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 Life of Dr. Franklin
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Group Title: life of Dr. Benjamin Franklin
Title: The Life of Dr. Benjamin Franklin
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Title: The Life of Dr. Benjamin Franklin
Physical Description: 250 p. ; 15 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Franklin, Benjamin, 1706-1790 ( Author, Primary )
Shain, William H ( Stereotyper )
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Publisher: Tooker & Gatchel
Place of Publication: Cleveland, Ohio
Publication Date: 1853
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Table of Contents
    Front Matter
        Front Matter 1
        Front Matter 2
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Life of Dr. Franklin
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
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    Extracts from the last will and testament of Dr. Franklin
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        Codicil
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Full Text



LIFE




DR. BENJAMIN O AN

DR. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN


WRIf


BY HIMSELF.


CLEVELAND, 0.
BOOKER AND GATCHEL.




*flZIA W. m~n',
Sf6Ill03I SraOTTWtwtvln


PflaO




LIFE
OP
DR. FRANKLIN.


MY DEAR Son,
I HAVE amused myself with collecting some
little anecdotes of my family. You may re-
member the inquiries I made, when you-wefe
with me in England, among such of my rela-
tions as were then living; and the journey I
undertook for that purpose. To be ao-
quainted with the particulars of my parent-
age and life, many of which are unknown to
you, I flatter myself will afford the sane
pleasure to you as to me. wI shall relate there
upon paper: it will bh an agreeable
ment of a week's uniMterrupted leiseji% h
I promise myself during my present rtir.-
ment in the country. There are also oth
motives which induqhme to the undertaking.





*rom the bosom of poverty and obscurity, ir
which I drew my first breath, and spent m3
earliest years, I have raised myself to a state
of opulence and to some degree of celebrity3
in the world. A constant good fortune has
attended me through every period of life tc
my present advanced age; and my descend-
ants 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
'nay, also, should they ever be placed in a
m" "ar situation, derive some advantage from
V3 hra~tive.
h I reflect, as I frequently do, upon
the felicity I have enjoyed, I sometimes say
to myself, that were the offer made true, 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 inci-
dents and events for others more favorable.
Were this, however, denied me, still would I


But since a repetition


not decline the offer.




LIl or ?PR. FBANKLM.

of life cannot take place, there is noth
which, in my opinion, so nearly resembles it
as to call to mind all its circumstances, ando
to render their remembrance more durable,
commit them to writing. By thus employee
myself, I shall yield to the incline. n so nat-
ural in old men, to talk of themiblves and
their exploits, and may freely follow my
bent, without being tiresome to those who,
from respect to my age, might think them-
selves obliged to listen to me; as they will
be at liberty to read me or not as they please.
In fine-and I may as well avow it, since
nobody would believe me were I to deny it
--I shall, perhaps, by this employment, grat-
ify my vanity. Scarcely, indeed, have I ever
beard or read the introductory phrase, "
mayay y without vaity," but some striking
and characteristic instance of vanity has im-
mediately followed. The generality of men
hate vanity in others, however strongly they
may be tinctured with it themselves: for my-
self, I pay obeisance to it wherever I meet
with it, persuaded that it is advantageous, as
well to the individual whom it governs, as to
those who are within the sphere ofit influ-





ence. Of consequence, it would, in man3
cases, not be wholly absurd, that a mar
should count his vanity among the othei
sweets of life, and give thanks to Providence
for the blessing.
And here let me with all humility acknowl-
edge, that to Divine Providence I am in-
debted for the felicity I have hitherto en-
joyed. It is that power alone which has
furnished me with the means I have- em-
ployed, and that has crowned them with suc-
cess. My faith, in this respect, leads me to
hope, though I cannot count upon it, that the
Divine goodness will still be exercised to-
wards me, either by prolonging the duration
of my happiness to the close of life, or by
giving me fortitude to support any melan-
choly reverse, which may happen to me, as
to so many others. My future fortune is un-
known but to Him in whose hand is our des-
tiny, 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




LIfE OP DR, lRANKLIN.

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; prob-
ably ever since the institution of surnames,
when they took the appellation of Franklin,
which had formerly been the name of a-par-
ticular order of individuals.*
This petty estate would not have sufficed
for their subsistence, had they not added the

As a proof that Franklin was anciently the common
name of an order or rank in England, see Judge'For-
tesque, Delaudchbus legum AngliE, written about the year
1412, in which is the following passage, to ahow that
good juries might easily be formed in any part of Eng-
land
Region etiam ila, its respersa refertaqie estpaose*-
sontzus errarum et agroru quod in ea, villula tim par-
va rcperiri non poterit, in qua non eat eat nflie.' rmiger,
vel pater-familiaa, qualis ibidem franklin rlgaoriter non-
cupatur, mnagnisditatns pssessionibus, nee non liber
tenentes et alii valectz plurimi, suis patrimontis sufci-
entes, ad faciendum juratam, in forms pranotata,
Moreover, the same country is so filled and replen-
ished with landed menne, that therein so small a thorpe
cannot be found wherein dwelleth not a knight, a P
quire, or such a householder as is thernomnmonly elwed





trade of blacksmith, which was perpetuated
in bthe 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 par-
iah register not extending farther back than
that period. This register informed me, that
. was the youngest son of the youngest
branch of the family, counting five genera-
tions. My grandfather, Thomas, was born
in 1598, lived at Eaton till he was too old to

a franklin, enriched with great possessions; and also
other freeholders and many yeomen, able for their live-
lihood to make ajury in form aforementioned."
OLD TUANSsLATox.
Chaucer too calls his country gentleman a franksm;
and, after describing his good housekeeping, thus char-
acterizes him
This worthy franklin bore a purse of silk
Fixed to his girdle., white as morning milk;
Knight of the shire, frst justice at the assize,
To help the poor, the doubtftl to advise.
In all employment, generous, just he proved
Renowned for courtesy, by all beloved.




LIFE OF DR. FRANKLIN

continue his trade,, when he retired t ,l -
bury, in Oxfordshire,. where his son John,
who was a dyer, resided, and with whom my
father was apprenticed. He died, andl-
buried there: we saw his monument in *58-
His eldest son lived in the family house at
Eaton, which he bequeathed, with the land
belonging to it, to his only daughter- whcrE
concert with her husband, Mr. Fisher"
Wellingborough, afterwards sold it :to-S
Estead, the present proprietor.
My grandfather had four surviving sons,
Thomas,'John, Benjamin, and Josias. I shall
give you such particulars of them as my mem-
ory 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 a black-
smith under his father; but, possessing S
good natural understanding, he improved it
by study, at the solicitation of a gentleman
of the name of Palmer, who was at that tina
the principal inhabitant of the village, and
who encouraged, in like manner, all my tna
ales to cultivate their minds. Thomas thus
rendered himself compblteVMW he functiQop




