Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography

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            <title>Digital edition of Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography</title>
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            <p>Published by me</p>
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            <p>From the digital copy of Franklin's Autobiography from the Text Creation
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         <div type="preface">
            <pb n="iii"/>
            <p>PREFACE</p>
            
            <p>IT is already known to many, that Dr. Franklin amused himself, towards the close of
               his life, with writing memoirs of his own history. These memoirs were brought down
               to the year 1757. Together with some other manuscripts they were left behind him at
               his death, and were considered as constituting part of his posthumous property. It is
               a little extraordinary that, under these circumstances, interesting as they are, from
               the celebrity of the character of which they treat, and from the critical situation
               of the present times, they should so long have been with-held from the Public: A
               translation of them appeared in France near two years ago, coming down to the year
               1731. There can be no sufficient reason, that what has thus been submitted to the
               perusal of Europe, should not be made accessible to those to whom Dr. Franklin's
               language is native. The first part of the history of his life is translated from that
               publication.</p>

            <p> The style of these memoirs is uncommonly pleasing. The story is told with the most
               unreserved sincerity, and without any false colouring or ornament. We see, in every
               page, that the author examined his subject with the eye of a master, and related no
               incidents, the springs and origin of which he did not perfectly understand. It is
               this that gives such exquisite and uncommon perspicuity to the detail and delight in
               the review. The translator has endeavoured, as he went along, to conceive the
               probable manner in which Dr. Franklin expressed his ideas in his English manuscript,
               and he hopes to be forgiven if this enquiry shall occasionally have subjected him to
               the charge of a style in any respect bald or low: to imitate the admirable
               simplicity of the author, is no easy task.</p>

            <p> The public will be amused with following a great philosopher in relaxations, and
               observing in what respects his philosophy tends to elucidate and improve the most
               common subjects.</p>

            <p> The editor subjoins a letter from the late celebrated and amiable Dr. Price, to a
               gentleman in Philadelphia, upon the subject of Dr. Franklin's memoirs of his own
               life.</p>

            <p> Hackney, June 19, 1790.</p>
            <p> DEAR SIR,</p>
            <p> I AM hardly able to tell you how kindly I take the letters with which you favour me.
               Your last, containing an account of the death of our excellent friend Dr. Frankling,
               and the circumstances attending it, deserves my particular gratitude. The account
               which he has left of his life will show, in a striking example, how a man, by
               talents, <pb n="iv"/>industry, and integrity, may rise from obscurity to the first
               eminence and consequence in the world; but it brings his history no lower than the
               year 1757, and I understand that since he sent over the copy, which I have read, he
               has been able to make no additions to it. It is with a melancholy regret I think of
               his death; but to death we are all bound by the irreversible order of nature, and in
               looking forward to it, there is comfort in being able to reflect—that we have not
               lived in vain, and that all the useful and virtuous shall meet in a better country
               beyond the grave.</p>

            <p> Dr. Franklin, in the last letter I received from him, after mentioning his age and
               infirmities, observes, that it has been kindly ordered by the Author of nature,
               that, as we draw nearer the conclusion of life, we are furnished with more helps to
               wean us from it, among which one of the strongest is the loss of dear friends. I was
               delighted with the account you gave in your letter of the honour shewn to his memory
               at Philadelphia, and by Congress; and yesterday I received a high additional
               pleasure, by being informed that the National Assembly of France had determined to go
               in mourning for him.—What a glorious scene is opened there! The annals of the world
               furnish no parallel to it. One of the honours of our departed friend is, that he has
               contributed much to it.</p>

            <p> I am, with great respect, Your obliged and very humble servant, RICHARD PRICE.</p>
         </div>
         <div type="main_text">
            <pb n="5"/>
            <p> THE LIFE OF DR. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.</p>

            <p>MY DEAR SON,</p>

            <p>I HAVE amused myself with collecting some little anecdotes of my family. You may
               remember the enquiries I made, when you were with me in England, among such of my
               relations as were then living; and the journey I undertook for that purpose. To be
               acquainted with the particulars of my parentage and life, many of which are unknown
               to you; I flatter myself, will afford the same pleasure to you as to me. I shall
               relate them upon paper: it will be an agreeable employment of a week's uninterrupted
               leasure, which I promise myself during my present retirement in the country. There
               are also other motives which induce me to the undertaking. From the bosom of poverty
               and obscurity, in which I drew my first breath and spent my earliest years, I have
               raised myself to a state of opulence and to some degree of celebrity in the world. A
               constant good fortune has <pb n="6"/>attended me through every period of life to my
               present advanced age; and my descendants may be desirous of learning what were the
               means of which I made use, and which, thanks to the assisting hand of Providence,
               have proved so eminently successful. They may also, should they ever be placed in a
               similar situation, derive some advantage from my narrative.</p>

            <p>When I reflect, as I frequently do, upon the felicity I have enjoyed, I sometimes say
               to myself, that, were the offer made me, I would engage to run again, from beginning
               to end, the same career of life. All I would ask should be the privilege of an
               author, to correct, in a second edition, certain errors of the first. I could wish,
               likewise, if it were in my power, to change some trivial incidents and events for
               others more favourable. Were this however denied me, still would I not decline the
               offer. But since a repetition of life cannot take place, there is nothing which, in
               my opinion, so nearly resembles it, as to call to mind all its circumstances, and, to
               render their remembrance more durable, commit them to writing. By thus employing
               myself, I shall yield to the inclination, so natural to old men, to talk of
               themselves and their exploits, and may freely follow my bent, without being tiresome
               to those who, from respect to my age, might think themselves obliged to listen to
               me; as they will be at liberty, to read me or not as they please. In <pb n="7"/>fine—and
               I may well avow it, since nobody would believe me were I to deny it—I shall perhaps,
               by this employment, gratify my vanity. Scarcely indeed have I ever heard or read the
               introductory phrase, "I may say without vanity," but some striking and
               characteristic instance of vanity has immediately followed. The generality of men
               hate vanity in others, however strongly they may be tinctured with it themselves;
               for myself, I pay obeisance to it wherever I meet with it, persuaded that it is
               advantageous, as well to the individual it governs, as to those who are within the
               sphere of its influence. Of consequence, it would, in many cases, not be wholly
               absurd, that a man should count his vanity among the other sweets of life, and give
               thanks to Providence for the blessing.</p>

            <p>And here let me with all humility acknowledge, that to Divine Providence I am
               indebted for the felicity I have hitherto enjoyed. It is that power alone which has
               furnished me with the means I have employed, and that has crowned them with success
               My faith in this respect leads me to hope, though I cannot count upon it, that the
               divine goodness will still be exercised towards me, either by prolonging the duration
               of my happiness to the close of life, or by giving me fortitude to support any
               melancholy reverse, which may happen to me, as to so many others. My future fortune
               is unknown but to him in <pb n="8"/>whose hand is our destiny, and who can make our very
               afflictions subservient to our benefit.</p>

            <p>One of my uncles, desirous like myself, of collecting anecdotes of our family, gave
               me some notes, from which I have derived many particulars respecting our ancestors.
               From these I learn, that they had lived in the same village (Eaton in
               Northamptonshire) upon a freehold of about thirty acres, for the space at least of
               three hundred years. How long they had resided there prior to that period, my uncle
               had been unable to discover; probably ever since the institution of surnames, when
               they took the appellation of Franklin, which had formerly been the name of a
               particular order of individuals *.</p>

            <p>This petty estate would not have sufficed for their subsistence, had they not added
               the trade of blacksmith, which was perpetuated in the family down to my uncle's time,
               the eldest son having been uniformly brought up to this employment: a custom which
               both he and my father observed with respect to their eldest sons.</p>

            <p><pb n="9"/> In the researches I made at Eaton, I found no account of their births,
               marriages, and deaths, earlier than the year 1555; the parish register not extending
               farther back than that period. This register informed me, that I was the youngest son
               of the youngest branch of the family, counting five generations. My grandfather,
               Thomas, who was born in 1598, living at Eaton till he was too old to continue his
               trade, when he retired to Banbury in Oxfordshire, where his son John, who was a dyer,
               resided, and with whom my father was apprenticed. He died, and was buried there: we
               saw his monument in 1758. His eldest son lived in the family house at Eaton, [Page
               10]which be bequeathed, with the land belonging to it, to his only daughter; who, in
               concert with her husband, Mr. Fisher of Wellingborough, afterwards sold it to Mr.
               Ested, the present proprietor.</p>

            <p>My grandfather had four surviving sons, Thomas, John, Benjamin, and Josias. I shall
               give you such particulars of them as my memory will furnish, not having my papers
               here, in which you will find a more minute account, if they are not lost during my
               absence.</p>

            <p>Thomas had learned the trade of blacksmith under his father; but possessing a good
               natural understanding, he improved it by study, at the solicitation of a gentleman
               of the name of Palmer, who was at that time the principal inhabitant of the village,
               and who encouraged in like manner all my uncles to improve their minds. Thomas thus
               rendered himself competent to the functions of a country attorney; soon became an
               essential personage in the affairs of the village; and was one of the chief movers of
               every public enterprize, as well relative to the country as the town of Northampton.
               A variety of remarkable incidents were told us of him at Eaton. After enjoying the
               esteem and patronage of Lord Halifax, he died, January 6, 1702, precisely four years
               before I was born. The recital that was made us of his life and character, by some
               aged persons of the village, struck you, I remember, as extraordinary, from its
               analogy to what you knew of myself "Had <pb n="11"/>he died," said you, "just four years
               later, one might have supposed a transmigration of souls."</p>

            <p>John, to the best of my belief, was brought up to the trade of a wool-dyer.</p>

            <p>Benjamin served his apprenticeship in London to a silk-dyer. He was an industrious
               man: I remember him well; for, while I was a child, he joined my father at Boston,
               and lived for some years in the house with us. A particular affection had always
               subsisted between my father and him; and I was his godson. He arrived to a great
               age. He left behind him two quarto volumes of poems in manusscript, consisting of
               little fugitive pieces addressed to his friends. He had invented a shorthand, which
               he taught me, but having never made use of it, I have now forgotten it. He was a man
               of piety, and a constant attendant on the best preachers, whose sermons he took a
               pleasure in writing down according to the expeditory method he had devised. Many
               volumes were thus collected by him. He was also extremely fond of politics, too much
               so perhaps for his situation. I lately found in London a collection which he had made
               of all the principal pamphlets relative to public affairs, from the year 1641 to
               1717. Many volumes are wanting, as appears by the series of numbers; but there still
               remain eight in folio, and twenty four in quarto and octavo. The collection had
               fallen into the hands of a second-hand bookseller, who, knowing me by <pb n="12"/>having
               sold me some books, brought it to me. My uncle, it seems, had left it behind him on
               his departure for America, about fifty years ago. I found various notes of his
               writing in the margins. His grandson, Samuel, is now living at Boston.</p>

            <p>Our humble family had early embraced the Reformation. They remained faithfully
               attached during the reign of Queen Mary, when they were in danger of being molested
               on account of their zeal against popery. They had an English Bible, and, to conceal
               it the more secure [...]y, they conceived the project of fastening it, open, with
               pack-thread [...] across the leaves, on the inside of the lid of a close-stool. When
               my great-grandfather wished to read to his family, he reversed the lid of the
               close-stool upon his knees, and passed the leaves from one side to the other, which
               were held down on each by the pack-thread. One of the children was stationed at the
               door, to give notice if he saw the proctor (an officer of the spiritual court) make
               his appearance: in that case, the lid was restored to its place, with the Bible
               concealed under it as before. I had this anecdote from my uncle Benjamin.</p>

            <p>The whole family preserved its attachment to the Church of England till towards the
               close of the reign of Charles II. when certain ministers, who had been ejected as
               non-conformists, having held conventicles in Northhamptonshire, they were joined by
               Benjamin <pb n="13"/>and Josias, who adhered to them over after. The rest of the family
               continued in the episcopal church.</p>

            <p>My father, Josias, married early in life. He went with his wife and three children,
               to New-England, about the year 1682. Conventicles being at that time prohibited by
               law, and frequently disturbed, some considerable persons of his acquaintance
               determined to go to America, where they hoped to enjoy the free exercise of their
               religion, and my father was prevailed on to accompany them.</p>

            <p>My father had also by the same wife four children born in America, and ten others by
               a second wife, making in all seventeen. I remember to have seen thirteen seated
               together at his table, who all arrived to years of maturity, and were married. I was
               the last of the sons, and the youngest child, excepting two daughters. I was born at
               Boston in New-England. My mother, the second wife, was Abiah Folger, daughter of
               Peter Folger, one of the first colonists of New-England, of whom Cotton Mather makes
               honourable mention, in his Ecclesiastical History of that province, as "a pious
               learned Englishman," if I rightly recollect his expressions. I have been told of his
               having written a variety of little pieces; but there appears to be only one in print,
               which I met with many years ago. It was published in the year 1675, and is in
               familiar verse, agreeable to the tast of the times and the country. The author
               addresses himself <pb n="14"/>to the governors for the time being, speaks for liberty
               of conscience, and in favour of the anabaptists, quakers and other sectaries, who had
               suffered persecution. To this persecution he attributes the wars with the natives,
               and other calamities which afflicted the country, regarding them as the judgments of
               God in punishment of so odious an offence, and he exhorts the government to the
               repeal of laws so contrary to charity. The poem appeared to be written with a manly
               freedom and a pleasing simplicity. I recollect the six concluding lines, though I
               have forgotten the order of words of the two first; the sense of which was, that his
               censures were dictated by benevolence, and that, of consequence, he wished to be
               known as the author; because said he, I hate from my very soul dissimulation;</p>

            <p>From Sherburne,* where I dwell,</p>
            <p>I therefore put my name,</p>
            <p>Your friend, who means you well,</p>
            <p>PETER FOLGER.</p>
            <p>My brothers were all put apprentice to different trades. With respect to myself, I
               was sent, at the age of eight years, to a grammar school. My father destined me for
               the church, and already regarded me as the chaplain of the family. The promptitude
               with which from my infancy I had learned to read, for I do not remember to have been
               <pb n="15"/>ever without this acquirement, and the encouragement of his friends, who
               assured him that I should one day certainly become a man of letters, confirmed him in
               this design. My uncle Benjamin approved also of the scheme, and promised to give me
               all his volumes of sermons, written, as I have said, in the shorthand of his
               invention, if I would take the pains to learn it.</p>

            <p>I remained however scarcely a year at grammar-school, although, in this short
               interval, I had risen from the middle to the head of my class, from thence to the
               class immediately above, and was to pass, at the end of the year, to the one next in
               order. But my father, burthened with a numerous family, found that he was incapable,
               without subjecting himself to difficulties, of providing for the expence of a
               collegiate education; and considering besides, as I heard him say to his friends,
               that persons so educated were often poorly provided for, he renounced his first
               intentions, took me from the grammar-school, and sent me to a school for writing and
               arithmetic, kept by a Mr. George Brownwel, who was a skilful master, and succeeded
               very well in his profession by employing gentle means only, and such as were
               calculated to encourage his scholars. Under him I soon acquired an excellent hand;
               but I failed in arithmetic, and made therein no sort of progress.</p>

            <p>At ten years of age, I was called home to <pb n="16"/>assist my father in his
               occupation▪ which was that of soap-boiler and tallow-chandler; a business to which he
               had served no apprenticeship, but which he embraced on his arrival in New-England,
               because he found his own, that of a dyer, in too little request to enable him to
               maintain his family. I was accordingly employed in cutting the wicks, filling the
               moulds, taking care of the shop, carrying messages, &amp;c.</p>

            <p>This business displeased me, and I felt a strong inclination for a sea life; but my
               father set his face against it. The vicinity of the water, however, gave me frequent
               opportunities of venturing myself both upon and within it, and I soon acquired the
               art of swimming, and of managing a boat.—When embarked with other children, the helm
               was commonly deputed to me, particularly on difficult occasions; and, in every other
               project, I was a almost always the leader of the troop, whom I sometimes involved in
               embarrassments. I shall give an instance of this, which demonstrates an early
               disposition of mind for public enterprise, though the one in question was not
               conducted by justice.</p>

            <p>The mill-pond was terminated on one side by a marsh, upon the borders of which we
               were accustomed to take our stand, at high water, to angle for small fish. By dint of
               walking, we had converted the place into a perfect quagmire. My proposal was to erect
               a wharf that should afford us firm footing <pb n="17"/>and I pointed out to my
               companions a large heap of stones, intended for building a new house near the marsh,
               and which were well adapted for our purpose. Accordingly, when the workmen retired in
               the evening, I assembled a number of my play [...]ellows, and by labouring
               diligently, like ants, sometimes four of us uniting our strength to carry a single
               stone, we removed them all, and constructed our little quay. The workmen were
               surprised the next morning at not finding their stones, which had been conveyed to
               our wharf. Enquiries were made respecting the authors of this conveyance; we were
               discovered; complaints were exhibited against us; many of us underwent correction on
               the part of our parents; and though I strenuously defended the utility of the work,
               my father at length convinced me, that nothing which was not strictly honest could be
               useful.</p>

            <p>It will not, perhaps, be uninteresting to you to know what sort of a man my father
               was. He had an excellent constitution, was of a middle size, but well made and
               strong, and extremely active in whatever he undertook. He designed with a degree of
               neatness, and knew a little of music. His voice was sonorous and agreeable; so that
               when he sung a psalm or hymn with accompaniment of his violin, as was his frequent
               practice in an evening when the labours of the day were finished, it was truly
               delightful to hear him. He was versed also in mechanics, and could <pb n="18"/>upon
               occasion, use the tools of a variety of trades. But his greatest excellence was a
               sound understanding and solid judgment in matters of prudence, both in public and
               private life. In the former indeed he never engaged, because his numerous family
               and the mediocrity of his fortune, kept him unremittingly employed in the duties of
               his profession. But I very well remember that the leading men of the place used
               frequently to come and ask his advice respecting affairs of the town, or of the
               church to which he belonged, and that they paid much difference to his opinion.
               Individuals were also in the habit of consulting him in their private affairs, and
               he was often chosen arbiter between contending parties.</p>

            <p>He was fond of having at his table, as often as possible, some friends or
               well-informed neighbours capable of rational conversation, and he was always careful
               to introduce useful or ingenious topics of discourse, which might tend to form the
               minds of his children. By this means he early attracted our attention to what was
               just, prudent, and beneficial in the conduct of life. He never talked of the meats
               which appeared upon the table, never discussed whether they were well or ill
               dressed, of a good or bad flavour, high-seasoned or otherwise, preferable or inferior
               to this or that dish of a similar kind. Thus accustomed, from my infancy, to the
               utmost inattention as to these objects, I have always been perfectly [Page
               19]regardless of what kind of food was before me; and I pay so little attention to it
               even now, that it would be a hard matter for me to recollect, a few hours after I had
               dined, of what my dinner had consisted. When travelling, I have particularly
               experienced the advantage of this habit; for it has often happened to me to be in
               company with persons, who, having a more delicate, because a more exercised taste,
               have suffered in many cases considerable inconvenience; while, as to myself, I have
               had nothing to desire.</p>

            <p>My mother was likewise possessed of an excellent constitution. She suckled all her
               ten children, and I never heard either her or my father complain of any other
               disorder, than that of which they died: my father at the age of eighty-seven, and my
               mother at eighty-five. They are buried at Boston, where, a few years ago, I placed a
               marble over their grave, with this inscription: ‘Here lie JOSIAS FRANKLIN and ABIAH
               his wife: They lived together with reciprocal affection for fifty-nine years; and
               without private fortune, without lucrative employment, by assiduous labour and
               honest industry, decently supported a numerous family, and educated, with success,
               thirteen children, and seven grand-children. Let this example, reader, encourage
               thee diligently to discharge the duties of thy calling, <pb n="20"/>and to rely on the
               support of divine providence.’</p>

            <p>‘He was pious and prudent, She discreet and virtuous. Their youngest son, from a
               sentiment of filial duty, consecrated this stone To their memory.’</p>

            <p>I perceive, by my rambling digressions, that I am growing old. But we do not dress
               for a private company as for a formal ball. This deserves perhaps the name of
               negligence.</p>

            <p>To return. I thus continued employed in my father's trade for the space of two years;
               that is to say, till I arrived at twelve years of age. About this time my brother
               John, who had served his apprenticeship in London, having quitted my father, and
               being married and settled in business on his own account at Rhode-Island, I was
               destined, to all appearance, to supply his place, and be a candle-maker all my life:
               but my dislike of this occupation continuing, my father was apprehensive, that, if
               a more agreeable one were not offered me, I might play the tru [...]t and escape to
               sea; as, to his extreme mortification, my brother Josias had done. He therefore took
               me sometimes to see masons, coopers, braziers, joiners, and other mechanics,
               employed at their work; in order to discover the bent of my inclination, and fix it
               if he could upon some occupation that might retain me on shore. I have since, in
               consequence of those visits, derived no small pleasure from seeing <pb n="21"/>skilful
               workmen handle their tools; and it has proved of considerable benefit, to have
               acquired thereby sufficient knowledge to be able to make little things for myself,
               when I have had no mechanic at hand, and to construct small machines for my
               experiments, while the idea I have conceived has been fresh and strongly impressed
               on my imagination.</p>

            <p>My father at length decided that I should be a cutler, and I was placed for some days
               upon trial with my cousin Samuel, son of my uncle Benjamin, who had learned this
               trade in London, and had established himself at Boston. But the premium he required
               for my apprenticeship displeasing my father, I was recalled home.</p>

            <p>From my earliest years I had been passionately fond of reading, and I laid out in
               books all the little money I could procure. I was particularly pleased with accounts
               of voyages. My first acquisition was Bunyan's collection in small separate volumes.
               These I afterwards sold in order to buy an historical collection by R. Burton, which
               consisted of small cheap volumes, amounting in all to about forty or fifty. My
               father's little library was principally made up of books of practical and polemical
               theology. I read the greatest part of them. I have since often regretted, that at a
               time when I had so great a thirst for knowledge, more eligible books had not fallen
               into my hands, as it was then a point decided that I should not be educated for the
               church. There was also among my father's books [...]lutarch's <pb n="22"/>L [...]ves in
               which I read continually, and I still regard as advantageously employed the time I
               devoted to them. I found besides a work of De Fou's, entitled, and Essay on Projects,
               from which, perhaps, I derived impressions that have since influenced some of the
               principal events of my life.</p>

            <p>My inclination for books at last determined my father to make me a printer, though
               he had already a son in that profession. My brother had returned from England in
               1717, with a press and types, in order too establish a printing-house at Boston. This
               business pleased me much better than that of my father, though I had still a
               predilection for the sea. To prevent the effects which might result from this
               inclination, my father was impatient to see the engaged with my brother. I held ba
               [...] for some time; at length however I suffered myself to be persuaded, and signed
               my indentures, being then only twelve years of age. It was agreed that I should
               serve as apprentice to the age of twenty-one, and should receive jorneyman's wages
               only during the last year.</p>

            <p>In a very short time I made great proficiency in this business, and became very
               serviceable to my brother. I had now an opportunity of procuring better books. The
               acquaintance I necessarily formed with bookseller's apprentices, enabled me to
               borrow a volume now and then, which I never failed to return punctually and without
               injury. How often <pb n="23"/>has it happened to me to pass the greater part of the
               night in reading by my bed-side, when the book had been lent me in the evening, and
               was to be returned the next morning, lest it might be missed or wanted.</p>

            <p>At length, Mr. Matthew Adams, an ingenious tradesman, who had a handsome collection
               of books, and who frequented our printing-house, took notice of me. He invited me to
               see his library, and had the goodness to lend me any books I was desirous of reading.
               I then took a strange fancy for poetry, and composed several little pieces. My
               brother, thinking he might find his account in it, encouraged me, and engaged me to
               write two ballads. One, called the Lighthouse Tragedy, contained an account of the
               shipwreck of captain Worthilake and his two daughters; the other was a sailor's song
               on the capture of the noted pirate called Teach, or Black-beard. They were wreched
               verses in point of style, mere blind-men's ditties. When printed, he dispatched me
               about the town to sell them. The first had a prodigious run, because the event was
               recent, and had made a great noise.</p>

            <p>My vanity was flattered by this success; but my father checked my exultation, by
               ridiculing my productions, and telling me that versifiers were always poor. I thus
               escaped the misfortune of being, probably, a very wretched poet▪ but as the faculty
               of writing prose has been of great service to me in the course <pb n="24"/>of my life,
               and principally contributed to [...] advancement, I shall relate by what mean [...],
               situated as I was, I acquired the small skill [...] may possess in that way.</p>

            <p>There was in the town another young man, a great lover of books, of the name of John
               Collins, with whom I was intimately connected. We frequently engaged in dispute, and
               were indeed so fond of argumentation, that nothing, was so agreeable to us as a war
               [...] words. This contentious temper, I would observe by the bye, is in danger of
               becoming a very bad habit, and frequently renders [...] a man's company
               insupportable, as being [...] otherwise capable of indulgence than by indiscriminate
               contradiction. Independently [...] the acrimony and discord it introduces in [...]
               conversation, it is often productive of dislike and even hatred, between persons to
               who [...] friendship is indispensibly necessary. I acquired it by reading, while I
               lived with my father, books of religious controversy. I have since remarked, that
               men of sense seldom fall into this error; lawyers, fellows of universities, and
               persons of every profession educated at Edinburgh, excepted.</p>

            <p>Collins and I one day in an argument relative to the education of women; namely
               whether it were proper to instruct them in the sciences, and whether they were
               compete [...] to the study. Collins supported the negative and affirmed that the task
               was beyond their c [...] pacity. I maintained the opposite opinion, [...] [Page
               25]little perhaps for the pleasure of disputing. He was naturally more eloquent than
               I; words flowed copiously from his lips; and frequently I thought myself vanquished,
               more by his volubility than by the force of his arguments. We separated without
               coming to an agreement upon this point; and as we were not to see each other again
               for some time, I committed my thoughts to paper, made a fair copy, and sent it him.
               He answered, and I replied. Three or four letters had been written by each, when my
               father chanced to light upon my papers and read them. Without entering into the
               merits of the cause, he embraced the opportunity of speaking to me upon my manner of
               writing. He observed, that though I had the advantage of my adversary in correct
               spelling and pointing, which I owed to my occupation, I was greatly his inferior in
               elegance of expression, in arrangement, and perspicuity. Of this he convinced me by
               several examples. I felt the justice of his remarks, became more attentive to
               language, and resolved to make every effort to improve my style. Amidst these
               resolves an odd volume of the Spectator fell into my hands. This was a publication I
               had never seen. I bought the volume, and read it again and again. I was enchanted
               with it, thought the style excellent, and wished it were in my power to imitate it.
               With this view I selected some of the papers, made short summaries of the sense of
               each period, and put them for a few days aside. I then, without <pb n="26"/>looking at
               the book, endeavoured to restore the essays to their true form, and to express each
               thought at length, as it was in the original, employing the most appropriate words
               that occurred to my mind. I afterwards compared my Spectator with the original; I
               perceived some faults, which I corrected: but I found that I wanted a fund of words,
               if I may so express myself, and a facility of recollecting and employing them, which
               I thought I should by that time have acquired, had I continued to make verses. The
               continual need of words of the same meaning, but of different lengths for the
               measure, or of different sounds for the rhyme, would have obliged me to seek for a
               variety of synonymes, and have rendered me master of them. From this belief, I took
               some of the tales of the Spectator, and turned them into verse; and after a time,
               when I had sufficiently forgotten them, I again converted them into prose.</p>

            <p>Sometimes also I mingled all my summaries together; and a few weeks after,
               endeavoured to arrange them in the best order, before I attempted to form the periods
               and complete the essays. This I did with a view of acquiring method in the
               arrangement of my thoughts. On comparing afterwards my performance with the
               original, many faults were apparent, which I corrected; but I had sometimes the
               satisfaction to think, that, in certain particulars of little importance, I had been
               fortunate enough to improve the order <pb n="27"/>of thought or the style; and this
               encouraged me to hope that I should succeed, in time, in writing the English
               language, which was one of the great objects of my ambition.</p>

            <p>The time which I devoted to these exercises, and to reading, was the evening after my
               day's labour was finished, the morning before it began, and Sundays when I could
               escape attending divine service. While I lived with my father, he had insisted on my
               punctual attendance on public worship, and I still indeed considered it as a duty,
               but a duty which I thought I had no time to practise.</p>

            <p>When about sixteen years of age, a work of Tryon fell into my hands, in which he
               recommends vegetable diet. I determined to observe it. My brother, being a bachelor,
               did not keep house, but boarded with his apprentices in a neighbouring family. My
               refusing to eat animal food was found inconvenient, and I was often scolded for my
               singularity. I attended to the mode in which Tryon prepared some of his dishes,
               particularly how to boil potatoes and rice, and make hasty puddings. I then said to
               my brother, that if he would allow me per week half what he paid for my board, I
               would undertake to maintain myself. The offer was instantly embraced, and I soon
               found that of what he gave me I was able to save half. This was a new fund for the
               purchase of books; and other advantages resulted to me from the plan. When my brother
               and his <pb n="28"/>workmen left the printing-house to go to dinner, I remained behind;
               and dispatched my frugal meal, which frequently consisted of a biscuit only, or a
               slice of bread and a bunch of raisins, or a bun from the pastry cook's, with a glass
               of water, I had the rest of the time, till their return, for study; and my progress
               therein was proportioned to that clearness of ideas, and quickness of conception,
               which are the fruit of temperance in eating and drinking.</p>

            <p>It was about this period that, having one day been put to the blush for my ignorance
               in the art of calculation, which I had twice failed to learn while at school, I took
               up Cocker's Treatise of Arithmetic, and went through it by myself with the utmost
               ease, I also read a book of Navigation by Seller and Sturmy, and made myself master
               of the little geometry it contains, but I never proceeded far in this science.
               Nearly at the same time I read Locke on the Human Understanding, and the Art of
               Thinking by Messrs. du Port-Royal.</p>

            <p>While labouring to form and improve my style, I met with an English Grammar, which I
               believe was Greenwood's, having at the end of it two little essays on rhetoric and
               logic. In the latter I found a model of disputation after the manner of Socrates.
               Shortly after I procured Xenophon's work, entitled, Memorable Things of Socrates, in
               which are various examples of the same method. <pb n="29"/>Charmed to a degree of
               enthusiasm with this mode of disputing, I adopted it, and renouncing blunt
               contradiction, and direct and positive argument, I assumed the character of a humble
               questioner. The perusal of Shaftsbury and Collins had made me a sceptic; and being
               previously so as to many doctrines of Christianity, I found Socrates's method to be
               both the safest for myself, as well as the most embarrassing to those against whom I
               employed it. It soon afforded me singular pleasure; I incessantly practised it; and
               became very adroit in obtaining, even from persons of superior understanding,
               concessione of which they did not foresee the consequences. Thus I involved them in
               difficulties from which they were unable to extricate themselves, and sometimes
               obtained victories, which neither my cause nor my arguments merited.</p>

            <p>This method I continued to employ for some years; but I afterwards abandoned it by
               degrees, retaining only the habit of expressing myself with modest diffidence, and
               never making use, when I advanced any proposition which might be controverted, of
               the words certainly, undoubtedly, or any others that might give the appearance of
               being obstinately attached to my opinion. I rather said, I imagine, I suppose, or it
               appears to me, that such a thing is so or so, for such and such reasons; or it is so,
               if I am not mistaken. This habit has, I think, been of <pb n="30"/>considerable
               advantage to me, when I have had occasion to impress my opinion on the minds of
               others, and persuade them to the adoption of the measures I have suggested. And since
               the chief ends of conversation are, to inform or be informed, to please or to
               persuade, I could wish that intelligent and well-meaning men would not themselves
               diminish the powers they possess of being useful, by a positive and presumptuous
               manner of expressing themselves, which scarcely ever fails to disgust the hearer,
               and is only calculated to excite opposition, and defeat every purpose for which the
               faculty of speech has been bestowed upon man. In short, if you wish to inform, a
               positive and dogmatical manner of advancing your opinion may provoke contradiction,
               and prevent your being heard with attention. On the other hand, if, with a desire of
               being informed, and of benefiting by the knowledge of others, you express yourselves
               as being strongly attached to your own opinions, modest and sensible men, who do not
               love disputation, will leave you in tranquil possession of your errors. By following
               such a method, you can rarely hope to please your auditors, conciliate their
               goodwill, or work conviction on those whom you may be desirous of gaining over to
               your views. Pope judiciously observes,</p>

            <p>Men must be taught as if you taught them not,</p>
            <p>And things unknown propos'd as things forgot.</p>
            <p><pb n="31"/> And in the same poem he afterwards advises us,</p>
            <p>To speak, tho' sure, with seeming diffidence.</p>
            <p>He might have added to these lines, one that he has coupled elsewhere, in my opinion,
               with less propriety. It is this: ‘For want of modesty is want of sense.’ If you ask
               why I say with less propriety, I must give you the two lines together:</p>

            <p>Immodest words admit of no defence,</p>
            <p>For want of decency is want of sense.</p>
            <p>Now want of sense, when a man has the misfortune to be so circumstanced, is it not a
               kind of excuse for want of modesty? And would not the verses have been more
               accurate, if they had been constructed thus:</p>

            <p>Immodest words admit but this defence.</p>
            <p>That want of decency is want of sense.</p>
            <p>But I leave the decision of this to better judges than myself.</p>

            <p>In 1720, or 1721, my brother began to print a new public paper. It was the second
               that made its appearance in America, and was entitled the New-England Courant. The
               only one that existed before was the Boston News-Letter▪ Some of his friends, I
               remember, would have dissuaded him from this undertaking, as a thing that was not
               likely to succeed; a single newspaper being, in their opinion, sufficient for all
               America. At present, however, in 1777, there are no less than twenty-five. But he
               carried his project into execution, and I was employed in distributing <pb n="32"/>the
               copies to his customers, after having assisted in composing and working them off.</p>

            <p>Among his friends he had a number of literary characters, who, as an amusement,
               wrote short essays for the paper, which gave it reputation and increased its sale.
               These gentlemen came frequently to our house. I heard the conversation that passed,
               and the accounts they gave of the favourable reception of their writings with the
               public. I was tempted to try my hand among them; but, being still a child as it were,
               I was fearful that my brother might be unwilling to print in his paper any
               performance of which he should know me to be the author. I therefore contrived to
               disguise my hand, and having written an anonymous piece, I placed it at night under
               the door of the printing-house, where it was found the next morning. My brother
               communicated it to his friends, when they came as usual to see him, who read it,
               commented upon it within my hearing, and I had the exquite pleasure to find that it
               met with their approbation, and that, in the various conjectures they made respecting
               the author, no one was mentioned who did not enjoy a high reputation in the country
               for talents and genius. I now supposed myself fortunate in my judges, and began to
               suspect that they were not much excellent writers as I had hitherto supposed them.
               Be that as it may, encouraged by this little adventure, I wrote <pb n="33"/>and sent to
               the press, in the same way, many other pieces, which were equally approved; keeping
               the secret till my slender stock of information and knowledge for such performances
               was pretty completely exhausted, when I made myself known.</p>

            <p>My brother, upon this discovery, began to entertain a little more respect for me; but
               he still regarded himself as my master, and treated me like an apprentice. He
               thought himself entitled to the same services from me as from any other person. On
               the contrary, I conceived that, in many instances, he was too rigorous, and that, on
               the part of a brother, I had a right to expect greater indulgence. Our disputes were
               frequently brought before my father; and either my brother was generally in the
               wrong, or I was the better pleader of the two, for judgment was commonly given in my
               favour. But my brother was passionate, and often had recourse to blows; a
               circumstance which I took in very ill part. This severe and tyrannical treatment
               contributed, I believe, to imprint on my mind that aversion to arbitrary power, which
               during my whole life I have ever preserved. My apprenticeship became insupportable
               to me, and I continually sighed for an opportunity of shortening it, which at length
               unexpectedly offered.</p>

            <p>An article inserted in our paper upon some political subjects which I have now
               forgotten, gave offence to the Assembly. My brother was taken into custody, censured,
               and ordered <pb n="34"/>into confinement for a month, because, as I presume, he would
               not discover the author. I was also taken up, and examined before the council; but,
               though I gave them no satisfaction, they contented themselves with reprimanding,
               and then dismissed me; considering me probably as bound, in quality of apprentice,
               to keep my master's secrets.</p>

            <p>The imprisonment of my brother kindled my resentment, notwithstanding our private
               quarrels. During its continuance the management of the paper was entrusted to me,
               and I was bold enough to insert some pasquerades against the governors; which highly
               pleased my brother, while others began to look upon me in an unfavourable point of
               view, considering me as a young wit inclined to satire and lampoon.</p>

            <p>My brother's enlargement was accompanied with an arbitary order from the house of
               Assembly, ‘That James Franklin should no longer print the newspaper entitled the New
               England Courant.’ In this conjuncture, we held a consultation of our friends at the
               printing-house, in order to determine what was proper to be done. Some proposed to
               evade the order, by changing the title of the paper; but my brother foreseeing
               inconveniences that would result from this step, thought it better that it should in
               future be printed in the name of Benjamin Franklin; and to avoid the censure of the
               Assembly, who might charge him with still printing the paper himself, under [Page
               35]the name of his apprentice, it was resolved that my old indentures should be
               given up to me, with a full and entire discharge written on the back, in order to be
               produced upon an emergency: but that, to secure to my brother the benefit of my
               service, I should sign a new contract, which should be kept secret during the
               remainder of the term. This was a very shallow arrangement. It was, however, carried
               into immediate execution, and the paper continued, in consequence, to make its
               appearance for some months in my name. At length a new difference arising between my
               brother and me, I ventured to take advantage of my liberty, presuming that he would
               not dare to produce the new contract, It was undoubtedly dishonourable to avail
               myself of this circumstance, and I reckon this action as one of the first errors of
               my life; but I was little capable of estimating it as its true value, embittered as
               my mind had been by the recollection of the blows I had received. Exclusively of his
               passionate treatment of me, my brother was by no means a man of an ill temper, and
               perhaps my manners had too much of impertinence not to afford it a very natural
               pretext.</p>

            <p>When he knew that it was my determination to quit him, he wished to prevent my
               finding employment elsewhere. He went to all the printing-houses in the town, and
               prejudiced the masters against me; who accordingly refused to employ me. The idea
               then suggested <pb n="36"/>itself to me of going to New-York, the nearest town in which
               there was a printing-office. Farther reflections confirmed me in the design of
               leaving Boston, where I had already rendered myself an object of suspicion to the
               governing party. It was probable, from the arbitrary proceedings of the Assembly in
               the affair of my brother, that by remaining, I should soon have been exposed to
               difficulties, which I had the greater reason to apprehend, as, from my indiscreet
               disputes upon the subject of religion, I begun to be regarded, by pious souls, with
               horror, either as an apostate or an a [...]heist. I came therefore to a resolution;
               but my father, in this instance, siding with my brother, I presumed that if I
               attempted to depart openly, measures would be taken to prevent me. My friend Collins
               undertook to favour my flight. He agreed for my passage with the captain of a
               New-York sloop, to whom he represented me as a young man of his acquaintance, who had
               an affair with a girl of bad character, whose parents wished to compel me to marry
               her, and that of consequence I could neither make my appearance nor go off publicly.
               I sold part of my books to procure a small sum of money, and went privately on board
               the sloop. By favour of a good wind, I found myself in three days at New-York, nearly
               three hundred miles from my home, at the age only of seventeen years, without knowing
               an individual in the place, and with very little money in my pocket.</p>

            <p><pb n="37"/> The inclination I had felt for a seafaring life was entirely subsided, or I
               should now have been able to gratify it; but having another trade, and believing
               myself to be a tolerable workman, I hesitated not to offer my services to the old Mr.
               William Bradford, who had been the first printer in Pennsylvania, but had quitted
               that province on account of a quarrel with George Keith, the governor. He could not
               give me employment himself, having little to do, and already as many persons as he
               wanted; but he told me that his son, a printer at Philadelphia, had lately lost his
               principal workman, Aquilla Rose, who was dead, and that if I would go thither, he
               believed that he would engage me. Philadelphia was a hundred miles farther. I
               hesitated not to embark in a boat in order to repair, by the shortest cut of the
               sea, to Amboy, leaving my trunk and effects to come after me by the usual and more
               tedious conveyance. In crossing the bay we met with a squall, which shattered to
               pieces our rotten sails, prevented us from entering the Kill, and threw us upon
               Long-Island.</p>

            <p>During the squall a drunken Dutchman, who like myself was a passenger in the boat, f
               [...]ll into the sea. At the moment that he was sinking, I seized him by the
               fore-top, saved him, and drew him on board. This immersion sobered him a little, so
               that he fell asleep, after having taken from his pocket a volume, which he requested
               me to dry. This volume <pb n="38"/>I found to be my old favourite work, Bunyan's
               Voyages, in Dutch, a beautiful impression on fine paper, with copperplate engravings;
               a dress in which I had never seen it in its original language. I have since learned
               that it had been translated into almost all the languages of Europe, and next to the
               Bible, I am persuaded, it is one of the books which has had the greatest spread.
               Honest John is the first, that I know of, who has mixed narrative and dialogue
               together; a mode of writing very engaging to the reader, who in the most interesting
               passages, finds himself admitted as it were into the company, and present at the
               conversation. De Foe has imitated it with success in his Robinson Cruso, his Moll
               Flanders, and other works; as also has Richardson in his Pamela, &amp;c.</p>

            <p>In approaching the island we found that we had made a part of the coast where it was
               not possible to land, on account of the strong breakers produced by the rocky shore.
               We cast anchor and veered the cable toward the shore. Some men, who stood upon the
               brink, hallooed to us, while we did the same on our part; but the wind was so high,
               and the waves so noisy, that we could neither of us hear each other. There were some
               canoes upon the bank, and we called out to them, and made signs to prevail on them
               to come and take us up; but either they did not understand us, or they deemed our
               request impracticable, and withdrew. Night came on, and nothing remained for us but
               to wait <pb n="39"/>the subsiding of the wind; till when we determined, that this, the
               pilot and I, to sleep if possible. For that purpose we went below the hatches along
               with the Dutchman, who was drenched with water. The sea broke over the boat, and
               reached us in our retreat, so that we were presently as completely [...]reached as
               he.</p>

            <p>We had very little repose during the whole night: but the wind abating the next day,
               we succeeded in reaching Amboy before it was dark, after having passed thirty hours
               without provisions, and with no other drink than a bottle of bad rum, the water upon
               which we roved being salt. In the evening I went to bed with a very violent fever. I
               had somewhere read that cold water, drank plentifully, was a remedy in such cases. I
               followed the prescription, was in a profuse sweat for the greater part of the night,
               and the fever left me. The next day I crossed the river in a ferry-boat, and
               continued my journey on foot. I had fifty miles to walk, in order to reach
               Burlington, where I was told I should find passage-boats that would convey me to
               Philadelphia. It rained hard the whole day, so that I was wet to the skin. Finding
               myself fatigued about noon, I stopped at a paltry inn, where I passed the rest of the
               day and the whole night, beginning to regret that I had quitted my home. I made
               besides so wretched a figure, that I was suspected to be some run-away servant. This
               I discovered by <pb n="40"/>the questions that were asked me; and I felt that I was
               every moment in danger of being taken up as such. The next day, however I continued
               my journey, and arrived in the evening at an inn, eight or ten miles from Burlington,
               that was kept by one Dr. Brown.</p>

            <p>This man entered into conversation with me while I took some refreshment, and
               perceiving that I had read a little, he expressed towards me considerable interest
               and friendship. Our acquaintance continued during the remainder of his life. I
               believe him to have been what is called an itinerant doctor; for there was no town in
               England, or indeed in Europe, of which he could not give a particular account. He
               was neither deficient in understanding nor literature, but he was a sad infidel;
               and, some years after, undertook to travesty the Bible in burlesque verse, as Cotton
               has travestied Virgil. He exhibited, by this means, many facts in a very ludicrous
               point of view, which would have given umbrage to weak minds, had his work been
               published, which it never was.</p>

            <p>I spent the night at his house, and reached Burlington the next morning. On my
               arrival, I had the mortification to learn that the ordinary passage-boats had sailed
               a little before. This was on a Saturday, and there would be no other boat till the
               Tuesday following. I returned to the house of an old woman in the town who had sold
               me some gingerbread to eat one of my passage, and I [...] her advice. <pb n="41"/>She
               invited me to take up my abode with her till an opportunity offered for me to embark.
               Fatigued with having travelled so far on foot, I accepted her invitation. When she
               understood that I was a printer, she would have persuaded me to stay at Burlington,
               and set up my trade: but she was little aware of the capital that would be necessary
               for such a purpose! I was treated while at her house with true hospitality. She gave
               me, with the utmost goodwill, a dinner of beef-steaks, and would accept of nothing
               in return but a pint of ale.</p>

            <p>Here I imagined myself to be fixed till the Tuesday in the ensuing week; but walking
               out in the evening by the river side, I saw a boat with a number of persons in it
               approach. It was going to Philadelphia, and the company took me in. As there was no
               wind, we could only make way with our oars. About midnight, not perceiving the town,
               some of the company were of opinion that we must have passed it, and were unwilling
               to row any farther; the rest not knowing where we were it was resolved that we should
               stop. We drew towards the shore, entered a creek, and landed near some old
               palisades, which served us for fire-wood, it being a cold night in October. Here we
               stayed till day, when one of the company found the place in which we were to be
               Cooper's Creek, a little above Philadelphia; which in reality we perceived the
               moment we were out of the creek. We arrived on Sunday abought eight or nine o'clock
               in <pb n="42"/>the morning, and landed on Market-street wharf.</p>

            <p>I have entered into the particulars of my voyage, and shall in like manner describe
               my first entrance into this city, that you may be able to compare beginnings so
               little auspicious, with the figure I have since made.</p>

            <p>On my arrival at Philadelphia I was in my working dress, my best clothes being to
               come by sea. I was covered with dirt; my pockets were filled with shirts and
               stockings; I was unacquainted with a single soul in the place, and knew not where to
               seek for a lodging. Fatigued with walking, rowing, and having passed the night
               without sleep, I was extremely hungry, and all my money consisted of a Dutch dollar,
               and about a shilling's worth of coppers, which I gave to the boatmen for my passage.
               As I had assisted them in rowing, they refused it at first; but I insisted on their
               taking it. A man is sometimes more generous when he has little, than when he has much
               money; probably because, in the first case, he is desirous of concealing his
               poverty.</p>

            <p>I walked towards the top of the street, looking eagerly on both sides, till I came
               to Market-street, where I met a child with a loaf of bread. Often had I made my
               dinner on dry bread. I enquired where he had bought it, and went straight to the
               baker's shop which he pointed out to me. I asked for some biscuits, expecting to
               find such as we had at Boston; <pb n="43"/>but they made, it seems, none of that sort
               at Philadelphia. I then asked for a three-penny loaf. They made no loaves of that
               price. Finding myself ignorant of the prices, as well as of the different kinds of
               bread, I desired him to let me have three penny-worth of bread of some kind or other.
               He gave me three large rolls. I was surprized at receiving so much: I took them,
               however, and having no room in my pockets, I walked on with a roll under each arm,
               eating the third. In this manner I went through Market-street to Fourth street, and
               passed the house of Mr. Read, the father of my future wife. She was standing at the
               door, observed me, and thought, with reason, that I made a very singular and
               grotesque appearance.</p>

            <p>I then turned the corner, and went through Chesnut-street, eating my roll all the
               way; and having made this round, I found myself again on Market-street wharf, near
               the boat in which I had arrived. I stepped into it to take a draught of river-water;
               and finding myself satisfied with my first roll, I gave the other two to a woman and
               her child, who had come down the river with us in the boat, and was waiting to
               continue her journey. Thus refreshed, I regained the street, which was now full of
               well-dressed people, all going the same way. I joined them, and was thus led to a
               large Quakers' meeting-house near the market-place. I sat down with the rest, and
               after looking round me for some time, hearing <pb n="44"/>nothing said, and being
               drowsy from my last night's labour and want of rest, I fell into a sound sleep. In
               this state I continued till the assembly dispersed, when one of the congregation had
               the goodness to wake me. This was consequently the first house I entered, or in which
               I slept at Philadelphia.</p>

            <p>I began again to walk along the streets by the river side; and looking attentively in
               the face of every one I met, I at length perceived a young quaker, whose countenance
               pleased me. I accosted him, and begged, him to inform me where a stranger might find
               a lodging. We were then near the sign of the Three Mariners. They receive travellers
               here, said he, but it is not a house that bears a good character; if you will go
               with me, I will shew you a better one. He conducted me to the Crooked Billet, in
               Water-street. There I ordered something for dinner, and during my meal, a number of
               curious questions were put to me; my youth and appearance exciting the suspicion of
               my being a run-away. After dinner my drowsiness returned, and I threw myself upon a
               bed without taking off my clothes, and slept till six o'clock in the evening, when I
               was called to supper. I afterwards went to bed at a very early hour, and did not
               awake till the next morning.</p>

            <p>As soon as I got up I put myself in as decent a trim as I could, and went to the
               house of Andrew Bradford the printer. I found his father in the shop, whom I had seen
               at <pb n="45"/>New-York. Having travelled on horseback, he had arrived at Philadelphia
               before me. He introduced me to his son, who received me with civility, and gave me
               some breakfast; but told me he had no occasion for a journeyman, having lately
               procured one. He added, that there was another printer newly settled in the town, of
               the name of Keimer, who might perhaps employ me; and in case of a refusal, I should
               be welcome to lodge at his house, and he would give me a little work now and then,
               till something better should offer.</p>

            <p>The old man offered to introduce me to the new printer. When we were at his house:
               "Neighbour," said he, ‘I bring you a young man in the printing business; perhaps you
               may have need of his services.’</p>

            <p>Keimer asked me some questions, put a composing stick in my hand to see how I could
               work, and then said, that at present he had nothing for me to do, but that he should
               soon be able to employ me. At the same time taking old Bradford for an inhabitant of
               the town well-disposed towards him, he communicated his project to him, and the
               pospect he had of success. Bradford was careful not to discover that he was the
               father of the other printer; and from what Keimer had said, that he hoped shortly to
               be in possession of the greater part of the business of the town, led him by artful
               questions, and by starting some difficulties, to disclose all his views, what his
               hopes were founded upon, and how he intended to proceed. <pb n="46"/>I was present, and
               heard it all. I instantly saw that one of the two was a cunning old fox, and the
               other a perfect novice. Bradford left me with Keimer, who was strangely surprised
               when I informed him who the old man was.</p>

            <p>I found Keimer's printing materials to consist of an old damaged press, and a small
               cast of worn-out English letters, with which he was himself at work upon an elegy on
               Aquila Rose, whom I have mentioned above, an ingenious young man, and of an
               excellent character, highly esteemed in the town, secretary to the Assembly, and a
               very tolerable poet Keimer also made verses, but they were indifferent ones. He
               could not be said to write in verse, for his method was to take and set the lines as
               they flowed from his muse; and as he worked without copy, had but one set of
               letter-cases, and the elegy would probably occupy all his type, it was impossible
               for any one to assist him. I endeavoured to put his press in order, which he had not
               yet used, and [...] which indeed he understood nothing: and having promised to come
               and work off his elegy as soon as it should be ready, I returned to the house of
               Bradford, who gave me [...]ome trifle to do for the present, for which I had my board
               and lodging.</p>

            <p>In a few days Keimer sent for me to print off his elegy. He had now procured another
               set of letter-cases, and had a pamphlet to reprint, upon which he set me to
               work.</p>

            <p><pb n="47"/>The two Philadelphia printers appeared destitute of every qualification
               necessary in their profession. Bradford had not been brought up to it, and was very
               illiterate. Keimer, though he understood at little of the business, was merely a
               compositor, and wholly incapable of working at the press. He had one of the French
               prophets, and knew how to imitate their supernatural agitations. At the time of our
               first acquaintance he professed no particular religion, but a little of all upon
               occasion. He was totally ignorant of the world, and a great knave at heart, as I had
               afterwards an opportunity of experiencing.</p>

            <p>Keimer could not endure that, working with him, I should lodge at Bradford's. He had
               indeed a house, but it was unfurnished; so that he could not take me in. He procured
               me a lodging at Mr. Read's, his landlord, whom I have already mentioned. My trunk and
               effects being now arrived, I thought of making, in the eyes of Miss Read, a more
               respectable appearance than when chance exhibited me to her view, eating my roll,
               and wandering in the streets.</p>

            <p>From this period I began to contract acquaintance with such young people of the town
               as were fond of reading, and spent my evenings with them agreeably, while at the
               same time I gained money by my industry, and thanks to my frugality, lived contented.
               I thus forgot Boston as much as possible, and wished every one to be ignorant of the
               place <pb n="48"/>of my residence, except my friend Collins, to whom I wrote, and who
               kept my secret.</p>

            <p>An incident, however arrived, which sent me home much sooner than I had proposed. I
               had a brother-in-law, of the name of Robert Holmes, master of a trading sloop from
               Boston to Delaware. Being at Newcastle, forty miles below Philadelphia, he heard of
               me, and wrote to inform me of the chagrin which my sudden departure from Boston had
               occasioned my parents, and of the affection which they still entertained for me,
               assuring me that, if I would return, every thing should be adjusted to my
               satisfaction; and he was very pressing in his entreaties. I answered his letter,
               thanked him for his advice, and explained the reasons which had induced me to quit
               Boston, with such force and clearness, that he was convinced I had been less to blame
               than he had imagined.</p>

            <p>Sir William Keith, governor of the province was at Newcastle at the time. Captain
               Holmes, being by chance in his company when he received my letter, took occasion to
               speak of me, and shewed it him. The governor read it, and appeared surprised when he
               learned my age. He thought me, he said, a young man of very promising talents, and
               that, of consequence, I ought to be encouraged; that there were at Philadelphia none
               but very ignorant printers, and that if I were to set up for myself, he had no doubt
               of my success; that, for his own part, he would procure me <pb n="49"/>all the public
               business, and would render me every other service in his power. My brother-in-law
               related all this to me afterwards at Boston; but I knew nothing of it at the time;
               when one day Keimer and I being at work together near the window, we saw the
               governor and another gentleman, colonel French of Newcastle, handsomely dressed,
               cross the street, and make directly for our house. We heard them at the door, and
               Keimer, believing it to be a visit to himself, went immediately down: but the
               governor enquired for me, came up stairs, and, with a condescension and politeness to
               which I had not at all been accustomed, paid me many compliments, desired to be
               acquainted with me, obligingly reproached me for not having made myself known to him
               on my arrival in the town and wished me to accompany him to a tavern, where he and
               colonel French were going to tast some excellent Madeira wine.</p>

            <p>I was, I confess, somewhat surprised, and Keimer appeared thunderstruck. I went
               however with the governor and the colonel to a tavern at the corner of Third-street,
               where, while we were drinking the Madeira, he proposed to me to establish a
               printing-house. He set forth the probabilities of success, and himself and colonel
               French assured me that I should have their protection and influence in obtaining the
               printing of the public papers of both governments; and as I appeared to doubt whether
               my father would assist me in this enterprise <pb n="50"/>Sir William said that he would
               give me a letter to him, in which he would represent the advantages of the scheme,
               in a light which he had no doubt would determine him. It was thus concluded that I
               should return to Boston by the first vessel, with the letter of recommendation from
               the governor to my father. Meanwhile the project was to be kept secret, and I
               continued to work for Keimer as before.</p>

            <p>The governor sent every now and then to invite me to dine with him. I cosiderd this
               as a very great honour; and I was the more sensible of it, as he conversed with me in
               the most affable, familar, and friendly manner imaginable.</p>

            <p>Towards the end of April 1724, a small vessel was ready to sail for Boston- [...] too
               [...] leave of Keimer, upon the pretext of going to see my parents. The governor gave
               me a long letter, in which he said many flattering things of me to my father; and
               strongly recommended the project of my settling at Philadelphia, as a thing which
               could not fail to make my fortune.</p>

            <p>Going down the bay we struck on a flat, and sprung a leak. The weather was very
               tempestuous, and we were obliged to pump without intermission; I took my turn. We
               arrived however safe and sound at Boston, after about a fortnight's passage.</p>

            <p>I had been absent seven complete months and my relations, during that interval, ha
               [...] <pb n="51"/>received no intelligence of me; for my brother-in-law, Holmes, was
               not yet returned, and had not written about me. My unexpected appearance surprised
               the family; but they were all delighted at seeing me again, and, except my brother,
               welcomed me home. I went to him at the printing-office. I was better dressed than I
               had ever been while in his service; I had a complete suit of clothes, new and neat, a
               watch in my pocket, and my purse was furnished with nearly five pounds sterling in
               money. He gave me no very civil reception; and having eyed me from head to foot,
               resumed his work.</p>

            <p>The workmen asked me with eagerness where I had been, what sort of a country it was,
               and how I liked it. I spoke in the highest terms of Philadelphia, the happy life we
               led there, and expressed my intention of going back again. One of them asked what
               sort of money we had, I displayed before them a handful of silver, which I drew from
               my pocket. This was a curiosity to which they were not accustomed, paper being the
               current money at Boston. I failed not after this to let them see my watch; and at
               last, my brother continuing sullen and out of humour, I gave them a shilling to
               drink, and took my leave. This visit stung my brother to the soul; for when, shortly
               after, my mother spoke to him of a reconciliation, and a desire of seeing us upon
               good terms, he told her that I had so insulted him before his men, <pb n="52"/>that he
               would never forget or forgive it: in this, however, he was mistaken.</p>

            <p>The governor's letter appeared to excite in my father some surprise; but he said
               little. After some days, Capt. Holmes being returned, he shewed it him, asking him if
               he knew Keith, and what sort of a man he was: adding, that, in his opinion, it proved
               very little discernment to think of setting up a boy in business, who for three
               years to come would not be of an age to be ranked in the class of men. Holmes said
               every thing he could in favour of the scheme; but my father firmly maintained its
               absurdity, and at last gave a positive refusal. He wrote, however, a civil letter to
               Sir William, thanking him for the protection he had so obligingly offered me, but
               refusing to assist me for the present, because he thought me too young to be
               entrusted with the conduct of so important an enterprise, and which would require so
               considerable a sum of money.</p>

            <p>My old comrade Collins, who was a clerk in the post-office, charmed with the account
               I gave of my new residence, expressed a desire of going thither; and while I waited
               my father's determination, he set off before me, by land, for Rhode-Island, leaving
               his books, which formed a handsome collection in mathematics and natural philosophy,
               to be conveyed with mine to New-York, where he purposed to wait for me.</p>

            <p>My father, though he could not approve Sir William's proposal, was yet pleased that I
               <pb n="53"/>had obtained so advantageous a recommendation as that a person of his rank,
               and that my industry and economy had enabled me to equip myself so handsomely in so
               short a period▪ Seeing no appearance of accommodating matters between my brother
               and me, he consented to my return to Philadelphia, advised me to be civil to every
               body, to endeavour to obtain general esteem, and avoid satire and sarcasm, to which
               he thought I was too much inclined; adding, that, with perseverance and prudent
               economy, I might, by the time I became of age, save enough to establish myself in
               business; and that if a small sum should then be wanting, he would undertake to
               supply it.</p>

            <p>This was all I could obtain from him, except some trifling presents, in token of
               friendship from him and my mother. I embarked once more for New-York, furnished at
               this time with their approbation and blessing. The sloop having touched at Newport in
               Rhode-Island, I paid a visit to my brother John, who had for some years been settled
               there, and was married. He had always been attached to me, and received me with
               great affection. One of his friends, whose name was Vernon, having a debt of about
               thirty-six pounds due to him in Pennsylvania, begged me to receive it for him, and
               keep the money till I should hear from him: accordingly he gave me an order for that
               purpose. This affair <pb n="54"/>occasioned me, in the sequel, much uneasiness.</p>

            <p>At Newport we took on board a number of passengers; among whom were two young women,
               and a grave and sensible quaker lady with her servants. I had shown an obliging
               forwardness in rendering the quaker some trifling services, which led her, probably,
               to feel some interest in my welfare; for when she saw a familiarity take place, and
               every day increase, between the two young women and me, she took me aside and said,
               "Young man, I am in pain for thee. Thou hast no parent to watch over thy conduct, and
               thou seemest to be ignorant of the world, and the snares to which youth is exposed.
               Rely upon what I tell thee: those are women of bad characters; I perceive it in all
               their actions. If thou dost not take care, they will lead thee into danger. They are
               strangers to thee, and I advise thee, by the friendly interest I take in thy
               preservation, to form no connection with them." As I appeared at first not to think
               quite so ill of them as she did, she related many things she had seen and heard,
               which had escaped my attention, but which convinced me she was in the right. I
               thanked her for her obliging advice, and promised to follow it.</p>

            <p>When we arrived at New-York, they informed me where they lodged, and invited me to
               come and see them. I did not however go, and it was well I did not; for the next
               <pb n="55"/>day, the captain, missing a silver spoon and some other things which had
               been taken from the cabin, and knowing these women to be prostitutes, procured a
               search warrant, found the stolen goods upon them, and had them punished. And thus,
               after having been saved from one rock concealed under water, upon which the vessel
               struck during our passage, I escaped another of a still more dangerous nature.</p>

            <p>At New-York I found my friend Collins, who had arrived some time before. We had been
               intimate from our infancy, and had read the same books together; but he had the
               advantage of being able to devote more time to reading and study, and an astonishing
               disposition for mathematics, in which he left me far behind. When at Boston, I had
               been accustomed to pass with him almost all my leisure hours. He was then a sober
               and industrious lad; his knowledge had gained him a very general esteem, and he
               seemed to promise to make an advantageous figure in society. But, during my absence,
               he had unfortunately addicted himself to brandy, and I learned, as well from himself
               as from the report of others, that every day since his arrival at New-York he had
               been intoxicated, and had acted in a very extravagant manner. He had also played, and
               lost all his money; so that I was obliged to pay all his expences at the inn, and to
               maintain him during the rest of the journey; a burden that was very inconvenient to
               me.</p>

            <p><pb n="56"/> The governor of New-York, whose name was Burrent, hearing the captain say
               that a young man who was a passenger in his ship had a great number of books, begged
               him to bring me to his house. I accordingly went, and should have taken Collins with
               me, had he been sober. The governor treated me with great civility, shewed me his
               library, which was a very considerable one, and we talked for some time upon books
               and authors. This was the second governor who had honoured me with his attention; and
               to a poor boy, a [...] I then was, these little adventures did not fail to be
               pleasing.</p>

            <p>We arrived at Philadelphia. On the way I received Vernon's money, without which we
               should have been unable to have finished our journey.</p>

            <p>Collins wished to get employment as a merchant's clerk; but either his breath or his
               countenance betrayed his bad habit; for, though he had recommendations, he met with
               no success, and continued to lodge and eat with me, and at my expence. Knowing that I
               had Vernon's money, he was continually asking me to lend him some of it; promising to
               repay me at he should get employment. At last he had drawn so much of this money,
               that I was extremely alarmed at what might become of me, should he [...]a [...]l to
               make good the deficiency. His habit of drinking did not all diminish, and was a
               frequent source of discord between us for when he had drank a little too much, h
               [...] was very headstrong.</p>

            <p><pb n="57"/>Being one day in a boat together, on the Delaware, with some other young
               persons, he refused to take his turn in rowing. You shall row for me, said he, till
               we get home.— No, I replied, we will not row for you.— You shall, said he, or remain
               upon the water all night.—As you please.—Let us row, said the rest of the company:
               what signifies whether he assists or not. But, already angry with him for his
               conduct in other respects, I persisted in my refusal. He then swore that he would
               make me row, or would throw me out of the boat; and he made up to me. As soon as he
               was within my reach I took him by the collar, gave him a violent thrust, and threw
               him head-foremost into the river. I knew that he was a good swimmer, and was
               therefore under no apprehensions for his life.</p>

            <p>Before he could turn himself, we were able, by a few strokes of our oars, to place
               ourselves out of his reach; and whenever he touched the boat, we asked him if he
               would row, striking his hands with the oars to make him let go his hold. He was
               nearly suffocated with rage, but obstinately refused making any promise to row.
               Perceiving at length that his strenght began to be exhausted, we took him into the
               boat, and conveyed him home in the evening, completely drenched. The utmost coldness
               subsisted between us after this adventure. At last the captain of a West-India ship,
               who was commissioned to procure a tutor for the children of a gentleman at
               Barbadoes, <pb n="58"/>meeting with Collins, offered him the place. He accepted it and
               took his leave of me, promising to discharge the debt he owed me with the first money
               he should receive; but I have heard nothing of him since.</p>

            <p>The violation of the trust reposed in me by Vernon, was one of the first great errors
               of my life; and it proves that my father was not mistaken when he supposed me too
               young to be intrusted with the management of important affairs. But Sir William,
               upon reading his letter, thought him too prudent. There was a difference, he said,
               between individuals years of maturity were not always accompanied with discretion,
               neither was youth in every instance devoid of it. Since your father added he, will
               not set you up in business, [...] will do it myself. Make out a list of what will be
               wanted from England, and I will send for the articles. You shall repay me whe [...]
               you can. I am determined to have a good printer here, and I am sure you will succeed.
               This was said with so much seeming cordiality, that I suspected not for an instant
               the sincerity of the offer. I had hitherto kept the project, with which Sir William
               had inspired me, of settling in business, a secret at Philadelphia, and I still
               continued to do so. H [...] my reliance on the governor been known some friends,
               better acquainted with his character than myself, would doubtless have advi [...]
               ed me not to trust him; for I afterwards lear [...] ed that he was universally
               known to be liber [...] of promises, which he had no intention to perform. [Page
               59]But having never solicited him, how could I suppose his offers to be deceitful? On
               the contrary, I believed him to be the best man in the world.</p>

            <p>I gave him an inventory of a small printing-office; the expence of which I had
               calculated at about a hundred pounds sterling. He expressed his approbation; but
               asked if my presence in England, that I might choose the characters myself, and see
               that every article was good in its kind, would not be an advantage. You will also be
               able, said he, to form some acquaintance there, and establish a correspondence with
               stationers and booksellers. This I acknowledged was desirable. That being the case,
               added he, hold yourself in readiness to go with the Annis. This was the annual
               vessel, and the only one, at that time, which made regular voyages between the ports
               of London and Philadelphia. But the Annis was not to sale for some months. I thefore
               continued to work with Keimer, unhappy respecting the sum which Collins had drawn
               from me, and almost in continual agony at the thoughts of Vernon, who fortunately
               made no demand of his money till several years after.</p>

            <p>In the account of my first voyage from Boston to Philadelphia, I omitted I believe a
               trifling circumstance, which will not perhaps be out of place here. During a calm
               which stopped us above Block-Island, the crew employed themselves in fishing for cod,
               of which they <pb n="60"/>caught a great number. I had hitherto adhered to my
               resolution of not eating any thing that had possessed life; and I considered on this
               occasion, agreeably to the maxims of m [...] master Tryon, the capture of every fish
               as a sort of murder, committed without provocation, since these animals had neither
               done, nor were capable of doing, the smallest injury to any one that should justify
               the measure. This mode of reasoning I conceived to be unanswerable. Meanwhile I had
               formerly been extremely fond of fish; and when one of these cod was taken out of the
               frying-pan, I thought its flavour delicious. I hesitated some time between principle
               and inclination, till at last recollecting, that when the cod had been opened, some
               small fish had been found in his belly, I said to mysef, If you eat one another I see
               no reason why we may not eat you. I accordingly dined on the cod with no small degree
               of pleasure, and have since continued to eat like the rest of mankind, returning only
               occasionally to my vegetable plan. Ho [...] convenient does it prove to be a rational
               animal, that knows how to find or invent a plausible pretext for whatever it has an
               inclination to do!</p>

            <p>I continued to live upon good terms with Keimer, who had not the smallest suspicion
               of my projected establishment. He still retained a portion of his former enthusiasm;
               and being fond of argument, we frequently disputed together. I was so much in the
               habit <pb n="61"/>of using my Socratic method, and had so frequently puzzled him by my
               questions, which appeared at first very distant from the point in debate, yet
               nevertheless led to it by degrees, involving him in difficulties and contradictions
               from which he was unable to extricate himself, that he became at last ridiculously
               cautious, and would scarcely answer the most plain and familiar question without
               previously asking me—What would you infer from that? Hence, he formed so high an
               opinion of my talents for refutation, that he seriously proposed to me to become his
               colleague in the establishment of a new religious sect. He was to propagate the
               doctrine by preaching, and I to refute every opponent.</p>

            <p>When he me explained to his tenets, I sound many absurdities which I refused to
               admit, unless he would agree in turn to adopt some of my opinions. Keimer wore his
               beard long, because Moses had somewhere said, Thou shalt not mar the corners of thy
               beard. He likewise observed the Sabbath; and these were with him two very essential
               points. I disliked them both; but I consented to adopt them, provided he would
               abstain from animal food. I doubt, said he, whether my constitution will be able to
               support it. I assured him on the contrary, that he would find himself the better for
               it. He was naturally a glutton, and I wished to amuse myself by starving him. He
               consented to make trial of this regimen, if I would bear him company; and in rea
               [...]y we continued <pb n="62"/>it for three months. A woman in the neighbourhood
               prepared and brought us our victuals, to whom I gave a list of forty dishes, in the
               composition of which there entered neither flesh nor fish. This fancy was [...]e
               more agreeable to me, as it turned to good account, for the whole expence of our
               living did not exceed for each eighteen-pence a week.</p>

            <p>I have since that period observed several Lents with the greatest strictness, and had
               suddenly returned again to my ordinary diet, without experiencing the smallest
               inconvenience; which has led me to regard as of no importance the advice commonly
               given, of introducing gradually such alterations of regimen.</p>

            <p>I continued it cheerfully; but poor Keimer suffered terribly. Tired of the project,
               he sighed for the flesh pots of Egypt. At length he ordered a roast pig, and invited
               me and two of our female acquaintance to dine with him; but the pig being ready a
               little too soon, he could not resist the temptation, and eat it all up before we
               arrived.</p>

            <p>During the circumstances I have related, I had paid some attentions to Miss Read. I
               entertained for her the utmost esteem and affection; and I had reason to believe that
               these sentiments were mutual. But we were both young, scarcely more than eighteen
               years of age; and as I was on the point of undertaking a long voyage, her mother
               thought it prudent to prevent matters being carried to [...] <pb n="63"/>far for the
               present, judging that if marriage was our object, there would be more propriety in
               it after my return, when, as at least I expected, I should be established in my
               business. Perhaps also [...] thought that my expectations were not so well-founded
               as I imagined.</p>

            <p>My most intimate aquaintance at this time were Charles Osborne, Joseph Watson, and
               James Ralph; young men who were all fond of reading. The two first were clerks to Mr.
               Charles Brockdon, one of the principal attornies in the town, and the other clerk to
               a merchant. Watson was an upright, pious and sensible young man: the others were
               somewhat more loose in their principles of religion, particularly Ralph, whose
               faith, as well as that of Collins, I had contributed to shake; each of whom made me
               suffer a very adequate punishment. Osborne was sensible, and sincere and affectionate
               in his friendships, but too much inclined to the critic in [...]tters of literature.
               Ralph was ingenious and shrewd, genteel in his address, and extremely eloquent. I do
               not remember to have met will a more agreeable speaker. They were both enamoured of
               the muses, and had already evinced their passion by some small poetical
               productions.</p>

            <p>It was a custom with us to take a charming w [...]k on Sundays, in the woods that
               bordered on the Schuylkill. Here we read together, and afterwards conversed on what
               we read. <pb n="64"/>Ralph was disposed to give himself up entir [...] to poetry. He
               flattered himself that he should arrive at great eminence in the art, and even
               acquire a fortune. The sublimest poets, he pretended, when they first began to write,
               committed as many faults as himself. Osborne endeavoured to dissuade him from it, by
               a [...] suring him that he had no genius for poetry and advised him to stick to the
               trade in which he had been brought up. In the road of commerce, said he, you will be
               sure, by diligen [...] and assiduity, though you have no capital, [...] so far
               succeeding as to be employed as a fa [...] tor, and may thus, in time, acquire the
               means of setting up for yourself. I conc [...] red in these sentiments, but at the
               same ti [...] expressed my approbation of amusing oursel [...] sometimes with poetry,
               with a view to impro [...] our style. In consequence of this it was proposed, that,
               at our next meeting, each of [...] should bring a copy of verses of his own
               composition. Our object in this competition [...] to benefit each other by our
               mutual remarks, criticisms and corrections; and as style [...] expression were all we
               had in view, we excluded every idea of invention, by agreeing that our task should
               be a version of the eigh [...] teenth psalm, in which is described the desce [...] of
               the Deity.</p>

            <p>The time of our meeting drew near, when Ralph called upon me, and told me his pie
               [...] was ready. I informed him that I had be [...] idle, and, not much liking the
               task, had do [...] <pb n="65"/>nothing. He shewed me his piece, and asked what I thought
               of it. I expressed myself in terms of warm approbation; because it really appeared to
               have considerable merit. He then said: Osborne will never acknowledge the smallest
               degree of excellence in any production of mine. Envy alone dictates to him a
               thousand animadversions. Of you he is not so jealous: I wish therefore, you would
               take the verses, and produce them as your own. I will pretend not to have had leisure
               to write any thing. We shall then see in what manner he will speak of them. I agreed
               to this little artifice, and immediately transcribed the verses [...] prevent all
               suspicion.</p>

            <p>We met. Watson's performance was the [...] that was read. It had some beauties, but
               many faults. We next read Osborne's, which was much better. Ralph did it justice,
               remarking a few imperfections, and applauding such parts as were excellent. He had
               himself nothing to show. It was now my turn. I made s [...]me difficulty; seemed as
               if I wished to be excused; pretended that I had had no time to make corrections,
               &amp;c. No excuse, however, was admissible, and the piece must be produced. It was
               read and re-read. Watson and Osborne immediately resigned the palm, and united in
               applauding it. Ralph alone made a few remarks, and proposed some alterations; but I
               defended my text. Osborne agreed with me, and told Ralph he was no more able to
               criticise than he was able to write.</p>

            <p><pb n="66"/> When Osborne was alone with me, he expressed himself still more strongly
               in favour of what he considered as my performance. He pretended that he had put some
               restrain [...] on himself before, apprehensive of my construing his commendation
               into flattery. But who would have supposed, said he, Franklin to be capable of such a
               composition? What painting, what energy, what fire! He has surpassed the original. In
               his common conversation he appears not to have choice of words; he hesitates, and is
               at a loss; and yet, good God, how he writes!</p>

            <p>At our next meeting Ralph discovered the trick we had played Osborne, who was ra
               [...] lied without mercy.</p>

            <p>By this adventure Ralph was fixed in his resolution of becoming a poet. I left
               nothing unattempted to divert him from his purpose; but he persevered, till at last
               the reading of Pope* effected his cure: he became, however, a very tolerable pro
               [...]e writer. I shall speak more of him hereafter; but as I shall probably have no
               farther occasion to mention the other two, I ought to observe here, that Watson died
               a few years after in my arms. He was greatly regretted; for he was the best of our
               society. Osborne went to the islands, where he gained considerable reputation as a
               <pb n="67"/>barrister, and was getting money; but he died young. We had seriously
               engaged, that whoever died first should return, if possible, and pay a friendly visit
               to the survivor, to him an account of other world; but he has never fulfilled his
               engagement.</p>

            <p>The governor appeared to be fond of my company, and frequently invited me to his
               house. He always spoke of his intention of settling me in business, as a point that
               was decided. I was to take with me letters of recommendation to a number of
               friends; and particularly a letter of credit, in order to obtain the necessary sum
               for the purchase of my press, types and paper. He appointed various times for me to
               come for these letters, which would certainly be ready; and when I came, always put
               me off to another day.</p>

            <p>These successive delays continued till the vessel, whose departure had been several
               times deferred, was on the point of setting sail; when I again went to Sir William's
               house to receive my letters and take leave of him. [...] saw his secretary, Dr. Bard,
               who told me that the governor was extremely busy writing, but that he would be down
               at Newcastle before the vessel, and that the letters would be delivered to me
               there.</p>

            <p>Ralph, though he was married and had a child, determined to accompany me in this
               voyage. His object was supposed to be the establishing a correspondence with some
               mercantile houses, in order to sell goods by <pb n="68"/>commission; but I afterwards
               learned, that having reason to be dissatisfied with the parents of his wife, he
               proposed to himself to leave her on their hands, and never return to America
               again.</p>

            <p>Having taken leave of my friends, and interchanged promises of fidelity with Mi
               [...] Read, I quitted Philadelphia. At Newcastle the vessel came to anchor. The
               governor was arrived, and I went to his logdings. His secretary received me with
               great civilty, told me on the part of the govorner that he could not [...]or me then,
               as he was engaged in affairs of the utmost importance, but that he would send the
               letters on board, and that he wished me, with all his heart, a good voyage and speedy
               return I returned somewhat astonished, but still with out entertaining the slightest
               suspicion.</p>

            <p>Mr. Hamilton, a celebrated barrister of Philadelphia, had taken a passage to England
               for himself and his son, and, in conjunction with Mr. Denham a quaker, and Messrs.
               Oniam and Russel, proprietors of a forge in Maryland, had agreed for the whole
               cabin, so that Ralph and I were obliged to take up our lodging with the crew. Being
               unknown to every body in the ship, we were looked upon as the common order of
               people: but Mr. Hamilton and his son (it was James, who was afterwards governor) left
               us at Newcastle, and returned to Philadelphia, where he wa [...] recalled, at a very
               great expence, to plead the cause of a vessel that had been seized; and <pb n="69"/>just
               as we were about to sail, colonel Finch came on board, and shewed me many
               civilities. The passengers upon this paid me more attention, and I was invited,
               together with my friend Ralph, to occupy the place in the cabin, which the return of
               the Mr. Hamiltons had made vacant; an offer which we very readily accepted.</p>

            <p>Having learned that the dispatches of the governor had been brought on board by
               colonel Finch, I asked the captain for the letters that were to be intrusted to my
               care. He told me that they were all put together in the bag, which he could not open
               at present; but before [...]e reached England, he would give me an opportunity of
               taking them out. I was satisfied with this answer, and we pursued our voyage.</p>

            <p>The company in the cabin were all very sociable, and we were perfectly well off as
               to provisions, as we took the advantage of the whole of Mr. Hamilton's who had laid
               in a very plentiful stock. During the passage Mr. Denham contracted a friendship for
               me, which ended only with his life: in other respects the voyage was by no means an
               agreeable one, as we had much bad weather.</p>

            <p>When we arrived in the river, the captain was as good as his word, and allowed me to
               search the bag for the governor's letters. I could not find a single one with my name
               written on it, as committed to my care; but I selected six or seven, which I judged
               from the direction <pb n="70"/>to be those that were intended for me; particularly one
               to Mr. Basket the king's printer, and another to a stationer, who was the first
               person I called upon. I delivered him the letter as coming from governor Keith. ‘I
               have no acquaintance (said he) with any such person;’ and opening the letter, ‘Oh, it
               is from Riddlesden! he exclaimed. I have lately discovered him to be a very arrant
               knave, and I wish to have nothing to do either with him or his letters.’ He instantly
               put the letter in my hand, turned upon his heel, and left me to serve some
               customers.</p>

