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do with himself, a crimp's bill was put into his hand, offering immediate entertainment and encouragement to such as would bind themselves to serve in America. He went directly, signed the indentures, was put into the ship, and came over ; never writing a line to his friends to acquaint them what was become of him. He was lively, witty, good-natured, and a pleasant companion ; but idle, thoughtless, and imprudent to the last degree.

John, the Irishman, soon ran away; with the rest I begar to live very agreeably, for they all respected me the more, as they found Keimer incapable of instructing them, and that from me they learned something daily. My acquaintance with ingenious people in the town increased. We never worked on Saturday, that being Keimer's Sabbath ; so that I had two days for reading. Keimer himself treated me with great civility and apparent regard, and nothing now made me uneasy but my debt to Vernon, which I was yet unable to pay, being hitherto but a poor economist. He, however, kindly made no demand of it.

Our printing-house often wanted sorts, and there was no letterfoundery in America ; I had seen types cast at James's in London, but without much attention to the manner; however, I contrived a mould, and made use of the letters we had as puncheons, struck the matrices in lead, and thus supplied in a pretty tolerable

way

all deficiencies. I also engraved several things, on occasion; made the ink; I was warehouseman, and, in short, quite a fac-totum. But, however serviceable I might be, I found that my services became every day of less importance, as the other hands improved iu their business; and, when Keimer paid me a second quarter's wages, he let me know that he felt them too heavy, and thought I should make an abatement. He grew by degrees less civil, put on more the airs of master, frequently found fault, was captious, and seemed ready for an outbreaking. I went on nevertheless with a good deal of patience, thinking that his encumbered circumstances were partly the cause.

At length a trifle snapt our connection; for, a great noise harpening near the court-house, I put my head out of the window to see what was the matter. Keimer, being in the street, looked up and saw me, called out to me in a loud voice and angry tone to mind my business ; adding some reproachful words, that nettled me the more for their publicity; all the neighbors who were looking out on the same occasion being witnesses how I was treated. He came up immediately into the printing-house, continued the quarrel, high words passed on both sides, he gave me the quarter's warning we had stipulated, expressing a wish that he had not been obliged to so long a warning. I told him his

wish was unnecessary, for I would leave him that instant; and so, taking my hat, walked out of doors, desiring Meredith, whom I saw below, to take care of some things I left, and bring them to my lodgings.

Meredith came accordingly in the evening, when we talked my affair over. He had conceived a great regard for me, and was very unwilling that I should leave the house while he remained in it. He dissuaded me from returning to my native country, which I began to think of; he reminded me that Keimer was in debt for

all he possessed, that his creditors began to be

uneasy ; that he kept his shop miserably, sold often without a profit for ready money, and often trusted without keeping accounts; that he must therefore fail, which would make a vacancy I might profit of. I objected my want of money. He then let me know that his father had a high opinion of me, and, from some discourse that had passed between them, he was sure would advance money to set me up, if I would enter into partnership with him. “ My time,” said he, “ will be out with Keimer in the spring; by that time we may have our press and types in from London. I am sensible I am no workman; if you like it, your skill in the business shall be set against the stock I furnish, and we will share the profits equally.”

The proposal was agreeable to me, and I consented; his father was in town, and approved of it; the more, as he said I had great influence with his son, had prevailed on him to abstain long from dram-drinking, and he hoped might break him of that wretched habit entirely; when we came to be so closely connected. I gave an inventory to the father, who carried it to a merchant; the things were sent for, the secret was to be kept till they should arrive, and in the mean time I was to get work, if I could, at the other printing-house. But I found no vacancy there, and so remained idle a few days, when Keimer, on a prospect of being employed to print some paper money in New Jersey, which would require cuts and various types, that I only could supply, and apprehending Bradford might engage me and get the job from him, sent me a very civil message, that old friends should not part for a few words the effect of sudden passion, and wishing me to return. Meredith persuaded me to comply, as it would give more opportunity for his improvement under my daily instructions; so I returned, and we went on more smoothly than for some time before. The New Jersey job was obtained ; I contrived a copper-plate press for it, the first that had been seen in the country; I cut several ornaments and checks for the bills. We went together to Burlington, where I

executed the whole to satisfaction; and he received so large a sum for the work as to be enabled thereby to keep himself longer from ruin.

At Burlington I made acquaintance with many principal people of the province. Several of them had been appointed by the Assembly a committee to attend the press, and take care that no more bills were printed than the law directed. They were, therefore, by turns constantly with us, and generally he who attended brought with him a friend or two for company. My mind having been much more improved by reading than Keimer's, I suppose it was for that reason my conversation seemed to be more valued. They had me to their houses, introduced me to their friends, and showed me much civility; while he, though the master, was a little neglected. In truth, he was an odd creature; ignorant of common life, fond of rudely opposing received opinions, slovenly to extreme dirtiness, enthusiastic in some points of religion, and a little knavish withal.

We continued there near three months; and by that time I could reckon among my acquired friends Judge Allen, Samuel Bustill, the Secretary of the Province, Isaac Pearson, Joseph Cooper, and several of the Smiths, members of Assembly, and Isaac Decow, the Surveyor-General. The latter was a shrewd, sagacious old man, who told me that he began for him self when young by wheeling clay for the brickmakers, learned to write after he was of age, carried the chain for surveyors, who taught him surveying, and he had now, by his industry, acquired a good estate; and, said he, “ I foresee that you will soon work this man out of his business, and make a fortune in it at Philadelphia.” He had then not the least intimation of my intention to set up there or anywhere else. These friends were afterwards of great use to me, as I occasionally was to some of them. They all continued their regard for me as long as they lived.