10 LIPE Or DR. FRANKLIN.

of a Country attorney; soon became an es-
sential personage in the affairs of the village;
and was one of the chief movers of every
public enterprise, as well relative to the
county as the town of Northampton. A va-
riety of of remarkable incidents were told us
of him at Eaton. After enjoying the esteem
and patronage of Lord Halifax, he died Jan-
uary 6, 1702, precisely four years before I
was born. The recital that was made us of
Bia life and character, by some aged persons
of the village, struck you, I remember, as ex-
traordinary, from its analogy to what you
knew of myself. Had he died," said you,
"just four years later, one might have sup-
posed 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 Lon-
don 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 be-
tween my father and him; and I was his
godson. He arrived to a great age. He left




XeAf OF DR. RAKXLT. -.

behind him two quarto volumes of poeirt in
manuscript, consisting of little fugitivea44"
addressed to his friends. He had itreneted
short-hand, which he taught me, but, "jaA'd
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 a se
mons he took a pleasure in writing down #att
cording to the expeditory method he had. e-
vised. Many volumes were thus collected b!y
him. He was also extremely fond of poit
too much so, perhaps, for his situitio 1"
lately found in London a collection which'
had made of all the principal pamphlets ret
ative to public affairs, from the year 1641 to
1717. Many volumes are wanting, as ap-
pears by the series of numbers; but A
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 vari-
ous notes of his writing "_= margIDs. His
grandson, Sae, Sa iesn'rving at Btoston.





Our humble family had early embraced the
Reformation. They remained faithfully at-
tached during the reign of Queen Mary, when
they were in danger of being molested on ac-
count of their zeal against popery. They had
an English Bible, and, to conceal it the more
securely, they conceived the project of fast-
ening it, open, with packthreads across the
leaves, on the inside of the lid of the closet
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 packthread. 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 rejected as noncon-
formists, having held conventicles in North-
amptonshire, they were joined by Benjamin




trF Or DR. isetadw- 13

and Josias, -who adhered to tbemn *v at er.
The rest of the family continued in the -4pi
copal church. -
My father, Josias, married early in iri'e
He went, with his wife and three children,
to New England, about the year 1682. Con-
venticles being at that time prohibited by
law, and frequently disturbed, some consid-
erable persons of his acquaintance deter-
mined to go to America, where they hoped
to enjoy the free exercise of their religion,
and my father was prevailed on to accom
pany 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 to-
gether at his table, who fl1 arrived at years
.of maturity, and were marked. I was the
last of the sons, and the youngest child ex-
cepting two daughters. I was born atSBos-
ton, in New England. My mother, the sec-
ond wife, was Abiah Folger, daughter of
Peter Folger, one of the first colonists of
New England, of whom Cotton Mather makes
honorable mention, in his Ecclesiastical His-
B




14 .-fR oN.- nR. ANlElN.

tory of that province, as a pious ano
learned Englishman," if I rightly recoiled
his expressions. I have been told of his
having written a variety of little pieces; bul
there appears to be only one in print, which
I met with many years ago. It was pub-
lished in the year 1675, and is in familiar
verse, agreeably to the taste of the times
and the country. The author addresses him-
self to- the governors for the time being,
speaks for liberty of conscience, and in favor
of the anabaptists, quakers, and other sec=
tries, who had suffered persecution. To
.his persecution he attributes \he wars with
the natives, and other calamities which af-
licted the country, regarding them as the
judgments of God in punishment of so odi-
ons an offence, and he exhorts the govern
ment to the repeal of laws so contrary to
charity. The poem appeared to be written
with a manly freedom and a pleasing sim-
plicity. I recollect the six concluding lines,
hough 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. washed to be




LIFE OF lDR. PFANKL.N. 15

known as the. author; because, said he, I
hate from my very soul dissimulation.

From Sherbu* where I dwell,
I therefore put my name,
Your fiend, who means you well.
Perna FOLOmn

My brothers were all put apprenpnites to
different trades. With respecto- mylf, I
was sent, at the age of eight years, to a
grammar-school. My father destine.dme for
the church, and already regarded me a i.t
chaplain of my family. The promp.i
with which from my infancy I had le1a.
to read, for I do not remember to have been
ever without this acquirement, and the en-
couragement of his friends, whq 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 vol-
umes of sermons, written, as I have said, in
the short-hand of his invention, if I would
take the pains to learn it.
I remained, however, o~ieely a yf- at


* Town in the island of Nantuket




16 LI.E 0P DR. :.A:InM.:

the grammar-school, although, in this shori
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, burdened with a numerous
family, found that he was incapable, without
subjecting himself to difficulties, of providing
for the expenses 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
rst intentions, took me from the grammar-
school, and sent me to a school for writing
and arithmetic, kept by a Mr. George Brown-
vell, who was a skilful master, and succeeded
very well in his profession by employing gen-
tle 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 pro
gress.
At ten years of age, I was called home to
assist my father in his occupation, which was
hat of a soapboiler and' tallowchandler; a
business to which h-e had served .o appren-




LiEs Ofr .fZL. t ANXNS. 17

ticeship, but which he embraced on his ar-
rival in New England, because he -found his
own, that of 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, &P.
This business displeased me, affd 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 op-
portunities of venturing myself both ppon
and within it, and I soon acquired thee 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 pro-
ject, I was almost always the leader of the
troop, whom I sometimes involved in embar-
rassments. I shall give an instance of this,
which demonstrates an early disposition of
mind for public enterprises, though the one
in question was not conducted by justice.
The millpond was terminate one side
by a marsh, upon the border 7 ich we
were accustomed to take oitu~sU at high
S., T





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 the 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-fellows, and
by laboring diligently, like ants, sometimes
fo us uniting our strength to carry a
singT stone, we removed them all, and con-
structed our little quay- The workmen were
surprised the next morning at not finding
their stones; which had been -conveyed to
our wharf. Inquiries were made respecting
the authors of this conveyance; we were dis-
covered; complaints were exhibited against
us; and many of us underwent correction on
the part of our parents; and though I stren-
uously 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 knowtat sort of a man my father




:TM. O' DR. F.AW.I.N. 19

was. He had an excellent constitution, was
of a middle size, but well made and strong,
and extremely active in whatever he under-
took. He designed with a degree of neat-
ness, and knew a little of music. His voice
was sonorous and agreeable; so that when
he sung a psalm or hymn, with the accompa-
niment of his violin, as was his frequent
practice in an evening, when the labors of
the day were finished, it was truly delightful
to hear him.- He was versed also in me-
chanics, and could, upon occasion, use the
tools of a variety of trades. But his great-
est 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
n the duties of his profession. But I well
remember, that the leading men of the place
used frequently to come and ask his advice
respecting the affairs of the town, or of the
church to which he belonged, and that they
paid much reference to his opinion. Indi-
viduals were a- so : in the AhA of co:nultin-




20 .IE o Or Df. FR.lfl-N.