            <p>I was astonished at finding these letters were not from the governor. Reflecting, and
               [...] ting circumstances together, I then began to doubt his sincerity. I rejoined
               my friend Denham, and related the whole affair to him. He let me at once into Keith's
               character, told me there was not the least probability of his having written a single
               letter; that no one who knew him ever placed any reliance on him, and laughed at my
               credulity in supposing that the governor would give me a letter of credit, when he
               had no credit for himself. As I shewed some uneasiness respecting what step I should
               take, he advised me to try to get employment in the house of some printer. You may
               there, said he, improve yourself in business, and you will be able to settle yourself
               the more advantageously when you return to America.</p>

            <p><pb n="71"/> We knew already, as well as the stationer, attorney Riddlesden to be a
               knave. He had nearly ruined the father of Miss Read, by drawing him in to be his
               security. We learned from his letter, that he was secretly carrying on an entrigue,
               in concert with the governor, to the prejudice of Mr. Hamilton, who it was supposed
               would by this time be in Europe. Denham, who was Hamilton's friend, was of opinion
               that he ought to be made acquainted with it: and in reality, the instant he arrived
               in England, which was very soon after, I waited on him, and, as much from good-will
               to him as from resentment against the governor, put the letter into his hands. He
               thanked me very sincerely, the information it contained being of consequence to him;
               and from that moment bestowed on me his friendship, which afterwards proved on many
               occasions serviceable to me.</p>

            <p>But what are we to think of a governor who could play so scurvy a trick, and thus
               grossly deceive a poor young lad, wholly destitute of experience? It was a practice
               with him. Wishing to please every body, and having little to bestow, he was lavish of
               promises. He was in other respects sensible and judicious, a very tolerable writer,
               and a good governor for the people; though not so for the proprietaries, whose
               instructions he frequently disregarded. Many of our best laws were his work, and
               established during his administration.</p>

            <p><pb n="72"/> Ralph and I were inseparable companions. We took a lodging together at
               three and s [...] pence a week, which was as much as [...] could afford. He met with
               some relations [...] London, but they were poor, and not able [...] assist him. He
               now, for the first time, informed me of his intention to remain in England, and
               that he had no thoughts of ev [...] returning to Philadelphia. He was total [...]
               without money; the little he had been [...] to raise having barely sufficed for his
               passage I had still fifteen pistoles remaining; and [...] me he had from time to time
               recourse, which he tried to get employment.</p>

            <p>At first, believing himself possessed of [...] lents for the stage, he thought of
               turning actor; but Wilkes, to whom he appli [...] frankly advised him to renounce the
               idea, [...] it was impossible to succeed. He next proposed to Roberts, a bookseller
               in Pate [...]noster-Row, to write a weekly paper in the manner of the Spectator, upon
               terms [...] which Roberts would not listen. Lastly, [...] endeavoured to procure
               employment as [...] copyist, and applied to the lawyers and sta [...]oners about the
               Temple; but he could find no vacancy.</p>

            <p>As to myself, I immediately got engaged at Palmer's, at that time a noted printer i
               [...] Ba [...]holomew Close, with whom I continued nearly a year. I applied very
               assiduously [...] my work; but I expended with Ralph almost all that I earned, Plays
               and other places <pb n="73"/>amusement which we frequented together, saving exhausted my
               pistoles, we lived after this from hand to mouth. He appeared to have entirely
               forgotten his wife and child, as I also, by degrees, forgot my engagements with Miss
               Read, to whom I never wrote more than one letter, and that merely to inform her that
               I was not likely to return soon. This was another grand error of my life, which I
               should be desirous of correcting, were I to begin my career again.</p>

            <p>I was employed at Palmer's on the second adition of Woolaston's Religion of Nature.
               Some of his arguments appearing to me not to be well founded, I wrote a small
               metaphysical treatise, in which I animadverted on those passages. It was entitled a
               Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain. I dedicated it to my friend
               Ralph, and printed a small number of copies. Palmer upon this treated me with more
               consideration and regarded me as a young man of talents; tho' [...]e seriously took
               me to task for the principles of my pamphlet, which he looked upon as [...]ominable.
               The printing of this work was another error of my life.</p>

            <p>While I lodged in Little Britain I formed acquaintance with a bookseller of the name
               of Wilcox, whose shop was next door to me. Circulating libraries were not then in
               use. He had an immense collection of books of all sorts. We agreed that, for a
               reasonable retribution, of which I have now forgotten the <pb n="74"/>price, I should
               have free access to his library, and take what books I pleased, which I was to return
               when I had read them. I considered this agreement as a very great advantage; and I
               derived from it as much benefit as was in my power.</p>

            <p>My pamphlet falling into the hands of a surgeon, of the name of Lyons, author of a
               book entitled Infallibility of Human Judgment, was the occasion of a considerable
               intimacy between us. He expressed great esteem for me, came frequently to see me, it
               order to converse upon metaphysical subjects, and introduced me to Dr. Mandeville,
               author of the Fable of Bees, who had instituted a club at a tavern in Cheapside,
               [...] which he was the soul: he was a facetious and very amusing character. He also
               introduced me, at Baston's coffee-house, to Dr. Pemberton, who promised to give me
               an opportunity of seeing Sir Isaac Newton, which I very ardently desired; but he
               never kept his word.</p>

            <p>I had brought some curiosities with me from America; the principal of which was a
               purse made of Asbestos, which fire only purifies. Sir Hans Sloane hearing of it,
               called upon me, and invited me to his house in Bloomsbury square, where, after
               showing me every thing that was curious, he prevailed on me to add this piece to his
               collection▪ for which he paid me very handsomely.</p>

            <p>There lodged in the same house with us a <pb n="75"/>young woman, a milliner, who had a
               shop by the side of the Exchange. Lively and sensible, and having received an
               education somewhat above her rank, her conversation was very agreeable. Ralph read
               plays to her every evening. They became intimate. She took another lodging, and he
               followed her. They lived for some time together; but Ralph being without employment,
               she having a child, and the profits of her business not sufficing for the maintenance
               of three, he resolved to quit London, and try a country school. This was a plan in
               which he thought himself likely to succeed, as he wrote a fine hand, and was versed
               in arithmetic and accounts. But considering the office as beneath him, and
               expecting some day to make a better figure in the world, when he should be ashamed of
               its being known that he had exercised a profession so little honourable, he changed
               his name, and did me the honour of assuming mine. He wrote to me soon after his
               departure, informing me that he was settled at a small village in Berkshire. In his
               letter he recommended Mrs. T***, the milliner, to my care, and requested an answer,
               directed to Mr. Franklin, schoolmaster at N***.</p>

            <p>He continued to write to me frequently, sending me large fragments of an epic poem he
               was composing, and which he requested me to criticise and correct. I did so, but not
               without endeavouring to prevail on him <pb n="76"/>to renounce this pursuit. Young had
               jus [...] published one of his Satires. I copied and sent him a great part of it; in
               which the author demonstrates the folly of cultivating the Muses, from the hope, by
               their instrumentality, of rising in the world. It was all to no purpose; paper after
               paper of his poem continued to arrive every post.</p>

            <p>Meanwhile Mrs. T*** having lost, on his account, both her friends and her business
               was frequently in distress. In this dilemma she had recourse to me; and to extricate
               her from her difficulties, I lent her all the money I could spare. I felt a little
               too much fondness for her. Having at that time no ties of religion, and taking
               advantage of her necessitous situation, I attempted liberties (another error of my
               life) which she repelle [...] with becoming indignation. She informed Ralph of my
               conduct; and the affair occasioned a breach between us. When he returned to London,
               he gave me to understand that he considered all the obligations he owed me as
               annihilated by this proceeding▪ whence I concluded that I was never to expect the
               payment of what money I had lent him, or advanced on his account. I was the less
               afflicted at this, as he was unable to pay me; and as, by losing his friendship, I
               was relieved at the same time from a very heavy burthen.</p>

            <p>I now began to think of laying by some money. The printing-house of Watts, near [Page
               77]Lincoln's Inn-Fields, being a still more con [...]derable one than that in which
               I worked, it was probable I might find it more advantageous to be employed there. I
               offered myself, and was accepted; and in this house I continued during the remainder
               of my stay in London.</p>

            <p>On my entrance I worked at first as a pressman, conceiving that I had need of bodily
               exercise, to which I had been accustomed in America, where the printers work
               alternately as compositors and at the press [...] drank nothing but water. The
               other workmen, to the number of about fifty, were great drinkers of beer. I carried
               occasionally a large form of letters in each hand, up and down stairs, while the
               rest employed both hands to carry one. They were surprised to see, by this and many
               other [...]amples, that the American Aquatic, as they used to call me, was stronger
               than those who drank porter. The beer-boy had sufficient employment during the whole
               day in serving that house alone. My fellow-pressman drank every day a pint of beer
               before breakfast, a pint with bread and cheese for breakfast, one between breakfast
               and dinner, one at dinner, one again about six o'clock in the afternoon, and another
               after he had finished his day's work. This custom appeared to me abominable; but he
               had need, he said, of all this beer, in order to acquire strength to work.</p>

            <p><pb n="78"/> I endeavoured to convince him that bodily strength furnished by beer, could
               only be in proportion to the solid part of the barley dissolved in the water of
               which the beer was composed; that there was a larger portion of flour in a penny
               loaf, and that consequently if he eat this loaf, and drank a pint of water with it,
               he would derive more strength from it than from a pint of beer. This reasoning,
               however, did not prevent him from drinking his accustomed quantity of beer, and
               paying every Saturday night a score of four or five shillings a week for this cursed
               beverage; an expence from which I was wholly exempt. Thus do these poor devils
               continue all their lives in a state of voluntary wretchedness and poverty.</p>

            <p>At the end of a few weeks, Watts having occasion for me above stairs as a compositor,
               I quitted the press. The compositors demanded of me garnish-money afresh. This I
               considered as an imposition, having already paid below. The master was of the same
               opinion, and desired me not to comply. I thus remained two or three weeks out of the
               fraternity. I was consequently looked upon as excommunicated; and whenever I was
               absent, no little trick that malice could suggest was left unpractised upon me. I
               found my letters mixed, my pages transposed, my matter broken, &amp;c. &amp;c. all
               which was attributed to the spirit that <pb n="79"/>haunted the chapel,* and tormented
               those who were not regularly admitted. I was at last obliged to submit to pay,
               notwithstanding the protection of the master; convinced of the folly of not keeping
               up a good understanding with those among whom we were destined to live.</p>

            <p>After this I lived in the utmost harmony with my fellow-labourers, and soon acquired
               considerable influence among them. I proposed some alterations in the laws of the
               chapel, which I carried without opposition. My example prevailed with several of
               them to renounce their abominable practice of bread and cheese with beer; and they
               procured, like me, from a neighbouring house, a good bason of warm gruel, in which
               was a small slice of butter, with toasted bread and nutmeg. This was a much better
               breakfast, which did not cost more than a pint of beer, namely, three-halfpence, and
               at the same time preserved the head clearer. Those who continued to gorge
               themselves with beer, often lost their credit with the publican, from neglecting to
               pay their score. They had then recourse to me, to become security for them; their
               light, as they used to call it, being out. I attended at the pay-table every
               Saturday evening, to take up the little sum which I had made myself answerable for;
               and which sometimes <pb n="80"/>amounted to near thirty shillings a week.</p>

            <p>This circumstance, added to my reputation of being a tolerable good gabber, or, in
               other words, skilful in the art of burlesque, kept up my importance in the chapel. I
               had besides recommended myself to the esteem of my master by my assiduous application
               to business never observing Saint Monday. My extraordinary quickness in composing
               always procured me such work as was most urgent, and which is commonly best paid;
               and thus my time passed away in a very pleasant manner.</p>

            <p>My lodging in Little Britain being to far from the printing-house, I took another in
               Duke-street, opposite the Roman Chapel. It was the back of an Italian warehouse. The
               house was kept by a widow, who had a daughter, a servant, and a shop boy; but the
               latter slept out of the house. After sending to the people with whom I lodged in
               Little Britain, to enquire into my character, she agreed to take me at the same
               price, three-and-sixpence a week; contenting herself, she said, with so little,
               because of the security she would derive, as they were all women, from having a man
               to lodge in the same house.</p>

            <p>She was a woman rather advanced in life, the daughter of a clergyman. She had been
               educated a Protestant; but her husband, whose memory she highly revered, had
               converted her to the Catholic religion. She had lived in habits of intimacy with
               persons of distinction; <pb n="81"/>of whom she knew various anecdotes as far back as
               the time of Charles II. Being subject to fits of the gout, which often confined her
               to her room, she was sometimes disposed to see company. Hers was so amusing to me,
               that I was glad to pass the evening with her as often as she desired it. Our supper
               consisted only of half an anchovy a piece, upon a slice of bread and butter, with
               half a [...]nt of ale between us. But the entertainment was in her conversation.</p>

            <p>The early hours I kept, and the little trouble I occasioned in the family, made her
               loath to part with me; and when I mentioned another loding I had found, nearer the
               printing-house, at two shillings a week, which fell in with my plan of saving, she
               persuaded me to give it up, making herself an abatement of two shillings: and thus I
               continued to lodge with her, during the remainder of my abode in London, at
               eighteen-pence a week.</p>

            <p>In a garret of the house there lived, in the most retired manner, a lady seventy
               years of age, of whom I received the following account from my landlady. She was a
               Roman Catholic. In her early years she had been sent to the continent, and entered a
               convent with the design of becoming a nun; but the climate not agreeing with her
               constitution, she was obliged to return to England, where, as there were no
               monasteries, she made a vow to lead a monastic life, in as rigid a manner as
               circumstances would permit. She accordingly <pb n="82"/>disposed of her property to be
               applied to charitable uses, reserving to herself only twelve pounds a year; and of
               this small pittance she gave a part to the poor, living on water-gruel, and never
               making use of fire but to boil it. She had lived in this garret a great many years,
               without paying rent to the successive Catholic inhabitants that had kept the house;
               who indeed considered her abode with them as a blessing. A priest came every day to
               confess her. I have asked her, said my landlady, how, living as she did, she could
               find so much employment for a confessor? To which she answered, that it was
               impossible to avoid vain thoughts.</p>

            <p>I was once permitted to visit her. She was cheerful and polite, and her conversation
               agreeable. Her apartment was neat; but the whole furniture consisted of a mattrass,
               a table, on which were a crucifix and a book, a chair, which she gave me to sit on,
               and over the mantle-piece a picture of St. Veronica displaying her handkerchief, on
               which was seen the miraculous impression of the face of Christ, which she explained
               to me with great gravity. Her countenance was pale, but she had never experienced
               sickness; and I may adduce her as another proof how little is sufficient to maintain
               life and health.</p>

            <p>At the printing-house I contracted an intimacy with a sensible young man of the name
               of Wygate, who, as his parents were in good circumstances, had received a better
               education <pb n="83"/>than is common with printers. He was a tolerable Latin scholar,
               spoke French fluently, and was fond of reading. I taught him, as well as a friend of
               his, to swim, by taking them twice only into the river; after which they stood in
               need of no farther assistance. We one day made a party to go by water to Chelsea, in
               order to see the College, and Don Soltero's curiosities. On our return, at the
               request of the company, whose curiosity Wygate had excited, I undressed myself, and
               leaped into the river. I swam from near Chelsea the whole way to Black-friars
               Bridge, exhibiting, during my course, a variety of feats of activity and address,
               both upon the surface of the water, as well as under it. This sight occasioned much
               astonishment and pleasure to those to whom it was new. In my youth I took great
               delight in this exercise. I knew, and could execute, all the evolutions and
               positions of Thevenot; and I added to them some of my own invention, in which I
               endeavoured to unite gracefulness and untility. I took a pleasure in displaying them
               all on this occasion, and was highly flattered with the admiration they excited.</p>

            <p>Wygate, besides his being desirous of perfecting himself in this art, was the more
               attached to me from there being, in order respects, a conformity in our tastes and
               studies. He at length proposed to me to make the tour of Europe with him, maintaining
               ourselves at the same time by working at our profession. <pb n="84"/>I was on the-point
               of consenting, when I mentioned it to my friend Denham, with whom I was glad to pass
               an hour whenever I had le [...] sure. He dissuaded me from the project, and advised
               me to return to Philadelphia which he was about to do himself. I must relate in this
               place a trait of this worthy man's character.</p>

            <p>He had formerly been in business at Bristol, but failing, he compounded with his
               creditors and departed for America, where, by assiduous application as a merchant,
               he acquired in a few years a very considerable fortune. Returning to England in the
               same vessel with myself, as I have related above, he invited all his old creditors to
               a feast. When assembled, he thanked them for the readiness with which they had
               received his small compositions and, while they expected nothing more than a simple
               entertainment, each found under his plate, when it came to be removed, a draft upon a
               banker for the residue of his debt with interest.</p>

            <p>He told me it was his intention to cary back with him to Philadelphia a great
               quantity of goods, in order to open a store; and he offered to take me with him in
               the capacity of a clerk, to keep his books, in which he would instruct me, copy
               letters and superintend the store. He added, that, as soon as I had acquired a
               knowledge of mercantile transactions, he would improve my situation by sending me
               with a cargo of corn and flour to the American islands, and by procuring me other
               <pb n="85"/>lucrative commissions; so that, with good management and economy, I might
               in time begin business with advantage for myself.</p>

            <p>I relished these proposals. London began to tire me; the agreeable hours I had passed
               at Philadelphia presented themselves to my mind, and I had wished to see them
               revive. I consequently engaged myself to Mr. Denham, at a salary of fifty pounds a
               year. This was indeed less than I earned as a compositor, but then I had a much
               fairer prospect. I took leave, therefore, as I believed forever, of printing, and
               gave myself up entirely to my new occupation, spending all my time either in going
               from house to house with Mr. Denham to purchase goods, or in packing them up, or in
               expediting the workmen, &amp;c. &amp;c. When every thing was on board, I had at last
               a few days leisure.</p>

            <p>During this interval, I was one day sent for by a gentleman, whom I knew only by
               name. It was Sir William Wyndham. I went to his house. He had by some means heard of
               my performances between Chelsea and Blackfriers, and that I had taught the art of
               swimming to Wygate and another young man in the course of a few hours. His two sons
               were on the point of setting out on their travels; he was desirous that they should
               previously learn to swim, and offered me a very liberal reward if I would undertake
               to instruct them. They were not yet arrived in town, and the stay I should make
               myself was uncertain; <pb n="86"/>I coud not therefore accept his proposal. I was led
               however to suppose from this incident, that if I had wished to remain in London, and
               open a swimming-school, I should perhaps have gained a great deal of money. This idea
               struck me so forcibly, that, had the offer been made sooner, I should have dismissed
               the thoughts of returning as yet to America. Some years after, you and I had a more
               important business to settle with one of the sons of Sir William Windham, then Lord
               Egremont. But let us not anticipate events.</p>

            <p>I thus passed a bout eighteen months in London, working almost without intermission
               at my trade, avoiding all expence on my own account, excepting going now and then to
               a play, and purchasing a few books. But my friend Ralph kept me poor. He owed me
               about twenty-seven pounds, which was so much money lost; and when considered taken
               from my little savings, was a very great sum. I had, notwithstanding this, a regard
               for him, as he possessed many amiable qualities. But though I had done nothing for
               myself in point of fortune, I had increased my stock of knowledge, either by the
               many excellent books I had read, or the conversation of learned or literary persons
               with whom I was acquinted.</p>

            <p>We sailed from Gravesend the 23d of July 1726. For the incidents of my voyage I re
               [...] fer you to my Journal, where you will fi [...] <pb n="87"/>all the circumstances
               minutely related. We landed at Philadelphia on the 11th of the following October.</p>

            <p>Keith had been deprived of his office of governor, and was succeeded by Major
               Gordon. I met him walking in the streets as a private individual. He appeared a
               little ashamed at seeing me, but passed on without saying any thing.</p>

            <p>I should have been equally ashamed myself at meeting Miss Read, had not her family,
               justly desparing of my return after reading my letter, advised her to give me up, and
               marry a potter, of the name of Rogers; [...] which she consented: but he never made
               [...] happy, and she soon seperated from him, refusing to cohabit with him, or even
               bate his name, on account of a report which prevailed, of his having another wife.
               His skill in his profession had seduced Miss Read's, parents; but he was as bad a
               subject as he was excellent as a workman. He involved himself i [...] debt, and fled,
               in the year 1727 or 1728 to the West-Indies, were he died.</p>

            <p>During my absence Keimer had taken a more considerable house, in which he kept a
               shop, that was well supplied with paper, and various other articles. He had produced
               some new tipes, and a number of workmen; among whom, however, there was not one who
               was good for any thing; and he appeared not to want business.</p>

            <p>Mr. Denham took a warehouse in Water-street, <pb n="88"/>where we exhibited our
               commodities. I applied myself closely, studied accounts, and became in a short time
               very expert in trade. We lodged and eat together. He was sincerely attached to me,
               and acted towards me as if he had been my father. On my side, I respected and loved
               him. My situation was happy; but it was a happiness of no long duration.</p>

            <p>Early in February 1727, when I entered into my twenty-second year, we were both taken
               ill. I was attacked with a pleurisy, which had nearly carried me off; I suffered
               terribly, and considered it as all over with me. I felt indeed a sort of
               disappointment when I found myself likely to recover, and regretted that had still to
               experience, sooner or later, the same disagreeable scene again.</p>

            <p>I have forgotten what was Mr. Denham's disorder; but it was a tedious one, and at
               last sunk under it. He left me a small legacy in his will, as a testimony of his
               friendship; and I was once more abandoned to myself in the wide world, the warehouse
               being confided to the care of the testamentary executor, who dismissed me.</p>

            <p>My brother-in-law, Holmes, who happened to be at Philadelphia, advised me to return
               to my former profession; and Keimer offered me a very considerable salary if I would
               undertake the management of his printing-office, that he might devote himself
               entirely to the superintendance of his shop. His wife and <pb n="89"/>relations in
               London had given me a bad character of him; and I was loath, for the present, to
               have any concern with him. I endeavoured to get employment as a clerk to a merchant;
               but not readily finding a situation, I was induced to accept Keimer's proposal.</p>

            <p>The following were the persons I found in his printing-house:</p>

            <p>Hugh Meredith, a Pennsylvanian, about thirty-five years of age. He had been brought
               up to husbandry, was honest, sensible, had some experience, and was fond of reading:
               but too much addicted to drinking.</p>

            <p>Stephen Potts, a young rustic, just broke from school, and of rustic education, with
               endowments rather above the common order, and a competent portion of understanding
               and gaiety; but a little idle. Keimer had engaged these two at very low wages, which
               he had promised to raise every three months a shilling a week, provided their
               improvement in the typographic art should merit it. This future increase of wages was
               the bait he made use of to ensnare them. Meredith was to work at the press, and Po
               [...]ts to bind books, which he had engaged to teach them, though he understood
               neither himself.</p>

            <p>John Savage, an Irishman, who had been brought up to no trade, and whose service, for
               a period of four years, Keimer had purchased of the captain of a ship. He was also
               to be a pressman.</p>

            <p>George Webb, an Oxford scholar, whose <pb n="90"/>time he had in like manner bought for
               four years, intending him for a compositor. I shall speak more of him presently.</p>

            <p>Lastly, David Harry, a country la [...], who was apprenticed to him.</p>

            <p>I soon perceived that Keimer's intention, in engaging me at a pr [...] so much above
               what he was accustomed to give, was, t [...] I might form all these raw journeymen
               and apprentices, who scarcely cost him any thing, and who, being indentured, would,
               as soon as they should be sufficiently instructed, enable him to do without me. I
               nevertheless adhered to my agreement. I put the office in order, which was in the
               utmost confusion, and brought his people, by degrees, to pay attention to their work,
               and to execute it i [...] a more masterly manner.</p>

            <p>It was singular to see an Oxford scholar in the condition of a purchased servant. He
               was not more than eighteen years of age, and the following are the particulars he
               gave me of himself. Born at Gloucester, he had been educated at a grammar school, and
               had distinguished himself among the scholars by his superior style of acting, when
               they represented dramatic performances. He was member of a literary club in the
               town; and some pieces of his composition, in prose as well as in verse, had been
               inserted in the Gloucester papers. From hence he was sent to Oxford, where he
               remained about a year; but he was not consented; and wished above all things [...]
               <pb n="91"/> [...]e London, and become an actor. At length, having received fifteen
               guineas to pay his quarter's board, he decamped with the money from Oxford, hid his
               gown in a hedge, and travelled to London. There, having no friend to direct him, he
               fell into bad company, soon squandered his fifteen guineas, could find no way of
               being introduced to the actors, became contemptible, pawned his clothes, and was in
               [...]nt of bread. As he was walking along the streets, almost famished with hunger,
               and not knowing what to do, a recruiting bill was put into his hand, which offered an
               immediate treat and bounty-money to whoever was disposed to serve in America. He
               instantly repaired to the house of rendezvous, inlisted himself, was put on board a
               ship and conveyed to America, without ever writing to inform his parents what was
               become of him. His mental vivacity, and good natural disposition, made him an
               excellent companion; but he be was indolent, thoughtless, and to the last degree
               imprudent.</p>

            <p>John, the Irishman, soon ran away. I began to live very agreeably with the rest.
               They inspected me, and the more so as they found Keimer incapable of instructing
               them, and as they learned something from me every day. We never worked on a Saturday,
               it being Keimer's sabbath; so that I had two days a week for reading.</p>

            <p>I increased my acquaintance with persons of knowledge and information in the town.
               <pb n="92"/>Keimer himself treated me with great civilit [...] and apparent esteem; and
               I had nothing to give me uneasiness but my debt to Vernon, which I was unable to pay,
               my savings as yet being very little. He had the goodness, however, not to ask me for
               the money.</p>

            <p>Our press was frequently in want of the necessary quanty of letter; and there was no
               such trade as that of letter-founder in America I had seen the practice of this art
               at the house of James, in London; but at the same time paid it very little attention.
               I however contrived to fabricate a mould. I made use of such letters of lead in
               matrices of clay, and thus supplied, in a tolerable manner, the wants that were most
               pressing.</p>

            <p>I also, upon occasion, engraved various ornaments, made ink, gave an eye to the
               shop; in short, I was in every respect the factotum. But useful as I made myself, I
               perceived that my services became every day of le [...]s importance, in proportion
               as the other men improved; and when Keimer paid me my second quarter's wages, he
               gave me to understand that they were too heavy, and that he thought I ought to make
               an abatement. He became by degrees le [...]s civil, and assumed more the tone of
               master. He frequently found fault, was difficult to please, and seemed always on the
               point of coming to an open quarrel with me.</p>

            <p>I continued, however, to bear it patiently, conceiving that his ill-humour was partly
               occasioned <pb n="93"/>by the derangement and embarrassment of his affairs. At last a
               slight incident broke our connection. Hearing a noise in the neighbourhood, I put my
               head out of the window to see what was the matter. Keimer being in the street,
               observed me, and in a lound an angry tone, told me to mind my work; adding some
               reproachful words, which piqued me the more as they were uttered in the street; and
               the neighbours, whom the same noise had attracted to the windows, were witnesses of
               the manner in which I was treated. He immediately came up to the printing-room, and
               continued to exclaim against me. The quarrel became warm on both sides, and he gave
               me notice to quit him at the expiration of three months, as had been agreed between
               us; regretting that he was obliged to give me so long a term. I told him that his
               regret was superfluous, as I was ready to quit him instantly; and I took my hat and
               came out of the house, begging Meredith to take care of some things which I left, and
               bring them to my lodgings.</p>

            <p>Meredith came to me in the evening. We talked for some time upon the quarrel that had
               taken place. He had conceived a great veneration for me, and was sorry I should quit
               the house while he remained in it. He [...]issuaded me from returning to my native
               country, as I began to think of doing. He reminded me that Keimer owed more than he
               possessed; that his creditors began to be alarmed; <pb n="94"/>that he kept his shop in
               a wretched state, often selling things at prime cost for the sake [...] ready money,
               and continually giving credit without keeping any accounts; that of consequence he
               must very soon fail, which would occasion a vacancy from which I might derive
               advantage. I objected my want of money. Upon which he informed me that his father had
               a very high oppinion of me, and, from a conversation that had passed between them, he
               was sure that he would advance whatever might be necessary to establish [...] if I
               was willing to enter into partnership with him. "My time with Keimer," added he "will
               be at an end next spring. In the me [...] time we may send to London for our press a
               [...] types. I know that I am no workman; but if you agree to the proposal, your
               skill in the business will be balanced by the capital I will furnish, and we will
               share the profits equally. His proposal was reasonable, and I fell in with it. His
               father, who was then in the tow [...], approved of it. He knew that I had some
               ascendency over his son, as I had been able [...] prevail on him to abstain a long
               time from drinking brandy; and he hoped that, when more closely connected with him, I
               should cure him entirely of this unfortunate habit.</p>

            <p>I gave the father a list of what it would be necessary to import from London. He took
               it to a merchant, and the order was given. We agreed to keep the secret till the
               arrival of the materials, and I was in the mean time <pb n="95"/>is procure work, if
               possible, in another printing-house; but there was no place vacant, and I remained
               idle. After some days, Keimer having the expectation of being employed to [...]nt
               some New-Jersey money-bills, that would [...]quire types and engravings which I only
               could furnish, and fearful that Bradford, by engaging me, might deprive him of the
               undertaking, sent me a very civil message, telling me that old friends ought not to
               be dis [...]ted on account of a few words, which were the effect only of a momentary
               passion, and inviting me to return to him. Meredith persuaded me to comply with the
               invitation, par [...]ularly as it would afford him more opportunities of improving
               himself in the business by means of my instructions. I did so, and we lived upon
               better terms than before our [...]paration.</p>

            <p>He obtained the New-Jersey business; and, in order to execute it, I constructed a
               copper [...]te printing-press; the first that had been seen in the country. I
               engraved various ornaments and vignettes for the bills; and we repaired to
               Burlington together, where I executed the whole to the general satisfaction; and he
               received a sum of money for his work, which enabled him to keep his head above water
               for a considerable time longer.</p>

            <p>At Burlington I formed acquaintance with the principal personages of the province;
               many of whom were commissioned by the Assembly to superintend the press, and to see
               that <pb n="96"/>no more bills were printed than the law had prescribed. Accordingly
               they were constantly with us, each in his turn; and he that came commonly brought
               with him a friend or two to bear him company. My mind was more cultivated by reading
               than Keimer's; and it was for this reason, probably, that they set more value on my
               conversation. They took me to their houses, introduced me to their friends, and
               treated me with the greatest civility; while Keimer, though master, saw himself a
               little neglected. He was, in fact, a strange animal, ignorant of the common modes of
               life, apt to oppose with rudeness, generally received opinions, an enthusiast in
               certain points of religion, disgustingly unclean in his person, and a little knavish
               withal.</p>

            <p>We remain there nearly three months; and at the expiration of this period I could
               include in the list of my friends, Judge Allen, Samuel Bustil, secretary of the
               province, Isaac Pearson, Joseph Cooper, several of the Smiths, all members of the
               Assembly, and Isaac Deacon, inspector-general. The last was a shrewd and subtle old
               man. He told me, that, when a boy, his first employment had been that of carrying
               clay to brick-makers; that he did not learn to write till he was somewhat advanced
               in life; that he was afterwards employed as an underling to a surveyor, who taught
               him his trade, and that by industry he had at last acquired a competent fortune. "I
               for-see," <pb n="97"/>said he, one day to me, "that you will soon supplant this man,"
               speaking of Keimer, "and get a fortune in the business at Philadelphia." He was
               totally ignorant at the time of my intention of establishing myself there, or any
               where else. These friends were very serviceable to me in the end, as was I also, upon
               occasion, to some of them; and they have continued ever since their esteem for
               me.</p>

            <p>Before I relate the particulars of my entrance into business, it may be proper to
               inform you what was at that time the state of my mind as to moral principles, that
               you may see the degree of influence they had upon the subsequent events of my
               life.</p>

            <p>My parents had given me betimes religious impressions; and I received from my
               infancy a pious education in the principles of Calvinism. But scarcely was I
               arrived at fifteen years of age, when, after having doubted in turn of different
               tenets, according as I found them combated in the different books that I read, I
               began to doubt of revelation itself. Some volumes against deism fell into my hands.
               They were said to be the substance of sermons preached at Boyle's lecture. It
               happened that they produced on me an effect precisely the reverse of what was
               intended by the writers; for the arguments of the deists, which were cited in order
               to be refuted, appeared to me much more forcible than the refutation itself. In a
               word I soon became a perfect deist. My <pb n="98"/>arguments soon perverted some other
               young persons; particularly Collins and Ralph. But in the sequel, when I recollected
               that they had both used me extremely ill, without the smallest remorse; when I
               considered the behaviour of Keith, another free-thinker, and my conduct towards
               Vernon and Miss Read, which at times gave me much uneasiness, I was led to suspect
               that this doctrine, though it might be true, was not very useful. I began to
               entertain a less favourable opinion of my London pamphlet, to which I had prefixed,
               as a motto, the following lines of Dryden;</p>

            <p>Whatever is, is right; tho' purblind man</p>
            <p>Sees but part of the chain, the nearest link,</p>
            <p>His eyes not carrying to the unequal beam</p>
            <p>That poises all above.</p>
            <p>and of which the object was to prove, from the arttributes of God, his goodness,
               wisdom, and power, that there could be on such thing as evil in the world: that vice
               and virtue did not in reality exist, and were nothing more than vain distinctions. I
               no longer regarded it as so blameless a work as I had formerly imagined; and I
               suspected some error must have imperceptibly have glided into my argument, by all the
               inferences I had drawn from it had been affected, as frequently happens in
               metaphysical reasonings. In a word, I was at last convinced that truth, probity, and
               sincerity, in transactions between man and man, were of the utmost importance to
               <pb n="99"/>the happiness of life; and I resolved from that moment, and wrote the
               resolution in my journal, to practise them as long as I lived.</p>

            <p>Revelation indeed, as such, had no influence on my mind; but I was of opinion that,
               though certain actions could not be bad merely because revelation prohibited them, or
               good, because it enjoined them, yet it was probable that those actions were
               prohibited because they were bad for us, or enjoined because advantageous in their
               nature, all things considered. This persuasion, divine Providence, or some guardian
               angel, and perhaps a concurence of favourable circumstances in their nature,
               cooperating, preserved me from all immorality, or gross and voluntary injustice, to
               which my want of religion was calculated to expose me, in the dangerous period of
               youth, and in the hazardous situation in which I sometimes found myself, among
               strangers, and at a distance from the eye and admonitions of my father. I may say
               voluntary, because the errors into which I had fallen, had been in a manner the
               forced result either of my own experience, or the dishonesty of others. Thus, before
               I entered on my new career, I had imbibed solid principles, and a character of
               probity. I knew their value; and I made a solemn engagement with myself never to
               depart from them.</p>

            <p>I had not long returnd from Burlington before our printing materials arrived from
               London. I settled my accounts with Keimer, and quitted him with his own consent,
               before <pb n="100"/>he had any knowledge of our plan. We found a house near the market.
               We took it; and to render the rent less burthen some (it was then twenty-four pounds
               a-year, but have since known it to let for seventy;) we admitted Thomas Godfrey,
               glazier, with his family, who eased us of a considerable part of it; and with him we
               agreed to board.</p>

            <p>We had no sooner unpacked our letters, and put our press in order, than a person of
               my acquaintance, George House, brought us a countryman, whom he had met in the street
               enquiring for a printer. Our money was almost exhausted by the number of things we
               had been obliged to procure. The five shillings we received from this countryman, the
               first fruit of our earnings, coming so seasonably, gave me more pleasure than any sum
               I have since gained; and the recollection of the gratitude I felt on this occasion
               to George House, has rendered me often more disposed, than perhaps I should
               otherwise have been, no encorage young beginners in trade.</p>

            <p>There are in every country morose beings, who are always prognosticating ruin. There
               was one of this stamp in Philadelphia. He was a man of fortune, declined in years,
               had an air of wisdom, and a very grave manner of speaking. His name was Samuel
               Mickle. I knew him not; but he stopped one day at my door, and asked me if I was the
               young man who had lately opened a new printing-house. Upon my answering in the
               affirmative <pb n="101"/>he said he was very sorry for me, as it was an expensive
               undertaking, and the money that had been laid out upon it would be lost, Philadelphia
               being a place falling into decay; its inhabitants having all, or nearly all of them,
               been obliged to all together their creditors. That he knew, from undoubted fact, the
               circumstances which might lead us to suppose the contrary, such as new buildings,
               and the advanced price of rent, to be deceitful appearances, which in reality
               contributed to hasten the general ruin; and he gave me so long a detail of
               misfortunes, actually existing, or which were soon to take place, that he left me
               almost in a state of despair. Had I known this man before I entered into trade, I
               should doubtless never have ventured. He however continued to live in this place of
               decay, and to declaim in the same style, refusing for many years to buy a house,
               because all was going to wreck; and in the end I had the satisfaction to see him pay
               five times as much for one as it would cost him had he purchased it when he first
               began his lamentations.</p>

            <p>I ought to have related, that, during the autumn of the preceding year, I had united
               the majoirity of well-informed persons of my acquaintance into a club, which we
               called by the name of the Junto, and the object of which was to improve our
               understandings. We met every Friday evening. The regulations I drew up, obliged
               every member to propose, in his turn, one or more questions <pb n="102"/>upon some point
               of morality, politics, or philosophy, which were to be discussed by the society; and
               to read, once in three months, an essay of his own composition, on whatever subject
               he pleased. Our debates were under the direction of a president, and were to be
               dictated only by a sincere desire of truth; the pleasure of disputing, and the vanity
               of triumph having no share in the business; and in order to prevent undue warmth,
               every expression which implied obstinate adherence to an opinion, and all direct
               contradiction, were prohibited, under small pecuniary penalties.</p>

            <p>The first members of our club were Joseph Breintnal, whose occupation was that of a
               scrivener. He was a middle-aged man, of a good natural disposition, strongly attached
               to his friends, a great lover of poetry, reading every thing that came in his way,
               and writing tolerably well, ingenious in many little trifles and of an agreeble
               conversation.</p>

            <p>Thomas Godfrey, a skilful, though self-taught mathematician, and who was afterwards
               the inventer of what goes by the name of Hadley's dial; but he had little knowledge
               out of his own line, and was in [...]upportable in company, always requiring, like
               the majority of mathematicians that have fallen in my way, an unusual precision in
               every thing that is said, continually contradicting, or making trifling di
               [...]tinctions; a <pb n="103"/>sure way of defeating all the ends of conversation. He
               very soon left us.</p>

            <p>Nicholas Scull, a surveyor, and who became afterwards surveyor-general. He was fond
               of books, and wrote verses.</p>

            <p>William Parsons, brought up to the trade of a shoemaker, but who, having a taste for
               reading, had acquired a profound knowledge of mathematics. He first studied them with
               a view to astrology, and was afterwards the first to laugh at his folly. He also
               became surveyor-general.</p>

            <p>William Mawgridge, a joiner, and very excellent mechanic; and in other respects a man
               of solid understanding.</p>

            <p>Hugh Meredith, Stephen Potts and George Webb, of whom I have already spoken.</p>

            <p>Robert Grace, a young man of fortune; generous, animated, and witty; fond of
               epigrams, but more fond of his friends.</p>

            <p>And lastly, William Coleman, at that time a merchan [...]'s clerk, and nearly of my
               own age. He had a cool [...]r and clearer head, a better heart, and more scrupulous
               morals, than almost any other person I ever met with. He became a very re
               [...]pectable merchant, and one of our provincial judges. Our friendship subsisted,
               without interruption, for more than forty years, till the period of his death; and
               the club continued to exist almost as long.</p>

            <p>This was the best school of politics and philosophy that then existed in the
               province; for our questions, which were read a week <pb n="104"/>previous to their
               discussion, induced us to peruse attentively such books as were written upon the
               subjects proposed, that we might be able to speak upon them more pertinently. We thus
               acquired the habit of conversing more agreeably; every object being discussed
               conformably to our regulations, and in a manner to prevent mutual disgust. To this
               circumstance may be attributed the long duration of the club; which I shall have
               frequent occasion to mention as I proceed.</p>

            <p>I have introduced it here, as being one of the means on which I had to count for my
               success in my business; every member exerting himself to procure work for us.
               Breintnal, among others, obtained for us, on the part of the Quakers, the printing
               of forty sheets of their history; the rest of which was to be done by Keimer. Our
               execution of this work was by no means masterly; as the price was very low. It was in
               folio, upon pro patria paper, and in the pica letter, with heavy notes in the
               smallest type. I composed a sheet a day, and Meredith put it to the press. It was
               frequently eleven o'clock at night, sometimes later, before I had finished my
               distribution for the next day's task; for the little things which our friends
               occasionally sent us, kept us back in this work: but I was so determined to compose a
               sheet a day, that one evening, when my form was imposed, and my day's work as I
               thought, at an end, an accident having broken this form, and deranged <pb n="105"/>two
               complete folio pages. I immediately distributed, and composed them anew before I
               went to bed.</p>

            <p>This unwearied industry, which was perceived by our neigbours, began to acquire us
               reputation and credit. I learned, among other things, that our new printing-house
               being the subject of conversation at a club of merchants, who met every evening, it
               was the general opinion that it would fail; there being already two printing-houses
               in the town, Keimer's and Bradford's. But Dr. Bard, whom you and I had occasion to
               see, many years after, at his native town of St. Andrew's in Scotland, was of a
               different opinion. "The industry of this Franklin (said he, is superior to any thing
               of the kind I have ever witnessed. I see him still at work when I return from the
               club at night, and he is at it again in the morning before his neighbours are out of
               bed." This account struck the rest of the assembly, and shortly after one of its
               members came to our house, and offered to supply us with articles of stationary; but
               we wished not as yet to embarrass our [...]elves with keeping a shop. It is not for
               the sake of applause that I enter so freely into the particulars of my industry, but
               that such of my descendants as shall read there memoirs may know the use of this
               virtue, by seeing in the recital of my life the effects it operated in my favour.</p>

            <p>George Webb, having found a friend who <pb n="106"/>lent him the necessary sum to buy
               out his time of Keimer, came one day to offer himself to us as a journeyman. We could
               not employ him immediately; but I foolishly told him, under the rose, that I intended
               shortly to publish a new periodical paper, and that we should then have work for
               him. My hopes of success, which I imparted to him, were founded on the circumstance,
               that the only paper we had in Philadelphia at that time, and which Bradford printed,
               was a paltry thing, miserably conducted, in no respect amusing, and yet was
               profitable. I consequently supposed that a good work of this kind could not fail of
               success. Webb betrayed my secret to Keimer, who, to prevent me, immediately
               published the prospectus of a paper that he intended to institute himself, and in
               which Webb was to be engaged.</p>

            <p>I was exa [...]perated at this proceeding and, with a view to counteract them, not
               being able at present to institute my own paper, I wrote some humourous pieces in
               Bradford's, under the title of the Busy Body*; and which was continued for several
               months by Breintnal. I hereby fixed the attention of the public upon Bradford's
               paper; and the prospectus of Keimer, which he turned into ridicule, was treated
               with contempt. He began, notwithstanding, <pb n="107"/>his paper; and after continuing
               it for nine months, having at most not more than ninety subscribers, he offered it me
               for a mere trifle. I had for some time been ready for such an engagement; I therefore
               instantly took it upon myself, and in a few years it proved extremely profitable to
               me.</p>

            <p>I perceive that I am apt to speak in the first person, though our partnership still
               continued. It is perhaps, because in fact, the whole business devolved upon me.
               Meredith was no compositor, and but an indifferent pressman; and it was rarely that
               he abstained from hard drinking. My friends were sorry to see me connected with him;
               but I contrived to derive from it the utmost advantage the case admitted.</p>

            <p>Our first number produced no other affect than any other paper which had appeared in
               the province, as to type and printing; but some remarks, in my peculiar style of
               writing, upon the dispute which then prevailed between governor Burnet, and the
               Massachusetts assembly, struck some persons as above mediocrity, caused the paper
               and its editors to be talked of, and in a few weeks induced them to become our
               subscribers. Many others followed their example; and our subscription continued to
               increase. This was one of the first good effects of the pains I had taken to learn to
               put my ideas on paper. I derived this farther advantage f [...]om it, that the
               leading men of the place, seeing in the author of <pb n="108"/>this pu [...] [...] well
               able to use his pen, thought it right to encourage and patronise me.</p>

            <p>The votes, laws, and other public pieces, were printed by Bradford. An address of the
               house of Assembly to the govenor had been executed by him in a very coarse and
               incorrect manner. We reprinted it with accuracy and neatness, and sent a copy to
               every member. They perceived the difference; and it so strengthened the influence of
               our friends in the Assembly, that we were nominated its printer for the following
               year.</p>

            <p>Among these friends I ought not to forget one member in particular, Mr. Hamilton,
               whom I have mentioned in a former part of my narrative, and who was now returned from
               England. He warmly interested himself for me on this occasion, as he did likewise on
               many others afterwards; having continued his kindness to me till his death.</p>

            <p>About this period Mr. Vernon reminded me of the debt I owed him, but without
               pressing me for payment. I wrote him a handsome letter on the occasion, begging him
               to wait a little longer, to which he consented; and as soon as I was able I paid him,
               principal and interest, with many expressions of gratitude; so that this error of my
               life was in a manner atoned for.</p>

            <p>But another trouble now happened to me, which I had not the smallest reason to
               expect. Meredith's father, who, according to our <pb n="109"/>agreement, was to defray
               the whole expence of our printing materials, had only paid a hundred pounds. Another
               hundred was still due, and the merchant being tired of waiting, commenced a suit
               against us. We bailed the action, with the melancholy prospect, that, if the money
               was not forth coming at the time fixed, the affair would come to issue, judgment be
               put in execution, our delightful hopes be annihilated, and ourselves entirely ruined;
               as the type and press must be sold, perhaps at half their value, to pay the debt.</p>

            <p>In this distress, two real friends, whose generous conduct I have never forgotten,
               and never shall forget while I retain the remembrance of any thing, came to me
               separately, without the knowledge of each other, and without my having applied to
               them. Each offered me whatever sum might be necessary, to take the business into my
               own hands, if the thing was practicable, as they did not like I should continue in
               partnership with Meredith, who, they said, was frequently seen drunk in the streets,
               and gambling at ale-houses, which very much injured our credit. These friends were
               William Coleman and Robert Grace. I told them that while there remained any
               probability that the Merediths would fulfil their part of the compact, I could not
               propose a seperation; as I conceived myself to be under obligations to them for what
               they had done already, and were still disposed to do if they had the power: [Page
               110]but in the end should they fail in their engagement, and our partnership be
               dissolved, I should then think myself at liberty to accept the kindness of my
               friends.</p>

            <p>Things remained for some time in this state. At last I said one day to my partner,
               "Your father is perhaps dissatisfied with your having a share only in the business,
               and is unwilling to do for two, what he would do for you alone. Tell me frankly if
               that be the case, and I will resign the whole to you, and do for myself as well as I
               can."—" No (said he) my father has really been disappointed in his hopes; he is not
               able to pay, and I wish to put him to no further inconvenience. I see that I am not
               at all calculated for a printer; I was educated as a farmer, and it was absurd in me
               to come here, at thirty years of age, and bind myself apprentice to a new trade. Many
               of my countrymen are going to settle in North-Carolina, where the soil is
               exceedingly favourable. I am tempted to go with them, and to resume my former
               occupation. You will doubtless find friends who will assist you. If you will take
               upon yourself the debts of the partnership, return my father the hundred pounds he
               has advanced, pay my little personal debts, and give me thirty pounds and a new
               saddle, I will renounce the partnership, and consign over the whole stock to
               you."</p>

            <p>I accepted this proposal without hesitation. It was committed to paper, and signed
               and <pb n="111"/> [...]ealed without delay. I gave him what he demanded, and he departed
               soon after for Carolina, from whence he sent me, in the following year, two long
               letters, containing the best accounts that had yet been given of that country, as to
               climate, soil, agriculture, &amp;c. for he was well versed in these matters. I
               published them in my newspaper, and they were received with great satisfaction.</p>

            <p>As soon as he was gone I applied to my two friends, and not wishing to give a
               disobliging preference to either of them, I accepted from each half what he had
               offered me, and which it was necessary I should have. I paid the partnership debts,
               and continued the business on my own account; taking care to inform the public, by
               advertisement, of the partnership being dissolved. This was, I think, in the year
               1729, or thereabout.</p>

            <p>Nearly at the same period the people demanded a new emission of paper money; the
               existing and only one that had taken place in the province, and which amounted to
               fifteen thousand pounds, being soon to expire. The wealthy inhabitants, prejudiced
               against every sort of paper currency, from the fear of its depreciation, of which
               there had been an instance in the province of New-England, to the injury of its
               holders, strongly opposed the measure. We had discussed this affair in our junto, in
               which I was on the side of the new emission; convinced that the first small sum
               fabricated in 1723, had done much <pb n="112"/>good in the province, by favouring
               commerce, industry and population, since all the houses were now inhabited, and many
               others building; whereas I remembered to have seen, when first I paraded the streets
               of Philadelphia eating my roll, the majority of those in Walnut-street,
               Second-street, Fourth-street, as well as a great number in Chesnut and other streets,
               with papers on them signifying that they were to be let; which made me think at the
               time that the inhabitants of the town were deserting it one after another.</p>

            <p>Our debates made me so fully master of the subject, that I wrote and published an
               anonymous pamphlet, entitled, An Enquiry into the Nature and Necessity of a Paper
               Currency. It was very well received by the lower and middling class of people; but
               it displeased the opulent, as it increased the clamour in favour of the new
               emission.—Having, however, no writer among them capable of answering it, their
               opposition became less violent; an there being in the house of Assembly a majority
               for the measure, it passed. The friends I had acquired in the house, persuaded that
               I had done the country essential service on this occasion, rewarded me by giving me
               the printing of the bills. It was a lucrative employment, and proved a very
               seasonable help to me; another advantage which I derived from having habituated
               myself to write.</p>

            <p>Time and experience so fully demonstrated <pb n="113"/>the utility of paper currency,
               that it never after experienced any considerable opposition; so that it soon amounted
               to 55,000l. and in the year 1739 to 80,000l. It has since risen, during the last war,
               to 350,000l. trade, buildings and population having in the interval continually
               encreased, but I am now convinced that there are limits beyond which paper money
               would be prejudicial.</p>

            <p>I soon after obtained, by the influence of my friend Hamilton, the printing of the
               Newcastle paper money, another profitable work, as I then thought it, little things
               appearing great to persons of moderate fortune; and they were really great to me, as
               proving great encouragements. He also procured me the printing of the laws and votes
               of that government which I retained as long as I continued in the business.</p>

            <p>I now opened a small stationer's shop. I kept bonds and agreements of all kinds,
               drawn up in a more accurate form than had yet been seen in that part of the world; a
               work in which I was assisted by my friend Brientnal. I had also paper, parchment,
               pasteboard, books, &amp;c. One Whitemash, an excellent compositor, whom I had known
               in London, came to offer himself. I engaged him, and he continued constantly and
               diligently to work with me, I also took an apprentice, the son of Aqui [...]a
               Rose.</p>

            <p>I began to pay, by degrees, the debt I had contracted; and in order to injure my
               credit <pb n="114"/>and character as a tradesman. I took care not only to be really
               industrious and frugal, but also to avoid every appearance of the contrary. I was
               plainly dressed, and never seen in any place of public amusement. I never went a
               fishing or hunting: A book indeed enticed me sometimes from my work, but it was
               seldom, by stealth, and occasioned no scandal; and to show that I did not think
               myself above my profession, I conveyed home sometimes in a wheelbarrow the paper I
               purchased at the warehouses.</p>

            <p>I thus obtained the reputation of being an industrious young man, and very punctual
               in my payments. The merchants who imported articles of stationary solicited my
               custom; others offered to furnish me with books, and my little trade went on
               prosperously.</p>

            <p>Meanwhile the credit and business of Keimer diminished every day, he was at last
               forced to sell his stock to satisfy his creditors; and he betook himself to
               Barbadoes, where he lived some time in a very impoverished state. His apprentice,
               David Harry, whom I had instructed while I worked with Keimer, having bought his
               materials, succeeded him in the business. I was apprehensive at first of finding in
               Harry a powerful competitor, as he was allied to an opulent and respectable family; I
               therefore proposed a partnership, which, happily for me, he rejected with disdain.
               He was extremely proud, thought himself a fine gentleman, lived extravagantly, and
               pursued amusements which suffered <pb n="115"/>him to be scarcely ever at home; of
               consequence he became in debt, neglected his business, and business neglected him.
               Finding in a short time nothing to be done in the country, he followed Keimer to
               Barbadoes, carrying his printing materials with him. There the apprentice employed
               his old master as a journeyman. They were continually quarrelling; and Harry still
               getting in debt, was obliged at last to sell his press and types, and return to his
               old occupation of husbandry in Pennsylvania. The person who purchased them employed
               Keimer to manage the business; but he died a few years after.</p>

            <p>I had now at Philadelphia no competitor but Brandford, who, being in easy
               circumstances, did not engage in the printing of books, except now and then as
               workmen chanced to offer themselves; and was not anxious to extend his trade. He
               had, however, one advantage over me, as he had the direction of the post-office, and
               was of consequence supposed to have better opportunities of obtaining news. His
               paper was also supposed to be more advantageous to advertising customers; an din
               consequence of that supposition, his advertisements where much more numerous than
               mine: this was a source of great profit to him, and disadvantageous to me. It was to
               no purpose that I really procured other papers, and distributed my own, by means of
               the post; the public took for granted my inability in this respect; and I was indeed
               unable to conquer <pb n="116"/>it in any other mode than by bribing the post-boys who
               served me only by stealth, Bradford being so illiberal as to forbid them.— This
               treatment of his excited by resentment; and my disgust was so rooted, that, when I
               afterwards succeeded him in the post-office, I took care to avoid copying his
               example.</p>

            <p>I had hitherto continued to board with Godfrey, who, with his wife and children,
               occupied part of my house, and half of the shop for his business; at which indeed he
               worked very little, being always absorbed by mathematics. Mrs. Godfrey formed a wish
               of Marrying me to the daughter of one of her relations. She contrived various
               opportunities of bringing us together, till she saw that I was captivated; which was
               not difficult, they lady in question possessing great personal merit. The parents
               encouraged my addresses, by inviting me continually to supper and leaving us
               together, till at last it was time to come to an explanation. Mrs. Godfrey undertook
               to negociate our little treaty. I gave her to understand, that I expected to
               receive with the young lady a sum of money that would enable me at least to discharge
               the remainder of my debt for my printing materials. It was then, I believe, not more
               than a hundred pounds. She brought me for answer, that they had no such sum at their
               di [...]posal. I observed that it might ea [...]ily be obtained, by a mortgage on
               their house. The reply of this was, after a few days interval, that they did not
               approve of the match; that they had con [...]ted Bradford, <pb n="117"/> [...]d found
               that the business of a printer was not lucrative; that my letters would soon be worn
               out, and must be supplied by new ones; that Keimer and Harry had failed, and that,
               probably, I should do so too. Accordingly the forbade me the house, and the young
               lady was confined. I know not if they had really changed their minds, or if it was
               merely an artifice, supposing our affections to be too far engaged for us to desist,
               and that we should contrive to marry secretly, which would leave them at liberty to
               give or not as they pleased. But, suspecting this motive, I never went again to their
               house.</p>

            <p>Some time after Mrs. Godfrey informed me that they were favourably disposed towards
               me, and wished me to renew the acquaintance; but I declared a firm resolution never
               to have any thing more to do with the family. The Godfreys expressed some resentment
               at this; and as we could no longer agree, they changed their residence, leaving me
               in posession of the whole house. I then resolved to take no more lodgers. This affair
               having turned my thoughts to marriage, I looked around me, and made overtures of
               alliance in other quarters; but I soon found that the profession of a printer being
               generally looked upon as a poor trade, I could expect no money with a wife, at least
               if I wished her to possess any other charm. Meanwhile, that passion of youth, so
               difficult to govern, had often drawn me into intrigues with despicable women who
               <pb n="118"/>fell in my way; which were not unaccompanied with expence and
               inconvenience, besides the perpetual risk of injuring my health, and catching a
               disease which I dreaded above all things. But I was fotunate enough to escape this
               danger.</p>

            <p>As a neighbour and old acquaintance, I kept up a friendly intimacy with the family of
               M [...] Read. Her parents retained an affection for me from the time of my lodging in
               their house. I was often invited thither; consulted me about their affairs, and I had
               been sometimes serviceable to them. I was touched with the unhappy situation of
               their daughter, who was almost always melancholy, and continually seeking solitude. I
               regarded my forgetfulness and inconstancy, during my abode in London, as the
               principal cause of her misfortune; though her mother had the candour to attribute the
               fault to herself, rather than to me, because, after having prevented our marriage
               previous to my departure, she had induced her to marry another in my absence.</p>

            <p>Our mutual affection revived; but there existed great obstacles to our union. Her
               marriage was considered, indeed, as not being valid, the man having, it was said, a
               former wife still living in England; but of this it was difficult to obtain a proof
               at so great a distance; and though a report prevailed of his being dead, yet we had
               no certainty of it; and supposing it to be true, he had left many debts, for the
               payment of which his successor might be sued. We ventured <pb n="119"/>nevertheless, in
               spite of all these difficulties, and I married her on the first of September 1730.
               None of the inconveniencies we had feared happened to us —She proved to me a good and
               faithful companion, and contributed essentially to the success of my shop. We
               prospered together, and it was our mutual study to render each other happy. Thus I
               corrected, as well as I could, this great error of my youth.</p>

            <p>Our club was not at that time established at a tavern. We held our meetings at the
               house of Mr. Grace, who appropriated a room to the purpose. Some member observed one
               day, that as our books were frequently quoted in the course of our discussions, it
               would be convenient to have them collected in the room in which we assembled, in
               order to be consulted upon occasion; and that, by thus forming a common library of
               our individual collections, each would have the advantage of using the books of all
               the other members, which would nearly be the same as if he possessed them all
               himself. The idea was approved, and we accordingly brought such books as we thought
               we could spare, which were placed at the end of the club-room. They amounted not to
               so many as we expected; and though we made considerable use of them, yet some
               inconveniencies resulting, from want of care, it was agreed, after about a year, to
               destroy the collection; and each took away such books as belonged to him.</p>

            <p><pb n="120"/> It was now that I first started the idea of e [...] tablishing, by
               subscription, a public library. [...] drew up the proposals, had them ingrossed [...]
               form by Brockden the attorney, and my project succeeded, as will be seen in the
               sequel</p>

            <p>[The life of Dr. Franklin, as written by himself, so far as it has yet been
               communicated to the world, breaks off in this place. We understand that it was
               continued by him somewhat further, and we hope that the remainder will at some
               future period, be communicated to the public. We have no hesit [...] tion in
               supposing that every reader will sin [...] himself greatly interested by the frank
               simplicity and the philosophical discernment by which these pages are so eminently
               characterised. We have therefore thought proper, in order as much as possible to
               relieve his regret, to subjoin the following continuation, by one of the doctor's
               intimate friends. It is extracted from an American periodioal publication, and was
               written by the late Dr. Stuber* of Philadelphia.]</p>

            <p><pb n="121"/> THE promotion of literature had been [...]e attended to in Pennsylvania.
               Most of [...] inhabitants were too much immersed in [...]iness to think of scientific
               pursuits; and [...]ose few, whose inclinations led them to [...]dy, found it
               difficult to gratify them, from [...]e want of sufficiently large libraries. In such
               [...]cumstances the establishment of a public [...]ary was an important event. This
               was first [...] on foot by Franklin, about the year 1731. [...]ty persons subscribed
               forty shillings each, [...] agreed to pay ten shillings annually.— [...] number
               increased; and in 1742, the [...]pany was incorporated by the name of "The Library
               Company of Philadelphia." Se [...]al other companies were formed in this city
               [...]imitation of it. These were all at length uni [...]d with the library company
               of Philadelphia, which thus received a considerable accession <pb n="122"/>of books and
               property. It now contains abo [...] eight thousand volumes on all subjects, a p
               [...]losophical apparatus, and a good beginn [...] [...]owards a collection of
               natural and artific [...] curiosities, besides landed property of co [...] derable
               value. The company have late [...] built an elegant house in Fifth-street, in [...]
               front of which is erected a marble statue [...] their founder, Benjamin Franklin.</p>

            <p>This institution was greatly encouraged [...] the friends of literature in America
               and [...] Great-Britain. The Penn family distingui [...] ed themselves by their
               donations. Amon [...] the earliest friends of this institution mu [...] [...]
               mentioned the late Peter Collinson, the fri [...] and correspondent of Dr. Franklin.
               He not [...]ly made considerable presents himself, and [...]tained others from his
               friends, but volunta [...] undertook to manage the business of the co [...] pany in
               London, recommending books, p [...] chasing and shipping them. His extensi [...]
               knowledge, and zeal for the promotion [...] science, enabled him to execute this
               import [...] trust with the greatest advantage. He con [...] nued to perform these
               services for more tha [...] thirty years, and uniformly refused to acc [...] of any
               compensation. During this time, [...] communicated to the directors every inform
               [...] tion relative to improvements and discover [...] in the arts, agriculture, and
               philosophy.</p>

            <p>The beneficial influence of the instituti [...] was soon evident. The cheapness of
               ter [...] rendered it accessible to every one. Its adv [...]es <pb n="123"/>were not
               confined to the opulent. The [...]ens in the middle and the lower walks of [...] were
               equally partakers of them. Hence a de [...]e of information extended amongst all
               clas [...] of people, which is very unusal in other [...]ces. The example was soon
               followed. Li [...]aries were established in various places, [...]d they are now
               become very numerous in [...] United States, and particularly in Penn [...]vania. It
               is to be hoped that they will be [...] more widely extended, and that informa [...]
               will be every where increased. This will be [...] best security for maintaining our
               liberties. A [...]ion of well-informed men, who have been [...]ght to know and prize
               the rights which God [...] given them, cannot be inslaved. It is in the [...]ions of
               ignorance that tyranny reigns. It [...] before the light of science. Let the citi
               [...]s of America, then, encourage institutions [...]culated to diffuse knowledge
               amongst the [...]ople; and amongst these, public libraries [...] not the least
               important.</p>

            <p>In 1732, Franklin beg [...]n to publish Poor [...]chard's Almanac. This was
               remarkable [...] the numerous and valuable concise maxims [...]hich it contained, all
               tending to exhort to [...]ustry and frugality. It was continued for ma [...] years.
               In the almanac fo [...] the last year, all the maxims were collected in an address to
               the rea [...]r, entitled, The Way to wealth. This has been [...]slated in various
               languages, and inserted [...] different publications. It has also been [...]ated on a
               large sheet, and may be seen framed <pb n="124"/>in this city. This address contains, p
               [...] haps the best practical system of econo [...] that ever has appeared. It is
               written in a m [...] ner intelligible to every one, and which ca [...] not fail of
               convincing every reader of the [...] tice and propriety of the remarks and ad [...]
               which it contains. The demand for this al [...] nac was so great, that ten thousand
               have [...] sold in one year; which must be conside [...] as a very large number,
               especially when [...] reflect, that this country was, at that time, [...] thinly
               peopled. It cannot be doubted [...] the salutary maxims contained in these [...]nacs
               must have made a favourable impre [...] upon many of the readers of them.</p>

            <p>It was not long before Franklin enter [...] upon his political career. In the year
               [...] he was appointed clerk to the general assem [...] of Pennsylvania; and was
               re-elected by [...]ceeding assemblies for several years, until [...] was chosen a
               representative for the city [...] Philadelphia.</p>

            <p>Bradford was possessed of some advantag [...] over Franklin, by being post-master,
               there [...] having an opportunity of circulating his [...] per more extensively, and
               thus rendering [...] better vehicle for advertisements, &amp;c. Franklin, in his
               turn, enjoyed these advantages, [...] b [...]ing appointed post-master of Philadelp
               [...] in 1737. Bradford, while in office, had acted ungenerously towards Franklin,
               preventi [...] as much as possible the circulation of his [...] per. He had now an
               opportunity of retaliati [...] <pb n="125"/> [...]ut his nobleness of soul prevented him
               from making use of it.</p>

            <p>The police of Philadelphia had early ap [...]inted watchmen, whose duty it was to
               [...]ard the citizens against the midnight rob [...]r, and to give and immediate
               alarm in case of fire. This duty is, perhaps, one of the most important that can be
               committed to any [...] of men. The regulations, however, were [...]ot sufficiently
               strict. Franklin saw the dan [...]ers arising from this cause, and suggested an
               alteration, so as to oblige the guardians of [...]e night to be more watchful over
               the lives [...]nd property of the citizens. The propriety of this was immediately
               perceived, and a reform was affected.</p>

            <p>There is nothing more dangerous to growing cities than fires. Other causes operate
               [...]owly, and almost imperceptibly; but these in a moment render abortive the
               labours of ages. On this account there should be, in all cities ample provisions to
               prevent fires from spreading. Franklin early saw the necessity of these; and, about
               the year 1738, formed the first fire company in this city. This example was soon
               followed by others; and there are now numerous fire-companies in the city and
               liberties. To these may be attributed in a great degree, the activity in
               extinguishing fires, for which the citizens of Philadelphia are distinguished, and
               the inconsiderable damage which this city has sustained from this cause.—Some time
               after, Franklin suggested the plan of an association <pb n="126"/>for insuring houses
               from fire, which was adopted; and the association continues to [...] day. The
               advantages experienced from it have been great.</p>

            <p>From the first establishment of Pennsylvania, a spirit of dispute appears to have
               prevailed amongst its inhabitants. During the life-time of William Penn, the
               constitution had been three times altered. After this period, the history of
               Pennsylvania is little els [...] than a recital of the quarrels between the
               proprietaries, or their governors and the Assembly. The proprietaries contended for
               the right of exempting their land from taxes; to which the Assembly would by no means
               consent. This subject of dispute interfered in almost every question, and prevented
               the most salutary laws from being enacted. This at times subjected the people to
               great inconveniencies. In the year 1744, during a war between France and Great
               Britain, some French and Indians had made inroads upon the frontier inhabitants of
               the province, who were unprovided for such an attack. It became necessary that the
               citizens should arm for their defence. Governor Thomas recommended to the Assembly,
               who were then sitting, to pass a militia law. To this they would agree only upon
               condition that he should give his assent to certain laws, which appeared to them
               calculated to promote the interest o [...] the people. As he thought these laws would
               be injurious to the proprietaries, he refused his assent to them; and the Assembly
               broke <pb n="127"/>up without passing a militia law. The situation of the province was
               at this time truly alarming: exposed to the continual inroads of an enemy, and
               destitute of every means of defence. At this crisis Franklin stepped forth and
               proposed to a meeting of the citizens of Philadelphia, a plan of a voluntary
               association for the defence of the province. This was approved of, and signed by
               twelve hundred persons immediately. Copies of it were circulated throughout the
               province; and in a short time the number of signers amounted to ten thousand.
               Franklin was chosen colonel of the Philadelphia regiment; but he did not think
               proper to accept of the honour.</p>

            <p>Pursuits of a different nature now occupied the greatest part of his attention for
               some years. He engaged in a course of electrical experiments, with all the ardor and
               thirst for discovery which characterized the philosophers of that day. Of all the
               branches of experimental philosophy, electricity had been least explored. The
               attractive power of amber is mentioned by Theophrastus and Pliny, and, from them, by
               later naturalists. In the year 1600, Gilbert, an English physician, enlarged
               considerably the catalogue of substances which have the property of attracting light
               bodies. Boyle, Otto Guericke, a burgomaster of Magdeburg, celebrated as the inventor
               of the air pump, Dr. Wall, and Sir Isaac Newton added some facts. Guericke first
               observed the repulsive power of electricity, and <pb n="128"/>the light and noise
               produced by it. In 1709, Hawkesbec communicated some important observations and
               experiments to the world. For several years electricity was entirely neglected, until
               Mr. Gray applied himself to it, in 1728, with great assiduity. He, and his friend Mr.
               Wheeler, made a great variety of experiments▪ in which they demonstrated, that
               electricity may be communicated from one body to another, even without being in
               contact. and in this way may be conducted to a great distance Mr. Gray afterwards
               found, that, by suspending rods of iron by silk or hair lines, and bringing an
               excited tube under them, sparks might be drawn, and a light perceived at the
               extremities in the dark. M. Du Faye, intendant of the French king's gardens, made a
               number of experiments, which added not a little to the science. He made the discovery
               of two kinds of electricity, which he called vitreous and resinous; the former
               produced by rubbing glass, the latter from excited sulphur, sealing-wax, &amp;c. But
               this idea he afterwards gave up as erroneous. Between the years 1739 and 1742,
               Desaguliers made a number of experiments, but added little of importance. He first
               used the terms conductors and electrics, perse. In 1742, several ingenious Germans
               engaged in this subject. Of these the principal were, professor Boze of Wittemberg,
               professor Winkler of Leipsic, Gordon, a Scotch Benedictine monk, professor of
               philosophy at Erfurt, and Dr. Ludolf of Berlin. The result <pb n="129"/>of their
               researches astonished the philosophers of Europe. Their apparatus was large, and by
               means of it they were enabled to collect large quantities of electricity, and thus
               to produce phenomena which had been hitherto unobserved. They killed small birds, and
               set spirits on fire. Their experiments excited the curiosity of other philosophers.
               Collinson, about the year 1745, sent to the library company of Philadelphia an
               account of these experiments, together with a tube, and directions how to use it.
               Franklin, with some of his friends, immediately engaged in a course of experiments;
               the result of which is well known. He was enabled to make a number of important
               discoveries, and to propose theories to account for various phenomena; which have
               been universally adopted, and which bid fair to endure for ages. His observations he
               communicated, in a series of letters, to his friend Collinson; the first of which is
               dated March 28, 1747. In these he makes known the power of points in drawing and
               throwing off the electrical matter, which had hitherto escaped the notice of
               electricians. He also made the grand discovery of a plus and minus, or of a positive
               and negative state of electricity. We give him the honour of this, without
               hesitation; although the English have claimed it for their countryman Dr. Watson.
               Watson's paper is dated January 21, 1748; Franklin's July 11, 1747 several months
               prior. Shortly after, Franklin, from <pb n="130"/>his principles of plus and minus
               state, explained, in a satisfactory manner, the phenomena of the Leyden phial,
               first observed by professor Muschenbroeck of Leyden, which had much perplexed
               philosophers. He shewed clearly that the bottle, when charged, contained no more
               electricity than before, but that as much was taken from the one side as was thrown
               on the other; and that, to discharg it, nothing was necessary but to make a
               communication between the two sides, by which the equilibrium might be restored, and
               that then no signs of electricity would remain. He afterwards demonstrated, by
               experiments, that the electricity did not reside in the coating, as had been
               supposed, but in the pore [...] of the glass itself. After a phial was charged, he
               removed the coating, and found that upon applying a new coating the shock might still
               be received. In the year 1749, he first suggested his idea of explaining the
               phenomena of thunder-gusts, and of the aurora bor [...]alis, upon electrical
               principles. He points out many particulars in which lightning and electricity agree;
               and he adduces many facts, and reasoning from facts, in support of his positions. In
               the same year he conceived the astonishingly bold and grand idea of ascertaining the
               truth of his doctrine, by actually drawing down the forked lightning, by means of
               sharp-pointed iron rods raised into the region of the clouds. Even in this uncertain
               state, his passion to be useful to mankind displays <pb n="131"/>itself in a powerful
               manner. Admitting the identity of electricity and lightning, and knowing the power of
               points in repelling bodies charged with electricity, and in conducting their fire
               silently and imperceptibly, he suggests the idea of securing houses, ships, &amp;c.
               from being damaged by lightning, by erecting the pointed iron rods, which should
               rise some feet above the most elevated part, and descend some feet into the ground or
               the water. The effect of these, he concluded, would be either to prevent a stroke by
               repelling the cloud beyond the striking distance, or by drawing off the electrical
               fire which it contained; or, if they could not effect this, they would at least
               conduct the stroke to the earth, without any injury to the building.</p>

            <p>It was not until the summer of 1752, that he was enabled to complete his grand and
               unparralleled discovery by experiment. The plan which he had origionally proposed,
               was to erect on some high tower, or other elevated place, a centry box, from which
               should rise a pointed iron rod, insulated by being fixed in a cake of resin.
               Electrified clouds passing over this, would, he conceived, impart to it a portion of
               their electricity, which would be rendered evident to the senses by sparks being
               emitted, when a key, a knuckle or other conductor, was presented to it. Philadelphia
               at this time afforded no opportunity of trying an experiment of this kind. Whilst
               Franklin was waiting for the erection of a spire, it <pb n="132"/>occurred to him, that
               he might have more ready access to the region of clouds by means of a common kite. He
               prepared one by [...] taching two cross sticks to a silk handkerchief, which would
               not suffer so much from the rain as paper. To his upright stick was a [...] fixed an
               iron point. The string was, as usua [...], of hemp, excepting the lower end which was
               silk. Where the hempen string terminated, a key was fastened. With this apparatus, on
               the appearance of a thunder-gust approaching he went out into the commons,
               accompanied by his son, to whom alone he communicated his intentions, well knowing
               the ridicule which, too generally for the interest of science, waits unsuccessful
               experiments in philosophy. He placed himself under a shed to avoid the rain. His
               kite was raised. A thunder-cloud passed over it. No sign of electricity appeared.
               He almost despaired of success; when suddenly he observed the loose fibres of his
               string to move towards an erect position. He now presented his knuckle to the key,
               and received a strong spark. How exquisite must his sensations have been at this
               moment! On this experiment depended the fate of his theory. If he succeeded, his name
               would rank high among those who have improved science; if he failed, he must be
               inevitably subjected to the derision of mankind, or, what is worse, their pity, as a
               well-meaning man, but a weak silly projector. The anxiety with which he looked for
               the result <pb n="133"/>this experiment, may easily be conceived. [...]oubts and despair
               had begun to prevail, [...]hen the fact was ascertained in so clear a [...]anner,
               that even the most incredulous could a longer withhold their assent. Repeated
               [...]arks were drawn from the key: a phial was [...]arged, a shock given, and all the
               experiments made, which are usually performed with electricity.</p>

            <p>About a month before this period, some [...]genious Frenchmen had completed the
               discovery, in the manner originally proposed [...] Dr. Franklin. The letters which he
               sent [...] Mr. Collinson, it is said, were refused a [...]ace amongst the papers of
               the Royal Soci [...]ty of London. However this may be, Collinson published them in
               a sperate volume, under the title of New Experiments and Observations on
               Electricity, made at Philadelphia in America. They were read with avidity, and
               [...]on translated into different languages. A [...]ry incorrect French translation
               fell into the [...]nds of the celebrated Buffon, who, notwith [...]anding the
               disadvantages under which the [...]ork laboured, was much pleased with it, and
               repeated the experiments with success. He prevailed upon his friend, M. D' Alibard
               [...] give his countrymen a more correct translation of the work of the American
               electrician. This contributed towards spreading a knowledge of Franklin's priciples
               in France. The King, Louis XV. hearing of these experiments, [...]pressed a wish to
               be a spectator of them. <pb n="134"/>A course of experiments was given at the seat of
               the Duc D' Ayen, at St. Germain by M. De Lor. The applauses which the King bestowed
               upon Franklin, excited in Buffon, D' Alibard, and De Lor, an earnest desire of
               ascertaining the truth of his theory of thunder-gusts. Buffon erected his apparatus
               on the tower of Montbar, M. D' Alibard at Mary-la-ville, and De Lor at his house in
               the Estrapade at Paris, some of the highest ground in that capital. D' Alibard's
               machine first shewed signs of electricity. On the 10th of May, 1752, a thunder-cloud
               passed over it, in the absence of M. D' Alibard; and a number of sparks were drawn
               from it by Coiffier, a joiner, with whom D' Alibard had left directions how to
               proceed, and by M. Roulet, the prior of Mary la-ville. An account of this experiment
               given to the Royal Academy of Sciences, in a memoir by M. D' Alibard, dated May
               13th, 1752. On the 18 of May, M. De Lor proved equally successful with the apparatus
               erected at his own house. These discoveries soon excited the philosophers of other
               parts of Europe to repeat the experiment. Amongst these, none signalized themselves
               more than Father Beccaria of Turin, to whose observations science is much indebted.
               Even the cold regions of Russia were penetrated by the ardor for discovery. Professor
               Richman bade fair to add much to the stock of knowledge on this subject, when an
               unfortunate flash from his rod put a period to his existence. <pb n="135"/>The friends
               of science will long remember with regret the amiable martyr to electricity.</p>

            <p>By these experiments Franklin's theory was established in the most firm manner. When
               the thruth of it could no longer be doubted, the vanity of men endeavoured to
               detract from its merit. That an American, an inhabitant of the obscurecity of
               Philadelphia, the name of which was hardly known, should be able to make discoveries,
               and to frame theories, which had escaped the notice of the enlightened philosophers
               of Europe was too mortifying to be admitted. He must certainly have taken the idea
               from sombody else. An American, a being of an inferior order, make discoveries!
               Impossible. It was said, that the Abbe Nollet, in 1748, had suggested the idea of the
               similarity of lightning and electricity, in his Legons de Physique. It is true, that
               the Abbe mentions the idea, but he throws it out as a bare conjecture, and proposes
               no mode of [...]certaining the truth of it. He himself acknowledges, that Franklin
               first entertained the bold thought of bringing lightning from the heavens, by means
               of pointed rods fixed in the air. The similarity of electricity and lightning is so
               strong, that we need not be surprised at notice being taken of it, as soon as
               electrical phenomina became familiar. We find it mentioned by Dr. Wall and Mr. Grey,
               while the science was in its infancy. But the honour of forming a regular theory of
               thunder-gusts, of suggesting a mode of determining <pb n="136"/>the truth of it by
               experiments, and [...] putting these experiments in practice, a [...] thus
               establishing his theory upon a firm a [...] solid basis, is incontestibly due to
               Franklin. D' Alibard, who made the experiments in France, says, that he only followed
               the track which Franklin had pointed out.</p>

            <p>It has been of late asserted, that the honor of completing the experiment with the
               electrical kite, does not belong to Franklin. Some late English paragraphs
               attributed it to some Frenchman, whose name they do not mention; and the Abbe
               Bertholon gives it to M. De Romas, assessor to the presideal of Nerac; the English
               paragraphs probably refer to the same person. But a very slight attention will
               convince us of the injustice of this procedure: Dr. Franklin's experiment was made
               in June 1752; and his letter, giving an account of it, is dated October 19, 1752, M.
               De Romas made his first attempt on the 14th of May 1753, but was not successful until
               the 7th of June; a year after Franklin had completed the discovery, and when it was
               known to all the philosophers in Europe.</p>

