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dence, till a son is grown up fit to undertake and go on with it; to the lasting advantage and enriching of the family.
About the year 1734, there arrived among us a young Presbyterian preacher, named Heinphill, who delivered with a good voice, and apparently extempore, most excellent discourses; which drew together considerable numbers of different persuasions, who joined in admiring them. Among the rest, I became one of his constant hearers, his sermons pleasing me, as they had little of the dogmatical kind, but inculcated strongly the practice of virtue, or what in the religious style are called good works. Those however of our congregation who considered themselves as orthodox Presbyterians, disapproved bis doctrine, and were joined by most of the old ministers, who arraigned him of heterodoxy before the synod, in order to have him silenced. I became his zealous partisan, and contributed all I could to raise a party in his favor, and combated for him awhile with some hopes of success. There was much scribbling pro and con upon the occasion; and finding that though an elegant preacher, he was but a poor wri. ter, I wrote for him two or three pamphlets, and a piece in the Gazette of April, 1735. Those pamphlets, 'as is generally the case with controversial writings, though eagerly read at the time, were soon put out of vogue, and I question whether a single copy of them vow exists.
During the contest an unlucky occurrence hurt his cause exceedingly. One of our adversaries liaving heard him preach a sermon that was much admired, thought he had somewhere read the sermon before, or at least a part of it. On searching he found that part quoted at length in one of the British Reviews, from a Discourse of Dr. Foster’s. "This detection gavo many of our party disgust, who accordingly abandoned bis cause, and occasioned our more speedy discomfiture in the synod. I stuck by him however; I rather approved of his giving us good sermons composed by others, than bad ones of his own manufacture; though the latter was the practice of our common teachers. He afterwards acknowleged to me that none of those he preached were his own; adding, that his memory was such as enabled him to retain and repeat any sermon after once reading only. On our defeat he left us in search elsewhere of better fortune, and I quitted the congrcgation, never attending it aster; though I continued many years my subscription for the support of its ministers.
I had begun in 1733 to study languages; I soon made my. self so mach a master of the French, as to be able to read the books in that language with ease: I then undertook the Italian: an acquaintance who was also learning it, used often to tempt me to play chess with him: finding this took up too much of the time I had to spare for study, I at length refused to play any more, unless on this condition, that the victor in every game should have a riglit to impose a task, either of parts of the grammar to be got by heart, or in translations, &c. which tasks the vanquished was to perform upon honor before our next meeting: as we played pretty equally, we thus beat one another into that language. I afterwards, with a little pains-taking, acquired as much of the Spanish as to read their books also. I bave already mentioned that I had only one year's instruction in a Latin school, and that when very young, after which I neglected that language entirely. But when I had attained an acquaintance with the French, Italian, and Spanish, I was surprised to find on looking over a Latin Testament, that I understood more of that language than I had imagined; which encouraged me to apply myself again to the study of it, a::d I mct with the more success, as those preceding languages had greatly smoothed my way. From these circumstances, I have thought there was some inconsistency in our common mode of teaching languages. We are told that it is proper to begin first with the Latin, and having acquired that, it will be more easy to attain those modern languages which are derived from it: and yet we do not begin with the Greek, in order more easily to acquire the Latin. It is true that if we can clamber and get to the top of a staircase without using the steps, we shall more easily gain them in descending; but certainly if we begin with the lowVol. 1
est, we shall with more ease ascend to the top; and I would therefore offer it to the consideration of those who superintend the education of our youth, whether,-since many of those who begin with the Latin, quit the same after spending some years without having made any great proficiency, and what they have learned becomes almost useless, so that their time has been lost-it would not have been better to have begun with the French, proceeding to the Italian, and Latin. For though after spending the same time they should quit the study of languages and never arrive at the Latin, they would however have acquired another tongue or two that being in moderir use might be serviceable to them in common life.