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 in-
formed neighbors, capable of rational con-
versation, and he was always careful to
introduce useful or ingenious topics of dis-
conrse, which might tend to form the minds
of his children. -By this means he early at-
tracted our attention to what was just, pru-
dent, and beneficial in the conduct of life.
le never talked of the meats which appeared
upon the table, never discussed whether they
.'ere well or ill dressed, of a good or bad
flavor, 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,
Have been perfectly regardless of what
-ind of food was before me; and I pay so
little attention to it even now, that it w_04
be a hard matter for me to recollect, a few
hours after I had dined, of what my dinner
*ad consisted. When traveling, I have par
tioilarly experienced the advantage of" thi
habit; fo- it has often happened to me to -b





in company with persons, who, having a more
delicate, because a more exercised, taste, have
suffered in many cases considerable inconve-
nience; while, as to myself, I have had noth-
ing 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 together at
Boston, where, a few years ago, I placed a
marble over their grave, with this inscrip-
tion:
o Here lies
' JosXAS PFtANLurx and AnxAn his wife a They lived to-
gether with reciprocal affection for fifty-nine years; and
without private fortune, without lucrative employment,
by assiduous labor and honest industry, decently sup-
ported a numerous family, and educated with success,-
thirteen children, and seven grandchildren. 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,
SShe discreet and virtuous.
eir youngest son, from a sentiment of flial duty,
*' consecrates this stone to their memory."




22 L:E OF D.. FR.-ANL..N.

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 negli
gence.
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 appear-
ance, to supply his place, and be a candle
maker all my life : but my dislike of this oc-
cupation continuing, my father was appre-
hensive, that if a more agreeable one were
not offered me, I might play the truant and
-scape to sea; as, to his extreme mortifica-
ion, miy brother Josias had done. He there-
fore tpok me sometimes to see masons, coop-
ers, braziers, joiners, and other mechanics,
employed at their work, in order to discover
the bent of my inclination, and fix it i--
could upon some occupation that might
ta- rae on shore. I have since, i'n e




IFVE O. DR. -:1.N.A x. 22

quence of these visits, derived no small pleas-
ure from seeing skilful workmen handle their
tools; and it has proved of considerable ben-
efit, to have acquired thereby sufficient knowl-
edge to be able to make little things for my-
self, when I have had no mechanic at hand,
and to construct, small machines for my ex-
periments, 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 pas-
sionately fond of reading, and I laid 'out in
books all the money I could procure. I was
particularly pleased with accounts of voy-
ages. My first acquisition was Bunyan's col-
ection in small separate volumes. These I
r-tSi wards sold in order to buy an historical
ectcon by R. Burton, which consisted of




24 I-.lF OF- DR. R.ANKLIN.

:mall, cheap volumes, amounting in all to
.bout forty or fifty. My father's little li
brary was principally made up of books of
practical and polemical theology. I read the
greatest part of them. I have since often re=
fretted 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 Plutarch's Lives, in which I
read continually, and I still regard as advan-
tageously employed the time I devoted to
them. I found besides a work of De Foe's,
entitled an 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 deter-
mined my father to make me a printer,
though he had already a son in that profes-
sion. My brother had returned from Eng-
and in 1717, with a press and types, in or-
der to establish a printing-house at Boston.
This business pleased me rluch better than
that of my father, though I had still a predi-




:E.- or DR. :FR-.W-L. 25

election for the sea. To prevent the effects
which might result from this inclination, my
father was impatient to see me engaged with
my brother. I held back for some time; at
length, however, I suffered myself to be per-
suaded, and signed my indentures, being then
only twelve years of age. It was agreed that
I should serve as an apprentice to the age of
twenty-one, and should receive journeyman's
wages only during the last year.
In a very short time I made great profi-
ciency in this business, and became very ser-
-iceable to my brother. I had now an op.
portunity of procuring better books. The ac-
quaintance I necessarily formed with book-
sellers' apprentices, enabled me to borrow a
volume now and then, which I never failed te
return punctually and without injury. ,^
often has it happened to me to pagsi
greater part of the night in reading by Th
bedside, 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. Mathew Adams, an ingeni-
os tradesman, who had a handsome collec-
ion of bools, andl who frequented our print-




26 fl....S o:. DR -f AN. TN.

ing-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, en-
couraged me, and engaged me to write two
ballads. One, called the Light-house Tra-
gedy, -contained an account of the shipwreck
>f Captain Worthilake and his two daughters;
the other was a sailor's song on the capture
of the noted pirate called Teach, or .Blac-
~eard. They were wretched verses in point
of style, mere blindmen's ditties. When
printed, he despatched me about the town to
;ell them. The first had a prodigious run,
because the event was recent, and had made
a at noise.
vanity was flattered by this success;
uT my father checked my exultation, by rid-
culing my productions, and telling me that
versifiers were always poor. I thus escaped
.he misfortune of being a very wretched poet.
But as the faculty of writing prose has been
of great service to me in the course of my
ife, ard pr'iciprally contributed to ray a-




rPf oF DR. FRAKLIM. -27

vancement, I shall relate by what means, sit-
uated as I was, I acquired the small skill I
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 dis-
pute, and were indeed so fond of argumenta-
tion, that nothing was so agreeable to us as
a war of words. This contentious temper, I
would observe by the by, is in danger of be-
coming a very bad habit, and frequently ren-
ders a man's company insupportable, as being
no otherwise capable of indulgence than by
an indiscriminate contradiction ; independ-
ently of the acrimony and discord it intro-
duces into conversation, and is often produc-
tive of dislike, and even hatred, between
persons to whom friendship is indispensably
necessary. I acquired it by reading, while I
lived with my father, books of religious con-
troversy. 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.


and I fell one day into


Collins


an argu-





ment relative to the education of women;
namely, whether it was proper to instruct
them in the sciences, and whether they were
competent to the study. Collins supported
the negative, and affirmed that the task was
beyond their capacity. I maintained the op-
posite opinion, a little perhaps for the pleas-
ure 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 sometime, I committed my thoughts
to paper, made a fair copy, and sent it to
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 man-
ner 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 ele-




LIFX OF DR FRANKLIN. 29

gance of expression, in arrangement, and per-
spicuity. Of this he convinced me by several
examples. I felt the justice of his remarks,
became more attentive to language, and re-
solved to nake 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 ex-
cellent, 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, endeavored to restore the essays to
their due form, and to express each thought
at length, as it was in the original, employ-
ing 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 em-
ploying them, which I thought I should by
c *





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 toseek 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 con-
verted them into prose.
Sometimes also I mingled all my summa-
ries together; and, a few weeks after, en-
deavored 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 decently in the English language,




LIFE OF DR. FRANKLIN. 31

which was one of the great objects of my am-
bition.
The time which I devoted to these exer-
cises, and to reading, was the evening after
my day's labor was finished, the morning be-
fore it began, and Sundays when I could es-
cape attending Divine service. While I lived
with my father, he had insisted on my punc-
tual attendance on public worship, and I still
indeed considered it as a duty, but a duty
which I thought I had no time to practice.
When about sixteen years of age, a work
of Tryon fell into my hands, in which he rec-
ommends vegetable diet. I determined to
observe it. My brother, being a bachelor,
did not keep house, but boarded with his
apprentices in a neighboring family. My
refusing to eat animal food was found incon-
venient, and I was often scolded for my sin-
gularity. I attended to the mode in which
Tryon prepared some of his dishes, particu-
larly 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




