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The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
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The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
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  • ...the habit of expressing myself in terms of modest diffidence; never using, when I advanced any thing that may possibly be disputed, the words certainly, undoubtedly, or any others that give the air of positiveness to an opinion; but rather say, I conceive or apprehend a thing to be so and so; it appears to me, or...
  • Pope says, judiciously: "Men should be taught as if you taught them not, And things unknown propos’d as things forgot;" farther recommending to us "To speak, tho’ sure, with seeming diffidence."
  • Various concerns have for some time past prevented this letter being written, and I do not know whether it was worth any expectation; happening to be at leisure, however, at present, I shall by writing, at least interest and instruct myself; but as the terms I am inclined to use may tend to offend a person of your manners, I shall only tell you how I would address any other person, who was as good and as great as yourself, but less diffident.

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  • She is diffident around adults, but dominant with her peer group.
  • At first, he could give no encouragement; with unfeigned diffidence, he expressed his conviction that he was not adequate to the performance of so great a task;
    Frederick Douglass  --  The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

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