            <p>Besides these great principles, Franklin's letters on electricity contain a number of
               facts and hints, which have contributed greatly towards reducing this branch of
               knowlege to a science. His friend, Mr. Kinnersly, communicated to him a discovery of
               the different kinds of electricity executed by rubbing glass and sulphur. This, we
               have said, was first obser [...]d <pb n="137"/>by M. Du Faye; but it was for many years
               [...]glected. The philosophers were disposed [...] account for the phenomena, rather
               from a difference in the quantity of electricity collec [...]ed; and even Du Faye
               himself seems at last [...]o have adopted this doctrine. Franklin at [...]irst
               entertained the same idea; but upon re [...]eating the experiments, he perceived
               that Mr. Kinnersley was right; and that the vitre [...]us and resmous electricity of
               Du Faye were nothing more than the positive and negative states which he had before
               observed; that the glass globe charged positively, or increased the quantity of
               electricity on the prime conductor, whilst the globe of sulphur diminishes its
               natural quantity, or charged negatively. These experiments and observations opened
               a new field for investigation, upon which electricians entered with avidity; and
               their labours have added much to the stock of our knowledge.</p>

            <p>In September, 1752, Franklin entered upon a course of experiments, to determine the
               state of electricity in the clouds. From a number of experiments he formed this
               conclusion: "that the clouds of a thunder-gust are most commonly in a negative state
               of electricity, but sometimes in a positive state;" and from this it follows, as a
               necessary consequence, "that, for the most part, in thunder-strokes, it is the earth
               that strikes into the clouds, and not the clouds that strike into the earth." The
               letter containing these observations, is dated in September, 1753; and yet the
               discovery of ascending thunder has been said to be of a <pb n="138"/>modern date, and
               has been attributed to the Abbe Bertholon, who published his memoirs on the subject
               in 1776.</p>

            <p>Franklin's letters have been translated into most of the European languages, and into
               Latin. In proportion as they have become known, his principles have been adopted.
               Some opposition was made to his theories, particularly by the Abbe Nollet, who was,
               however, but feebly supported, whilst the first philosophers of Europe stepped forth
               in defence of Franklin's principles; amongst whom D' Alibard and Beccaria were the
               most distinguished. The opposition has gradually ceased, and the Franklinian system
               is now universally adopted, where science flourishes.</p>

            <p>The important practical use which Franklin made of his discoveries, the securing of
               houses from injury by lightning, has been already mentioned. Pointed conductors are
               now very common in America; but prejudice has hitherto prevented their general
               introduction into Europe, notwithstanding the most undoubted proofs of their utility
               have been given. But mankind can with difficulty be brought to lay aside established
               practices, or to adopt new ones. And perhaps we have more reason to be surprised that
               a practice, however rational, which was proposed about forty years ago, should in
               that time have been adopted in so many places, than that it has not universally
               prevailed. It is only by degrees that the great body of mankind can be led into knew
               practices, however salutary their <pb n="139"/>tendency. It is now nearly eighty years
               since inoculation was introduced into Europe and America; and it is so far from being
               general at present, that it will, perhaps, require one or two centuries to render it
               so.</p>

            <p>In the year 1745, Franklin published an account of his new invented Pennsylvania
               fire-place, in which he minutely and accurately states the advantages and
               disadvantages of different kinds of fire-places; and endeavours to shew that the one
               which he describes is to be preferred to any other. This contrivance has given rise
               to the open stoves now in general use, which however differ from it in
               construction, particularly in not having an airbox at the back, through which a
               constant supply of air, warmed in its passage, is thrown into the room. The
               advantages of this are, that as a stream of warm air is continually flowing into the
               room, less fuel is necessary to preserve a proper temperature, and the room may be so
               tightened as that no air may enter through cracks; the consequences of which are
               colds, toothaches, &amp;c.</p>

            <p>Although philosophy was a principal object of Franklin's pursuit for several years,
               he confined himself not to this. In the year 1747, he became a member of the general
               assembly of Pennsylvania, as a burgess for the city of Philadelphia. Warm disputes at
               this time subsisted between the assembly and the proprietaries; each contending for
               what they conceived to be their just rights. Franklin, <pb n="140"/>a friend to the
               rights of man from his infancy, soon distinguished himself as a steady opponent of
               the unjust schemes of the proprietaries. He was soon looked up to as the head of the
               opposition; and to him have been attributed many of the spirited replies of the
               assembly, to the messages of the governors. His influence in the body was very
               great. This arose not from any superior powers of eloquence; he spoke but seldom, and
               he never was known to make any thing like an elaborate harangue. His speeches often
               consisted of a single sentence, or of a well told story, the moral of which was
               always obviously to the point. He never attempted the flowery fields of oratory. His
               manner was plain and mild. His style in speaking was, like that of his writings,
               remarkably concise. With this plain manner, and his penetrating and solid judgment,
               he was able to confound the most eloquent and subtle of his adversaries, to confirm
               the opinions of his friends, and to make converts of the unprejudiced, who had
               opposed him. With a single observation, he has rendered of no avail, an elegant and
               lengthy discourse, and determined the fate of a question of importance.</p>

            <p>But he was not contented with thus supporting the rights of the people. He wished to
               render them permanently secure, which can only be done by making their value
               properly known; and this must depend upon increasing and extending information to
               every <pb n="141"/>class of men. We have already seen that he was the founder of the
               public library, which contributed greatly towards improving the minds of the
               citizens. But this was not sufficient. The schools then subsisting were in general
               of little utility. The teachers were men, ill qualified for the important duty which
               they had undertaken; and, after all, nothing more could be obtained than the
               rudiments of a common English education. Franklin drew up a plan of an academy, to be
               erected in the city of Philadelphia, suited to "the state of an infant country;" but
               in this, as in all his plans, he confined not his [...]ews to the present time only.
               He looked forward to the period when an institution on [...]n enlarged plan would
               become necessary. With this view he considered his academy as "a foundation for
               posterity to erect a seminary of learning, more extensive, and suitable to future
               circumstances." In pursuance of this plan, the constitutions were drawn up and signed
               on the 13th of November 1749. in these, twenty-four of the most respectable citizens
               of Philadelphia were named as trustees. In the choice of these, and in the
               formation of his plan, Franklin is said to have consulted chiefly with Thomas
               Hopkinson, Esq Rev. Richard Peters, then secretary of the province, Tench Francis,
               Esq attorney-general, and Dr. Phineas Bond.</p>

            <p>The following article shews a spirit of benevolence worthy of imitation; and, for
               the <pb n="142"/>honour of our city, we hope that it continues to be in force.</p>

            <p>"In case of the inability of the rector, or any master, (established on the
               foundation by receiving a certain salary) through sickness, or any other natural
               infirmity, whereby he may be reduced to poverty, the trustees shall have power to
               contribute to his support, in proportion to his distress and merit, and the stock in
               their hands."</p>

            <p>The last clause of the fundamental rules is expressed in language so tender and
               benevolent, so truly parental, that it will do everlasting honour to the hearts and
               heads of the founders.</p>

            <p>"It is hoped and expected that the trustees will make it their pleasure, and in some
               degree their business, to visit the academy often; to encourage and countenance the
               youth, countenance and assist the masters, and by all means in their power advance
               the usefulness and reputation of the design; that they will look on the students as,
               in some measure, their own children, treat them with familiarity and affection; and
               when they have behaved well, gone through their studies, and are to enter the world,
               they shall zealously unite, and make all the interest that can be made, to promote
               and establish them, whether in business, offices, marriages, or any other thing for
               their advantage, preferable to all other persons whatsoever, even of equal
               merit."</p>

            <p><pb n="143"/> The constitutions being signed and made public, with the names of the
               gentlemen proposing themselves as trustees and founders, the design was so well
               approved of by the public-spirited citizens of Philadelphia, that the sum of eight
               hundred pounds per annum, for five years, was in the course of a few weeks subscribed
               for carrying the plan into execution; and in the beginning of January following
               (viz. 1750) three of the schools were opened, namely, the Latin and Greek schools.
               The Mathematical, and the English schools. In pursuance of an article in the original
               plan, a school for educating sixty boys and thirty girls (in the charter since called
               the Charitable School) was opened, and amidst all the difficulties with which the
               trustees have struggled in respect to their funds, has still been continued full for
               the space of forty years; so that allowing three years education for each boy and
               girl admitted into it, which is the general rule, at least twelve hundred children
               have received in it the chief part of their education, who might otherwise, in a
               great measure, have been left without the means of instruction. And many of those who
               have been thus educated, are now to be found among the most useful and reputable
               citizens of this state.</p>

            <p>The institution, thus successfully begun, continued daily to flourish, to the great
               satisfaction of Dr. Franklin; who, notwithstanding the multiplicity of his other
               engagements <pb n="144"/>and pursuits, at that busy stage of his life, was a constant
               attendant at the monthly visitations and examinations of the schools, and made it his
               particular study, by means of his extensive correspondence abroad, to advance the
               reputation of the seminary, and to draw students and scholars to it from different
               parts of America and the West-Indies. Through the interposition of his benevolent
               and learned friend, Peter Collinson of London, upon the application of the trustees,
               a charter of incorporation, dated July 13, 1753, was obtained from the honourable
               proprietors of Pennylvania, Thomas Penn and Richard Penn, Esqrs accompanied with a
               liberal benefaction of five hundred pounds sterling; and Dr. Franklin now began in
               good earnest to please himself with the ho [...]es of a speedy accomplishment of his
               original design, viz. the establishment of a perfect institution, upon the plan of
               the European colleges and universities; for which his academy was intended as a nurs
               [...]ry or foundation. To elucidate this fact, is a matter of considerable
               importance in respect to the memory and character of Dr. Franklin, as a philosopher,
               and as the friend and patron of learning and science; for, notwithstanding what is
               expressly declared by him in the preamble to the constitutions, viz. that the
               academy was begun for "teaching the Latin and Greek languages with all useful
               branches of the arts and sciences, suitable to the state <pb n="145"/>of an infant
               country, and laying a foundation for posterity to erect a seminary of learning more
               extensive, and suitable to their future circumstances;" yet it has been suggested of
               late, as upon Dr. Franklin's authority, that the Latin and Greek, or the dead
               languages, are an incumbrance upon a scheme of liberal education, and that the
               engrafting or founding a college, or more extensive seminary, upon his academy, was
               without his approbation or agency, and gave him discontent. If the reverse of this
               does not al [...]ady appear, from what has been quoted above, the following letters
               will put the matter beyond dispute. They were written by him to a gentleman, who had
               at that time published the idea of a college, suited to the circumstances of a young
               country, (meaning New-York) a copy of which having been sent to Dr. Franklin for his
               opinion, gave use to that correspondence which terminated about a year afterwards, in
               erecting the college upon the foundation of the academy, and establishing that
               gentleman as the head of both, where he still continues, after a period of thirty-six
               years, to preside with distinguished reputation.</p>

            <p>From these letters also, the state of the academy, at that time, will be seen.</p>

            <p><pb n="146"/></p>
            <p>Philad. April 19, 1753.</p>
            <p>Sir,</p>
            <p>I received your favour of the 11th instant, with your new * piece on Education which
               shall carefully peruse, and give you my sentiments of it, as your desire, by next
               post.</p>

            <p>I believe the young gentlemen, your pupils, may be entertained and instructed here,
               in mathematics and philosophy, to satisfaction. Mr. Alison † (who was educated at
               Glasgow) has been long accustomed to teach the latter, and Mr. Grew † the former; and
               I think their pupils make great progress. Mr. Alison has the care of the Latin and
               Greek school, but as he has now three good assistants, § he can very well afford
               some hours every day for the instruction of those who are engaged in higher studies.
               The mathematical school is pretty well furnished with instruments. The English
               library is a good one; and we have belonging to it a middling apparatus for
               experimental philosophy, and purpose speedily to complete it. The Loganian library,
               one of the best collections in America, will shortly be opened; so that neither books
               nor <pb n="147"/>instruments will be wanting; and as we are determined always to give
               good salaries, we have reason to believe we may have always an opportunity of
               choosing good masters; upon which, indeed, the success of the whole depends. We are
               obliged to you for your kind offers in this respect, and when you are settled in
               England, we may occasionally make use of your friendship and judgment,—</p>

            <p>If it suits your conveniency to visit Philadelphia before you return to Europe, I
               shall be extremely glad to see and converse with you here, as well as to correspond
               with you after your settlement in England; for an acquaintance and communication
               with men of learning, virtue, and public spirit, is one of my greatest
               enjoyments.</p>

            <p>I do not know whether you ever happened to see the first proposals I made for
               erecting this academy. I send them inclosed. They had, (however imperfect) the
               desired success, being followed by a subscription of four thousand pounds, towards
               carrying them into execution. And as we are fond of receiving advice, and are daily
               improving by experience, I am in hopes we shall, in a few years, see a perfect
               institution.</p>

            <p>I am very respectfully, &amp;c. B. FRANKLIN.</p>
            <p>Mr. W. Smith, Long-Island.</p>
            <p>* A general idea of the college of Marania. ↵</p>
            <p>† The Rev. and learned Mr. Francis Alison, afterwards D. D. and vice-provost of the
               college. ↵</p>
            <p>† Mr. Theophilus Grew, afterwards professor of mathematics in the college. ↵</p>
            <p>§ Those assistants were at that time Mr. Charles Thomsom, late secretary of congress,
               Mr. Paul Jackson, and Mr. Jacob Duche. ↵</p>
            <p><pb n="148"/></p>
            <p>Philad. May 3d, 1753.</p>
            <p>Sir,</p>
            <p>Mr. Peters has just now been with me, and we have compared notes on your new piece.
               We find nothing in the scheme of education, however excellent, but what is, in our
               opinion, very practicable. The great difficulty will be to find the Aratus, * and
               other suitable persons, to carry it into execution; but such may be had if proper
               encouragement be given. We have both received great pleasure in the perusal of it.
               For my part, I know not when I have read a piece that has more affected me—so noble
               and just are the sentiments, so warm and animated the language; yet as censure from
               your friends may be of more use, as well as more agreeable to you than praise, I
               ought to mention, that I wish you had omitted not only the quotation from the Review,
               † which you are now justly dissatisfied with, but those expressions of resentment
               against your adversaries, in pages 65 and <pb n="149"/>79. In such cases, the noblest
               victory is obtained by neglect, and by shining on.</p>

            <p>Mr. Allen has been out of town these ten days; but before he went he directed me to
               procure him six copies of your piece. Mr. Peters has taken ten. He purposed to have
               written to you; but omits it, as he expects so soon to have the pleasure of seeing
               you here. He desires me to present his affectionate compliments to you, and to
               assure you that you will be very welcome to him. I shall only say, that you may
               depend on my doing all in my power to make your visit to Philadelphia agreeable to
               you</p>

            <p>I am, &amp;c. B. FRANKLIN.</p>
            <p>Mr. Smith.</p>
            <p>* The name given to the principal or head of the ideal college, the system of
               education in which hath nevertheless been nearly realized, or followed as a model, in
               the college and academy of Philadelphia, and some other American seminaries, for many
               years past. ↵</p>
            <p>† The quotation alluded to (from the London Monthly Review for 1749) was judged to
               reflect too severely on the discipline and government of the English universities of
               Oxford and Cambridge, and was expunged from the following editions of this work.
               ↵</p>
            <p>Philad. Nov. 27th, 1753.</p>
            <p>Dear Sir,</p>
            <p>Having written you fully, via Bristol, I have now little to add. Matters relating to
               the academy remain in statu quo. The trustees would be glad to see a rector
               established there, but they dread entering into new engagements till they are got
               out of debt; and I have not yet got them wholly over to my opinion, that a good
               professor, or teacher of he higher branches of learning would draw so many scholars
               as to pay great part, if not the whole of his salary. Thus, unless the proprietors
               (of the province) shall think sit to put the finishing hand to our institution, it
               <pb n="150"/>must, I fear, wait some few years longer before it can arrive at that
               state of perfection, which to me it seems now capable of; and all the pleasure I
               promised myself in seeing you settled among us, vanishes into smoke.</p>

            <p>But good Mr. Collinson writes me word, that no endeavours of his shall be wanting;
               and he hopes, with the archbishop's assistance, to be able to prevail with our
               proprietors. * I pray God grant them success.</p>

            <p>My son presents his affectionate regards, with, Dear Sir,</p>

            <p>Yours, &amp;c. B. FRANKLIN.</p>
            <p>P. S, I have not been favoured with a line from you since your arrival in
               England.</p>

            <p>* Upon the application of archbishop Herring and P. Collinson, esq at Dr. Franklin's
               request, (aided by the letters of Mr. Allen and Mr. Peters) the Hon. Thomas Penn,
               esq subscribed an annual sum, and afterwards gave at least 5000l. to the founding or
               engrafting the college upon the academy. ↵</p>
            <p>Philad. April 18th, 1754.</p>
            <p>Dear Sir,</p>
            <p>I have had but one letter from you since your arrival in England, which was a short
               one, via Boston, dated October 18th, acquainting me that you had written largely by
               Capt. Davis.—Davis was lost, and with him your letters, to my great disappointment
               Mesnard and Gibbon have since arrived here, and I hear nothing from you—My comfort
               is, an imagination that you only omit writing because <pb n="151"/>you are coming, and
               purpose to tell me every thing viva voce. So not knowing whether this letter will
               reach you, and hoping either to see or hear from you by the Myrtilla, Capt. Buddon's
               ship, which is daily expected, I only [...]dd, that I am, with great esteem and
               affection.</p>

            <p>Yours, &amp;c. B. FRANKLIN.</p>
            <p>Mr. Smith.</p>
            <p>About a month after the date of this last letter, the gentleman to whom it was
               addressed arrived in Philadelphia, and was immediately placed at the head of the
               seminary; whereby Dr. Franklin, and the other trustees were enabled to prosecute
               their plan, for perfecting the institution, and opening the college upon the large
               and liberal foundation on which it now stands; for which purpose they obtained their
               additional charter, dated May 27th, 1755.</p>

            <p>Thus far we thought proper to exhibit in one view Dr. Franklin's services in the
               foundation and establishment of this seminary. He soon afterward embarked for
               England, in the public service of his country; and having been generally employed
               abroad, in the like service, for the greatest part of the remainder of his life (as
               will appear in our subsequent account of the same) he had but few opportunities of
               taking any further active part in the affairs of the seminary, until his [Page
               152]final return in the year 1785, when he found its charters violated, and his
               ancient colleagues, the original founders, deprived of their trust, by an act of the
               legislature; and although his own name had been inserted among the new trustees, yet
               he declined to take his seat among them, or any concern in the management of their
               affairs, till the institution was restored by law to its original owners. He then
               assembled his old colleagues at his own house, and being chosen their president, all
               their future meetings were, at his request, held there, till within a few months of
               his death, when with reluctance, and at their desire, least he might be too much
               injured by his attention to their business, he suffered them to meet at the
               college.</p>

            <p>Franklin not only gave birth to many useful institutions himself, but he was also
               instrumental in promoting those which had originated with other men. About the year
               1752, an eminent physician of this city, Dr. Bond, considering the deplorable state
               of the poor, when visited with disease, conceived the idea of establishing an
               hospital. Notwithstanding very great exertions on his part, he was able to interest
               few people so far in his benevolent plan, as to obtain subscriptions from them.
               Unwilling that his scheme should prove abortive, he sought the aid of Franklin, who
               readily engaged in the business, both by using his influence with his friends, and by
               stating the advantageous influence of the proposed <pb n="153"/>institution in his
               paper. These efforts were attended with success. Considerable sums were subscribed;
               but they were still short of what was necessary. Franklin now made another exertion.
               He applied to the assembly; and, after some opposition, obtained leave to bring in a
               bill, specifying, that as soon as two thousand pounds were subscribed, the same sum
               should be drawn from the treasury by the speaker's warrant, to be applied to the
               purposes of the institution. The opposition, as the sum was granted upon a
               contingency which they supposed would never take place, were silent, and the bill
               passed. The friends of the plan now redoubled their efforts, to obtain subscriptions
               to the amount stated in the bill, and were soon successful. This was the foundation
               of the Pennsylvania Hospital, which, with the Bettering-house and Dispensary, bears
               ample testimony of the humanity of the citizens of Philadelphia.</p>

            <p>Dr. Franklin had conducted himself so well in the office of post-master, and had
               shown himself to be so well acquainted with the business of that department, that it
               was thought expedient to raise him to a more dignified station. In 1753 he was
               appointed deputy post-master-general for the British colonies. The profits arising
               from the postage of the revenue, which the crown of Great Britain derived from the
               colonies. In the hands of Franklin, it is said, that the postoffice in America
               yielded annually thrice as much as that of Ireland.</p>

            <p><pb n="154"/> The American colonies were much exposed to depredations on their
               frontiers, by the Indians; and more particularly whenever a war took place between
               France and England. The colonies, individually, were either too weak to take
               efficient measures for their own defence, or they were unwilling to take upon
               themselves the whole burden of erecting forts and maintaining garrisons, whilst their
               neighbours, who partook equally with themselves, of the advantages, contributed
               nothing to the expence. Sometimes also the disputes, which subsisted in between the
               governors and assemblies, prevented the adoption of means of defence; as we have seen
               was the case in Pennsylvania in 1745. To devise a plan of union between the colonies,
               to regulate this and other matters, appeared a desirable object. To accomplish this,
               in the year 1754, commissioners from New-Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode-Island,
               New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, met at Albany. Dr. Franklin attended here,
               as a commissioner from Pennsylvania, and produced a plan, which, from the place of
               meeting, has been usually termed "The Albany Plan of Union." This proposed, that
               application should be made for an act of parliament, to establish in the colonies a
               general government, to be administered by a president-general, appointed by the
               crown, and by a grand council, consisting of members chosen by the representatives
               of the different colonies; their <pb n="155"/>number to be in direct proportion to the
               sums paid by each colony into the general treasury, with this restriction, that no
               colony should have more than seven, nor less than two representatives. The whole
               executive authority was committed to the president-general. The power of legislation
               was lodged in the grand council and president-general jointly; his consent being made
               necessary to [...]assing a bill into a law. The power vested in the president and
               council were, to declare war and peace, and to conclude treaties with the Indian
               nations; to regulate trade with, and to make purchases of vacant lands from them,
               either in the name of the crown, or of the union; to settle new colonies, to make
               laws for governing these until they [...]ould be erected into separate governments,
               and to raise troops, build forts, fit out armed vessels and use other means for the
               general defence; and to affect these things, a power was given to make laws, laying
               such duties, imposts, or taxes, as they should find ne [...]ssary, and as would be
               least burthensome to the people. All laws were to be sent to England for the king's
               approbation; and unless disapproved of within three years, were [...] remain in
               force. All officers in the land [...] sea service were to be nominated by the
               resident-general, and approved of by the general council; civil officers were to be
               nominated by the council, and approved by the resident. Such are the out-lines of
               the <pb n="156"/>plan proposed, for the consideration of the congress, by Dr. Franklin.
               After several days discussion, it was unanimously agreed to by the commissioners, a
               copy transmitted [...] each assembly, and one to the king's council. The fate of it
               was singular. It was disapproved of by the ministry of Great-Britain, because it gave
               too much power to the representatives of the people; and it was rejected by every
               assembly, as giving to the president-general, the representative of the crown, an
               influence greater than appeared to them proper, in a plan of government intended for
               freemen. Perhaps this rejection, on both sides, is the strongest proof that could be
               adduced of the excellence of it, as suited to the situation of America and
               Great-Britain at that time. It appears to have steered exactly in the middle, between
               the opposite interests of both.</p>

            <p>Whether the adoption of this plan would have prevented the separation of America from
               Great-Britain, is a question which might afford much room for speculation. It may be
               said, that, by enabling the colonies to defend themselves, it would have removed the
               pretext upon which the stamp-act, tea-act, and other acts of the British parliament,
               were passed: which excited a spirit of opposition, and laid the foundation for the
               separation of the two countries. But, on the other hand, it must be admitted, that
               the restriction laid by Great-Britain upon our commerce, obliging us to sell our
               produce to her <pb n="157"/>citizens only, and to take from them various articles, of
               which, as our manufactures were discouraged, we stood in need, at a price greater
               than that for which they could have been obtained from other nations, must
               inevitably produce dissatisfaction, even though no duties were imposed by the
               parliament; a circumstance which might still have taken place. Besides, as the
               president-general was to be appointed by the crown, he must, of necessity, be devoted
               to its views, and would, therefore, refuse his assent to any laws, however salutary
               to the community, which had the most remote tendency to injure the interests of his
               sovereign. Even should they receive his assent, the approbation of the king was to
               be necessary; who would indubitably, in every instance, prefer the advantage of his
               home dominions to that of his colonies. Hence would ensue perpetual disagreements
               between the council and the president-general, and thus, between the people of
               America and the crown of Great Britain: While the colonies continued weak, they would
               be obliged to submit, and as soon as they acquired strength they would be more
               urgent in their demands, until, at length, they would shake off the yoke, and declare
               themselves independent.</p>

            <p>Whilst the French were in possession of Canada, their trade with the natives ex
               [...]ended very far; even to the back of the British settlements. They were
               disposed, from time to <pb n="158"/>time, to establish posts within the territory, which
               the British claimed as their own. Independent of the injury to the fur-trade, which
               was considerable, the colonies suffered this further inconvenience, that the Indians
               were frequently instigated to commit depredations on their frontiers. In the year
               1753, encroachments were made upon the boundaries of Virginia. Remonstrances had no
               effect. In the ensuing year, a body of men was sent out under the command of Mr.
               Washington, who, though a very young man, had, by his conduct in the preceding year,
               shewn himself worthy of such an important trust. Whilst marching to take possession
               of the post at the junction of the Allegany and Monongahela, he was informed that
               the French had already erected a fort there. A detachment of their men marched
               against him. He fortified himself as strongly as time and circumstances would admit.
               A superiority of numbers soon obliged him to surrender Fort Necessity. He obtained
               honourable terms for himself and men, and returned to Virginia. The government of
               Great-Britain now thought it necessary to interfere. In the year 1755, General
               Braddock, with some regiments of regular troops, and provincial levies, was sent to
               dispossess the French of the posts upon which they had seized. After the men were all
               ready, a difficulty occurred, which had nearly prevented the expedition. This was
               the want of waggons. <pb n="159"/>Franklin now stepped forward, and with the assistance
               of his son, in a little time procured a hundred and fifty. Braddock unfortunately
               fell into an ambuscade, and perished, with a number of his men. Washington, who had
               accompanied him as an aid-de-camp, and had warned him, in vain, of his danger, now
               displayed great military talents in effecting a retreat of the remains of the army,
               and in forming a junction with the rear, under coloned Dunbar, upon whom the cheif
               command now devolved. With some difficulty they brought their little body to a place
               of safety; but they found it necessary to destroy their waggons and baggage, to
               prevent their falling into the hands of the enemy. For the waggons which he had
               furnished, Franklin had given bonds to a large amount. The owners declared their
               intentions of obliging him to make a restitution of their property. Had they put
               their threats in execution, ruin must inevitably have been the consequence. Governor
               Shirley, finding that he had incurred these debts for the service of government,
               made arrangements to have them discharged, and released Franklin from his
               disagreeable situation.</p>

            <p>The alarm spread through the colonies, after the defeat of Braddock, was very great.
               Preparations to arm were every where made. In Pennsylvania, the prevalence of the
               quaker interest prevented the adoption of any system of defence, which would compel
               the <pb n="160"/>citizens to bear arms. Franklin introduced into the assembly a bill for
               organizing a militia, by which every man was allowed to take arms or not, as to him
               should appear fit. The quakers, being thus left at liberty, suffered the bill to
               pass; for although their principles would not suffer them to fight, they had no
               objections to their neighbours fighting for them. In consequence of this act a very
               respectable militia was formed. The sense of impending danger infused a military
               spirit in all, whose religious tenets were not opposed to war. Franklin was appointed
               colonel of a regiment in Philadelphia, which consisted of 1200 men.</p>

            <p>The north-western frontier being invaded by the enemy, it became necessary to adopt
               measures for its defence. Franklin was directed by the governor to take charge of
               this business. A power of raising men, and of appointing officers to command them,
               was vested in him. He soon levied a body of troops, with which he repaired to the
               place at which their presence was necessary. Here he built a fort, and placed the
               garrison in such a posture of defence, as would enable them to withstand the inroads,
               to which the inhabitants had previously been exposed. He remained here for some
               time, in order the more completely to discharge the trust committed to him. Some
               business of importance rendered his presence necessary in the assembly, and he
               returned to Philadelphia.</p>

            <p><pb n="161"/> The defence of her colonies was a great expence to Great Britain. The most
               effectual mode of lessening this war, was to put arms into the hands of the
               inhabitants, and to teach them their use. But England wished not that the Americans
               should become acquainted with their own strength. She was apprehensive, that, as
               soon as this period arrived, they would no longer submit to that monopoly of their
               trade, which to them was highly injurious, but extremely advantageous to the mother
               country. In comparison with the profits of this, the expence of maintaining armies
               and fleets to defend them was trifling. She sought to keep them dependent upon her
               for protection, the best plan which could be devised for retaining them in peaceable
               subjection, the least appearance of a military spirit was therefore to be guarded
               against, and, although a war then raged, the act organizing a militia was
               disapproved of by the ministry. The regiments which had been formed under it were
               disbanded, and the defence of the province entrusted to regular troops.</p>

            <p>The disputes between the proprietaries and the people continued in full force,
               although a war was raging on the frontiers. Not even the sense of danger was
               sufficient to reconcile, for ever so short a time, their jarring interests. The
               assembly still insisted upon the justice of taxing the proprietary estates, but the
               governors constantly refused to give their assent to <pb n="162"/>this measure, without
               which no bill could pass into a law. Enraged at the obstinacy, and what they
               conceived to be unjust proceedings of their opponents, the assembly at length
               determined to apply to the mother country for relief. A petition was addressed to the
               king, in council, stating the inconveniencies under which the inhabitants laboured,
               from the attention of the proprietaries to their private interests, to the neglect of
               the general welfare of the community, and praying for redress. Franklin was
               appointed to present this address, as agent for the province of Pennsylvania, and
               departed from America in June 1757. In conformity to the instructions which he had
               received from the legislature, he held a conference with the proprietaries, who
               then resided, in England, and endeavoured to prevail upon them to give up the
               long-contested point. Finding that they would hearken to no terms of accommodation,
               he laid his petition before the council. During this time governor Denny assented to
               a law imposing a tax, in which no discrimination was made in favour of the estates
               of the Penn family. They, alarmed at this intelligence, and Frankin's exertions,
               used their utmost exertions to prevent the royal sanction being given to this law,
               which they represented as highly iniquitous, designed to throw the burthen, of
               supporting government on them, and calculated to produce the most ruinous
               consequences to them and their posterity. <pb n="163"/>The cause was amply discussed
               before the privy council. The Penns found here so [...] [...] nuous advocates; nor
               were there wanting some who warmly espoused the side of the people. After some time
               spent in debate, a proposal was made, that Franklin should solemnly engage, that the
               assessment of the tax should be so made, as that the proprietary estates should pay
               no more than a due proportion. This he agreed to perform, the Peen family withdrew
               their opposition, and tranquility was thus once more restored to the province.</p>

            <p>The mode in which this dispute was terminated is a striking proof of the high
               opinion entertained of Franklin's integrity and honour, even by those who considered
               him as inimical to their views. Nor was their confidence ill-founded. The assessment
               was made upon the strictest principles of equity; and the proprietary estates bore
               only a proportionable share of the expences of supporting government.</p>

            <p>After the completion of this important business, Franklin remained at the court of
               Great Britain, as agent for the province of Pennsylvania. The extensive knowledge
               which he possessed of the situation of the colonies, and the regard which he always
               manifested for their interests, occasioned his appointment to the same office by the
               colonies of Massachusetts, Maryland, and Georgia. His conduct, in this situation, was
               such as rendered him still more dear to his countryman.</p>

            <p><pb n="164"/> He had now an oppertunity of indulging in the society of those friends,
               whom his merits had procured him while at a distance. The regard which they had
               entertained for him was rather increased by a personal acquaintance. The opposition
               which had been made to his discoveries in philosophy gradually ceased, and the
               rewards of literary merit were abundantly conferred upon him. The royal society of
               London, which had at first refused his performances admission into its transactions,
               now thought it an honour to rank him among its fellows. Other societies of Europe
               were equally ambitious of calling him a member. The university of St. Andrew's, in
               Scotland, conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws. Its example was followed
               by the universities of Edinburgh and of Oxford. His correspondence was sought for by
               the most eminent philosophers of Europe. His letters to these abound with true
               scince, delivered in the most simple unadorned manner.</p>

            <p>The province of Canada was at this time in the possession of the French, who had
               originally settled it. The trade with the Indians, for which its situation was very
               convenient, was exceedingly lucrative. The French traders here found a market for
               their commodities, and received in return large quantities of rich furs, which they
               disposed of at a high price in Europe. Whilst the possession of this country was
               highly advantageous to France, it was a grievous inconvenience to the inhabitants
               <pb n="165"/>of the British colonies. The Indians were almost generally desirous to
               cultivate the friendship of the French, by whom they were abundantly supplied with
               arms and ammunition, Whenever a war happened, the Indians were ready to fall upon the
               frontiers: and this they frequently did, even when Great Britain and and France were
               at peace. From these considerations, it appeared to be the interest of Great Britain
               to gain the possession of Canada. But the importance of such an acquisition was not
               well understood in England. Franklin about this time published his Canada pamphlet,
               in which he, in a very forcible manner, pointed out the advantages which would result
               from the conquest of this province.</p>

            <p>An expedition against it was planned, and the command given to General Wolfe. His
               success is well known. At the treaty in 1762, France ceded Canada to Great Britain,
               and by her cession of Louisiana, at the same time, relinquished all her possessions
               on the continent of America.</p>

            <p>Although Dr. Franklin was now principally occupied with political pursuits, he found
               time for philosophical studies. He extended his electrical researches, and made a
               variety of experiments, particularly an the tourmalin. The singular properties which
               this stone possesses of being electrified on one side positively and on the other
               negatively, by heat alone, without friction, had been but lately observed.</p>

            <p><pb n="166"/> Some experiments on the cold produced by evaporation, made by Dr. Cullen,
               had been communicated to Dr. Franklin by Professor Simpson of Glasgow. These he
               repeated, and found, that, by the evaporation of ether in the exhausted receiver of
               an air-pump, so great a degree of cold was produced in a summer's day, that water was
               converted into ice. This discovery he applied to the solution of a number of
               phenomena, particularly a singular fact, which philosophers had endeavoured in vain
               to account for, viz. that the temperature of the human body, when in health, never
               exceeds 96 degrees of Farenheit's thermometers, although the atmosphere which
               surrounds it may be heated to a much greater degree. This he attributed to the
               increased perspiration, and consequent evaporation, produced by the heat.</p>

            <p>In a letter to Mr. Small of London, dated in May 1760, Dr. Franklin makes a number
               observations, tending to shew that, in North America, north-east storms being in the
               south-west parts. It appears, from actual observation, that a north-east storm,
               which extended a considerable distance, commenced at Philadelphia nearly four hours
               before it was felt at Boston. He endeavoured to account for this, by supposing that
               from heat, some rarefaction takes place about the gulph of Mexico, that the air
               further north being cooler rushes in, and is succeeded by the cooler and denser air
               still further north, and thus a continued current is at length produced.</p>

            <p><pb n="167"/> The tone produced by rubbing the brim of a drinking glass with a wet
               finger had been generally known. A Mr. Puckeridge, and Irishman, by placing on a
               table a number of glasses of different sizes, and tuning them by partly filling them
               with water, endeavoured to form an instrument capable of playing tunes. He was
               prevented by an untimely end, from bringing his invention to any degree of
               perfection. After his death some improvements were made upon his plan. The sweetness
               of the tones induced Dr. Franklin to make a variety of experiments; and he at length
               formed that elegant instrument, which he has called the Armonica.</p>

            <p>In the summer of 1762 he returned to America. On his passage he observed the
               singular effect produced by the agitation of a vessel, containing oil floating on
               water. The surface of the oil remains smooth and undisturbed, whilst the water is
               agitated with the utmost commotion. No satisfactory explanation of this appearance
               has, we believe, ever been given.</p>

            <p>Dr. Franklin received the thanks of the assembly of Pennsylvania, "as well for the
               faithful discharge of his duty to that province in particular, as for the many and
               important services done to America in general, during his residence in Great
               Britain." A compensation of 5000l. Pennsylvania currency, was also decreed him for
               his services during six years.</p>

            <p><pb n="168"/> During his absence he had been annually elected member of the assembly. On
               his return to Pennsylvania he again took his seat in this body, and continued a
               steady defender of the liberties of the people.</p>

            <p>In December 1762, a circumstance which caused great alarm in the province took place.
               A number of Indians had resided in the country at Lancaster, and conducted
               themselves uniformly as friends to the white inhabitants. Repeated depredations on
               the frontiers had exasperated the inhabitants to such a degree, that they determined
               to revenge upon every Indian. A number of persons, to the amount of 120, principally
               inhabitants of Donnegal and Peckstang or Paxton townships, in the county of York,
               assembled; and, mounted on horseback, proceeded to the settlement of these harmless
               and defenceless Indians, whose number had now reduced to about twenty. The Indians
               received intelligence of the attack which was intended against them, but disbelieved
               it. Considering the white people as their friends, they apprehended no danger from
               them. When the party arrived at the Indian settlement, they found only some women and
               children, and a few old men, the rest being absent at work. They murdered all whom
               they found, and amongst others the chief Shahaes, who had been always distinguished
               for his friendship to the whites. This bloody deed excited much indignation in the
               well-disposed part of the community.</p>

            <p><pb n="169"/> The remainder of these unfortunate Indians, who, by absence, had escaped
               the massacre, were conducted to Lancaster, and lodged in the jail, as a place of
               security. The governor issued a proclamation expressing the strongest disapprobation
               of the action, offering a reward for the discovery of the perpetrators of the deed;
               and prohibiting all injuries to the peaceable Indians in future. But notwithstanding
               this, a party of the same men shortly after marched to Lancaster, broke open the
               jail, and inhumanly butchered the innocent Indians who had been placed there for
               security. Another proclamation was issued, but had no effect. A detachment marched
               down to Philadelphia, for the express purpose of murdering some friendly Indians, who
               had been removed to the city for safety. A number of the citizens armed in their
               defence. The Quakers, whose principles are opposed to fighting, even in their
               defence, were most active upon this occasion. The rioters came to Germantown. The
               governor fled for safety to the house of Dr. Franklin, who, with some others,
               advanced to meet the Paxton boys, as they were called, and had influence enough to
               prevail upon them to relinquish their understanding, and return to their homes.</p>

            <p>The disputes between the proprietaries and the assembly, which, for a time, had
               subsided, were again revived. The proprietaries were dissatisfied with the
               concessions made in favour of the people, and made great struggles to [Page
               170]recover the privilege of exempting their estates from taxation, which they had
               been induced to give up.</p>

            <p>In 1763 the assembly passed a militia bill, to which the governor refused to give his
               assent, unless the assembly would agree to certain amendments which he proposed.
               These consisted in increasing the fines, and, in some cases, substituting death for
               fines. He wished too that the officers should be appointed altogether by himself,
               and not be nominated by the people, as the bill had proposed. These amendments the
               assembly considered as inconsistent with the spirit of liberty. They would not adopt
               them; the governor was obstinate, and the bill was lost.</p>

            <p>These, and various other circumstances, increased the uneasiness which subsisted
               between the proprietaries and the assembly, to such a degree, that, in 1764, a
               petition to the king was agreed to by the house, proving an alteration from a
               proprietary to a regal government. Great opposition was made to this measure, not
               only in the house but in the public prints. A speech of Mr. Dickenson, on the
               subject, was published, with a preface by Dr. Smith, in which great pains were taken
               to shew the impropriety and impolicy of this proceeding. A speech of Mr. Galloway in
               reply to Mr. Dickenson was published, accompained with a preface by Dr. Franklin; in
               which he ably opposed the principles laid down in the preface to Mr. Dickenson's
               speech. This application <pb n="171"/>to the throne produced no effect. The proprietary
               government was still continued.</p>

            <p>At the election for a new assembly, in the fall of 1764, the friends of the
               proprietaries made great exertions to exclude those of the adverse party, and
               obtained a small majority in the city of Philadelphia. Franklin now lost his seat in
               the house, which he had held for fourteen years. On the meeting of the assembly, it
               appeared that there was still a decided majority of Franklin's friends. He was
               immediately appointed provincial agent to the great chagrin of his enemies, who made
               a solemn protest against his appointment; which was refused admission upon the
               minutes, as being unprecedented. It was, however, published in the papers, and
               produced a spirited reply from him, just before his departure for England.</p>

            <p>The desturbances produced in America by Mr. Grenville's stamp-act, and the opposition
               made to it, are well known. Under the marquis of Rockingham's administration, it
               appeared expedient to endeavour to calm the minds of the colonists; and the repeal of
               the odious tax was contemplated. Amongst other means of collecting information on the
               disposition of the people to submit to it, Dr. Franklin was called to the bar of the
               house of commons. The examination which he here underwent was published, and contains
               a striking proof of the extent and accuracy of his information, and the facility with
               which he communicated <pb n="172"/>his sentiments. He represented facts in so strong a
               point of view, that the inexpediency of the act must have appeared clear to every
               unprejudiced mind. The act, after some opposition, was repealed, about a year after
               it was enacted, and before it had ever been carried into execution.</p>

            <p>In the year 1766, he made a visit to Holland and Germany, and received the greatest
               marks of attention from men of science. In his passage through Holland, he learned
               from the watermen the effect which a diminution of the quantity of water in canals
               has, in impeding the progress of boats. Upon his return to England, he was led to
               make a number of experiments; all of which tended to confirm the observation. These,
               with an explanation of the phenomenon, he communicated in a letter to his friend,
               Sir John Pringle, which is contained in the volume of his philosophical pieces.</p>

            <p>In the following year he travelled into France, where he met with a no less
               favourable reception than he had experienced in Germany. He was introduced to a
               number of literary characters, and to the king, Louis XV.</p>

            <p>Several letters written by Hutchinson, Oliver, and others, to persons in eminent
               stations in Great Britain, came into the hands of Dr. Franklin.</p>

            <p>These contained the most violent invectives against the leading characters of the
               state of <pb n="173"/>Massachusetts, and strenuously advised the prosecution of vigorous
               measures, to compel the people to obedience to the measures of the ministry. These he
               transmitted to the legislature, by whom they were published. Attested copies of them
               were sent to Great Britain, with an address, praying the king to discharge from
               office persons who had rendered themselves so obnoxious to the people, and who had
               shewn themselves so unfriendly to their interests. The publication of these letters
               produced a duel between Mr. Whately and Mr. Temple; each of whom was suspected of
               having been instrumental in procuring them. To prevent any further disputes on this
               subject, Dr. Franklin, in one of the public papers, declared that he had sent them
               to America, but would give no information concerning the manner in which he had
               obtained them; nor was this ever discovered.</p>

            <p>Shortly after, the petition of the Massachusetts assembly was taken up for
               examination, before the privy council. Dr. Franklin attended, as agent for the
               assembly; and here a torrent of the most violent and unwarranted abuse was poured
               upon him by the solicitor-general, Wedderburne, who was engaged as council for
               Oliver and Hutchinson. The petition was declared to be scandalous and vexatious, and
               the prayer of it refused.</p>

            <p>Although the parliament of Great Britain had repealed the stamp-act, it was only upon
               the principle of expediency. They still insisted <pb n="174"/>upon their right to tax
               the colonies; and, at the same time that the stamp-act was repealed, an act was
               passed, declaring the right of parliament to bind the colonies in all cases
               whatsoever. This language was used even by the most strenuous opposers of the
               stamp-act; and, amongst others, by Mr. Pitt. This right was never recognized by the
               colonists; but, as they flattered themselves that it would not be exercised, they
               were not very active in remonstrating against it. Had this pretended right been
               suffered to remain dormant, the colonists would cheerfully have finished their quota
               of supplies, in the mode to which they had been accustomed; that is, by acts of their
               own assemblies, in consequence of requisitions from the secretary of state. If this
               practice had been pursued, such was the disposition of the colonies towards the
               mother country, that, notwithstanding the disadvantages under which they laboured,
               from restraints upon their trade, calculated solely for the benefit of the
               commercial and manufacturing interests of Great Britain, a separation of the two
               countries might have been a far distant event. The Americans, from their earliest
               infancy, were taught to venerate a people from whom they were descended; whose
               language, laws and manners, were the same as their own. They looked up to them as
               models of perfection; and, in their prejudiced minds, the most enlightened nations of
               Europe were considered as almost <pb n="175"/>barbarians, in comparison with Englishmen.
               The name of an Englishman conveyed to an American the idea of every thing good and
               great. Such sentiments instilled into them in early life, what but a repetition of
               unjust treatment could have induced them to entertain the most distant thought of
               separation! The duties on glass, paper, leather, painter's colours, tea, &amp;c. the
               disfranchisement of some of the colonies: the obstruction to the measures of the
               legislature in others, by the king's governors; the contemptuous treatment of their
               humble remonstrances, stating their grievances and praying a redress of them, and
               other violent and oppressive measures, at length excited an ardent spirit of
               opposition. Instead of endeavouring to allay this by a more lenient conduct, the
               ministry seemed resolutely bent upon reducing the colonies to the most slavish
               obedience to their decrees. But this tended only to aggravate. Vain were all the
               efforts made use of to prevail upon them to lay aside their designs, to convince them
               of the impossibility of carrying them into effect, and of the mischievous
               consequences which must insue from a continuance of the attempt. They persevered,
               with a degree of inflexibility scarcely paralleled.</p>

            <p>The advantages which Great Britain derived from her colonies were so great, that
               nothing but a degree of infatuation, little short of madness, could have produced a
               continuance of measures calculated to keep up a <pb n="176"/>spirit of uneasiness,
               which might occasion the slightest wish for a separation. When we consider the great
               improvements in the science of government, the general diffusion of the principles of
               liberty amongst the people of Europe, the effects they have already produced in
               France, and the probable consequences which will result from them elsewhere, all of
               which are the offspring of the American revolution, it cannot but appear strange,
               that events of so great moment to the happiness of mankind, should have been
               ultimately occasioned by the wickedness or ignorance of a British ministry.</p>

            <p>Dr. Franklin left nothing untried to prevail upon the ministry to consent to a
               change of measures. In private conversations, and in letters to persons in
               government, he continually expatiated upon the impolicy and injustice of their
               conduct towards America; and stated, that, notwithstanding the attachment of the
               colonists to the mother country, a repetition of ill treatment must ultimately
               alienate their affections. They listened not to his advice. They blindly persevered
               in their own schemes, and left to the colonists no alternative, but opposition or
               unconditional submission. The latter accorded not with the principles of freedom,
               which they had been taught to revere. To the former they were compelled, though
               reluctantly, to have recourse.</p>

            <p>Dr. Franklin, finding all efforts to restore <pb n="177"/>harmony between Great Britain
               and her colonies useless, returned to America in the year 1775; just after the
               commencement of hostilities. The day after his return he was elected by the
               legislature of Pennsylvania a member of congress. Not long after his election a
               committee was appointed, consisting of Mr. Lynch, Mr. Harrison, and himself, to visit
               the camp at Cambridge, and in conjunction with the commander in chief, to endeavour
               to convince the troops, whose term of enlistment was about to expire, of the
               necessity of their continuing in the field, and persevering in the cause of their
               country.</p>

            <p>In the fall of the same year he visited Canada, to endeavour to unite them in the
               common cause of liberty; but they could not be prevailed upon to oppose the measures
               of the British government. M. Le Roy, in a letter annexed to Abbe Fauchet's eulogium
               of Dr. Franklin, states that the ill success of this negociation was occasioned, in
               a great degree, by religious animosities, which subsisted between the Canadians and
               their neighbours, some of whom had at different times burnt their chapels.</p>

            <p>When Lord Howe came to America, in 1776, vested with power to treat with the
               colonists, a correspondence took place between him and Dr. Franklin, on the subject
               of a reconciliation. Dr. Franklin was afterwards appointed, together with John Adams
               and Edward Rutledge, to wait upon the commissioners, <pb n="178"/>in order to learn the
               extent of their power. These were found to be only to grant pardons upon submission.
               These were terms which would not be accepted; and the object of the commissioners
               could not be obtained.</p>

            <p>The momentous question of independence was shortly after brought into view, at a time
               when the fleets and armies, which were sent to enforce obedience, were truly
               formidable. With an army, numerous indeed, but ignorant of discipline, and entirely
               unskilled in the art of war, without money, without a fleet, without allies, and with
               nothing but the love of liberty to support them, the colonists determined to
               separate from a country, from which they had experienced a repetition of injury and
               insult. In this question, Dr. Franklin was decidedly in favour of the measure
               proposed, and had great influence in bringing over others to his sentiments.</p>

            <p>The public mind had been pretty fully prepared for this event, by Mr. Paine's
               celebrated pamphlet, Common Sense. There is good reason to believe that Dr. Franklin
               had no inconsiderable share, at least, in furnishing materials for this work.</p>

            <p>In the convention which assembled at Philadelphia in 1776, for the purpose of
               establishing a new form of government for the state of Pennsylvania, Dr. Franklin
               was chosen president. The late constitution of this state, which was the result of
               their deliberations, may be considered as a digest of his <pb n="179"/>principles of
               government. The single legislature, and the plural executive, seem to have been his
               favourite tenets.</p>

            <p>In the latter end of 1776, Dr. Franklin was appointed to assist in the negociatious
               which had been set on foot by Silas Deane at the court of France. A conviction of the
               advantages of a commercial intercourse with America, and a desire of weakening the
               British empire by dismembering it, first induced the French court to listen to
               proposals of an alliance. But they shewed rather a reluctance to the measure, which,
               by Dr. Franklin's address, and particularly by the success of the American arms
               against general Burgoyne, was at length overcome; and in February 1778, a treaty of
               alliance, offensive and defensive, was concluded; in consequence of which France
               became involved in the war with Great Britain.</p>

            <p>Perhaps no person could have been found, more capable of rendering essential services
               to the United States at the court of France, than Dr. Franklin. He was well known as
               a philosopher, and his character was held in the highest estimation. He was raceived
               with the greatest marks of respect by all the literary characters; and this respect
               was extended amongst all classes of men. His personal influence was hence very
               considerable. To the effects of this were added those of various performances which
               he published, tending to establish the credit and charecter of <pb n="180"/>the United
               States. To his exertions in this way, may, in no small degree, be ascribed the
               success of the loans negociated in Holland and France, which greatly contributed to
               bringing the war to a happy conclusion.</p>

            <p>The repeated ill success of their arms, and more particularly the capture of
               Cornwallis and his army, at length convinced the British nation of the impossibility
               of reducing the Americans to subjection. The trading interest particularly became
               very clamorous for peace. The ministry were unable longer to oppose their wishes.
               Provisional articles of peace were agreed to, and signed at Paris on the 30th of
               November, 1782, by Dr. Franklin, Mr. Adams, Mr. Jay, and Mr. Laurens, on the part of
               the United States; and by Mr. Oswald on the part of Great Britain. These formed the
               basis of the definitive treaty, which was concluded the 30th of September 1783, and
               signed by Dr. Franklin, Mr. Adams, and Mr. Jay, on the one part, and by Mr. David
               Hartley on the other.</p>

            <p>On the 3d of April 1783, a treaty of amity and commerce, betweed the United States
               and Sweden, was concluded at Paris, by Dr. Franklin and the Count Von Kruitz.</p>

            <p>A similar trearty with Prussia was concluded in 1785, not long before Dr. Franklin's
               departure from Europe.</p>

            <p>Dr. Franklin did not fuffer his political pursuits to engross his whole attention.
               Some <pb n="181"/>of his performances made their appearance in Paris. The object of
               these was generally the promotion of industry and oeconomy.</p>

            <p>In the year 1784, when animal magnetism made great noise in the world, particularly
               at Paris, it was thought a matter of such importance, that the king appointed
               commissioners to examine into the foundation of this pretended science. Dr. Franklin
               was one of the number. After a fair and diligent examination, in the course of which
               Mesmer repeated a number of experiments, in the presence of the commissioners, some
               of which were tried upon themselves, they determined that it was a mere trick,
               intended to impose upon the ignorant and credulous—Mesmer was thus interrupted in his
               career to wealth and fame, and a most insolent attempt to impose upon the human
               understanding baffled.</p>

            <p>The important ends of Dr. Franklin's mission being completed by the establishment of
               American independence, and the infirmities of age and disease coming upon him, he
               became desirous of returning to his native country. Upon application to congress to
               be recalled, Mr. Jefferson was appointed to succeed him, in 1785. Sometime in
               September of the same year, Dr. Franklin arrived in Philadelphia. He was shortly
               after chosen member of the supreme executive council for the city; and soon after
               was elected president of the same.</p>

            <p>When a convention was called to meet in Philadelphia, in 1787, for the purpose of
               giving <pb n="182"/>more energy to the government of the union, by revising and
               amending the articles of confederation, Dr. Franklin was appointed a delegate from
               the State of Pennsylvania. He signed the constitution which they proposed for the
               union, and gave it the most unequivocal marks of his approbation.</p>

            <p>A society for political enquiries, of which Dr. Franklin was president, was
               established about this period. The meetings were held at his house. Two or three
               essays read in the society were published. It did not long continue.</p>

            <p>In the year 1787, two societies were established in Philadelphia, founded on
               principles of the most liberal and refined humanity—The Philadelphia Society for
               alleviating the miseries of public prisons; and the Pennsylvania Society for
               promoting the abolition of slavery, the relief of free negroes unlawfully held in
               bondage, and the improvement of the condition of the African race. Of each of these
               Dr. Franklin was president. The labours of these bodies have been crowned with
               great success; and they continue to prosecute, with unwearied diligence, the
               laudable designs for which they were established.</p>

            <p>Dr. Franklin's increasing infirmities prevented his regular attendance at the
               council-chamber; and, in 1788, he retired wholly from public life.</p>

            <p>His constitution had been a remarkably good one. He had been little subject to
               disease, <pb n="183"/>except an attack of the gout occasionally, until the year 1781,
               when he was first attacked with the symptoms of the calculous complaint, which
               continued during his life. During the intervals of pain from this grievous disease,
               he spent many cheerful hours, conversing in the most agreeable and instructive
               manner. His faculties were intirely unimpaired, even to the hour of his death.</p>

            <p>His name, as president of the Abolition Society, was signed to the memorial
               presented to the House of Representatives of the United States, on the 12th of
               February 1789, praying them to exert the full extent of power vested in them by the
               constitution, in discouraging the traffick of the human species. This was his last
               public act. In the debates to which this memorial gave rise, several attempts were
               made to justify the trade. In the Federal Gazette of March 25th, there appeared an
               essay, signed Historicus, written by Dr. Franklin, in which he communicated a speech,
               said to have been delivered in the Divan of Algiers in 1687, in opposition to the
               prayer of the petition of a sect called Erika, or purists, for the abolition of
               piracy and slavery. This pretended African speech was an excellent parody of one
               delivered by Mr. Jackson of Georgia. All the arguments urged in favour of negroe
               slavery, are applied with equal force to justify the plundering and enslaving the
               Europeans. It affords, at the same time, a demonstration of the futility of [Page
               184]the arguments in defence of the slave trade, and of the strength of mind and
               ingenuity of the author, at his advanced period of life. It furnished too a no less
               convincing proof of his power of imitating the style of other times and nations, than
               his celebrated parable against persecution. And as the latter led many to search the
               scriptures with a view to find it, so the former caused many persons to search the
               book-stores and libraries, for the work from which it was said to be extracted.</p>

            <p>In the beginning of April following, he was attacked with a fever and complaint of
               his breast, which terminated his existence. The following account of his last illness
               was written by his friend and physician, Dr. Jones.</p>

            <p>"The stone, with which he had been afflicted for several years, had for the last
               twelve months confined him chiefly to his bed; and during the extreme painful
               paroxysms, he was obliged to take large doses of laudanum to mitigate his
               tortures—still, in the intervals of pain, he not only amused himself with reading and
               conversing with his family, and a few friends who visited him, but was often employed
               in doing business of a public as well as private nature, with various persons who
               waited on him for that purpose; and in every instance displayed, not only that
               readiness and disposition of doing good, which was the distinguishing characteristic
               of his life, but the fullest and clearest <pb n="185"/>possession of his uncommon mental
               abilities; and not unfrequently indulged himself in those jeux d'esprit and
               entertaining anecdotes, which were the delight of all who heard him.</p>

            <p>"About sixteen days before his death, he was seized with a feverish indisposition,
               without any particular symptoms attending it, till the third or fourth day, when he
               complained of a pain in his left breast, which increased till it became extremely
               acute, attended with a cough and laborious breathing. During this state, when the
               severity of his pains sometimes drew forth a groan of complaint, he would
               observe—that he was afraid he did not bear them as he ought—acknowledged his grateful
               sense of the many blessings he had received from that supreme being, who had raised
               him from small and low beginnings to such high rank and consideration among men—and
               made no doubt but his present afflictions were kindly intended to wean him from a
               world in which he was no longer fit to act the part assigned him. In this frame of
               body and mind he continued till five days before his death, when his pain and
               difficulty of breathing entirely left him, and his family were flattering themselves
               with the hopes of his recovery, when an imposthumation, which had formed itself in
               his lungs, suddenly burst, and discharged a great quantity of matter, which he
               continued to throw up while he had sufficient strength to do it; but, as that
               failed, the organs of respiration became gradually <pb n="186"/>oppressed—a calm
               lethargic state succeeded—and, on the 17th of April, 1790, about eleven o'clock at
               night, he quietly expired, closing a long and useful life of eighty-four years and
               three months.</p>

            <p>"It may not be amiss to add to the above account, that Dr. Franklin, in the year
               1735, had a severe pleurisy, which terminated in an abscess of the left lobe of his
               lungs, and he was then almost suffocated with the quantity and suddenness of the
               discharge. A second attack of a similar nature happened some years after this, from
               which he soon recovered, and did not appear to suffer any inconvenience in his
               respiration from these diseases."</p>

            <p>The following epitaph on himself, was written by him many years previous to his
               death: ‘THE BODY of BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, Printer, (Like the cover of an old book, Its
               contents torn out, And stript of its lettering and gilding) Lies here, food for
               worms; Yet the work itself shall not be lost, For it will (as he believed) appear
               once more, In a new And more beautiful edition, Corrected and amended by The
               AUTHOR.’</p>
         </div>
         <div type="will_and_testament">
            <p>EXTRACTS from the last Will and Testament of Dr. FRANKLIN.</p>

            <p> WITH regard to my books, those I had in France, and those I left in Philadelphia,
               being now assembled together here, and a catalogue made of them, it is my intention
               to dispose of the same as follows:</p>

            <p> My history of the Academy of Sciences, in sixty or seventy volums quarto, I give to
               the philosophical society of Philadelphia, of which I have the honour to be
               president. My collection in folio of Les Arts &amp; Les Metiers, I give to the
               philosophical society, established in New-England, of which I am a member. My quarto
               edition of the same Arts and Metiers, I give to the library company of
               Philadelphia. Such and so many of my books as I shall mark in the said catalogue,
               with the name of my grandson, Benjamin Franklin Bache, I do hereby give to him: and
               such and so many of my books, as I shall mark in the said catalogue with the name of
               my grandson William Bache, I do hereby give to him: and such as shall be marked with
               the name of Jonathan Williams, I hereby give to my cousin of that name. The residue
               and remainder of all my books, manuscripts and papers, I do give to my grandson
               William Temple Franklin. My share in the library company of Philadelphia I give to
               my grandson Benjamin Franklin Bache, confiding that he will permit his brothers and
               sisters to share in the use of it.</p>

            <p> I was born in Boston, New-England, and <pb n="188"/>owe my first instructions in
               literature to the free grammar-schools established there. I therefore give one
               hundred pounds sterling to my executors, to be by them, the survivors or survivor of
               them, paid over to the managers or directors of the free schools in my native town of
               Boston, to be by them, or the person or persons who shall have the superintendance
               and management of the said schools, put out to interest, and so continued at interest
               for ever; which interest annually shall be laid out in silver medals, and given as
               honorary rewards annually by the directors of the said free schools, for the
               encouragement of scholarship in the said schools, belonging to the said town, in
               such manner as to the discretion of the select men of the said town shall seem
               meet.</p>

            <p> Out of the salary that may remain due to me, as president of the state, I give the
               sum of two thousand pounds to my executors, to be by them, the survivors or survivor
               of them, paid over to such person or persons as the legislature of this state, by an
               act of assembly, shall appoint to receive the same, in trust, to be employed for
               making the Schuylkill navigable.</p>

            <p> During the number of years I was in business as a stationer, printer, and
               postmaster, a great many small sums became due to me, for books, advertisements,
               postage of letters, and other matters, which were not collected, when in 1757, I was
               sent by the assembly to England as their agent—and, by subsequent appointments
               <pb n="189"/>continued there till 1775—when, on my return, I was immediately engaged in
               the affairs of congress, and sent to France in 1776, where I remained nine years, not
               returning till 1785; and the said debts not being demanded in such a length of
               time, are become in a manner obsolete, yet are nevertheless justly due.—These, as
               they are stated in my great folio ledger, E, I bequeath to the contributors of the
               Pennsylvania hospital; hoping that those debtors, and the descendants of such as
               are deceased, who now, as I find, make some difficulty of satisfying such antiquated
               demands as just debts, may however be induced to pay or give them as charity to that
               excellent institution. I am sensible that much must inevitably be lost; but I hope
               something considerable may be recovered. It is possible too that some of the parties
               charged may have existing old unsettled accounts against me; in which case the
               managers of the said hospital will allow and deduct the amount, and pay the balance,
               if they find it against me.</p>

            <p> I request my friends Henry Hill, Esq John Jay, Esq Francis Hopkinson, Esq and Mr.
               Edward Duffield, of Bonfield, in Philadelphia county, to be the executors of this any
               last will and testament, and I hereby [...]inate and appoint them for that
               purpose.</p>

            <p> In would have my body buried with as little expence or ceremony as may be.</p>

            <p> Philadelphia, July 17, 1788.</p>
         </div>
         <div type="codicil">
            <p>CODICIL.</p>

            <p> I Benjamin Franklin, in the foregoing or annexed last will and testament, having
               further considered the same, do think proper to make and publish the following
               codicil, or addition thereto:</p>

            <p> IT having long been a fixed political opinion of mine, that in a democratical state
               there ought to be no offices of profit, for the reasons I have given in an article
               of my drawing in our constitution, it was my intention, when I accepted the office of
               president, to devote the appointed salary to some public use: accordingly I had
               already, before I made my last will, in July last, given large sums of it to
               colleges, schools, building of churches, &amp;c. and in that will I bequeathed two
               thousand pounds more to the state, for the purport of making the Schuylkill
               navigable; but understanding since, that such a sum will do but little towards
               accomplishing such a work, and that the project is not likely to be undertaken for ma
               [...] [...]rs to come—and having entertained [...] [...]dea, which I hope may be
               found mo [...] [...]tensively useful, I do hereby revoke and annul the bequest and
               direct that the certificates I have for what remains due to me of that salary, be
               sold towards raising the sum of two thousand pounds sterling, to be disposed of as I
               am now about to order.</p>

            <p> It has been an opinion, that he who receives <pb n="191"/>an estate from his
               ancestors, is under some obligation to transmit the same to posterity. This
               obligation lies not on me, who never inherited a shilling from any ancestor or
               relation. I shall, however, if it is not diminished by some accident before my
               death, leave a considerable estate among my descendants and relations. The above
               observation is made merely as some apology to my family, for my making bequests that
               do not appear to have any immediate relation to their advantage.</p>

            <p> I was born in Boston, New-England, and owe my first instructions in literature to
               the free grammar schools established there. I have therefore considered those schools
               in my will.</p>

            <p> But I am under obligations to the state of Massachusetts, for having, unasked,
               appointed me formerly their agent, with a handsome salary, which continued some
               years: and although I accidently lost in their service, by transmitting governor
               Hutchinson's letters, much more than the amount of what they gave me, I do not think
               that ought in the least to deminish my gratitude. I have considered that, among
               artisans, good apprentices are most likely to make good citizens; and having myself
               been bred to a manual art, printing, in my native town, and afterwards assisted to
               set up my business in Philadelphia by kind loans of money from two friends there,
               which was the foundation of my fortune, <pb n="192"/>and of all the utility in life
               that may be ascribed to me—I wish to be useful even after my death, if possible in
               forming and advancing other young men, that may be serviceable to their country in
               both these towns.</p>

            <p> To this end I devote two thousand pounds sterling, which I give, one thousand
               thereof to the inhabitants of the town of Boston, in Massachusetts, and the other one
               thousand to the inhabitants of the city of Philadelphia, in trust, to and for the
               uses, intents, and purposes, herein after mentioned and declared.</p>

            <p> The said sum of one thousand pounds sterling, if accepted by the inhabitants of the
               town [...] Boston, shall be managed under the direction of the select men, united
               with the ministers of the oldest episcopalian, congregrational, and presbyterian
               churches in that town, who are to let out the same upon interest at five per cent.
               per annum, to such young married artificers, under the age of twenty-five years, as
               have served an apprenticeship in the said town, and faithfully fulfilled the duties
               required in their indentures, so as to obtain a good moral character, from at least
               two respectable citizens, who are willing to become sureties in a bond, with the
               applicants, for the repayment of the money so lent, with interest, according to the
               terms herein after prescribed; all which bonds are to be taken for Spanish milled
               dollars, or the value thereof in current gold coin: and the manager shall keep a
               bound book, or books, <pb n="193"/>wherein shall be entered the names of those who shall
               apply for, and receive the benefit of this institution, and of their sureties,
               together with the sums lent, the dates, and other necessary and proper records
               respecting the business and concerns of this institution: and as these loans are
               intended to assist young married artificers in setting up their business, they are to
               be proportioned by the discretion of the managers, so as not to exceed sixty pounds
               sterling to one person, nor to be less than fifteen pounds.</p>

            <p> And if the number of appliers so entitled should be so large as that the sum will
               not suffice to afford to each as much as might otherwise not be improper, the
               proportion to each shall be diminished, so as to afford to every one some assistance.
               These aids may therefore be small at first, but as the capital increases by the
               accumulated interest, they will be more ample. And in order to serve as many as
               possible in their turn, as well as to make the repayment of the principals borrow
               more easy, each borrower shall be obliged to pay with the yearly interest one tenth
               part of the principal; which sums of principal and interest so paid in, shall be
               again let out to fresh borrowers. And it is presumed, that there will be always
               found in Boston virtuous and benevolent citizens, willing to bestow a part of their
               time in doing good to the rising generation, by superintending and managing this
               institution gratis; it is hoped that no part of the <pb n="194"/>money will at any time
               lie dead, or be diverted to other purposes, but be continually augmenting by the
               interest, in which case there may in time be more than the occasion in Boston shall
               require [...] and then some may be spared to the neighbouring or other towns in the
               said state of Massachusetts, which may desire to have it, such towns engaging to pay
               punctually the interest, and such proportions of the principal annually to the
               inhabitants of the town of Boston, if this plan is executed, and succeeds, as
               projected, without interruption, for one hundred years, the sum will be then one
               hundred and thirty-one thousand pounds; of which I would have the managers of the
               donation to the town of Boston then lay out, at their discretion, one hundred
               thousand pounds in public works, which may be judged of most general untility to the
               inhabitants; such as fortifications, bridges, aqueducts, public buildings, baths,
               pavements, or whatever may make living in the town more convenient to its people,
               and render it more agreeable to strangers resorting thither for health, or a
               temporary residence. The remaining thirty-one thousand pounds I would have continued
               to be let out to interest, in the manner above directed, for one hundred years; as I
               hope it will have been found that the institution has had a good effect on the
               conduct of youth, and been of service to many worthy characters and useful citizens.
               At the end of this second term, If no unfortunate accident has prevented the
               operation, the <pb n="195"/>sum will be four millions and sixty-one thousand pounds
               sterling; of which I leave one million and sixty-one thousand pounds to the
               disposition and management of the inhabitants of the town of Boston, and the three
               millions to the disposition of the government of the state; not presuming to carry
               my views any father.</p>

            <p> All the directions herein given respecting the disposition and management of the
               donation to the inhabitants of Boston, I would have observed respecting that to the
               inhabitants of Philadelphia; only, as Philadelphia is incorporated, I request the
               corporation of that city to undertake the management, agreeable to the said
               directions: and I do hereby vest them with full and ample powers for that purpose.
               And having considered that the covering its ground-plat with buildings and pavements,
               which carry off most rain, and prevent its soaking into the earth, and renewing and
               purifying the springs, whence the water of the wells must gradually grow worse, and
               in time be unfit for use, as I find has happened in all old cities; I recommend,
               that, at the end of the first hundred years, if not done before, the corporation of
               the city employ a part of the hundred thousand pounds in bringing by pipes the water
               of Wissahickon-creek into the town, so as to supply the inhabitants, which I
               apprehend may be done without great difficulty, the level of that creek being much
               above that of the city, <pb n="196"/>and may be made higher by a dam. I also recommend
               making the Schuylkill completely navigable. At the end of the second hundred years,
               I would have the disposition of the four millions and sixty-one thousand pounds
               divided between the inhabitants of the city of Philadelphia and the government of
               Pennsylvania, in the same manner as herein directed with respect to that of the
               inhabitants of Boston and the government of Massachusetts. It is my desire that this
               institution should take place, and begin to operate within one year after my
               decease; for which purpose due notice should be publicly given previous to the
               expiration of that year, that those for whose benefit this establishment is intended
               may make their respective applications: and I hereby direct my executors, the
               survivors and survivor of them, within six months after my decease, to pay over the
               said sum of two thousand pounds sterling to such persons as shall be duly appointed
               by the select men of Boston, and the corporation of Philadelphia, to receive and take
               charge of their respective sums of one thousand pounds each for the purposes
               aforesaid. Considering the accidents to which all human affairs and projects are
               subject in such a length of time, I have perhaps too much flattered myself with a
               vain fancy, that these dispositions, if carried into execution, will be continued
               without interruption, and have the effects proposed; I hope, however, that, if the
               inhabitants of the two cities should not think fit to undertake <pb n="197"/>the
               execution, they will at least accept the offer of these donations, as a mark of my
               good will, token of my gratitude, and testimony of my desire to be useful to them
               even after my departure. I wish, indeed, that they may both undertake to endeavour
               the execution of my project, because I think, that, though unforeseen difficulties
               may arise, expedients will be found to remove them, and the scheme be found
               practicable. If one of them accepts the money with the conditions and the other
               refuses, my will then is, that both sums be given to the inhabitants of the city
               accepting; the whole to be applied to the same purposes, and under the same
               regulations directed for the separate parts; and if both refuse, the money remains
               of course in the mass of my estate, and it is to be disposed of therewith, according
               to my will made the seventeenth day of July 1788.</p>

            <p> My fine crab-tree walking-stick, with a gold head curiously wrought in the form of
               the cap of Liberty, I give to my friend, and the friend of mankind, General
               Washington. If it were a sceptre, he has merited it, and would become it.</p>

            <p> FINIS.</p>
         </div>
      </body>
   </text>
</TEI>
Digital edition of Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography

Published by me

From the digital copy of Franklin's Autobiography from the Text Creation Partnership

PREFACE

IT is already known to many, that Dr. Franklin amused himself, towards the close of his life, with writing memoirs of his own history. These memoirs were brought down to the year 1757. Together with some other manuscripts they were left behind him at his death, and were considered as constituting part of his posthumous property. It is a little extraordinary that, under these circumstances, interesting as they are, from the celebrity of the character of which they treat, and from the critical situation of the present times, they should so long have been with-held from the Public: A translation of them appeared in France near two years ago, coming down to the year 1731. There can be no sufficient reason, that what has thus been submitted to the perusal of Europe, should not be made accessible to those to whom Dr. Franklin's language is native. The first part of the history of his life is translated from that publication.

The style of these memoirs is uncommonly pleasing. The story is told with the most unreserved sincerity, and without any false colouring or ornament. We see, in every page, that the author examined his subject with the eye of a master, and related no incidents, the springs and origin of which he did not perfectly understand. It is this that gives such exquisite and uncommon perspicuity to the detail and delight in the review. The translator has endeavoured, as he went along, to conceive the probable manner in which Dr. Franklin expressed his ideas in his English manuscript, and he hopes to be forgiven if this enquiry shall occasionally have subjected him to the charge of a style in any respect bald or low: to imitate the admirable simplicity of the author, is no easy task.

The public will be amused with following a great philosopher in relaxations, and observing in what respects his philosophy tends to elucidate and improve the most common subjects.

The editor subjoins a letter from the late celebrated and amiable Dr. Price, to a gentleman in Philadelphia, upon the subject of Dr. Franklin's memoirs of his own life.

Hackney, June 19, 1790.

DEAR SIR,

I AM hardly able to tell you how kindly I take the letters with which you favour me. Your last, containing an account of the death of our excellent friend Dr. Frankling, and the circumstances attending it, deserves my particular gratitude. The account which he has left of his life will show, in a striking example, how a man, by talents, industry, and integrity, may rise from obscurity to the first eminence and consequence in the world; but it brings his history no lower than the year 1757, and I understand that since he sent over the copy, which I have read, he has been able to make no additions to it. It is with a melancholy regret I think of his death; but to death we are all bound by the irreversible order of nature, and in looking forward to it, there is comfort in being able to reflect—that we have not lived in vain, and that all the useful and virtuous shall meet in a better country beyond the grave.

Dr. Franklin, in the last letter I received from him, after mentioning his age and infirmities, observes, that it has been kindly ordered by the Author of nature, that, as we draw nearer the conclusion of life, we are furnished with more helps to wean us from it, among which one of the strongest is the loss of dear friends. I was delighted with the account you gave in your letter of the honour shewn to his memory at Philadelphia, and by Congress; and yesterday I received a high additional pleasure, by being informed that the National Assembly of France had determined to go in mourning for him.—What a glorious scene is opened there! The annals of the world furnish no parallel to it. One of the honours of our departed friend is, that he has contributed much to it.

I am, with great respect, Your obliged and very humble servant, RICHARD PRICE.

THE LIFE OF DR. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.

MY DEAR SON,

I HAVE amused myself with collecting some little anecdotes of my family. You may remember the enquiries I made, when you were with me in England, among such of my relations as were then living; and the journey I undertook for that purpose. To be acquainted with the particulars of my parentage and life, many of which are unknown to you; I flatter myself, will afford the same pleasure to you as to me. I shall relate them upon paper: it will be an agreeable employment of a week's uninterrupted leasure, which I promise myself during my present retirement in the country. There are also other motives which induce me to the undertaking. From the bosom of poverty and obscurity, in which I drew my first breath and spent my earliest years, I have raised myself to a state of opulence and to some degree of celebrity in the world. A constant good fortune has attended me through every period of life to my present advanced age; and my descendants may be desirous of learning what were the means of which I made use, and which, thanks to the assisting hand of Providence, have proved so eminently successful. They may also, should they ever be placed in a similar situation, derive some advantage from my narrative.

When I reflect, as I frequently do, upon the felicity I have enjoyed, I sometimes say to myself, that, were the offer made me, I would engage to run again, from beginning to end, the same career of life. All I would ask should be the privilege of an author, to correct, in a second edition, certain errors of the first. I could wish, likewise, if it were in my power, to change some trivial incidents and events for others more favourable. Were this however denied me, still would I not decline the offer. But since a repetition of life cannot take place, there is nothing which, in my opinion, so nearly resembles it, as to call to mind all its circumstances, and, to render their remembrance more durable, commit them to writing. By thus employing myself, I shall yield to the inclination, so natural to old men, to talk of themselves and their exploits, and may freely follow my bent, without being tiresome to those who, from respect to my age, might think themselves obliged to listen to me; as they will be at liberty, to read me or not as they please. In fine—and I may well avow it, since nobody would believe me were I to deny it—I shall perhaps, by this employment, gratify my vanity. Scarcely indeed have I ever heard or read the introductory phrase, "I may say without vanity," but some striking and characteristic instance of vanity has immediately followed. The generality of men hate vanity in others, however strongly they may be tinctured with it themselves; for myself, I pay obeisance to it wherever I meet with it, persuaded that it is advantageous, as well to the individual it governs, as to those who are within the sphere of its influence. Of consequence, it would, in many cases, not be wholly absurd, that a man should count his vanity among the other sweets of life, and give thanks to Providence for the blessing.

And here let me with all humility acknowledge, that to Divine Providence I am indebted for the felicity I have hitherto enjoyed. It is that power alone which has furnished me with the means I have employed, and that has crowned them with success My faith in this respect leads me to hope, though I cannot count upon it, that the divine goodness will still be exercised towards me, either by prolonging the duration of my happiness to the close of life, or by giving me fortitude to support any melancholy reverse, which may happen to me, as to so many others. My future fortune is unknown but to him in whose hand is our destiny, and who can make our very afflictions subservient to our benefit.

One of my uncles, desirous like myself, of collecting anecdotes of our family, gave me some notes, from which I have derived many particulars respecting our ancestors. From these I learn, that they had lived in the same village (Eaton in Northamptonshire) upon a freehold of about thirty acres, for the space at least of three hundred years. How long they had resided there prior to that period, my uncle had been unable to discover; probably ever since the institution of surnames, when they took the appellation of Franklin, which had formerly been the name of a particular order of individuals *.

This petty estate would not have sufficed for their subsistence, had they not added the trade of blacksmith, which was perpetuated in the family down to my uncle's time, the eldest son having been uniformly brought up to this employment: a custom which both he and my father observed with respect to their eldest sons.

In the researches I made at Eaton, I found no account of their births, marriages, and deaths, earlier than the year 1555; the parish register not extending farther back than that period. This register informed me, that I was the youngest son of the youngest branch of the family, counting five generations. My grandfather, Thomas, who was born in 1598, living at Eaton till he was too old to continue his trade, when he retired to Banbury in Oxfordshire, where his son John, who was a dyer, resided, and with whom my father was apprenticed. He died, and was buried there: we saw his monument in 1758. His eldest son lived in the family house at Eaton, [Page 10]which be bequeathed, with the land belonging to it, to his only daughter; who, in concert with her husband, Mr. Fisher of Wellingborough, afterwards sold it to Mr. Ested, the present proprietor.

My grandfather had four surviving sons, Thomas, John, Benjamin, and Josias. I shall give you such particulars of them as my memory will furnish, not having my papers here, in which you will find a more minute account, if they are not lost during my absence.