82 LIFR OF Dn. FrAN.LIrS.

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 despatching 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 blush for my ignorance in
the art of calculation, which I had twice
failed to learn while at school, I took Cock-
er's Treatise of Arithmetic, and went through
it myself with the utmost ease. I also read
a book of Navigation by Seller and Sturmy,
and made myself master of the little geome-
try it contains, but I never proceeded far in
this science. Nearly at the same time I
read Locke on the Human Understanding,




LJrF or DR. FRANSWTIT- 88

and the Art of Thinking, by Messrs. du Port
Royal.
While laboring 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 enthu-
siasm 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 pe-
rusal of Shaftsbury and Collins had made
me a skeptic; and, being previously so as tc
many doctrines of Christianity, I found Soc-
rates' method to be both the safest for my
self, as well as the most embarrassing tc
those against whom I employed it. It sooE
afforded me singular pleasure ; I incessantl3
practiced it; and became very adroit in ob
training, even from persons of superior un
derstanding, concessions of which they dic




84 LIFE OF DR. FRANKLIN.

not foresee the consequence. Thus I in-
volved 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 ex-
pressing 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 ap-
pears 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 sug-
gested. And since the chief ends of con-
versation are, to inform or to bo informed, to
please or to persuade, I could uish that in-
telligent and well meaning men would not




-I-.RE o. I-R. :-ANL-N. 25

themselves diminish the power they possess
of being useful, by a positive and presump-
uous 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 on 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 yourself as being strongly at-
tached 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, con-
ciliate their good will, or work conviction on
those whom you may be desirous of gaining
over to your views. Pope judiciously ob-
serves,
Men must be taught as if you taught them not,
And t-hin--gs rnnown proposed as in-gs forgot.




86 LurE O DRf. FRANKLIN.

And in the same poem he afterwards advise
us,
To speak, though sure, with seeming diffdence.
He might have added to these lines, one thai
he has coupled elsewhere, in my opinion, wit!


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 defense,
For want of decency is want of sense.
Now want of sense, when a man has the mis-
fortune to be so circumstanced, is it not a


kind of


excuse for want of modesty?


would not the verses have been more a
rate, if they bad been constructed thu's:
Immodest words admit but Ath defense,
The want of decency is want of sense.


But I leave the decision
judges than myself.
In 1720, or 1721, my
print a new public paper.


to better


brother


began


It was the second


that made its appearance in America, and


the New England Courant."


was entitled




In OrF o. FRAKIIX 87

The only one hat existed before was the
" Boston Nevlettex., Some of his friends,
I remember,-woul4 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 1771, 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 work-
ing them off.
Among his friends he had a number of lit-
erary characters, who, as an amusement,
wrote short essays for the paper, which gave
it reputation and increased the sale. These
gentlemen frequently came to our house. I
heard the conversation that passed, and the
accounts they gave of the favorable 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 there-
fore contrived to disguise my hand, and hav-
D




88 MLIE OF Da. FRANE.LIN

ing written an anonymous piece, I placed ii
at night under the door of thbprinting-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 exquisite pleasure to find that it met
with their approbation, and that in their va-
rious 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 snch excellent writers as
I had hitherto supposed them. Be this as it
may, encouraged by this little adventure, I
wrote and sent to press, in the same way,
many other pieces, which were equally ap-
proved : keeping the secret till my slender
stock of information and knowledge for such
performances was pretty completely ex-
hausted, when I made myself known.
My brother tpon this discovery, began to
entertain a little more respect for me; but
he still regarded himself as my master, and
treated me as an apprentice. He thought




IFEl or DR. FLAN nn. BS

himself entitled to the same services from mn
as from any other person. On the contrary.
I conceived that, in many instances, he waE
too rigorous, and that, on the part of a
brother, I had a right to expect greater in-
dulgence. 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 favor. But my
brother was passionate, and often had re-
course 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 pre-
served. My apprenticeship became insup-
portable 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 subject which I have now forgotten,
gave offence to the Assembly. My brother
was taken into custody, censured, and or-
dered into confinement for a month, because,
as I presume, he would not discover the au-




40 =uFr OF DR. rArNKXIN.

thor. 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 man-
agement of the paper was entrusted to me,
and I was bold enough to insert some pas-
quinades against the governors; which highly
pleased my brother, while others began to
look upon me in an unfavorable point of
view, considering me as a young wit, inclined
to satire and lampoon.
My brother's enlargement was accompa-
nied with an arbitrary order from the House
of the Assembly, That James Franklin
should no longer print the newspaper enti-
tled the N ew England Courant.' In this
conjuncture, we held a consultation of our
friends at the printing-house, in order to de-
termine what was to be done- Some pro-
posed 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 appren-
tice, it was resolved that my old indentures
should be given up to me, with a full and en-
tire 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 ar-
rangement. It was, however, carried into im-
mediate execution, and the paper continued,
in consequence, to make its appearanoe=tfor
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 undoubt-
edly dishonorable to avail myself of this cir-
cumstance, and I reckon this action as one
of the first errors of my life; but I uas little
capable of estimating it at its true value, em-
D *




42 LIFE OF DR. FRANKLIN.


battered as


my mind


by the recol-


election of the blows I had received.


Exclu-


sively 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 impertinence not to afford


a very


natural pretext.
When he knew that it was my determina-
tion to quit him, he wished to prevent my


finding employment elsewhere.


He went to


all the printipg-houses in the town, and pre-
judiced the masters against me; who aceord-


ingly refused to employ me.


The idea then


suggested itself to me of going to New York,
the nearest town in which there was a print-
ing-office. Farther reflection confirmed me
in the design of leaving Boston, where I had


already rendered myself an object of


suspi-


cion to the governing party.


