American independence, the beginnings of which we have just been considering, was accomplished after a long struggle. Many brave men fought on the battle-field, and many who never shouldered a musket or drew a sword exerted a powerful influence for the good of the patriot cause. One of these men was Benjamin Franklin.
He was born in Boston in 1706, the fifteenth child in a family of seventeen children. His father was a candle-maker and soap-boiler. Intending to make a clergyman of Benjamin, he sent him, at eight years of age, to a grammar-school, with the purpose of fitting him for college. The boy made rapid progress, but before the end of his first school-year his father took him out on account of the expense, and put him into a school where he would learn more practical subjects, such as writing and arithmetic. The last study proved very difficult for him.