Thomas had learned the trade of blacksmith under his father; but possessing a good natural understanding, he improved it by study, at the solicitation of a gentleman of the name of Palmer, who was at that time the principal inhabitant of the village, and who encouraged in like manner all my uncles to improve their minds. Thomas thus rendered himself competent to the functions of a country attorney; soon became an essential personage in the affairs of the village; and was one of the chief movers of every public enterprize, as well relative to the country as the town of Northampton. A variety of remarkable incidents were told us of him at Eaton. After enjoying the esteem and patronage of Lord Halifax, he died, January 6, 1702, precisely four years before I was born. The recital that was made us of his life and character, by some aged persons of the village, struck you, I remember, as extraordinary, from its analogy to what you knew of myself "Had he died," said you, "just four years later, one might have supposed a transmigration of souls."

John, to the best of my belief, was brought up to the trade of a wool-dyer.

Benjamin served his apprenticeship in London to a silk-dyer. He was an industrious man: I remember him well; for, while I was a child, he joined my father at Boston, and lived for some years in the house with us. A particular affection had always subsisted between my father and him; and I was his godson. He arrived to a great age. He left behind him two quarto volumes of poems in manusscript, consisting of little fugitive pieces addressed to his friends. He had invented a shorthand, which he taught me, but having never made use of it, I have now forgotten it. He was a man of piety, and a constant attendant on the best preachers, whose sermons he took a pleasure in writing down according to the expeditory method he had devised. Many volumes were thus collected by him. He was also extremely fond of politics, too much so perhaps for his situation. I lately found in London a collection which he had made of all the principal pamphlets relative to public affairs, from the year 1641 to 1717. Many volumes are wanting, as appears by the series of numbers; but there still remain eight in folio, and twenty four in quarto and octavo. The collection had fallen into the hands of a second-hand bookseller, who, knowing me by having sold me some books, brought it to me. My uncle, it seems, had left it behind him on his departure for America, about fifty years ago. I found various notes of his writing in the margins. His grandson, Samuel, is now living at Boston.

Our humble family had early embraced the Reformation. They remained faithfully attached during the reign of Queen Mary, when they were in danger of being molested on account of their zeal against popery. They had an English Bible, and, to conceal it the more secure [...]y, they conceived the project of fastening it, open, with pack-thread [...] across the leaves, on the inside of the lid of a close-stool. When my great-grandfather wished to read to his family, he reversed the lid of the close-stool upon his knees, and passed the leaves from one side to the other, which were held down on each by the pack-thread. One of the children was stationed at the door, to give notice if he saw the proctor (an officer of the spiritual court) make his appearance: in that case, the lid was restored to its place, with the Bible concealed under it as before. I had this anecdote from my uncle Benjamin.

The whole family preserved its attachment to the Church of England till towards the close of the reign of Charles II. when certain ministers, who had been ejected as non-conformists, having held conventicles in Northhamptonshire, they were joined by Benjamin and Josias, who adhered to them over after. The rest of the family continued in the episcopal church.

My father, Josias, married early in life. He went with his wife and three children, to New-England, about the year 1682. Conventicles being at that time prohibited by law, and frequently disturbed, some considerable persons of his acquaintance determined to go to America, where they hoped to enjoy the free exercise of their religion, and my father was prevailed on to accompany them.

My father had also by the same wife four children born in America, and ten others by a second wife, making in all seventeen. I remember to have seen thirteen seated together at his table, who all arrived to years of maturity, and were married. I was the last of the sons, and the youngest child, excepting two daughters. I was born at Boston in New-England. My mother, the second wife, was Abiah Folger, daughter of Peter Folger, one of the first colonists of New-England, of whom Cotton Mather makes honourable mention, in his Ecclesiastical History of that province, as "a pious learned Englishman," if I rightly recollect his expressions. I have been told of his having written a variety of little pieces; but there appears to be only one in print, which I met with many years ago. It was published in the year 1675, and is in familiar verse, agreeable to the tast of the times and the country. The author addresses himself to the governors for the time being, speaks for liberty of conscience, and in favour of the anabaptists, quakers and other sectaries, who had suffered persecution. To this persecution he attributes the wars with the natives, and other calamities which afflicted the country, regarding them as the judgments of God in punishment of so odious an offence, and he exhorts the government to the repeal of laws so contrary to charity. The poem appeared to be written with a manly freedom and a pleasing simplicity. I recollect the six concluding lines, though I have forgotten the order of words of the two first; the sense of which was, that his censures were dictated by benevolence, and that, of consequence, he wished to be known as the author; because said he, I hate from my very soul dissimulation;

From Sherburne,* where I dwell,

I therefore put my name,

Your friend, who means you well,

PETER FOLGER.

My brothers were all put apprentice to different trades. With respect to myself, I was sent, at the age of eight years, to a grammar school. My father destined me for the church, and already regarded me as the chaplain of the family. The promptitude with which from my infancy I had learned to read, for I do not remember to have been ever without this acquirement, and the encouragement of his friends, who assured him that I should one day certainly become a man of letters, confirmed him in this design. My uncle Benjamin approved also of the scheme, and promised to give me all his volumes of sermons, written, as I have said, in the shorthand of his invention, if I would take the pains to learn it.

I remained however scarcely a year at grammar-school, although, in this short interval, I had risen from the middle to the head of my class, from thence to the class immediately above, and was to pass, at the end of the year, to the one next in order. But my father, burthened with a numerous family, found that he was incapable, without subjecting himself to difficulties, of providing for the expence of a collegiate education; and considering besides, as I heard him say to his friends, that persons so educated were often poorly provided for, he renounced his first intentions, took me from the grammar-school, and sent me to a school for writing and arithmetic, kept by a Mr. George Brownwel, who was a skilful master, and succeeded very well in his profession by employing gentle means only, and such as were calculated to encourage his scholars. Under him I soon acquired an excellent hand; but I failed in arithmetic, and made therein no sort of progress.

At ten years of age, I was called home to assist my father in his occupation▪ which was that of soap-boiler and tallow-chandler; a business to which he had served no apprenticeship, but which he embraced on his arrival in New-England, because he found his own, that of a dyer, in too little request to enable him to maintain his family. I was accordingly employed in cutting the wicks, filling the moulds, taking care of the shop, carrying messages, &c.

This business displeased me, and I felt a strong inclination for a sea life; but my father set his face against it. The vicinity of the water, however, gave me frequent opportunities of venturing myself both upon and within it, and I soon acquired the art of swimming, and of managing a boat.—When embarked with other children, the helm was commonly deputed to me, particularly on difficult occasions; and, in every other project, I was a almost always the leader of the troop, whom I sometimes involved in embarrassments. I shall give an instance of this, which demonstrates an early disposition of mind for public enterprise, though the one in question was not conducted by justice.

The mill-pond was terminated on one side by a marsh, upon the borders of which we were accustomed to take our stand, at high water, to angle for small fish. By dint of walking, we had converted the place into a perfect quagmire. My proposal was to erect a wharf that should afford us firm footing and I pointed out to my companions a large heap of stones, intended for building a new house near the marsh, and which were well adapted for our purpose. Accordingly, when the workmen retired in the evening, I assembled a number of my play [...]ellows, and by labouring diligently, like ants, sometimes four of us uniting our strength to carry a single stone, we removed them all, and constructed our little quay. The workmen were surprised the next morning at not finding their stones, which had been conveyed to our wharf. Enquiries were made respecting the authors of this conveyance; we were discovered; complaints were exhibited against us; many of us underwent correction on the part of our parents; and though I strenuously defended the utility of the work, my father at length convinced me, that nothing which was not strictly honest could be useful.

It will not, perhaps, be uninteresting to you to know what sort of a man my father was. He had an excellent constitution, was of a middle size, but well made and strong, and extremely active in whatever he undertook. He designed with a degree of neatness, and knew a little of music. His voice was sonorous and agreeable; so that when he sung a psalm or hymn with accompaniment of his violin, as was his frequent practice in an evening when the labours of the day were finished, it was truly delightful to hear him. He was versed also in mechanics, and could upon occasion, use the tools of a variety of trades. But his greatest excellence was a sound understanding and solid judgment in matters of prudence, both in public and private life. In the former indeed he never engaged, because his numerous family and the mediocrity of his fortune, kept him unremittingly employed in the duties of his profession. But I very well remember that the leading men of the place used frequently to come and ask his advice respecting affairs of the town, or of the church to which he belonged, and that they paid much difference to his opinion. Individuals were also in the habit of consulting him in their private affairs, and he was often chosen arbiter between contending parties.

He was fond of having at his table, as often as possible, some friends or well-informed neighbours capable of rational conversation, and he was always careful to introduce useful or ingenious topics of discourse, which might tend to form the minds of his children. By this means he early attracted our attention to what was just, prudent, and beneficial in the conduct of life. He never talked of the meats which appeared upon the table, never discussed whether they were well or ill dressed, of a good or bad flavour, high-seasoned or otherwise, preferable or inferior to this or that dish of a similar kind. Thus accustomed, from my infancy, to the utmost inattention as to these objects, I have always been perfectly [Page 19]regardless of what kind of food was before me; and I pay so little attention to it even now, that it would be a hard matter for me to recollect, a few hours after I had dined, of what my dinner had consisted. When travelling, I have particularly experienced the advantage of this habit; for it has often happened to me to be in company with persons, who, having a more delicate, because a more exercised taste, have suffered in many cases considerable inconvenience; while, as to myself, I have had nothing to desire.

My mother was likewise possessed of an excellent constitution. She suckled all her ten children, and I never heard either her or my father complain of any other disorder, than that of which they died: my father at the age of eighty-seven, and my mother at eighty-five. They are buried at Boston, where, a few years ago, I placed a marble over their grave, with this inscription: ‘Here lie JOSIAS FRANKLIN and ABIAH his wife: They lived together with reciprocal affection for fifty-nine years; and without private fortune, without lucrative employment, by assiduous labour and honest industry, decently supported a numerous family, and educated, with success, thirteen children, and seven grand-children. Let this example, reader, encourage thee diligently to discharge the duties of thy calling, and to rely on the support of divine providence.’

‘He was pious and prudent, She discreet and virtuous. Their youngest son, from a sentiment of filial duty, consecrated this stone To their memory.’

I perceive, by my rambling digressions, that I am growing old. But we do not dress for a private company as for a formal ball. This deserves perhaps the name of negligence.

To return. I thus continued employed in my father's trade for the space of two years; that is to say, till I arrived at twelve years of age. About this time my brother John, who had served his apprenticeship in London, having quitted my father, and being married and settled in business on his own account at Rhode-Island, I was destined, to all appearance, to supply his place, and be a candle-maker all my life: but my dislike of this occupation continuing, my father was apprehensive, that, if a more agreeable one were not offered me, I might play the tru [...]t and escape to sea; as, to his extreme mortification, my brother Josias had done. He therefore took me sometimes to see masons, coopers, braziers, joiners, and other mechanics, employed at their work; in order to discover the bent of my inclination, and fix it if he could upon some occupation that might retain me on shore. I have since, in consequence of those visits, derived no small pleasure from seeing skilful workmen handle their tools; and it has proved of considerable benefit, to have acquired thereby sufficient knowledge to be able to make little things for myself, when I have had no mechanic at hand, and to construct small machines for my experiments, while the idea I have conceived has been fresh and strongly impressed on my imagination.

My father at length decided that I should be a cutler, and I was placed for some days upon trial with my cousin Samuel, son of my uncle Benjamin, who had learned this trade in London, and had established himself at Boston. But the premium he required for my apprenticeship displeasing my father, I was recalled home.

From my earliest years I had been passionately fond of reading, and I laid out in books all the little money I could procure. I was particularly pleased with accounts of voyages. My first acquisition was Bunyan's collection in small separate volumes. These I afterwards sold in order to buy an historical collection by R. Burton, which consisted of small cheap volumes, amounting in all to about forty or fifty. My father's little library was principally made up of books of practical and polemical theology. I read the greatest part of them. I have since often regretted, that at a time when I had so great a thirst for knowledge, more eligible books had not fallen into my hands, as it was then a point decided that I should not be educated for the church. There was also among my father's books [...]lutarch's L [...]ves in which I read continually, and I still regard as advantageously employed the time I devoted to them. I found besides a work of De Fou's, entitled, and Essay on Projects, from which, perhaps, I derived impressions that have since influenced some of the principal events of my life.

My inclination for books at last determined my father to make me a printer, though he had already a son in that profession. My brother had returned from England in 1717, with a press and types, in order too establish a printing-house at Boston. This business pleased me much better than that of my father, though I had still a predilection for the sea. To prevent the effects which might result from this inclination, my father was impatient to see the engaged with my brother. I held ba [...] for some time; at length however I suffered myself to be persuaded, and signed my indentures, being then only twelve years of age. It was agreed that I should serve as apprentice to the age of twenty-one, and should receive jorneyman's wages only during the last year.

In a very short time I made great proficiency in this business, and became very serviceable to my brother. I had now an opportunity of procuring better books. The acquaintance I necessarily formed with bookseller's apprentices, enabled me to borrow a volume now and then, which I never failed to return punctually and without injury. How often has it happened to me to pass the greater part of the night in reading by my bed-side, when the book had been lent me in the evening, and was to be returned the next morning, lest it might be missed or wanted.

At length, Mr. Matthew Adams, an ingenious tradesman, who had a handsome collection of books, and who frequented our printing-house, took notice of me. He invited me to see his library, and had the goodness to lend me any books I was desirous of reading. I then took a strange fancy for poetry, and composed several little pieces. My brother, thinking he might find his account in it, encouraged me, and engaged me to write two ballads. One, called the Lighthouse Tragedy, contained an account of the shipwreck of captain Worthilake and his two daughters; the other was a sailor's song on the capture of the noted pirate called Teach, or Black-beard. They were wreched verses in point of style, mere blind-men's ditties. When printed, he dispatched me about the town to sell them. The first had a prodigious run, because the event was recent, and had made a great noise.

My vanity was flattered by this success; but my father checked my exultation, by ridiculing my productions, and telling me that versifiers were always poor. I thus escaped the misfortune of being, probably, a very wretched poet▪ but as the faculty of writing prose has been of great service to me in the course of my life, and principally contributed to [...] advancement, I shall relate by what mean [...], situated as I was, I acquired the small skill [...] may possess in that way.

There was in the town another young man, a great lover of books, of the name of John Collins, with whom I was intimately connected. We frequently engaged in dispute, and were indeed so fond of argumentation, that nothing, was so agreeable to us as a war [...] words. This contentious temper, I would observe by the bye, is in danger of becoming a very bad habit, and frequently renders [...] a man's company insupportable, as being [...] otherwise capable of indulgence than by indiscriminate contradiction. Independently [...] the acrimony and discord it introduces in [...] conversation, it is often productive of dislike and even hatred, between persons to who [...] friendship is indispensibly necessary. I acquired it by reading, while I lived with my father, books of religious controversy. I have since remarked, that men of sense seldom fall into this error; lawyers, fellows of universities, and persons of every profession educated at Edinburgh, excepted.

Collins and I one day in an argument relative to the education of women; namely whether it were proper to instruct them in the sciences, and whether they were compete [...] to the study. Collins supported the negative and affirmed that the task was beyond their c [...] pacity. I maintained the opposite opinion, [...] [Page 25]little perhaps for the pleasure of disputing. He was naturally more eloquent than I; words flowed copiously from his lips; and frequently I thought myself vanquished, more by his volubility than by the force of his arguments. We separated without coming to an agreement upon this point; and as we were not to see each other again for some time, I committed my thoughts to paper, made a fair copy, and sent it him. He answered, and I replied. Three or four letters had been written by each, when my father chanced to light upon my papers and read them. Without entering into the merits of the cause, he embraced the opportunity of speaking to me upon my manner of writing. He observed, that though I had the advantage of my adversary in correct spelling and pointing, which I owed to my occupation, I was greatly his inferior in elegance of expression, in arrangement, and perspicuity. Of this he convinced me by several examples. I felt the justice of his remarks, became more attentive to language, and resolved to make every effort to improve my style. Amidst these resolves an odd volume of the Spectator fell into my hands. This was a publication I had never seen. I bought the volume, and read it again and again. I was enchanted with it, thought the style excellent, and wished it were in my power to imitate it. With this view I selected some of the papers, made short summaries of the sense of each period, and put them for a few days aside. I then, without looking at the book, endeavoured to restore the essays to their true form, and to express each thought at length, as it was in the original, employing the most appropriate words that occurred to my mind. I afterwards compared my Spectator with the original; I perceived some faults, which I corrected: but I found that I wanted a fund of words, if I may so express myself, and a facility of recollecting and employing them, which I thought I should by that time have acquired, had I continued to make verses. The continual need of words of the same meaning, but of different lengths for the measure, or of different sounds for the rhyme, would have obliged me to seek for a variety of synonymes, and have rendered me master of them. From this belief, I took some of the tales of the Spectator, and turned them into verse; and after a time, when I had sufficiently forgotten them, I again converted them into prose.

Sometimes also I mingled all my summaries together; and a few weeks after, endeavoured to arrange them in the best order, before I attempted to form the periods and complete the essays. This I did with a view of acquiring method in the arrangement of my thoughts. On comparing afterwards my performance with the original, many faults were apparent, which I corrected; but I had sometimes the satisfaction to think, that, in certain particulars of little importance, I had been fortunate enough to improve the order of thought or the style; and this encouraged me to hope that I should succeed, in time, in writing the English language, which was one of the great objects of my ambition.

The time which I devoted to these exercises, and to reading, was the evening after my day's labour was finished, the morning before it began, and Sundays when I could escape attending divine service. While I lived with my father, he had insisted on my punctual attendance on public worship, and I still indeed considered it as a duty, but a duty which I thought I had no time to practise.

When about sixteen years of age, a work of Tryon fell into my hands, in which he recommends vegetable diet. I determined to observe it. My brother, being a bachelor, did not keep house, but boarded with his apprentices in a neighbouring family. My refusing to eat animal food was found inconvenient, and I was often scolded for my singularity. I attended to the mode in which Tryon prepared some of his dishes, particularly how to boil potatoes and rice, and make hasty puddings. I then said to my brother, that if he would allow me per week half what he paid for my board, I would undertake to maintain myself. The offer was instantly embraced, and I soon found that of what he gave me I was able to save half. This was a new fund for the purchase of books; and other advantages resulted to me from the plan. When my brother and his workmen left the printing-house to go to dinner, I remained behind; and dispatched my frugal meal, which frequently consisted of a biscuit only, or a slice of bread and a bunch of raisins, or a bun from the pastry cook's, with a glass of water, I had the rest of the time, till their return, for study; and my progress therein was proportioned to that clearness of ideas, and quickness of conception, which are the fruit of temperance in eating and drinking.

It was about this period that, having one day been put to the blush for my ignorance in the art of calculation, which I had twice failed to learn while at school, I took up Cocker's Treatise of Arithmetic, and went through it by myself with the utmost ease, I also read a book of Navigation by Seller and Sturmy, and made myself master of the little geometry it contains, but I never proceeded far in this science. Nearly at the same time I read Locke on the Human Understanding, and the Art of Thinking by Messrs. du Port-Royal.

While labouring to form and improve my style, I met with an English Grammar, which I believe was Greenwood's, having at the end of it two little essays on rhetoric and logic. In the latter I found a model of disputation after the manner of Socrates. Shortly after I procured Xenophon's work, entitled, Memorable Things of Socrates, in which are various examples of the same method. Charmed to a degree of enthusiasm with this mode of disputing, I adopted it, and renouncing blunt contradiction, and direct and positive argument, I assumed the character of a humble questioner. The perusal of Shaftsbury and Collins had made me a sceptic; and being previously so as to many doctrines of Christianity, I found Socrates's method to be both the safest for myself, as well as the most embarrassing to those against whom I employed it. It soon afforded me singular pleasure; I incessantly practised it; and became very adroit in obtaining, even from persons of superior understanding, concessione of which they did not foresee the consequences. Thus I involved them in difficulties from which they were unable to extricate themselves, and sometimes obtained victories, which neither my cause nor my arguments merited.

This method I continued to employ for some years; but I afterwards abandoned it by degrees, retaining only the habit of expressing myself with modest diffidence, and never making use, when I advanced any proposition which might be controverted, of the words certainly, undoubtedly, or any others that might give the appearance of being obstinately attached to my opinion. I rather said, I imagine, I suppose, or it appears to me, that such a thing is so or so, for such and such reasons; or it is so, if I am not mistaken. This habit has, I think, been of considerable advantage to me, when I have had occasion to impress my opinion on the minds of others, and persuade them to the adoption of the measures I have suggested. And since the chief ends of conversation are, to inform or be informed, to please or to persuade, I could wish that intelligent and well-meaning men would not themselves diminish the powers they possess of being useful, by a positive and presumptuous manner of expressing themselves, which scarcely ever fails to disgust the hearer, and is only calculated to excite opposition, and defeat every purpose for which the faculty of speech has been bestowed upon man. In short, if you wish to inform, a positive and dogmatical manner of advancing your opinion may provoke contradiction, and prevent your being heard with attention. On the other hand, if, with a desire of being informed, and of benefiting by the knowledge of others, you express yourselves as being strongly attached to your own opinions, modest and sensible men, who do not love disputation, will leave you in tranquil possession of your errors. By following such a method, you can rarely hope to please your auditors, conciliate their goodwill, or work conviction on those whom you may be desirous of gaining over to your views. Pope judiciously observes,

Men must be taught as if you taught them not,

And things unknown propos'd as things forgot.

And in the same poem he afterwards advises us,

To speak, tho' sure, with seeming diffidence.

He might have added to these lines, one that he has coupled elsewhere, in my opinion, with less propriety. It is this: ‘For want of modesty is want of sense.’ If you ask why I say with less propriety, I must give you the two lines together:

Immodest words admit of no defence,

For want of decency is want of sense.

Now want of sense, when a man has the misfortune to be so circumstanced, is it not a kind of excuse for want of modesty? And would not the verses have been more accurate, if they had been constructed thus:

Immodest words admit but this defence.

That want of decency is want of sense.

But I leave the decision of this to better judges than myself.

In 1720, or 1721, my brother began to print a new public paper. It was the second that made its appearance in America, and was entitled the New-England Courant. The only one that existed before was the Boston News-Letter▪ Some of his friends, I remember, would have dissuaded him from this undertaking, as a thing that was not likely to succeed; a single newspaper being, in their opinion, sufficient for all America. At present, however, in 1777, there are no less than twenty-five. But he carried his project into execution, and I was employed in distributing the copies to his customers, after having assisted in composing and working them off.

Among his friends he had a number of literary characters, who, as an amusement, wrote short essays for the paper, which gave it reputation and increased its sale. These gentlemen came frequently to our house. I heard the conversation that passed, and the accounts they gave of the favourable reception of their writings with the public. I was tempted to try my hand among them; but, being still a child as it were, I was fearful that my brother might be unwilling to print in his paper any performance of which he should know me to be the author. I therefore contrived to disguise my hand, and having written an anonymous piece, I placed it at night under the door of the printing-house, where it was found the next morning. My brother communicated it to his friends, when they came as usual to see him, who read it, commented upon it within my hearing, and I had the exquite pleasure to find that it met with their approbation, and that, in the various conjectures they made respecting the author, no one was mentioned who did not enjoy a high reputation in the country for talents and genius. I now supposed myself fortunate in my judges, and began to suspect that they were not much excellent writers as I had hitherto supposed them. Be that as it may, encouraged by this little adventure, I wrote and sent to the press, in the same way, many other pieces, which were equally approved; keeping the secret till my slender stock of information and knowledge for such performances was pretty completely exhausted, when I made myself known.

My brother, upon this discovery, began to entertain a little more respect for me; but he still regarded himself as my master, and treated me like an apprentice. He thought himself entitled to the same services from me as from any other person. On the contrary, I conceived that, in many instances, he was too rigorous, and that, on the part of a brother, I had a right to expect greater indulgence. Our disputes were frequently brought before my father; and either my brother was generally in the wrong, or I was the better pleader of the two, for judgment was commonly given in my favour. But my brother was passionate, and often had recourse to blows; a circumstance which I took in very ill part. This severe and tyrannical treatment contributed, I believe, to imprint on my mind that aversion to arbitrary power, which during my whole life I have ever preserved. My apprenticeship became insupportable to me, and I continually sighed for an opportunity of shortening it, which at length unexpectedly offered.

An article inserted in our paper upon some political subjects which I have now forgotten, gave offence to the Assembly. My brother was taken into custody, censured, and ordered into confinement for a month, because, as I presume, he would not discover the author. I was also taken up, and examined before the council; but, though I gave them no satisfaction, they contented themselves with reprimanding, and then dismissed me; considering me probably as bound, in quality of apprentice, to keep my master's secrets.

The imprisonment of my brother kindled my resentment, notwithstanding our private quarrels. During its continuance the management of the paper was entrusted to me, and I was bold enough to insert some pasquerades against the governors; which highly pleased my brother, while others began to look upon me in an unfavourable point of view, considering me as a young wit inclined to satire and lampoon.

My brother's enlargement was accompanied with an arbitary order from the house of Assembly, ‘That James Franklin should no longer print the newspaper entitled the New England Courant.’ In this conjuncture, we held a consultation of our friends at the printing-house, in order to determine what was proper to be done. Some proposed to evade the order, by changing the title of the paper; but my brother foreseeing inconveniences that would result from this step, thought it better that it should in future be printed in the name of Benjamin Franklin; and to avoid the censure of the Assembly, who might charge him with still printing the paper himself, under [Page 35]the name of his apprentice, it was resolved that my old indentures should be given up to me, with a full and entire discharge written on the back, in order to be produced upon an emergency: but that, to secure to my brother the benefit of my service, I should sign a new contract, which should be kept secret during the remainder of the term. This was a very shallow arrangement. It was, however, carried into immediate execution, and the paper continued, in consequence, to make its appearance for some months in my name. At length a new difference arising between my brother and me, I ventured to take advantage of my liberty, presuming that he would not dare to produce the new contract, It was undoubtedly dishonourable to avail myself of this circumstance, and I reckon this action as one of the first errors of my life; but I was little capable of estimating it as its true value, embittered as my mind had been by the recollection of the blows I had received. Exclusively of his passionate treatment of me, my brother was by no means a man of an ill temper, and perhaps my manners had too much of impertinence not to afford it a very natural pretext.

When he knew that it was my determination to quit him, he wished to prevent my finding employment elsewhere. He went to all the printing-houses in the town, and prejudiced the masters against me; who accordingly refused to employ me. The idea then suggested itself to me of going to New-York, the nearest town in which there was a printing-office. Farther reflections confirmed me in the design of leaving Boston, where I had already rendered myself an object of suspicion to the governing party. It was probable, from the arbitrary proceedings of the Assembly in the affair of my brother, that by remaining, I should soon have been exposed to difficulties, which I had the greater reason to apprehend, as, from my indiscreet disputes upon the subject of religion, I begun to be regarded, by pious souls, with horror, either as an apostate or an a [...]heist. I came therefore to a resolution; but my father, in this instance, siding with my brother, I presumed that if I attempted to depart openly, measures would be taken to prevent me. My friend Collins undertook to favour my flight. He agreed for my passage with the captain of a New-York sloop, to whom he represented me as a young man of his acquaintance, who had an affair with a girl of bad character, whose parents wished to compel me to marry her, and that of consequence I could neither make my appearance nor go off publicly. I sold part of my books to procure a small sum of money, and went privately on board the sloop. By favour of a good wind, I found myself in three days at New-York, nearly three hundred miles from my home, at the age only of seventeen years, without knowing an individual in the place, and with very little money in my pocket.

The inclination I had felt for a seafaring life was entirely subsided, or I should now have been able to gratify it; but having another trade, and believing myself to be a tolerable workman, I hesitated not to offer my services to the old Mr. William Bradford, who had been the first printer in Pennsylvania, but had quitted that province on account of a quarrel with George Keith, the governor. He could not give me employment himself, having little to do, and already as many persons as he wanted; but he told me that his son, a printer at Philadelphia, had lately lost his principal workman, Aquilla Rose, who was dead, and that if I would go thither, he believed that he would engage me. Philadelphia was a hundred miles farther. I hesitated not to embark in a boat in order to repair, by the shortest cut of the sea, to Amboy, leaving my trunk and effects to come after me by the usual and more tedious conveyance. In crossing the bay we met with a squall, which shattered to pieces our rotten sails, prevented us from entering the Kill, and threw us upon Long-Island.

During the squall a drunken Dutchman, who like myself was a passenger in the boat, f [...]ll into the sea. At the moment that he was sinking, I seized him by the fore-top, saved him, and drew him on board. This immersion sobered him a little, so that he fell asleep, after having taken from his pocket a volume, which he requested me to dry. This volume I found to be my old favourite work, Bunyan's Voyages, in Dutch, a beautiful impression on fine paper, with copperplate engravings; a dress in which I had never seen it in its original language. I have since learned that it had been translated into almost all the languages of Europe, and next to the Bible, I am persuaded, it is one of the books which has had the greatest spread. Honest John is the first, that I know of, who has mixed narrative and dialogue together; a mode of writing very engaging to the reader, who in the most interesting passages, finds himself admitted as it were into the company, and present at the conversation. De Foe has imitated it with success in his Robinson Cruso, his Moll Flanders, and other works; as also has Richardson in his Pamela, &c.

In approaching the island we found that we had made a part of the coast where it was not possible to land, on account of the strong breakers produced by the rocky shore. We cast anchor and veered the cable toward the shore. Some men, who stood upon the brink, hallooed to us, while we did the same on our part; but the wind was so high, and the waves so noisy, that we could neither of us hear each other. There were some canoes upon the bank, and we called out to them, and made signs to prevail on them to come and take us up; but either they did not understand us, or they deemed our request impracticable, and withdrew. Night came on, and nothing remained for us but to wait the subsiding of the wind; till when we determined, that this, the pilot and I, to sleep if possible. For that purpose we went below the hatches along with the Dutchman, who was drenched with water. The sea broke over the boat, and reached us in our retreat, so that we were presently as completely [...]reached as he.

We had very little repose during the whole night: but the wind abating the next day, we succeeded in reaching Amboy before it was dark, after having passed thirty hours without provisions, and with no other drink than a bottle of bad rum, the water upon which we roved being salt. In the evening I went to bed with a very violent fever. I had somewhere read that cold water, drank plentifully, was a remedy in such cases. I followed the prescription, was in a profuse sweat for the greater part of the night, and the fever left me. The next day I crossed the river in a ferry-boat, and continued my journey on foot. I had fifty miles to walk, in order to reach Burlington, where I was told I should find passage-boats that would convey me to Philadelphia. It rained hard the whole day, so that I was wet to the skin. Finding myself fatigued about noon, I stopped at a paltry inn, where I passed the rest of the day and the whole night, beginning to regret that I had quitted my home. I made besides so wretched a figure, that I was suspected to be some run-away servant. This I discovered by the questions that were asked me; and I felt that I was every moment in danger of being taken up as such. The next day, however I continued my journey, and arrived in the evening at an inn, eight or ten miles from Burlington, that was kept by one Dr. Brown.

This man entered into conversation with me while I took some refreshment, and perceiving that I had read a little, he expressed towards me considerable interest and friendship. Our acquaintance continued during the remainder of his life. I believe him to have been what is called an itinerant doctor; for there was no town in England, or indeed in Europe, of which he could not give a particular account. He was neither deficient in understanding nor literature, but he was a sad infidel; and, some years after, undertook to travesty the Bible in burlesque verse, as Cotton has travestied Virgil. He exhibited, by this means, many facts in a very ludicrous point of view, which would have given umbrage to weak minds, had his work been published, which it never was.

I spent the night at his house, and reached Burlington the next morning. On my arrival, I had the mortification to learn that the ordinary passage-boats had sailed a little before. This was on a Saturday, and there would be no other boat till the Tuesday following. I returned to the house of an old woman in the town who had sold me some gingerbread to eat one of my passage, and I [...] her advice. She invited me to take up my abode with her till an opportunity offered for me to embark. Fatigued with having travelled so far on foot, I accepted her invitation. When she understood that I was a printer, she would have persuaded me to stay at Burlington, and set up my trade: but she was little aware of the capital that would be necessary for such a purpose! I was treated while at her house with true hospitality. She gave me, with the utmost goodwill, a dinner of beef-steaks, and would accept of nothing in return but a pint of ale.

Here I imagined myself to be fixed till the Tuesday in the ensuing week; but walking out in the evening by the river side, I saw a boat with a number of persons in it approach. It was going to Philadelphia, and the company took me in. As there was no wind, we could only make way with our oars. About midnight, not perceiving the town, some of the company were of opinion that we must have passed it, and were unwilling to row any farther; the rest not knowing where we were it was resolved that we should stop. We drew towards the shore, entered a creek, and landed near some old palisades, which served us for fire-wood, it being a cold night in October. Here we stayed till day, when one of the company found the place in which we were to be Cooper's Creek, a little above Philadelphia; which in reality we perceived the moment we were out of the creek. We arrived on Sunday abought eight or nine o'clock in the morning, and landed on Market-street wharf.

I have entered into the particulars of my voyage, and shall in like manner describe my first entrance into this city, that you may be able to compare beginnings so little auspicious, with the figure I have since made.

On my arrival at Philadelphia I was in my working dress, my best clothes being to come by sea. I was covered with dirt; my pockets were filled with shirts and stockings; I was unacquainted with a single soul in the place, and knew not where to seek for a lodging. Fatigued with walking, rowing, and having passed the night without sleep, I was extremely hungry, and all my money consisted of a Dutch dollar, and about a shilling's worth of coppers, which I gave to the boatmen for my passage. As I had assisted them in rowing, they refused it at first; but I insisted on their taking it. A man is sometimes more generous when he has little, than when he has much money; probably because, in the first case, he is desirous of concealing his poverty.

I walked towards the top of the street, looking eagerly on both sides, till I came to Market-street, where I met a child with a loaf of bread. Often had I made my dinner on dry bread. I enquired where he had bought it, and went straight to the baker's shop which he pointed out to me. I asked for some biscuits, expecting to find such as we had at Boston; but they made, it seems, none of that sort at Philadelphia. I then asked for a three-penny loaf. They made no loaves of that price. Finding myself ignorant of the prices, as well as of the different kinds of bread, I desired him to let me have three penny-worth of bread of some kind or other. He gave me three large rolls. I was surprized at receiving so much: I took them, however, and having no room in my pockets, I walked on with a roll under each arm, eating the third. In this manner I went through Market-street to Fourth street, and passed the house of Mr. Read, the father of my future wife. She was standing at the door, observed me, and thought, with reason, that I made a very singular and grotesque appearance.

I then turned the corner, and went through Chesnut-street, eating my roll all the way; and having made this round, I found myself again on Market-street wharf, near the boat in which I had arrived. I stepped into it to take a draught of river-water; and finding myself satisfied with my first roll, I gave the other two to a woman and her child, who had come down the river with us in the boat, and was waiting to continue her journey. Thus refreshed, I regained the street, which was now full of well-dressed people, all going the same way. I joined them, and was thus led to a large Quakers' meeting-house near the market-place. I sat down with the rest, and after looking round me for some time, hearing nothing said, and being drowsy from my last night's labour and want of rest, I fell into a sound sleep. In this state I continued till the assembly dispersed, when one of the congregation had the goodness to wake me. This was consequently the first house I entered, or in which I slept at Philadelphia.

I began again to walk along the streets by the river side; and looking attentively in the face of every one I met, I at length perceived a young quaker, whose countenance pleased me. I accosted him, and begged, him to inform me where a stranger might find a lodging. We were then near the sign of the Three Mariners. They receive travellers here, said he, but it is not a house that bears a good character; if you will go with me, I will shew you a better one. He conducted me to the Crooked Billet, in Water-street. There I ordered something for dinner, and during my meal, a number of curious questions were put to me; my youth and appearance exciting the suspicion of my being a run-away. After dinner my drowsiness returned, and I threw myself upon a bed without taking off my clothes, and slept till six o'clock in the evening, when I was called to supper. I afterwards went to bed at a very early hour, and did not awake till the next morning.

As soon as I got up I put myself in as decent a trim as I could, and went to the house of Andrew Bradford the printer. I found his father in the shop, whom I had seen at New-York. Having travelled on horseback, he had arrived at Philadelphia before me. He introduced me to his son, who received me with civility, and gave me some breakfast; but told me he had no occasion for a journeyman, having lately procured one. He added, that there was another printer newly settled in the town, of the name of Keimer, who might perhaps employ me; and in case of a refusal, I should be welcome to lodge at his house, and he would give me a little work now and then, till something better should offer.

The old man offered to introduce me to the new printer. When we were at his house: "Neighbour," said he, ‘I bring you a young man in the printing business; perhaps you may have need of his services.’

Keimer asked me some questions, put a composing stick in my hand to see how I could work, and then said, that at present he had nothing for me to do, but that he should soon be able to employ me. At the same time taking old Bradford for an inhabitant of the town well-disposed towards him, he communicated his project to him, and the pospect he had of success. Bradford was careful not to discover that he was the father of the other printer; and from what Keimer had said, that he hoped shortly to be in possession of the greater part of the business of the town, led him by artful questions, and by starting some difficulties, to disclose all his views, what his hopes were founded upon, and how he intended to proceed. I was present, and heard it all. I instantly saw that one of the two was a cunning old fox, and the other a perfect novice. Bradford left me with Keimer, who was strangely surprised when I informed him who the old man was.

I found Keimer's printing materials to consist of an old damaged press, and a small cast of worn-out English letters, with which he was himself at work upon an elegy on Aquila Rose, whom I have mentioned above, an ingenious young man, and of an excellent character, highly esteemed in the town, secretary to the Assembly, and a very tolerable poet Keimer also made verses, but they were indifferent ones. He could not be said to write in verse, for his method was to take and set the lines as they flowed from his muse; and as he worked without copy, had but one set of letter-cases, and the elegy would probably occupy all his type, it was impossible for any one to assist him. I endeavoured to put his press in order, which he had not yet used, and [...] which indeed he understood nothing: and having promised to come and work off his elegy as soon as it should be ready, I returned to the house of Bradford, who gave me [...]ome trifle to do for the present, for which I had my board and lodging.

In a few days Keimer sent for me to print off his elegy. He had now procured another set of letter-cases, and had a pamphlet to reprint, upon which he set me to work.

The two Philadelphia printers appeared destitute of every qualification necessary in their profession. Bradford had not been brought up to it, and was very illiterate. Keimer, though he understood at little of the business, was merely a compositor, and wholly incapable of working at the press. He had one of the French prophets, and knew how to imitate their supernatural agitations. At the time of our first acquaintance he professed no particular religion, but a little of all upon occasion. He was totally ignorant of the world, and a great knave at heart, as I had afterwards an opportunity of experiencing.

Keimer could not endure that, working with him, I should lodge at Bradford's. He had indeed a house, but it was unfurnished; so that he could not take me in. He procured me a lodging at Mr. Read's, his landlord, whom I have already mentioned. My trunk and effects being now arrived, I thought of making, in the eyes of Miss Read, a more respectable appearance than when chance exhibited me to her view, eating my roll, and wandering in the streets.

From this period I began to contract acquaintance with such young people of the town as were fond of reading, and spent my evenings with them agreeably, while at the same time I gained money by my industry, and thanks to my frugality, lived contented. I thus forgot Boston as much as possible, and wished every one to be ignorant of the place of my residence, except my friend Collins, to whom I wrote, and who kept my secret.

An incident, however arrived, which sent me home much sooner than I had proposed. I had a brother-in-law, of the name of Robert Holmes, master of a trading sloop from Boston to Delaware. Being at Newcastle, forty miles below Philadelphia, he heard of me, and wrote to inform me of the chagrin which my sudden departure from Boston had occasioned my parents, and of the affection which they still entertained for me, assuring me that, if I would return, every thing should be adjusted to my satisfaction; and he was very pressing in his entreaties. I answered his letter, thanked him for his advice, and explained the reasons which had induced me to quit Boston, with such force and clearness, that he was convinced I had been less to blame than he had imagined.

Sir William Keith, governor of the province was at Newcastle at the time. Captain Holmes, being by chance in his company when he received my letter, took occasion to speak of me, and shewed it him. The governor read it, and appeared surprised when he learned my age. He thought me, he said, a young man of very promising talents, and that, of consequence, I ought to be encouraged; that there were at Philadelphia none but very ignorant printers, and that if I were to set up for myself, he had no doubt of my success; that, for his own part, he would procure me all the public business, and would render me every other service in his power. My brother-in-law related all this to me afterwards at Boston; but I knew nothing of it at the time; when one day Keimer and I being at work together near the window, we saw the governor and another gentleman, colonel French of Newcastle, handsomely dressed, cross the street, and make directly for our house. We heard them at the door, and Keimer, believing it to be a visit to himself, went immediately down: but the governor enquired for me, came up stairs, and, with a condescension and politeness to which I had not at all been accustomed, paid me many compliments, desired to be acquainted with me, obligingly reproached me for not having made myself known to him on my arrival in the town and wished me to accompany him to a tavern, where he and colonel French were going to tast some excellent Madeira wine.

I was, I confess, somewhat surprised, and Keimer appeared thunderstruck. I went however with the governor and the colonel to a tavern at the corner of Third-street, where, while we were drinking the Madeira, he proposed to me to establish a printing-house. He set forth the probabilities of success, and himself and colonel French assured me that I should have their protection and influence in obtaining the printing of the public papers of both governments; and as I appeared to doubt whether my father would assist me in this enterprise Sir William said that he would give me a letter to him, in which he would represent the advantages of the scheme, in a light which he had no doubt would determine him. It was thus concluded that I should return to Boston by the first vessel, with the letter of recommendation from the governor to my father. Meanwhile the project was to be kept secret, and I continued to work for Keimer as before.

The governor sent every now and then to invite me to dine with him. I cosiderd this as a very great honour; and I was the more sensible of it, as he conversed with me in the most affable, familar, and friendly manner imaginable.

Towards the end of April 1724, a small vessel was ready to sail for Boston- [...] too [...] leave of Keimer, upon the pretext of going to see my parents. The governor gave me a long letter, in which he said many flattering things of me to my father; and strongly recommended the project of my settling at Philadelphia, as a thing which could not fail to make my fortune.

Going down the bay we struck on a flat, and sprung a leak. The weather was very tempestuous, and we were obliged to pump without intermission; I took my turn. We arrived however safe and sound at Boston, after about a fortnight's passage.

I had been absent seven complete months and my relations, during that interval, ha [...] received no intelligence of me; for my brother-in-law, Holmes, was not yet returned, and had not written about me. My unexpected appearance surprised the family; but they were all delighted at seeing me again, and, except my brother, welcomed me home. I went to him at the printing-office. I was better dressed than I had ever been while in his service; I had a complete suit of clothes, new and neat, a watch in my pocket, and my purse was furnished with nearly five pounds sterling in money. He gave me no very civil reception; and having eyed me from head to foot, resumed his work.

The workmen asked me with eagerness where I had been, what sort of a country it was, and how I liked it. I spoke in the highest terms of Philadelphia, the happy life we led there, and expressed my intention of going back again. One of them asked what sort of money we had, I displayed before them a handful of silver, which I drew from my pocket. This was a curiosity to which they were not accustomed, paper being the current money at Boston. I failed not after this to let them see my watch; and at last, my brother continuing sullen and out of humour, I gave them a shilling to drink, and took my leave. This visit stung my brother to the soul; for when, shortly after, my mother spoke to him of a reconciliation, and a desire of seeing us upon good terms, he told her that I had so insulted him before his men, that he would never forget or forgive it: in this, however, he was mistaken.

The governor's letter appeared to excite in my father some surprise; but he said little. After some days, Capt. Holmes being returned, he shewed it him, asking him if he knew Keith, and what sort of a man he was: adding, that, in his opinion, it proved very little discernment to think of setting up a boy in business, who for three years to come would not be of an age to be ranked in the class of men. Holmes said every thing he could in favour of the scheme; but my father firmly maintained its absurdity, and at last gave a positive refusal. He wrote, however, a civil letter to Sir William, thanking him for the protection he had so obligingly offered me, but refusing to assist me for the present, because he thought me too young to be entrusted with the conduct of so important an enterprise, and which would require so considerable a sum of money.

My old comrade Collins, who was a clerk in the post-office, charmed with the account I gave of my new residence, expressed a desire of going thither; and while I waited my father's determination, he set off before me, by land, for Rhode-Island, leaving his books, which formed a handsome collection in mathematics and natural philosophy, to be conveyed with mine to New-York, where he purposed to wait for me.

My father, though he could not approve Sir William's proposal, was yet pleased that I had obtained so advantageous a recommendation as that a person of his rank, and that my industry and economy had enabled me to equip myself so handsomely in so short a period▪ Seeing no appearance of accommodating matters between my brother and me, he consented to my return to Philadelphia, advised me to be civil to every body, to endeavour to obtain general esteem, and avoid satire and sarcasm, to which he thought I was too much inclined; adding, that, with perseverance and prudent economy, I might, by the time I became of age, save enough to establish myself in business; and that if a small sum should then be wanting, he would undertake to supply it.

This was all I could obtain from him, except some trifling presents, in token of friendship from him and my mother. I embarked once more for New-York, furnished at this time with their approbation and blessing. The sloop having touched at Newport in Rhode-Island, I paid a visit to my brother John, who had for some years been settled there, and was married. He had always been attached to me, and received me with great affection. One of his friends, whose name was Vernon, having a debt of about thirty-six pounds due to him in Pennsylvania, begged me to receive it for him, and keep the money till I should hear from him: accordingly he gave me an order for that purpose. This affair occasioned me, in the sequel, much uneasiness.

At Newport we took on board a number of passengers; among whom were two young women, and a grave and sensible quaker lady with her servants. I had shown an obliging forwardness in rendering the quaker some trifling services, which led her, probably, to feel some interest in my welfare; for when she saw a familiarity take place, and every day increase, between the two young women and me, she took me aside and said, "Young man, I am in pain for thee. Thou hast no parent to watch over thy conduct, and thou seemest to be ignorant of the world, and the snares to which youth is exposed. Rely upon what I tell thee: those are women of bad characters; I perceive it in all their actions. If thou dost not take care, they will lead thee into danger. They are strangers to thee, and I advise thee, by the friendly interest I take in thy preservation, to form no connection with them." As I appeared at first not to think quite so ill of them as she did, she related many things she had seen and heard, which had escaped my attention, but which convinced me she was in the right. I thanked her for her obliging advice, and promised to follow it.

When we arrived at New-York, they informed me where they lodged, and invited me to come and see them. I did not however go, and it was well I did not; for the next day, the captain, missing a silver spoon and some other things which had been taken from the cabin, and knowing these women to be prostitutes, procured a search warrant, found the stolen goods upon them, and had them punished. And thus, after having been saved from one rock concealed under water, upon which the vessel struck during our passage, I escaped another of a still more dangerous nature.

At New-York I found my friend Collins, who had arrived some time before. We had been intimate from our infancy, and had read the same books together; but he had the advantage of being able to devote more time to reading and study, and an astonishing disposition for mathematics, in which he left me far behind. When at Boston, I had been accustomed to pass with him almost all my leisure hours. He was then a sober and industrious lad; his knowledge had gained him a very general esteem, and he seemed to promise to make an advantageous figure in society. But, during my absence, he had unfortunately addicted himself to brandy, and I learned, as well from himself as from the report of others, that every day since his arrival at New-York he had been intoxicated, and had acted in a very extravagant manner. He had also played, and lost all his money; so that I was obliged to pay all his expences at the inn, and to maintain him during the rest of the journey; a burden that was very inconvenient to me.

The governor of New-York, whose name was Burrent, hearing the captain say that a young man who was a passenger in his ship had a great number of books, begged him to bring me to his house. I accordingly went, and should have taken Collins with me, had he been sober. The governor treated me with great civility, shewed me his library, which was a very considerable one, and we talked for some time upon books and authors. This was the second governor who had honoured me with his attention; and to a poor boy, a [...] I then was, these little adventures did not fail to be pleasing.

We arrived at Philadelphia. On the way I received Vernon's money, without which we should have been unable to have finished our journey.

Collins wished to get employment as a merchant's clerk; but either his breath or his countenance betrayed his bad habit; for, though he had recommendations, he met with no success, and continued to lodge and eat with me, and at my expence. Knowing that I had Vernon's money, he was continually asking me to lend him some of it; promising to repay me at he should get employment. At last he had drawn so much of this money, that I was extremely alarmed at what might become of me, should he [...]a [...]l to make good the deficiency. His habit of drinking did not all diminish, and was a frequent source of discord between us for when he had drank a little too much, h [...] was very headstrong.

Being one day in a boat together, on the Delaware, with some other young persons, he refused to take his turn in rowing. You shall row for me, said he, till we get home.— No, I replied, we will not row for you.— You shall, said he, or remain upon the water all night.—As you please.—Let us row, said the rest of the company: what signifies whether he assists or not. But, already angry with him for his conduct in other respects, I persisted in my refusal. He then swore that he would make me row, or would throw me out of the boat; and he made up to me. As soon as he was within my reach I took him by the collar, gave him a violent thrust, and threw him head-foremost into the river. I knew that he was a good swimmer, and was therefore under no apprehensions for his life.

Before he could turn himself, we were able, by a few strokes of our oars, to place ourselves out of his reach; and whenever he touched the boat, we asked him if he would row, striking his hands with the oars to make him let go his hold. He was nearly suffocated with rage, but obstinately refused making any promise to row. Perceiving at length that his strenght began to be exhausted, we took him into the boat, and conveyed him home in the evening, completely drenched. The utmost coldness subsisted between us after this adventure. At last the captain of a West-India ship, who was commissioned to procure a tutor for the children of a gentleman at Barbadoes, meeting with Collins, offered him the place. He accepted it and took his leave of me, promising to discharge the debt he owed me with the first money he should receive; but I have heard nothing of him since.

The violation of the trust reposed in me by Vernon, was one of the first great errors of my life; and it proves that my father was not mistaken when he supposed me too young to be intrusted with the management of important affairs. But Sir William, upon reading his letter, thought him too prudent. There was a difference, he said, between individuals years of maturity were not always accompanied with discretion, neither was youth in every instance devoid of it. Since your father added he, will not set you up in business, [...] will do it myself. Make out a list of what will be wanted from England, and I will send for the articles. You shall repay me whe [...] you can. I am determined to have a good printer here, and I am sure you will succeed. This was said with so much seeming cordiality, that I suspected not for an instant the sincerity of the offer. I had hitherto kept the project, with which Sir William had inspired me, of settling in business, a secret at Philadelphia, and I still continued to do so. H [...] my reliance on the governor been known some friends, better acquainted with his character than myself, would doubtless have advi [...] ed me not to trust him; for I afterwards lear [...] ed that he was universally known to be liber [...] of promises, which he had no intention to perform. [Page 59]But having never solicited him, how could I suppose his offers to be deceitful? On the contrary, I believed him to be the best man in the world.

I gave him an inventory of a small printing-office; the expence of which I had calculated at about a hundred pounds sterling. He expressed his approbation; but asked if my presence in England, that I might choose the characters myself, and see that every article was good in its kind, would not be an advantage. You will also be able, said he, to form some acquaintance there, and establish a correspondence with stationers and booksellers. This I acknowledged was desirable. That being the case, added he, hold yourself in readiness to go with the Annis. This was the annual vessel, and the only one, at that time, which made regular voyages between the ports of London and Philadelphia. But the Annis was not to sale for some months. I thefore continued to work with Keimer, unhappy respecting the sum which Collins had drawn from me, and almost in continual agony at the thoughts of Vernon, who fortunately made no demand of his money till several years after.

In the account of my first voyage from Boston to Philadelphia, I omitted I believe a trifling circumstance, which will not perhaps be out of place here. During a calm which stopped us above Block-Island, the crew employed themselves in fishing for cod, of which they caught a great number. I had hitherto adhered to my resolution of not eating any thing that had possessed life; and I considered on this occasion, agreeably to the maxims of m [...] master Tryon, the capture of every fish as a sort of murder, committed without provocation, since these animals had neither done, nor were capable of doing, the smallest injury to any one that should justify the measure. This mode of reasoning I conceived to be unanswerable. Meanwhile I had formerly been extremely fond of fish; and when one of these cod was taken out of the frying-pan, I thought its flavour delicious. I hesitated some time between principle and inclination, till at last recollecting, that when the cod had been opened, some small fish had been found in his belly, I said to mysef, If you eat one another I see no reason why we may not eat you. I accordingly dined on the cod with no small degree of pleasure, and have since continued to eat like the rest of mankind, returning only occasionally to my vegetable plan. Ho [...] convenient does it prove to be a rational animal, that knows how to find or invent a plausible pretext for whatever it has an inclination to do!

I continued to live upon good terms with Keimer, who had not the smallest suspicion of my projected establishment. He still retained a portion of his former enthusiasm; and being fond of argument, we frequently disputed together. I was so much in the habit of using my Socratic method, and had so frequently puzzled him by my questions, which appeared at first very distant from the point in debate, yet nevertheless led to it by degrees, involving him in difficulties and contradictions from which he was unable to extricate himself, that he became at last ridiculously cautious, and would scarcely answer the most plain and familiar question without previously asking me—What would you infer from that? Hence, he formed so high an opinion of my talents for refutation, that he seriously proposed to me to become his colleague in the establishment of a new religious sect. He was to propagate the doctrine by preaching, and I to refute every opponent.

When he me explained to his tenets, I sound many absurdities which I refused to admit, unless he would agree in turn to adopt some of my opinions. Keimer wore his beard long, because Moses had somewhere said, Thou shalt not mar the corners of thy beard. He likewise observed the Sabbath; and these were with him two very essential points. I disliked them both; but I consented to adopt them, provided he would abstain from animal food. I doubt, said he, whether my constitution will be able to support it. I assured him on the contrary, that he would find himself the better for it. He was naturally a glutton, and I wished to amuse myself by starving him. He consented to make trial of this regimen, if I would bear him company; and in rea [...]y we continued it for three months. A woman in the neighbourhood prepared and brought us our victuals, to whom I gave a list of forty dishes, in the composition of which there entered neither flesh nor fish. This fancy was [...]e more agreeable to me, as it turned to good account, for the whole expence of our living did not exceed for each eighteen-pence a week.

I have since that period observed several Lents with the greatest strictness, and had suddenly returned again to my ordinary diet, without experiencing the smallest inconvenience; which has led me to regard as of no importance the advice commonly given, of introducing gradually such alterations of regimen.

I continued it cheerfully; but poor Keimer suffered terribly. Tired of the project, he sighed for the flesh pots of Egypt. At length he ordered a roast pig, and invited me and two of our female acquaintance to dine with him; but the pig being ready a little too soon, he could not resist the temptation, and eat it all up before we arrived.

During the circumstances I have related, I had paid some attentions to Miss Read. I entertained for her the utmost esteem and affection; and I had reason to believe that these sentiments were mutual. But we were both young, scarcely more than eighteen years of age; and as I was on the point of undertaking a long voyage, her mother thought it prudent to prevent matters being carried to [...] far for the present, judging that if marriage was our object, there would be more propriety in it after my return, when, as at least I expected, I should be established in my business. Perhaps also [...] thought that my expectations were not so well-founded as I imagined.

My most intimate aquaintance at this time were Charles Osborne, Joseph Watson, and James Ralph; young men who were all fond of reading. The two first were clerks to Mr. Charles Brockdon, one of the principal attornies in the town, and the other clerk to a merchant. Watson was an upright, pious and sensible young man: the others were somewhat more loose in their principles of religion, particularly Ralph, whose faith, as well as that of Collins, I had contributed to shake; each of whom made me suffer a very adequate punishment. Osborne was sensible, and sincere and affectionate in his friendships, but too much inclined to the critic in [...]tters of literature. Ralph was ingenious and shrewd, genteel in his address, and extremely eloquent. I do not remember to have met will a more agreeable speaker. They were both enamoured of the muses, and had already evinced their passion by some small poetical productions.

It was a custom with us to take a charming w [...]k on Sundays, in the woods that bordered on the Schuylkill. Here we read together, and afterwards conversed on what we read. Ralph was disposed to give himself up entir [...] to poetry. He flattered himself that he should arrive at great eminence in the art, and even acquire a fortune. The sublimest poets, he pretended, when they first began to write, committed as many faults as himself. Osborne endeavoured to dissuade him from it, by a [...] suring him that he had no genius for poetry and advised him to stick to the trade in which he had been brought up. In the road of commerce, said he, you will be sure, by diligen [...] and assiduity, though you have no capital, [...] so far succeeding as to be employed as a fa [...] tor, and may thus, in time, acquire the means of setting up for yourself. I conc [...] red in these sentiments, but at the same ti [...] expressed my approbation of amusing oursel [...] sometimes with poetry, with a view to impro [...] our style. In consequence of this it was proposed, that, at our next meeting, each of [...] should bring a copy of verses of his own composition. Our object in this competition [...] to benefit each other by our mutual remarks, criticisms and corrections; and as style [...] expression were all we had in view, we excluded every idea of invention, by agreeing that our task should be a version of the eigh [...] teenth psalm, in which is described the desce [...] of the Deity.

The time of our meeting drew near, when Ralph called upon me, and told me his pie [...] was ready. I informed him that I had be [...] idle, and, not much liking the task, had do [...] nothing. He shewed me his piece, and asked what I thought of it. I expressed myself in terms of warm approbation; because it really appeared to have considerable merit. He then said: Osborne will never acknowledge the smallest degree of excellence in any production of mine. Envy alone dictates to him a thousand animadversions. Of you he is not so jealous: I wish therefore, you would take the verses, and produce them as your own. I will pretend not to have had leisure to write any thing. We shall then see in what manner he will speak of them. I agreed to this little artifice, and immediately transcribed the verses [...] prevent all suspicion.

We met. Watson's performance was the [...] that was read. It had some beauties, but many faults. We next read Osborne's, which was much better. Ralph did it justice, remarking a few imperfections, and applauding such parts as were excellent. He had himself nothing to show. It was now my turn. I made s [...]me difficulty; seemed as if I wished to be excused; pretended that I had had no time to make corrections, &c. No excuse, however, was admissible, and the piece must be produced. It was read and re-read. Watson and Osborne immediately resigned the palm, and united in applauding it. Ralph alone made a few remarks, and proposed some alterations; but I defended my text. Osborne agreed with me, and told Ralph he was no more able to criticise than he was able to write.

When Osborne was alone with me, he expressed himself still more strongly in favour of what he considered as my performance. He pretended that he had put some restrain [...] on himself before, apprehensive of my construing his commendation into flattery. But who would have supposed, said he, Franklin to be capable of such a composition? What painting, what energy, what fire! He has surpassed the original. In his common conversation he appears not to have choice of words; he hesitates, and is at a loss; and yet, good God, how he writes!

At our next meeting Ralph discovered the trick we had played Osborne, who was ra [...] lied without mercy.

By this adventure Ralph was fixed in his resolution of becoming a poet. I left nothing unattempted to divert him from his purpose; but he persevered, till at last the reading of Pope* effected his cure: he became, however, a very tolerable pro [...]e writer. I shall speak more of him hereafter; but as I shall probably have no farther occasion to mention the other two, I ought to observe here, that Watson died a few years after in my arms. He was greatly regretted; for he was the best of our society. Osborne went to the islands, where he gained considerable reputation as a barrister, and was getting money; but he died young. We had seriously engaged, that whoever died first should return, if possible, and pay a friendly visit to the survivor, to him an account of other world; but he has never fulfilled his engagement.

The governor appeared to be fond of my company, and frequently invited me to his house. He always spoke of his intention of settling me in business, as a point that was decided. I was to take with me letters of recommendation to a number of friends; and particularly a letter of credit, in order to obtain the necessary sum for the purchase of my press, types and paper. He appointed various times for me to come for these letters, which would certainly be ready; and when I came, always put me off to another day.

These successive delays continued till the vessel, whose departure had been several times deferred, was on the point of setting sail; when I again went to Sir William's house to receive my letters and take leave of him. [...] saw his secretary, Dr. Bard, who told me that the governor was extremely busy writing, but that he would be down at Newcastle before the vessel, and that the letters would be delivered to me there.

Ralph, though he was married and had a child, determined to accompany me in this voyage. His object was supposed to be the establishing a correspondence with some mercantile houses, in order to sell goods by commission; but I afterwards learned, that having reason to be dissatisfied with the parents of his wife, he proposed to himself to leave her on their hands, and never return to America again.

Having taken leave of my friends, and interchanged promises of fidelity with Mi [...] Read, I quitted Philadelphia. At Newcastle the vessel came to anchor. The governor was arrived, and I went to his logdings. His secretary received me with great civilty, told me on the part of the govorner that he could not [...]or me then, as he was engaged in affairs of the utmost importance, but that he would send the letters on board, and that he wished me, with all his heart, a good voyage and speedy return I returned somewhat astonished, but still with out entertaining the slightest suspicion.

Mr. Hamilton, a celebrated barrister of Philadelphia, had taken a passage to England for himself and his son, and, in conjunction with Mr. Denham a quaker, and Messrs. Oniam and Russel, proprietors of a forge in Maryland, had agreed for the whole cabin, so that Ralph and I were obliged to take up our lodging with the crew. Being unknown to every body in the ship, we were looked upon as the common order of people: but Mr. Hamilton and his son (it was James, who was afterwards governor) left us at Newcastle, and returned to Philadelphia, where he wa [...] recalled, at a very great expence, to plead the cause of a vessel that had been seized; and just as we were about to sail, colonel Finch came on board, and shewed me many civilities. The passengers upon this paid me more attention, and I was invited, together with my friend Ralph, to occupy the place in the cabin, which the return of the Mr. Hamiltons had made vacant; an offer which we very readily accepted.

Having learned that the dispatches of the governor had been brought on board by colonel Finch, I asked the captain for the letters that were to be intrusted to my care. He told me that they were all put together in the bag, which he could not open at present; but before [...]e reached England, he would give me an opportunity of taking them out. I was satisfied with this answer, and we pursued our voyage.

The company in the cabin were all very sociable, and we were perfectly well off as to provisions, as we took the advantage of the whole of Mr. Hamilton's who had laid in a very plentiful stock. During the passage Mr. Denham contracted a friendship for me, which ended only with his life: in other respects the voyage was by no means an agreeable one, as we had much bad weather.

When we arrived in the river, the captain was as good as his word, and allowed me to search the bag for the governor's letters. I could not find a single one with my name written on it, as committed to my care; but I selected six or seven, which I judged from the direction to be those that were intended for me; particularly one to Mr. Basket the king's printer, and another to a stationer, who was the first person I called upon. I delivered him the letter as coming from governor Keith. ‘I have no acquaintance (said he) with any such person;’ and opening the letter, ‘Oh, it is from Riddlesden! he exclaimed. I have lately discovered him to be a very arrant knave, and I wish to have nothing to do either with him or his letters.’ He instantly put the letter in my hand, turned upon his heel, and left me to serve some customers.

I was astonished at finding these letters were not from the governor. Reflecting, and [...] ting circumstances together, I then began to doubt his sincerity. I rejoined my friend Denham, and related the whole affair to him. He let me at once into Keith's character, told me there was not the least probability of his having written a single letter; that no one who knew him ever placed any reliance on him, and laughed at my credulity in supposing that the governor would give me a letter of credit, when he had no credit for himself. As I shewed some uneasiness respecting what step I should take, he advised me to try to get employment in the house of some printer. You may there, said he, improve yourself in business, and you will be able to settle yourself the more advantageously when you return to America.

We knew already, as well as the stationer, attorney Riddlesden to be a knave. He had nearly ruined the father of Miss Read, by drawing him in to be his security. We learned from his letter, that he was secretly carrying on an entrigue, in concert with the governor, to the prejudice of Mr. Hamilton, who it was supposed would by this time be in Europe. Denham, who was Hamilton's friend, was of opinion that he ought to be made acquainted with it: and in reality, the instant he arrived in England, which was very soon after, I waited on him, and, as much from good-will to him as from resentment against the governor, put the letter into his hands. He thanked me very sincerely, the information it contained being of consequence to him; and from that moment bestowed on me his friendship, which afterwards proved on many occasions serviceable to me.

But what are we to think of a governor who could play so scurvy a trick, and thus grossly deceive a poor young lad, wholly destitute of experience? It was a practice with him. Wishing to please every body, and having little to bestow, he was lavish of promises. He was in other respects sensible and judicious, a very tolerable writer, and a good governor for the people; though not so for the proprietaries, whose instructions he frequently disregarded. Many of our best laws were his work, and established during his administration.

Ralph and I were inseparable companions. We took a lodging together at three and s [...] pence a week, which was as much as [...] could afford. He met with some relations [...] London, but they were poor, and not able [...] assist him. He now, for the first time, informed me of his intention to remain in England, and that he had no thoughts of ev [...] returning to Philadelphia. He was total [...] without money; the little he had been [...] to raise having barely sufficed for his passage I had still fifteen pistoles remaining; and [...] me he had from time to time recourse, which he tried to get employment.

At first, believing himself possessed of [...] lents for the stage, he thought of turning actor; but Wilkes, to whom he appli [...] frankly advised him to renounce the idea, [...] it was impossible to succeed. He next proposed to Roberts, a bookseller in Pate [...]noster-Row, to write a weekly paper in the manner of the Spectator, upon terms [...] which Roberts would not listen. Lastly, [...] endeavoured to procure employment as [...] copyist, and applied to the lawyers and sta [...]oners about the Temple; but he could find no vacancy.

As to myself, I immediately got engaged at Palmer's, at that time a noted printer i [...] Ba [...]holomew Close, with whom I continued nearly a year. I applied very assiduously [...] my work; but I expended with Ralph almost all that I earned, Plays and other places amusement which we frequented together, saving exhausted my pistoles, we lived after this from hand to mouth. He appeared to have entirely forgotten his wife and child, as I also, by degrees, forgot my engagements with Miss Read, to whom I never wrote more than one letter, and that merely to inform her that I was not likely to return soon. This was another grand error of my life, which I should be desirous of correcting, were I to begin my career again.

I was employed at Palmer's on the second adition of Woolaston's Religion of Nature. Some of his arguments appearing to me not to be well founded, I wrote a small metaphysical treatise, in which I animadverted on those passages. It was entitled a Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain. I dedicated it to my friend Ralph, and printed a small number of copies. Palmer upon this treated me with more consideration and regarded me as a young man of talents; tho' [...]e seriously took me to task for the principles of my pamphlet, which he looked upon as [...]ominable. The printing of this work was another error of my life.

While I lodged in Little Britain I formed acquaintance with a bookseller of the name of Wilcox, whose shop was next door to me. Circulating libraries were not then in use. He had an immense collection of books of all sorts. We agreed that, for a reasonable retribution, of which I have now forgotten the price, I should have free access to his library, and take what books I pleased, which I was to return when I had read them. I considered this agreement as a very great advantage; and I derived from it as much benefit as was in my power.

My pamphlet falling into the hands of a surgeon, of the name of Lyons, author of a book entitled Infallibility of Human Judgment, was the occasion of a considerable intimacy between us. He expressed great esteem for me, came frequently to see me, it order to converse upon metaphysical subjects, and introduced me to Dr. Mandeville, author of the Fable of Bees, who had instituted a club at a tavern in Cheapside, [...] which he was the soul: he was a facetious and very amusing character. He also introduced me, at Baston's coffee-house, to Dr. Pemberton, who promised to give me an opportunity of seeing Sir Isaac Newton, which I very ardently desired; but he never kept his word.

I had brought some curiosities with me from America; the principal of which was a purse made of Asbestos, which fire only purifies. Sir Hans Sloane hearing of it, called upon me, and invited me to his house in Bloomsbury square, where, after showing me every thing that was curious, he prevailed on me to add this piece to his collection▪ for which he paid me very handsomely.

There lodged in the same house with us a young woman, a milliner, who had a shop by the side of the Exchange. Lively and sensible, and having received an education somewhat above her rank, her conversation was very agreeable. Ralph read plays to her every evening. They became intimate. She took another lodging, and he followed her. They lived for some time together; but Ralph being without employment, she having a child, and the profits of her business not sufficing for the maintenance of three, he resolved to quit London, and try a country school. This was a plan in which he thought himself likely to succeed, as he wrote a fine hand, and was versed in arithmetic and accounts. But considering the office as beneath him, and expecting some day to make a better figure in the world, when he should be ashamed of its being known that he had exercised a profession so little honourable, he changed his name, and did me the honour of assuming mine. He wrote to me soon after his departure, informing me that he was settled at a small village in Berkshire. In his letter he recommended Mrs. T***, the milliner, to my care, and requested an answer, directed to Mr. Franklin, schoolmaster at N***.

He continued to write to me frequently, sending me large fragments of an epic poem he was composing, and which he requested me to criticise and correct. I did so, but not without endeavouring to prevail on him to renounce this pursuit. Young had jus [...] published one of his Satires. I copied and sent him a great part of it; in which the author demonstrates the folly of cultivating the Muses, from the hope, by their instrumentality, of rising in the world. It was all to no purpose; paper after paper of his poem continued to arrive every post.

Meanwhile Mrs. T*** having lost, on his account, both her friends and her business was frequently in distress. In this dilemma she had recourse to me; and to extricate her from her difficulties, I lent her all the money I could spare. I felt a little too much fondness for her. Having at that time no ties of religion, and taking advantage of her necessitous situation, I attempted liberties (another error of my life) which she repelle [...] with becoming indignation. She informed Ralph of my conduct; and the affair occasioned a breach between us. When he returned to London, he gave me to understand that he considered all the obligations he owed me as annihilated by this proceeding▪ whence I concluded that I was never to expect the payment of what money I had lent him, or advanced on his account. I was the less afflicted at this, as he was unable to pay me; and as, by losing his friendship, I was relieved at the same time from a very heavy burthen.

I now began to think of laying by some money. The printing-house of Watts, near [Page 77]Lincoln's Inn-Fields, being a still more con [...]derable one than that in which I worked, it was probable I might find it more advantageous to be employed there. I offered myself, and was accepted; and in this house I continued during the remainder of my stay in London.

On my entrance I worked at first as a pressman, conceiving that I had need of bodily exercise, to which I had been accustomed in America, where the printers work alternately as compositors and at the press [...] drank nothing but water. The other workmen, to the number of about fifty, were great drinkers of beer. I carried occasionally a large form of letters in each hand, up and down stairs, while the rest employed both hands to carry one. They were surprised to see, by this and many other [...]amples, that the American Aquatic, as they used to call me, was stronger than those who drank porter. The beer-boy had sufficient employment during the whole day in serving that house alone. My fellow-pressman drank every day a pint of beer before breakfast, a pint with bread and cheese for breakfast, one between breakfast and dinner, one at dinner, one again about six o'clock in the afternoon, and another after he had finished his day's work. This custom appeared to me abominable; but he had need, he said, of all this beer, in order to acquire strength to work.

I endeavoured to convince him that bodily strength furnished by beer, could only be in proportion to the solid part of the barley dissolved in the water of which the beer was composed; that there was a larger portion of flour in a penny loaf, and that consequently if he eat this loaf, and drank a pint of water with it, he would derive more strength from it than from a pint of beer. This reasoning, however, did not prevent him from drinking his accustomed quantity of beer, and paying every Saturday night a score of four or five shillings a week for this cursed beverage; an expence from which I was wholly exempt. Thus do these poor devils continue all their lives in a state of voluntary wretchedness and poverty.

At the end of a few weeks, Watts having occasion for me above stairs as a compositor, I quitted the press. The compositors demanded of me garnish-money afresh. This I considered as an imposition, having already paid below. The master was of the same opinion, and desired me not to comply. I thus remained two or three weeks out of the fraternity. I was consequently looked upon as excommunicated; and whenever I was absent, no little trick that malice could suggest was left unpractised upon me. I found my letters mixed, my pages transposed, my matter broken, &c. &c. all which was attributed to the spirit that haunted the chapel,* and tormented those who were not regularly admitted. I was at last obliged to submit to pay, notwithstanding the protection of the master; convinced of the folly of not keeping up a good understanding with those among whom we were destined to live.

After this I lived in the utmost harmony with my fellow-labourers, and soon acquired considerable influence among them. I proposed some alterations in the laws of the chapel, which I carried without opposition. My example prevailed with several of them to renounce their abominable practice of bread and cheese with beer; and they procured, like me, from a neighbouring house, a good bason of warm gruel, in which was a small slice of butter, with toasted bread and nutmeg. This was a much better breakfast, which did not cost more than a pint of beer, namely, three-halfpence, and at the same time preserved the head clearer. Those who continued to gorge themselves with beer, often lost their credit with the publican, from neglecting to pay their score. They had then recourse to me, to become security for them; their light, as they used to call it, being out. I attended at the pay-table every Saturday evening, to take up the little sum which I had made myself answerable for; and which sometimes amounted to near thirty shillings a week.

This circumstance, added to my reputation of being a tolerable good gabber, or, in other words, skilful in the art of burlesque, kept up my importance in the chapel. I had besides recommended myself to the esteem of my master by my assiduous application to business never observing Saint Monday. My extraordinary quickness in composing always procured me such work as was most urgent, and which is commonly best paid; and thus my time passed away in a very pleasant manner.

My lodging in Little Britain being to far from the printing-house, I took another in Duke-street, opposite the Roman Chapel. It was the back of an Italian warehouse. The house was kept by a widow, who had a daughter, a servant, and a shop boy; but the latter slept out of the house. After sending to the people with whom I lodged in Little Britain, to enquire into my character, she agreed to take me at the same price, three-and-sixpence a week; contenting herself, she said, with so little, because of the security she would derive, as they were all women, from having a man to lodge in the same house.

She was a woman rather advanced in life, the daughter of a clergyman. She had been educated a Protestant; but her husband, whose memory she highly revered, had converted her to the Catholic religion. She had lived in habits of intimacy with persons of distinction; of whom she knew various anecdotes as far back as the time of Charles II. Being subject to fits of the gout, which often confined her to her room, she was sometimes disposed to see company. Hers was so amusing to me, that I was glad to pass the evening with her as often as she desired it. Our supper consisted only of half an anchovy a piece, upon a slice of bread and butter, with half a [...]nt of ale between us. But the entertainment was in her conversation.

The early hours I kept, and the little trouble I occasioned in the family, made her loath to part with me; and when I mentioned another loding I had found, nearer the printing-house, at two shillings a week, which fell in with my plan of saving, she persuaded me to give it up, making herself an abatement of two shillings: and thus I continued to lodge with her, during the remainder of my abode in London, at eighteen-pence a week.

In a garret of the house there lived, in the most retired manner, a lady seventy years of age, of whom I received the following account from my landlady. She was a Roman Catholic. In her early years she had been sent to the continent, and entered a convent with the design of becoming a nun; but the climate not agreeing with her constitution, she was obliged to return to England, where, as there were no monasteries, she made a vow to lead a monastic life, in as rigid a manner as circumstances would permit. She accordingly disposed of her property to be applied to charitable uses, reserving to herself only twelve pounds a year; and of this small pittance she gave a part to the poor, living on water-gruel, and never making use of fire but to boil it. She had lived in this garret a great many years, without paying rent to the successive Catholic inhabitants that had kept the house; who indeed considered her abode with them as a blessing. A priest came every day to confess her. I have asked her, said my landlady, how, living as she did, she could find so much employment for a confessor? To which she answered, that it was impossible to avoid vain thoughts.

I was once permitted to visit her. She was cheerful and polite, and her conversation agreeable. Her apartment was neat; but the whole furniture consisted of a mattrass, a table, on which were a crucifix and a book, a chair, which she gave me to sit on, and over the mantle-piece a picture of St. Veronica displaying her handkerchief, on which was seen the miraculous impression of the face of Christ, which she explained to me with great gravity. Her countenance was pale, but she had never experienced sickness; and I may adduce her as another proof how little is sufficient to maintain life and health.

At the printing-house I contracted an intimacy with a sensible young man of the name of Wygate, who, as his parents were in good circumstances, had received a better education than is common with printers. He was a tolerable Latin scholar, spoke French fluently, and was fond of reading. I taught him, as well as a friend of his, to swim, by taking them twice only into the river; after which they stood in need of no farther assistance. We one day made a party to go by water to Chelsea, in order to see the College, and Don Soltero's curiosities. On our return, at the request of the company, whose curiosity Wygate had excited, I undressed myself, and leaped into the river. I swam from near Chelsea the whole way to Black-friars Bridge, exhibiting, during my course, a variety of feats of activity and address, both upon the surface of the water, as well as under it. This sight occasioned much astonishment and pleasure to those to whom it was new. In my youth I took great delight in this exercise. I knew, and could execute, all the evolutions and positions of Thevenot; and I added to them some of my own invention, in which I endeavoured to unite gracefulness and untility. I took a pleasure in displaying them all on this occasion, and was highly flattered with the admiration they excited.

Wygate, besides his being desirous of perfecting himself in this art, was the more attached to me from there being, in order respects, a conformity in our tastes and studies. He at length proposed to me to make the tour of Europe with him, maintaining ourselves at the same time by working at our profession. I was on the-point of consenting, when I mentioned it to my friend Denham, with whom I was glad to pass an hour whenever I had le [...] sure. He dissuaded me from the project, and advised me to return to Philadelphia which he was about to do himself. I must relate in this place a trait of this worthy man's character.

He had formerly been in business at Bristol, but failing, he compounded with his creditors and departed for America, where, by assiduous application as a merchant, he acquired in a few years a very considerable fortune. Returning to England in the same vessel with myself, as I have related above, he invited all his old creditors to a feast. When assembled, he thanked them for the readiness with which they had received his small compositions and, while they expected nothing more than a simple entertainment, each found under his plate, when it came to be removed, a draft upon a banker for the residue of his debt with interest.

He told me it was his intention to cary back with him to Philadelphia a great quantity of goods, in order to open a store; and he offered to take me with him in the capacity of a clerk, to keep his books, in which he would instruct me, copy letters and superintend the store. He added, that, as soon as I had acquired a knowledge of mercantile transactions, he would improve my situation by sending me with a cargo of corn and flour to the American islands, and by procuring me other lucrative commissions; so that, with good management and economy, I might in time begin business with advantage for myself.

I relished these proposals. London began to tire me; the agreeable hours I had passed at Philadelphia presented themselves to my mind, and I had wished to see them revive. I consequently engaged myself to Mr. Denham, at a salary of fifty pounds a year. This was indeed less than I earned as a compositor, but then I had a much fairer prospect. I took leave, therefore, as I believed forever, of printing, and gave myself up entirely to my new occupation, spending all my time either in going from house to house with Mr. Denham to purchase goods, or in packing them up, or in expediting the workmen, &c. &c. When every thing was on board, I had at last a few days leisure.