It was proba-


ble, from the arbitrary proceedings of


Assembly in the affair


of my brother,


by remaining, I should soon have been ex-


posed to difficulties,


which I had the greater


reason to apprehend, as, from my indiscreet
disputes upon the subject of religion, I began
to be regarded by pious souls with horror,




:F- OF DR. UAk.XJZ. 48

either as an apostate or an atheist. I came
therefore to a resolution: but my father, si4-
ing with my brother, I presumed that if I
attempted to depart openly, measures would
be taken to prevent me. My friend Collins
undertook to favor my flight. He agreed for
my passage with the captain of a New York
sloop, to whom be 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 of
consequence I could neither make my ap-
pearance, 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
favor of a good wind, I found myself in three
lays at New York, nearly three hundred
niles from my home, at the age only of sev-
enteen years, without knowing an individual
n the place, and with very little money in
my pocket.
The inclination I had felt for a sea-faring
ife was entirely subsided, or I should now
have been able to gratify it; but having an-
other trade, and believing myself to be a tol-
erable wor.man, I hesit ated not to offer ry




44 TSr ,Ot DRn. FRANKTJN.

services to old Mr. William Bradford, who
had been the first printer in Pennsylvania,
but had quitted the 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 per-
sons as he wanted; but he told me that his
son, 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. Phila-
delphia was a hundred miles farther. I hesi-
tated not to embark in a boat in order to
repair, by the shortest cut of the sea, to Am-
boy, leaving my trunk and effects to come
after me by the usual and more tedious con-
veyance. 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,
fell into the sea. A-t the moment that he
was sinking, I sized him by the foretop,
saved him, and drew him on board. This
immersion sobered him a little, so that he fell




nafrr orB E 4Of

asleep, after having tal his pocket a
volume which he requested me to dry. This
volume I found to be my old favorite work,
Bunyan's Pilgrim, in Dutch, a beautiful im-
pression on fine paper, with copper-plate en-
gravings a dress in which I had never seen
it in its original language. I have since
learned that it has been translated into al-
most all the languages of Europe, and next
to the Bible, I am persuaded it is one of the
books that 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 Crusoe, his Moll Flanders, and
other works ; as also Richardson in his Pa-
mela, &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 towards




40 XawynS5>. FrANKIN.

the shore. Soeii n, who stood upon the
brink, halloed 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 un-
derstand us, or they deemed our request im-
practicable, and withdrew., Night came on,
and nothing remained for us but to wait qui-
etly the subsiding of the wind; till when, we
determined, that is, 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
drenched as he.
We had very little repose during the whole
night; but the wind abating the next day,
we succeeded in reaching A_-boy 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 rowed being salt. In the evening





I went to bed with a very violent fever. I
had somewhere read that cold water, drunk
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 stop-
ped 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 sus-
pected to be some runaway.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 'urlington, that was kept by one
Dr. Brown.
This man entered into conversation with





me while I took some refreshment, and per-
ceiving that I had read a little, he expressed
towards me considerable interest and friend-
ship. 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 par-
ticular account. He was neither deficient in
understanding or literature, but he was a sad
infidel; and, some years after, wickedly un-
dettook 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 ar-
rival, I had the mortification to learn thai
the ordinary passage-boats had sailed a litth
before. This was on a Saturday, and other<
would be no other boat till the Tuesday fol
lowing. I returned to the house of an olc
woman in the town i ho had sold me some
gingerbread to cat on my passage, and I





asked her advice. She invited me to take
up my abode with her till an opportunity
offered for me to* embark. Fatigued with
having traveled 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
good will, a dinner of beefateaks, 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 com-
pany 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,
E




tLF OF DR. TRANKLN.


and landed near some old palisades, which
served us for firewood, it being a cold night
in October. Here we staid 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 about 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 aus-
picious, 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 pock-
ets 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




TIFES OF DR. FRANKLIN.


the boatmen for my passage. As I ~ad as
sisted them in rowing, they refuse it al
first; but I insisted on their taking it. A
man is sometimes more generous when h(
has little than when he has much money.
probably because, in the first case, he is de-
sirous of concealing his poverty.
I walked towards the top of the street.
looking eagerly on both sides, till I came t<
Market Street, where I met with a child with
a loaf of bread. Often had I made my din-
ner on dry bread. I inquired where he had
bought it, and went straight to the baker'E
shop which he pointed out to me. I asked
for tome biscuits, expecting to fnd such af
we had at Boston; but they made, it seems,
none of that sort at Philadelphia. I then
asked for a threepenny loaf. They made no
loaves of that price. Finding myself ignor-
ant of the prices, as well as of the different
kinds of bread, I desired him to let me have
threepenny-worth of bread of some kind or
other. He gave me three large rolls. I was
surprised at receiving so much: I took them,
however, and having no room in my pockets,
I walked on with a roll under each arm, eat-





ing the third. In this manner I went' through
Market Street to Fourth Street, and passed
the house of Mr. Read, the father of my fu-
ture wife. She was standing at the door,
observed me, and thought with reason, that
I made a very singular and grotesque ap-
pearance.
I then turned the corner, and went through
Chestnut 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 arrived. I stepped into it to take
a draught of the 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 Quaker's meeting-house near the
market-place. I sat down with the rest, and,
after looking round me for some time, hear-
ing nothing said, and being drowsy from my
last night's labor and want of rest, I fell into
a sound sleep. In this state I continued till




Trn or ]DR. fRANWK 68

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 Phila-
delphia.
I began again to walk along the street, by
the river side; and, looking attentively in the
face of every one I met with, 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 trav-
elers here, said he, but it is not a house that
bears a good character; if you will go with
me, I will show you a better one. He con-
ducted me to the Crooked Billet, in Water
Street. There I ordered something for din-
ner, and, during my meal, a number of curi-
ous questions were put to me, my youth and
appearance exciting the suspicion of my be-
ing a runaway. 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
E*




54 LITE OR DR. BRANTKLN.


very early hour, and


did not awake till the


next morning.
As soon as I got up I put myself in as de-
cent 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 traveled on horseback,


he had arrived at Philadelphia before me.
He introduced me to his son, who received
me with civility, and gave me some break-
fast; but told me he had no occasion at
present for a journeyman, having lately pro-


cured one.


He added, that there was an-


other printer newly settled in the town, of
the name of Keimer, who might perhaps em-


ploy me; and that in case of


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.
"Neighbor,"


When we were at his house,
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




TIaF or no. RRa"XnRim. 55

could work, and then said, that at present
e. 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 inhab-
tant of the town well disposed towards him,
he communicated his project to him, and the
prospect he had of success. Bradford was
careful not to discover that he was the father
of the other printer ; and from what Kpirmer
had said, that he hoped shortly to be in po=s
session 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
ox, and the other a perfect novice. Brad-
ord left me with Keimer, who was strangely
surprisedd 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
ont of worn out English letters, with which
he himself was at work upon an elegy on
Aquila Rlose, whom I have entioned above,




56 FlrS or DR. AKXIN.

an *ingenious young man, and of an excellent
character, highly esteemed in the town, sec-
retary to the Assembly, and a very tolerable
poet. Keimer also made verses, but they
were indifferent ones. He could not be said
to write inverse, for his method was to 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 types, it was impossible for
any one to assist him. I endeavored to put
his press in order, which he had not yet used,
and of which indeed he understood nothing:
and, having promised to come and work off
his elegy as soon as it should be ready, I re-
turned to the house of Bradford, who gave
me some 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.




aera or B r.NkL rX. 57

Keimer, though he understood a little of the
business, was merely a compositor, and wholly
incapable of working at'press. He had been
one of 'the French prophets, and knew how
to imitate their supernatural agitations. At
the time of our first acquaintance he pro-
fessed 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 experienc-
ing.
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 pro-
cured me a lodging at Mr. Read's, his land-
lord, 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 ex-
hibited me to her view, eating my roll, and
wandering in the streets.
From this period I began to contract ac-
quaintance with such young people as were
fond of reading, and spent my evenings with
them agreeably, while at the same time ]




