Note on the Texts

The present text of the Autobiography is based upon the manuscript version as edited in Max Farrand’s Benjamin Franklin’s Memoirs: Parallel Text Edition, published by the University of California Press in 1949. It is used here with the kind permission of the Press and of the Henry E. Huntington Library in San Marino, California, owners of the manuscript itself (HM9999B). In preparing this text I have modernized Franklin’s spelling and in a few cases silently supplied punctuation where it was missing or altered it where it seemed mistaken through carelessness. For the sake of preserving the flavor of Franklin’s original, I have generally allowed his inconsistencies of spelling, punctuation, and capitalization to stand. The present text of Franklin’s “Outline” of the Autobiography also appears by permission of the University of California Press and of the owner of the manuscript, who in this instance is the J. Pierpont Morgan Library in New York City. The texts of “The Speech of Miss Polly Baker,” “Advice to a Friend on Choosing a Mistress,” An Edict by the King of Prussia,” and “The Elysian Fields” appear here by courtesy of the Yale University Press, in New Haven. The texts of the first three reproduce those in Leonard W. Labaree, et al., eds., The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, which the Yale University Press is continuing to publish; the last appears as translated in Claude-Anne Lopez, Mon Cher Papa: Franklin and the Ladies of Paris, published by the Press in 1966. Otherwise, I have taken the texts of Franklin’s “Receipt to make a New- England Funeral Elegy” from The New-England Courant, June 25, 1722; of “The Way to Wealth” from Poor Richard improved … for the Year of our Lord 1758 (Philadelphia, 1757); of “How to secure Houses” from Poor Richard for 1753; of “The Kite Experiment” from The Pennsylvania Gazette, October 19, 1752; of “Information to Those who Would Remove to America” and “An Address to the Public” from Albert Henry Smyth, ed., The Writings of Benjamin Franklin (New York, 1907); and of “The Morals of Chess” from John Bigelow, ed., The Complete Works of Benjamin Franklin (New York, 1887–89). The selections in the “Miscellany of Franklin’s Opinions” are based upon those in the above editions by Smyth and Bigelow. I add my more than thanks to Jane Mallison of the Trinity School.

Kenneth Silverman

New York City

February 5, 1985

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