During this interval, I was one day sent for by a gentleman, whom I knew only by name. It was Sir William Wyndham. I went to his house. He had by some means heard of my performances between Chelsea and Blackfriers, and that I had taught the art of swimming to Wygate and another young man in the course of a few hours. His two sons were on the point of setting out on their travels; he was desirous that they should previously learn to swim, and offered me a very liberal reward if I would undertake to instruct them. They were not yet arrived in town, and the stay I should make myself was uncertain; I coud not therefore accept his proposal. I was led however to suppose from this incident, that if I had wished to remain in London, and open a swimming-school, I should perhaps have gained a great deal of money. This idea struck me so forcibly, that, had the offer been made sooner, I should have dismissed the thoughts of returning as yet to America. Some years after, you and I had a more important business to settle with one of the sons of Sir William Windham, then Lord Egremont. But let us not anticipate events.

I thus passed a bout eighteen months in London, working almost without intermission at my trade, avoiding all expence on my own account, excepting going now and then to a play, and purchasing a few books. But my friend Ralph kept me poor. He owed me about twenty-seven pounds, which was so much money lost; and when considered taken from my little savings, was a very great sum. I had, notwithstanding this, a regard for him, as he possessed many amiable qualities. But though I had done nothing for myself in point of fortune, I had increased my stock of knowledge, either by the many excellent books I had read, or the conversation of learned or literary persons with whom I was acquinted.

We sailed from Gravesend the 23d of July 1726. For the incidents of my voyage I re [...] fer you to my Journal, where you will fi [...] all the circumstances minutely related. We landed at Philadelphia on the 11th of the following October.

Keith had been deprived of his office of governor, and was succeeded by Major Gordon. I met him walking in the streets as a private individual. He appeared a little ashamed at seeing me, but passed on without saying any thing.

I should have been equally ashamed myself at meeting Miss Read, had not her family, justly desparing of my return after reading my letter, advised her to give me up, and marry a potter, of the name of Rogers; [...] which she consented: but he never made [...] happy, and she soon seperated from him, refusing to cohabit with him, or even bate his name, on account of a report which prevailed, of his having another wife. His skill in his profession had seduced Miss Read's, parents; but he was as bad a subject as he was excellent as a workman. He involved himself i [...] debt, and fled, in the year 1727 or 1728 to the West-Indies, were he died.

During my absence Keimer had taken a more considerable house, in which he kept a shop, that was well supplied with paper, and various other articles. He had produced some new tipes, and a number of workmen; among whom, however, there was not one who was good for any thing; and he appeared not to want business.

Mr. Denham took a warehouse in Water-street, where we exhibited our commodities. I applied myself closely, studied accounts, and became in a short time very expert in trade. We lodged and eat together. He was sincerely attached to me, and acted towards me as if he had been my father. On my side, I respected and loved him. My situation was happy; but it was a happiness of no long duration.

Early in February 1727, when I entered into my twenty-second year, we were both taken ill. I was attacked with a pleurisy, which had nearly carried me off; I suffered terribly, and considered it as all over with me. I felt indeed a sort of disappointment when I found myself likely to recover, and regretted that had still to experience, sooner or later, the same disagreeable scene again.

I have forgotten what was Mr. Denham's disorder; but it was a tedious one, and at last sunk under it. He left me a small legacy in his will, as a testimony of his friendship; and I was once more abandoned to myself in the wide world, the warehouse being confided to the care of the testamentary executor, who dismissed me.

My brother-in-law, Holmes, who happened to be at Philadelphia, advised me to return to my former profession; and Keimer offered me a very considerable salary if I would undertake the management of his printing-office, that he might devote himself entirely to the superintendance of his shop. His wife and relations in London had given me a bad character of him; and I was loath, for the present, to have any concern with him. I endeavoured to get employment as a clerk to a merchant; but not readily finding a situation, I was induced to accept Keimer's proposal.

The following were the persons I found in his printing-house:

Hugh Meredith, a Pennsylvanian, about thirty-five years of age. He had been brought up to husbandry, was honest, sensible, had some experience, and was fond of reading: but too much addicted to drinking.

Stephen Potts, a young rustic, just broke from school, and of rustic education, with endowments rather above the common order, and a competent portion of understanding and gaiety; but a little idle. Keimer had engaged these two at very low wages, which he had promised to raise every three months a shilling a week, provided their improvement in the typographic art should merit it. This future increase of wages was the bait he made use of to ensnare them. Meredith was to work at the press, and Po [...]ts to bind books, which he had engaged to teach them, though he understood neither himself.

John Savage, an Irishman, who had been brought up to no trade, and whose service, for a period of four years, Keimer had purchased of the captain of a ship. He was also to be a pressman.

George Webb, an Oxford scholar, whose time he had in like manner bought for four years, intending him for a compositor. I shall speak more of him presently.

Lastly, David Harry, a country la [...], who was apprenticed to him.

I soon perceived that Keimer's intention, in engaging me at a pr [...] so much above what he was accustomed to give, was, t [...] I might form all these raw journeymen and apprentices, who scarcely cost him any thing, and who, being indentured, would, as soon as they should be sufficiently instructed, enable him to do without me. I nevertheless adhered to my agreement. I put the office in order, which was in the utmost confusion, and brought his people, by degrees, to pay attention to their work, and to execute it i [...] a more masterly manner.

It was singular to see an Oxford scholar in the condition of a purchased servant. He was not more than eighteen years of age, and the following are the particulars he gave me of himself. Born at Gloucester, he had been educated at a grammar school, and had distinguished himself among the scholars by his superior style of acting, when they represented dramatic performances. He was member of a literary club in the town; and some pieces of his composition, in prose as well as in verse, had been inserted in the Gloucester papers. From hence he was sent to Oxford, where he remained about a year; but he was not consented; and wished above all things [...] [...]e London, and become an actor. At length, having received fifteen guineas to pay his quarter's board, he decamped with the money from Oxford, hid his gown in a hedge, and travelled to London. There, having no friend to direct him, he fell into bad company, soon squandered his fifteen guineas, could find no way of being introduced to the actors, became contemptible, pawned his clothes, and was in [...]nt of bread. As he was walking along the streets, almost famished with hunger, and not knowing what to do, a recruiting bill was put into his hand, which offered an immediate treat and bounty-money to whoever was disposed to serve in America. He instantly repaired to the house of rendezvous, inlisted himself, was put on board a ship and conveyed to America, without ever writing to inform his parents what was become of him. His mental vivacity, and good natural disposition, made him an excellent companion; but he be was indolent, thoughtless, and to the last degree imprudent.

John, the Irishman, soon ran away. I began to live very agreeably with the rest. They inspected me, and the more so as they found Keimer incapable of instructing them, and as they learned something from me every day. We never worked on a Saturday, it being Keimer's sabbath; so that I had two days a week for reading.

I increased my acquaintance with persons of knowledge and information in the town. Keimer himself treated me with great civilit [...] and apparent esteem; and I had nothing to give me uneasiness but my debt to Vernon, which I was unable to pay, my savings as yet being very little. He had the goodness, however, not to ask me for the money.

Our press was frequently in want of the necessary quanty of letter; and there was no such trade as that of letter-founder in America I had seen the practice of this art at the house of James, in London; but at the same time paid it very little attention. I however contrived to fabricate a mould. I made use of such letters of lead in matrices of clay, and thus supplied, in a tolerable manner, the wants that were most pressing.

I also, upon occasion, engraved various ornaments, made ink, gave an eye to the shop; in short, I was in every respect the factotum. But useful as I made myself, I perceived that my services became every day of le [...]s importance, in proportion as the other men improved; and when Keimer paid me my second quarter's wages, he gave me to understand that they were too heavy, and that he thought I ought to make an abatement. He became by degrees le [...]s civil, and assumed more the tone of master. He frequently found fault, was difficult to please, and seemed always on the point of coming to an open quarrel with me.

I continued, however, to bear it patiently, conceiving that his ill-humour was partly occasioned by the derangement and embarrassment of his affairs. At last a slight incident broke our connection. Hearing a noise in the neighbourhood, I put my head out of the window to see what was the matter. Keimer being in the street, observed me, and in a lound an angry tone, told me to mind my work; adding some reproachful words, which piqued me the more as they were uttered in the street; and the neighbours, whom the same noise had attracted to the windows, were witnesses of the manner in which I was treated. He immediately came up to the printing-room, and continued to exclaim against me. The quarrel became warm on both sides, and he gave me notice to quit him at the expiration of three months, as had been agreed between us; regretting that he was obliged to give me so long a term. I told him that his regret was superfluous, as I was ready to quit him instantly; and I took my hat and came out of the house, begging Meredith to take care of some things which I left, and bring them to my lodgings.

Meredith came to me in the evening. We talked for some time upon the quarrel that had taken place. He had conceived a great veneration for me, and was sorry I should quit the house while he remained in it. He [...]issuaded me from returning to my native country, as I began to think of doing. He reminded me that Keimer owed more than he possessed; that his creditors began to be alarmed; that he kept his shop in a wretched state, often selling things at prime cost for the sake [...] ready money, and continually giving credit without keeping any accounts; that of consequence he must very soon fail, which would occasion a vacancy from which I might derive advantage. I objected my want of money. Upon which he informed me that his father had a very high oppinion of me, and, from a conversation that had passed between them, he was sure that he would advance whatever might be necessary to establish [...] if I was willing to enter into partnership with him. "My time with Keimer," added he "will be at an end next spring. In the me [...] time we may send to London for our press a [...] types. I know that I am no workman; but if you agree to the proposal, your skill in the business will be balanced by the capital I will furnish, and we will share the profits equally. His proposal was reasonable, and I fell in with it. His father, who was then in the tow [...], approved of it. He knew that I had some ascendency over his son, as I had been able [...] prevail on him to abstain a long time from drinking brandy; and he hoped that, when more closely connected with him, I should cure him entirely of this unfortunate habit.

I gave the father a list of what it would be necessary to import from London. He took it to a merchant, and the order was given. We agreed to keep the secret till the arrival of the materials, and I was in the mean time is procure work, if possible, in another printing-house; but there was no place vacant, and I remained idle. After some days, Keimer having the expectation of being employed to [...]nt some New-Jersey money-bills, that would [...]quire types and engravings which I only could furnish, and fearful that Bradford, by engaging me, might deprive him of the undertaking, sent me a very civil message, telling me that old friends ought not to be dis [...]ted on account of a few words, which were the effect only of a momentary passion, and inviting me to return to him. Meredith persuaded me to comply with the invitation, par [...]ularly as it would afford him more opportunities of improving himself in the business by means of my instructions. I did so, and we lived upon better terms than before our [...]paration.

He obtained the New-Jersey business; and, in order to execute it, I constructed a copper [...]te printing-press; the first that had been seen in the country. I engraved various ornaments and vignettes for the bills; and we repaired to Burlington together, where I executed the whole to the general satisfaction; and he received a sum of money for his work, which enabled him to keep his head above water for a considerable time longer.

At Burlington I formed acquaintance with the principal personages of the province; many of whom were commissioned by the Assembly to superintend the press, and to see that no more bills were printed than the law had prescribed. Accordingly they were constantly with us, each in his turn; and he that came commonly brought with him a friend or two to bear him company. My mind was more cultivated by reading than Keimer's; and it was for this reason, probably, that they set more value on my conversation. They took me to their houses, introduced me to their friends, and treated me with the greatest civility; while Keimer, though master, saw himself a little neglected. He was, in fact, a strange animal, ignorant of the common modes of life, apt to oppose with rudeness, generally received opinions, an enthusiast in certain points of religion, disgustingly unclean in his person, and a little knavish withal.

We remain there nearly three months; and at the expiration of this period I could include in the list of my friends, Judge Allen, Samuel Bustil, secretary of the province, Isaac Pearson, Joseph Cooper, several of the Smiths, all members of the Assembly, and Isaac Deacon, inspector-general. The last was a shrewd and subtle old man. He told me, that, when a boy, his first employment had been that of carrying clay to brick-makers; that he did not learn to write till he was somewhat advanced in life; that he was afterwards employed as an underling to a surveyor, who taught him his trade, and that by industry he had at last acquired a competent fortune. "I for-see," said he, one day to me, "that you will soon supplant this man," speaking of Keimer, "and get a fortune in the business at Philadelphia." He was totally ignorant at the time of my intention of establishing myself there, or any where else. These friends were very serviceable to me in the end, as was I also, upon occasion, to some of them; and they have continued ever since their esteem for me.

Before I relate the particulars of my entrance into business, it may be proper to inform you what was at that time the state of my mind as to moral principles, that you may see the degree of influence they had upon the subsequent events of my life.

My parents had given me betimes religious impressions; and I received from my infancy a pious education in the principles of Calvinism. But scarcely was I arrived at fifteen years of age, when, after having doubted in turn of different tenets, according as I found them combated in the different books that I read, I began to doubt of revelation itself. Some volumes against deism fell into my hands. They were said to be the substance of sermons preached at Boyle's lecture. It happened that they produced on me an effect precisely the reverse of what was intended by the writers; for the arguments of the deists, which were cited in order to be refuted, appeared to me much more forcible than the refutation itself. In a word I soon became a perfect deist. My arguments soon perverted some other young persons; particularly Collins and Ralph. But in the sequel, when I recollected that they had both used me extremely ill, without the smallest remorse; when I considered the behaviour of Keith, another free-thinker, and my conduct towards Vernon and Miss Read, which at times gave me much uneasiness, I was led to suspect that this doctrine, though it might be true, was not very useful. I began to entertain a less favourable opinion of my London pamphlet, to which I had prefixed, as a motto, the following lines of Dryden;

Whatever is, is right; tho' purblind man

Sees but part of the chain, the nearest link,

His eyes not carrying to the unequal beam

That poises all above.

and of which the object was to prove, from the arttributes of God, his goodness, wisdom, and power, that there could be on such thing as evil in the world: that vice and virtue did not in reality exist, and were nothing more than vain distinctions. I no longer regarded it as so blameless a work as I had formerly imagined; and I suspected some error must have imperceptibly have glided into my argument, by all the inferences I had drawn from it had been affected, as frequently happens in metaphysical reasonings. In a word, I was at last convinced that truth, probity, and sincerity, in transactions between man and man, were of the utmost importance to the happiness of life; and I resolved from that moment, and wrote the resolution in my journal, to practise them as long as I lived.

Revelation indeed, as such, had no influence on my mind; but I was of opinion that, though certain actions could not be bad merely because revelation prohibited them, or good, because it enjoined them, yet it was probable that those actions were prohibited because they were bad for us, or enjoined because advantageous in their nature, all things considered. This persuasion, divine Providence, or some guardian angel, and perhaps a concurence of favourable circumstances in their nature, cooperating, preserved me from all immorality, or gross and voluntary injustice, to which my want of religion was calculated to expose me, in the dangerous period of youth, and in the hazardous situation in which I sometimes found myself, among strangers, and at a distance from the eye and admonitions of my father. I may say voluntary, because the errors into which I had fallen, had been in a manner the forced result either of my own experience, or the dishonesty of others. Thus, before I entered on my new career, I had imbibed solid principles, and a character of probity. I knew their value; and I made a solemn engagement with myself never to depart from them.

I had not long returnd from Burlington before our printing materials arrived from London. I settled my accounts with Keimer, and quitted him with his own consent, before he had any knowledge of our plan. We found a house near the market. We took it; and to render the rent less burthen some (it was then twenty-four pounds a-year, but have since known it to let for seventy;) we admitted Thomas Godfrey, glazier, with his family, who eased us of a considerable part of it; and with him we agreed to board.

We had no sooner unpacked our letters, and put our press in order, than a person of my acquaintance, George House, brought us a countryman, whom he had met in the street enquiring for a printer. Our money was almost exhausted by the number of things we had been obliged to procure. The five shillings we received from this countryman, the first fruit of our earnings, coming so seasonably, gave me more pleasure than any sum I have since gained; and the recollection of the gratitude I felt on this occasion to George House, has rendered me often more disposed, than perhaps I should otherwise have been, no encorage young beginners in trade.

There are in every country morose beings, who are always prognosticating ruin. There was one of this stamp in Philadelphia. He was a man of fortune, declined in years, had an air of wisdom, and a very grave manner of speaking. His name was Samuel Mickle. I knew him not; but he stopped one day at my door, and asked me if I was the young man who had lately opened a new printing-house. Upon my answering in the affirmative he said he was very sorry for me, as it was an expensive undertaking, and the money that had been laid out upon it would be lost, Philadelphia being a place falling into decay; its inhabitants having all, or nearly all of them, been obliged to all together their creditors. That he knew, from undoubted fact, the circumstances which might lead us to suppose the contrary, such as new buildings, and the advanced price of rent, to be deceitful appearances, which in reality contributed to hasten the general ruin; and he gave me so long a detail of misfortunes, actually existing, or which were soon to take place, that he left me almost in a state of despair. Had I known this man before I entered into trade, I should doubtless never have ventured. He however continued to live in this place of decay, and to declaim in the same style, refusing for many years to buy a house, because all was going to wreck; and in the end I had the satisfaction to see him pay five times as much for one as it would cost him had he purchased it when he first began his lamentations.

I ought to have related, that, during the autumn of the preceding year, I had united the majoirity of well-informed persons of my acquaintance into a club, which we called by the name of the Junto, and the object of which was to improve our understandings. We met every Friday evening. The regulations I drew up, obliged every member to propose, in his turn, one or more questions upon some point of morality, politics, or philosophy, which were to be discussed by the society; and to read, once in three months, an essay of his own composition, on whatever subject he pleased. Our debates were under the direction of a president, and were to be dictated only by a sincere desire of truth; the pleasure of disputing, and the vanity of triumph having no share in the business; and in order to prevent undue warmth, every expression which implied obstinate adherence to an opinion, and all direct contradiction, were prohibited, under small pecuniary penalties.

The first members of our club were Joseph Breintnal, whose occupation was that of a scrivener. He was a middle-aged man, of a good natural disposition, strongly attached to his friends, a great lover of poetry, reading every thing that came in his way, and writing tolerably well, ingenious in many little trifles and of an agreeble conversation.

Thomas Godfrey, a skilful, though self-taught mathematician, and who was afterwards the inventer of what goes by the name of Hadley's dial; but he had little knowledge out of his own line, and was in [...]upportable in company, always requiring, like the majority of mathematicians that have fallen in my way, an unusual precision in every thing that is said, continually contradicting, or making trifling di [...]tinctions; a sure way of defeating all the ends of conversation. He very soon left us.

Nicholas Scull, a surveyor, and who became afterwards surveyor-general. He was fond of books, and wrote verses.

William Parsons, brought up to the trade of a shoemaker, but who, having a taste for reading, had acquired a profound knowledge of mathematics. He first studied them with a view to astrology, and was afterwards the first to laugh at his folly. He also became surveyor-general.

William Mawgridge, a joiner, and very excellent mechanic; and in other respects a man of solid understanding.

Hugh Meredith, Stephen Potts and George Webb, of whom I have already spoken.

Robert Grace, a young man of fortune; generous, animated, and witty; fond of epigrams, but more fond of his friends.

And lastly, William Coleman, at that time a merchan [...]'s clerk, and nearly of my own age. He had a cool [...]r and clearer head, a better heart, and more scrupulous morals, than almost any other person I ever met with. He became a very re [...]pectable merchant, and one of our provincial judges. Our friendship subsisted, without interruption, for more than forty years, till the period of his death; and the club continued to exist almost as long.

This was the best school of politics and philosophy that then existed in the province; for our questions, which were read a week previous to their discussion, induced us to peruse attentively such books as were written upon the subjects proposed, that we might be able to speak upon them more pertinently. We thus acquired the habit of conversing more agreeably; every object being discussed conformably to our regulations, and in a manner to prevent mutual disgust. To this circumstance may be attributed the long duration of the club; which I shall have frequent occasion to mention as I proceed.

I have introduced it here, as being one of the means on which I had to count for my success in my business; every member exerting himself to procure work for us. Breintnal, among others, obtained for us, on the part of the Quakers, the printing of forty sheets of their history; the rest of which was to be done by Keimer. Our execution of this work was by no means masterly; as the price was very low. It was in folio, upon pro patria paper, and in the pica letter, with heavy notes in the smallest type. I composed a sheet a day, and Meredith put it to the press. It was frequently eleven o'clock at night, sometimes later, before I had finished my distribution for the next day's task; for the little things which our friends occasionally sent us, kept us back in this work: but I was so determined to compose a sheet a day, that one evening, when my form was imposed, and my day's work as I thought, at an end, an accident having broken this form, and deranged two complete folio pages. I immediately distributed, and composed them anew before I went to bed.

This unwearied industry, which was perceived by our neigbours, began to acquire us reputation and credit. I learned, among other things, that our new printing-house being the subject of conversation at a club of merchants, who met every evening, it was the general opinion that it would fail; there being already two printing-houses in the town, Keimer's and Bradford's. But Dr. Bard, whom you and I had occasion to see, many years after, at his native town of St. Andrew's in Scotland, was of a different opinion. "The industry of this Franklin (said he, is superior to any thing of the kind I have ever witnessed. I see him still at work when I return from the club at night, and he is at it again in the morning before his neighbours are out of bed." This account struck the rest of the assembly, and shortly after one of its members came to our house, and offered to supply us with articles of stationary; but we wished not as yet to embarrass our [...]elves with keeping a shop. It is not for the sake of applause that I enter so freely into the particulars of my industry, but that such of my descendants as shall read there memoirs may know the use of this virtue, by seeing in the recital of my life the effects it operated in my favour.

George Webb, having found a friend who lent him the necessary sum to buy out his time of Keimer, came one day to offer himself to us as a journeyman. We could not employ him immediately; but I foolishly told him, under the rose, that I intended shortly to publish a new periodical paper, and that we should then have work for him. My hopes of success, which I imparted to him, were founded on the circumstance, that the only paper we had in Philadelphia at that time, and which Bradford printed, was a paltry thing, miserably conducted, in no respect amusing, and yet was profitable. I consequently supposed that a good work of this kind could not fail of success. Webb betrayed my secret to Keimer, who, to prevent me, immediately published the prospectus of a paper that he intended to institute himself, and in which Webb was to be engaged.

I was exa [...]perated at this proceeding and, with a view to counteract them, not being able at present to institute my own paper, I wrote some humourous pieces in Bradford's, under the title of the Busy Body*; and which was continued for several months by Breintnal. I hereby fixed the attention of the public upon Bradford's paper; and the prospectus of Keimer, which he turned into ridicule, was treated with contempt. He began, notwithstanding, his paper; and after continuing it for nine months, having at most not more than ninety subscribers, he offered it me for a mere trifle. I had for some time been ready for such an engagement; I therefore instantly took it upon myself, and in a few years it proved extremely profitable to me.

I perceive that I am apt to speak in the first person, though our partnership still continued. It is perhaps, because in fact, the whole business devolved upon me. Meredith was no compositor, and but an indifferent pressman; and it was rarely that he abstained from hard drinking. My friends were sorry to see me connected with him; but I contrived to derive from it the utmost advantage the case admitted.

Our first number produced no other affect than any other paper which had appeared in the province, as to type and printing; but some remarks, in my peculiar style of writing, upon the dispute which then prevailed between governor Burnet, and the Massachusetts assembly, struck some persons as above mediocrity, caused the paper and its editors to be talked of, and in a few weeks induced them to become our subscribers. Many others followed their example; and our subscription continued to increase. This was one of the first good effects of the pains I had taken to learn to put my ideas on paper. I derived this farther advantage f [...]om it, that the leading men of the place, seeing in the author of this pu [...] [...] well able to use his pen, thought it right to encourage and patronise me.

The votes, laws, and other public pieces, were printed by Bradford. An address of the house of Assembly to the govenor had been executed by him in a very coarse and incorrect manner. We reprinted it with accuracy and neatness, and sent a copy to every member. They perceived the difference; and it so strengthened the influence of our friends in the Assembly, that we were nominated its printer for the following year.

Among these friends I ought not to forget one member in particular, Mr. Hamilton, whom I have mentioned in a former part of my narrative, and who was now returned from England. He warmly interested himself for me on this occasion, as he did likewise on many others afterwards; having continued his kindness to me till his death.

About this period Mr. Vernon reminded me of the debt I owed him, but without pressing me for payment. I wrote him a handsome letter on the occasion, begging him to wait a little longer, to which he consented; and as soon as I was able I paid him, principal and interest, with many expressions of gratitude; so that this error of my life was in a manner atoned for.

But another trouble now happened to me, which I had not the smallest reason to expect. Meredith's father, who, according to our agreement, was to defray the whole expence of our printing materials, had only paid a hundred pounds. Another hundred was still due, and the merchant being tired of waiting, commenced a suit against us. We bailed the action, with the melancholy prospect, that, if the money was not forth coming at the time fixed, the affair would come to issue, judgment be put in execution, our delightful hopes be annihilated, and ourselves entirely ruined; as the type and press must be sold, perhaps at half their value, to pay the debt.

In this distress, two real friends, whose generous conduct I have never forgotten, and never shall forget while I retain the remembrance of any thing, came to me separately, without the knowledge of each other, and without my having applied to them. Each offered me whatever sum might be necessary, to take the business into my own hands, if the thing was practicable, as they did not like I should continue in partnership with Meredith, who, they said, was frequently seen drunk in the streets, and gambling at ale-houses, which very much injured our credit. These friends were William Coleman and Robert Grace. I told them that while there remained any probability that the Merediths would fulfil their part of the compact, I could not propose a seperation; as I conceived myself to be under obligations to them for what they had done already, and were still disposed to do if they had the power: [Page 110]but in the end should they fail in their engagement, and our partnership be dissolved, I should then think myself at liberty to accept the kindness of my friends.

Things remained for some time in this state. At last I said one day to my partner, "Your father is perhaps dissatisfied with your having a share only in the business, and is unwilling to do for two, what he would do for you alone. Tell me frankly if that be the case, and I will resign the whole to you, and do for myself as well as I can."—" No (said he) my father has really been disappointed in his hopes; he is not able to pay, and I wish to put him to no further inconvenience. I see that I am not at all calculated for a printer; I was educated as a farmer, and it was absurd in me to come here, at thirty years of age, and bind myself apprentice to a new trade. Many of my countrymen are going to settle in North-Carolina, where the soil is exceedingly favourable. I am tempted to go with them, and to resume my former occupation. You will doubtless find friends who will assist you. If you will take upon yourself the debts of the partnership, return my father the hundred pounds he has advanced, pay my little personal debts, and give me thirty pounds and a new saddle, I will renounce the partnership, and consign over the whole stock to you."

I accepted this proposal without hesitation. It was committed to paper, and signed and [...]ealed without delay. I gave him what he demanded, and he departed soon after for Carolina, from whence he sent me, in the following year, two long letters, containing the best accounts that had yet been given of that country, as to climate, soil, agriculture, &c. for he was well versed in these matters. I published them in my newspaper, and they were received with great satisfaction.

As soon as he was gone I applied to my two friends, and not wishing to give a disobliging preference to either of them, I accepted from each half what he had offered me, and which it was necessary I should have. I paid the partnership debts, and continued the business on my own account; taking care to inform the public, by advertisement, of the partnership being dissolved. This was, I think, in the year 1729, or thereabout.

Nearly at the same period the people demanded a new emission of paper money; the existing and only one that had taken place in the province, and which amounted to fifteen thousand pounds, being soon to expire. The wealthy inhabitants, prejudiced against every sort of paper currency, from the fear of its depreciation, of which there had been an instance in the province of New-England, to the injury of its holders, strongly opposed the measure. We had discussed this affair in our junto, in which I was on the side of the new emission; convinced that the first small sum fabricated in 1723, had done much good in the province, by favouring commerce, industry and population, since all the houses were now inhabited, and many others building; whereas I remembered to have seen, when first I paraded the streets of Philadelphia eating my roll, the majority of those in Walnut-street, Second-street, Fourth-street, as well as a great number in Chesnut and other streets, with papers on them signifying that they were to be let; which made me think at the time that the inhabitants of the town were deserting it one after another.

Our debates made me so fully master of the subject, that I wrote and published an anonymous pamphlet, entitled, An Enquiry into the Nature and Necessity of a Paper Currency. It was very well received by the lower and middling class of people; but it displeased the opulent, as it increased the clamour in favour of the new emission.—Having, however, no writer among them capable of answering it, their opposition became less violent; an there being in the house of Assembly a majority for the measure, it passed. The friends I had acquired in the house, persuaded that I had done the country essential service on this occasion, rewarded me by giving me the printing of the bills. It was a lucrative employment, and proved a very seasonable help to me; another advantage which I derived from having habituated myself to write.

Time and experience so fully demonstrated the utility of paper currency, that it never after experienced any considerable opposition; so that it soon amounted to 55,000l. and in the year 1739 to 80,000l. It has since risen, during the last war, to 350,000l. trade, buildings and population having in the interval continually encreased, but I am now convinced that there are limits beyond which paper money would be prejudicial.

I soon after obtained, by the influence of my friend Hamilton, the printing of the Newcastle paper money, another profitable work, as I then thought it, little things appearing great to persons of moderate fortune; and they were really great to me, as proving great encouragements. He also procured me the printing of the laws and votes of that government which I retained as long as I continued in the business.

I now opened a small stationer's shop. I kept bonds and agreements of all kinds, drawn up in a more accurate form than had yet been seen in that part of the world; a work in which I was assisted by my friend Brientnal. I had also paper, parchment, pasteboard, books, &c. One Whitemash, an excellent compositor, whom I had known in London, came to offer himself. I engaged him, and he continued constantly and diligently to work with me, I also took an apprentice, the son of Aqui [...]a Rose.

I began to pay, by degrees, the debt I had contracted; and in order to injure my credit and character as a tradesman. I took care not only to be really industrious and frugal, but also to avoid every appearance of the contrary. I was plainly dressed, and never seen in any place of public amusement. I never went a fishing or hunting: A book indeed enticed me sometimes from my work, but it was seldom, by stealth, and occasioned no scandal; and to show that I did not think myself above my profession, I conveyed home sometimes in a wheelbarrow the paper I purchased at the warehouses.

I thus obtained the reputation of being an industrious young man, and very punctual in my payments. The merchants who imported articles of stationary solicited my custom; others offered to furnish me with books, and my little trade went on prosperously.

Meanwhile the credit and business of Keimer diminished every day, he was at last forced to sell his stock to satisfy his creditors; and he betook himself to Barbadoes, where he lived some time in a very impoverished state. His apprentice, David Harry, whom I had instructed while I worked with Keimer, having bought his materials, succeeded him in the business. I was apprehensive at first of finding in Harry a powerful competitor, as he was allied to an opulent and respectable family; I therefore proposed a partnership, which, happily for me, he rejected with disdain. He was extremely proud, thought himself a fine gentleman, lived extravagantly, and pursued amusements which suffered him to be scarcely ever at home; of consequence he became in debt, neglected his business, and business neglected him. Finding in a short time nothing to be done in the country, he followed Keimer to Barbadoes, carrying his printing materials with him. There the apprentice employed his old master as a journeyman. They were continually quarrelling; and Harry still getting in debt, was obliged at last to sell his press and types, and return to his old occupation of husbandry in Pennsylvania. The person who purchased them employed Keimer to manage the business; but he died a few years after.

I had now at Philadelphia no competitor but Brandford, who, being in easy circumstances, did not engage in the printing of books, except now and then as workmen chanced to offer themselves; and was not anxious to extend his trade. He had, however, one advantage over me, as he had the direction of the post-office, and was of consequence supposed to have better opportunities of obtaining news. His paper was also supposed to be more advantageous to advertising customers; an din consequence of that supposition, his advertisements where much more numerous than mine: this was a source of great profit to him, and disadvantageous to me. It was to no purpose that I really procured other papers, and distributed my own, by means of the post; the public took for granted my inability in this respect; and I was indeed unable to conquer it in any other mode than by bribing the post-boys who served me only by stealth, Bradford being so illiberal as to forbid them.— This treatment of his excited by resentment; and my disgust was so rooted, that, when I afterwards succeeded him in the post-office, I took care to avoid copying his example.

I had hitherto continued to board with Godfrey, who, with his wife and children, occupied part of my house, and half of the shop for his business; at which indeed he worked very little, being always absorbed by mathematics. Mrs. Godfrey formed a wish of Marrying me to the daughter of one of her relations. She contrived various opportunities of bringing us together, till she saw that I was captivated; which was not difficult, they lady in question possessing great personal merit. The parents encouraged my addresses, by inviting me continually to supper and leaving us together, till at last it was time to come to an explanation. Mrs. Godfrey undertook to negociate our little treaty. I gave her to understand, that I expected to receive with the young lady a sum of money that would enable me at least to discharge the remainder of my debt for my printing materials. It was then, I believe, not more than a hundred pounds. She brought me for answer, that they had no such sum at their di [...]posal. I observed that it might ea [...]ily be obtained, by a mortgage on their house. The reply of this was, after a few days interval, that they did not approve of the match; that they had con [...]ted Bradford, [...]d found that the business of a printer was not lucrative; that my letters would soon be worn out, and must be supplied by new ones; that Keimer and Harry had failed, and that, probably, I should do so too. Accordingly the forbade me the house, and the young lady was confined. I know not if they had really changed their minds, or if it was merely an artifice, supposing our affections to be too far engaged for us to desist, and that we should contrive to marry secretly, which would leave them at liberty to give or not as they pleased. But, suspecting this motive, I never went again to their house.

Some time after Mrs. Godfrey informed me that they were favourably disposed towards me, and wished me to renew the acquaintance; but I declared a firm resolution never to have any thing more to do with the family. The Godfreys expressed some resentment at this; and as we could no longer agree, they changed their residence, leaving me in posession of the whole house. I then resolved to take no more lodgers. This affair having turned my thoughts to marriage, I looked around me, and made overtures of alliance in other quarters; but I soon found that the profession of a printer being generally looked upon as a poor trade, I could expect no money with a wife, at least if I wished her to possess any other charm. Meanwhile, that passion of youth, so difficult to govern, had often drawn me into intrigues with despicable women who fell in my way; which were not unaccompanied with expence and inconvenience, besides the perpetual risk of injuring my health, and catching a disease which I dreaded above all things. But I was fotunate enough to escape this danger.

As a neighbour and old acquaintance, I kept up a friendly intimacy with the family of M [...] Read. Her parents retained an affection for me from the time of my lodging in their house. I was often invited thither; consulted me about their affairs, and I had been sometimes serviceable to them. I was touched with the unhappy situation of their daughter, who was almost always melancholy, and continually seeking solitude. I regarded my forgetfulness and inconstancy, during my abode in London, as the principal cause of her misfortune; though her mother had the candour to attribute the fault to herself, rather than to me, because, after having prevented our marriage previous to my departure, she had induced her to marry another in my absence.

Our mutual affection revived; but there existed great obstacles to our union. Her marriage was considered, indeed, as not being valid, the man having, it was said, a former wife still living in England; but of this it was difficult to obtain a proof at so great a distance; and though a report prevailed of his being dead, yet we had no certainty of it; and supposing it to be true, he had left many debts, for the payment of which his successor might be sued. We ventured nevertheless, in spite of all these difficulties, and I married her on the first of September 1730. None of the inconveniencies we had feared happened to us —She proved to me a good and faithful companion, and contributed essentially to the success of my shop. We prospered together, and it was our mutual study to render each other happy. Thus I corrected, as well as I could, this great error of my youth.

Our club was not at that time established at a tavern. We held our meetings at the house of Mr. Grace, who appropriated a room to the purpose. Some member observed one day, that as our books were frequently quoted in the course of our discussions, it would be convenient to have them collected in the room in which we assembled, in order to be consulted upon occasion; and that, by thus forming a common library of our individual collections, each would have the advantage of using the books of all the other members, which would nearly be the same as if he possessed them all himself. The idea was approved, and we accordingly brought such books as we thought we could spare, which were placed at the end of the club-room. They amounted not to so many as we expected; and though we made considerable use of them, yet some inconveniencies resulting, from want of care, it was agreed, after about a year, to destroy the collection; and each took away such books as belonged to him.

It was now that I first started the idea of e [...] tablishing, by subscription, a public library. [...] drew up the proposals, had them ingrossed [...] form by Brockden the attorney, and my project succeeded, as will be seen in the sequel

[The life of Dr. Franklin, as written by himself, so far as it has yet been communicated to the world, breaks off in this place. We understand that it was continued by him somewhat further, and we hope that the remainder will at some future period, be communicated to the public. We have no hesit [...] tion in supposing that every reader will sin [...] himself greatly interested by the frank simplicity and the philosophical discernment by which these pages are so eminently characterised. We have therefore thought proper, in order as much as possible to relieve his regret, to subjoin the following continuation, by one of the doctor's intimate friends. It is extracted from an American periodioal publication, and was written by the late Dr. Stuber* of Philadelphia.]

THE promotion of literature had been [...]e attended to in Pennsylvania. Most of [...] inhabitants were too much immersed in [...]iness to think of scientific pursuits; and [...]ose few, whose inclinations led them to [...]dy, found it difficult to gratify them, from [...]e want of sufficiently large libraries. In such [...]cumstances the establishment of a public [...]ary was an important event. This was first [...] on foot by Franklin, about the year 1731. [...]ty persons subscribed forty shillings each, [...] agreed to pay ten shillings annually.— [...] number increased; and in 1742, the [...]pany was incorporated by the name of "The Library Company of Philadelphia." Se [...]al other companies were formed in this city [...]imitation of it. These were all at length uni [...]d with the library company of Philadelphia, which thus received a considerable accession of books and property. It now contains abo [...] eight thousand volumes on all subjects, a p [...]losophical apparatus, and a good beginn [...] [...]owards a collection of natural and artific [...] curiosities, besides landed property of co [...] derable value. The company have late [...] built an elegant house in Fifth-street, in [...] front of which is erected a marble statue [...] their founder, Benjamin Franklin.

This institution was greatly encouraged [...] the friends of literature in America and [...] Great-Britain. The Penn family distingui [...] ed themselves by their donations. Amon [...] the earliest friends of this institution mu [...] [...] mentioned the late Peter Collinson, the fri [...] and correspondent of Dr. Franklin. He not [...]ly made considerable presents himself, and [...]tained others from his friends, but volunta [...] undertook to manage the business of the co [...] pany in London, recommending books, p [...] chasing and shipping them. His extensi [...] knowledge, and zeal for the promotion [...] science, enabled him to execute this import [...] trust with the greatest advantage. He con [...] nued to perform these services for more tha [...] thirty years, and uniformly refused to acc [...] of any compensation. During this time, [...] communicated to the directors every inform [...] tion relative to improvements and discover [...] in the arts, agriculture, and philosophy.

The beneficial influence of the instituti [...] was soon evident. The cheapness of ter [...] rendered it accessible to every one. Its adv [...]es were not confined to the opulent. The [...]ens in the middle and the lower walks of [...] were equally partakers of them. Hence a de [...]e of information extended amongst all clas [...] of people, which is very unusal in other [...]ces. The example was soon followed. Li [...]aries were established in various places, [...]d they are now become very numerous in [...] United States, and particularly in Penn [...]vania. It is to be hoped that they will be [...] more widely extended, and that informa [...] will be every where increased. This will be [...] best security for maintaining our liberties. A [...]ion of well-informed men, who have been [...]ght to know and prize the rights which God [...] given them, cannot be inslaved. It is in the [...]ions of ignorance that tyranny reigns. It [...] before the light of science. Let the citi [...]s of America, then, encourage institutions [...]culated to diffuse knowledge amongst the [...]ople; and amongst these, public libraries [...] not the least important.

In 1732, Franklin beg [...]n to publish Poor [...]chard's Almanac. This was remarkable [...] the numerous and valuable concise maxims [...]hich it contained, all tending to exhort to [...]ustry and frugality. It was continued for ma [...] years. In the almanac fo [...] the last year, all the maxims were collected in an address to the rea [...]r, entitled, The Way to wealth. This has been [...]slated in various languages, and inserted [...] different publications. It has also been [...]ated on a large sheet, and may be seen framed in this city. This address contains, p [...] haps the best practical system of econo [...] that ever has appeared. It is written in a m [...] ner intelligible to every one, and which ca [...] not fail of convincing every reader of the [...] tice and propriety of the remarks and ad [...] which it contains. The demand for this al [...] nac was so great, that ten thousand have [...] sold in one year; which must be conside [...] as a very large number, especially when [...] reflect, that this country was, at that time, [...] thinly peopled. It cannot be doubted [...] the salutary maxims contained in these [...]nacs must have made a favourable impre [...] upon many of the readers of them.

It was not long before Franklin enter [...] upon his political career. In the year [...] he was appointed clerk to the general assem [...] of Pennsylvania; and was re-elected by [...]ceeding assemblies for several years, until [...] was chosen a representative for the city [...] Philadelphia.

Bradford was possessed of some advantag [...] over Franklin, by being post-master, there [...] having an opportunity of circulating his [...] per more extensively, and thus rendering [...] better vehicle for advertisements, &c. Franklin, in his turn, enjoyed these advantages, [...] b [...]ing appointed post-master of Philadelp [...] in 1737. Bradford, while in office, had acted ungenerously towards Franklin, preventi [...] as much as possible the circulation of his [...] per. He had now an opportunity of retaliati [...] [...]ut his nobleness of soul prevented him from making use of it.

The police of Philadelphia had early ap [...]inted watchmen, whose duty it was to [...]ard the citizens against the midnight rob [...]r, and to give and immediate alarm in case of fire. This duty is, perhaps, one of the most important that can be committed to any [...] of men. The regulations, however, were [...]ot sufficiently strict. Franklin saw the dan [...]ers arising from this cause, and suggested an alteration, so as to oblige the guardians of [...]e night to be more watchful over the lives [...]nd property of the citizens. The propriety of this was immediately perceived, and a reform was affected.

There is nothing more dangerous to growing cities than fires. Other causes operate [...]owly, and almost imperceptibly; but these in a moment render abortive the labours of ages. On this account there should be, in all cities ample provisions to prevent fires from spreading. Franklin early saw the necessity of these; and, about the year 1738, formed the first fire company in this city. This example was soon followed by others; and there are now numerous fire-companies in the city and liberties. To these may be attributed in a great degree, the activity in extinguishing fires, for which the citizens of Philadelphia are distinguished, and the inconsiderable damage which this city has sustained from this cause.—Some time after, Franklin suggested the plan of an association for insuring houses from fire, which was adopted; and the association continues to [...] day. The advantages experienced from it have been great.

From the first establishment of Pennsylvania, a spirit of dispute appears to have prevailed amongst its inhabitants. During the life-time of William Penn, the constitution had been three times altered. After this period, the history of Pennsylvania is little els [...] than a recital of the quarrels between the proprietaries, or their governors and the Assembly. The proprietaries contended for the right of exempting their land from taxes; to which the Assembly would by no means consent. This subject of dispute interfered in almost every question, and prevented the most salutary laws from being enacted. This at times subjected the people to great inconveniencies. In the year 1744, during a war between France and Great Britain, some French and Indians had made inroads upon the frontier inhabitants of the province, who were unprovided for such an attack. It became necessary that the citizens should arm for their defence. Governor Thomas recommended to the Assembly, who were then sitting, to pass a militia law. To this they would agree only upon condition that he should give his assent to certain laws, which appeared to them calculated to promote the interest o [...] the people. As he thought these laws would be injurious to the proprietaries, he refused his assent to them; and the Assembly broke up without passing a militia law. The situation of the province was at this time truly alarming: exposed to the continual inroads of an enemy, and destitute of every means of defence. At this crisis Franklin stepped forth and proposed to a meeting of the citizens of Philadelphia, a plan of a voluntary association for the defence of the province. This was approved of, and signed by twelve hundred persons immediately. Copies of it were circulated throughout the province; and in a short time the number of signers amounted to ten thousand. Franklin was chosen colonel of the Philadelphia regiment; but he did not think proper to accept of the honour.

Pursuits of a different nature now occupied the greatest part of his attention for some years. He engaged in a course of electrical experiments, with all the ardor and thirst for discovery which characterized the philosophers of that day. Of all the branches of experimental philosophy, electricity had been least explored. The attractive power of amber is mentioned by Theophrastus and Pliny, and, from them, by later naturalists. In the year 1600, Gilbert, an English physician, enlarged considerably the catalogue of substances which have the property of attracting light bodies. Boyle, Otto Guericke, a burgomaster of Magdeburg, celebrated as the inventor of the air pump, Dr. Wall, and Sir Isaac Newton added some facts. Guericke first observed the repulsive power of electricity, and the light and noise produced by it. In 1709, Hawkesbec communicated some important observations and experiments to the world. For several years electricity was entirely neglected, until Mr. Gray applied himself to it, in 1728, with great assiduity. He, and his friend Mr. Wheeler, made a great variety of experiments▪ in which they demonstrated, that electricity may be communicated from one body to another, even without being in contact. and in this way may be conducted to a great distance Mr. Gray afterwards found, that, by suspending rods of iron by silk or hair lines, and bringing an excited tube under them, sparks might be drawn, and a light perceived at the extremities in the dark. M. Du Faye, intendant of the French king's gardens, made a number of experiments, which added not a little to the science. He made the discovery of two kinds of electricity, which he called vitreous and resinous; the former produced by rubbing glass, the latter from excited sulphur, sealing-wax, &c. But this idea he afterwards gave up as erroneous. Between the years 1739 and 1742, Desaguliers made a number of experiments, but added little of importance. He first used the terms conductors and electrics, perse. In 1742, several ingenious Germans engaged in this subject. Of these the principal were, professor Boze of Wittemberg, professor Winkler of Leipsic, Gordon, a Scotch Benedictine monk, professor of philosophy at Erfurt, and Dr. Ludolf of Berlin. The result of their researches astonished the philosophers of Europe. Their apparatus was large, and by means of it they were enabled to collect large quantities of electricity, and thus to produce phenomena which had been hitherto unobserved. They killed small birds, and set spirits on fire. Their experiments excited the curiosity of other philosophers. Collinson, about the year 1745, sent to the library company of Philadelphia an account of these experiments, together with a tube, and directions how to use it. Franklin, with some of his friends, immediately engaged in a course of experiments; the result of which is well known. He was enabled to make a number of important discoveries, and to propose theories to account for various phenomena; which have been universally adopted, and which bid fair to endure for ages. His observations he communicated, in a series of letters, to his friend Collinson; the first of which is dated March 28, 1747. In these he makes known the power of points in drawing and throwing off the electrical matter, which had hitherto escaped the notice of electricians. He also made the grand discovery of a plus and minus, or of a positive and negative state of electricity. We give him the honour of this, without hesitation; although the English have claimed it for their countryman Dr. Watson. Watson's paper is dated January 21, 1748; Franklin's July 11, 1747 several months prior. Shortly after, Franklin, from his principles of plus and minus state, explained, in a satisfactory manner, the phenomena of the Leyden phial, first observed by professor Muschenbroeck of Leyden, which had much perplexed philosophers. He shewed clearly that the bottle, when charged, contained no more electricity than before, but that as much was taken from the one side as was thrown on the other; and that, to discharg it, nothing was necessary but to make a communication between the two sides, by which the equilibrium might be restored, and that then no signs of electricity would remain. He afterwards demonstrated, by experiments, that the electricity did not reside in the coating, as had been supposed, but in the pore [...] of the glass itself. After a phial was charged, he removed the coating, and found that upon applying a new coating the shock might still be received. In the year 1749, he first suggested his idea of explaining the phenomena of thunder-gusts, and of the aurora bor [...]alis, upon electrical principles. He points out many particulars in which lightning and electricity agree; and he adduces many facts, and reasoning from facts, in support of his positions. In the same year he conceived the astonishingly bold and grand idea of ascertaining the truth of his doctrine, by actually drawing down the forked lightning, by means of sharp-pointed iron rods raised into the region of the clouds. Even in this uncertain state, his passion to be useful to mankind displays itself in a powerful manner. Admitting the identity of electricity and lightning, and knowing the power of points in repelling bodies charged with electricity, and in conducting their fire silently and imperceptibly, he suggests the idea of securing houses, ships, &c. from being damaged by lightning, by erecting the pointed iron rods, which should rise some feet above the most elevated part, and descend some feet into the ground or the water. The effect of these, he concluded, would be either to prevent a stroke by repelling the cloud beyond the striking distance, or by drawing off the electrical fire which it contained; or, if they could not effect this, they would at least conduct the stroke to the earth, without any injury to the building.

It was not until the summer of 1752, that he was enabled to complete his grand and unparralleled discovery by experiment. The plan which he had origionally proposed, was to erect on some high tower, or other elevated place, a centry box, from which should rise a pointed iron rod, insulated by being fixed in a cake of resin. Electrified clouds passing over this, would, he conceived, impart to it a portion of their electricity, which would be rendered evident to the senses by sparks being emitted, when a key, a knuckle or other conductor, was presented to it. Philadelphia at this time afforded no opportunity of trying an experiment of this kind. Whilst Franklin was waiting for the erection of a spire, it occurred to him, that he might have more ready access to the region of clouds by means of a common kite. He prepared one by [...] taching two cross sticks to a silk handkerchief, which would not suffer so much from the rain as paper. To his upright stick was a [...] fixed an iron point. The string was, as usua [...], of hemp, excepting the lower end which was silk. Where the hempen string terminated, a key was fastened. With this apparatus, on the appearance of a thunder-gust approaching he went out into the commons, accompanied by his son, to whom alone he communicated his intentions, well knowing the ridicule which, too generally for the interest of science, waits unsuccessful experiments in philosophy. He placed himself under a shed to avoid the rain. His kite was raised. A thunder-cloud passed over it. No sign of electricity appeared. He almost despaired of success; when suddenly he observed the loose fibres of his string to move towards an erect position. He now presented his knuckle to the key, and received a strong spark. How exquisite must his sensations have been at this moment! On this experiment depended the fate of his theory. If he succeeded, his name would rank high among those who have improved science; if he failed, he must be inevitably subjected to the derision of mankind, or, what is worse, their pity, as a well-meaning man, but a weak silly projector. The anxiety with which he looked for the result this experiment, may easily be conceived. [...]oubts and despair had begun to prevail, [...]hen the fact was ascertained in so clear a [...]anner, that even the most incredulous could a longer withhold their assent. Repeated [...]arks were drawn from the key: a phial was [...]arged, a shock given, and all the experiments made, which are usually performed with electricity.

About a month before this period, some [...]genious Frenchmen had completed the discovery, in the manner originally proposed [...] Dr. Franklin. The letters which he sent [...] Mr. Collinson, it is said, were refused a [...]ace amongst the papers of the Royal Soci [...]ty of London. However this may be, Collinson published them in a sperate volume, under the title of New Experiments and Observations on Electricity, made at Philadelphia in America. They were read with avidity, and [...]on translated into different languages. A [...]ry incorrect French translation fell into the [...]nds of the celebrated Buffon, who, notwith [...]anding the disadvantages under which the [...]ork laboured, was much pleased with it, and repeated the experiments with success. He prevailed upon his friend, M. D' Alibard [...] give his countrymen a more correct translation of the work of the American electrician. This contributed towards spreading a knowledge of Franklin's priciples in France. The King, Louis XV. hearing of these experiments, [...]pressed a wish to be a spectator of them. A course of experiments was given at the seat of the Duc D' Ayen, at St. Germain by M. De Lor. The applauses which the King bestowed upon Franklin, excited in Buffon, D' Alibard, and De Lor, an earnest desire of ascertaining the truth of his theory of thunder-gusts. Buffon erected his apparatus on the tower of Montbar, M. D' Alibard at Mary-la-ville, and De Lor at his house in the Estrapade at Paris, some of the highest ground in that capital. D' Alibard's machine first shewed signs of electricity. On the 10th of May, 1752, a thunder-cloud passed over it, in the absence of M. D' Alibard; and a number of sparks were drawn from it by Coiffier, a joiner, with whom D' Alibard had left directions how to proceed, and by M. Roulet, the prior of Mary la-ville. An account of this experiment given to the Royal Academy of Sciences, in a memoir by M. D' Alibard, dated May 13th, 1752. On the 18 of May, M. De Lor proved equally successful with the apparatus erected at his own house. These discoveries soon excited the philosophers of other parts of Europe to repeat the experiment. Amongst these, none signalized themselves more than Father Beccaria of Turin, to whose observations science is much indebted. Even the cold regions of Russia were penetrated by the ardor for discovery. Professor Richman bade fair to add much to the stock of knowledge on this subject, when an unfortunate flash from his rod put a period to his existence. The friends of science will long remember with regret the amiable martyr to electricity.

By these experiments Franklin's theory was established in the most firm manner. When the thruth of it could no longer be doubted, the vanity of men endeavoured to detract from its merit. That an American, an inhabitant of the obscurecity of Philadelphia, the name of which was hardly known, should be able to make discoveries, and to frame theories, which had escaped the notice of the enlightened philosophers of Europe was too mortifying to be admitted. He must certainly have taken the idea from sombody else. An American, a being of an inferior order, make discoveries! Impossible. It was said, that the Abbe Nollet, in 1748, had suggested the idea of the similarity of lightning and electricity, in his Legons de Physique. It is true, that the Abbe mentions the idea, but he throws it out as a bare conjecture, and proposes no mode of [...]certaining the truth of it. He himself acknowledges, that Franklin first entertained the bold thought of bringing lightning from the heavens, by means of pointed rods fixed in the air. The similarity of electricity and lightning is so strong, that we need not be surprised at notice being taken of it, as soon as electrical phenomina became familiar. We find it mentioned by Dr. Wall and Mr. Grey, while the science was in its infancy. But the honour of forming a regular theory of thunder-gusts, of suggesting a mode of determining the truth of it by experiments, and [...] putting these experiments in practice, a [...] thus establishing his theory upon a firm a [...] solid basis, is incontestibly due to Franklin. D' Alibard, who made the experiments in France, says, that he only followed the track which Franklin had pointed out.

It has been of late asserted, that the honor of completing the experiment with the electrical kite, does not belong to Franklin. Some late English paragraphs attributed it to some Frenchman, whose name they do not mention; and the Abbe Bertholon gives it to M. De Romas, assessor to the presideal of Nerac; the English paragraphs probably refer to the same person. But a very slight attention will convince us of the injustice of this procedure: Dr. Franklin's experiment was made in June 1752; and his letter, giving an account of it, is dated October 19, 1752, M. De Romas made his first attempt on the 14th of May 1753, but was not successful until the 7th of June; a year after Franklin had completed the discovery, and when it was known to all the philosophers in Europe.

Besides these great principles, Franklin's letters on electricity contain a number of facts and hints, which have contributed greatly towards reducing this branch of knowlege to a science. His friend, Mr. Kinnersly, communicated to him a discovery of the different kinds of electricity executed by rubbing glass and sulphur. This, we have said, was first obser [...]d by M. Du Faye; but it was for many years [...]glected. The philosophers were disposed [...] account for the phenomena, rather from a difference in the quantity of electricity collec [...]ed; and even Du Faye himself seems at last [...]o have adopted this doctrine. Franklin at [...]irst entertained the same idea; but upon re [...]eating the experiments, he perceived that Mr. Kinnersley was right; and that the vitre [...]us and resmous electricity of Du Faye were nothing more than the positive and negative states which he had before observed; that the glass globe charged positively, or increased the quantity of electricity on the prime conductor, whilst the globe of sulphur diminishes its natural quantity, or charged negatively. These experiments and observations opened a new field for investigation, upon which electricians entered with avidity; and their labours have added much to the stock of our knowledge.

In September, 1752, Franklin entered upon a course of experiments, to determine the state of electricity in the clouds. From a number of experiments he formed this conclusion: "that the clouds of a thunder-gust are most commonly in a negative state of electricity, but sometimes in a positive state;" and from this it follows, as a necessary consequence, "that, for the most part, in thunder-strokes, it is the earth that strikes into the clouds, and not the clouds that strike into the earth." The letter containing these observations, is dated in September, 1753; and yet the discovery of ascending thunder has been said to be of a modern date, and has been attributed to the Abbe Bertholon, who published his memoirs on the subject in 1776.

Franklin's letters have been translated into most of the European languages, and into Latin. In proportion as they have become known, his principles have been adopted. Some opposition was made to his theories, particularly by the Abbe Nollet, who was, however, but feebly supported, whilst the first philosophers of Europe stepped forth in defence of Franklin's principles; amongst whom D' Alibard and Beccaria were the most distinguished. The opposition has gradually ceased, and the Franklinian system is now universally adopted, where science flourishes.

The important practical use which Franklin made of his discoveries, the securing of houses from injury by lightning, has been already mentioned. Pointed conductors are now very common in America; but prejudice has hitherto prevented their general introduction into Europe, notwithstanding the most undoubted proofs of their utility have been given. But mankind can with difficulty be brought to lay aside established practices, or to adopt new ones. And perhaps we have more reason to be surprised that a practice, however rational, which was proposed about forty years ago, should in that time have been adopted in so many places, than that it has not universally prevailed. It is only by degrees that the great body of mankind can be led into knew practices, however salutary their tendency. It is now nearly eighty years since inoculation was introduced into Europe and America; and it is so far from being general at present, that it will, perhaps, require one or two centuries to render it so.

In the year 1745, Franklin published an account of his new invented Pennsylvania fire-place, in which he minutely and accurately states the advantages and disadvantages of different kinds of fire-places; and endeavours to shew that the one which he describes is to be preferred to any other. This contrivance has given rise to the open stoves now in general use, which however differ from it in construction, particularly in not having an airbox at the back, through which a constant supply of air, warmed in its passage, is thrown into the room. The advantages of this are, that as a stream of warm air is continually flowing into the room, less fuel is necessary to preserve a proper temperature, and the room may be so tightened as that no air may enter through cracks; the consequences of which are colds, toothaches, &c.

Although philosophy was a principal object of Franklin's pursuit for several years, he confined himself not to this. In the year 1747, he became a member of the general assembly of Pennsylvania, as a burgess for the city of Philadelphia. Warm disputes at this time subsisted between the assembly and the proprietaries; each contending for what they conceived to be their just rights. Franklin, a friend to the rights of man from his infancy, soon distinguished himself as a steady opponent of the unjust schemes of the proprietaries. He was soon looked up to as the head of the opposition; and to him have been attributed many of the spirited replies of the assembly, to the messages of the governors. His influence in the body was very great. This arose not from any superior powers of eloquence; he spoke but seldom, and he never was known to make any thing like an elaborate harangue. His speeches often consisted of a single sentence, or of a well told story, the moral of which was always obviously to the point. He never attempted the flowery fields of oratory. His manner was plain and mild. His style in speaking was, like that of his writings, remarkably concise. With this plain manner, and his penetrating and solid judgment, he was able to confound the most eloquent and subtle of his adversaries, to confirm the opinions of his friends, and to make converts of the unprejudiced, who had opposed him. With a single observation, he has rendered of no avail, an elegant and lengthy discourse, and determined the fate of a question of importance.

But he was not contented with thus supporting the rights of the people. He wished to render them permanently secure, which can only be done by making their value properly known; and this must depend upon increasing and extending information to every class of men. We have already seen that he was the founder of the public library, which contributed greatly towards improving the minds of the citizens. But this was not sufficient. The schools then subsisting were in general of little utility. The teachers were men, ill qualified for the important duty which they had undertaken; and, after all, nothing more could be obtained than the rudiments of a common English education. Franklin drew up a plan of an academy, to be erected in the city of Philadelphia, suited to "the state of an infant country;" but in this, as in all his plans, he confined not his [...]ews to the present time only. He looked forward to the period when an institution on [...]n enlarged plan would become necessary. With this view he considered his academy as "a foundation for posterity to erect a seminary of learning, more extensive, and suitable to future circumstances." In pursuance of this plan, the constitutions were drawn up and signed on the 13th of November 1749. in these, twenty-four of the most respectable citizens of Philadelphia were named as trustees. In the choice of these, and in the formation of his plan, Franklin is said to have consulted chiefly with Thomas Hopkinson, Esq Rev. Richard Peters, then secretary of the province, Tench Francis, Esq attorney-general, and Dr. Phineas Bond.

The following article shews a spirit of benevolence worthy of imitation; and, for the honour of our city, we hope that it continues to be in force.

"In case of the inability of the rector, or any master, (established on the foundation by receiving a certain salary) through sickness, or any other natural infirmity, whereby he may be reduced to poverty, the trustees shall have power to contribute to his support, in proportion to his distress and merit, and the stock in their hands."

The last clause of the fundamental rules is expressed in language so tender and benevolent, so truly parental, that it will do everlasting honour to the hearts and heads of the founders.

"It is hoped and expected that the trustees will make it their pleasure, and in some degree their business, to visit the academy often; to encourage and countenance the youth, countenance and assist the masters, and by all means in their power advance the usefulness and reputation of the design; that they will look on the students as, in some measure, their own children, treat them with familiarity and affection; and when they have behaved well, gone through their studies, and are to enter the world, they shall zealously unite, and make all the interest that can be made, to promote and establish them, whether in business, offices, marriages, or any other thing for their advantage, preferable to all other persons whatsoever, even of equal merit."

The constitutions being signed and made public, with the names of the gentlemen proposing themselves as trustees and founders, the design was so well approved of by the public-spirited citizens of Philadelphia, that the sum of eight hundred pounds per annum, for five years, was in the course of a few weeks subscribed for carrying the plan into execution; and in the beginning of January following (viz. 1750) three of the schools were opened, namely, the Latin and Greek schools. The Mathematical, and the English schools. In pursuance of an article in the original plan, a school for educating sixty boys and thirty girls (in the charter since called the Charitable School) was opened, and amidst all the difficulties with which the trustees have struggled in respect to their funds, has still been continued full for the space of forty years; so that allowing three years education for each boy and girl admitted into it, which is the general rule, at least twelve hundred children have received in it the chief part of their education, who might otherwise, in a great measure, have been left without the means of instruction. And many of those who have been thus educated, are now to be found among the most useful and reputable citizens of this state.

The institution, thus successfully begun, continued daily to flourish, to the great satisfaction of Dr. Franklin; who, notwithstanding the multiplicity of his other engagements and pursuits, at that busy stage of his life, was a constant attendant at the monthly visitations and examinations of the schools, and made it his particular study, by means of his extensive correspondence abroad, to advance the reputation of the seminary, and to draw students and scholars to it from different parts of America and the West-Indies. Through the interposition of his benevolent and learned friend, Peter Collinson of London, upon the application of the trustees, a charter of incorporation, dated July 13, 1753, was obtained from the honourable proprietors of Pennylvania, Thomas Penn and Richard Penn, Esqrs accompanied with a liberal benefaction of five hundred pounds sterling; and Dr. Franklin now began in good earnest to please himself with the ho [...]es of a speedy accomplishment of his original design, viz. the establishment of a perfect institution, upon the plan of the European colleges and universities; for which his academy was intended as a nurs [...]ry or foundation. To elucidate this fact, is a matter of considerable importance in respect to the memory and character of Dr. Franklin, as a philosopher, and as the friend and patron of learning and science; for, notwithstanding what is expressly declared by him in the preamble to the constitutions, viz. that the academy was begun for "teaching the Latin and Greek languages with all useful branches of the arts and sciences, suitable to the state of an infant country, and laying a foundation for posterity to erect a seminary of learning more extensive, and suitable to their future circumstances;" yet it has been suggested of late, as upon Dr. Franklin's authority, that the Latin and Greek, or the dead languages, are an incumbrance upon a scheme of liberal education, and that the engrafting or founding a college, or more extensive seminary, upon his academy, was without his approbation or agency, and gave him discontent. If the reverse of this does not al [...]ady appear, from what has been quoted above, the following letters will put the matter beyond dispute. They were written by him to a gentleman, who had at that time published the idea of a college, suited to the circumstances of a young country, (meaning New-York) a copy of which having been sent to Dr. Franklin for his opinion, gave use to that correspondence which terminated about a year afterwards, in erecting the college upon the foundation of the academy, and establishing that gentleman as the head of both, where he still continues, after a period of thirty-six years, to preside with distinguished reputation.

From these letters also, the state of the academy, at that time, will be seen.

Philad. April 19, 1753.

Sir,

I received your favour of the 11th instant, with your new * piece on Education which shall carefully peruse, and give you my sentiments of it, as your desire, by next post.

I believe the young gentlemen, your pupils, may be entertained and instructed here, in mathematics and philosophy, to satisfaction. Mr. Alison † (who was educated at Glasgow) has been long accustomed to teach the latter, and Mr. Grew † the former; and I think their pupils make great progress. Mr. Alison has the care of the Latin and Greek school, but as he has now three good assistants, § he can very well afford some hours every day for the instruction of those who are engaged in higher studies. The mathematical school is pretty well furnished with instruments. The English library is a good one; and we have belonging to it a middling apparatus for experimental philosophy, and purpose speedily to complete it. The Loganian library, one of the best collections in America, will shortly be opened; so that neither books nor instruments will be wanting; and as we are determined always to give good salaries, we have reason to believe we may have always an opportunity of choosing good masters; upon which, indeed, the success of the whole depends. We are obliged to you for your kind offers in this respect, and when you are settled in England, we may occasionally make use of your friendship and judgment,—

If it suits your conveniency to visit Philadelphia before you return to Europe, I shall be extremely glad to see and converse with you here, as well as to correspond with you after your settlement in England; for an acquaintance and communication with men of learning, virtue, and public spirit, is one of my greatest enjoyments.

I do not know whether you ever happened to see the first proposals I made for erecting this academy. I send them inclosed. They had, (however imperfect) the desired success, being followed by a subscription of four thousand pounds, towards carrying them into execution. And as we are fond of receiving advice, and are daily improving by experience, I am in hopes we shall, in a few years, see a perfect institution.

I am very respectfully, &c. B. FRANKLIN.

Mr. W. Smith, Long-Island.

* A general idea of the college of Marania. ↵

† The Rev. and learned Mr. Francis Alison, afterwards D. D. and vice-provost of the college. ↵

† Mr. Theophilus Grew, afterwards professor of mathematics in the college. ↵

§ Those assistants were at that time Mr. Charles Thomsom, late secretary of congress, Mr. Paul Jackson, and Mr. Jacob Duche. ↵

Philad. May 3d, 1753.

Sir,

Mr. Peters has just now been with me, and we have compared notes on your new piece. We find nothing in the scheme of education, however excellent, but what is, in our opinion, very practicable. The great difficulty will be to find the Aratus, * and other suitable persons, to carry it into execution; but such may be had if proper encouragement be given. We have both received great pleasure in the perusal of it. For my part, I know not when I have read a piece that has more affected me—so noble and just are the sentiments, so warm and animated the language; yet as censure from your friends may be of more use, as well as more agreeable to you than praise, I ought to mention, that I wish you had omitted not only the quotation from the Review, † which you are now justly dissatisfied with, but those expressions of resentment against your adversaries, in pages 65 and 79. In such cases, the noblest victory is obtained by neglect, and by shining on.

Mr. Allen has been out of town these ten days; but before he went he directed me to procure him six copies of your piece. Mr. Peters has taken ten. He purposed to have written to you; but omits it, as he expects so soon to have the pleasure of seeing you here. He desires me to present his affectionate compliments to you, and to assure you that you will be very welcome to him. I shall only say, that you may depend on my doing all in my power to make your visit to Philadelphia agreeable to you

I am, &c. B. FRANKLIN.

Mr. Smith.

* The name given to the principal or head of the ideal college, the system of education in which hath nevertheless been nearly realized, or followed as a model, in the college and academy of Philadelphia, and some other American seminaries, for many years past. ↵

† The quotation alluded to (from the London Monthly Review for 1749) was judged to reflect too severely on the discipline and government of the English universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and was expunged from the following editions of this work. ↵

Philad. Nov. 27th, 1753.

Dear Sir,

Having written you fully, via Bristol, I have now little to add. Matters relating to the academy remain in statu quo. The trustees would be glad to see a rector established there, but they dread entering into new engagements till they are got out of debt; and I have not yet got them wholly over to my opinion, that a good professor, or teacher of he higher branches of learning would draw so many scholars as to pay great part, if not the whole of his salary. Thus, unless the proprietors (of the province) shall think sit to put the finishing hand to our institution, it must, I fear, wait some few years longer before it can arrive at that state of perfection, which to me it seems now capable of; and all the pleasure I promised myself in seeing you settled among us, vanishes into smoke.

But good Mr. Collinson writes me word, that no endeavours of his shall be wanting; and he hopes, with the archbishop's assistance, to be able to prevail with our proprietors. * I pray God grant them success.

My son presents his affectionate regards, with, Dear Sir,

Yours, &c. B. FRANKLIN.

P. S, I have not been favoured with a line from you since your arrival in England.

* Upon the application of archbishop Herring and P. Collinson, esq at Dr. Franklin's request, (aided by the letters of Mr. Allen and Mr. Peters) the Hon. Thomas Penn, esq subscribed an annual sum, and afterwards gave at least 5000l. to the founding or engrafting the college upon the academy. ↵

Philad. April 18th, 1754.

Dear Sir,

I have had but one letter from you since your arrival in England, which was a short one, via Boston, dated October 18th, acquainting me that you had written largely by Capt. Davis.—Davis was lost, and with him your letters, to my great disappointment Mesnard and Gibbon have since arrived here, and I hear nothing from you—My comfort is, an imagination that you only omit writing because you are coming, and purpose to tell me every thing viva voce. So not knowing whether this letter will reach you, and hoping either to see or hear from you by the Myrtilla, Capt. Buddon's ship, which is daily expected, I only [...]dd, that I am, with great esteem and affection.

Yours, &c. B. FRANKLIN.

Mr. Smith.

About a month after the date of this last letter, the gentleman to whom it was addressed arrived in Philadelphia, and was immediately placed at the head of the seminary; whereby Dr. Franklin, and the other trustees were enabled to prosecute their plan, for perfecting the institution, and opening the college upon the large and liberal foundation on which it now stands; for which purpose they obtained their additional charter, dated May 27th, 1755.

Thus far we thought proper to exhibit in one view Dr. Franklin's services in the foundation and establishment of this seminary. He soon afterward embarked for England, in the public service of his country; and having been generally employed abroad, in the like service, for the greatest part of the remainder of his life (as will appear in our subsequent account of the same) he had but few opportunities of taking any further active part in the affairs of the seminary, until his [Page 152]final return in the year 1785, when he found its charters violated, and his ancient colleagues, the original founders, deprived of their trust, by an act of the legislature; and although his own name had been inserted among the new trustees, yet he declined to take his seat among them, or any concern in the management of their affairs, till the institution was restored by law to its original owners. He then assembled his old colleagues at his own house, and being chosen their president, all their future meetings were, at his request, held there, till within a few months of his death, when with reluctance, and at their desire, least he might be too much injured by his attention to their business, he suffered them to meet at the college.

Franklin not only gave birth to many useful institutions himself, but he was also instrumental in promoting those which had originated with other men. About the year 1752, an eminent physician of this city, Dr. Bond, considering the deplorable state of the poor, when visited with disease, conceived the idea of establishing an hospital. Notwithstanding very great exertions on his part, he was able to interest few people so far in his benevolent plan, as to obtain subscriptions from them. Unwilling that his scheme should prove abortive, he sought the aid of Franklin, who readily engaged in the business, both by using his influence with his friends, and by stating the advantageous influence of the proposed institution in his paper. These efforts were attended with success. Considerable sums were subscribed; but they were still short of what was necessary. Franklin now made another exertion. He applied to the assembly; and, after some opposition, obtained leave to bring in a bill, specifying, that as soon as two thousand pounds were subscribed, the same sum should be drawn from the treasury by the speaker's warrant, to be applied to the purposes of the institution. The opposition, as the sum was granted upon a contingency which they supposed would never take place, were silent, and the bill passed. The friends of the plan now redoubled their efforts, to obtain subscriptions to the amount stated in the bill, and were soon successful. This was the foundation of the Pennsylvania Hospital, which, with the Bettering-house and Dispensary, bears ample testimony of the humanity of the citizens of Philadelphia.

Dr. Franklin had conducted himself so well in the office of post-master, and had shown himself to be so well acquainted with the business of that department, that it was thought expedient to raise him to a more dignified station. In 1753 he was appointed deputy post-master-general for the British colonies. The profits arising from the postage of the revenue, which the crown of Great Britain derived from the colonies. In the hands of Franklin, it is said, that the postoffice in America yielded annually thrice as much as that of Ireland.

The American colonies were much exposed to depredations on their frontiers, by the Indians; and more particularly whenever a war took place between France and England. The colonies, individually, were either too weak to take efficient measures for their own defence, or they were unwilling to take upon themselves the whole burden of erecting forts and maintaining garrisons, whilst their neighbours, who partook equally with themselves, of the advantages, contributed nothing to the expence. Sometimes also the disputes, which subsisted in between the governors and assemblies, prevented the adoption of means of defence; as we have seen was the case in Pennsylvania in 1745. To devise a plan of union between the colonies, to regulate this and other matters, appeared a desirable object. To accomplish this, in the year 1754, commissioners from New-Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode-Island, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, met at Albany. Dr. Franklin attended here, as a commissioner from Pennsylvania, and produced a plan, which, from the place of meeting, has been usually termed "The Albany Plan of Union." This proposed, that application should be made for an act of parliament, to establish in the colonies a general government, to be administered by a president-general, appointed by the crown, and by a grand council, consisting of members chosen by the representatives of the different colonies; their number to be in direct proportion to the sums paid by each colony into the general treasury, with this restriction, that no colony should have more than seven, nor less than two representatives. The whole executive authority was committed to the president-general. The power of legislation was lodged in the grand council and president-general jointly; his consent being made necessary to [...]assing a bill into a law. The power vested in the president and council were, to declare war and peace, and to conclude treaties with the Indian nations; to regulate trade with, and to make purchases of vacant lands from them, either in the name of the crown, or of the union; to settle new colonies, to make laws for governing these until they [...]ould be erected into separate governments, and to raise troops, build forts, fit out armed vessels and use other means for the general defence; and to affect these things, a power was given to make laws, laying such duties, imposts, or taxes, as they should find ne [...]ssary, and as would be least burthensome to the people. All laws were to be sent to England for the king's approbation; and unless disapproved of within three years, were [...] remain in force. All officers in the land [...] sea service were to be nominated by the resident-general, and approved of by the general council; civil officers were to be nominated by the council, and approved by the resident. Such are the out-lines of the plan proposed, for the consideration of the congress, by Dr. Franklin. After several days discussion, it was unanimously agreed to by the commissioners, a copy transmitted [...] each assembly, and one to the king's council. The fate of it was singular. It was disapproved of by the ministry of Great-Britain, because it gave too much power to the representatives of the people; and it was rejected by every assembly, as giving to the president-general, the representative of the crown, an influence greater than appeared to them proper, in a plan of government intended for freemen. Perhaps this rejection, on both sides, is the strongest proof that could be adduced of the excellence of it, as suited to the situation of America and Great-Britain at that time. It appears to have steered exactly in the middle, between the opposite interests of both.

Whether the adoption of this plan would have prevented the separation of America from Great-Britain, is a question which might afford much room for speculation. It may be said, that, by enabling the colonies to defend themselves, it would have removed the pretext upon which the stamp-act, tea-act, and other acts of the British parliament, were passed: which excited a spirit of opposition, and laid the foundation for the separation of the two countries. But, on the other hand, it must be admitted, that the restriction laid by Great-Britain upon our commerce, obliging us to sell our produce to her citizens only, and to take from them various articles, of which, as our manufactures were discouraged, we stood in need, at a price greater than that for which they could have been obtained from other nations, must inevitably produce dissatisfaction, even though no duties were imposed by the parliament; a circumstance which might still have taken place. Besides, as the president-general was to be appointed by the crown, he must, of necessity, be devoted to its views, and would, therefore, refuse his assent to any laws, however salutary to the community, which had the most remote tendency to injure the interests of his sovereign. Even should they receive his assent, the approbation of the king was to be necessary; who would indubitably, in every instance, prefer the advantage of his home dominions to that of his colonies. Hence would ensue perpetual disagreements between the council and the president-general, and thus, between the people of America and the crown of Great Britain: While the colonies continued weak, they would be obliged to submit, and as soon as they acquired strength they would be more urgent in their demands, until, at length, they would shake off the yoke, and declare themselves independent.

Whilst the French were in possession of Canada, their trade with the natives ex [...]ended very far; even to the back of the British settlements. They were disposed, from time to time, to establish posts within the territory, which the British claimed as their own. Independent of the injury to the fur-trade, which was considerable, the colonies suffered this further inconvenience, that the Indians were frequently instigated to commit depredations on their frontiers. In the year 1753, encroachments were made upon the boundaries of Virginia. Remonstrances had no effect. In the ensuing year, a body of men was sent out under the command of Mr. Washington, who, though a very young man, had, by his conduct in the preceding year, shewn himself worthy of such an important trust. Whilst marching to take possession of the post at the junction of the Allegany and Monongahela, he was informed that the French had already erected a fort there. A detachment of their men marched against him. He fortified himself as strongly as time and circumstances would admit. A superiority of numbers soon obliged him to surrender Fort Necessity. He obtained honourable terms for himself and men, and returned to Virginia. The government of Great-Britain now thought it necessary to interfere. In the year 1755, General Braddock, with some regiments of regular troops, and provincial levies, was sent to dispossess the French of the posts upon which they had seized. After the men were all ready, a difficulty occurred, which had nearly prevented the expedition. This was the want of waggons. Franklin now stepped forward, and with the assistance of his son, in a little time procured a hundred and fifty. Braddock unfortunately fell into an ambuscade, and perished, with a number of his men. Washington, who had accompanied him as an aid-de-camp, and had warned him, in vain, of his danger, now displayed great military talents in effecting a retreat of the remains of the army, and in forming a junction with the rear, under coloned Dunbar, upon whom the cheif command now devolved. With some difficulty they brought their little body to a place of safety; but they found it necessary to destroy their waggons and baggage, to prevent their falling into the hands of the enemy. For the waggons which he had furnished, Franklin had given bonds to a large amount. The owners declared their intentions of obliging him to make a restitution of their property. Had they put their threats in execution, ruin must inevitably have been the consequence. Governor Shirley, finding that he had incurred these debts for the service of government, made arrangements to have them discharged, and released Franklin from his disagreeable situation.

The alarm spread through the colonies, after the defeat of Braddock, was very great. Preparations to arm were every where made. In Pennsylvania, the prevalence of the quaker interest prevented the adoption of any system of defence, which would compel the citizens to bear arms. Franklin introduced into the assembly a bill for organizing a militia, by which every man was allowed to take arms or not, as to him should appear fit. The quakers, being thus left at liberty, suffered the bill to pass; for although their principles would not suffer them to fight, they had no objections to their neighbours fighting for them. In consequence of this act a very respectable militia was formed. The sense of impending danger infused a military spirit in all, whose religious tenets were not opposed to war. Franklin was appointed colonel of a regiment in Philadelphia, which consisted of 1200 men.

The north-western frontier being invaded by the enemy, it became necessary to adopt measures for its defence. Franklin was directed by the governor to take charge of this business. A power of raising men, and of appointing officers to command them, was vested in him. He soon levied a body of troops, with which he repaired to the place at which their presence was necessary. Here he built a fort, and placed the garrison in such a posture of defence, as would enable them to withstand the inroads, to which the inhabitants had previously been exposed. He remained here for some time, in order the more completely to discharge the trust committed to him. Some business of importance rendered his presence necessary in the assembly, and he returned to Philadelphia.

