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of rest the preceding night, I fell fast asleep and continued so till the meeting broke up, when some one was kind enough to rouse me. This therefore was the first house I was in, or slept in, in Philadelphia.
I then walked down towards the river, and looking in the faces of every one, I'met a young Quaker man whose countenance pleased me, and accosting him requested he would tell me where a stranger could get a lodging. We were then near the sign of the Three Mariners. Here,” said he, “ is a house where they receive strangers, but it is not a reputable one; if thee wilt walk with me, I'll shew thee a better one;" and he conducted me to the Crooked Billet in Water street. There I got a dinner; and while I was eating, several questions were asked me; as from my youth and appearance I was suspected of being a runaway. After dinner my host having shewn me to a bed, I lay myself on it, without undressing, and slept till six in the evening, when I was called to supper. I went to bed again very early, and slept very soundly 'till next morning. Then I dressed myself as neat as I could, and went to Andrew Bradford the printer's. I found in the shop the old man his father, whom I had seen at New York, and who, travelling on horseback, had got to Philadelphia before me. He introduced me to his son, who received me civilly, gave me a breakfast, but told me he did not at present want a hand, being lately supplied with,
one: but there was another printer in town lately set up, one Keimer, who perhaps might employ me: if not, I should be welcome to lodge at his house, and he would give me a little work to do now and then 'till fuller business should offer.
The old gentleman said he would go with me to the new printer; and when we found him, “ Neighbour,” said Bradford, “ I have brought to see you, a
young man of your business; perhaps you may want such a one.” He asked me a few questions, put a composing-stick in my hand to see how I worked, and then said he would employ me soon, though he had just then nothing for me to do. And taking old Bradford, whom he had never seen before, to be one of the town's people that had a good-will for him, entered into a conversation on his present undertaking and prospects; while Bradford, (not discovering that he was the other printer's father,) on Keimer's saying he expected soon to get the greatest part of the business into his own hands, drew him on by artful questions, and starting little doubts, to explain all his views, what influence he relied on, and in what manner he intended to proceed. I, who stood by and heard all, saw immediately that one was a crafty old sophister, and the other a true novice. Bradford left me with Keimer, who was greatly surprized when I told him who the old man was.
The printing-house, I found, consisted of an old damaged press and a small worn-out fount of English types which he was using himself, composing an Elegy on Aquila Rose, before mentioned ; an ingenious young man, of excellent character, much respected in the town, secretary to the assembly, and a pretty poet. Keimer made verses too, but very indifferently. He could not be said to write them, for his method was to compose them in the 'types directly out of his head; there being no copy, but one pair of cases, and the Elegy probably requiring all the letter, no one could help him. I endeavoured to put his press (which he had not yet used and of which he understood nothing) into order to be worked with ; and promising to come and print off his Elegy as soon as he should have got it ready, I returned to Bradford's, who gave me a little job to do for the présent, and there I lodged and dieted. A few days after Keimer sent for me to print off the Elegy. And now he had got another pair of cases, and a pamphlet to reprint, on which he set me to work.
These two printers I found poorly qualified for their business. Bradford had not been bred to it, and was very illiterate; and Keimer, though something of a scholar, was a mere compositor, knowing nothing of press-work. He had been one of the French prophets, and could act their enthusiastic agitations. At this time he did not profess any particular religion, but something of all on occasion ; was very ignorant of the world, and had, as I afterwards found, a good deal of the knave in
his composition. He did not like my lodging at Bradford's while I worked with him. He had a house indeed, but without furniture, so he could not lodge me: but he got me a lodging at Mr. Read's, before mentioned, who was the owner of his house: and my chest of clothes being come by this time, I made rather a more respectable appear ance in the eyes of Miss Read, than I had done when she first happened to see me eating my roll in the street.
I began now to have some acquaintance among the young people of the town that were lovers of reading, with whom I spent my evenings very pleasantly; and gained money by my industry and frugality. I lived very contented, and forgot Boston as much as I could, and did not wish it should be known where I resided, except to my friend Collins, who was in the secret, and kept it faithfully. At length, however, an incident happened, that occasioned my return home much sooner than I had intended. I had a brother-inlaw, Robert Holmes, Master of a sloop that traded between Boston and Delaware. He being at NewCastle, forty miles below Philadelphia, and hearing of me, wrote me a letter mentioning the grief of my relations and friends in Boston at my abrupt departure, assuring me of their good-will to me, and that every thing would be accommodated to my mind if I would return; to which he intreated me earnestly. I wrote an answer to his letter, thanked him for his advice, but stated my reasons for quitting Boston so fully and in such a light, as to convince him that I was not so much in the wrong as he had apprehended.
Sir William Keith, Governor of the province, was then at New-Castle, and Captain Holmes, happening to be in company with him when my letter came to hand, spoke to him of me, and shewed him the letter. The Governor read it, and seemed surprized when he was told my age. He said I appeared a young man of promising parts, and therefore should be encouraged: the printers at Philadelphia were wretched ones; and if I would set up there, he made no doubt I should succeed; for his part he would procure me the public business and do me every other service in his power. This my brother-in-law Holmes afterwards told me in Boston: but I knew as yet nothing of it; when one day Keimer and I being at work together near the window, we saw the Governor and another gentleman, (who proved to be Colonel French of New-Castle in the province of Delaware) finely dressed, come directly across the street to our house, and heard them at the door. Keimer ran down immediately, thinking it a visit to him: but the Governor inquired for me, came up, and with a condescension and politeness I had been quite unused to, made me mažy compliments, desired to be acquainted with me, blamed me kindly for not having made myself known to him, when I first