58 VIFE OF DR. FRArKLIW.

gained money by my industry, and, thanks
to my frugality, lived contented. I thus for-
got 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 Rob-
ert 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, ani of the affection
which they still entertained for me, assuring
me that, if I would return, everything 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 be had imagined.
Sir William Keith, governor of the prov-
ince, was at Newcastle at the time. Captain




Im or On D. rANKYI. 59

Holmes, being by chance in his company
when he received my letter, took occasion "to
speak of me, and showed it him. The gov-
ernor 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 encour-
aged; 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 af-
terwards 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 him-
self, went immediately down: but the gov-
ernor inquired 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 ar-
rival in the town, and wished me .to accom-
pany him to a tavern, where he and Colonel
French were going to taste 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 suc-
cess, 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,




ralF Or DR. rn.A wrl. 61

from the governor to my father. Meanwhile
the project was to be kept secret, and I con-
tinued to work for Keimer as before.
The governor sent every now and then to
invite me to dine with him. I considered
this as a very great honor; and I was the
more sensible of it, as he conversed with me
in the most affable, familiar, and friendly
manner imaginable.
Towards the end of April, 1724, a small
vessel was ready to sail for Boston. I took
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 rec-
ommended the project of my settling at Phil-
adelphia, 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, had
F




LIFE OF DR. FRANKLIN.


received no intelligence of me; for my broth-
er-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-house. 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 high-
est terms of Philadelphia, the happy life we
led there, and expressed my intention of go-
ing back again. One of them asking 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 aftex
this to let them see my watch ; and, at last,





my brother continuing sullen and out of hu-
mor, 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 to see 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, Captain Holmes being re-
turned, he showed 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 everything he
could in favor of the scheme; but my father
firmly maintained its absurdity, and at last
gave a positive refusal. Tle wrote, however,
a civil letter to Sir William, thanking him
for the protection he bad so obligingly offered
me, but refusing to assist me for the present,
because he thought me too young to be in-




64 LTFE OP DR. FRANKLIN.

trusted with the conduct of so important an
enterprise, and which would require so con-
siderable 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 math-
em'atics and natural philosophy, to be con-
veyed with mine to New York, where he pro-
posed 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 recommen-
dation as that of 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 accomrmo-
dating matters between my brother and me,
he consented to my return to Philadelphia, ad-
vised me to be civil to every body, to endeavor
to obtain general esteem, and avoid satire
and sarcasm, to which he thought I was too
much inclined; adding, that with persever-





ance and prudent economy, I might, by the
time I became of age, save enough to estab-
lish myself in business; and that if a small
sum should then be wanting, he would under-
take to supply it.
This was all I could obtain from him, ex-
cept some trifling presents, in token of
friendship from him and my mother. I em-
barked 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 he received me with
with great affection. One of his friends,
whose name was Vernon, having a debt of
about thirty-six pounds due to him in Penn-
sylvania, begged me to receive it from him,
and to keep the money till Ishould hear from
him: accordingly he gave me an order for
that purpose. This affair occasioned me, in
the sequil, much uneasiness.
At Newport we took on hoard a number
of passengers; among whom were two young
women, and a grave and sensible Quaker lady
F*





with her servants. I had shown an obliging
forwardness in rendering the Quaker some
trifling services, which led her, probably, to
feel an 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 ac-
tions. 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 that she was in the
right. I thanked her for her obliging ad-
vice, and promised to follow it.
When we arrived at New York, they in-
formed me where they lodged, and invited





me to come and sea them. I did not how-
ever 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 pa
sage, I escaped another of a still more dan-
ger us 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 ad-
vantage of being able to devote more time to
reading and study, and an astonishing dispo-
sition for mathematics, in which he left me
far behind him. When at Boston, I had been
accustomed to pass with him almost all my
leisure hours. He was then a sober and in-
dustrious 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




68 UF OF Inf. PRAmnKN.

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 his expenses at
the inn, and to maintain him during the rest
of his journey; a burthen that was very in-
convenient to me.
The Governor of New York, whose name
was Bernet, 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, showed me his library,
which was a very considerable one, and we
talked for some time upon books and au-
thors. This was the second governor who
bad honored me with his attention; and, to a
poor boy, as I was then, these little adven-
tures did not fail to be pleasing.
We arrived at Philadelphia. On the way
I received Vernon's money, without which




L'E o0 DR. RAXK&ZIN. 89

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 expense. Knowing that
I-bad Vernon's money, he was continually
asking me to lend him some of it; promising
to repay me as soon as he should get em-
ployment. At last he had drawn so muei
of this money, that I was extremely alarmed
at what might become of me, should he fail
to make good the deficiency. His habit of
drinking did not at all diminish, and was a
frequent source of discord between us; for
when he had drunk a little too much, he 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 re-
main upon the water all night."-" As you




70 TIJE Or DR. FPANKIIN.

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, ,nd threw him
head foremost into the river. I knew that
he was a good swimmer, and was therefore
vnder 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 at the same time with the
oars to make him let go his hold. He was
nearly suffocated with rage, but obstinately
refused making any promise to row. Per-
ceiving, at length, that his strength began to
be exhausted, we took him into the boat, and
conveyed him home in the evening com-
pletely drenched. The utnost coldness sub-
sisted between us after this adventure. At
last the captain of a West India ship, wh<




LPn OF nD. F FAfXfUN. 71

was commissioned to procure a tutor for the
children of a gentleman at Barbadoes, meet-
ing with Qollins, offered him the place. He
accepted it, and took his leave of me, prom-
ising 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 in-
dividuals: years of maturity were not al-
ways accompanied with discretion, neither
was youth in every instance devoid of it.
4' Since your father," added he, will not
set you up in business, I 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 when 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 sus-





pected .not for an instant the sincerity of'the
offer. I had hitherto kept the project,, with
which Sir William had inspired me, of set-
tling in business, a secret at Philadelphia,
and I still continued to do so. Had my reli-
ance on the governor been known, some
friend, better acquainted with his character
than myself, would doubtless have advised
me not to trust him; for I afterwards learned
that he was universally known to be liberal
of promises, when he bad no intention to
perform. But having never solicited him,
how could I suppose his offers to be deceit-
ful ? On the contrary, I believed him to be
the best man in the world.
I gave him an inventory of a small print-
ing-office, the expense of which I had calcu-
lated 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 ar-
ticle 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




LIEr OF DR. rnANKIIN. 73

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 Lon-
don and Philadelphia. But the Annis was
not to sail for some months. I therefore
continued to work with Keimer, unhappy re-
specting 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, per-
haps, 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.
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 my master Tyron, the cap-
ture of every fish as a sort of murder, com-
mitted without provocation, since these ani-
G