The defence of her colonies was a great expence to Great Britain. The most effectual mode of lessening this war, was to put arms into the hands of the inhabitants, and to teach them their use. But England wished not that the Americans should become acquainted with their own strength. She was apprehensive, that, as soon as this period arrived, they would no longer submit to that monopoly of their trade, which to them was highly injurious, but extremely advantageous to the mother country. In comparison with the profits of this, the expence of maintaining armies and fleets to defend them was trifling. She sought to keep them dependent upon her for protection, the best plan which could be devised for retaining them in peaceable subjection, the least appearance of a military spirit was therefore to be guarded against, and, although a war then raged, the act organizing a militia was disapproved of by the ministry. The regiments which had been formed under it were disbanded, and the defence of the province entrusted to regular troops.

The disputes between the proprietaries and the people continued in full force, although a war was raging on the frontiers. Not even the sense of danger was sufficient to reconcile, for ever so short a time, their jarring interests. The assembly still insisted upon the justice of taxing the proprietary estates, but the governors constantly refused to give their assent to this measure, without which no bill could pass into a law. Enraged at the obstinacy, and what they conceived to be unjust proceedings of their opponents, the assembly at length determined to apply to the mother country for relief. A petition was addressed to the king, in council, stating the inconveniencies under which the inhabitants laboured, from the attention of the proprietaries to their private interests, to the neglect of the general welfare of the community, and praying for redress. Franklin was appointed to present this address, as agent for the province of Pennsylvania, and departed from America in June 1757. In conformity to the instructions which he had received from the legislature, he held a conference with the proprietaries, who then resided, in England, and endeavoured to prevail upon them to give up the long-contested point. Finding that they would hearken to no terms of accommodation, he laid his petition before the council. During this time governor Denny assented to a law imposing a tax, in which no discrimination was made in favour of the estates of the Penn family. They, alarmed at this intelligence, and Frankin's exertions, used their utmost exertions to prevent the royal sanction being given to this law, which they represented as highly iniquitous, designed to throw the burthen, of supporting government on them, and calculated to produce the most ruinous consequences to them and their posterity. The cause was amply discussed before the privy council. The Penns found here so [...] [...] nuous advocates; nor were there wanting some who warmly espoused the side of the people. After some time spent in debate, a proposal was made, that Franklin should solemnly engage, that the assessment of the tax should be so made, as that the proprietary estates should pay no more than a due proportion. This he agreed to perform, the Peen family withdrew their opposition, and tranquility was thus once more restored to the province.

The mode in which this dispute was terminated is a striking proof of the high opinion entertained of Franklin's integrity and honour, even by those who considered him as inimical to their views. Nor was their confidence ill-founded. The assessment was made upon the strictest principles of equity; and the proprietary estates bore only a proportionable share of the expences of supporting government.

After the completion of this important business, Franklin remained at the court of Great Britain, as agent for the province of Pennsylvania. The extensive knowledge which he possessed of the situation of the colonies, and the regard which he always manifested for their interests, occasioned his appointment to the same office by the colonies of Massachusetts, Maryland, and Georgia. His conduct, in this situation, was such as rendered him still more dear to his countryman.

He had now an oppertunity of indulging in the society of those friends, whom his merits had procured him while at a distance. The regard which they had entertained for him was rather increased by a personal acquaintance. The opposition which had been made to his discoveries in philosophy gradually ceased, and the rewards of literary merit were abundantly conferred upon him. The royal society of London, which had at first refused his performances admission into its transactions, now thought it an honour to rank him among its fellows. Other societies of Europe were equally ambitious of calling him a member. The university of St. Andrew's, in Scotland, conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws. Its example was followed by the universities of Edinburgh and of Oxford. His correspondence was sought for by the most eminent philosophers of Europe. His letters to these abound with true scince, delivered in the most simple unadorned manner.

The province of Canada was at this time in the possession of the French, who had originally settled it. The trade with the Indians, for which its situation was very convenient, was exceedingly lucrative. The French traders here found a market for their commodities, and received in return large quantities of rich furs, which they disposed of at a high price in Europe. Whilst the possession of this country was highly advantageous to France, it was a grievous inconvenience to the inhabitants of the British colonies. The Indians were almost generally desirous to cultivate the friendship of the French, by whom they were abundantly supplied with arms and ammunition, Whenever a war happened, the Indians were ready to fall upon the frontiers: and this they frequently did, even when Great Britain and and France were at peace. From these considerations, it appeared to be the interest of Great Britain to gain the possession of Canada. But the importance of such an acquisition was not well understood in England. Franklin about this time published his Canada pamphlet, in which he, in a very forcible manner, pointed out the advantages which would result from the conquest of this province.

An expedition against it was planned, and the command given to General Wolfe. His success is well known. At the treaty in 1762, France ceded Canada to Great Britain, and by her cession of Louisiana, at the same time, relinquished all her possessions on the continent of America.

Although Dr. Franklin was now principally occupied with political pursuits, he found time for philosophical studies. He extended his electrical researches, and made a variety of experiments, particularly an the tourmalin. The singular properties which this stone possesses of being electrified on one side positively and on the other negatively, by heat alone, without friction, had been but lately observed.

Some experiments on the cold produced by evaporation, made by Dr. Cullen, had been communicated to Dr. Franklin by Professor Simpson of Glasgow. These he repeated, and found, that, by the evaporation of ether in the exhausted receiver of an air-pump, so great a degree of cold was produced in a summer's day, that water was converted into ice. This discovery he applied to the solution of a number of phenomena, particularly a singular fact, which philosophers had endeavoured in vain to account for, viz. that the temperature of the human body, when in health, never exceeds 96 degrees of Farenheit's thermometers, although the atmosphere which surrounds it may be heated to a much greater degree. This he attributed to the increased perspiration, and consequent evaporation, produced by the heat.

In a letter to Mr. Small of London, dated in May 1760, Dr. Franklin makes a number observations, tending to shew that, in North America, north-east storms being in the south-west parts. It appears, from actual observation, that a north-east storm, which extended a considerable distance, commenced at Philadelphia nearly four hours before it was felt at Boston. He endeavoured to account for this, by supposing that from heat, some rarefaction takes place about the gulph of Mexico, that the air further north being cooler rushes in, and is succeeded by the cooler and denser air still further north, and thus a continued current is at length produced.

The tone produced by rubbing the brim of a drinking glass with a wet finger had been generally known. A Mr. Puckeridge, and Irishman, by placing on a table a number of glasses of different sizes, and tuning them by partly filling them with water, endeavoured to form an instrument capable of playing tunes. He was prevented by an untimely end, from bringing his invention to any degree of perfection. After his death some improvements were made upon his plan. The sweetness of the tones induced Dr. Franklin to make a variety of experiments; and he at length formed that elegant instrument, which he has called the Armonica.

In the summer of 1762 he returned to America. On his passage he observed the singular effect produced by the agitation of a vessel, containing oil floating on water. The surface of the oil remains smooth and undisturbed, whilst the water is agitated with the utmost commotion. No satisfactory explanation of this appearance has, we believe, ever been given.

Dr. Franklin received the thanks of the assembly of Pennsylvania, "as well for the faithful discharge of his duty to that province in particular, as for the many and important services done to America in general, during his residence in Great Britain." A compensation of 5000l. Pennsylvania currency, was also decreed him for his services during six years.

During his absence he had been annually elected member of the assembly. On his return to Pennsylvania he again took his seat in this body, and continued a steady defender of the liberties of the people.

In December 1762, a circumstance which caused great alarm in the province took place. A number of Indians had resided in the country at Lancaster, and conducted themselves uniformly as friends to the white inhabitants. Repeated depredations on the frontiers had exasperated the inhabitants to such a degree, that they determined to revenge upon every Indian. A number of persons, to the amount of 120, principally inhabitants of Donnegal and Peckstang or Paxton townships, in the county of York, assembled; and, mounted on horseback, proceeded to the settlement of these harmless and defenceless Indians, whose number had now reduced to about twenty. The Indians received intelligence of the attack which was intended against them, but disbelieved it. Considering the white people as their friends, they apprehended no danger from them. When the party arrived at the Indian settlement, they found only some women and children, and a few old men, the rest being absent at work. They murdered all whom they found, and amongst others the chief Shahaes, who had been always distinguished for his friendship to the whites. This bloody deed excited much indignation in the well-disposed part of the community.

The remainder of these unfortunate Indians, who, by absence, had escaped the massacre, were conducted to Lancaster, and lodged in the jail, as a place of security. The governor issued a proclamation expressing the strongest disapprobation of the action, offering a reward for the discovery of the perpetrators of the deed; and prohibiting all injuries to the peaceable Indians in future. But notwithstanding this, a party of the same men shortly after marched to Lancaster, broke open the jail, and inhumanly butchered the innocent Indians who had been placed there for security. Another proclamation was issued, but had no effect. A detachment marched down to Philadelphia, for the express purpose of murdering some friendly Indians, who had been removed to the city for safety. A number of the citizens armed in their defence. The Quakers, whose principles are opposed to fighting, even in their defence, were most active upon this occasion. The rioters came to Germantown. The governor fled for safety to the house of Dr. Franklin, who, with some others, advanced to meet the Paxton boys, as they were called, and had influence enough to prevail upon them to relinquish their understanding, and return to their homes.

The disputes between the proprietaries and the assembly, which, for a time, had subsided, were again revived. The proprietaries were dissatisfied with the concessions made in favour of the people, and made great struggles to [Page 170]recover the privilege of exempting their estates from taxation, which they had been induced to give up.

In 1763 the assembly passed a militia bill, to which the governor refused to give his assent, unless the assembly would agree to certain amendments which he proposed. These consisted in increasing the fines, and, in some cases, substituting death for fines. He wished too that the officers should be appointed altogether by himself, and not be nominated by the people, as the bill had proposed. These amendments the assembly considered as inconsistent with the spirit of liberty. They would not adopt them; the governor was obstinate, and the bill was lost.

These, and various other circumstances, increased the uneasiness which subsisted between the proprietaries and the assembly, to such a degree, that, in 1764, a petition to the king was agreed to by the house, proving an alteration from a proprietary to a regal government. Great opposition was made to this measure, not only in the house but in the public prints. A speech of Mr. Dickenson, on the subject, was published, with a preface by Dr. Smith, in which great pains were taken to shew the impropriety and impolicy of this proceeding. A speech of Mr. Galloway in reply to Mr. Dickenson was published, accompained with a preface by Dr. Franklin; in which he ably opposed the principles laid down in the preface to Mr. Dickenson's speech. This application to the throne produced no effect. The proprietary government was still continued.

At the election for a new assembly, in the fall of 1764, the friends of the proprietaries made great exertions to exclude those of the adverse party, and obtained a small majority in the city of Philadelphia. Franklin now lost his seat in the house, which he had held for fourteen years. On the meeting of the assembly, it appeared that there was still a decided majority of Franklin's friends. He was immediately appointed provincial agent to the great chagrin of his enemies, who made a solemn protest against his appointment; which was refused admission upon the minutes, as being unprecedented. It was, however, published in the papers, and produced a spirited reply from him, just before his departure for England.

The desturbances produced in America by Mr. Grenville's stamp-act, and the opposition made to it, are well known. Under the marquis of Rockingham's administration, it appeared expedient to endeavour to calm the minds of the colonists; and the repeal of the odious tax was contemplated. Amongst other means of collecting information on the disposition of the people to submit to it, Dr. Franklin was called to the bar of the house of commons. The examination which he here underwent was published, and contains a striking proof of the extent and accuracy of his information, and the facility with which he communicated his sentiments. He represented facts in so strong a point of view, that the inexpediency of the act must have appeared clear to every unprejudiced mind. The act, after some opposition, was repealed, about a year after it was enacted, and before it had ever been carried into execution.

In the year 1766, he made a visit to Holland and Germany, and received the greatest marks of attention from men of science. In his passage through Holland, he learned from the watermen the effect which a diminution of the quantity of water in canals has, in impeding the progress of boats. Upon his return to England, he was led to make a number of experiments; all of which tended to confirm the observation. These, with an explanation of the phenomenon, he communicated in a letter to his friend, Sir John Pringle, which is contained in the volume of his philosophical pieces.

In the following year he travelled into France, where he met with a no less favourable reception than he had experienced in Germany. He was introduced to a number of literary characters, and to the king, Louis XV.

Several letters written by Hutchinson, Oliver, and others, to persons in eminent stations in Great Britain, came into the hands of Dr. Franklin.

These contained the most violent invectives against the leading characters of the state of Massachusetts, and strenuously advised the prosecution of vigorous measures, to compel the people to obedience to the measures of the ministry. These he transmitted to the legislature, by whom they were published. Attested copies of them were sent to Great Britain, with an address, praying the king to discharge from office persons who had rendered themselves so obnoxious to the people, and who had shewn themselves so unfriendly to their interests. The publication of these letters produced a duel between Mr. Whately and Mr. Temple; each of whom was suspected of having been instrumental in procuring them. To prevent any further disputes on this subject, Dr. Franklin, in one of the public papers, declared that he had sent them to America, but would give no information concerning the manner in which he had obtained them; nor was this ever discovered.

Shortly after, the petition of the Massachusetts assembly was taken up for examination, before the privy council. Dr. Franklin attended, as agent for the assembly; and here a torrent of the most violent and unwarranted abuse was poured upon him by the solicitor-general, Wedderburne, who was engaged as council for Oliver and Hutchinson. The petition was declared to be scandalous and vexatious, and the prayer of it refused.

Although the parliament of Great Britain had repealed the stamp-act, it was only upon the principle of expediency. They still insisted upon their right to tax the colonies; and, at the same time that the stamp-act was repealed, an act was passed, declaring the right of parliament to bind the colonies in all cases whatsoever. This language was used even by the most strenuous opposers of the stamp-act; and, amongst others, by Mr. Pitt. This right was never recognized by the colonists; but, as they flattered themselves that it would not be exercised, they were not very active in remonstrating against it. Had this pretended right been suffered to remain dormant, the colonists would cheerfully have finished their quota of supplies, in the mode to which they had been accustomed; that is, by acts of their own assemblies, in consequence of requisitions from the secretary of state. If this practice had been pursued, such was the disposition of the colonies towards the mother country, that, notwithstanding the disadvantages under which they laboured, from restraints upon their trade, calculated solely for the benefit of the commercial and manufacturing interests of Great Britain, a separation of the two countries might have been a far distant event. The Americans, from their earliest infancy, were taught to venerate a people from whom they were descended; whose language, laws and manners, were the same as their own. They looked up to them as models of perfection; and, in their prejudiced minds, the most enlightened nations of Europe were considered as almost barbarians, in comparison with Englishmen. The name of an Englishman conveyed to an American the idea of every thing good and great. Such sentiments instilled into them in early life, what but a repetition of unjust treatment could have induced them to entertain the most distant thought of separation! The duties on glass, paper, leather, painter's colours, tea, &c. the disfranchisement of some of the colonies: the obstruction to the measures of the legislature in others, by the king's governors; the contemptuous treatment of their humble remonstrances, stating their grievances and praying a redress of them, and other violent and oppressive measures, at length excited an ardent spirit of opposition. Instead of endeavouring to allay this by a more lenient conduct, the ministry seemed resolutely bent upon reducing the colonies to the most slavish obedience to their decrees. But this tended only to aggravate. Vain were all the efforts made use of to prevail upon them to lay aside their designs, to convince them of the impossibility of carrying them into effect, and of the mischievous consequences which must insue from a continuance of the attempt. They persevered, with a degree of inflexibility scarcely paralleled.

The advantages which Great Britain derived from her colonies were so great, that nothing but a degree of infatuation, little short of madness, could have produced a continuance of measures calculated to keep up a spirit of uneasiness, which might occasion the slightest wish for a separation. When we consider the great improvements in the science of government, the general diffusion of the principles of liberty amongst the people of Europe, the effects they have already produced in France, and the probable consequences which will result from them elsewhere, all of which are the offspring of the American revolution, it cannot but appear strange, that events of so great moment to the happiness of mankind, should have been ultimately occasioned by the wickedness or ignorance of a British ministry.

Dr. Franklin left nothing untried to prevail upon the ministry to consent to a change of measures. In private conversations, and in letters to persons in government, he continually expatiated upon the impolicy and injustice of their conduct towards America; and stated, that, notwithstanding the attachment of the colonists to the mother country, a repetition of ill treatment must ultimately alienate their affections. They listened not to his advice. They blindly persevered in their own schemes, and left to the colonists no alternative, but opposition or unconditional submission. The latter accorded not with the principles of freedom, which they had been taught to revere. To the former they were compelled, though reluctantly, to have recourse.

Dr. Franklin, finding all efforts to restore harmony between Great Britain and her colonies useless, returned to America in the year 1775; just after the commencement of hostilities. The day after his return he was elected by the legislature of Pennsylvania a member of congress. Not long after his election a committee was appointed, consisting of Mr. Lynch, Mr. Harrison, and himself, to visit the camp at Cambridge, and in conjunction with the commander in chief, to endeavour to convince the troops, whose term of enlistment was about to expire, of the necessity of their continuing in the field, and persevering in the cause of their country.

In the fall of the same year he visited Canada, to endeavour to unite them in the common cause of liberty; but they could not be prevailed upon to oppose the measures of the British government. M. Le Roy, in a letter annexed to Abbe Fauchet's eulogium of Dr. Franklin, states that the ill success of this negociation was occasioned, in a great degree, by religious animosities, which subsisted between the Canadians and their neighbours, some of whom had at different times burnt their chapels.

When Lord Howe came to America, in 1776, vested with power to treat with the colonists, a correspondence took place between him and Dr. Franklin, on the subject of a reconciliation. Dr. Franklin was afterwards appointed, together with John Adams and Edward Rutledge, to wait upon the commissioners, in order to learn the extent of their power. These were found to be only to grant pardons upon submission. These were terms which would not be accepted; and the object of the commissioners could not be obtained.

The momentous question of independence was shortly after brought into view, at a time when the fleets and armies, which were sent to enforce obedience, were truly formidable. With an army, numerous indeed, but ignorant of discipline, and entirely unskilled in the art of war, without money, without a fleet, without allies, and with nothing but the love of liberty to support them, the colonists determined to separate from a country, from which they had experienced a repetition of injury and insult. In this question, Dr. Franklin was decidedly in favour of the measure proposed, and had great influence in bringing over others to his sentiments.

The public mind had been pretty fully prepared for this event, by Mr. Paine's celebrated pamphlet, Common Sense. There is good reason to believe that Dr. Franklin had no inconsiderable share, at least, in furnishing materials for this work.

In the convention which assembled at Philadelphia in 1776, for the purpose of establishing a new form of government for the state of Pennsylvania, Dr. Franklin was chosen president. The late constitution of this state, which was the result of their deliberations, may be considered as a digest of his principles of government. The single legislature, and the plural executive, seem to have been his favourite tenets.

In the latter end of 1776, Dr. Franklin was appointed to assist in the negociatious which had been set on foot by Silas Deane at the court of France. A conviction of the advantages of a commercial intercourse with America, and a desire of weakening the British empire by dismembering it, first induced the French court to listen to proposals of an alliance. But they shewed rather a reluctance to the measure, which, by Dr. Franklin's address, and particularly by the success of the American arms against general Burgoyne, was at length overcome; and in February 1778, a treaty of alliance, offensive and defensive, was concluded; in consequence of which France became involved in the war with Great Britain.

Perhaps no person could have been found, more capable of rendering essential services to the United States at the court of France, than Dr. Franklin. He was well known as a philosopher, and his character was held in the highest estimation. He was raceived with the greatest marks of respect by all the literary characters; and this respect was extended amongst all classes of men. His personal influence was hence very considerable. To the effects of this were added those of various performances which he published, tending to establish the credit and charecter of the United States. To his exertions in this way, may, in no small degree, be ascribed the success of the loans negociated in Holland and France, which greatly contributed to bringing the war to a happy conclusion.

The repeated ill success of their arms, and more particularly the capture of Cornwallis and his army, at length convinced the British nation of the impossibility of reducing the Americans to subjection. The trading interest particularly became very clamorous for peace. The ministry were unable longer to oppose their wishes. Provisional articles of peace were agreed to, and signed at Paris on the 30th of November, 1782, by Dr. Franklin, Mr. Adams, Mr. Jay, and Mr. Laurens, on the part of the United States; and by Mr. Oswald on the part of Great Britain. These formed the basis of the definitive treaty, which was concluded the 30th of September 1783, and signed by Dr. Franklin, Mr. Adams, and Mr. Jay, on the one part, and by Mr. David Hartley on the other.

On the 3d of April 1783, a treaty of amity and commerce, betweed the United States and Sweden, was concluded at Paris, by Dr. Franklin and the Count Von Kruitz.

A similar trearty with Prussia was concluded in 1785, not long before Dr. Franklin's departure from Europe.

Dr. Franklin did not fuffer his political pursuits to engross his whole attention. Some of his performances made their appearance in Paris. The object of these was generally the promotion of industry and oeconomy.

In the year 1784, when animal magnetism made great noise in the world, particularly at Paris, it was thought a matter of such importance, that the king appointed commissioners to examine into the foundation of this pretended science. Dr. Franklin was one of the number. After a fair and diligent examination, in the course of which Mesmer repeated a number of experiments, in the presence of the commissioners, some of which were tried upon themselves, they determined that it was a mere trick, intended to impose upon the ignorant and credulous—Mesmer was thus interrupted in his career to wealth and fame, and a most insolent attempt to impose upon the human understanding baffled.

The important ends of Dr. Franklin's mission being completed by the establishment of American independence, and the infirmities of age and disease coming upon him, he became desirous of returning to his native country. Upon application to congress to be recalled, Mr. Jefferson was appointed to succeed him, in 1785. Sometime in September of the same year, Dr. Franklin arrived in Philadelphia. He was shortly after chosen member of the supreme executive council for the city; and soon after was elected president of the same.

When a convention was called to meet in Philadelphia, in 1787, for the purpose of giving more energy to the government of the union, by revising and amending the articles of confederation, Dr. Franklin was appointed a delegate from the State of Pennsylvania. He signed the constitution which they proposed for the union, and gave it the most unequivocal marks of his approbation.

A society for political enquiries, of which Dr. Franklin was president, was established about this period. The meetings were held at his house. Two or three essays read in the society were published. It did not long continue.

In the year 1787, two societies were established in Philadelphia, founded on principles of the most liberal and refined humanity—The Philadelphia Society for alleviating the miseries of public prisons; and the Pennsylvania Society for promoting the abolition of slavery, the relief of free negroes unlawfully held in bondage, and the improvement of the condition of the African race. Of each of these Dr. Franklin was president. The labours of these bodies have been crowned with great success; and they continue to prosecute, with unwearied diligence, the laudable designs for which they were established.

Dr. Franklin's increasing infirmities prevented his regular attendance at the council-chamber; and, in 1788, he retired wholly from public life.

His constitution had been a remarkably good one. He had been little subject to disease, except an attack of the gout occasionally, until the year 1781, when he was first attacked with the symptoms of the calculous complaint, which continued during his life. During the intervals of pain from this grievous disease, he spent many cheerful hours, conversing in the most agreeable and instructive manner. His faculties were intirely unimpaired, even to the hour of his death.

His name, as president of the Abolition Society, was signed to the memorial presented to the House of Representatives of the United States, on the 12th of February 1789, praying them to exert the full extent of power vested in them by the constitution, in discouraging the traffick of the human species. This was his last public act. In the debates to which this memorial gave rise, several attempts were made to justify the trade. In the Federal Gazette of March 25th, there appeared an essay, signed Historicus, written by Dr. Franklin, in which he communicated a speech, said to have been delivered in the Divan of Algiers in 1687, in opposition to the prayer of the petition of a sect called Erika, or purists, for the abolition of piracy and slavery. This pretended African speech was an excellent parody of one delivered by Mr. Jackson of Georgia. All the arguments urged in favour of negroe slavery, are applied with equal force to justify the plundering and enslaving the Europeans. It affords, at the same time, a demonstration of the futility of [Page 184]the arguments in defence of the slave trade, and of the strength of mind and ingenuity of the author, at his advanced period of life. It furnished too a no less convincing proof of his power of imitating the style of other times and nations, than his celebrated parable against persecution. And as the latter led many to search the scriptures with a view to find it, so the former caused many persons to search the book-stores and libraries, for the work from which it was said to be extracted.

In the beginning of April following, he was attacked with a fever and complaint of his breast, which terminated his existence. The following account of his last illness was written by his friend and physician, Dr. Jones.

"The stone, with which he had been afflicted for several years, had for the last twelve months confined him chiefly to his bed; and during the extreme painful paroxysms, he was obliged to take large doses of laudanum to mitigate his tortures—still, in the intervals of pain, he not only amused himself with reading and conversing with his family, and a few friends who visited him, but was often employed in doing business of a public as well as private nature, with various persons who waited on him for that purpose; and in every instance displayed, not only that readiness and disposition of doing good, which was the distinguishing characteristic of his life, but the fullest and clearest possession of his uncommon mental abilities; and not unfrequently indulged himself in those jeux d'esprit and entertaining anecdotes, which were the delight of all who heard him.

"About sixteen days before his death, he was seized with a feverish indisposition, without any particular symptoms attending it, till the third or fourth day, when he complained of a pain in his left breast, which increased till it became extremely acute, attended with a cough and laborious breathing. During this state, when the severity of his pains sometimes drew forth a groan of complaint, he would observe—that he was afraid he did not bear them as he ought—acknowledged his grateful sense of the many blessings he had received from that supreme being, who had raised him from small and low beginnings to such high rank and consideration among men—and made no doubt but his present afflictions were kindly intended to wean him from a world in which he was no longer fit to act the part assigned him. In this frame of body and mind he continued till five days before his death, when his pain and difficulty of breathing entirely left him, and his family were flattering themselves with the hopes of his recovery, when an imposthumation, which had formed itself in his lungs, suddenly burst, and discharged a great quantity of matter, which he continued to throw up while he had sufficient strength to do it; but, as that failed, the organs of respiration became gradually oppressed—a calm lethargic state succeeded—and, on the 17th of April, 1790, about eleven o'clock at night, he quietly expired, closing a long and useful life of eighty-four years and three months.

"It may not be amiss to add to the above account, that Dr. Franklin, in the year 1735, had a severe pleurisy, which terminated in an abscess of the left lobe of his lungs, and he was then almost suffocated with the quantity and suddenness of the discharge. A second attack of a similar nature happened some years after this, from which he soon recovered, and did not appear to suffer any inconvenience in his respiration from these diseases."

The following epitaph on himself, was written by him many years previous to his death: ‘THE BODY of BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, Printer, (Like the cover of an old book, Its contents torn out, And stript of its lettering and gilding) Lies here, food for worms; Yet the work itself shall not be lost, For it will (as he believed) appear once more, In a new And more beautiful edition, Corrected and amended by The AUTHOR.’

EXTRACTS from the last Will and Testament of Dr. FRANKLIN.

WITH regard to my books, those I had in France, and those I left in Philadelphia, being now assembled together here, and a catalogue made of them, it is my intention to dispose of the same as follows:

My history of the Academy of Sciences, in sixty or seventy volums quarto, I give to the philosophical society of Philadelphia, of which I have the honour to be president. My collection in folio of Les Arts & Les Metiers, I give to the philosophical society, established in New-England, of which I am a member. My quarto edition of the same Arts and Metiers, I give to the library company of Philadelphia. Such and so many of my books as I shall mark in the said catalogue, with the name of my grandson, Benjamin Franklin Bache, I do hereby give to him: and such and so many of my books, as I shall mark in the said catalogue with the name of my grandson William Bache, I do hereby give to him: and such as shall be marked with the name of Jonathan Williams, I hereby give to my cousin of that name. The residue and remainder of all my books, manuscripts and papers, I do give to my grandson William Temple Franklin. My share in the library company of Philadelphia I give to my grandson Benjamin Franklin Bache, confiding that he will permit his brothers and sisters to share in the use of it.

I was born in Boston, New-England, and owe my first instructions in literature to the free grammar-schools established there. I therefore give one hundred pounds sterling to my executors, to be by them, the survivors or survivor of them, paid over to the managers or directors of the free schools in my native town of Boston, to be by them, or the person or persons who shall have the superintendance and management of the said schools, put out to interest, and so continued at interest for ever; which interest annually shall be laid out in silver medals, and given as honorary rewards annually by the directors of the said free schools, for the encouragement of scholarship in the said schools, belonging to the said town, in such manner as to the discretion of the select men of the said town shall seem meet.

Out of the salary that may remain due to me, as president of the state, I give the sum of two thousand pounds to my executors, to be by them, the survivors or survivor of them, paid over to such person or persons as the legislature of this state, by an act of assembly, shall appoint to receive the same, in trust, to be employed for making the Schuylkill navigable.

During the number of years I was in business as a stationer, printer, and postmaster, a great many small sums became due to me, for books, advertisements, postage of letters, and other matters, which were not collected, when in 1757, I was sent by the assembly to England as their agent—and, by subsequent appointments continued there till 1775—when, on my return, I was immediately engaged in the affairs of congress, and sent to France in 1776, where I remained nine years, not returning till 1785; and the said debts not being demanded in such a length of time, are become in a manner obsolete, yet are nevertheless justly due.—These, as they are stated in my great folio ledger, E, I bequeath to the contributors of the Pennsylvania hospital; hoping that those debtors, and the descendants of such as are deceased, who now, as I find, make some difficulty of satisfying such antiquated demands as just debts, may however be induced to pay or give them as charity to that excellent institution. I am sensible that much must inevitably be lost; but I hope something considerable may be recovered. It is possible too that some of the parties charged may have existing old unsettled accounts against me; in which case the managers of the said hospital will allow and deduct the amount, and pay the balance, if they find it against me.

I request my friends Henry Hill, Esq John Jay, Esq Francis Hopkinson, Esq and Mr. Edward Duffield, of Bonfield, in Philadelphia county, to be the executors of this any last will and testament, and I hereby [...]inate and appoint them for that purpose.

In would have my body buried with as little expence or ceremony as may be.

Philadelphia, July 17, 1788.

CODICIL.

I Benjamin Franklin, in the foregoing or annexed last will and testament, having further considered the same, do think proper to make and publish the following codicil, or addition thereto:

IT having long been a fixed political opinion of mine, that in a democratical state there ought to be no offices of profit, for the reasons I have given in an article of my drawing in our constitution, it was my intention, when I accepted the office of president, to devote the appointed salary to some public use: accordingly I had already, before I made my last will, in July last, given large sums of it to colleges, schools, building of churches, &c. and in that will I bequeathed two thousand pounds more to the state, for the purport of making the Schuylkill navigable; but understanding since, that such a sum will do but little towards accomplishing such a work, and that the project is not likely to be undertaken for ma [...] [...]rs to come—and having entertained [...] [...]dea, which I hope may be found mo [...] [...]tensively useful, I do hereby revoke and annul the bequest and direct that the certificates I have for what remains due to me of that salary, be sold towards raising the sum of two thousand pounds sterling, to be disposed of as I am now about to order.

It has been an opinion, that he who receives an estate from his ancestors, is under some obligation to transmit the same to posterity. This obligation lies not on me, who never inherited a shilling from any ancestor or relation. I shall, however, if it is not diminished by some accident before my death, leave a considerable estate among my descendants and relations. The above observation is made merely as some apology to my family, for my making bequests that do not appear to have any immediate relation to their advantage.

I was born in Boston, New-England, and owe my first instructions in literature to the free grammar schools established there. I have therefore considered those schools in my will.

But I am under obligations to the state of Massachusetts, for having, unasked, appointed me formerly their agent, with a handsome salary, which continued some years: and although I accidently lost in their service, by transmitting governor Hutchinson's letters, much more than the amount of what they gave me, I do not think that ought in the least to deminish my gratitude. I have considered that, among artisans, good apprentices are most likely to make good citizens; and having myself been bred to a manual art, printing, in my native town, and afterwards assisted to set up my business in Philadelphia by kind loans of money from two friends there, which was the foundation of my fortune, and of all the utility in life that may be ascribed to me—I wish to be useful even after my death, if possible in forming and advancing other young men, that may be serviceable to their country in both these towns.

To this end I devote two thousand pounds sterling, which I give, one thousand thereof to the inhabitants of the town of Boston, in Massachusetts, and the other one thousand to the inhabitants of the city of Philadelphia, in trust, to and for the uses, intents, and purposes, herein after mentioned and declared.

The said sum of one thousand pounds sterling, if accepted by the inhabitants of the town [...] Boston, shall be managed under the direction of the select men, united with the ministers of the oldest episcopalian, congregrational, and presbyterian churches in that town, who are to let out the same upon interest at five per cent. per annum, to such young married artificers, under the age of twenty-five years, as have served an apprenticeship in the said town, and faithfully fulfilled the duties required in their indentures, so as to obtain a good moral character, from at least two respectable citizens, who are willing to become sureties in a bond, with the applicants, for the repayment of the money so lent, with interest, according to the terms herein after prescribed; all which bonds are to be taken for Spanish milled dollars, or the value thereof in current gold coin: and the manager shall keep a bound book, or books, wherein shall be entered the names of those who shall apply for, and receive the benefit of this institution, and of their sureties, together with the sums lent, the dates, and other necessary and proper records respecting the business and concerns of this institution: and as these loans are intended to assist young married artificers in setting up their business, they are to be proportioned by the discretion of the managers, so as not to exceed sixty pounds sterling to one person, nor to be less than fifteen pounds.

And if the number of appliers so entitled should be so large as that the sum will not suffice to afford to each as much as might otherwise not be improper, the proportion to each shall be diminished, so as to afford to every one some assistance. These aids may therefore be small at first, but as the capital increases by the accumulated interest, they will be more ample. And in order to serve as many as possible in their turn, as well as to make the repayment of the principals borrow more easy, each borrower shall be obliged to pay with the yearly interest one tenth part of the principal; which sums of principal and interest so paid in, shall be again let out to fresh borrowers. And it is presumed, that there will be always found in Boston virtuous and benevolent citizens, willing to bestow a part of their time in doing good to the rising generation, by superintending and managing this institution gratis; it is hoped that no part of the money will at any time lie dead, or be diverted to other purposes, but be continually augmenting by the interest, in which case there may in time be more than the occasion in Boston shall require [...] and then some may be spared to the neighbouring or other towns in the said state of Massachusetts, which may desire to have it, such towns engaging to pay punctually the interest, and such proportions of the principal annually to the inhabitants of the town of Boston, if this plan is executed, and succeeds, as projected, without interruption, for one hundred years, the sum will be then one hundred and thirty-one thousand pounds; of which I would have the managers of the donation to the town of Boston then lay out, at their discretion, one hundred thousand pounds in public works, which may be judged of most general untility to the inhabitants; such as fortifications, bridges, aqueducts, public buildings, baths, pavements, or whatever may make living in the town more convenient to its people, and render it more agreeable to strangers resorting thither for health, or a temporary residence. The remaining thirty-one thousand pounds I would have continued to be let out to interest, in the manner above directed, for one hundred years; as I hope it will have been found that the institution has had a good effect on the conduct of youth, and been of service to many worthy characters and useful citizens. At the end of this second term, If no unfortunate accident has prevented the operation, the sum will be four millions and sixty-one thousand pounds sterling; of which I leave one million and sixty-one thousand pounds to the disposition and management of the inhabitants of the town of Boston, and the three millions to the disposition of the government of the state; not presuming to carry my views any father.

All the directions herein given respecting the disposition and management of the donation to the inhabitants of Boston, I would have observed respecting that to the inhabitants of Philadelphia; only, as Philadelphia is incorporated, I request the corporation of that city to undertake the management, agreeable to the said directions: and I do hereby vest them with full and ample powers for that purpose. And having considered that the covering its ground-plat with buildings and pavements, which carry off most rain, and prevent its soaking into the earth, and renewing and purifying the springs, whence the water of the wells must gradually grow worse, and in time be unfit for use, as I find has happened in all old cities; I recommend, that, at the end of the first hundred years, if not done before, the corporation of the city employ a part of the hundred thousand pounds in bringing by pipes the water of Wissahickon-creek into the town, so as to supply the inhabitants, which I apprehend may be done without great difficulty, the level of that creek being much above that of the city, and may be made higher by a dam. I also recommend making the Schuylkill completely navigable. At the end of the second hundred years, I would have the disposition of the four millions and sixty-one thousand pounds divided between the inhabitants of the city of Philadelphia and the government of Pennsylvania, in the same manner as herein directed with respect to that of the inhabitants of Boston and the government of Massachusetts. It is my desire that this institution should take place, and begin to operate within one year after my decease; for which purpose due notice should be publicly given previous to the expiration of that year, that those for whose benefit this establishment is intended may make their respective applications: and I hereby direct my executors, the survivors and survivor of them, within six months after my decease, to pay over the said sum of two thousand pounds sterling to such persons as shall be duly appointed by the select men of Boston, and the corporation of Philadelphia, to receive and take charge of their respective sums of one thousand pounds each for the purposes aforesaid. Considering the accidents to which all human affairs and projects are subject in such a length of time, I have perhaps too much flattered myself with a vain fancy, that these dispositions, if carried into execution, will be continued without interruption, and have the effects proposed; I hope, however, that, if the inhabitants of the two cities should not think fit to undertake the execution, they will at least accept the offer of these donations, as a mark of my good will, token of my gratitude, and testimony of my desire to be useful to them even after my departure. I wish, indeed, that they may both undertake to endeavour the execution of my project, because I think, that, though unforeseen difficulties may arise, expedients will be found to remove them, and the scheme be found practicable. If one of them accepts the money with the conditions and the other refuses, my will then is, that both sums be given to the inhabitants of the city accepting; the whole to be applied to the same purposes, and under the same regulations directed for the separate parts; and if both refuse, the money remains of course in the mass of my estate, and it is to be disposed of therewith, according to my will made the seventeenth day of July 1788.

My fine crab-tree walking-stick, with a gold head curiously wrought in the form of the cap of Liberty, I give to my friend, and the friend of mankind, General Washington. If it were a sceptre, he has merited it, and would become it.

FINIS.

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Digital edition of Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography

Published by me

From the digital copy of Franklin's Autobiography from the Text Creation Partnership

PREFACE

IT is already known to many, that Dr. Franklin amused himself, towards the close of his life, with writing memoirs of his own history. These memoirs were brought down to the year 1757. Together with some other manuscripts they were left behind him at his death, and were considered as constituting part of his posthumous property. It is a little extraordinary that, under these circumstances, interesting as they are, from the celebrity of the character of which they treat, and from the critical situation of the present times, they should so long have been with-held from the Public: A translation of them appeared in France near two years ago, coming down to the year 1731. There can be no sufficient reason, that what has thus been submitted to the perusal of Europe, should not be made accessible to those to whom Dr. Franklin's language is native. The first part of the history of his life is translated from that publication.

The style of these memoirs is uncommonly pleasing. The story is told with the most unreserved sincerity, and without any false colouring or ornament. We see, in every page, that the author examined his subject with the eye of a master, and related no incidents, the springs and origin of which he did not perfectly understand. It is this that gives such exquisite and uncommon perspicuity to the detail and delight in the review. The translator has endeavoured, as he went along, to conceive the probable manner in which Dr. Franklin expressed his ideas in his English manuscript, and he hopes to be forgiven if this enquiry shall occasionally have subjected him to the charge of a style in any respect bald or low: to imitate the admirable simplicity of the author, is no easy task.

The public will be amused with following a great philosopher in relaxations, and observing in what respects his philosophy tends to elucidate and improve the most common subjects.

The editor subjoins a letter from the late celebrated and amiable Dr. Price, to a gentleman in Philadelphia, upon the subject of Dr. Franklin's memoirs of his own life.

Hackney, June 19, 1790.

DEAR SIR,

I AM hardly able to tell you how kindly I take the letters with which you favour me. Your last, containing an account of the death of our excellent friend Dr. Frankling, and the circumstances attending it, deserves my particular gratitude. The account which he has left of his life will show, in a striking example, how a man, by talents, industry, and integrity, may rise from obscurity to the first eminence and consequence in the world; but it brings his history no lower than the year 1757, and I understand that since he sent over the copy, which I have read, he has been able to make no additions to it. It is with a melancholy regret I think of his death; but to death we are all bound by the irreversible order of nature, and in looking forward to it, there is comfort in being able to reflect—that we have not lived in vain, and that all the useful and virtuous shall meet in a better country beyond the grave.

Dr. Franklin, in the last letter I received from him, after mentioning his age and infirmities, observes, that it has been kindly ordered by the Author of nature, that, as we draw nearer the conclusion of life, we are furnished with more helps to wean us from it, among which one of the strongest is the loss of dear friends. I was delighted with the account you gave in your letter of the honour shewn to his memory at Philadelphia, and by Congress; and yesterday I received a high additional pleasure, by being informed that the National Assembly of France had determined to go in mourning for him.—What a glorious scene is opened there! The annals of the world furnish no parallel to it. One of the honours of our departed friend is, that he has contributed much to it.

I am, with great respect, Your obliged and very humble servant, RICHARD PRICE.

THE LIFE OF DR. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.

MY DEAR SON,

I HAVE amused myself with collecting some little anecdotes of my family. You may remember the enquiries I made, when you were with me in England, among such of my relations as were then living; and the journey I undertook for that purpose. To be acquainted with the particulars of my parentage and life, many of which are unknown to you; I flatter myself, will afford the same pleasure to you as to me. I shall relate them upon paper: it will be an agreeable employment of a week's uninterrupted leasure, which I promise myself during my present retirement in the country. There are also other motives which induce me to the undertaking. From the bosom of poverty and obscurity, in which I drew my first breath and spent my earliest years, I have raised myself to a state of opulence and to some degree of celebrity in the world. A constant good fortune has attended me through every period of life to my present advanced age; and my descendants may be desirous of learning what were the means of which I made use, and which, thanks to the assisting hand of Providence, have proved so eminently successful. They may also, should they ever be placed in a similar situation, derive some advantage from my narrative.

When I reflect, as I frequently do, upon the felicity I have enjoyed, I sometimes say to myself, that, were the offer made me, I would engage to run again, from beginning to end, the same career of life. All I would ask should be the privilege of an author, to correct, in a second edition, certain errors of the first. I could wish, likewise, if it were in my power, to change some trivial incidents and events for others more favourable. Were this however denied me, still would I not decline the offer. But since a repetition of life cannot take place, there is nothing which, in my opinion, so nearly resembles it, as to call to mind all its circumstances, and, to render their remembrance more durable, commit them to writing. By thus employing myself, I shall yield to the inclination, so natural to old men, to talk of themselves and their exploits, and may freely follow my bent, without being tiresome to those who, from respect to my age, might think themselves obliged to listen to me; as they will be at liberty, to read me or not as they please. In fine—and I may well avow it, since nobody would believe me were I to deny it—I shall perhaps, by this employment, gratify my vanity. Scarcely indeed have I ever heard or read the introductory phrase, "I may say without vanity," but some striking and characteristic instance of vanity has immediately followed. The generality of men hate vanity in others, however strongly they may be tinctured with it themselves; for myself, I pay obeisance to it wherever I meet with it, persuaded that it is advantageous, as well to the individual it governs, as to those who are within the sphere of its influence. Of consequence, it would, in many cases, not be wholly absurd, that a man should count his vanity among the other sweets of life, and give thanks to Providence for the blessing.

And here let me with all humility acknowledge, that to Divine Providence I am indebted for the felicity I have hitherto enjoyed. It is that power alone which has furnished me with the means I have employed, and that has crowned them with success My faith in this respect leads me to hope, though I cannot count upon it, that the divine goodness will still be exercised towards me, either by prolonging the duration of my happiness to the close of life, or by giving me fortitude to support any melancholy reverse, which may happen to me, as to so many others. My future fortune is unknown but to him in whose hand is our destiny, and who can make our very afflictions subservient to our benefit.

One of my uncles, desirous like myself, of collecting anecdotes of our family, gave me some notes, from which I have derived many particulars respecting our ancestors. From these I learn, that they had lived in the same village (Eaton in Northamptonshire) upon a freehold of about thirty acres, for the space at least of three hundred years. How long they had resided there prior to that period, my uncle had been unable to discover; probably ever since the institution of surnames, when they took the appellation of Franklin, which had formerly been the name of a particular order of individuals *.

This petty estate would not have sufficed for their subsistence, had they not added the trade of blacksmith, which was perpetuated in the family down to my uncle's time, the eldest son having been uniformly brought up to this employment: a custom which both he and my father observed with respect to their eldest sons.

In the researches I made at Eaton, I found no account of their births, marriages, and deaths, earlier than the year 1555; the parish register not extending farther back than that period. This register informed me, that I was the youngest son of the youngest branch of the family, counting five generations. My grandfather, Thomas, who was born in 1598, living at Eaton till he was too old to continue his trade, when he retired to Banbury in Oxfordshire, where his son John, who was a dyer, resided, and with whom my father was apprenticed. He died, and was buried there: we saw his monument in 1758. His eldest son lived in the family house at Eaton, [Page 10]which be bequeathed, with the land belonging to it, to his only daughter; who, in concert with her husband, Mr. Fisher of Wellingborough, afterwards sold it to Mr. Ested, the present proprietor.

My grandfather had four surviving sons, Thomas, John, Benjamin, and Josias. I shall give you such particulars of them as my memory will furnish, not having my papers here, in which you will find a more minute account, if they are not lost during my absence.

Thomas had learned the trade of blacksmith under his father; but possessing a good natural understanding, he improved it by study, at the solicitation of a gentleman of the name of Palmer, who was at that time the principal inhabitant of the village, and who encouraged in like manner all my uncles to improve their minds. Thomas thus rendered himself competent to the functions of a country attorney; soon became an essential personage in the affairs of the village; and was one of the chief movers of every public enterprize, as well relative to the country as the town of Northampton. A variety of remarkable incidents were told us of him at Eaton. After enjoying the esteem and patronage of Lord Halifax, he died, January 6, 1702, precisely four years before I was born. The recital that was made us of his life and character, by some aged persons of the village, struck you, I remember, as extraordinary, from its analogy to what you knew of myself "Had he died," said you, "just four years later, one might have supposed a transmigration of souls."

John, to the best of my belief, was brought up to the trade of a wool-dyer.

Benjamin served his apprenticeship in London to a silk-dyer. He was an industrious man: I remember him well; for, while I was a child, he joined my father at Boston, and lived for some years in the house with us. A particular affection had always subsisted between my father and him; and I was his godson. He arrived to a great age. He left behind him two quarto volumes of poems in manusscript, consisting of little fugitive pieces addressed to his friends. He had invented a shorthand, which he taught me, but having never made use of it, I have now forgotten it. He was a man of piety, and a constant attendant on the best preachers, whose sermons he took a pleasure in writing down according to the expeditory method he had devised. Many volumes were thus collected by him. He was also extremely fond of politics, too much so perhaps for his situation. I lately found in London a collection which he had made of all the principal pamphlets relative to public affairs, from the year 1641 to 1717. Many volumes are wanting, as appears by the series of numbers; but there still remain eight in folio, and twenty four in quarto and octavo. The collection had fallen into the hands of a second-hand bookseller, who, knowing me by having sold me some books, brought it to me. My uncle, it seems, had left it behind him on his departure for America, about fifty years ago. I found various notes of his writing in the margins. His grandson, Samuel, is now living at Boston.

Our humble family had early embraced the Reformation. They remained faithfully attached during the reign of Queen Mary, when they were in danger of being molested on account of their zeal against popery. They had an English Bible, and, to conceal it the more secure [...]y, they conceived the project of fastening it, open, with pack-thread [...] across the leaves, on the inside of the lid of a close-stool. When my great-grandfather wished to read to his family, he reversed the lid of the close-stool upon his knees, and passed the leaves from one side to the other, which were held down on each by the pack-thread. One of the children was stationed at the door, to give notice if he saw the proctor (an officer of the spiritual court) make his appearance: in that case, the lid was restored to its place, with the Bible concealed under it as before. I had this anecdote from my uncle Benjamin.

The whole family preserved its attachment to the Church of England till towards the close of the reign of Charles II. when certain ministers, who had been ejected as non-conformists, having held conventicles in Northhamptonshire, they were joined by Benjamin and Josias, who adhered to them over after. The rest of the family continued in the episcopal church.

My father, Josias, married early in life. He went with his wife and three children, to New-England, about the year 1682. Conventicles being at that time prohibited by law, and frequently disturbed, some considerable persons of his acquaintance determined to go to America, where they hoped to enjoy the free exercise of their religion, and my father was prevailed on to accompany them.

My father had also by the same wife four children born in America, and ten others by a second wife, making in all seventeen. I remember to have seen thirteen seated together at his table, who all arrived to years of maturity, and were married. I was the last of the sons, and the youngest child, excepting two daughters. I was born at Boston in New-England. My mother, the second wife, was Abiah Folger, daughter of Peter Folger, one of the first colonists of New-England, of whom Cotton Mather makes honourable mention, in his Ecclesiastical History of that province, as "a pious learned Englishman," if I rightly recollect his expressions. I have been told of his having written a variety of little pieces; but there appears to be only one in print, which I met with many years ago. It was published in the year 1675, and is in familiar verse, agreeable to the tast of the times and the country. The author addresses himself to the governors for the time being, speaks for liberty of conscience, and in favour of the anabaptists, quakers and other sectaries, who had suffered persecution. To this persecution he attributes the wars with the natives, and other calamities which afflicted the country, regarding them as the judgments of God in punishment of so odious an offence, and he exhorts the government to the repeal of laws so contrary to charity. The poem appeared to be written with a manly freedom and a pleasing simplicity. I recollect the six concluding lines, though I have forgotten the order of words of the two first; the sense of which was, that his censures were dictated by benevolence, and that, of consequence, he wished to be known as the author; because said he, I hate from my very soul dissimulation;

From Sherburne,* where I dwell,

I therefore put my name,

Your friend, who means you well,

PETER FOLGER.

My brothers were all put apprentice to different trades. With respect to myself, I was sent, at the age of eight years, to a grammar school. My father destined me for the church, and already regarded me as the chaplain of the family. The promptitude with which from my infancy I had learned to read, for I do not remember to have been ever without this acquirement, and the encouragement of his friends, who assured him that I should one day certainly become a man of letters, confirmed him in this design. My uncle Benjamin approved also of the scheme, and promised to give me all his volumes of sermons, written, as I have said, in the shorthand of his invention, if I would take the pains to learn it.

I remained however scarcely a year at grammar-school, although, in this short interval, I had risen from the middle to the head of my class, from thence to the class immediately above, and was to pass, at the end of the year, to the one next in order. But my father, burthened with a numerous family, found that he was incapable, without subjecting himself to difficulties, of providing for the expence of a collegiate education; and considering besides, as I heard him say to his friends, that persons so educated were often poorly provided for, he renounced his first intentions, took me from the grammar-school, and sent me to a school for writing and arithmetic, kept by a Mr. George Brownwel, who was a skilful master, and succeeded very well in his profession by employing gentle means only, and such as were calculated to encourage his scholars. Under him I soon acquired an excellent hand; but I failed in arithmetic, and made therein no sort of progress.

At ten years of age, I was called home to assist my father in his occupation▪ which was that of soap-boiler and tallow-chandler; a business to which he had served no apprenticeship, but which he embraced on his arrival in New-England, because he found his own, that of a dyer, in too little request to enable him to maintain his family. I was accordingly employed in cutting the wicks, filling the moulds, taking care of the shop, carrying messages, &c.

This business displeased me, and I felt a strong inclination for a sea life; but my father set his face against it. The vicinity of the water, however, gave me frequent opportunities of venturing myself both upon and within it, and I soon acquired the art of swimming, and of managing a boat.—When embarked with other children, the helm was commonly deputed to me, particularly on difficult occasions; and, in every other project, I was a almost always the leader of the troop, whom I sometimes involved in embarrassments. I shall give an instance of this, which demonstrates an early disposition of mind for public enterprise, though the one in question was not conducted by justice.

The mill-pond was terminated on one side by a marsh, upon the borders of which we were accustomed to take our stand, at high water, to angle for small fish. By dint of walking, we had converted the place into a perfect quagmire. My proposal was to erect a wharf that should afford us firm footing and I pointed out to my companions a large heap of stones, intended for building a new house near the marsh, and which were well adapted for our purpose. Accordingly, when the workmen retired in the evening, I assembled a number of my play [...]ellows, and by labouring diligently, like ants, sometimes four of us uniting our strength to carry a single stone, we removed them all, and constructed our little quay. The workmen were surprised the next morning at not finding their stones, which had been conveyed to our wharf. Enquiries were made respecting the authors of this conveyance; we were discovered; complaints were exhibited against us; many of us underwent correction on the part of our parents; and though I strenuously defended the utility of the work, my father at length convinced me, that nothing which was not strictly honest could be useful.

It will not, perhaps, be uninteresting to you to know what sort of a man my father was. He had an excellent constitution, was of a middle size, but well made and strong, and extremely active in whatever he undertook. He designed with a degree of neatness, and knew a little of music. His voice was sonorous and agreeable; so that when he sung a psalm or hymn with accompaniment of his violin, as was his frequent practice in an evening when the labours of the day were finished, it was truly delightful to hear him. He was versed also in mechanics, and could upon occasion, use the tools of a variety of trades. But his greatest excellence was a sound understanding and solid judgment in matters of prudence, both in public and private life. In the former indeed he never engaged, because his numerous family and the mediocrity of his fortune, kept him unremittingly employed in the duties of his profession. But I very well remember that the leading men of the place used frequently to come and ask his advice respecting affairs of the town, or of the church to which he belonged, and that they paid much difference to his opinion. Individuals were also in the habit of consulting him in their private affairs, and he was often chosen arbiter between contending parties.

He was fond of having at his table, as often as possible, some friends or well-informed neighbours capable of rational conversation, and he was always careful to introduce useful or ingenious topics of discourse, which might tend to form the minds of his children. By this means he early attracted our attention to what was just, prudent, and beneficial in the conduct of life. He never talked of the meats which appeared upon the table, never discussed whether they were well or ill dressed, of a good or bad flavour, high-seasoned or otherwise, preferable or inferior to this or that dish of a similar kind. Thus accustomed, from my infancy, to the utmost inattention as to these objects, I have always been perfectly [Page 19]regardless of what kind of food was before me; and I pay so little attention to it even now, that it would be a hard matter for me to recollect, a few hours after I had dined, of what my dinner had consisted. When travelling, I have particularly experienced the advantage of this habit; for it has often happened to me to be in company with persons, who, having a more delicate, because a more exercised taste, have suffered in many cases considerable inconvenience; while, as to myself, I have had nothing to desire.

My mother was likewise possessed of an excellent constitution. She suckled all her ten children, and I never heard either her or my father complain of any other disorder, than that of which they died: my father at the age of eighty-seven, and my mother at eighty-five. They are buried at Boston, where, a few years ago, I placed a marble over their grave, with this inscription: ‘Here lie JOSIAS FRANKLIN and ABIAH his wife: They lived together with reciprocal affection for fifty-nine years; and without private fortune, without lucrative employment, by assiduous labour and honest industry, decently supported a numerous family, and educated, with success, thirteen children, and seven grand-children. Let this example, reader, encourage thee diligently to discharge the duties of thy calling, and to rely on the support of divine providence.’

‘He was pious and prudent, She discreet and virtuous. Their youngest son, from a sentiment of filial duty, consecrated this stone To their memory.’

I perceive, by my rambling digressions, that I am growing old. But we do not dress for a private company as for a formal ball. This deserves perhaps the name of negligence.

To return. I thus continued employed in my father's trade for the space of two years; that is to say, till I arrived at twelve years of age. About this time my brother John, who had served his apprenticeship in London, having quitted my father, and being married and settled in business on his own account at Rhode-Island, I was destined, to all appearance, to supply his place, and be a candle-maker all my life: but my dislike of this occupation continuing, my father was apprehensive, that, if a more agreeable one were not offered me, I might play the tru [...]t and escape to sea; as, to his extreme mortification, my brother Josias had done. He therefore took me sometimes to see masons, coopers, braziers, joiners, and other mechanics, employed at their work; in order to discover the bent of my inclination, and fix it if he could upon some occupation that might retain me on shore. I have since, in consequence of those visits, derived no small pleasure from seeing skilful workmen handle their tools; and it has proved of considerable benefit, to have acquired thereby sufficient knowledge to be able to make little things for myself, when I have had no mechanic at hand, and to construct small machines for my experiments, while the idea I have conceived has been fresh and strongly impressed on my imagination.

My father at length decided that I should be a cutler, and I was placed for some days upon trial with my cousin Samuel, son of my uncle Benjamin, who had learned this trade in London, and had established himself at Boston. But the premium he required for my apprenticeship displeasing my father, I was recalled home.

From my earliest years I had been passionately fond of reading, and I laid out in books all the little money I could procure. I was particularly pleased with accounts of voyages. My first acquisition was Bunyan's collection in small separate volumes. These I afterwards sold in order to buy an historical collection by R. Burton, which consisted of small cheap volumes, amounting in all to about forty or fifty. My father's little library was principally made up of books of practical and polemical theology. I read the greatest part of them. I have since often regretted, that at a time when I had so great a thirst for knowledge, more eligible books had not fallen into my hands, as it was then a point decided that I should not be educated for the church. There was also among my father's books [...]lutarch's L [...]ves in which I read continually, and I still regard as advantageously employed the time I devoted to them. I found besides a work of De Fou's, entitled, and Essay on Projects, from which, perhaps, I derived impressions that have since influenced some of the principal events of my life.

My inclination for books at last determined my father to make me a printer, though he had already a son in that profession. My brother had returned from England in 1717, with a press and types, in order too establish a printing-house at Boston. This business pleased me much better than that of my father, though I had still a predilection for the sea. To prevent the effects which might result from this inclination, my father was impatient to see the engaged with my brother. I held ba [...] for some time; at length however I suffered myself to be persuaded, and signed my indentures, being then only twelve years of age. It was agreed that I should serve as apprentice to the age of twenty-one, and should receive jorneyman's wages only during the last year.

In a very short time I made great proficiency in this business, and became very serviceable to my brother. I had now an opportunity of procuring better books. The acquaintance I necessarily formed with bookseller's apprentices, enabled me to borrow a volume now and then, which I never failed to return punctually and without injury. How often has it happened to me to pass the greater part of the night in reading by my bed-side, when the book had been lent me in the evening, and was to be returned the next morning, lest it might be missed or wanted.

At length, Mr. Matthew Adams, an ingenious tradesman, who had a handsome collection of books, and who frequented our printing-house, took notice of me. He invited me to see his library, and had the goodness to lend me any books I was desirous of reading. I then took a strange fancy for poetry, and composed several little pieces. My brother, thinking he might find his account in it, encouraged me, and engaged me to write two ballads. One, called the Lighthouse Tragedy, contained an account of the shipwreck of captain Worthilake and his two daughters; the other was a sailor's song on the capture of the noted pirate called Teach, or Black-beard. They were wreched verses in point of style, mere blind-men's ditties. When printed, he dispatched me about the town to sell them. The first had a prodigious run, because the event was recent, and had made a great noise.

My vanity was flattered by this success; but my father checked my exultation, by ridiculing my productions, and telling me that versifiers were always poor. I thus escaped the misfortune of being, probably, a very wretched poet▪ but as the faculty of writing prose has been of great service to me in the course of my life, and principally contributed to [...] advancement, I shall relate by what mean [...], situated as I was, I acquired the small skill [...] may possess in that way.

There was in the town another young man, a great lover of books, of the name of John Collins, with whom I was intimately connected. We frequently engaged in dispute, and were indeed so fond of argumentation, that nothing, was so agreeable to us as a war [...] words. This contentious temper, I would observe by the bye, is in danger of becoming a very bad habit, and frequently renders [...] a man's company insupportable, as being [...] otherwise capable of indulgence than by indiscriminate contradiction. Independently [...] the acrimony and discord it introduces in [...] conversation, it is often productive of dislike and even hatred, between persons to who [...] friendship is indispensibly necessary. I acquired it by reading, while I lived with my father, books of religious controversy. I have since remarked, that men of sense seldom fall into this error; lawyers, fellows of universities, and persons of every profession educated at Edinburgh, excepted.

Collins and I one day in an argument relative to the education of women; namely whether it were proper to instruct them in the sciences, and whether they were compete [...] to the study. Collins supported the negative and affirmed that the task was beyond their c [...] pacity. I maintained the opposite opinion, [...] [Page 25]little perhaps for the pleasure of disputing. He was naturally more eloquent than I; words flowed copiously from his lips; and frequently I thought myself vanquished, more by his volubility than by the force of his arguments. We separated without coming to an agreement upon this point; and as we were not to see each other again for some time, I committed my thoughts to paper, made a fair copy, and sent it him. He answered, and I replied. Three or four letters had been written by each, when my father chanced to light upon my papers and read them. Without entering into the merits of the cause, he embraced the opportunity of speaking to me upon my manner of writing. He observed, that though I had the advantage of my adversary in correct spelling and pointing, which I owed to my occupation, I was greatly his inferior in elegance of expression, in arrangement, and perspicuity. Of this he convinced me by several examples. I felt the justice of his remarks, became more attentive to language, and resolved to make every effort to improve my style. Amidst these resolves an odd volume of the Spectator fell into my hands. This was a publication I had never seen. I bought the volume, and read it again and again. I was enchanted with it, thought the style excellent, and wished it were in my power to imitate it. With this view I selected some of the papers, made short summaries of the sense of each period, and put them for a few days aside. I then, without looking at the book, endeavoured to restore the essays to their true form, and to express each thought at length, as it was in the original, employing the most appropriate words that occurred to my mind. I afterwards compared my Spectator with the original; I perceived some faults, which I corrected: but I found that I wanted a fund of words, if I may so express myself, and a facility of recollecting and employing them, which I thought I should by that time have acquired, had I continued to make verses. The continual need of words of the same meaning, but of different lengths for the measure, or of different sounds for the rhyme, would have obliged me to seek for a variety of synonymes, and have rendered me master of them. From this belief, I took some of the tales of the Spectator, and turned them into verse; and after a time, when I had sufficiently forgotten them, I again converted them into prose.

Sometimes also I mingled all my summaries together; and a few weeks after, endeavoured to arrange them in the best order, before I attempted to form the periods and complete the essays. This I did with a view of acquiring method in the arrangement of my thoughts. On comparing afterwards my performance with the original, many faults were apparent, which I corrected; but I had sometimes the satisfaction to think, that, in certain particulars of little importance, I had been fortunate enough to improve the order of thought or the style; and this encouraged me to hope that I should succeed, in time, in writing the English language, which was one of the great objects of my ambition.

The time which I devoted to these exercises, and to reading, was the evening after my day's labour was finished, the morning before it began, and Sundays when I could escape attending divine service. While I lived with my father, he had insisted on my punctual attendance on public worship, and I still indeed considered it as a duty, but a duty which I thought I had no time to practise.

When about sixteen years of age, a work of Tryon fell into my hands, in which he recommends vegetable diet. I determined to observe it. My brother, being a bachelor, did not keep house, but boarded with his apprentices in a neighbouring family. My refusing to eat animal food was found inconvenient, and I was often scolded for my singularity. I attended to the mode in which Tryon prepared some of his dishes, particularly how to boil potatoes and rice, and make hasty puddings. I then said to my brother, that if he would allow me per week half what he paid for my board, I would undertake to maintain myself. The offer was instantly embraced, and I soon found that of what he gave me I was able to save half. This was a new fund for the purchase of books; and other advantages resulted to me from the plan. When my brother and his workmen left the printing-house to go to dinner, I remained behind; and dispatched my frugal meal, which frequently consisted of a biscuit only, or a slice of bread and a bunch of raisins, or a bun from the pastry cook's, with a glass of water, I had the rest of the time, till their return, for study; and my progress therein was proportioned to that clearness of ideas, and quickness of conception, which are the fruit of temperance in eating and drinking.

It was about this period that, having one day been put to the blush for my ignorance in the art of calculation, which I had twice failed to learn while at school, I took up Cocker's Treatise of Arithmetic, and went through it by myself with the utmost ease, I also read a book of Navigation by Seller and Sturmy, and made myself master of the little geometry it contains, but I never proceeded far in this science. Nearly at the same time I read Locke on the Human Understanding, and the Art of Thinking by Messrs. du Port-Royal.

While labouring to form and improve my style, I met with an English Grammar, which I believe was Greenwood's, having at the end of it two little essays on rhetoric and logic. In the latter I found a model of disputation after the manner of Socrates. Shortly after I procured Xenophon's work, entitled, Memorable Things of Socrates, in which are various examples of the same method. Charmed to a degree of enthusiasm with this mode of disputing, I adopted it, and renouncing blunt contradiction, and direct and positive argument, I assumed the character of a humble questioner. The perusal of Shaftsbury and Collins had made me a sceptic; and being previously so as to many doctrines of Christianity, I found Socrates's method to be both the safest for myself, as well as the most embarrassing to those against whom I employed it. It soon afforded me singular pleasure; I incessantly practised it; and became very adroit in obtaining, even from persons of superior understanding, concessione of which they did not foresee the consequences. Thus I involved them in difficulties from which they were unable to extricate themselves, and sometimes obtained victories, which neither my cause nor my arguments merited.

This method I continued to employ for some years; but I afterwards abandoned it by degrees, retaining only the habit of expressing myself with modest diffidence, and never making use, when I advanced any proposition which might be controverted, of the words certainly, undoubtedly, or any others that might give the appearance of being obstinately attached to my opinion. I rather said, I imagine, I suppose, or it appears to me, that such a thing is so or so, for such and such reasons; or it is so, if I am not mistaken. This habit has, I think, been of considerable advantage to me, when I have had occasion to impress my opinion on the minds of others, and persuade them to the adoption of the measures I have suggested. And since the chief ends of conversation are, to inform or be informed, to please or to persuade, I could wish that intelligent and well-meaning men would not themselves diminish the powers they possess of being useful, by a positive and presumptuous manner of expressing themselves, which scarcely ever fails to disgust the hearer, and is only calculated to excite opposition, and defeat every purpose for which the faculty of speech has been bestowed upon man. In short, if you wish to inform, a positive and dogmatical manner of advancing your opinion may provoke contradiction, and prevent your being heard with attention. On the other hand, if, with a desire of being informed, and of benefiting by the knowledge of others, you express yourselves as being strongly attached to your own opinions, modest and sensible men, who do not love disputation, will leave you in tranquil possession of your errors. By following such a method, you can rarely hope to please your auditors, conciliate their goodwill, or work conviction on those whom you may be desirous of gaining over to your views. Pope judiciously observes,

Men must be taught as if you taught them not,

And things unknown propos'd as things forgot.

And in the same poem he afterwards advises us,

To speak, tho' sure, with seeming diffidence.

He might have added to these lines, one that he has coupled elsewhere, in my opinion, with less propriety. It is this: ‘For want of modesty is want of sense.’ If you ask why I say with less propriety, I must give you the two lines together:

Immodest words admit of no defence,

For want of decency is want of sense.

Now want of sense, when a man has the misfortune to be so circumstanced, is it not a kind of excuse for want of modesty? And would not the verses have been more accurate, if they had been constructed thus:

Immodest words admit but this defence.

That want of decency is want of sense.

But I leave the decision of this to better judges than myself.

In 1720, or 1721, my brother began to print a new public paper. It was the second that made its appearance in America, and was entitled the New-England Courant. The only one that existed before was the Boston News-Letter▪ Some of his friends, I remember, would have dissuaded him from this undertaking, as a thing that was not likely to succeed; a single newspaper being, in their opinion, sufficient for all America. At present, however, in 1777, there are no less than twenty-five. But he carried his project into execution, and I was employed in distributing the copies to his customers, after having assisted in composing and working them off.

Among his friends he had a number of literary characters, who, as an amusement, wrote short essays for the paper, which gave it reputation and increased its sale. These gentlemen came frequently to our house. I heard the conversation that passed, and the accounts they gave of the favourable reception of their writings with the public. I was tempted to try my hand among them; but, being still a child as it were, I was fearful that my brother might be unwilling to print in his paper any performance of which he should know me to be the author. I therefore contrived to disguise my hand, and having written an anonymous piece, I placed it at night under the door of the printing-house, where it was found the next morning. My brother communicated it to his friends, when they came as usual to see him, who read it, commented upon it within my hearing, and I had the exquite pleasure to find that it met with their approbation, and that, in the various conjectures they made respecting the author, no one was mentioned who did not enjoy a high reputation in the country for talents and genius. I now supposed myself fortunate in my judges, and began to suspect that they were not much excellent writers as I had hitherto supposed them. Be that as it may, encouraged by this little adventure, I wrote and sent to the press, in the same way, many other pieces, which were equally approved; keeping the secret till my slender stock of information and knowledge for such performances was pretty completely exhausted, when I made myself known.

My brother, upon this discovery, began to entertain a little more respect for me; but he still regarded himself as my master, and treated me like an apprentice. He thought himself entitled to the same services from me as from any other person. On the contrary, I conceived that, in many instances, he was too rigorous, and that, on the part of a brother, I had a right to expect greater indulgence. Our disputes were frequently brought before my father; and either my brother was generally in the wrong, or I was the better pleader of the two, for judgment was commonly given in my favour. But my brother was passionate, and often had recourse to blows; a circumstance which I took in very ill part. This severe and tyrannical treatment contributed, I believe, to imprint on my mind that aversion to arbitrary power, which during my whole life I have ever preserved. My apprenticeship became insupportable to me, and I continually sighed for an opportunity of shortening it, which at length unexpectedly offered.

An article inserted in our paper upon some political subjects which I have now forgotten, gave offence to the Assembly. My brother was taken into custody, censured, and ordered into confinement for a month, because, as I presume, he would not discover the author. I was also taken up, and examined before the council; but, though I gave them no satisfaction, they contented themselves with reprimanding, and then dismissed me; considering me probably as bound, in quality of apprentice, to keep my master's secrets.

The imprisonment of my brother kindled my resentment, notwithstanding our private quarrels. During its continuance the management of the paper was entrusted to me, and I was bold enough to insert some pasquerades against the governors; which highly pleased my brother, while others began to look upon me in an unfavourable point of view, considering me as a young wit inclined to satire and lampoon.

My brother's enlargement was accompanied with an arbitary order from the house of Assembly, ‘That James Franklin should no longer print the newspaper entitled the New England Courant.’ In this conjuncture, we held a consultation of our friends at the printing-house, in order to determine what was proper to be done. Some proposed to evade the order, by changing the title of the paper; but my brother foreseeing inconveniences that would result from this step, thought it better that it should in future be printed in the name of Benjamin Franklin; and to avoid the censure of the Assembly, who might charge him with still printing the paper himself, under [Page 35]the name of his apprentice, it was resolved that my old indentures should be given up to me, with a full and entire discharge written on the back, in order to be produced upon an emergency: but that, to secure to my brother the benefit of my service, I should sign a new contract, which should be kept secret during the remainder of the term. This was a very shallow arrangement. It was, however, carried into immediate execution, and the paper continued, in consequence, to make its appearance for some months in my name. At length a new difference arising between my brother and me, I ventured to take advantage of my liberty, presuming that he would not dare to produce the new contract, It was undoubtedly dishonourable to avail myself of this circumstance, and I reckon this action as one of the first errors of my life; but I was little capable of estimating it as its true value, embittered as my mind had been by the recollection of the blows I had received. Exclusively of his passionate treatment of me, my brother was by no means a man of an ill temper, and perhaps my manners had too much of impertinence not to afford it a very natural pretext.

When he knew that it was my determination to quit him, he wished to prevent my finding employment elsewhere. He went to all the printing-houses in the town, and prejudiced the masters against me; who accordingly refused to employ me. The idea then suggested itself to me of going to New-York, the nearest town in which there was a printing-office. Farther reflections confirmed me in the design of leaving Boston, where I had already rendered myself an object of suspicion to the governing party. It was probable, from the arbitrary proceedings of the Assembly in the affair of my brother, that by remaining, I should soon have been exposed to difficulties, which I had the greater reason to apprehend, as, from my indiscreet disputes upon the subject of religion, I begun to be regarded, by pious souls, with horror, either as an apostate or an a [...]heist. I came therefore to a resolution; but my father, in this instance, siding with my brother, I presumed that if I attempted to depart openly, measures would be taken to prevent me. My friend Collins undertook to favour my flight. He agreed for my passage with the captain of a New-York sloop, to whom he represented me as a young man of his acquaintance, who had an affair with a girl of bad character, whose parents wished to compel me to marry her, and that of consequence I could neither make my appearance nor go off publicly. I sold part of my books to procure a small sum of money, and went privately on board the sloop. By favour of a good wind, I found myself in three days at New-York, nearly three hundred miles from my home, at the age only of seventeen years, without knowing an individual in the place, and with very little money in my pocket.

The inclination I had felt for a seafaring life was entirely subsided, or I should now have been able to gratify it; but having another trade, and believing myself to be a tolerable workman, I hesitated not to offer my services to the old Mr. William Bradford, who had been the first printer in Pennsylvania, but had quitted that province on account of a quarrel with George Keith, the governor. He could not give me employment himself, having little to do, and already as many persons as he wanted; but he told me that his son, a printer at Philadelphia, had lately lost his principal workman, Aquilla Rose, who was dead, and that if I would go thither, he believed that he would engage me. Philadelphia was a hundred miles farther. I hesitated not to embark in a boat in order to repair, by the shortest cut of the sea, to Amboy, leaving my trunk and effects to come after me by the usual and more tedious conveyance. In crossing the bay we met with a squall, which shattered to pieces our rotten sails, prevented us from entering the Kill, and threw us upon Long-Island.

During the squall a drunken Dutchman, who like myself was a passenger in the boat, f [...]ll into the sea. At the moment that he was sinking, I seized him by the fore-top, saved him, and drew him on board. This immersion sobered him a little, so that he fell asleep, after having taken from his pocket a volume, which he requested me to dry. This volume I found to be my old favourite work, Bunyan's Voyages, in Dutch, a beautiful impression on fine paper, with copperplate engravings; a dress in which I had never seen it in its original language. I have since learned that it had been translated into almost all the languages of Europe, and next to the Bible, I am persuaded, it is one of the books which has had the greatest spread. Honest John is the first, that I know of, who has mixed narrative and dialogue together; a mode of writing very engaging to the reader, who in the most interesting passages, finds himself admitted as it were into the company, and present at the conversation. De Foe has imitated it with success in his Robinson Cruso, his Moll Flanders, and other works; as also has Richardson in his Pamela, &c.

In approaching the island we found that we had made a part of the coast where it was not possible to land, on account of the strong breakers produced by the rocky shore. We cast anchor and veered the cable toward the shore. Some men, who stood upon the brink, hallooed to us, while we did the same on our part; but the wind was so high, and the waves so noisy, that we could neither of us hear each other. There were some canoes upon the bank, and we called out to them, and made signs to prevail on them to come and take us up; but either they did not understand us, or they deemed our request impracticable, and withdrew. Night came on, and nothing remained for us but to wait the subsiding of the wind; till when we determined, that this, the pilot and I, to sleep if possible. For that purpose we went below the hatches along with the Dutchman, who was drenched with water. The sea broke over the boat, and reached us in our retreat, so that we were presently as completely [...]reached as he.

We had very little repose during the whole night: but the wind abating the next day, we succeeded in reaching Amboy before it was dark, after having passed thirty hours without provisions, and with no other drink than a bottle of bad rum, the water upon which we roved being salt. In the evening I went to bed with a very violent fever. I had somewhere read that cold water, drank plentifully, was a remedy in such cases. I followed the prescription, was in a profuse sweat for the greater part of the night, and the fever left me. The next day I crossed the river in a ferry-boat, and continued my journey on foot. I had fifty miles to walk, in order to reach Burlington, where I was told I should find passage-boats that would convey me to Philadelphia. It rained hard the whole day, so that I was wet to the skin. Finding myself fatigued about noon, I stopped at a paltry inn, where I passed the rest of the day and the whole night, beginning to regret that I had quitted my home. I made besides so wretched a figure, that I was suspected to be some run-away servant. This I discovered by the questions that were asked me; and I felt that I was every moment in danger of being taken up as such. The next day, however I continued my journey, and arrived in the evening at an inn, eight or ten miles from Burlington, that was kept by one Dr. Brown.

This man entered into conversation with me while I took some refreshment, and perceiving that I had read a little, he expressed towards me considerable interest and friendship. Our acquaintance continued during the remainder of his life. I believe him to have been what is called an itinerant doctor; for there was no town in England, or indeed in Europe, of which he could not give a particular account. He was neither deficient in understanding nor literature, but he was a sad infidel; and, some years after, undertook to travesty the Bible in burlesque verse, as Cotton has travestied Virgil. He exhibited, by this means, many facts in a very ludicrous point of view, which would have given umbrage to weak minds, had his work been published, which it never was.

I spent the night at his house, and reached Burlington the next morning. On my arrival, I had the mortification to learn that the ordinary passage-boats had sailed a little before. This was on a Saturday, and there would be no other boat till the Tuesday following. I returned to the house of an old woman in the town who had sold me some gingerbread to eat one of my passage, and I [...] her advice. She invited me to take up my abode with her till an opportunity offered for me to embark. Fatigued with having travelled so far on foot, I accepted her invitation. When she understood that I was a printer, she would have persuaded me to stay at Burlington, and set up my trade: but she was little aware of the capital that would be necessary for such a purpose! I was treated while at her house with true hospitality. She gave me, with the utmost goodwill, a dinner of beef-steaks, and would accept of nothing in return but a pint of ale.

Here I imagined myself to be fixed till the Tuesday in the ensuing week; but walking out in the evening by the river side, I saw a boat with a number of persons in it approach. It was going to Philadelphia, and the company took me in. As there was no wind, we could only make way with our oars. About midnight, not perceiving the town, some of the company were of opinion that we must have passed it, and were unwilling to row any farther; the rest not knowing where we were it was resolved that we should stop. We drew towards the shore, entered a creek, and landed near some old palisades, which served us for fire-wood, it being a cold night in October. Here we stayed till day, when one of the company found the place in which we were to be Cooper's Creek, a little above Philadelphia; which in reality we perceived the moment we were out of the creek. We arrived on Sunday abought eight or nine o'clock in the morning, and landed on Market-street wharf.

I have entered into the particulars of my voyage, and shall in like manner describe my first entrance into this city, that you may be able to compare beginnings so little auspicious, with the figure I have since made.

On my arrival at Philadelphia I was in my working dress, my best clothes being to come by sea. I was covered with dirt; my pockets were filled with shirts and stockings; I was unacquainted with a single soul in the place, and knew not where to seek for a lodging. Fatigued with walking, rowing, and having passed the night without sleep, I was extremely hungry, and all my money consisted of a Dutch dollar, and about a shilling's worth of coppers, which I gave to the boatmen for my passage. As I had assisted them in rowing, they refused it at first; but I insisted on their taking it. A man is sometimes more generous when he has little, than when he has much money; probably because, in the first case, he is desirous of concealing his poverty.

