Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography

Biographical note to come

Benjamin Franklin, about 1778. Portrait by Joseph Du Plessis (National Portrait Gallery, London)
Benjamin Franklin, about 1778. Portrait by Joseph Du Plessis (National Portrait Gallery, London)

{text edited from the text creation partnership edition ]





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.


June 19, 1790.


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.



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

As a proof that Franklin was anciently the common name of an order or rank in England, ſee Judge Forteſcue, De l

s legum Angliae, written about the year 14

2 in which is the following paſſage, to ſhew that good juries might eaſily be formed in any part of England.

Regio etiam illa, ita reſperſa refertaque eſt


s ter

arum et

grorum, quod in ea villula tam parva reperir

, in qua non eſt mi

es, armiger, vel p
er-familias, quali

ibidem franklin vulgaritur nuncupatur, magnis ditatus poſſeſſionibus, nec non libere, tenentes et alii valecti plurimi, ſuis patrimoniis ſufficientes, ad faciendum juratum, in forma praenotata.

Moreover, the ſame country is ſo filled and repleniſhed with landed menne, that therein ſo ſmall a thorpe cannot be found wherein dwelleth not a knight, an eſquire, or ſuch a houſholder as is there commonly called a franklin, enriched with great poſſeſſions; and alſo other freeholders and many yeomen, able for their livelihoods to make a jury in form aforementioned.


Chaucer too calls his country gentleman a franklin, and after deſcribing his good houſekeeping, thus characteriſes him:

This worthy franklin bore a purſe of ſilk,
Fix’d to his girdle, white as morning milk.
Knight of the ſhire, firſt juſtice at th’ aſſize,
To help the poor, the doubtful to adviſe.
In all employments, generous, juſt he prov’d,
Renown’d for courteſy, by all belov’d.


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,
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,Town in the Iſland of Nantucket. where I dwell,
I therefore put my name,
Your friend, who means you well,

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
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


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,

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
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-

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


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.
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 PopeProbably the Dunciade, where we find him thou immortaliſed by the author: Silence ye wolves, while RALPH to Cynthia howls! And makes night hideous, anſwer him, yet owl

! 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

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
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,Printing-houſes in general are thus denominated by the workmen; the ſpirit they call by the name of Ralph. 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

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 BodyA manuſcript note in the file of the America Me

preſerved in the Philadelphia Library, ſay tha


n wrote the firſt five numbers, and pa

of the eighth.; 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:
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. StuberDr. Stuber was born in Philadelphia, of Ge

man parents. He was ſen

, at an early age, to the unive

ſity, where his genius, dilligence and amiable temper ſoon acquired him the particular notice and favour of thoſe under whoſe immediate direction he was placed. After paſſing through the common courſe of ſtudy, in a much ſhorter time than uſual he left the univerſity, at the age of ſixteen, with great reputation. Not long after, he entered on the
dy of phyſic; and the zeal with which he purſued
d the advances he made, gave his friends reaſon
form the moſt flattering proſpects of his future,
inence and uſefulneſs in the profeſſion. As Dr.
ber’s circumſtances were very moderate, he did not think this purſuit well calculated to anſwer them.
therefore reliquiſhed it, after he had obtained a
ree in the profeſſion, and qualified himſelf to prac

with credit and ſucceſs: and immediately enter

on the ſtudy of Law. In purſuit of the laſt men

ed object, he was prematurely arreſted, before
had an opportunity of reaping the fruit of thoſe
lents with which he was endowed, and of a youth
ut in the ardent and ſucceſsful purſuit of uſeful
elegant literature. 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
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

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,

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

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.


April 19, 1753.


I received your favour of the 11th inſtant, with your new A general idea of the college of Marania. 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 The Rev. and learned Mr. Francis Aliſon, afterwards D. D. and vice-provoſt of the college. (who was educated at Glaſgow) has been long accuſtomed to teach the latter, and Mr. Grew Mr. Theophilus Grew, afterwards profeſſor of mathematics in the college. 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, Thoſe aſſiſtants were at that time Mr. Charles Thomſom, late ſecretary of congreſs, Mr. Paul Jackſon, and Mr. Jacob Duche. 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.


May 3d, 1753.


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, 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. 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, 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. 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.


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. 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. 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.


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
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
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
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.