74 LIFn ON On. krAxSWKlW

mals had neither done, nor were capable of do-
ing, the smallest injury to any one that should
justify the measure. This mode of reason-
ing I conceived to be unanswerable. Mean-
while, I had formerly been extremely fond
of fish; and, when one of these cod was
taken out of the fryingpan, I thought its
flavor delicious. I hesitated some time be-
tween principle and inclination, till at last
recollecting, that when the cod had been
opened some small .fish were found in its
belly, I said to myself, if you eat one ano-
ther, 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. How convenient does it prove to be a
rational anirnal, 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 re-
tained a portion of his former enthusiasm;
and, being fond of argument, we frequently




IFAP OF DR. nlRANXN. 75

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 ri-
diculously cautions, and would scarcely an-
swer 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 doc-
trine by preaching, and I to refute every op-
ponent.
When he explained to me his tenets, I
found many absurdities which I refused tc
admit, unless he would agree in turn to adopi
some of my opinions. Keimer wore his bear
long, because Moses had somewhere said
Thou shalt not mar the corners of thy
be rd." IHe likewise observed the Sabbath
X these were with him two very essential




76 LIFE OF DR. FRANKLIN.

points. I disliked them both; but I oon-
aented to adopt them, provided he would
agree to 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 re-
gimen, if I would bear him company; and,
in reality, we continued it for three months.
A woman in the neighborhood 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 the more agreeable to me, as it
turned to good account; for the whole ex-
pense 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 have
suddenly returned again to my ordinary diet,
without experiencing the smallest inconveni-
ence ; which has led me to regard as of no im-
portance the advice commonly given, of intro-
ducing gradually such alterations of regimen.




Laf oBr D. aFAifT-N. 77

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 af-
fection; 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 too 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 she thought
that my expectations were not so well founded
as I imagined.
My most intimate acquaintance 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 princi-
pal attorneys in the town, and the other clerk
to a merchant. Watson was an upright, pi-
ous, 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 friend-
ships, but too much inclined to the critic iJ
matters of literature. Ralph was ingenuous
and shrewd, genteel in his address, and ex-
tremely eloquent. I do not rementher to
have met with a more agreeable speaker.
They were both enamored of the muses, and
had already evinced their passion by some
small poetical productions.
It was a custom with us to take a charm-
ing walk on Sundays, in the woods that
border the Skuylkill- Here we read to-
gether, and afterwards conversed on what we
read. Ralph was disposed to give himself
up entirely to poetry. ole flattered himself




XFA or Df. a XAN nim 79

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 endeavored to
dissuade him, by assuring 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 diligence and
assiduity, though you have no capital, of so
far succeeding as to be employed as a factor;
and may thus, in time, acquire the means of
setting up for yourself." I concurred in
these sentiments, but at the same time ex-
pressed my approbation of amusing ourselves
sometimes with poetry, with a view to im-
prove our style. In consequence of this il
was proposed, that, at our next meeting, each
of us should bring a copy of verses of his owr
composition. Our object in this competition
was to benefit each other by our mutual re.
marks, criticisms, and corrections; and as
style and expression were all we had in view
we excluded every idea of invention, b3
agreeing that our task should be a version of




80 MfLf. OF DR. FBAKWLIN.

the eighteenth Psalm, in which is described
the descent of the Deity.
The time of our meeting drew near, when
Ralph called upon me, and told me that his
performance was ready. I informed him that
I had been idle, and, not much liking the
task, had done nothing. He showed the
his piece, and asked me what I thought of it.
I expressed myself in terms of warm appro-
bation; because it really appeared to have
considerable merit. He then said, sborne
will never acknowledge the smallest degree
of excellence in any production of mine.
Envy alone dictates to him a thousand ani-
madversions. Of you he is not so jealous: I
wish, therefore, you would take the verses,
and produce them as your own. I will pre-
tend 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 to prevent all suspicion.
We met. Watson's performance was the
first that was read- It had some beauties,
but many faults- We next read Osborne's,
which was much better. Ralph did it jus-




LrF or Dn. LANKtMrN. 81

twice, remarking a few imperfections, and ap-
plauding such parts as were excellent. He
had himself nothing to show. It was now
my turn. I made some difficulty; Peemed as
if I wished to be excused; pretended that I
had no time to make corrections, &c. No
excuse, however, was admissible, and the
piece must be produced. It was read and
reread. 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 that he was no more able to criticise
than he was able to write.
When Osborne was alone as alone with me, he ex-
pressed himself still more strongly in favor
of what he considered as my performance.
He pretended that he had put some restraint
on himself before, apprehensive of my con-
struing his commendations into flattery.
" But who would have supposed," said he,
"'Franklin to be capable of such a composi-
tion? What painting, what energy, what
fire !' He has surpassed the original. In
his common conversation he appears not tb





have a choice of
at a loss; an,


words;


he hesitates, and


d yet, good God, how he


writes !"
At our next meeting Ralph discovered the
trick we had played Osborne, who was rallied
without mercy.
By this adventure Ralph was fixed in his
resolution of becoming a poet.- I left noth-


ing unattempted to divert him


from his pur-


pose; but he persevered, till at last the read-
ing of Pope* effected his cure: he became,
however, a very tolerable prose 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 seri-


ously engaged, that whoever died first should

Probably the Duncind, where we find him thus im-
mortalized by the nithor .
Silence, ye Wwolves, while Ralph to Cyntlhi howls
And makes night hideous, answer him, ye owls.




fLIPf OF DR. FLPANKM 8

return if possible and pay a friendly .visit to
the survivor, to give him an account of the
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 his 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 hin. I saw his secretary, Dr. Bard, whc
told me, that the Governor was extremely
busy writing, but that he would be down at
Newcastle before the vessel, and that the let.
ters 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 mer-
cantile houses, in order to sell goods by com-
mission; but I afterwards learned that' hav-
ing 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 in-
terchanged promises of fidelity with Miss
Read, I quitted Philadelphia. At Newcastle
the vessel came to anchor. The Governor
was arrived, and I went to his lodgings.
His secretary received me with great civility,
told me, on the part of the Governor, that
he could not see 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 voy-
age and speedy return. I returned, some-
what astonished, to the ship, but still without
entertaining the slightest suspicion-
Mr. Hamilton, a celebrated barrister of
Philadelphia, had taken a passage to Eng-




LIFE O DRI. iRANKtN. 85

land for himself and his son, and, in conjunc-
tion 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 of 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 was
recalled at a very groat expense, to plead
the cause of a vessel that had been seized;
and just as we were about to sail, Colonel
French came on board, and showed 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 despatches of the
Governor had been brought on board by
Colonel French, I asked the captain for the
letters that were to be intrusted to my care.
He told me that they were all put together
Ui





in the bag, which he could not open at pres-
ent; but before we 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 had 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 re-
spects the voyage was by no means an-agree-
able 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 in 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 Gov-
ernor Keith. 1 have no acquaintance,"