I walked towards the top of the street, looking eagerly on both sides, till I came to Market-street, where I met a child with a loaf of bread. Often had I made my dinner on dry bread. I enquired where he had bought it, and went straight to the baker's shop which he pointed out to me. I asked for some biscuits, expecting to find such as we had at Boston; but they made, it seems, none of that sort at Philadelphia. I then asked for a three-penny loaf. They made no loaves of that price. Finding myself ignorant of the prices, as well as of the different kinds of bread, I desired him to let me have three penny-worth of bread of some kind or other. He gave me three large rolls. I was surprized at receiving so much: I took them, however, and having no room in my pockets, I walked on with a roll under each arm, eating the third. In this manner I went through Market-street to Fourth street, and passed the house of Mr. Read, the father of my future wife. She was standing at the door, observed me, and thought, with reason, that I made a very singular and grotesque appearance.

I then turned the corner, and went through Chesnut-street, eating my roll all the way; and having made this round, I found myself again on Market-street wharf, near the boat in which I had arrived. I stepped into it to take a draught of river-water; and finding myself satisfied with my first roll, I gave the other two to a woman and her child, who had come down the river with us in the boat, and was waiting to continue her journey. Thus refreshed, I regained the street, which was now full of well-dressed people, all going the same way. I joined them, and was thus led to a large Quakers' meeting-house near the market-place. I sat down with the rest, and after looking round me for some time, hearing nothing said, and being drowsy from my last night's labour and want of rest, I fell into a sound sleep. In this state I continued till the assembly dispersed, when one of the congregation had the goodness to wake me. This was consequently the first house I entered, or in which I slept at Philadelphia.

I began again to walk along the streets by the river side; and looking attentively in the face of every one I met, I at length perceived a young quaker, whose countenance pleased me. I accosted him, and begged, him to inform me where a stranger might find a lodging. We were then near the sign of the Three Mariners. They receive travellers here, said he, but it is not a house that bears a good character; if you will go with me, I will shew you a better one. He conducted me to the Crooked Billet, in Water-street. There I ordered something for dinner, and during my meal, a number of curious questions were put to me; my youth and appearance exciting the suspicion of my being a run-away. After dinner my drowsiness returned, and I threw myself upon a bed without taking off my clothes, and slept till six o'clock in the evening, when I was called to supper. I afterwards went to bed at a very early hour, and did not awake till the next morning.

As soon as I got up I put myself in as decent a trim as I could, and went to the house of Andrew Bradford the printer. I found his father in the shop, whom I had seen at New-York. Having travelled on horseback, he had arrived at Philadelphia before me. He introduced me to his son, who received me with civility, and gave me some breakfast; but told me he had no occasion for a journeyman, having lately procured one. He added, that there was another printer newly settled in the town, of the name of Keimer, who might perhaps employ me; and in case of a refusal, I should be welcome to lodge at his house, and he would give me a little work now and then, till something better should offer.

The old man offered to introduce me to the new printer. When we were at his house: "Neighbour," said he, ‘I bring you a young man in the printing business; perhaps you may have need of his services.’

Keimer asked me some questions, put a composing stick in my hand to see how I could work, and then said, that at present he had nothing for me to do, but that he should soon be able to employ me. At the same time taking old Bradford for an inhabitant of the town well-disposed towards him, he communicated his project to him, and the pospect he had of success. Bradford was careful not to discover that he was the father of the other printer; and from what Keimer had said, that he hoped shortly to be in possession of the greater part of the business of the town, led him by artful questions, and by starting some difficulties, to disclose all his views, what his hopes were founded upon, and how he intended to proceed. I was present, and heard it all. I instantly saw that one of the two was a cunning old fox, and the other a perfect novice. Bradford left me with Keimer, who was strangely surprised when I informed him who the old man was.

I found Keimer's printing materials to consist of an old damaged press, and a small cast of worn-out English letters, with which he was himself at work upon an elegy on Aquila Rose, whom I have mentioned above, an ingenious young man, and of an excellent character, highly esteemed in the town, secretary to the Assembly, and a very tolerable poet Keimer also made verses, but they were indifferent ones. He could not be said to write in verse, for his method was to take and set the lines as they flowed from his muse; and as he worked without copy, had but one set of letter-cases, and the elegy would probably occupy all his type, it was impossible for any one to assist him. I endeavoured to put his press in order, which he had not yet used, and [...] which indeed he understood nothing: and having promised to come and work off his elegy as soon as it should be ready, I returned to the house of Bradford, who gave me [...]ome trifle to do for the present, for which I had my board and lodging.

In a few days Keimer sent for me to print off his elegy. He had now procured another set of letter-cases, and had a pamphlet to reprint, upon which he set me to work.

The two Philadelphia printers appeared destitute of every qualification necessary in their profession. Bradford had not been brought up to it, and was very illiterate. Keimer, though he understood at little of the business, was merely a compositor, and wholly incapable of working at the press. He had one of the French prophets, and knew how to imitate their supernatural agitations. At the time of our first acquaintance he professed no particular religion, but a little of all upon occasion. He was totally ignorant of the world, and a great knave at heart, as I had afterwards an opportunity of experiencing.

Keimer could not endure that, working with him, I should lodge at Bradford's. He had indeed a house, but it was unfurnished; so that he could not take me in. He procured me a lodging at Mr. Read's, his landlord, whom I have already mentioned. My trunk and effects being now arrived, I thought of making, in the eyes of Miss Read, a more respectable appearance than when chance exhibited me to her view, eating my roll, and wandering in the streets.

From this period I began to contract acquaintance with such young people of the town as were fond of reading, and spent my evenings with them agreeably, while at the same time I gained money by my industry, and thanks to my frugality, lived contented. I thus forgot Boston as much as possible, and wished every one to be ignorant of the place of my residence, except my friend Collins, to whom I wrote, and who kept my secret.

An incident, however arrived, which sent me home much sooner than I had proposed. I had a brother-in-law, of the name of Robert Holmes, master of a trading sloop from Boston to Delaware. Being at Newcastle, forty miles below Philadelphia, he heard of me, and wrote to inform me of the chagrin which my sudden departure from Boston had occasioned my parents, and of the affection which they still entertained for me, assuring me that, if I would return, every thing should be adjusted to my satisfaction; and he was very pressing in his entreaties. I answered his letter, thanked him for his advice, and explained the reasons which had induced me to quit Boston, with such force and clearness, that he was convinced I had been less to blame than he had imagined.

Sir William Keith, governor of the province was at Newcastle at the time. Captain Holmes, being by chance in his company when he received my letter, took occasion to speak of me, and shewed it him. The governor read it, and appeared surprised when he learned my age. He thought me, he said, a young man of very promising talents, and that, of consequence, I ought to be encouraged; that there were at Philadelphia none but very ignorant printers, and that if I were to set up for myself, he had no doubt of my success; that, for his own part, he would procure me all the public business, and would render me every other service in his power. My brother-in-law related all this to me afterwards at Boston; but I knew nothing of it at the time; when one day Keimer and I being at work together near the window, we saw the governor and another gentleman, colonel French of Newcastle, handsomely dressed, cross the street, and make directly for our house. We heard them at the door, and Keimer, believing it to be a visit to himself, went immediately down: but the governor enquired for me, came up stairs, and, with a condescension and politeness to which I had not at all been accustomed, paid me many compliments, desired to be acquainted with me, obligingly reproached me for not having made myself known to him on my arrival in the town and wished me to accompany him to a tavern, where he and colonel French were going to tast some excellent Madeira wine.

I was, I confess, somewhat surprised, and Keimer appeared thunderstruck. I went however with the governor and the colonel to a tavern at the corner of Third-street, where, while we were drinking the Madeira, he proposed to me to establish a printing-house. He set forth the probabilities of success, and himself and colonel French assured me that I should have their protection and influence in obtaining the printing of the public papers of both governments; and as I appeared to doubt whether my father would assist me in this enterprise Sir William said that he would give me a letter to him, in which he would represent the advantages of the scheme, in a light which he had no doubt would determine him. It was thus concluded that I should return to Boston by the first vessel, with the letter of recommendation from the governor to my father. Meanwhile the project was to be kept secret, and I continued to work for Keimer as before.

The governor sent every now and then to invite me to dine with him. I cosiderd this as a very great honour; and I was the more sensible of it, as he conversed with me in the most affable, familar, and friendly manner imaginable.

Towards the end of April 1724, a small vessel was ready to sail for Boston- [...] too [...] leave of Keimer, upon the pretext of going to see my parents. The governor gave me a long letter, in which he said many flattering things of me to my father; and strongly recommended the project of my settling at Philadelphia, as a thing which could not fail to make my fortune.

Going down the bay we struck on a flat, and sprung a leak. The weather was very tempestuous, and we were obliged to pump without intermission; I took my turn. We arrived however safe and sound at Boston, after about a fortnight's passage.

I had been absent seven complete months and my relations, during that interval, ha [...] received no intelligence of me; for my brother-in-law, Holmes, was not yet returned, and had not written about me. My unexpected appearance surprised the family; but they were all delighted at seeing me again, and, except my brother, welcomed me home. I went to him at the printing-office. I was better dressed than I had ever been while in his service; I had a complete suit of clothes, new and neat, a watch in my pocket, and my purse was furnished with nearly five pounds sterling in money. He gave me no very civil reception; and having eyed me from head to foot, resumed his work.

The workmen asked me with eagerness where I had been, what sort of a country it was, and how I liked it. I spoke in the highest terms of Philadelphia, the happy life we led there, and expressed my intention of going back again. One of them asked what sort of money we had, I displayed before them a handful of silver, which I drew from my pocket. This was a curiosity to which they were not accustomed, paper being the current money at Boston. I failed not after this to let them see my watch; and at last, my brother continuing sullen and out of humour, I gave them a shilling to drink, and took my leave. This visit stung my brother to the soul; for when, shortly after, my mother spoke to him of a reconciliation, and a desire of seeing us upon good terms, he told her that I had so insulted him before his men, that he would never forget or forgive it: in this, however, he was mistaken.

The governor's letter appeared to excite in my father some surprise; but he said little. After some days, Capt. Holmes being returned, he shewed it him, asking him if he knew Keith, and what sort of a man he was: adding, that, in his opinion, it proved very little discernment to think of setting up a boy in business, who for three years to come would not be of an age to be ranked in the class of men. Holmes said every thing he could in favour of the scheme; but my father firmly maintained its absurdity, and at last gave a positive refusal. He wrote, however, a civil letter to Sir William, thanking him for the protection he had so obligingly offered me, but refusing to assist me for the present, because he thought me too young to be entrusted with the conduct of so important an enterprise, and which would require so considerable a sum of money.

My old comrade Collins, who was a clerk in the post-office, charmed with the account I gave of my new residence, expressed a desire of going thither; and while I waited my father's determination, he set off before me, by land, for Rhode-Island, leaving his books, which formed a handsome collection in mathematics and natural philosophy, to be conveyed with mine to New-York, where he purposed to wait for me.

My father, though he could not approve Sir William's proposal, was yet pleased that I had obtained so advantageous a recommendation as that a person of his rank, and that my industry and economy had enabled me to equip myself so handsomely in so short a period▪ Seeing no appearance of accommodating matters between my brother and me, he consented to my return to Philadelphia, advised me to be civil to every body, to endeavour to obtain general esteem, and avoid satire and sarcasm, to which he thought I was too much inclined; adding, that, with perseverance and prudent economy, I might, by the time I became of age, save enough to establish myself in business; and that if a small sum should then be wanting, he would undertake to supply it.

This was all I could obtain from him, except some trifling presents, in token of friendship from him and my mother. I embarked once more for New-York, furnished at this time with their approbation and blessing. The sloop having touched at Newport in Rhode-Island, I paid a visit to my brother John, who had for some years been settled there, and was married. He had always been attached to me, and received me with great affection. One of his friends, whose name was Vernon, having a debt of about thirty-six pounds due to him in Pennsylvania, begged me to receive it for him, and keep the money till I should hear from him: accordingly he gave me an order for that purpose. This affair occasioned me, in the sequel, much uneasiness.

At Newport we took on board a number of passengers; among whom were two young women, and a grave and sensible quaker lady with her servants. I had shown an obliging forwardness in rendering the quaker some trifling services, which led her, probably, to feel some interest in my welfare; for when she saw a familiarity take place, and every day increase, between the two young women and me, she took me aside and said, "Young man, I am in pain for thee. Thou hast no parent to watch over thy conduct, and thou seemest to be ignorant of the world, and the snares to which youth is exposed. Rely upon what I tell thee: those are women of bad characters; I perceive it in all their actions. If thou dost not take care, they will lead thee into danger. They are strangers to thee, and I advise thee, by the friendly interest I take in thy preservation, to form no connection with them." As I appeared at first not to think quite so ill of them as she did, she related many things she had seen and heard, which had escaped my attention, but which convinced me she was in the right. I thanked her for her obliging advice, and promised to follow it.

When we arrived at New-York, they informed me where they lodged, and invited me to come and see them. I did not however go, and it was well I did not; for the next day, the captain, missing a silver spoon and some other things which had been taken from the cabin, and knowing these women to be prostitutes, procured a search warrant, found the stolen goods upon them, and had them punished. And thus, after having been saved from one rock concealed under water, upon which the vessel struck during our passage, I escaped another of a still more dangerous nature.

At New-York I found my friend Collins, who had arrived some time before. We had been intimate from our infancy, and had read the same books together; but he had the advantage of being able to devote more time to reading and study, and an astonishing disposition for mathematics, in which he left me far behind. When at Boston, I had been accustomed to pass with him almost all my leisure hours. He was then a sober and industrious lad; his knowledge had gained him a very general esteem, and he seemed to promise to make an advantageous figure in society. But, during my absence, he had unfortunately addicted himself to brandy, and I learned, as well from himself as from the report of others, that every day since his arrival at New-York he had been intoxicated, and had acted in a very extravagant manner. He had also played, and lost all his money; so that I was obliged to pay all his expences at the inn, and to maintain him during the rest of the journey; a burden that was very inconvenient to me.

The governor of New-York, whose name was Burrent, hearing the captain say that a young man who was a passenger in his ship had a great number of books, begged him to bring me to his house. I accordingly went, and should have taken Collins with me, had he been sober. The governor treated me with great civility, shewed me his library, which was a very considerable one, and we talked for some time upon books and authors. This was the second governor who had honoured me with his attention; and to a poor boy, a [...] I then was, these little adventures did not fail to be pleasing.

We arrived at Philadelphia. On the way I received Vernon's money, without which we should have been unable to have finished our journey.

Collins wished to get employment as a merchant's clerk; but either his breath or his countenance betrayed his bad habit; for, though he had recommendations, he met with no success, and continued to lodge and eat with me, and at my expence. Knowing that I had Vernon's money, he was continually asking me to lend him some of it; promising to repay me at he should get employment. At last he had drawn so much of this money, that I was extremely alarmed at what might become of me, should he [...]a [...]l to make good the deficiency. His habit of drinking did not all diminish, and was a frequent source of discord between us for when he had drank a little too much, h [...] was very headstrong.

Being one day in a boat together, on the Delaware, with some other young persons, he refused to take his turn in rowing. You shall row for me, said he, till we get home.— No, I replied, we will not row for you.— You shall, said he, or remain upon the water all night.—As you please.—Let us row, said the rest of the company: what signifies whether he assists or not. But, already angry with him for his conduct in other respects, I persisted in my refusal. He then swore that he would make me row, or would throw me out of the boat; and he made up to me. As soon as he was within my reach I took him by the collar, gave him a violent thrust, and threw him head-foremost into the river. I knew that he was a good swimmer, and was therefore under no apprehensions for his life.

Before he could turn himself, we were able, by a few strokes of our oars, to place ourselves out of his reach; and whenever he touched the boat, we asked him if he would row, striking his hands with the oars to make him let go his hold. He was nearly suffocated with rage, but obstinately refused making any promise to row. Perceiving at length that his strenght began to be exhausted, we took him into the boat, and conveyed him home in the evening, completely drenched. The utmost coldness subsisted between us after this adventure. At last the captain of a West-India ship, who was commissioned to procure a tutor for the children of a gentleman at Barbadoes, meeting with Collins, offered him the place. He accepted it and took his leave of me, promising to discharge the debt he owed me with the first money he should receive; but I have heard nothing of him since.

The violation of the trust reposed in me by Vernon, was one of the first great errors of my life; and it proves that my father was not mistaken when he supposed me too young to be intrusted with the management of important affairs. But Sir William, upon reading his letter, thought him too prudent. There was a difference, he said, between individuals years of maturity were not always accompanied with discretion, neither was youth in every instance devoid of it. Since your father added he, will not set you up in business, [...] will do it myself. Make out a list of what will be wanted from England, and I will send for the articles. You shall repay me whe [...] you can. I am determined to have a good printer here, and I am sure you will succeed. This was said with so much seeming cordiality, that I suspected not for an instant the sincerity of the offer. I had hitherto kept the project, with which Sir William had inspired me, of settling in business, a secret at Philadelphia, and I still continued to do so. H [...] my reliance on the governor been known some friends, better acquainted with his character than myself, would doubtless have advi [...] ed me not to trust him; for I afterwards lear [...] ed that he was universally known to be liber [...] of promises, which he had no intention to perform. [Page 59]But having never solicited him, how could I suppose his offers to be deceitful? On the contrary, I believed him to be the best man in the world.

I gave him an inventory of a small printing-office; the expence of which I had calculated at about a hundred pounds sterling. He expressed his approbation; but asked if my presence in England, that I might choose the characters myself, and see that every article was good in its kind, would not be an advantage. You will also be able, said he, to form some acquaintance there, and establish a correspondence with stationers and booksellers. This I acknowledged was desirable. That being the case, added he, hold yourself in readiness to go with the Annis. This was the annual vessel, and the only one, at that time, which made regular voyages between the ports of London and Philadelphia. But the Annis was not to sale for some months. I thefore continued to work with Keimer, unhappy respecting the sum which Collins had drawn from me, and almost in continual agony at the thoughts of Vernon, who fortunately made no demand of his money till several years after.

In the account of my first voyage from Boston to Philadelphia, I omitted I believe a trifling circumstance, which will not perhaps be out of place here. During a calm which stopped us above Block-Island, the crew employed themselves in fishing for cod, of which they caught a great number. I had hitherto adhered to my resolution of not eating any thing that had possessed life; and I considered on this occasion, agreeably to the maxims of m [...] master Tryon, the capture of every fish as a sort of murder, committed without provocation, since these animals had neither done, nor were capable of doing, the smallest injury to any one that should justify the measure. This mode of reasoning I conceived to be unanswerable. Meanwhile I had formerly been extremely fond of fish; and when one of these cod was taken out of the frying-pan, I thought its flavour delicious. I hesitated some time between principle and inclination, till at last recollecting, that when the cod had been opened, some small fish had been found in his belly, I said to mysef, If you eat one another I see no reason why we may not eat you. I accordingly dined on the cod with no small degree of pleasure, and have since continued to eat like the rest of mankind, returning only occasionally to my vegetable plan. Ho [...] convenient does it prove to be a rational animal, that knows how to find or invent a plausible pretext for whatever it has an inclination to do!

I continued to live upon good terms with Keimer, who had not the smallest suspicion of my projected establishment. He still retained a portion of his former enthusiasm; and being fond of argument, we frequently disputed together. I was so much in the habit of using my Socratic method, and had so frequently puzzled him by my questions, which appeared at first very distant from the point in debate, yet nevertheless led to it by degrees, involving him in difficulties and contradictions from which he was unable to extricate himself, that he became at last ridiculously cautious, and would scarcely answer the most plain and familiar question without previously asking me—What would you infer from that? Hence, he formed so high an opinion of my talents for refutation, that he seriously proposed to me to become his colleague in the establishment of a new religious sect. He was to propagate the doctrine by preaching, and I to refute every opponent.

When he me explained to his tenets, I sound many absurdities which I refused to admit, unless he would agree in turn to adopt some of my opinions. Keimer wore his beard long, because Moses had somewhere said, Thou shalt not mar the corners of thy beard. He likewise observed the Sabbath; and these were with him two very essential points. I disliked them both; but I consented to adopt them, provided he would abstain from animal food. I doubt, said he, whether my constitution will be able to support it. I assured him on the contrary, that he would find himself the better for it. He was naturally a glutton, and I wished to amuse myself by starving him. He consented to make trial of this regimen, if I would bear him company; and in rea [...]y we continued it for three months. A woman in the neighbourhood prepared and brought us our victuals, to whom I gave a list of forty dishes, in the composition of which there entered neither flesh nor fish. This fancy was [...]e more agreeable to me, as it turned to good account, for the whole expence of our living did not exceed for each eighteen-pence a week.

I have since that period observed several Lents with the greatest strictness, and had suddenly returned again to my ordinary diet, without experiencing the smallest inconvenience; which has led me to regard as of no importance the advice commonly given, of introducing gradually such alterations of regimen.

I continued it cheerfully; but poor Keimer suffered terribly. Tired of the project, he sighed for the flesh pots of Egypt. At length he ordered a roast pig, and invited me and two of our female acquaintance to dine with him; but the pig being ready a little too soon, he could not resist the temptation, and eat it all up before we arrived.

During the circumstances I have related, I had paid some attentions to Miss Read. I entertained for her the utmost esteem and affection; and I had reason to believe that these sentiments were mutual. But we were both young, scarcely more than eighteen years of age; and as I was on the point of undertaking a long voyage, her mother thought it prudent to prevent matters being carried to [...] far for the present, judging that if marriage was our object, there would be more propriety in it after my return, when, as at least I expected, I should be established in my business. Perhaps also [...] thought that my expectations were not so well-founded as I imagined.

My most intimate aquaintance at this time were Charles Osborne, Joseph Watson, and James Ralph; young men who were all fond of reading. The two first were clerks to Mr. Charles Brockdon, one of the principal attornies in the town, and the other clerk to a merchant. Watson was an upright, pious and sensible young man: the others were somewhat more loose in their principles of religion, particularly Ralph, whose faith, as well as that of Collins, I had contributed to shake; each of whom made me suffer a very adequate punishment. Osborne was sensible, and sincere and affectionate in his friendships, but too much inclined to the critic in [...]tters of literature. Ralph was ingenious and shrewd, genteel in his address, and extremely eloquent. I do not remember to have met will a more agreeable speaker. They were both enamoured of the muses, and had already evinced their passion by some small poetical productions.

It was a custom with us to take a charming w [...]k on Sundays, in the woods that bordered on the Schuylkill. Here we read together, and afterwards conversed on what we read. Ralph was disposed to give himself up entir [...] to poetry. He flattered himself that he should arrive at great eminence in the art, and even acquire a fortune. The sublimest poets, he pretended, when they first began to write, committed as many faults as himself. Osborne endeavoured to dissuade him from it, by a [...] suring him that he had no genius for poetry and advised him to stick to the trade in which he had been brought up. In the road of commerce, said he, you will be sure, by diligen [...] and assiduity, though you have no capital, [...] so far succeeding as to be employed as a fa [...] tor, and may thus, in time, acquire the means of setting up for yourself. I conc [...] red in these sentiments, but at the same ti [...] expressed my approbation of amusing oursel [...] sometimes with poetry, with a view to impro [...] our style. In consequence of this it was proposed, that, at our next meeting, each of [...] should bring a copy of verses of his own composition. Our object in this competition [...] to benefit each other by our mutual remarks, criticisms and corrections; and as style [...] expression were all we had in view, we excluded every idea of invention, by agreeing that our task should be a version of the eigh [...] teenth psalm, in which is described the desce [...] of the Deity.

The time of our meeting drew near, when Ralph called upon me, and told me his pie [...] was ready. I informed him that I had be [...] idle, and, not much liking the task, had do [...] nothing. He shewed me his piece, and asked what I thought of it. I expressed myself in terms of warm approbation; because it really appeared to have considerable merit. He then said: Osborne will never acknowledge the smallest degree of excellence in any production of mine. Envy alone dictates to him a thousand animadversions. Of you he is not so jealous: I wish therefore, you would take the verses, and produce them as your own. I will pretend not to have had leisure to write any thing. We shall then see in what manner he will speak of them. I agreed to this little artifice, and immediately transcribed the verses [...] prevent all suspicion.

We met. Watson's performance was the [...] that was read. It had some beauties, but many faults. We next read Osborne's, which was much better. Ralph did it justice, remarking a few imperfections, and applauding such parts as were excellent. He had himself nothing to show. It was now my turn. I made s [...]me difficulty; seemed as if I wished to be excused; pretended that I had had no time to make corrections, &c. No excuse, however, was admissible, and the piece must be produced. It was read and re-read. Watson and Osborne immediately resigned the palm, and united in applauding it. Ralph alone made a few remarks, and proposed some alterations; but I defended my text. Osborne agreed with me, and told Ralph he was no more able to criticise than he was able to write.

When Osborne was alone with me, he expressed himself still more strongly in favour of what he considered as my performance. He pretended that he had put some restrain [...] on himself before, apprehensive of my construing his commendation into flattery. But who would have supposed, said he, Franklin to be capable of such a composition? What painting, what energy, what fire! He has surpassed the original. In his common conversation he appears not to have choice of words; he hesitates, and is at a loss; and yet, good God, how he writes!

At our next meeting Ralph discovered the trick we had played Osborne, who was ra [...] lied without mercy.

By this adventure Ralph was fixed in his resolution of becoming a poet. I left nothing unattempted to divert him from his purpose; but he persevered, till at last the reading of Pope* effected his cure: he became, however, a very tolerable pro [...]e writer. I shall speak more of him hereafter; but as I shall probably have no farther occasion to mention the other two, I ought to observe here, that Watson died a few years after in my arms. He was greatly regretted; for he was the best of our society. Osborne went to the islands, where he gained considerable reputation as a barrister, and was getting money; but he died young. We had seriously engaged, that whoever died first should return, if possible, and pay a friendly visit to the survivor, to him an account of other world; but he has never fulfilled his engagement.

The governor appeared to be fond of my company, and frequently invited me to his house. He always spoke of his intention of settling me in business, as a point that was decided. I was to take with me letters of recommendation to a number of friends; and particularly a letter of credit, in order to obtain the necessary sum for the purchase of my press, types and paper. He appointed various times for me to come for these letters, which would certainly be ready; and when I came, always put me off to another day.

These successive delays continued till the vessel, whose departure had been several times deferred, was on the point of setting sail; when I again went to Sir William's house to receive my letters and take leave of him. [...] saw his secretary, Dr. Bard, who told me that the governor was extremely busy writing, but that he would be down at Newcastle before the vessel, and that the letters would be delivered to me there.

Ralph, though he was married and had a child, determined to accompany me in this voyage. His object was supposed to be the establishing a correspondence with some mercantile houses, in order to sell goods by commission; but I afterwards learned, that having reason to be dissatisfied with the parents of his wife, he proposed to himself to leave her on their hands, and never return to America again.

Having taken leave of my friends, and interchanged promises of fidelity with Mi [...] Read, I quitted Philadelphia. At Newcastle the vessel came to anchor. The governor was arrived, and I went to his logdings. His secretary received me with great civilty, told me on the part of the govorner that he could not [...]or me then, as he was engaged in affairs of the utmost importance, but that he would send the letters on board, and that he wished me, with all his heart, a good voyage and speedy return I returned somewhat astonished, but still with out entertaining the slightest suspicion.

Mr. Hamilton, a celebrated barrister of Philadelphia, had taken a passage to England for himself and his son, and, in conjunction with Mr. Denham a quaker, and Messrs. Oniam and Russel, proprietors of a forge in Maryland, had agreed for the whole cabin, so that Ralph and I were obliged to take up our lodging with the crew. Being unknown to every body in the ship, we were looked upon as the common order of people: but Mr. Hamilton and his son (it was James, who was afterwards governor) left us at Newcastle, and returned to Philadelphia, where he wa [...] recalled, at a very great expence, to plead the cause of a vessel that had been seized; and just as we were about to sail, colonel Finch came on board, and shewed me many civilities. The passengers upon this paid me more attention, and I was invited, together with my friend Ralph, to occupy the place in the cabin, which the return of the Mr. Hamiltons had made vacant; an offer which we very readily accepted.

Having learned that the dispatches of the governor had been brought on board by colonel Finch, I asked the captain for the letters that were to be intrusted to my care. He told me that they were all put together in the bag, which he could not open at present; but before [...]e reached England, he would give me an opportunity of taking them out. I was satisfied with this answer, and we pursued our voyage.

The company in the cabin were all very sociable, and we were perfectly well off as to provisions, as we took the advantage of the whole of Mr. Hamilton's who had laid in a very plentiful stock. During the passage Mr. Denham contracted a friendship for me, which ended only with his life: in other respects the voyage was by no means an agreeable one, as we had much bad weather.

When we arrived in the river, the captain was as good as his word, and allowed me to search the bag for the governor's letters. I could not find a single one with my name written on it, as committed to my care; but I selected six or seven, which I judged from the direction to be those that were intended for me; particularly one to Mr. Basket the king's printer, and another to a stationer, who was the first person I called upon. I delivered him the letter as coming from governor Keith. ‘I have no acquaintance (said he) with any such person;’ and opening the letter, ‘Oh, it is from Riddlesden! he exclaimed. I have lately discovered him to be a very arrant knave, and I wish to have nothing to do either with him or his letters.’ He instantly put the letter in my hand, turned upon his heel, and left me to serve some customers.

I was astonished at finding these letters were not from the governor. Reflecting, and [...] ting circumstances together, I then began to doubt his sincerity. I rejoined my friend Denham, and related the whole affair to him. He let me at once into Keith's character, told me there was not the least probability of his having written a single letter; that no one who knew him ever placed any reliance on him, and laughed at my credulity in supposing that the governor would give me a letter of credit, when he had no credit for himself. As I shewed some uneasiness respecting what step I should take, he advised me to try to get employment in the house of some printer. You may there, said he, improve yourself in business, and you will be able to settle yourself the more advantageously when you return to America.

We knew already, as well as the stationer, attorney Riddlesden to be a knave. He had nearly ruined the father of Miss Read, by drawing him in to be his security. We learned from his letter, that he was secretly carrying on an entrigue, in concert with the governor, to the prejudice of Mr. Hamilton, who it was supposed would by this time be in Europe. Denham, who was Hamilton's friend, was of opinion that he ought to be made acquainted with it: and in reality, the instant he arrived in England, which was very soon after, I waited on him, and, as much from good-will to him as from resentment against the governor, put the letter into his hands. He thanked me very sincerely, the information it contained being of consequence to him; and from that moment bestowed on me his friendship, which afterwards proved on many occasions serviceable to me.

But what are we to think of a governor who could play so scurvy a trick, and thus grossly deceive a poor young lad, wholly destitute of experience? It was a practice with him. Wishing to please every body, and having little to bestow, he was lavish of promises. He was in other respects sensible and judicious, a very tolerable writer, and a good governor for the people; though not so for the proprietaries, whose instructions he frequently disregarded. Many of our best laws were his work, and established during his administration.

Ralph and I were inseparable companions. We took a lodging together at three and s [...] pence a week, which was as much as [...] could afford. He met with some relations [...] London, but they were poor, and not able [...] assist him. He now, for the first time, informed me of his intention to remain in England, and that he had no thoughts of ev [...] returning to Philadelphia. He was total [...] without money; the little he had been [...] to raise having barely sufficed for his passage I had still fifteen pistoles remaining; and [...] me he had from time to time recourse, which he tried to get employment.

At first, believing himself possessed of [...] lents for the stage, he thought of turning actor; but Wilkes, to whom he appli [...] frankly advised him to renounce the idea, [...] it was impossible to succeed. He next proposed to Roberts, a bookseller in Pate [...]noster-Row, to write a weekly paper in the manner of the Spectator, upon terms [...] which Roberts would not listen. Lastly, [...] endeavoured to procure employment as [...] copyist, and applied to the lawyers and sta [...]oners about the Temple; but he could find no vacancy.

As to myself, I immediately got engaged at Palmer's, at that time a noted printer i [...] Ba [...]holomew Close, with whom I continued nearly a year. I applied very assiduously [...] my work; but I expended with Ralph almost all that I earned, Plays and other places amusement which we frequented together, saving exhausted my pistoles, we lived after this from hand to mouth. He appeared to have entirely forgotten his wife and child, as I also, by degrees, forgot my engagements with Miss Read, to whom I never wrote more than one letter, and that merely to inform her that I was not likely to return soon. This was another grand error of my life, which I should be desirous of correcting, were I to begin my career again.

I was employed at Palmer's on the second adition of Woolaston's Religion of Nature. Some of his arguments appearing to me not to be well founded, I wrote a small metaphysical treatise, in which I animadverted on those passages. It was entitled a Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain. I dedicated it to my friend Ralph, and printed a small number of copies. Palmer upon this treated me with more consideration and regarded me as a young man of talents; tho' [...]e seriously took me to task for the principles of my pamphlet, which he looked upon as [...]ominable. The printing of this work was another error of my life.

While I lodged in Little Britain I formed acquaintance with a bookseller of the name of Wilcox, whose shop was next door to me. Circulating libraries were not then in use. He had an immense collection of books of all sorts. We agreed that, for a reasonable retribution, of which I have now forgotten the price, I should have free access to his library, and take what books I pleased, which I was to return when I had read them. I considered this agreement as a very great advantage; and I derived from it as much benefit as was in my power.

My pamphlet falling into the hands of a surgeon, of the name of Lyons, author of a book entitled Infallibility of Human Judgment, was the occasion of a considerable intimacy between us. He expressed great esteem for me, came frequently to see me, it order to converse upon metaphysical subjects, and introduced me to Dr. Mandeville, author of the Fable of Bees, who had instituted a club at a tavern in Cheapside, [...] which he was the soul: he was a facetious and very amusing character. He also introduced me, at Baston's coffee-house, to Dr. Pemberton, who promised to give me an opportunity of seeing Sir Isaac Newton, which I very ardently desired; but he never kept his word.

I had brought some curiosities with me from America; the principal of which was a purse made of Asbestos, which fire only purifies. Sir Hans Sloane hearing of it, called upon me, and invited me to his house in Bloomsbury square, where, after showing me every thing that was curious, he prevailed on me to add this piece to his collection▪ for which he paid me very handsomely.

There lodged in the same house with us a young woman, a milliner, who had a shop by the side of the Exchange. Lively and sensible, and having received an education somewhat above her rank, her conversation was very agreeable. Ralph read plays to her every evening. They became intimate. She took another lodging, and he followed her. They lived for some time together; but Ralph being without employment, she having a child, and the profits of her business not sufficing for the maintenance of three, he resolved to quit London, and try a country school. This was a plan in which he thought himself likely to succeed, as he wrote a fine hand, and was versed in arithmetic and accounts. But considering the office as beneath him, and expecting some day to make a better figure in the world, when he should be ashamed of its being known that he had exercised a profession so little honourable, he changed his name, and did me the honour of assuming mine. He wrote to me soon after his departure, informing me that he was settled at a small village in Berkshire. In his letter he recommended Mrs. T***, the milliner, to my care, and requested an answer, directed to Mr. Franklin, schoolmaster at N***.

He continued to write to me frequently, sending me large fragments of an epic poem he was composing, and which he requested me to criticise and correct. I did so, but not without endeavouring to prevail on him to renounce this pursuit. Young had jus [...] published one of his Satires. I copied and sent him a great part of it; in which the author demonstrates the folly of cultivating the Muses, from the hope, by their instrumentality, of rising in the world. It was all to no purpose; paper after paper of his poem continued to arrive every post.

Meanwhile Mrs. T*** having lost, on his account, both her friends and her business was frequently in distress. In this dilemma she had recourse to me; and to extricate her from her difficulties, I lent her all the money I could spare. I felt a little too much fondness for her. Having at that time no ties of religion, and taking advantage of her necessitous situation, I attempted liberties (another error of my life) which she repelle [...] with becoming indignation. She informed Ralph of my conduct; and the affair occasioned a breach between us. When he returned to London, he gave me to understand that he considered all the obligations he owed me as annihilated by this proceeding▪ whence I concluded that I was never to expect the payment of what money I had lent him, or advanced on his account. I was the less afflicted at this, as he was unable to pay me; and as, by losing his friendship, I was relieved at the same time from a very heavy burthen.

I now began to think of laying by some money. The printing-house of Watts, near [Page 77]Lincoln's Inn-Fields, being a still more con [...]derable one than that in which I worked, it was probable I might find it more advantageous to be employed there. I offered myself, and was accepted; and in this house I continued during the remainder of my stay in London.

On my entrance I worked at first as a pressman, conceiving that I had need of bodily exercise, to which I had been accustomed in America, where the printers work alternately as compositors and at the press [...] drank nothing but water. The other workmen, to the number of about fifty, were great drinkers of beer. I carried occasionally a large form of letters in each hand, up and down stairs, while the rest employed both hands to carry one. They were surprised to see, by this and many other [...]amples, that the American Aquatic, as they used to call me, was stronger than those who drank porter. The beer-boy had sufficient employment during the whole day in serving that house alone. My fellow-pressman drank every day a pint of beer before breakfast, a pint with bread and cheese for breakfast, one between breakfast and dinner, one at dinner, one again about six o'clock in the afternoon, and another after he had finished his day's work. This custom appeared to me abominable; but he had need, he said, of all this beer, in order to acquire strength to work.

I endeavoured to convince him that bodily strength furnished by beer, could only be in proportion to the solid part of the barley dissolved in the water of which the beer was composed; that there was a larger portion of flour in a penny loaf, and that consequently if he eat this loaf, and drank a pint of water with it, he would derive more strength from it than from a pint of beer. This reasoning, however, did not prevent him from drinking his accustomed quantity of beer, and paying every Saturday night a score of four or five shillings a week for this cursed beverage; an expence from which I was wholly exempt. Thus do these poor devils continue all their lives in a state of voluntary wretchedness and poverty.

At the end of a few weeks, Watts having occasion for me above stairs as a compositor, I quitted the press. The compositors demanded of me garnish-money afresh. This I considered as an imposition, having already paid below. The master was of the same opinion, and desired me not to comply. I thus remained two or three weeks out of the fraternity. I was consequently looked upon as excommunicated; and whenever I was absent, no little trick that malice could suggest was left unpractised upon me. I found my letters mixed, my pages transposed, my matter broken, &c. &c. all which was attributed to the spirit that haunted the chapel,* and tormented those who were not regularly admitted. I was at last obliged to submit to pay, notwithstanding the protection of the master; convinced of the folly of not keeping up a good understanding with those among whom we were destined to live.

After this I lived in the utmost harmony with my fellow-labourers, and soon acquired considerable influence among them. I proposed some alterations in the laws of the chapel, which I carried without opposition. My example prevailed with several of them to renounce their abominable practice of bread and cheese with beer; and they procured, like me, from a neighbouring house, a good bason of warm gruel, in which was a small slice of butter, with toasted bread and nutmeg. This was a much better breakfast, which did not cost more than a pint of beer, namely, three-halfpence, and at the same time preserved the head clearer. Those who continued to gorge themselves with beer, often lost their credit with the publican, from neglecting to pay their score. They had then recourse to me, to become security for them; their light, as they used to call it, being out. I attended at the pay-table every Saturday evening, to take up the little sum which I had made myself answerable for; and which sometimes amounted to near thirty shillings a week.

This circumstance, added to my reputation of being a tolerable good gabber, or, in other words, skilful in the art of burlesque, kept up my importance in the chapel. I had besides recommended myself to the esteem of my master by my assiduous application to business never observing Saint Monday. My extraordinary quickness in composing always procured me such work as was most urgent, and which is commonly best paid; and thus my time passed away in a very pleasant manner.

My lodging in Little Britain being to far from the printing-house, I took another in Duke-street, opposite the Roman Chapel. It was the back of an Italian warehouse. The house was kept by a widow, who had a daughter, a servant, and a shop boy; but the latter slept out of the house. After sending to the people with whom I lodged in Little Britain, to enquire into my character, she agreed to take me at the same price, three-and-sixpence a week; contenting herself, she said, with so little, because of the security she would derive, as they were all women, from having a man to lodge in the same house.

She was a woman rather advanced in life, the daughter of a clergyman. She had been educated a Protestant; but her husband, whose memory she highly revered, had converted her to the Catholic religion. She had lived in habits of intimacy with persons of distinction; of whom she knew various anecdotes as far back as the time of Charles II. Being subject to fits of the gout, which often confined her to her room, she was sometimes disposed to see company. Hers was so amusing to me, that I was glad to pass the evening with her as often as she desired it. Our supper consisted only of half an anchovy a piece, upon a slice of bread and butter, with half a [...]nt of ale between us. But the entertainment was in her conversation.

The early hours I kept, and the little trouble I occasioned in the family, made her loath to part with me; and when I mentioned another loding I had found, nearer the printing-house, at two shillings a week, which fell in with my plan of saving, she persuaded me to give it up, making herself an abatement of two shillings: and thus I continued to lodge with her, during the remainder of my abode in London, at eighteen-pence a week.

In a garret of the house there lived, in the most retired manner, a lady seventy years of age, of whom I received the following account from my landlady. She was a Roman Catholic. In her early years she had been sent to the continent, and entered a convent with the design of becoming a nun; but the climate not agreeing with her constitution, she was obliged to return to England, where, as there were no monasteries, she made a vow to lead a monastic life, in as rigid a manner as circumstances would permit. She accordingly disposed of her property to be applied to charitable uses, reserving to herself only twelve pounds a year; and of this small pittance she gave a part to the poor, living on water-gruel, and never making use of fire but to boil it. She had lived in this garret a great many years, without paying rent to the successive Catholic inhabitants that had kept the house; who indeed considered her abode with them as a blessing. A priest came every day to confess her. I have asked her, said my landlady, how, living as she did, she could find so much employment for a confessor? To which she answered, that it was impossible to avoid vain thoughts.

I was once permitted to visit her. She was cheerful and polite, and her conversation agreeable. Her apartment was neat; but the whole furniture consisted of a mattrass, a table, on which were a crucifix and a book, a chair, which she gave me to sit on, and over the mantle-piece a picture of St. Veronica displaying her handkerchief, on which was seen the miraculous impression of the face of Christ, which she explained to me with great gravity. Her countenance was pale, but she had never experienced sickness; and I may adduce her as another proof how little is sufficient to maintain life and health.

At the printing-house I contracted an intimacy with a sensible young man of the name of Wygate, who, as his parents were in good circumstances, had received a better education than is common with printers. He was a tolerable Latin scholar, spoke French fluently, and was fond of reading. I taught him, as well as a friend of his, to swim, by taking them twice only into the river; after which they stood in need of no farther assistance. We one day made a party to go by water to Chelsea, in order to see the College, and Don Soltero's curiosities. On our return, at the request of the company, whose curiosity Wygate had excited, I undressed myself, and leaped into the river. I swam from near Chelsea the whole way to Black-friars Bridge, exhibiting, during my course, a variety of feats of activity and address, both upon the surface of the water, as well as under it. This sight occasioned much astonishment and pleasure to those to whom it was new. In my youth I took great delight in this exercise. I knew, and could execute, all the evolutions and positions of Thevenot; and I added to them some of my own invention, in which I endeavoured to unite gracefulness and untility. I took a pleasure in displaying them all on this occasion, and was highly flattered with the admiration they excited.

Wygate, besides his being desirous of perfecting himself in this art, was the more attached to me from there being, in order respects, a conformity in our tastes and studies. He at length proposed to me to make the tour of Europe with him, maintaining ourselves at the same time by working at our profession. I was on the-point of consenting, when I mentioned it to my friend Denham, with whom I was glad to pass an hour whenever I had le [...] sure. He dissuaded me from the project, and advised me to return to Philadelphia which he was about to do himself. I must relate in this place a trait of this worthy man's character.

He had formerly been in business at Bristol, but failing, he compounded with his creditors and departed for America, where, by assiduous application as a merchant, he acquired in a few years a very considerable fortune. Returning to England in the same vessel with myself, as I have related above, he invited all his old creditors to a feast. When assembled, he thanked them for the readiness with which they had received his small compositions and, while they expected nothing more than a simple entertainment, each found under his plate, when it came to be removed, a draft upon a banker for the residue of his debt with interest.

He told me it was his intention to cary back with him to Philadelphia a great quantity of goods, in order to open a store; and he offered to take me with him in the capacity of a clerk, to keep his books, in which he would instruct me, copy letters and superintend the store. He added, that, as soon as I had acquired a knowledge of mercantile transactions, he would improve my situation by sending me with a cargo of corn and flour to the American islands, and by procuring me other lucrative commissions; so that, with good management and economy, I might in time begin business with advantage for myself.

I relished these proposals. London began to tire me; the agreeable hours I had passed at Philadelphia presented themselves to my mind, and I had wished to see them revive. I consequently engaged myself to Mr. Denham, at a salary of fifty pounds a year. This was indeed less than I earned as a compositor, but then I had a much fairer prospect. I took leave, therefore, as I believed forever, of printing, and gave myself up entirely to my new occupation, spending all my time either in going from house to house with Mr. Denham to purchase goods, or in packing them up, or in expediting the workmen, &c. &c. When every thing was on board, I had at last a few days leisure.

During this interval, I was one day sent for by a gentleman, whom I knew only by name. It was Sir William Wyndham. I went to his house. He had by some means heard of my performances between Chelsea and Blackfriers, and that I had taught the art of swimming to Wygate and another young man in the course of a few hours. His two sons were on the point of setting out on their travels; he was desirous that they should previously learn to swim, and offered me a very liberal reward if I would undertake to instruct them. They were not yet arrived in town, and the stay I should make myself was uncertain; I coud not therefore accept his proposal. I was led however to suppose from this incident, that if I had wished to remain in London, and open a swimming-school, I should perhaps have gained a great deal of money. This idea struck me so forcibly, that, had the offer been made sooner, I should have dismissed the thoughts of returning as yet to America. Some years after, you and I had a more important business to settle with one of the sons of Sir William Windham, then Lord Egremont. But let us not anticipate events.

I thus passed a bout eighteen months in London, working almost without intermission at my trade, avoiding all expence on my own account, excepting going now and then to a play, and purchasing a few books. But my friend Ralph kept me poor. He owed me about twenty-seven pounds, which was so much money lost; and when considered taken from my little savings, was a very great sum. I had, notwithstanding this, a regard for him, as he possessed many amiable qualities. But though I had done nothing for myself in point of fortune, I had increased my stock of knowledge, either by the many excellent books I had read, or the conversation of learned or literary persons with whom I was acquinted.

We sailed from Gravesend the 23d of July 1726. For the incidents of my voyage I re [...] fer you to my Journal, where you will fi [...] all the circumstances minutely related. We landed at Philadelphia on the 11th of the following October.

Keith had been deprived of his office of governor, and was succeeded by Major Gordon. I met him walking in the streets as a private individual. He appeared a little ashamed at seeing me, but passed on without saying any thing.

I should have been equally ashamed myself at meeting Miss Read, had not her family, justly desparing of my return after reading my letter, advised her to give me up, and marry a potter, of the name of Rogers; [...] which she consented: but he never made [...] happy, and she soon seperated from him, refusing to cohabit with him, or even bate his name, on account of a report which prevailed, of his having another wife. His skill in his profession had seduced Miss Read's, parents; but he was as bad a subject as he was excellent as a workman. He involved himself i [...] debt, and fled, in the year 1727 or 1728 to the West-Indies, were he died.

During my absence Keimer had taken a more considerable house, in which he kept a shop, that was well supplied with paper, and various other articles. He had produced some new tipes, and a number of workmen; among whom, however, there was not one who was good for any thing; and he appeared not to want business.

Mr. Denham took a warehouse in Water-street, where we exhibited our commodities. I applied myself closely, studied accounts, and became in a short time very expert in trade. We lodged and eat together. He was sincerely attached to me, and acted towards me as if he had been my father. On my side, I respected and loved him. My situation was happy; but it was a happiness of no long duration.

Early in February 1727, when I entered into my twenty-second year, we were both taken ill. I was attacked with a pleurisy, which had nearly carried me off; I suffered terribly, and considered it as all over with me. I felt indeed a sort of disappointment when I found myself likely to recover, and regretted that had still to experience, sooner or later, the same disagreeable scene again.

I have forgotten what was Mr. Denham's disorder; but it was a tedious one, and at last sunk under it. He left me a small legacy in his will, as a testimony of his friendship; and I was once more abandoned to myself in the wide world, the warehouse being confided to the care of the testamentary executor, who dismissed me.

My brother-in-law, Holmes, who happened to be at Philadelphia, advised me to return to my former profession; and Keimer offered me a very considerable salary if I would undertake the management of his printing-office, that he might devote himself entirely to the superintendance of his shop. His wife and relations in London had given me a bad character of him; and I was loath, for the present, to have any concern with him. I endeavoured to get employment as a clerk to a merchant; but not readily finding a situation, I was induced to accept Keimer's proposal.

The following were the persons I found in his printing-house:

Hugh Meredith, a Pennsylvanian, about thirty-five years of age. He had been brought up to husbandry, was honest, sensible, had some experience, and was fond of reading: but too much addicted to drinking.

Stephen Potts, a young rustic, just broke from school, and of rustic education, with endowments rather above the common order, and a competent portion of understanding and gaiety; but a little idle. Keimer had engaged these two at very low wages, which he had promised to raise every three months a shilling a week, provided their improvement in the typographic art should merit it. This future increase of wages was the bait he made use of to ensnare them. Meredith was to work at the press, and Po [...]ts to bind books, which he had engaged to teach them, though he understood neither himself.

John Savage, an Irishman, who had been brought up to no trade, and whose service, for a period of four years, Keimer had purchased of the captain of a ship. He was also to be a pressman.

George Webb, an Oxford scholar, whose time he had in like manner bought for four years, intending him for a compositor. I shall speak more of him presently.

Lastly, David Harry, a country la [...], who was apprenticed to him.

I soon perceived that Keimer's intention, in engaging me at a pr [...] so much above what he was accustomed to give, was, t [...] I might form all these raw journeymen and apprentices, who scarcely cost him any thing, and who, being indentured, would, as soon as they should be sufficiently instructed, enable him to do without me. I nevertheless adhered to my agreement. I put the office in order, which was in the utmost confusion, and brought his people, by degrees, to pay attention to their work, and to execute it i [...] a more masterly manner.

It was singular to see an Oxford scholar in the condition of a purchased servant. He was not more than eighteen years of age, and the following are the particulars he gave me of himself. Born at Gloucester, he had been educated at a grammar school, and had distinguished himself among the scholars by his superior style of acting, when they represented dramatic performances. He was member of a literary club in the town; and some pieces of his composition, in prose as well as in verse, had been inserted in the Gloucester papers. From hence he was sent to Oxford, where he remained about a year; but he was not consented; and wished above all things [...] [...]e London, and become an actor. At length, having received fifteen guineas to pay his quarter's board, he decamped with the money from Oxford, hid his gown in a hedge, and travelled to London. There, having no friend to direct him, he fell into bad company, soon squandered his fifteen guineas, could find no way of being introduced to the actors, became contemptible, pawned his clothes, and was in [...]nt of bread. As he was walking along the streets, almost famished with hunger, and not knowing what to do, a recruiting bill was put into his hand, which offered an immediate treat and bounty-money to whoever was disposed to serve in America. He instantly repaired to the house of rendezvous, inlisted himself, was put on board a ship and conveyed to America, without ever writing to inform his parents what was become of him. His mental vivacity, and good natural disposition, made him an excellent companion; but he be was indolent, thoughtless, and to the last degree imprudent.

John, the Irishman, soon ran away. I began to live very agreeably with the rest. They inspected me, and the more so as they found Keimer incapable of instructing them, and as they learned something from me every day. We never worked on a Saturday, it being Keimer's sabbath; so that I had two days a week for reading.

I increased my acquaintance with persons of knowledge and information in the town. Keimer himself treated me with great civilit [...] and apparent esteem; and I had nothing to give me uneasiness but my debt to Vernon, which I was unable to pay, my savings as yet being very little. He had the goodness, however, not to ask me for the money.

Our press was frequently in want of the necessary quanty of letter; and there was no such trade as that of letter-founder in America I had seen the practice of this art at the house of James, in London; but at the same time paid it very little attention. I however contrived to fabricate a mould. I made use of such letters of lead in matrices of clay, and thus supplied, in a tolerable manner, the wants that were most pressing.

I also, upon occasion, engraved various ornaments, made ink, gave an eye to the shop; in short, I was in every respect the factotum. But useful as I made myself, I perceived that my services became every day of le [...]s importance, in proportion as the other men improved; and when Keimer paid me my second quarter's wages, he gave me to understand that they were too heavy, and that he thought I ought to make an abatement. He became by degrees le [...]s civil, and assumed more the tone of master. He frequently found fault, was difficult to please, and seemed always on the point of coming to an open quarrel with me.

I continued, however, to bear it patiently, conceiving that his ill-humour was partly occasioned by the derangement and embarrassment of his affairs. At last a slight incident broke our connection. Hearing a noise in the neighbourhood, I put my head out of the window to see what was the matter. Keimer being in the street, observed me, and in a lound an angry tone, told me to mind my work; adding some reproachful words, which piqued me the more as they were uttered in the street; and the neighbours, whom the same noise had attracted to the windows, were witnesses of the manner in which I was treated. He immediately came up to the printing-room, and continued to exclaim against me. The quarrel became warm on both sides, and he gave me notice to quit him at the expiration of three months, as had been agreed between us; regretting that he was obliged to give me so long a term. I told him that his regret was superfluous, as I was ready to quit him instantly; and I took my hat and came out of the house, begging Meredith to take care of some things which I left, and bring them to my lodgings.

Meredith came to me in the evening. We talked for some time upon the quarrel that had taken place. He had conceived a great veneration for me, and was sorry I should quit the house while he remained in it. He [...]issuaded me from returning to my native country, as I began to think of doing. He reminded me that Keimer owed more than he possessed; that his creditors began to be alarmed; that he kept his shop in a wretched state, often selling things at prime cost for the sake [...] ready money, and continually giving credit without keeping any accounts; that of consequence he must very soon fail, which would occasion a vacancy from which I might derive advantage. I objected my want of money. Upon which he informed me that his father had a very high oppinion of me, and, from a conversation that had passed between them, he was sure that he would advance whatever might be necessary to establish [...] if I was willing to enter into partnership with him. "My time with Keimer," added he "will be at an end next spring. In the me [...] time we may send to London for our press a [...] types. I know that I am no workman; but if you agree to the proposal, your skill in the business will be balanced by the capital I will furnish, and we will share the profits equally. His proposal was reasonable, and I fell in with it. His father, who was then in the tow [...], approved of it. He knew that I had some ascendency over his son, as I had been able [...] prevail on him to abstain a long time from drinking brandy; and he hoped that, when more closely connected with him, I should cure him entirely of this unfortunate habit.

I gave the father a list of what it would be necessary to import from London. He took it to a merchant, and the order was given. We agreed to keep the secret till the arrival of the materials, and I was in the mean time is procure work, if possible, in another printing-house; but there was no place vacant, and I remained idle. After some days, Keimer having the expectation of being employed to [...]nt some New-Jersey money-bills, that would [...]quire types and engravings which I only could furnish, and fearful that Bradford, by engaging me, might deprive him of the undertaking, sent me a very civil message, telling me that old friends ought not to be dis [...]ted on account of a few words, which were the effect only of a momentary passion, and inviting me to return to him. Meredith persuaded me to comply with the invitation, par [...]ularly as it would afford him more opportunities of improving himself in the business by means of my instructions. I did so, and we lived upon better terms than before our [...]paration.

He obtained the New-Jersey business; and, in order to execute it, I constructed a copper [...]te printing-press; the first that had been seen in the country. I engraved various ornaments and vignettes for the bills; and we repaired to Burlington together, where I executed the whole to the general satisfaction; and he received a sum of money for his work, which enabled him to keep his head above water for a considerable time longer.

At Burlington I formed acquaintance with the principal personages of the province; many of whom were commissioned by the Assembly to superintend the press, and to see that no more bills were printed than the law had prescribed. Accordingly they were constantly with us, each in his turn; and he that came commonly brought with him a friend or two to bear him company. My mind was more cultivated by reading than Keimer's; and it was for this reason, probably, that they set more value on my conversation. They took me to their houses, introduced me to their friends, and treated me with the greatest civility; while Keimer, though master, saw himself a little neglected. He was, in fact, a strange animal, ignorant of the common modes of life, apt to oppose with rudeness, generally received opinions, an enthusiast in certain points of religion, disgustingly unclean in his person, and a little knavish withal.

We remain there nearly three months; and at the expiration of this period I could include in the list of my friends, Judge Allen, Samuel Bustil, secretary of the province, Isaac Pearson, Joseph Cooper, several of the Smiths, all members of the Assembly, and Isaac Deacon, inspector-general. The last was a shrewd and subtle old man. He told me, that, when a boy, his first employment had been that of carrying clay to brick-makers; that he did not learn to write till he was somewhat advanced in life; that he was afterwards employed as an underling to a surveyor, who taught him his trade, and that by industry he had at last acquired a competent fortune. "I for-see," said he, one day to me, "that you will soon supplant this man," speaking of Keimer, "and get a fortune in the business at Philadelphia." He was totally ignorant at the time of my intention of establishing myself there, or any where else. These friends were very serviceable to me in the end, as was I also, upon occasion, to some of them; and they have continued ever since their esteem for me.

Before I relate the particulars of my entrance into business, it may be proper to inform you what was at that time the state of my mind as to moral principles, that you may see the degree of influence they had upon the subsequent events of my life.

My parents had given me betimes religious impressions; and I received from my infancy a pious education in the principles of Calvinism. But scarcely was I arrived at fifteen years of age, when, after having doubted in turn of different tenets, according as I found them combated in the different books that I read, I began to doubt of revelation itself. Some volumes against deism fell into my hands. They were said to be the substance of sermons preached at Boyle's lecture. It happened that they produced on me an effect precisely the reverse of what was intended by the writers; for the arguments of the deists, which were cited in order to be refuted, appeared to me much more forcible than the refutation itself. In a word I soon became a perfect deist. My arguments soon perverted some other young persons; particularly Collins and Ralph. But in the sequel, when I recollected that they had both used me extremely ill, without the smallest remorse; when I considered the behaviour of Keith, another free-thinker, and my conduct towards Vernon and Miss Read, which at times gave me much uneasiness, I was led to suspect that this doctrine, though it might be true, was not very useful. I began to entertain a less favourable opinion of my London pamphlet, to which I had prefixed, as a motto, the following lines of Dryden;

Whatever is, is right; tho' purblind man

Sees but part of the chain, the nearest link,

His eyes not carrying to the unequal beam

That poises all above.

and of which the object was to prove, from the arttributes of God, his goodness, wisdom, and power, that there could be on such thing as evil in the world: that vice and virtue did not in reality exist, and were nothing more than vain distinctions. I no longer regarded it as so blameless a work as I had formerly imagined; and I suspected some error must have imperceptibly have glided into my argument, by all the inferences I had drawn from it had been affected, as frequently happens in metaphysical reasonings. In a word, I was at last convinced that truth, probity, and sincerity, in transactions between man and man, were of the utmost importance to the happiness of life; and I resolved from that moment, and wrote the resolution in my journal, to practise them as long as I lived.

Revelation indeed, as such, had no influence on my mind; but I was of opinion that, though certain actions could not be bad merely because revelation prohibited them, or good, because it enjoined them, yet it was probable that those actions were prohibited because they were bad for us, or enjoined because advantageous in their nature, all things considered. This persuasion, divine Providence, or some guardian angel, and perhaps a concurence of favourable circumstances in their nature, cooperating, preserved me from all immorality, or gross and voluntary injustice, to which my want of religion was calculated to expose me, in the dangerous period of youth, and in the hazardous situation in which I sometimes found myself, among strangers, and at a distance from the eye and admonitions of my father. I may say voluntary, because the errors into which I had fallen, had been in a manner the forced result either of my own experience, or the dishonesty of others. Thus, before I entered on my new career, I had imbibed solid principles, and a character of probity. I knew their value; and I made a solemn engagement with myself never to depart from them.

I had not long returnd from Burlington before our printing materials arrived from London. I settled my accounts with Keimer, and quitted him with his own consent, before he had any knowledge of our plan. We found a house near the market. We took it; and to render the rent less burthen some (it was then twenty-four pounds a-year, but have since known it to let for seventy;) we admitted Thomas Godfrey, glazier, with his family, who eased us of a considerable part of it; and with him we agreed to board.

We had no sooner unpacked our letters, and put our press in order, than a person of my acquaintance, George House, brought us a countryman, whom he had met in the street enquiring for a printer. Our money was almost exhausted by the number of things we had been obliged to procure. The five shillings we received from this countryman, the first fruit of our earnings, coming so seasonably, gave me more pleasure than any sum I have since gained; and the recollection of the gratitude I felt on this occasion to George House, has rendered me often more disposed, than perhaps I should otherwise have been, no encorage young beginners in trade.

There are in every country morose beings, who are always prognosticating ruin. There was one of this stamp in Philadelphia. He was a man of fortune, declined in years, had an air of wisdom, and a very grave manner of speaking. His name was Samuel Mickle. I knew him not; but he stopped one day at my door, and asked me if I was the young man who had lately opened a new printing-house. Upon my answering in the affirmative he said he was very sorry for me, as it was an expensive undertaking, and the money that had been laid out upon it would be lost, Philadelphia being a place falling into decay; its inhabitants having all, or nearly all of them, been obliged to all together their creditors. That he knew, from undoubted fact, the circumstances which might lead us to suppose the contrary, such as new buildings, and the advanced price of rent, to be deceitful appearances, which in reality contributed to hasten the general ruin; and he gave me so long a detail of misfortunes, actually existing, or which were soon to take place, that he left me almost in a state of despair. Had I known this man before I entered into trade, I should doubtless never have ventured. He however continued to live in this place of decay, and to declaim in the same style, refusing for many years to buy a house, because all was going to wreck; and in the end I had the satisfaction to see him pay five times as much for one as it would cost him had he purchased it when he first began his lamentations.

I ought to have related, that, during the autumn of the preceding year, I had united the majoirity of well-informed persons of my acquaintance into a club, which we called by the name of the Junto, and the object of which was to improve our understandings. We met every Friday evening. The regulations I drew up, obliged every member to propose, in his turn, one or more questions upon some point of morality, politics, or philosophy, which were to be discussed by the society; and to read, once in three months, an essay of his own composition, on whatever subject he pleased. Our debates were under the direction of a president, and were to be dictated only by a sincere desire of truth; the pleasure of disputing, and the vanity of triumph having no share in the business; and in order to prevent undue warmth, every expression which implied obstinate adherence to an opinion, and all direct contradiction, were prohibited, under small pecuniary penalties.

The first members of our club were Joseph Breintnal, whose occupation was that of a scrivener. He was a middle-aged man, of a good natural disposition, strongly attached to his friends, a great lover of poetry, reading every thing that came in his way, and writing tolerably well, ingenious in many little trifles and of an agreeble conversation.

Thomas Godfrey, a skilful, though self-taught mathematician, and who was afterwards the inventer of what goes by the name of Hadley's dial; but he had little knowledge out of his own line, and was in [...]upportable in company, always requiring, like the majority of mathematicians that have fallen in my way, an unusual precision in every thing that is said, continually contradicting, or making trifling di [...]tinctions; a sure way of defeating all the ends of conversation. He very soon left us.

Nicholas Scull, a surveyor, and who became afterwards surveyor-general. He was fond of books, and wrote verses.

William Parsons, brought up to the trade of a shoemaker, but who, having a taste for reading, had acquired a profound knowledge of mathematics. He first studied them with a view to astrology, and was afterwards the first to laugh at his folly. He also became surveyor-general.

William Mawgridge, a joiner, and very excellent mechanic; and in other respects a man of solid understanding.

Hugh Meredith, Stephen Potts and George Webb, of whom I have already spoken.

Robert Grace, a young man of fortune; generous, animated, and witty; fond of epigrams, but more fond of his friends.

And lastly, William Coleman, at that time a merchan [...]'s clerk, and nearly of my own age. He had a cool [...]r and clearer head, a better heart, and more scrupulous morals, than almost any other person I ever met with. He became a very re [...]pectable merchant, and one of our provincial judges. Our friendship subsisted, without interruption, for more than forty years, till the period of his death; and the club continued to exist almost as long.

This was the best school of politics and philosophy that then existed in the province; for our questions, which were read a week previous to their discussion, induced us to peruse attentively such books as were written upon the subjects proposed, that we might be able to speak upon them more pertinently. We thus acquired the habit of conversing more agreeably; every object being discussed conformably to our regulations, and in a manner to prevent mutual disgust. To this circumstance may be attributed the long duration of the club; which I shall have frequent occasion to mention as I proceed.

I have introduced it here, as being one of the means on which I had to count for my success in my business; every member exerting himself to procure work for us. Breintnal, among others, obtained for us, on the part of the Quakers, the printing of forty sheets of their history; the rest of which was to be done by Keimer. Our execution of this work was by no means masterly; as the price was very low. It was in folio, upon pro patria paper, and in the pica letter, with heavy notes in the smallest type. I composed a sheet a day, and Meredith put it to the press. It was frequently eleven o'clock at night, sometimes later, before I had finished my distribution for the next day's task; for the little things which our friends occasionally sent us, kept us back in this work: but I was so determined to compose a sheet a day, that one evening, when my form was imposed, and my day's work as I thought, at an end, an accident having broken this form, and deranged two complete folio pages. I immediately distributed, and composed them anew before I went to bed.

This unwearied industry, which was perceived by our neigbours, began to acquire us reputation and credit. I learned, among other things, that our new printing-house being the subject of conversation at a club of merchants, who met every evening, it was the general opinion that it would fail; there being already two printing-houses in the town, Keimer's and Bradford's. But Dr. Bard, whom you and I had occasion to see, many years after, at his native town of St. Andrew's in Scotland, was of a different opinion. "The industry of this Franklin (said he, is superior to any thing of the kind I have ever witnessed. I see him still at work when I return from the club at night, and he is at it again in the morning before his neighbours are out of bed." This account struck the rest of the assembly, and shortly after one of its members came to our house, and offered to supply us with articles of stationary; but we wished not as yet to embarrass our [...]elves with keeping a shop. It is not for the sake of applause that I enter so freely into the particulars of my industry, but that such of my descendants as shall read there memoirs may know the use of this virtue, by seeing in the recital of my life the effects it operated in my favour.

George Webb, having found a friend who lent him the necessary sum to buy out his time of Keimer, came one day to offer himself to us as a journeyman. We could not employ him immediately; but I foolishly told him, under the rose, that I intended shortly to publish a new periodical paper, and that we should then have work for him. My hopes of success, which I imparted to him, were founded on the circumstance, that the only paper we had in Philadelphia at that time, and which Bradford printed, was a paltry thing, miserably conducted, in no respect amusing, and yet was profitable. I consequently supposed that a good work of this kind could not fail of success. Webb betrayed my secret to Keimer, who, to prevent me, immediately published the prospectus of a paper that he intended to institute himself, and in which Webb was to be engaged.

I was exa [...]perated at this proceeding and, with a view to counteract them, not being able at present to institute my own paper, I wrote some humourous pieces in Bradford's, under the title of the Busy Body*; and which was continued for several months by Breintnal. I hereby fixed the attention of the public upon Bradford's paper; and the prospectus of Keimer, which he turned into ridicule, was treated with contempt. He began, notwithstanding, his paper; and after continuing it for nine months, having at most not more than ninety subscribers, he offered it me for a mere trifle. I had for some time been ready for such an engagement; I therefore instantly took it upon myself, and in a few years it proved extremely profitable to me.

I perceive that I am apt to speak in the first person, though our partnership still continued. It is perhaps, because in fact, the whole business devolved upon me. Meredith was no compositor, and but an indifferent pressman; and it was rarely that he abstained from hard drinking. My friends were sorry to see me connected with him; but I contrived to derive from it the utmost advantage the case admitted.

Our first number produced no other affect than any other paper which had appeared in the province, as to type and printing; but some remarks, in my peculiar style of writing, upon the dispute which then prevailed between governor Burnet, and the Massachusetts assembly, struck some persons as above mediocrity, caused the paper and its editors to be talked of, and in a few weeks induced them to become our subscribers. Many others followed their example; and our subscription continued to increase. This was one of the first good effects of the pains I had taken to learn to put my ideas on paper. I derived this farther advantage f [...]om it, that the leading men of the place, seeing in the author of this pu [...] [...] well able to use his pen, thought it right to encourage and patronise me.

The votes, laws, and other public pieces, were printed by Bradford. An address of the house of Assembly to the govenor had been executed by him in a very coarse and incorrect manner. We reprinted it with accuracy and neatness, and sent a copy to every member. They perceived the difference; and it so strengthened the influence of our friends in the Assembly, that we were nominated its printer for the following year.

Among these friends I ought not to forget one member in particular, Mr. Hamilton, whom I have mentioned in a former part of my narrative, and who was now returned from England. He warmly interested himself for me on this occasion, as he did likewise on many others afterwards; having continued his kindness to me till his death.

About this period Mr. Vernon reminded me of the debt I owed him, but without pressing me for payment. I wrote him a handsome letter on the occasion, begging him to wait a little longer, to which he consented; and as soon as I was able I paid him, principal and interest, with many expressions of gratitude; so that this error of my life was in a manner atoned for.

But another trouble now happened to me, which I had not the smallest reason to expect. Meredith's father, who, according to our agreement, was to defray the whole expence of our printing materials, had only paid a hundred pounds. Another hundred was still due, and the merchant being tired of waiting, commenced a suit against us. We bailed the action, with the melancholy prospect, that, if the money was not forth coming at the time fixed, the affair would come to issue, judgment be put in execution, our delightful hopes be annihilated, and ourselves entirely ruined; as the type and press must be sold, perhaps at half their value, to pay the debt.

In this distress, two real friends, whose generous conduct I have never forgotten, and never shall forget while I retain the remembrance of any thing, came to me separately, without the knowledge of each other, and without my having applied to them. Each offered me whatever sum might be necessary, to take the business into my own hands, if the thing was practicable, as they did not like I should continue in partnership with Meredith, who, they said, was frequently seen drunk in the streets, and gambling at ale-houses, which very much injured our credit. These friends were William Coleman and Robert Grace. I told them that while there remained any probability that the Merediths would fulfil their part of the compact, I could not propose a seperation; as I conceived myself to be under obligations to them for what they had done already, and were still disposed to do if they had the power: [Page 110]but in the end should they fail in their engagement, and our partnership be dissolved, I should then think myself at liberty to accept the kindness of my friends.

Things remained for some time in this state. At last I said one day to my partner, "Your father is perhaps dissatisfied with your having a share only in the business, and is unwilling to do for two, what he would do for you alone. Tell me frankly if that be the case, and I will resign the whole to you, and do for myself as well as I can."—" No (said he) my father has really been disappointed in his hopes; he is not able to pay, and I wish to put him to no further inconvenience. I see that I am not at all calculated for a printer; I was educated as a farmer, and it was absurd in me to come here, at thirty years of age, and bind myself apprentice to a new trade. Many of my countrymen are going to settle in North-Carolina, where the soil is exceedingly favourable. I am tempted to go with them, and to resume my former occupation. You will doubtless find friends who will assist you. If you will take upon yourself the debts of the partnership, return my father the hundred pounds he has advanced, pay my little personal debts, and give me thirty pounds and a new saddle, I will renounce the partnership, and consign over the whole stock to you."

I accepted this proposal without hesitation. It was committed to paper, and signed and [...]ealed without delay. I gave him what he demanded, and he departed soon after for Carolina, from whence he sent me, in the following year, two long letters, containing the best accounts that had yet been given of that country, as to climate, soil, agriculture, &c. for he was well versed in these matters. I published them in my newspaper, and they were received with great satisfaction.

As soon as he was gone I applied to my two friends, and not wishing to give a disobliging preference to either of them, I accepted from each half what he had offered me, and which it was necessary I should have. I paid the partnership debts, and continued the business on my own account; taking care to inform the public, by advertisement, of the partnership being dissolved. This was, I think, in the year 1729, or thereabout.

Nearly at the same period the people demanded a new emission of paper money; the existing and only one that had taken place in the province, and which amounted to fifteen thousand pounds, being soon to expire. The wealthy inhabitants, prejudiced against every sort of paper currency, from the fear of its depreciation, of which there had been an instance in the province of New-England, to the injury of its holders, strongly opposed the measure. We had discussed this affair in our junto, in which I was on the side of the new emission; convinced that the first small sum fabricated in 1723, had done much good in the province, by favouring commerce, industry and population, since all the houses were now inhabited, and many others building; whereas I remembered to have seen, when first I paraded the streets of Philadelphia eating my roll, the majority of those in Walnut-street, Second-street, Fourth-street, as well as a great number in Chesnut and other streets, with papers on them signifying that they were to be let; which made me think at the time that the inhabitants of the town were deserting it one after another.

Our debates made me so fully master of the subject, that I wrote and published an anonymous pamphlet, entitled, An Enquiry into the Nature and Necessity of a Paper Currency. It was very well received by the lower and middling class of people; but it displeased the opulent, as it increased the clamour in favour of the new emission.—Having, however, no writer among them capable of answering it, their opposition became less violent; an there being in the house of Assembly a majority for the measure, it passed. The friends I had acquired in the house, persuaded that I had done the country essential service on this occasion, rewarded me by giving me the printing of the bills. It was a lucrative employment, and proved a very seasonable help to me; another advantage which I derived from having habituated myself to write.

Time and experience so fully demonstrated the utility of paper currency, that it never after experienced any considerable opposition; so that it soon amounted to 55,000l. and in the year 1739 to 80,000l. It has since risen, during the last war, to 350,000l. trade, buildings and population having in the interval continually encreased, but I am now convinced that there are limits beyond which paper money would be prejudicial.

I soon after obtained, by the influence of my friend Hamilton, the printing of the Newcastle paper money, another profitable work, as I then thought it, little things appearing great to persons of moderate fortune; and they were really great to me, as proving great encouragements. He also procured me the printing of the laws and votes of that government which I retained as long as I continued in the business.

I now opened a small stationer's shop. I kept bonds and agreements of all kinds, drawn up in a more accurate form than had yet been seen in that part of the world; a work in which I was assisted by my friend Brientnal. I had also paper, parchment, pasteboard, books, &c. One Whitemash, an excellent compositor, whom I had known in London, came to offer himself. I engaged him, and he continued constantly and diligently to work with me, I also took an apprentice, the son of Aqui [...]a Rose.

I began to pay, by degrees, the debt I had contracted; and in order to injure my credit and character as a tradesman. I took care not only to be really industrious and frugal, but also to avoid every appearance of the contrary. I was plainly dressed, and never seen in any place of public amusement. I never went a fishing or hunting: A book indeed enticed me sometimes from my work, but it was seldom, by stealth, and occasioned no scandal; and to show that I did not think myself above my profession, I conveyed home sometimes in a wheelbarrow the paper I purchased at the warehouses.

I thus obtained the reputation of being an industrious young man, and very punctual in my payments. The merchants who imported articles of stationary solicited my custom; others offered to furnish me with books, and my little trade went on prosperously.

Meanwhile the credit and business of Keimer diminished every day, he was at last forced to sell his stock to satisfy his creditors; and he betook himself to Barbadoes, where he lived some time in a very impoverished state. His apprentice, David Harry, whom I had instructed while I worked with Keimer, having bought his materials, succeeded him in the business. I was apprehensive at first of finding in Harry a powerful competitor, as he was allied to an opulent and respectable family; I therefore proposed a partnership, which, happily for me, he rejected with disdain. He was extremely proud, thought himself a fine gentleman, lived extravagantly, and pursued amusements which suffered him to be scarcely ever at home; of consequence he became in debt, neglected his business, and business neglected him. Finding in a short time nothing to be done in the country, he followed Keimer to Barbadoes, carrying his printing materials with him. There the apprentice employed his old master as a journeyman. They were continually quarrelling; and Harry still getting in debt, was obliged at last to sell his press and types, and return to his old occupation of husbandry in Pennsylvania. The person who purchased them employed Keimer to manage the business; but he died a few years after.

I had now at Philadelphia no competitor but Brandford, who, being in easy circumstances, did not engage in the printing of books, except now and then as workmen chanced to offer themselves; and was not anxious to extend his trade. He had, however, one advantage over me, as he had the direction of the post-office, and was of consequence supposed to have better opportunities of obtaining news. His paper was also supposed to be more advantageous to advertising customers; an din consequence of that supposition, his advertisements where much more numerous than mine: this was a source of great profit to him, and disadvantageous to me. It was to no purpose that I really procured other papers, and distributed my own, by means of the post; the public took for granted my inability in this respect; and I was indeed unable to conquer it in any other mode than by bribing the post-boys who served me only by stealth, Bradford being so illiberal as to forbid them.— This treatment of his excited by resentment; and my disgust was so rooted, that, when I afterwards succeeded him in the post-office, I took care to avoid copying his example.

I had hitherto continued to board with Godfrey, who, with his wife and children, occupied part of my house, and half of the shop for his business; at which indeed he worked very little, being always absorbed by mathematics. Mrs. Godfrey formed a wish of Marrying me to the daughter of one of her relations. She contrived various opportunities of bringing us together, till she saw that I was captivated; which was not difficult, they lady in question possessing great personal merit. The parents encouraged my addresses, by inviting me continually to supper and leaving us together, till at last it was time to come to an explanation. Mrs. Godfrey undertook to negociate our little treaty. I gave her to understand, that I expected to receive with the young lady a sum of money that would enable me at least to discharge the remainder of my debt for my printing materials. It was then, I believe, not more than a hundred pounds. She brought me for answer, that they had no such sum at their di [...]posal. I observed that it might ea [...]ily be obtained, by a mortgage on their house. The reply of this was, after a few days interval, that they did not approve of the match; that they had con [...]ted Bradford, [...]d found that the business of a printer was not lucrative; that my letters would soon be worn out, and must be supplied by new ones; that Keimer and Harry had failed, and that, probably, I should do so too. Accordingly the forbade me the house, and the young lady was confined. I know not if they had really changed their minds, or if it was merely an artifice, supposing our affections to be too far engaged for us to desist, and that we should contrive to marry secretly, which would leave them at liberty to give or not as they pleased. But, suspecting this motive, I never went again to their house.

Some time after Mrs. Godfrey informed me that they were favourably disposed towards me, and wished me to renew the acquaintance; but I declared a firm resolution never to have any thing more to do with the family. The Godfreys expressed some resentment at this; and as we could no longer agree, they changed their residence, leaving me in posession of the whole house. I then resolved to take no more lodgers. This affair having turned my thoughts to marriage, I looked around me, and made overtures of alliance in other quarters; but I soon found that the profession of a printer being generally looked upon as a poor trade, I could expect no money with a wife, at least if I wished her to possess any other charm. Meanwhile, that passion of youth, so difficult to govern, had often drawn me into intrigues with despicable women who fell in my way; which were not unaccompanied with expence and inconvenience, besides the perpetual risk of injuring my health, and catching a disease which I dreaded above all things. But I was fotunate enough to escape this danger.

