The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Literature and Writing Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
[S]ince our Books were often referr'd to in our Disquisitions upon the Queries, it might be convenient to us to have them all together where we met […] by thus clubbing our Books to a common Library, we should […] have each of us the Advantage of using the Books of all the other Members, which would be nearly as beneficial as if each owned the whole. (1.109)
Franklin shares his really excellent idea for a subscription library, and also shows us what it was like to be part of an intellectually centered club by the Junto. It's proof of the club members' generosity, and their commitment to scholarship, that they agree to donate their books to make a bigger collection, rather than each hoarding their individual, small stock of books. Franklin's use of "club[ed]" also reinforces the air of fellowship surrounding the library.
The Influence Writings under that Class have on the Minds of Youth is very great, and has no where appeared so plain as in our public Friends' Journals. It almost insensibly leads the Youth into the Resolution of endeavoring to become as good and as eminent as the Journalist. (2.4)
As Abel James councils in his letter to Franklin, he should be mindful of his audience, who will actually be deprived if he doesn't finish the book. Since they're such an impressionable group, they need to be provided with good models and examples so that they don't fall into bad ways. This is similar to the kind of advice Samuel Johnson gives in his Rambler No. 4, when he reminds authors of their responsibility to their impressionable young audiences and urges them to write suitable material.
I therefore filled all the little Spaces that occur'd between the Remarkable Days in the Calendar, with Proverbial Sentences, chiefly as inculcated Industry and Frugality, as the Means of procuring Wealth and thereby securing Virtue (3.6)
Franklin describes how he composed one of his most lucrative pieces, Poor Richard's Almanac. We get a first-hand glimpse here at his practicality and ingenuity. People are already going to be interested in his product because of the calendar, so Franklin takes advantage of this kind of captive audience as a platform for his messages about "Industry," "Frugality," and "Virtue." He links hard work and income with goodness and morality for his readers.