LIME 01- DR. F.RALINT.-:.. 8I

said he, with any such person; and, open-
ing the letter, Oh, it is from Riddlesden "
he exclaimed. "I have lately discovered
him to be a very arrant knave, and wish to
have nothing to do either with him gr his
letters.' He instantly put the letter into my
hand, turned upon his heel, and left me tc
serve some customers.
I was astonished at finding these letters
were not from the Governor. Reflecting,
and putting 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 cha-=
acter, told me there was not the least proba-
bility of his having written a single letter;
that no one who knew him ever placed any
reliance on him, and laughed at my credulity
n supposing that the Governor would give
me a letter of credit, when he had no credit
for himself. As I showed some uneasiness
respecting what step I should take, he ad-
vised 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 rore





advantageously when -you return to Amer-
ica.
We knew already, as well as the stationer,
attorney Riddlesden to be aknave. He had
nearly ruined the father of Miss Read, by
drawing him in to be hia 'security. We
learned from his letter, that he was secretly
carrying on an intrigue, 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 resent-
ment against the Governor, put the letter into
his hands. He thanked me very sincerely,
the information it contained being of conse-
quence to him; and from that moment be-
stowed on me his friendship, which afterwards
proved, on many occasions, serviceable to me.
But what are we to thin% of a Governox
who could play so scurvy a trick, and thua
grossly deceive a poor young lad, wholly des-
titute of experience ? It was a practice witl





him. Wishing to please every body, and
having little to bestow, he was lavish of
promises. He was, in other respects, sen-
sible and judicious, a very tolerable writer,
and a good governor for the people though
not so for the proprietaries, whoae Eistruc-
tions 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
sixpence a week, which was as much as we
could afford. He met with some relations in
London, but they were poor, and not able to
assist him. He now, for the first time, in-
formed me of his intention to remain in Eng-
land, and that he had no thoughts of ever
returning to Philadelphia. He was totally
without money; the little he had been able
to. raise having barely suficed for his pas-
sage. I had still fifteen pistoles remaining;
and to me he had from time to time recourse,
while be tried to get employment.
At first believing himself possessed of
talents for the stage, he thought of turning
actor; but Wilkes, to whom he applied,
H*




o90 LI OF D-. fRANKXTN.

frankly advised him to renounce the idea, as
it was impossible he should succeed. He
next proposed to Roberts, a bookseller in
Paternoster Row, to write a weekly paper in
the manner of the Spectator, upon terms to
which Roberts would not listen. Lastly, he en-
deavored to procure employment as a copyist,
and applied to the lawyers and stationers about
the Temple, but he could fnd no vacancy.-
As to myself, I immediately got engaged
at Palmer's, at that time a noted printer in
arthololomew-close, with whom I continued
nearly a year. I applied very assiduously to
my work; but I expended with Ralph almost
all that I earned. Plays and other places of
amusement which we frequented together,
having 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.




tnt or nt. Pfl.&Nxtl. 91

I was employed at Palmer's on the second
edition of Woolaston's Religion of Nature.
Some of his arguments appearing to me not
to be well founded, I wrote a small metaphy-
sical treatise, in which I animadverted on
those passages. It was entitled a Disser-
tation 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 con-
sideration, and regarded me as a young mrn
of talents; though he seriously took me to
task for the principles of my pamphlet, which
he looked upon as abominable. The print-
ing of this work was another error of my
life
While I lodged in Little Britain I formed
an acquaintance with a bookseller of the
name of Wilcox, whose shop was next door
to me. Circulating libraries were not then
n 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 was to return when I had return we had ad t'e .




92 L. 01F DR.l. .PFRA.NTN.

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 bands of a
surgeon, of the name of Lyons, author of a
book entitled, "* nfallibility of Human Judg-
ment," was the occasion of a considerable in-
timacy between us. He expressed great es-
teem for me, came frequently to see me, in
order to converse upon metaphysical subjects,
and introduced me to Dr. Mandeville, author
of the Fable of the Bees, who had instituted
a club at a tavern in Cheapside, of which he
was the soul: he was a facetious and very
amusing character. He also introduced me,
at .Batson's coffee-house, to Dr. Pemberton,
who promised to give me an opportunity of
seeing Sir Isaac Newton, which I very ard-
ently 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 the asbestos, which *A$nly
purifies. Sir Hans Sloane, hearlg- it,
called upon me, and invited me to his- bpuge
in Bloomsbury Squarre, where, after showing
me every t-hig that was curious, he prevailed




IfE 'or DB. FnA DLINx. 93

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 sen-
sible, and, having received an education some-
what 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 re-
solved 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 ac-
counts. But considering the office as be-
neath 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 honorable, he
changed his name, and did me the honor of
assuming mine. He wrote to me soon after
his departure, informing me that he was set-




94 -- O3 0 l on. -RAJLIN,

.led at a small village in Berkshire. In his
better he recommended Mrs. T. the milliner,
to my care, and requested an answer, di-
rected 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 endeavoring to prevail on him to re-
nounce this pursuit. Young had just pub-
lished 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 instrumental-
ity, of rising in the world. It was all to no
purpose; paper after paper of his poem con-
tinued to arrive every post.
Meanwhile Mrs. T*** having lost, on his ac-
count, both her friends and business, was fre-
quently 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 sit
-ation, I attem--ted liberties (an'oter error





of my life), which she repelled with becom-
ing 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 wholly unable to pay ime; aid as, by
losing his friendship, I was relieved at the
same time from a very heavy burden.
I now began to think of laying by some
money. The printing-house of Watts, near
Lincoln's-inn-fields, being a still more consid-
erable one than that in which I worked, it
was probable I might find it more advanta-
geous to be employed there. I offered my-
self, 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 accus-
tomed in America, where the printers work





alternately as compositors and at the press.
I drank nothing but water. The other'work-
men, 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 examples, that the
American Aquatic, as they used to call me,
was stronger, than those who drank porter.
The beer-boy had sufficient employment du-
ring 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 again about six
o'clock in the afternoon, and another after
he had finished his day's work. This cus-
tom appeared to me abominable : but e had
need, he said, of all this beer, in order to ac-
quire strength to work.
I endeavored to convince him that the
bodily strength furnished by the 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 con-
sequently if he ate this loaf, and drank a pint
of water with it, he would derive more strength
from it than from a pint of beer. This rea-
soning, 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 expense 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 de-
manded 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 ab-
sent, no little trick that malice could suggest
was left unpractised upon me. I found my
letters mixed, my pages transposed, my mat-
ter broken, &c., &c., all which was attributed
I





to the spirit that haunted the chapel* and
tormented th those that were not regularly ad-
mitted. I was at last obliged to submit to
pay, notwithstanding the protection of the
master; convinced of the folly of not keep-
ing up a good understanding with those
among whom we are destined to live.
'After this I lived in the utmost harmony
with my fellow laborers, and soon acquired
considerable influence among them. I pro-
posed some alteration 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 pro-
cured, like me, from a neighboring house, a
good basin 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
Pinting-h oItis 1in girl are thusi denominated by
the workmen : tile spir they c:all by the name of Ralp.




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