After ten years' absence from Boston, and having become easy in my circumstances, I made a journey thither to visit my relations, which I could not sooner afford. In returning I called at Newport to see my brother James, then settled there with his printing house; our former differences were forgotten, and our meeting was very cordial and affectionate: he was fast declining in health, and requested of me, that in case of his death, which he apprehended not far distant, I would take home bis son, then but ten years of age, and bring him up to the printing business. This I accordingly performed, sending him a few years to school before I took bim into the office. His mother carried on the business till he was grown up, when I assisted him with an assortment of new types, those of his father being in a manner worn out. Thus it was that I made my brother ample amends for the service I had deprived him of by leaving him so early.
In 1736, I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four years old, by the small pox, taken in the common way. I long regretted him bitterly, and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation. This I mention for the sake of parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a child died under it; my example shewing that the regret may be the sanje either way, and therefore that the safer should be chosen.
Our club, the Junto, was found so useful, and afforded such satisfaction to the members, that some were desirous of introducing their friends, which could not well be done without exceeding what we had settled as a convenient number; viz. twelve. We had from the beginning made it a rule to keep our institution a secret, which was pretty well observed; the intention was to avoid applications of improper persons for admittance, some of whom perhaps, we might find it difficult to refuse. I was one of those who were against any addition to our number, but instead of it made in writing a proposal, that every member separately should endeavor to form a subordinate club, with the same rules, respecting queries, &c. and without informing them of the connection with the Junto. The advantages proposed were the improvement of so many more young citizens by the use of our institutions; our better acquaintance with the general sentiments of the inhabitants on any occasion, as the junto member might propose what queries we should desire, and was to report to the Junto, what passed in his separate club: the promotion of our particular interests in business by more extensive recommendation, and the increase of our influence in public affairs, and our power of doing good by spreading through the several clubs the sentiments of the Junto. The project was approved, and every member undertook to form his club: but they did not all succeed. Five or six only were completed, which were called by different names, as the Vine, the Union, the Band, &c. they were useful to themselves, and afforded us a good deal of amusement, information, and instruction; besides answering in some considerable degree our views of influencing the public on particular occasions, of which I shall give some instances in course of time as they happened.
My first promotion was my being chosen, in 1736, clerk of the general assembly. The choice was made that year without opposition, but the year following when I was again proposed, (the choice like that of the members being annual) a new member made a long speech against me, in order to favor some other candidate. I was however chosen, which was the more agreeable to me, as besides the pay for the immediate service of clerk, the place gave me a better opportunity of keeping up an interest among the members, which secured to me the business of printing the votes, laws, papermoney, and other occasional jobs for the public, that on the whole were very profitable. I therefore did not like the opposition of this new member, who was a gentleman of fortune and education, with talents that were likely to give him in time great influence in the house, which indeed afterwards happened. I did not however aim at gaining his favor by paying any servile respect to him, but after some time took this other method. Having heard that he had in his library a certain very scarce and curious book, I wrote a note to him, expressing my desire of perusing that book, and requesting that he would do me the favor of lending it to me for a few days. He sent it immediately; and I returned it in about a week with another note, expressing strongly my sense of the favor. When we next met in the house, he spoke to me, (which he had never done before) and with great civility; and he ever after manifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that we became great friends, and our friendship continued to his death. This is another instance of the truth of an old maxim I had learned, which says, “ He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.” And it shows how much more profitable it is prudently to remove, than to resent, return, and continue inimical proceedings.
In 1737, colonel Spotswood, late governor of Virginia, and then postmaster-general, being dissatisfied with the conduct of his deputy at Philadelphia, respecting some negli gence in rendering, and want of exactness in framing his accounts, took from him the commission and offered it to me. I accepted it readily, and found it of great advantage; for though the salary was small, it facilitated the correspondence that improved my newspaper, increased the number demanded, as well as the advertisements to be inserted, so that it came to afford me a considerable income. My old competitor's