Before I enter upon my public appearance in business, it may be well to let you know the then state of my mind with regard to my principles and morals, that you may see how far these influenced the future events of my life. My parents had early given me religious impressions, and brought me through my childhood piously, in the Dissenting way. But I was scarce fifteen, when, after doubting by turns several points, as I found them disputed in the different books I read, I began to doubt of the Revelation itself. Some books against Deism fell into my hands; they were said to be the substance of the sermons which had been preached at Boyle's Lectures. It happened that they wrought an effect on me quite contrary to what was in

tended by them. For the arguments of the Deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations, in short, I soon became a thorough Deist. My arguments perverted some others, particularly Collins and Ralph; but, each of these having wronged me greatly without the least compunction, and recollecting Keith’s conduct towards me (who was another freethinker), and my own towards Vernon and Miss Read, - which at times gave me great trouble, - I began to suspect that this doctrine, though it might be true, was not very useful. My London pamphlet, printed in 1725,* which had for its motto these lines of Dryden :

“ Whatever is, is right. But purblind man

Sees but a part o' the chain, the nearest links ;
His eyes not carrying to that equal beam,
That poises all above ;

and which, from the attributes of God, his infinite wisdom, good ness and power, concluded that nothing could possibly be wrong in the world, and that vice and virtue were empty distinctions, no such things existing, appeared now not so clever a performance as I once thought it; and I doubted whether some error

* A copy of this, long supposed to be out of existence, has been recently found in England. It is an octavo of sixteen pages, entitled “ A Discourse on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain; in a letter to a friend.” The motto from Dryden, misquoted by Franklin in his Autobiography, is given as follows :

" Whatever is, is in its causes just,
Since all things are by fate ; but purblind man
Sees but a part of the chain, the nearest link ;
His eyes not carrying to the equal beam
That poises all above."

He says,

The pamphlet, of which only a hundred copies were printed, is addressed “to Mr. J. R.” (James Ralph), and commences : “ Sir, I have here, ac cording to your request, given you my present thoughts on the general state of the universe ; " and concludes : “Truth will be truth, though it sometimes prove mortifying and distasteful.” The attempt was rather presumptuous for a lad of nineteen ; and Franklin lived to be ashamed of it. in a letter to Benjamin Vaughan, dated November 9, 1779: “In 1730 1 wrote a piece on the other side of the question, which began with laying for its foundation this fact, “That almost all men in all ages and countries have at times made use of PRAYER.' Thence I reasoned that, if all things are or dained, prayer must, among the rest, be ordained. But, as prayer can procure no change in things that are ordained, praying must then be useless, and an absurdity. God would, therefore, not ordain praying, if everything else was ordained. But praying exists; therefore all other things are not ordained, &c. This pamphlet was never printed, and the manuscript has been long lost. The great uncertainty I found in metaphysical reasonings disgusted me, and I quitted that kind of reading and study for others more satisfactory.”

had not insinuated itself unperceived into my argument, so as to infect all that followed, as is common in metaphysical reason ings.

I grew convinced that truth, sincerity and integrity, in dealings between man and man, were of the utmost importance to the felicity of life; and I formed written resolutions, which still remain in my journal-book, to practise them ever while I lived. Revelation had, indeed, no weight with me, as such; but I entertained an opinion that, though certain actions might not be bad because they were forbidden by it, or good because it commanded them, yet probably those actions might be forbidden because they were bad for us, or commanded because they were beneficial to us, in their own natures, all the circumstances of things considered. And this persuasion, with the kind hand of Providence, or some guardian angel, or accidental favorable circumstances and situations, or all together, preserved me through this dangerous time of youth, and the hazardous situations I was sometimes in among strangers, remote from the eye and advice of my father, free from any wilful gross immorality or injustice, that might have been expected from my want of religion. I say wilful, because the instances I have mentioned had something of necessity in them, from my youth, inexperience, and the knavery of others. I had therefore a tolerable character to begin the world with ; I valued it properly, and determined to preserve it.

We had not been long returned to Philadelphia, before the new types arrived from London. We settled with Keimer, and left him by his consent before he heard of it. We found a house to let near the Market, and took it. To lessen the rent, which was then but twenty-four pounds a year, though I have since known it to let for seventy, we took in Thomas Godfrey, a glazier, and his family, who were to pay a considerable part of it to us, and we to board with them. We had scarce opened our letters and put our press in order, before George House, an acquaintance of mine, brought a countryman to us, whom he had met in the street, inquiring for a printer. All our cash was now expended in the variety of particulars we had been obliged to procure, and this countryman's five shillings, being our firstfruits, and coming so seasonably, gave me more pleasure than any crown I have since earned ; and the gratitude I felt towards House has made me often more ready than perhaps I otherwise should have been to assist young beginners.

There are croakers in every country, always boding its oruin. Such a one there lived in Philadelphia ; a person of note, an elderly man, with a wise look and a very grave manner of speaking; his

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