As a neighbour and old acquaintance, I kept up a friendly intimacy with the family of M [...] Read. Her parents retained an affection for me from the time of my lodging in their house. I was often invited thither; consulted me about their affairs, and I had been sometimes serviceable to them. I was touched with the unhappy situation of their daughter, who was almost always melancholy, and continually seeking solitude. I regarded my forgetfulness and inconstancy, during my abode in London, as the principal cause of her misfortune; though her mother had the candour to attribute the fault to herself, rather than to me, because, after having prevented our marriage previous to my departure, she had induced her to marry another in my absence.

Our mutual affection revived; but there existed great obstacles to our union. Her marriage was considered, indeed, as not being valid, the man having, it was said, a former wife still living in England; but of this it was difficult to obtain a proof at so great a distance; and though a report prevailed of his being dead, yet we had no certainty of it; and supposing it to be true, he had left many debts, for the payment of which his successor might be sued. We ventured nevertheless, in spite of all these difficulties, and I married her on the first of September 1730. None of the inconveniencies we had feared happened to us —She proved to me a good and faithful companion, and contributed essentially to the success of my shop. We prospered together, and it was our mutual study to render each other happy. Thus I corrected, as well as I could, this great error of my youth.

Our club was not at that time established at a tavern. We held our meetings at the house of Mr. Grace, who appropriated a room to the purpose. Some member observed one day, that as our books were frequently quoted in the course of our discussions, it would be convenient to have them collected in the room in which we assembled, in order to be consulted upon occasion; and that, by thus forming a common library of our individual collections, each would have the advantage of using the books of all the other members, which would nearly be the same as if he possessed them all himself. The idea was approved, and we accordingly brought such books as we thought we could spare, which were placed at the end of the club-room. They amounted not to so many as we expected; and though we made considerable use of them, yet some inconveniencies resulting, from want of care, it was agreed, after about a year, to destroy the collection; and each took away such books as belonged to him.

It was now that I first started the idea of e [...] tablishing, by subscription, a public library. [...] drew up the proposals, had them ingrossed [...] form by Brockden the attorney, and my project succeeded, as will be seen in the sequel

[The life of Dr. Franklin, as written by himself, so far as it has yet been communicated to the world, breaks off in this place. We understand that it was continued by him somewhat further, and we hope that the remainder will at some future period, be communicated to the public. We have no hesit [...] tion in supposing that every reader will sin [...] himself greatly interested by the frank simplicity and the philosophical discernment by which these pages are so eminently characterised. We have therefore thought proper, in order as much as possible to relieve his regret, to subjoin the following continuation, by one of the doctor's intimate friends. It is extracted from an American periodioal publication, and was written by the late Dr. Stuber* of Philadelphia.]

THE promotion of literature had been [...]e attended to in Pennsylvania. Most of [...] inhabitants were too much immersed in [...]iness to think of scientific pursuits; and [...]ose few, whose inclinations led them to [...]dy, found it difficult to gratify them, from [...]e want of sufficiently large libraries. In such [...]cumstances the establishment of a public [...]ary was an important event. This was first [...] on foot by Franklin, about the year 1731. [...]ty persons subscribed forty shillings each, [...] agreed to pay ten shillings annually.— [...] number increased; and in 1742, the [...]pany was incorporated by the name of "The Library Company of Philadelphia." Se [...]al other companies were formed in this city [...]imitation of it. These were all at length uni [...]d with the library company of Philadelphia, which thus received a considerable accession of books and property. It now contains abo [...] eight thousand volumes on all subjects, a p [...]losophical apparatus, and a good beginn [...] [...]owards a collection of natural and artific [...] curiosities, besides landed property of co [...] derable value. The company have late [...] built an elegant house in Fifth-street, in [...] front of which is erected a marble statue [...] their founder, Benjamin Franklin.

This institution was greatly encouraged [...] the friends of literature in America and [...] Great-Britain. The Penn family distingui [...] ed themselves by their donations. Amon [...] the earliest friends of this institution mu [...] [...] mentioned the late Peter Collinson, the fri [...] and correspondent of Dr. Franklin. He not [...]ly made considerable presents himself, and [...]tained others from his friends, but volunta [...] undertook to manage the business of the co [...] pany in London, recommending books, p [...] chasing and shipping them. His extensi [...] knowledge, and zeal for the promotion [...] science, enabled him to execute this import [...] trust with the greatest advantage. He con [...] nued to perform these services for more tha [...] thirty years, and uniformly refused to acc [...] of any compensation. During this time, [...] communicated to the directors every inform [...] tion relative to improvements and discover [...] in the arts, agriculture, and philosophy.

The beneficial influence of the instituti [...] was soon evident. The cheapness of ter [...] rendered it accessible to every one. Its adv [...]es were not confined to the opulent. The [...]ens in the middle and the lower walks of [...] were equally partakers of them. Hence a de [...]e of information extended amongst all clas [...] of people, which is very unusal in other [...]ces. The example was soon followed. Li [...]aries were established in various places, [...]d they are now become very numerous in [...] United States, and particularly in Penn [...]vania. It is to be hoped that they will be [...] more widely extended, and that informa [...] will be every where increased. This will be [...] best security for maintaining our liberties. A [...]ion of well-informed men, who have been [...]ght to know and prize the rights which God [...] given them, cannot be inslaved. It is in the [...]ions of ignorance that tyranny reigns. It [...] before the light of science. Let the citi [...]s of America, then, encourage institutions [...]culated to diffuse knowledge amongst the [...]ople; and amongst these, public libraries [...] not the least important.

In 1732, Franklin beg [...]n to publish Poor [...]chard's Almanac. This was remarkable [...] the numerous and valuable concise maxims [...]hich it contained, all tending to exhort to [...]ustry and frugality. It was continued for ma [...] years. In the almanac fo [...] the last year, all the maxims were collected in an address to the rea [...]r, entitled, The Way to wealth. This has been [...]slated in various languages, and inserted [...] different publications. It has also been [...]ated on a large sheet, and may be seen framed in this city. This address contains, p [...] haps the best practical system of econo [...] that ever has appeared. It is written in a m [...] ner intelligible to every one, and which ca [...] not fail of convincing every reader of the [...] tice and propriety of the remarks and ad [...] which it contains. The demand for this al [...] nac was so great, that ten thousand have [...] sold in one year; which must be conside [...] as a very large number, especially when [...] reflect, that this country was, at that time, [...] thinly peopled. It cannot be doubted [...] the salutary maxims contained in these [...]nacs must have made a favourable impre [...] upon many of the readers of them.

It was not long before Franklin enter [...] upon his political career. In the year [...] he was appointed clerk to the general assem [...] of Pennsylvania; and was re-elected by [...]ceeding assemblies for several years, until [...] was chosen a representative for the city [...] Philadelphia.

Bradford was possessed of some advantag [...] over Franklin, by being post-master, there [...] having an opportunity of circulating his [...] per more extensively, and thus rendering [...] better vehicle for advertisements, &c. Franklin, in his turn, enjoyed these advantages, [...] b [...]ing appointed post-master of Philadelp [...] in 1737. Bradford, while in office, had acted ungenerously towards Franklin, preventi [...] as much as possible the circulation of his [...] per. He had now an opportunity of retaliati [...] [...]ut his nobleness of soul prevented him from making use of it.

The police of Philadelphia had early ap [...]inted watchmen, whose duty it was to [...]ard the citizens against the midnight rob [...]r, and to give and immediate alarm in case of fire. This duty is, perhaps, one of the most important that can be committed to any [...] of men. The regulations, however, were [...]ot sufficiently strict. Franklin saw the dan [...]ers arising from this cause, and suggested an alteration, so as to oblige the guardians of [...]e night to be more watchful over the lives [...]nd property of the citizens. The propriety of this was immediately perceived, and a reform was affected.

There is nothing more dangerous to growing cities than fires. Other causes operate [...]owly, and almost imperceptibly; but these in a moment render abortive the labours of ages. On this account there should be, in all cities ample provisions to prevent fires from spreading. Franklin early saw the necessity of these; and, about the year 1738, formed the first fire company in this city. This example was soon followed by others; and there are now numerous fire-companies in the city and liberties. To these may be attributed in a great degree, the activity in extinguishing fires, for which the citizens of Philadelphia are distinguished, and the inconsiderable damage which this city has sustained from this cause.—Some time after, Franklin suggested the plan of an association for insuring houses from fire, which was adopted; and the association continues to [...] day. The advantages experienced from it have been great.

From the first establishment of Pennsylvania, a spirit of dispute appears to have prevailed amongst its inhabitants. During the life-time of William Penn, the constitution had been three times altered. After this period, the history of Pennsylvania is little els [...] than a recital of the quarrels between the proprietaries, or their governors and the Assembly. The proprietaries contended for the right of exempting their land from taxes; to which the Assembly would by no means consent. This subject of dispute interfered in almost every question, and prevented the most salutary laws from being enacted. This at times subjected the people to great inconveniencies. In the year 1744, during a war between France and Great Britain, some French and Indians had made inroads upon the frontier inhabitants of the province, who were unprovided for such an attack. It became necessary that the citizens should arm for their defence. Governor Thomas recommended to the Assembly, who were then sitting, to pass a militia law. To this they would agree only upon condition that he should give his assent to certain laws, which appeared to them calculated to promote the interest o [...] the people. As he thought these laws would be injurious to the proprietaries, he refused his assent to them; and the Assembly broke up without passing a militia law. The situation of the province was at this time truly alarming: exposed to the continual inroads of an enemy, and destitute of every means of defence. At this crisis Franklin stepped forth and proposed to a meeting of the citizens of Philadelphia, a plan of a voluntary association for the defence of the province. This was approved of, and signed by twelve hundred persons immediately. Copies of it were circulated throughout the province; and in a short time the number of signers amounted to ten thousand. Franklin was chosen colonel of the Philadelphia regiment; but he did not think proper to accept of the honour.

Pursuits of a different nature now occupied the greatest part of his attention for some years. He engaged in a course of electrical experiments, with all the ardor and thirst for discovery which characterized the philosophers of that day. Of all the branches of experimental philosophy, electricity had been least explored. The attractive power of amber is mentioned by Theophrastus and Pliny, and, from them, by later naturalists. In the year 1600, Gilbert, an English physician, enlarged considerably the catalogue of substances which have the property of attracting light bodies. Boyle, Otto Guericke, a burgomaster of Magdeburg, celebrated as the inventor of the air pump, Dr. Wall, and Sir Isaac Newton added some facts. Guericke first observed the repulsive power of electricity, and the light and noise produced by it. In 1709, Hawkesbec communicated some important observations and experiments to the world. For several years electricity was entirely neglected, until Mr. Gray applied himself to it, in 1728, with great assiduity. He, and his friend Mr. Wheeler, made a great variety of experiments▪ in which they demonstrated, that electricity may be communicated from one body to another, even without being in contact. and in this way may be conducted to a great distance Mr. Gray afterwards found, that, by suspending rods of iron by silk or hair lines, and bringing an excited tube under them, sparks might be drawn, and a light perceived at the extremities in the dark. M. Du Faye, intendant of the French king's gardens, made a number of experiments, which added not a little to the science. He made the discovery of two kinds of electricity, which he called vitreous and resinous; the former produced by rubbing glass, the latter from excited sulphur, sealing-wax, &c. But this idea he afterwards gave up as erroneous. Between the years 1739 and 1742, Desaguliers made a number of experiments, but added little of importance. He first used the terms conductors and electrics, perse. In 1742, several ingenious Germans engaged in this subject. Of these the principal were, professor Boze of Wittemberg, professor Winkler of Leipsic, Gordon, a Scotch Benedictine monk, professor of philosophy at Erfurt, and Dr. Ludolf of Berlin. The result of their researches astonished the philosophers of Europe. Their apparatus was large, and by means of it they were enabled to collect large quantities of electricity, and thus to produce phenomena which had been hitherto unobserved. They killed small birds, and set spirits on fire. Their experiments excited the curiosity of other philosophers. Collinson, about the year 1745, sent to the library company of Philadelphia an account of these experiments, together with a tube, and directions how to use it. Franklin, with some of his friends, immediately engaged in a course of experiments; the result of which is well known. He was enabled to make a number of important discoveries, and to propose theories to account for various phenomena; which have been universally adopted, and which bid fair to endure for ages. His observations he communicated, in a series of letters, to his friend Collinson; the first of which is dated March 28, 1747. In these he makes known the power of points in drawing and throwing off the electrical matter, which had hitherto escaped the notice of electricians. He also made the grand discovery of a plus and minus, or of a positive and negative state of electricity. We give him the honour of this, without hesitation; although the English have claimed it for their countryman Dr. Watson. Watson's paper is dated January 21, 1748; Franklin's July 11, 1747 several months prior. Shortly after, Franklin, from his principles of plus and minus state, explained, in a satisfactory manner, the phenomena of the Leyden phial, first observed by professor Muschenbroeck of Leyden, which had much perplexed philosophers. He shewed clearly that the bottle, when charged, contained no more electricity than before, but that as much was taken from the one side as was thrown on the other; and that, to discharg it, nothing was necessary but to make a communication between the two sides, by which the equilibrium might be restored, and that then no signs of electricity would remain. He afterwards demonstrated, by experiments, that the electricity did not reside in the coating, as had been supposed, but in the pore [...] of the glass itself. After a phial was charged, he removed the coating, and found that upon applying a new coating the shock might still be received. In the year 1749, he first suggested his idea of explaining the phenomena of thunder-gusts, and of the aurora bor [...]alis, upon electrical principles. He points out many particulars in which lightning and electricity agree; and he adduces many facts, and reasoning from facts, in support of his positions. In the same year he conceived the astonishingly bold and grand idea of ascertaining the truth of his doctrine, by actually drawing down the forked lightning, by means of sharp-pointed iron rods raised into the region of the clouds. Even in this uncertain state, his passion to be useful to mankind displays itself in a powerful manner. Admitting the identity of electricity and lightning, and knowing the power of points in repelling bodies charged with electricity, and in conducting their fire silently and imperceptibly, he suggests the idea of securing houses, ships, &c. from being damaged by lightning, by erecting the pointed iron rods, which should rise some feet above the most elevated part, and descend some feet into the ground or the water. The effect of these, he concluded, would be either to prevent a stroke by repelling the cloud beyond the striking distance, or by drawing off the electrical fire which it contained; or, if they could not effect this, they would at least conduct the stroke to the earth, without any injury to the building.

It was not until the summer of 1752, that he was enabled to complete his grand and unparralleled discovery by experiment. The plan which he had origionally proposed, was to erect on some high tower, or other elevated place, a centry box, from which should rise a pointed iron rod, insulated by being fixed in a cake of resin. Electrified clouds passing over this, would, he conceived, impart to it a portion of their electricity, which would be rendered evident to the senses by sparks being emitted, when a key, a knuckle or other conductor, was presented to it. Philadelphia at this time afforded no opportunity of trying an experiment of this kind. Whilst Franklin was waiting for the erection of a spire, it occurred to him, that he might have more ready access to the region of clouds by means of a common kite. He prepared one by [...] taching two cross sticks to a silk handkerchief, which would not suffer so much from the rain as paper. To his upright stick was a [...] fixed an iron point. The string was, as usua [...], of hemp, excepting the lower end which was silk. Where the hempen string terminated, a key was fastened. With this apparatus, on the appearance of a thunder-gust approaching he went out into the commons, accompanied by his son, to whom alone he communicated his intentions, well knowing the ridicule which, too generally for the interest of science, waits unsuccessful experiments in philosophy. He placed himself under a shed to avoid the rain. His kite was raised. A thunder-cloud passed over it. No sign of electricity appeared. He almost despaired of success; when suddenly he observed the loose fibres of his string to move towards an erect position. He now presented his knuckle to the key, and received a strong spark. How exquisite must his sensations have been at this moment! On this experiment depended the fate of his theory. If he succeeded, his name would rank high among those who have improved science; if he failed, he must be inevitably subjected to the derision of mankind, or, what is worse, their pity, as a well-meaning man, but a weak silly projector. The anxiety with which he looked for the result this experiment, may easily be conceived. [...]oubts and despair had begun to prevail, [...]hen the fact was ascertained in so clear a [...]anner, that even the most incredulous could a longer withhold their assent. Repeated [...]arks were drawn from the key: a phial was [...]arged, a shock given, and all the experiments made, which are usually performed with electricity.

About a month before this period, some [...]genious Frenchmen had completed the discovery, in the manner originally proposed [...] Dr. Franklin. The letters which he sent [...] Mr. Collinson, it is said, were refused a [...]ace amongst the papers of the Royal Soci [...]ty of London. However this may be, Collinson published them in a sperate volume, under the title of New Experiments and Observations on Electricity, made at Philadelphia in America. They were read with avidity, and [...]on translated into different languages. A [...]ry incorrect French translation fell into the [...]nds of the celebrated Buffon, who, notwith [...]anding the disadvantages under which the [...]ork laboured, was much pleased with it, and repeated the experiments with success. He prevailed upon his friend, M. D' Alibard [...] give his countrymen a more correct translation of the work of the American electrician. This contributed towards spreading a knowledge of Franklin's priciples in France. The King, Louis XV. hearing of these experiments, [...]pressed a wish to be a spectator of them. A course of experiments was given at the seat of the Duc D' Ayen, at St. Germain by M. De Lor. The applauses which the King bestowed upon Franklin, excited in Buffon, D' Alibard, and De Lor, an earnest desire of ascertaining the truth of his theory of thunder-gusts. Buffon erected his apparatus on the tower of Montbar, M. D' Alibard at Mary-la-ville, and De Lor at his house in the Estrapade at Paris, some of the highest ground in that capital. D' Alibard's machine first shewed signs of electricity. On the 10th of May, 1752, a thunder-cloud passed over it, in the absence of M. D' Alibard; and a number of sparks were drawn from it by Coiffier, a joiner, with whom D' Alibard had left directions how to proceed, and by M. Roulet, the prior of Mary la-ville. An account of this experiment given to the Royal Academy of Sciences, in a memoir by M. D' Alibard, dated May 13th, 1752. On the 18 of May, M. De Lor proved equally successful with the apparatus erected at his own house. These discoveries soon excited the philosophers of other parts of Europe to repeat the experiment. Amongst these, none signalized themselves more than Father Beccaria of Turin, to whose observations science is much indebted. Even the cold regions of Russia were penetrated by the ardor for discovery. Professor Richman bade fair to add much to the stock of knowledge on this subject, when an unfortunate flash from his rod put a period to his existence. The friends of science will long remember with regret the amiable martyr to electricity.

By these experiments Franklin's theory was established in the most firm manner. When the thruth of it could no longer be doubted, the vanity of men endeavoured to detract from its merit. That an American, an inhabitant of the obscurecity of Philadelphia, the name of which was hardly known, should be able to make discoveries, and to frame theories, which had escaped the notice of the enlightened philosophers of Europe was too mortifying to be admitted. He must certainly have taken the idea from sombody else. An American, a being of an inferior order, make discoveries! Impossible. It was said, that the Abbe Nollet, in 1748, had suggested the idea of the similarity of lightning and electricity, in his Legons de Physique. It is true, that the Abbe mentions the idea, but he throws it out as a bare conjecture, and proposes no mode of [...]certaining the truth of it. He himself acknowledges, that Franklin first entertained the bold thought of bringing lightning from the heavens, by means of pointed rods fixed in the air. The similarity of electricity and lightning is so strong, that we need not be surprised at notice being taken of it, as soon as electrical phenomina became familiar. We find it mentioned by Dr. Wall and Mr. Grey, while the science was in its infancy. But the honour of forming a regular theory of thunder-gusts, of suggesting a mode of determining the truth of it by experiments, and [...] putting these experiments in practice, a [...] thus establishing his theory upon a firm a [...] solid basis, is incontestibly due to Franklin. D' Alibard, who made the experiments in France, says, that he only followed the track which Franklin had pointed out.

It has been of late asserted, that the honor of completing the experiment with the electrical kite, does not belong to Franklin. Some late English paragraphs attributed it to some Frenchman, whose name they do not mention; and the Abbe Bertholon gives it to M. De Romas, assessor to the presideal of Nerac; the English paragraphs probably refer to the same person. But a very slight attention will convince us of the injustice of this procedure: Dr. Franklin's experiment was made in June 1752; and his letter, giving an account of it, is dated October 19, 1752, M. De Romas made his first attempt on the 14th of May 1753, but was not successful until the 7th of June; a year after Franklin had completed the discovery, and when it was known to all the philosophers in Europe.

Besides these great principles, Franklin's letters on electricity contain a number of facts and hints, which have contributed greatly towards reducing this branch of knowlege to a science. His friend, Mr. Kinnersly, communicated to him a discovery of the different kinds of electricity executed by rubbing glass and sulphur. This, we have said, was first obser [...]d by M. Du Faye; but it was for many years [...]glected. The philosophers were disposed [...] account for the phenomena, rather from a difference in the quantity of electricity collec [...]ed; and even Du Faye himself seems at last [...]o have adopted this doctrine. Franklin at [...]irst entertained the same idea; but upon re [...]eating the experiments, he perceived that Mr. Kinnersley was right; and that the vitre [...]us and resmous electricity of Du Faye were nothing more than the positive and negative states which he had before observed; that the glass globe charged positively, or increased the quantity of electricity on the prime conductor, whilst the globe of sulphur diminishes its natural quantity, or charged negatively. These experiments and observations opened a new field for investigation, upon which electricians entered with avidity; and their labours have added much to the stock of our knowledge.

In September, 1752, Franklin entered upon a course of experiments, to determine the state of electricity in the clouds. From a number of experiments he formed this conclusion: "that the clouds of a thunder-gust are most commonly in a negative state of electricity, but sometimes in a positive state;" and from this it follows, as a necessary consequence, "that, for the most part, in thunder-strokes, it is the earth that strikes into the clouds, and not the clouds that strike into the earth." The letter containing these observations, is dated in September, 1753; and yet the discovery of ascending thunder has been said to be of a modern date, and has been attributed to the Abbe Bertholon, who published his memoirs on the subject in 1776.

Franklin's letters have been translated into most of the European languages, and into Latin. In proportion as they have become known, his principles have been adopted. Some opposition was made to his theories, particularly by the Abbe Nollet, who was, however, but feebly supported, whilst the first philosophers of Europe stepped forth in defence of Franklin's principles; amongst whom D' Alibard and Beccaria were the most distinguished. The opposition has gradually ceased, and the Franklinian system is now universally adopted, where science flourishes.

The important practical use which Franklin made of his discoveries, the securing of houses from injury by lightning, has been already mentioned. Pointed conductors are now very common in America; but prejudice has hitherto prevented their general introduction into Europe, notwithstanding the most undoubted proofs of their utility have been given. But mankind can with difficulty be brought to lay aside established practices, or to adopt new ones. And perhaps we have more reason to be surprised that a practice, however rational, which was proposed about forty years ago, should in that time have been adopted in so many places, than that it has not universally prevailed. It is only by degrees that the great body of mankind can be led into knew practices, however salutary their tendency. It is now nearly eighty years since inoculation was introduced into Europe and America; and it is so far from being general at present, that it will, perhaps, require one or two centuries to render it so.

In the year 1745, Franklin published an account of his new invented Pennsylvania fire-place, in which he minutely and accurately states the advantages and disadvantages of different kinds of fire-places; and endeavours to shew that the one which he describes is to be preferred to any other. This contrivance has given rise to the open stoves now in general use, which however differ from it in construction, particularly in not having an airbox at the back, through which a constant supply of air, warmed in its passage, is thrown into the room. The advantages of this are, that as a stream of warm air is continually flowing into the room, less fuel is necessary to preserve a proper temperature, and the room may be so tightened as that no air may enter through cracks; the consequences of which are colds, toothaches, &c.

Although philosophy was a principal object of Franklin's pursuit for several years, he confined himself not to this. In the year 1747, he became a member of the general assembly of Pennsylvania, as a burgess for the city of Philadelphia. Warm disputes at this time subsisted between the assembly and the proprietaries; each contending for what they conceived to be their just rights. Franklin, a friend to the rights of man from his infancy, soon distinguished himself as a steady opponent of the unjust schemes of the proprietaries. He was soon looked up to as the head of the opposition; and to him have been attributed many of the spirited replies of the assembly, to the messages of the governors. His influence in the body was very great. This arose not from any superior powers of eloquence; he spoke but seldom, and he never was known to make any thing like an elaborate harangue. His speeches often consisted of a single sentence, or of a well told story, the moral of which was always obviously to the point. He never attempted the flowery fields of oratory. His manner was plain and mild. His style in speaking was, like that of his writings, remarkably concise. With this plain manner, and his penetrating and solid judgment, he was able to confound the most eloquent and subtle of his adversaries, to confirm the opinions of his friends, and to make converts of the unprejudiced, who had opposed him. With a single observation, he has rendered of no avail, an elegant and lengthy discourse, and determined the fate of a question of importance.

But he was not contented with thus supporting the rights of the people. He wished to render them permanently secure, which can only be done by making their value properly known; and this must depend upon increasing and extending information to every class of men. We have already seen that he was the founder of the public library, which contributed greatly towards improving the minds of the citizens. But this was not sufficient. The schools then subsisting were in general of little utility. The teachers were men, ill qualified for the important duty which they had undertaken; and, after all, nothing more could be obtained than the rudiments of a common English education. Franklin drew up a plan of an academy, to be erected in the city of Philadelphia, suited to "the state of an infant country;" but in this, as in all his plans, he confined not his [...]ews to the present time only. He looked forward to the period when an institution on [...]n enlarged plan would become necessary. With this view he considered his academy as "a foundation for posterity to erect a seminary of learning, more extensive, and suitable to future circumstances." In pursuance of this plan, the constitutions were drawn up and signed on the 13th of November 1749. in these, twenty-four of the most respectable citizens of Philadelphia were named as trustees. In the choice of these, and in the formation of his plan, Franklin is said to have consulted chiefly with Thomas Hopkinson, Esq Rev. Richard Peters, then secretary of the province, Tench Francis, Esq attorney-general, and Dr. Phineas Bond.

The following article shews a spirit of benevolence worthy of imitation; and, for the honour of our city, we hope that it continues to be in force.

"In case of the inability of the rector, or any master, (established on the foundation by receiving a certain salary) through sickness, or any other natural infirmity, whereby he may be reduced to poverty, the trustees shall have power to contribute to his support, in proportion to his distress and merit, and the stock in their hands."

The last clause of the fundamental rules is expressed in language so tender and benevolent, so truly parental, that it will do everlasting honour to the hearts and heads of the founders.

"It is hoped and expected that the trustees will make it their pleasure, and in some degree their business, to visit the academy often; to encourage and countenance the youth, countenance and assist the masters, and by all means in their power advance the usefulness and reputation of the design; that they will look on the students as, in some measure, their own children, treat them with familiarity and affection; and when they have behaved well, gone through their studies, and are to enter the world, they shall zealously unite, and make all the interest that can be made, to promote and establish them, whether in business, offices, marriages, or any other thing for their advantage, preferable to all other persons whatsoever, even of equal merit."

The constitutions being signed and made public, with the names of the gentlemen proposing themselves as trustees and founders, the design was so well approved of by the public-spirited citizens of Philadelphia, that the sum of eight hundred pounds per annum, for five years, was in the course of a few weeks subscribed for carrying the plan into execution; and in the beginning of January following (viz. 1750) three of the schools were opened, namely, the Latin and Greek schools. The Mathematical, and the English schools. In pursuance of an article in the original plan, a school for educating sixty boys and thirty girls (in the charter since called the Charitable School) was opened, and amidst all the difficulties with which the trustees have struggled in respect to their funds, has still been continued full for the space of forty years; so that allowing three years education for each boy and girl admitted into it, which is the general rule, at least twelve hundred children have received in it the chief part of their education, who might otherwise, in a great measure, have been left without the means of instruction. And many of those who have been thus educated, are now to be found among the most useful and reputable citizens of this state.

The institution, thus successfully begun, continued daily to flourish, to the great satisfaction of Dr. Franklin; who, notwithstanding the multiplicity of his other engagements and pursuits, at that busy stage of his life, was a constant attendant at the monthly visitations and examinations of the schools, and made it his particular study, by means of his extensive correspondence abroad, to advance the reputation of the seminary, and to draw students and scholars to it from different parts of America and the West-Indies. Through the interposition of his benevolent and learned friend, Peter Collinson of London, upon the application of the trustees, a charter of incorporation, dated July 13, 1753, was obtained from the honourable proprietors of Pennylvania, Thomas Penn and Richard Penn, Esqrs accompanied with a liberal benefaction of five hundred pounds sterling; and Dr. Franklin now began in good earnest to please himself with the ho [...]es of a speedy accomplishment of his original design, viz. the establishment of a perfect institution, upon the plan of the European colleges and universities; for which his academy was intended as a nurs [...]ry or foundation. To elucidate this fact, is a matter of considerable importance in respect to the memory and character of Dr. Franklin, as a philosopher, and as the friend and patron of learning and science; for, notwithstanding what is expressly declared by him in the preamble to the constitutions, viz. that the academy was begun for "teaching the Latin and Greek languages with all useful branches of the arts and sciences, suitable to the state of an infant country, and laying a foundation for posterity to erect a seminary of learning more extensive, and suitable to their future circumstances;" yet it has been suggested of late, as upon Dr. Franklin's authority, that the Latin and Greek, or the dead languages, are an incumbrance upon a scheme of liberal education, and that the engrafting or founding a college, or more extensive seminary, upon his academy, was without his approbation or agency, and gave him discontent. If the reverse of this does not al [...]ady appear, from what has been quoted above, the following letters will put the matter beyond dispute. They were written by him to a gentleman, who had at that time published the idea of a college, suited to the circumstances of a young country, (meaning New-York) a copy of which having been sent to Dr. Franklin for his opinion, gave use to that correspondence which terminated about a year afterwards, in erecting the college upon the foundation of the academy, and establishing that gentleman as the head of both, where he still continues, after a period of thirty-six years, to preside with distinguished reputation.

From these letters also, the state of the academy, at that time, will be seen.

Philad. April 19, 1753.

Sir,

I received your favour of the 11th instant, with your new * piece on Education which shall carefully peruse, and give you my sentiments of it, as your desire, by next post.

I believe the young gentlemen, your pupils, may be entertained and instructed here, in mathematics and philosophy, to satisfaction. Mr. Alison † (who was educated at Glasgow) has been long accustomed to teach the latter, and Mr. Grew † the former; and I think their pupils make great progress. Mr. Alison has the care of the Latin and Greek school, but as he has now three good assistants, § he can very well afford some hours every day for the instruction of those who are engaged in higher studies. The mathematical school is pretty well furnished with instruments. The English library is a good one; and we have belonging to it a middling apparatus for experimental philosophy, and purpose speedily to complete it. The Loganian library, one of the best collections in America, will shortly be opened; so that neither books nor instruments will be wanting; and as we are determined always to give good salaries, we have reason to believe we may have always an opportunity of choosing good masters; upon which, indeed, the success of the whole depends. We are obliged to you for your kind offers in this respect, and when you are settled in England, we may occasionally make use of your friendship and judgment,—

If it suits your conveniency to visit Philadelphia before you return to Europe, I shall be extremely glad to see and converse with you here, as well as to correspond with you after your settlement in England; for an acquaintance and communication with men of learning, virtue, and public spirit, is one of my greatest enjoyments.

I do not know whether you ever happened to see the first proposals I made for erecting this academy. I send them inclosed. They had, (however imperfect) the desired success, being followed by a subscription of four thousand pounds, towards carrying them into execution. And as we are fond of receiving advice, and are daily improving by experience, I am in hopes we shall, in a few years, see a perfect institution.

I am very respectfully, &c. B. FRANKLIN.

Mr. W. Smith, Long-Island.

* A general idea of the college of Marania. ↵

† The Rev. and learned Mr. Francis Alison, afterwards D. D. and vice-provost of the college. ↵

† Mr. Theophilus Grew, afterwards professor of mathematics in the college. ↵

§ Those assistants were at that time Mr. Charles Thomsom, late secretary of congress, Mr. Paul Jackson, and Mr. Jacob Duche. ↵

Philad. May 3d, 1753.

Sir,

Mr. Peters has just now been with me, and we have compared notes on your new piece. We find nothing in the scheme of education, however excellent, but what is, in our opinion, very practicable. The great difficulty will be to find the Aratus, * and other suitable persons, to carry it into execution; but such may be had if proper encouragement be given. We have both received great pleasure in the perusal of it. For my part, I know not when I have read a piece that has more affected me—so noble and just are the sentiments, so warm and animated the language; yet as censure from your friends may be of more use, as well as more agreeable to you than praise, I ought to mention, that I wish you had omitted not only the quotation from the Review, † which you are now justly dissatisfied with, but those expressions of resentment against your adversaries, in pages 65 and 79. In such cases, the noblest victory is obtained by neglect, and by shining on.

Mr. Allen has been out of town these ten days; but before he went he directed me to procure him six copies of your piece. Mr. Peters has taken ten. He purposed to have written to you; but omits it, as he expects so soon to have the pleasure of seeing you here. He desires me to present his affectionate compliments to you, and to assure you that you will be very welcome to him. I shall only say, that you may depend on my doing all in my power to make your visit to Philadelphia agreeable to you

I am, &c. B. FRANKLIN.

Mr. Smith.

* The name given to the principal or head of the ideal college, the system of education in which hath nevertheless been nearly realized, or followed as a model, in the college and academy of Philadelphia, and some other American seminaries, for many years past. ↵

† The quotation alluded to (from the London Monthly Review for 1749) was judged to reflect too severely on the discipline and government of the English universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and was expunged from the following editions of this work. ↵

Philad. Nov. 27th, 1753.

Dear Sir,

Having written you fully, via Bristol, I have now little to add. Matters relating to the academy remain in statu quo. The trustees would be glad to see a rector established there, but they dread entering into new engagements till they are got out of debt; and I have not yet got them wholly over to my opinion, that a good professor, or teacher of he higher branches of learning would draw so many scholars as to pay great part, if not the whole of his salary. Thus, unless the proprietors (of the province) shall think sit to put the finishing hand to our institution, it must, I fear, wait some few years longer before it can arrive at that state of perfection, which to me it seems now capable of; and all the pleasure I promised myself in seeing you settled among us, vanishes into smoke.

But good Mr. Collinson writes me word, that no endeavours of his shall be wanting; and he hopes, with the archbishop's assistance, to be able to prevail with our proprietors. * I pray God grant them success.

My son presents his affectionate regards, with, Dear Sir,

Yours, &c. B. FRANKLIN.

P. S, I have not been favoured with a line from you since your arrival in England.

* Upon the application of archbishop Herring and P. Collinson, esq at Dr. Franklin's request, (aided by the letters of Mr. Allen and Mr. Peters) the Hon. Thomas Penn, esq subscribed an annual sum, and afterwards gave at least 5000l. to the founding or engrafting the college upon the academy. ↵

Philad. April 18th, 1754.

Dear Sir,

I have had but one letter from you since your arrival in England, which was a short one, via Boston, dated October 18th, acquainting me that you had written largely by Capt. Davis.—Davis was lost, and with him your letters, to my great disappointment Mesnard and Gibbon have since arrived here, and I hear nothing from you—My comfort is, an imagination that you only omit writing because you are coming, and purpose to tell me every thing viva voce. So not knowing whether this letter will reach you, and hoping either to see or hear from you by the Myrtilla, Capt. Buddon's ship, which is daily expected, I only [...]dd, that I am, with great esteem and affection.

Yours, &c. B. FRANKLIN.

Mr. Smith.

About a month after the date of this last letter, the gentleman to whom it was addressed arrived in Philadelphia, and was immediately placed at the head of the seminary; whereby Dr. Franklin, and the other trustees were enabled to prosecute their plan, for perfecting the institution, and opening the college upon the large and liberal foundation on which it now stands; for which purpose they obtained their additional charter, dated May 27th, 1755.

Thus far we thought proper to exhibit in one view Dr. Franklin's services in the foundation and establishment of this seminary. He soon afterward embarked for England, in the public service of his country; and having been generally employed abroad, in the like service, for the greatest part of the remainder of his life (as will appear in our subsequent account of the same) he had but few opportunities of taking any further active part in the affairs of the seminary, until his [Page 152]final return in the year 1785, when he found its charters violated, and his ancient colleagues, the original founders, deprived of their trust, by an act of the legislature; and although his own name had been inserted among the new trustees, yet he declined to take his seat among them, or any concern in the management of their affairs, till the institution was restored by law to its original owners. He then assembled his old colleagues at his own house, and being chosen their president, all their future meetings were, at his request, held there, till within a few months of his death, when with reluctance, and at their desire, least he might be too much injured by his attention to their business, he suffered them to meet at the college.

Franklin not only gave birth to many useful institutions himself, but he was also instrumental in promoting those which had originated with other men. About the year 1752, an eminent physician of this city, Dr. Bond, considering the deplorable state of the poor, when visited with disease, conceived the idea of establishing an hospital. Notwithstanding very great exertions on his part, he was able to interest few people so far in his benevolent plan, as to obtain subscriptions from them. Unwilling that his scheme should prove abortive, he sought the aid of Franklin, who readily engaged in the business, both by using his influence with his friends, and by stating the advantageous influence of the proposed institution in his paper. These efforts were attended with success. Considerable sums were subscribed; but they were still short of what was necessary. Franklin now made another exertion. He applied to the assembly; and, after some opposition, obtained leave to bring in a bill, specifying, that as soon as two thousand pounds were subscribed, the same sum should be drawn from the treasury by the speaker's warrant, to be applied to the purposes of the institution. The opposition, as the sum was granted upon a contingency which they supposed would never take place, were silent, and the bill passed. The friends of the plan now redoubled their efforts, to obtain subscriptions to the amount stated in the bill, and were soon successful. This was the foundation of the Pennsylvania Hospital, which, with the Bettering-house and Dispensary, bears ample testimony of the humanity of the citizens of Philadelphia.

Dr. Franklin had conducted himself so well in the office of post-master, and had shown himself to be so well acquainted with the business of that department, that it was thought expedient to raise him to a more dignified station. In 1753 he was appointed deputy post-master-general for the British colonies. The profits arising from the postage of the revenue, which the crown of Great Britain derived from the colonies. In the hands of Franklin, it is said, that the postoffice in America yielded annually thrice as much as that of Ireland.

The American colonies were much exposed to depredations on their frontiers, by the Indians; and more particularly whenever a war took place between France and England. The colonies, individually, were either too weak to take efficient measures for their own defence, or they were unwilling to take upon themselves the whole burden of erecting forts and maintaining garrisons, whilst their neighbours, who partook equally with themselves, of the advantages, contributed nothing to the expence. Sometimes also the disputes, which subsisted in between the governors and assemblies, prevented the adoption of means of defence; as we have seen was the case in Pennsylvania in 1745. To devise a plan of union between the colonies, to regulate this and other matters, appeared a desirable object. To accomplish this, in the year 1754, commissioners from New-Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode-Island, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, met at Albany. Dr. Franklin attended here, as a commissioner from Pennsylvania, and produced a plan, which, from the place of meeting, has been usually termed "The Albany Plan of Union." This proposed, that application should be made for an act of parliament, to establish in the colonies a general government, to be administered by a president-general, appointed by the crown, and by a grand council, consisting of members chosen by the representatives of the different colonies; their number to be in direct proportion to the sums paid by each colony into the general treasury, with this restriction, that no colony should have more than seven, nor less than two representatives. The whole executive authority was committed to the president-general. The power of legislation was lodged in the grand council and president-general jointly; his consent being made necessary to [...]assing a bill into a law. The power vested in the president and council were, to declare war and peace, and to conclude treaties with the Indian nations; to regulate trade with, and to make purchases of vacant lands from them, either in the name of the crown, or of the union; to settle new colonies, to make laws for governing these until they [...]ould be erected into separate governments, and to raise troops, build forts, fit out armed vessels and use other means for the general defence; and to affect these things, a power was given to make laws, laying such duties, imposts, or taxes, as they should find ne [...]ssary, and as would be least burthensome to the people. All laws were to be sent to England for the king's approbation; and unless disapproved of within three years, were [...] remain in force. All officers in the land [...] sea service were to be nominated by the resident-general, and approved of by the general council; civil officers were to be nominated by the council, and approved by the resident. Such are the out-lines of the plan proposed, for the consideration of the congress, by Dr. Franklin. After several days discussion, it was unanimously agreed to by the commissioners, a copy transmitted [...] each assembly, and one to the king's council. The fate of it was singular. It was disapproved of by the ministry of Great-Britain, because it gave too much power to the representatives of the people; and it was rejected by every assembly, as giving to the president-general, the representative of the crown, an influence greater than appeared to them proper, in a plan of government intended for freemen. Perhaps this rejection, on both sides, is the strongest proof that could be adduced of the excellence of it, as suited to the situation of America and Great-Britain at that time. It appears to have steered exactly in the middle, between the opposite interests of both.

Whether the adoption of this plan would have prevented the separation of America from Great-Britain, is a question which might afford much room for speculation. It may be said, that, by enabling the colonies to defend themselves, it would have removed the pretext upon which the stamp-act, tea-act, and other acts of the British parliament, were passed: which excited a spirit of opposition, and laid the foundation for the separation of the two countries. But, on the other hand, it must be admitted, that the restriction laid by Great-Britain upon our commerce, obliging us to sell our produce to her citizens only, and to take from them various articles, of which, as our manufactures were discouraged, we stood in need, at a price greater than that for which they could have been obtained from other nations, must inevitably produce dissatisfaction, even though no duties were imposed by the parliament; a circumstance which might still have taken place. Besides, as the president-general was to be appointed by the crown, he must, of necessity, be devoted to its views, and would, therefore, refuse his assent to any laws, however salutary to the community, which had the most remote tendency to injure the interests of his sovereign. Even should they receive his assent, the approbation of the king was to be necessary; who would indubitably, in every instance, prefer the advantage of his home dominions to that of his colonies. Hence would ensue perpetual disagreements between the council and the president-general, and thus, between the people of America and the crown of Great Britain: While the colonies continued weak, they would be obliged to submit, and as soon as they acquired strength they would be more urgent in their demands, until, at length, they would shake off the yoke, and declare themselves independent.

Whilst the French were in possession of Canada, their trade with the natives ex [...]ended very far; even to the back of the British settlements. They were disposed, from time to time, to establish posts within the territory, which the British claimed as their own. Independent of the injury to the fur-trade, which was considerable, the colonies suffered this further inconvenience, that the Indians were frequently instigated to commit depredations on their frontiers. In the year 1753, encroachments were made upon the boundaries of Virginia. Remonstrances had no effect. In the ensuing year, a body of men was sent out under the command of Mr. Washington, who, though a very young man, had, by his conduct in the preceding year, shewn himself worthy of such an important trust. Whilst marching to take possession of the post at the junction of the Allegany and Monongahela, he was informed that the French had already erected a fort there. A detachment of their men marched against him. He fortified himself as strongly as time and circumstances would admit. A superiority of numbers soon obliged him to surrender Fort Necessity. He obtained honourable terms for himself and men, and returned to Virginia. The government of Great-Britain now thought it necessary to interfere. In the year 1755, General Braddock, with some regiments of regular troops, and provincial levies, was sent to dispossess the French of the posts upon which they had seized. After the men were all ready, a difficulty occurred, which had nearly prevented the expedition. This was the want of waggons. Franklin now stepped forward, and with the assistance of his son, in a little time procured a hundred and fifty. Braddock unfortunately fell into an ambuscade, and perished, with a number of his men. Washington, who had accompanied him as an aid-de-camp, and had warned him, in vain, of his danger, now displayed great military talents in effecting a retreat of the remains of the army, and in forming a junction with the rear, under coloned Dunbar, upon whom the cheif command now devolved. With some difficulty they brought their little body to a place of safety; but they found it necessary to destroy their waggons and baggage, to prevent their falling into the hands of the enemy. For the waggons which he had furnished, Franklin had given bonds to a large amount. The owners declared their intentions of obliging him to make a restitution of their property. Had they put their threats in execution, ruin must inevitably have been the consequence. Governor Shirley, finding that he had incurred these debts for the service of government, made arrangements to have them discharged, and released Franklin from his disagreeable situation.

The alarm spread through the colonies, after the defeat of Braddock, was very great. Preparations to arm were every where made. In Pennsylvania, the prevalence of the quaker interest prevented the adoption of any system of defence, which would compel the citizens to bear arms. Franklin introduced into the assembly a bill for organizing a militia, by which every man was allowed to take arms or not, as to him should appear fit. The quakers, being thus left at liberty, suffered the bill to pass; for although their principles would not suffer them to fight, they had no objections to their neighbours fighting for them. In consequence of this act a very respectable militia was formed. The sense of impending danger infused a military spirit in all, whose religious tenets were not opposed to war. Franklin was appointed colonel of a regiment in Philadelphia, which consisted of 1200 men.

The north-western frontier being invaded by the enemy, it became necessary to adopt measures for its defence. Franklin was directed by the governor to take charge of this business. A power of raising men, and of appointing officers to command them, was vested in him. He soon levied a body of troops, with which he repaired to the place at which their presence was necessary. Here he built a fort, and placed the garrison in such a posture of defence, as would enable them to withstand the inroads, to which the inhabitants had previously been exposed. He remained here for some time, in order the more completely to discharge the trust committed to him. Some business of importance rendered his presence necessary in the assembly, and he returned to Philadelphia.

The defence of her colonies was a great expence to Great Britain. The most effectual mode of lessening this war, was to put arms into the hands of the inhabitants, and to teach them their use. But England wished not that the Americans should become acquainted with their own strength. She was apprehensive, that, as soon as this period arrived, they would no longer submit to that monopoly of their trade, which to them was highly injurious, but extremely advantageous to the mother country. In comparison with the profits of this, the expence of maintaining armies and fleets to defend them was trifling. She sought to keep them dependent upon her for protection, the best plan which could be devised for retaining them in peaceable subjection, the least appearance of a military spirit was therefore to be guarded against, and, although a war then raged, the act organizing a militia was disapproved of by the ministry. The regiments which had been formed under it were disbanded, and the defence of the province entrusted to regular troops.

The disputes between the proprietaries and the people continued in full force, although a war was raging on the frontiers. Not even the sense of danger was sufficient to reconcile, for ever so short a time, their jarring interests. The assembly still insisted upon the justice of taxing the proprietary estates, but the governors constantly refused to give their assent to this measure, without which no bill could pass into a law. Enraged at the obstinacy, and what they conceived to be unjust proceedings of their opponents, the assembly at length determined to apply to the mother country for relief. A petition was addressed to the king, in council, stating the inconveniencies under which the inhabitants laboured, from the attention of the proprietaries to their private interests, to the neglect of the general welfare of the community, and praying for redress. Franklin was appointed to present this address, as agent for the province of Pennsylvania, and departed from America in June 1757. In conformity to the instructions which he had received from the legislature, he held a conference with the proprietaries, who then resided, in England, and endeavoured to prevail upon them to give up the long-contested point. Finding that they would hearken to no terms of accommodation, he laid his petition before the council. During this time governor Denny assented to a law imposing a tax, in which no discrimination was made in favour of the estates of the Penn family. They, alarmed at this intelligence, and Frankin's exertions, used their utmost exertions to prevent the royal sanction being given to this law, which they represented as highly iniquitous, designed to throw the burthen, of supporting government on them, and calculated to produce the most ruinous consequences to them and their posterity. The cause was amply discussed before the privy council. The Penns found here so [...] [...] nuous advocates; nor were there wanting some who warmly espoused the side of the people. After some time spent in debate, a proposal was made, that Franklin should solemnly engage, that the assessment of the tax should be so made, as that the proprietary estates should pay no more than a due proportion. This he agreed to perform, the Peen family withdrew their opposition, and tranquility was thus once more restored to the province.

The mode in which this dispute was terminated is a striking proof of the high opinion entertained of Franklin's integrity and honour, even by those who considered him as inimical to their views. Nor was their confidence ill-founded. The assessment was made upon the strictest principles of equity; and the proprietary estates bore only a proportionable share of the expences of supporting government.

After the completion of this important business, Franklin remained at the court of Great Britain, as agent for the province of Pennsylvania. The extensive knowledge which he possessed of the situation of the colonies, and the regard which he always manifested for their interests, occasioned his appointment to the same office by the colonies of Massachusetts, Maryland, and Georgia. His conduct, in this situation, was such as rendered him still more dear to his countryman.

He had now an oppertunity of indulging in the society of those friends, whom his merits had procured him while at a distance. The regard which they had entertained for him was rather increased by a personal acquaintance. The opposition which had been made to his discoveries in philosophy gradually ceased, and the rewards of literary merit were abundantly conferred upon him. The royal society of London, which had at first refused his performances admission into its transactions, now thought it an honour to rank him among its fellows. Other societies of Europe were equally ambitious of calling him a member. The university of St. Andrew's, in Scotland, conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws. Its example was followed by the universities of Edinburgh and of Oxford. His correspondence was sought for by the most eminent philosophers of Europe. His letters to these abound with true scince, delivered in the most simple unadorned manner.

The province of Canada was at this time in the possession of the French, who had originally settled it. The trade with the Indians, for which its situation was very convenient, was exceedingly lucrative. The French traders here found a market for their commodities, and received in return large quantities of rich furs, which they disposed of at a high price in Europe. Whilst the possession of this country was highly advantageous to France, it was a grievous inconvenience to the inhabitants of the British colonies. The Indians were almost generally desirous to cultivate the friendship of the French, by whom they were abundantly supplied with arms and ammunition, Whenever a war happened, the Indians were ready to fall upon the frontiers: and this they frequently did, even when Great Britain and and France were at peace. From these considerations, it appeared to be the interest of Great Britain to gain the possession of Canada. But the importance of such an acquisition was not well understood in England. Franklin about this time published his Canada pamphlet, in which he, in a very forcible manner, pointed out the advantages which would result from the conquest of this province.

An expedition against it was planned, and the command given to General Wolfe. His success is well known. At the treaty in 1762, France ceded Canada to Great Britain, and by her cession of Louisiana, at the same time, relinquished all her possessions on the continent of America.

Although Dr. Franklin was now principally occupied with political pursuits, he found time for philosophical studies. He extended his electrical researches, and made a variety of experiments, particularly an the tourmalin. The singular properties which this stone possesses of being electrified on one side positively and on the other negatively, by heat alone, without friction, had been but lately observed.

Some experiments on the cold produced by evaporation, made by Dr. Cullen, had been communicated to Dr. Franklin by Professor Simpson of Glasgow. These he repeated, and found, that, by the evaporation of ether in the exhausted receiver of an air-pump, so great a degree of cold was produced in a summer's day, that water was converted into ice. This discovery he applied to the solution of a number of phenomena, particularly a singular fact, which philosophers had endeavoured in vain to account for, viz. that the temperature of the human body, when in health, never exceeds 96 degrees of Farenheit's thermometers, although the atmosphere which surrounds it may be heated to a much greater degree. This he attributed to the increased perspiration, and consequent evaporation, produced by the heat.

In a letter to Mr. Small of London, dated in May 1760, Dr. Franklin makes a number observations, tending to shew that, in North America, north-east storms being in the south-west parts. It appears, from actual observation, that a north-east storm, which extended a considerable distance, commenced at Philadelphia nearly four hours before it was felt at Boston. He endeavoured to account for this, by supposing that from heat, some rarefaction takes place about the gulph of Mexico, that the air further north being cooler rushes in, and is succeeded by the cooler and denser air still further north, and thus a continued current is at length produced.

The tone produced by rubbing the brim of a drinking glass with a wet finger had been generally known. A Mr. Puckeridge, and Irishman, by placing on a table a number of glasses of different sizes, and tuning them by partly filling them with water, endeavoured to form an instrument capable of playing tunes. He was prevented by an untimely end, from bringing his invention to any degree of perfection. After his death some improvements were made upon his plan. The sweetness of the tones induced Dr. Franklin to make a variety of experiments; and he at length formed that elegant instrument, which he has called the Armonica.

In the summer of 1762 he returned to America. On his passage he observed the singular effect produced by the agitation of a vessel, containing oil floating on water. The surface of the oil remains smooth and undisturbed, whilst the water is agitated with the utmost commotion. No satisfactory explanation of this appearance has, we believe, ever been given.

Dr. Franklin received the thanks of the assembly of Pennsylvania, "as well for the faithful discharge of his duty to that province in particular, as for the many and important services done to America in general, during his residence in Great Britain." A compensation of 5000l. Pennsylvania currency, was also decreed him for his services during six years.

During his absence he had been annually elected member of the assembly. On his return to Pennsylvania he again took his seat in this body, and continued a steady defender of the liberties of the people.

In December 1762, a circumstance which caused great alarm in the province took place. A number of Indians had resided in the country at Lancaster, and conducted themselves uniformly as friends to the white inhabitants. Repeated depredations on the frontiers had exasperated the inhabitants to such a degree, that they determined to revenge upon every Indian. A number of persons, to the amount of 120, principally inhabitants of Donnegal and Peckstang or Paxton townships, in the county of York, assembled; and, mounted on horseback, proceeded to the settlement of these harmless and defenceless Indians, whose number had now reduced to about twenty. The Indians received intelligence of the attack which was intended against them, but disbelieved it. Considering the white people as their friends, they apprehended no danger from them. When the party arrived at the Indian settlement, they found only some women and children, and a few old men, the rest being absent at work. They murdered all whom they found, and amongst others the chief Shahaes, who had been always distinguished for his friendship to the whites. This bloody deed excited much indignation in the well-disposed part of the community.

The remainder of these unfortunate Indians, who, by absence, had escaped the massacre, were conducted to Lancaster, and lodged in the jail, as a place of security. The governor issued a proclamation expressing the strongest disapprobation of the action, offering a reward for the discovery of the perpetrators of the deed; and prohibiting all injuries to the peaceable Indians in future. But notwithstanding this, a party of the same men shortly after marched to Lancaster, broke open the jail, and inhumanly butchered the innocent Indians who had been placed there for security. Another proclamation was issued, but had no effect. A detachment marched down to Philadelphia, for the express purpose of murdering some friendly Indians, who had been removed to the city for safety. A number of the citizens armed in their defence. The Quakers, whose principles are opposed to fighting, even in their defence, were most active upon this occasion. The rioters came to Germantown. The governor fled for safety to the house of Dr. Franklin, who, with some others, advanced to meet the Paxton boys, as they were called, and had influence enough to prevail upon them to relinquish their understanding, and return to their homes.

The disputes between the proprietaries and the assembly, which, for a time, had subsided, were again revived. The proprietaries were dissatisfied with the concessions made in favour of the people, and made great struggles to [Page 170]recover the privilege of exempting their estates from taxation, which they had been induced to give up.

In 1763 the assembly passed a militia bill, to which the governor refused to give his assent, unless the assembly would agree to certain amendments which he proposed. These consisted in increasing the fines, and, in some cases, substituting death for fines. He wished too that the officers should be appointed altogether by himself, and not be nominated by the people, as the bill had proposed. These amendments the assembly considered as inconsistent with the spirit of liberty. They would not adopt them; the governor was obstinate, and the bill was lost.

These, and various other circumstances, increased the uneasiness which subsisted between the proprietaries and the assembly, to such a degree, that, in 1764, a petition to the king was agreed to by the house, proving an alteration from a proprietary to a regal government. Great opposition was made to this measure, not only in the house but in the public prints. A speech of Mr. Dickenson, on the subject, was published, with a preface by Dr. Smith, in which great pains were taken to shew the impropriety and impolicy of this proceeding. A speech of Mr. Galloway in reply to Mr. Dickenson was published, accompained with a preface by Dr. Franklin; in which he ably opposed the principles laid down in the preface to Mr. Dickenson's speech. This application to the throne produced no effect. The proprietary government was still continued.

At the election for a new assembly, in the fall of 1764, the friends of the proprietaries made great exertions to exclude those of the adverse party, and obtained a small majority in the city of Philadelphia. Franklin now lost his seat in the house, which he had held for fourteen years. On the meeting of the assembly, it appeared that there was still a decided majority of Franklin's friends. He was immediately appointed provincial agent to the great chagrin of his enemies, who made a solemn protest against his appointment; which was refused admission upon the minutes, as being unprecedented. It was, however, published in the papers, and produced a spirited reply from him, just before his departure for England.

The desturbances produced in America by Mr. Grenville's stamp-act, and the opposition made to it, are well known. Under the marquis of Rockingham's administration, it appeared expedient to endeavour to calm the minds of the colonists; and the repeal of the odious tax was contemplated. Amongst other means of collecting information on the disposition of the people to submit to it, Dr. Franklin was called to the bar of the house of commons. The examination which he here underwent was published, and contains a striking proof of the extent and accuracy of his information, and the facility with which he communicated his sentiments. He represented facts in so strong a point of view, that the inexpediency of the act must have appeared clear to every unprejudiced mind. The act, after some opposition, was repealed, about a year after it was enacted, and before it had ever been carried into execution.

In the year 1766, he made a visit to Holland and Germany, and received the greatest marks of attention from men of science. In his passage through Holland, he learned from the watermen the effect which a diminution of the quantity of water in canals has, in impeding the progress of boats. Upon his return to England, he was led to make a number of experiments; all of which tended to confirm the observation. These, with an explanation of the phenomenon, he communicated in a letter to his friend, Sir John Pringle, which is contained in the volume of his philosophical pieces.

In the following year he travelled into France, where he met with a no less favourable reception than he had experienced in Germany. He was introduced to a number of literary characters, and to the king, Louis XV.

Several letters written by Hutchinson, Oliver, and others, to persons in eminent stations in Great Britain, came into the hands of Dr. Franklin.

These contained the most violent invectives against the leading characters of the state of Massachusetts, and strenuously advised the prosecution of vigorous measures, to compel the people to obedience to the measures of the ministry. These he transmitted to the legislature, by whom they were published. Attested copies of them were sent to Great Britain, with an address, praying the king to discharge from office persons who had rendered themselves so obnoxious to the people, and who had shewn themselves so unfriendly to their interests. The publication of these letters produced a duel between Mr. Whately and Mr. Temple; each of whom was suspected of having been instrumental in procuring them. To prevent any further disputes on this subject, Dr. Franklin, in one of the public papers, declared that he had sent them to America, but would give no information concerning the manner in which he had obtained them; nor was this ever discovered.

Shortly after, the petition of the Massachusetts assembly was taken up for examination, before the privy council. Dr. Franklin attended, as agent for the assembly; and here a torrent of the most violent and unwarranted abuse was poured upon him by the solicitor-general, Wedderburne, who was engaged as council for Oliver and Hutchinson. The petition was declared to be scandalous and vexatious, and the prayer of it refused.

Although the parliament of Great Britain had repealed the stamp-act, it was only upon the principle of expediency. They still insisted upon their right to tax the colonies; and, at the same time that the stamp-act was repealed, an act was passed, declaring the right of parliament to bind the colonies in all cases whatsoever. This language was used even by the most strenuous opposers of the stamp-act; and, amongst others, by Mr. Pitt. This right was never recognized by the colonists; but, as they flattered themselves that it would not be exercised, they were not very active in remonstrating against it. Had this pretended right been suffered to remain dormant, the colonists would cheerfully have finished their quota of supplies, in the mode to which they had been accustomed; that is, by acts of their own assemblies, in consequence of requisitions from the secretary of state. If this practice had been pursued, such was the disposition of the colonies towards the mother country, that, notwithstanding the disadvantages under which they laboured, from restraints upon their trade, calculated solely for the benefit of the commercial and manufacturing interests of Great Britain, a separation of the two countries might have been a far distant event. The Americans, from their earliest infancy, were taught to venerate a people from whom they were descended; whose language, laws and manners, were the same as their own. They looked up to them as models of perfection; and, in their prejudiced minds, the most enlightened nations of Europe were considered as almost barbarians, in comparison with Englishmen. The name of an Englishman conveyed to an American the idea of every thing good and great. Such sentiments instilled into them in early life, what but a repetition of unjust treatment could have induced them to entertain the most distant thought of separation! The duties on glass, paper, leather, painter's colours, tea, &c. the disfranchisement of some of the colonies: the obstruction to the measures of the legislature in others, by the king's governors; the contemptuous treatment of their humble remonstrances, stating their grievances and praying a redress of them, and other violent and oppressive measures, at length excited an ardent spirit of opposition. Instead of endeavouring to allay this by a more lenient conduct, the ministry seemed resolutely bent upon reducing the colonies to the most slavish obedience to their decrees. But this tended only to aggravate. Vain were all the efforts made use of to prevail upon them to lay aside their designs, to convince them of the impossibility of carrying them into effect, and of the mischievous consequences which must insue from a continuance of the attempt. They persevered, with a degree of inflexibility scarcely paralleled.

The advantages which Great Britain derived from her colonies were so great, that nothing but a degree of infatuation, little short of madness, could have produced a continuance of measures calculated to keep up a spirit of uneasiness, which might occasion the slightest wish for a separation. When we consider the great improvements in the science of government, the general diffusion of the principles of liberty amongst the people of Europe, the effects they have already produced in France, and the probable consequences which will result from them elsewhere, all of which are the offspring of the American revolution, it cannot but appear strange, that events of so great moment to the happiness of mankind, should have been ultimately occasioned by the wickedness or ignorance of a British ministry.

Dr. Franklin left nothing untried to prevail upon the ministry to consent to a change of measures. In private conversations, and in letters to persons in government, he continually expatiated upon the impolicy and injustice of their conduct towards America; and stated, that, notwithstanding the attachment of the colonists to the mother country, a repetition of ill treatment must ultimately alienate their affections. They listened not to his advice. They blindly persevered in their own schemes, and left to the colonists no alternative, but opposition or unconditional submission. The latter accorded not with the principles of freedom, which they had been taught to revere. To the former they were compelled, though reluctantly, to have recourse.

Dr. Franklin, finding all efforts to restore harmony between Great Britain and her colonies useless, returned to America in the year 1775; just after the commencement of hostilities. The day after his return he was elected by the legislature of Pennsylvania a member of congress. Not long after his election a committee was appointed, consisting of Mr. Lynch, Mr. Harrison, and himself, to visit the camp at Cambridge, and in conjunction with the commander in chief, to endeavour to convince the troops, whose term of enlistment was about to expire, of the necessity of their continuing in the field, and persevering in the cause of their country.

In the fall of the same year he visited Canada, to endeavour to unite them in the common cause of liberty; but they could not be prevailed upon to oppose the measures of the British government. M. Le Roy, in a letter annexed to Abbe Fauchet's eulogium of Dr. Franklin, states that the ill success of this negociation was occasioned, in a great degree, by religious animosities, which subsisted between the Canadians and their neighbours, some of whom had at different times burnt their chapels.

When Lord Howe came to America, in 1776, vested with power to treat with the colonists, a correspondence took place between him and Dr. Franklin, on the subject of a reconciliation. Dr. Franklin was afterwards appointed, together with John Adams and Edward Rutledge, to wait upon the commissioners, in order to learn the extent of their power. These were found to be only to grant pardons upon submission. These were terms which would not be accepted; and the object of the commissioners could not be obtained.

The momentous question of independence was shortly after brought into view, at a time when the fleets and armies, which were sent to enforce obedience, were truly formidable. With an army, numerous indeed, but ignorant of discipline, and entirely unskilled in the art of war, without money, without a fleet, without allies, and with nothing but the love of liberty to support them, the colonists determined to separate from a country, from which they had experienced a repetition of injury and insult. In this question, Dr. Franklin was decidedly in favour of the measure proposed, and had great influence in bringing over others to his sentiments.

The public mind had been pretty fully prepared for this event, by Mr. Paine's celebrated pamphlet, Common Sense. There is good reason to believe that Dr. Franklin had no inconsiderable share, at least, in furnishing materials for this work.

In the convention which assembled at Philadelphia in 1776, for the purpose of establishing a new form of government for the state of Pennsylvania, Dr. Franklin was chosen president. The late constitution of this state, which was the result of their deliberations, may be considered as a digest of his principles of government. The single legislature, and the plural executive, seem to have been his favourite tenets.

In the latter end of 1776, Dr. Franklin was appointed to assist in the negociatious which had been set on foot by Silas Deane at the court of France. A conviction of the advantages of a commercial intercourse with America, and a desire of weakening the British empire by dismembering it, first induced the French court to listen to proposals of an alliance. But they shewed rather a reluctance to the measure, which, by Dr. Franklin's address, and particularly by the success of the American arms against general Burgoyne, was at length overcome; and in February 1778, a treaty of alliance, offensive and defensive, was concluded; in consequence of which France became involved in the war with Great Britain.

Perhaps no person could have been found, more capable of rendering essential services to the United States at the court of France, than Dr. Franklin. He was well known as a philosopher, and his character was held in the highest estimation. He was raceived with the greatest marks of respect by all the literary characters; and this respect was extended amongst all classes of men. His personal influence was hence very considerable. To the effects of this were added those of various performances which he published, tending to establish the credit and charecter of the United States. To his exertions in this way, may, in no small degree, be ascribed the success of the loans negociated in Holland and France, which greatly contributed to bringing the war to a happy conclusion.

The repeated ill success of their arms, and more particularly the capture of Cornwallis and his army, at length convinced the British nation of the impossibility of reducing the Americans to subjection. The trading interest particularly became very clamorous for peace. The ministry were unable longer to oppose their wishes. Provisional articles of peace were agreed to, and signed at Paris on the 30th of November, 1782, by Dr. Franklin, Mr. Adams, Mr. Jay, and Mr. Laurens, on the part of the United States; and by Mr. Oswald on the part of Great Britain. These formed the basis of the definitive treaty, which was concluded the 30th of September 1783, and signed by Dr. Franklin, Mr. Adams, and Mr. Jay, on the one part, and by Mr. David Hartley on the other.

On the 3d of April 1783, a treaty of amity and commerce, betweed the United States and Sweden, was concluded at Paris, by Dr. Franklin and the Count Von Kruitz.

A similar trearty with Prussia was concluded in 1785, not long before Dr. Franklin's departure from Europe.

Dr. Franklin did not fuffer his political pursuits to engross his whole attention. Some of his performances made their appearance in Paris. The object of these was generally the promotion of industry and oeconomy.

In the year 1784, when animal magnetism made great noise in the world, particularly at Paris, it was thought a matter of such importance, that the king appointed commissioners to examine into the foundation of this pretended science. Dr. Franklin was one of the number. After a fair and diligent examination, in the course of which Mesmer repeated a number of experiments, in the presence of the commissioners, some of which were tried upon themselves, they determined that it was a mere trick, intended to impose upon the ignorant and credulous—Mesmer was thus interrupted in his career to wealth and fame, and a most insolent attempt to impose upon the human understanding baffled.

The important ends of Dr. Franklin's mission being completed by the establishment of American independence, and the infirmities of age and disease coming upon him, he became desirous of returning to his native country. Upon application to congress to be recalled, Mr. Jefferson was appointed to succeed him, in 1785. Sometime in September of the same year, Dr. Franklin arrived in Philadelphia. He was shortly after chosen member of the supreme executive council for the city; and soon after was elected president of the same.

When a convention was called to meet in Philadelphia, in 1787, for the purpose of giving more energy to the government of the union, by revising and amending the articles of confederation, Dr. Franklin was appointed a delegate from the State of Pennsylvania. He signed the constitution which they proposed for the union, and gave it the most unequivocal marks of his approbation.

A society for political enquiries, of which Dr. Franklin was president, was established about this period. The meetings were held at his house. Two or three essays read in the society were published. It did not long continue.

In the year 1787, two societies were established in Philadelphia, founded on principles of the most liberal and refined humanity—The Philadelphia Society for alleviating the miseries of public prisons; and the Pennsylvania Society for promoting the abolition of slavery, the relief of free negroes unlawfully held in bondage, and the improvement of the condition of the African race. Of each of these Dr. Franklin was president. The labours of these bodies have been crowned with great success; and they continue to prosecute, with unwearied diligence, the laudable designs for which they were established.

Dr. Franklin's increasing infirmities prevented his regular attendance at the council-chamber; and, in 1788, he retired wholly from public life.

His constitution had been a remarkably good one. He had been little subject to disease, except an attack of the gout occasionally, until the year 1781, when he was first attacked with the symptoms of the calculous complaint, which continued during his life. During the intervals of pain from this grievous disease, he spent many cheerful hours, conversing in the most agreeable and instructive manner. His faculties were intirely unimpaired, even to the hour of his death.

His name, as president of the Abolition Society, was signed to the memorial presented to the House of Representatives of the United States, on the 12th of February 1789, praying them to exert the full extent of power vested in them by the constitution, in discouraging the traffick of the human species. This was his last public act. In the debates to which this memorial gave rise, several attempts were made to justify the trade. In the Federal Gazette of March 25th, there appeared an essay, signed Historicus, written by Dr. Franklin, in which he communicated a speech, said to have been delivered in the Divan of Algiers in 1687, in opposition to the prayer of the petition of a sect called Erika, or purists, for the abolition of piracy and slavery. This pretended African speech was an excellent parody of one delivered by Mr. Jackson of Georgia. All the arguments urged in favour of negroe slavery, are applied with equal force to justify the plundering and enslaving the Europeans. It affords, at the same time, a demonstration of the futility of [Page 184]the arguments in defence of the slave trade, and of the strength of mind and ingenuity of the author, at his advanced period of life. It furnished too a no less convincing proof of his power of imitating the style of other times and nations, than his celebrated parable against persecution. And as the latter led many to search the scriptures with a view to find it, so the former caused many persons to search the book-stores and libraries, for the work from which it was said to be extracted.

In the beginning of April following, he was attacked with a fever and complaint of his breast, which terminated his existence. The following account of his last illness was written by his friend and physician, Dr. Jones.

"The stone, with which he had been afflicted for several years, had for the last twelve months confined him chiefly to his bed; and during the extreme painful paroxysms, he was obliged to take large doses of laudanum to mitigate his tortures—still, in the intervals of pain, he not only amused himself with reading and conversing with his family, and a few friends who visited him, but was often employed in doing business of a public as well as private nature, with various persons who waited on him for that purpose; and in every instance displayed, not only that readiness and disposition of doing good, which was the distinguishing characteristic of his life, but the fullest and clearest possession of his uncommon mental abilities; and not unfrequently indulged himself in those jeux d'esprit and entertaining anecdotes, which were the delight of all who heard him.

"About sixteen days before his death, he was seized with a feverish indisposition, without any particular symptoms attending it, till the third or fourth day, when he complained of a pain in his left breast, which increased till it became extremely acute, attended with a cough and laborious breathing. During this state, when the severity of his pains sometimes drew forth a groan of complaint, he would observe—that he was afraid he did not bear them as he ought—acknowledged his grateful sense of the many blessings he had received from that supreme being, who had raised him from small and low beginnings to such high rank and consideration among men—and made no doubt but his present afflictions were kindly intended to wean him from a world in which he was no longer fit to act the part assigned him. In this frame of body and mind he continued till five days before his death, when his pain and difficulty of breathing entirely left him, and his family were flattering themselves with the hopes of his recovery, when an imposthumation, which had formed itself in his lungs, suddenly burst, and discharged a great quantity of matter, which he continued to throw up while he had sufficient strength to do it; but, as that failed, the organs of respiration became gradually oppressed—a calm lethargic state succeeded—and, on the 17th of April, 1790, about eleven o'clock at night, he quietly expired, closing a long and useful life of eighty-four years and three months.

"It may not be amiss to add to the above account, that Dr. Franklin, in the year 1735, had a severe pleurisy, which terminated in an abscess of the left lobe of his lungs, and he was then almost suffocated with the quantity and suddenness of the discharge. A second attack of a similar nature happened some years after this, from which he soon recovered, and did not appear to suffer any inconvenience in his respiration from these diseases."

The following epitaph on himself, was written by him many years previous to his death: ‘THE BODY of BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, Printer, (Like the cover of an old book, Its contents torn out, And stript of its lettering and gilding) Lies here, food for worms; Yet the work itself shall not be lost, For it will (as he believed) appear once more, In a new And more beautiful edition, Corrected and amended by The AUTHOR.’

EXTRACTS from the last Will and Testament of Dr. FRANKLIN.

WITH regard to my books, those I had in France, and those I left in Philadelphia, being now assembled together here, and a catalogue made of them, it is my intention to dispose of the same as follows:

My history of the Academy of Sciences, in sixty or seventy volums quarto, I give to the philosophical society of Philadelphia, of which I have the honour to be president. My collection in folio of Les Arts & Les Metiers, I give to the philosophical society, established in New-England, of which I am a member. My quarto edition of the same Arts and Metiers, I give to the library company of Philadelphia. Such and so many of my books as I shall mark in the said catalogue, with the name of my grandson, Benjamin Franklin Bache, I do hereby give to him: and such and so many of my books, as I shall mark in the said catalogue with the name of my grandson William Bache, I do hereby give to him: and such as shall be marked with the name of Jonathan Williams, I hereby give to my cousin of that name. The residue and remainder of all my books, manuscripts and papers, I do give to my grandson William Temple Franklin. My share in the library company of Philadelphia I give to my grandson Benjamin Franklin Bache, confiding that he will permit his brothers and sisters to share in the use of it.

I was born in Boston, New-England, and owe my first instructions in literature to the free grammar-schools established there. I therefore give one hundred pounds sterling to my executors, to be by them, the survivors or survivor of them, paid over to the managers or directors of the free schools in my native town of Boston, to be by them, or the person or persons who shall have the superintendance and management of the said schools, put out to interest, and so continued at interest for ever; which interest annually shall be laid out in silver medals, and given as honorary rewards annually by the directors of the said free schools, for the encouragement of scholarship in the said schools, belonging to the said town, in such manner as to the discretion of the select men of the said town shall seem meet.

Out of the salary that may remain due to me, as president of the state, I give the sum of two thousand pounds to my executors, to be by them, the survivors or survivor of them, paid over to such person or persons as the legislature of this state, by an act of assembly, shall appoint to receive the same, in trust, to be employed for making the Schuylkill navigable.

During the number of years I was in business as a stationer, printer, and postmaster, a great many small sums became due to me, for books, advertisements, postage of letters, and other matters, which were not collected, when in 1757, I was sent by the assembly to England as their agent—and, by subsequent appointments continued there till 1775—when, on my return, I was immediately engaged in the affairs of congress, and sent to France in 1776, where I remained nine years, not returning till 1785; and the said debts not being demanded in such a length of time, are become in a manner obsolete, yet are nevertheless justly due.—These, as they are stated in my great folio ledger, E, I bequeath to the contributors of the Pennsylvania hospital; hoping that those debtors, and the descendants of such as are deceased, who now, as I find, make some difficulty of satisfying such antiquated demands as just debts, may however be induced to pay or give them as charity to that excellent institution. I am sensible that much must inevitably be lost; but I hope something considerable may be recovered. It is possible too that some of the parties charged may have existing old unsettled accounts against me; in which case the managers of the said hospital will allow and deduct the amount, and pay the balance, if they find it against me.

I request my friends Henry Hill, Esq John Jay, Esq Francis Hopkinson, Esq and Mr. Edward Duffield, of Bonfield, in Philadelphia county, to be the executors of this any last will and testament, and I hereby [...]inate and appoint them for that purpose.

In would have my body buried with as little expence or ceremony as may be.

Philadelphia, July 17, 1788.

CODICIL.

I Benjamin Franklin, in the foregoing or annexed last will and testament, having further considered the same, do think proper to make and publish the following codicil, or addition thereto:

IT having long been a fixed political opinion of mine, that in a democratical state there ought to be no offices of profit, for the reasons I have given in an article of my drawing in our constitution, it was my intention, when I accepted the office of president, to devote the appointed salary to some public use: accordingly I had already, before I made my last will, in July last, given large sums of it to colleges, schools, building of churches, &c. and in that will I bequeathed two thousand pounds more to the state, for the purport of making the Schuylkill navigable; but understanding since, that such a sum will do but little towards accomplishing such a work, and that the project is not likely to be undertaken for ma [...] [...]rs to come—and having entertained [...] [...]dea, which I hope may be found mo [...] [...]tensively useful, I do hereby revoke and annul the bequest and direct that the certificates I have for what remains due to me of that salary, be sold towards raising the sum of two thousand pounds sterling, to be disposed of as I am now about to order.

It has been an opinion, that he who receives an estate from his ancestors, is under some obligation to transmit the same to posterity. This obligation lies not on me, who never inherited a shilling from any ancestor or relation. I shall, however, if it is not diminished by some accident before my death, leave a considerable estate among my descendants and relations. The above observation is made merely as some apology to my family, for my making bequests that do not appear to have any immediate relation to their advantage.

I was born in Boston, New-England, and owe my first instructions in literature to the free grammar schools established there. I have therefore considered those schools in my will.

But I am under obligations to the state of Massachusetts, for having, unasked, appointed me formerly their agent, with a handsome salary, which continued some years: and although I accidently lost in their service, by transmitting governor Hutchinson's letters, much more than the amount of what they gave me, I do not think that ought in the least to deminish my gratitude. I have considered that, among artisans, good apprentices are most likely to make good citizens; and having myself been bred to a manual art, printing, in my native town, and afterwards assisted to set up my business in Philadelphia by kind loans of money from two friends there, which was the foundation of my fortune, and of all the utility in life that may be ascribed to me—I wish to be useful even after my death, if possible in forming and advancing other young men, that may be serviceable to their country in both these towns.

To this end I devote two thousand pounds sterling, which I give, one thousand thereof to the inhabitants of the town of Boston, in Massachusetts, and the other one thousand to the inhabitants of the city of Philadelphia, in trust, to and for the uses, intents, and purposes, herein after mentioned and declared.

The said sum of one thousand pounds sterling, if accepted by the inhabitants of the town [...] Boston, shall be managed under the direction of the select men, united with the ministers of the oldest episcopalian, congregrational, and presbyterian churches in that town, who are to let out the same upon interest at five per cent. per annum, to such young married artificers, under the age of twenty-five years, as have served an apprenticeship in the said town, and faithfully fulfilled the duties required in their indentures, so as to obtain a good moral character, from at least two respectable citizens, who are willing to become sureties in a bond, with the applicants, for the repayment of the money so lent, with interest, according to the terms herein after prescribed; all which bonds are to be taken for Spanish milled dollars, or the value thereof in current gold coin: and the manager shall keep a bound book, or books, wherein shall be entered the names of those who shall apply for, and receive the benefit of this institution, and of their sureties, together with the sums lent, the dates, and other necessary and proper records respecting the business and concerns of this institution: and as these loans are intended to assist young married artificers in setting up their business, they are to be proportioned by the discretion of the managers, so as not to exceed sixty pounds sterling to one person, nor to be less than fifteen pounds.

And if the number of appliers so entitled should be so large as that the sum will not suffice to afford to each as much as might otherwise not be improper, the proportion to each shall be diminished, so as to afford to every one some assistance. These aids may therefore be small at first, but as the capital increases by the accumulated interest, they will be more ample. And in o