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FRANKLIN'S SIMPLICITY and MORAL PERFECTION
Franklin commences Part II in France without having his personal papers, which would have helped him in recollecting the necessary dates. He plans to make corrections to his manuscript after returning home.
Franklin starts his new narration by again explaining the start of the Pennsylvania public library. He discusses in detail how the people of Pennsylvania become subscribers to the library and make reading the fashion of the day. As a result, they improve their minds and become more educated. The young tradesmen are particularly interested in joining the library, for they have no better diversion than reading, Franklin forms the library with the help of Charles Brockden, the scrivener. They create an article of principles to spell out the terms of the library. Later, another charter is drawn to give it perpetuity. Finding subscribers in the beginning is not an easy task, and Franklin tries a variety of approaches before he is successful.
The library helps Franklin further his personal knowledge. Every day, he dedicates two hours for study, allowing himself no other entertainment than reading. At the same time, he continues working very hard in his business. He follows his father's advice that he who works hard will perhaps have the honor of standing before kings, which of course, comes true in his case. He has the opportunity to stand in front of five kings and the honor of sitting with one.
Franklin gives credit for his success to his wife Deborah, who serves Franklin as a sincere helpmate. She works along with him in his business by doing small, but essential jobs like folding and stitching pamphlets, tending shop, and buying old linen rags. Like her husband, she believes in a life of simplicity. She has no servants, chooses inexpensive furniture, and sets a plain and simple table. For a long time, she serves Franklin his bread and milk in an earthen bowl with a pewter spoon. Later, she buys him a china bowl and a silver spoon for the simple reason that she feels he deserves them.
This section reveals Franklin's commitment towards the society in which he lives, towards his own personal growth, and towards his wife. He feels that he has prospered due to the society around him, and he willingly devotes his time and energy for its betterment. He introduces the library system for the public good, knowing that reading would generally enable a person to enlarge his scope of vision and understanding. He admits that at first people were suspicious about having to pay subscriptions to join the library, but through his typical hard work and persistence, he made the library a success.
Franklin uses the library he has created to better himself. Although he is committed to his work, he also commits himself to reading and studying two hours each day. He faithfully goes to the library to accomplish this goal. Franklin is also committed to his wife Deborah, who he sees as his helpmate. He influences her in her simple lifestyle and allows her to be a part of his business. His commitment to her pays big rewards, for she obviously cares deeply about her husband.