When Franklin established himself in Philadelphia, shortly before 1730, the town boasted two "wretched little" news sheets, Andrew Bradford 's The American Weekly Mercury , and Samuel Keimer 's Universal Instructor in all Arts and Sciences, and Pennsylvania Gazette . This instruction in all arts and sciences consisted of weekly extracts from Chambers's Universal Dictionary . Franklin quickly did away with all this when he took over the Instructor and made it The Pennsylvania Gazette . The Gazette soon became Franklin's characteristic organ, which he freely used for satire, for the play of his wit, even for sheer excess of mischief or of fun. From the first he had a way of adapting his models to his own uses. The series of essays called "The Busy-Body", which he wrote for Bradford's American Mercury in 1729, followed the general Addisonian form, already modified to suit homelier conditions. The thrifty Patience, in her busy little shop, complaining of the useless visitors who waste her valuable time, is related to the ladies who address Mr. Spectator. The Busy-Body himself is a true Censor Morum, as Isaac Bickerstaff had been in the Tatler . And a number of the fictitious characters, Ridentius, Eugenius, Cato, and Cretico, represent traditional 18th-century classicism. Even this Franklin could use for contemporary satire, since Cretico, the "sowre Philosopher", is evidently a portrait of Franklin's rival, Samuel Keimer .
Franklin spent the last five years of his life in Philadelphia. Even then the old inventor and statesman was not idle. He made a device for getting books down from high shelves. He wrote letters to many friends and political leaders. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, and many other important Americans came to call at Franklin's house. In his last years the statesman wrote newspaper articles and his famous autobiography. His final public act was to sign a memorial to the state legislature as president of the Pennsylvania society for the abolition of black slavery.
Another instance where Franklin points out the importance of appearance takes place in Philadelphia. Upon arrival, Franklin offers to give his shilling away to the people who owned the boat that brought him to his destination. First, they refuse to accept the payment on grounds that he contributed in rowing the boat. However, Franklin "insisted in their taking it, a man being more generous when he has but a little money that when he has plenty through fear of being thought to have but little (19)." It is odd that Franklin uses the word "fear" in describing how he would feel if people believed that he was poor. Again, in this incident, similar to the one before, Franklin expresses his desire for people to have a favorable image of him. A highly esteemed reputation is critical of one's advancement in society and the appearance of being financially secure is the surest way of becoming one. Therefore, people should not only be aware of how others view them, but also be conscious of creating the image that they want for themselves.