he had been guilty of no crime, he had struggled against difficulties and overcome them, he had acquired fame as a writer and a philosopher, and he had been useful to the country in which he was born. He therefore wrote an account of his recollections from his earliest youth, and of this a cheap edition has been published by a bookseller in the Strand, which may be obtained for eight-pence.* Every word of it is worth reading.
Franklin's father lived at Boston, in the United States. He was an Englishman who had, like many of his countrymen, gone over to America; and his son Benjamin could not have had many advantages of fortune, for he was one of seventeen brothers and sisters, and his father was a tallow-chandler and soap-boiler.
* Limbird's Edition.
Benjamin had an uncle, after whom he was named, who, although a silk-dyer by trade, had been a great reader and writer, and who seems to have been anxious about his nephew's education. But at ten years of age young Franklin was obliged to leave the grammar-school at which he had been placed, and to go home to help his father in the candle business, which he did not at all like. His father had not money enough to pay an apprentice-fee with him: he was, however, unable to choose any other trade, and for the convenience of all parties he was bound apprentice to his brother, who was a printer, and had learned his trade in England. At this time Benjamin was only twelve years of age; but his father had noticed that he had laid out all his money in books, and therefore thought the trade of a printer would suit him very well.
His love of reading continued; and he used to borrow books from all the booksellers' apprentices with whom he became acquainted, and to sit up at night, after finishing his day's work, to read them; for, fond as he was of books, he did not neglect his trade, but became every day more and more useful to his brother by his knowledge of the business of the printing-office.
Young men, who are fond of reading, are often fond of trying their own powers of writing what others may read. This desire is useful, or not, according to the direction it takes. It may be very useful for a working printer, for instance, to write down any observations that are in any way connected with his own trade, with types, or ink, or paper, or books; and many men have made valuable discoveries in this way, by making use of their own observations. It is also very serviceable to every man to be able to express himself in good English, and to write a plain, straight-forward letter, either describing what he has seen, or what he wishes to have. Nor can it be otherwise than advantageous to a young man, whatever his station may be, to make memorandums of any thing particular that he may observe in the character and history of his companions; the effects he observes to arise from passion, envy, idleness, or drunkenness, and the different behaviour caused by any change of fortune in them. It is also a very useful thing, to spend a quarter of an hour every evening in writing a kind of journal of what has taken place in the day, and how the day has been spent; which will often show that many hours have not been spent so well as they might have been.
But for want of a little good advice on this point, young men commonly take to scribbling verses, and when they are tired of this, as tired they are almost sure soon to be, they frequently throw away pen and ink for ever.
However, Benjamin Franklin began by attempting to write verses, although his father, who was a plain, sound-headed man, soon convinced him that his songs were not worth the trouble of writing. He told him too, what I fear is really the case, that versemakers were generally beggars. But though Franklin left off song-writing, he did not throw away his pen and ink, but became one of the best and clearest prose writers that ever wrote in our language. Before he improved so much, he was very industrious, and took endless pains; reading some of the best English writers, particularly in an odd volume of the Spectator, which he happened to possess, and trying again and again to write as well.
You may have perceived by what has already been said of him, that he was not easily turned away from any good pursuit; and it was about this time that he determined to save money by living on vegetable diet alone. He told his brother that if he would only give him half what his board cost him, he would board himself; and he found that he could still save half of what his brother gave him. This he did that he might have more money to spend in books. No working-man need at this time do any thing of the kind, for books are more easily to be had than they were in Franklin's time, and if a working-man lives entirely upon vegetables, he will probably lose his health, and be unable to continue his work, which no one should run the risk of doing, even for the sake of reading: Reading is a pleasure, and an innocent and useful pleasure; but working at the work by which a man lives is a duty, and no man should run the risk of being unable to perform it. Therefore, let every man who loves independence, avoid late hours, irregular living, and excess of reading as well as excess of any other kind. A man's health is his property, and sickness is sure to bring poverty after it.
Franklin's brother treated him not very kindly, and Benjamin bore his ill-treatment not very patiently. The consequence was, a separation; and Benjamin sold his small stock of books to procure a little sum of money, and embarked on board a vessel for NewYork, the nearest place to Boston in which there was any printer. At the end of this voyage, which lasted three days, he was three hundred miles from his friends, unknown to any one, and, of course, not very rich. To add to these unpleasant circumstances, which do not appear to have lessened his habitual cheerfulness, he found he could get no work at NewYork, and was obliged to go on to Philadelphia, a hundred miles further. He entered Philadelphia in his working dress, which was not very clean; his pockets were stuffed out with his few shirts and stockings; he had not more than a few shillings in the world; and he knew nobody. It was with an honest pride, that, in his after-life, he related this his first entry into Philadelphia, contrasting it with the figure he afterwards made there, when, by perseverance, and industry, and economy, he had attained fame and competency.