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some other things that had been taken out of his cabin, and knowing that these were a couple of strumpets, he got a warrant to search their lodgings, found the stolen goods and had the thieves punished. So though we had escaped a sunken rock which we scraped upon in the passage, I thought this escape of rather more importance to
At New York I found my friend Collins, who had arrived there some time before me. We had been intimate from children, and had read the same books together: but he had the advantage of more time for reading and studying, and a wonderful genius for mathematical learning, in which he far outstript me. While I lived in Boston most of my hours of leisure for conversation were spent with him, and he continued a sober as well as industrious lad; was much respected for his learning by several of the clergy and other gentlemen, and seemed to promise making a good figure in life. But during my absence he had acquired a habit of drinking of brandy, and I found by his own account, as well as that of others, that he had been drunk every day since his arrival at New York, and behaved himself in a very extravagant man
He had gamed too and lost his money, so that I was obliged to discharge his lodgings, and defray his expenses on the road, and at Philadelphia; which proved a great burden to me. The then Governor of New York, Burnet, (son of Bishop Burnet,) hearing from the captain that one of the passengers had a great many books on board, desired him to bring me to see him. I waited on him, and should have taken Collins with me had he been sober. The Governor received me with great civility, shewed me his library, which was a considerable one, and we had a good deal of conversation relative to books and authors. This was the second Governor who had done me the honor to take notice of me; and for a poor boy like me, was very pleasing. We proceeded to Philadelphia, I received in the way Vernon's money, without which we could hardly have finished our journey. Collins wished to be employed in some counting-house; but whether they discovered his dram-drinking by his breath or by his behaviour, though he had some recommendations, he met with no success in any application, and continued lodging and boarding at the same house with me, and at my expense. Knowing I had that money of Vernon's, he was continually borrowing of me, still promising repayment, as soon as he should be in business. At length he had got so much of it, that I was distressed to think what I should do, in case of being called on to remit it. His drinking continued, about which we sometimes quarrelled; for when a little intoxicated, he was very irritable.
irritable. Once in a boat on the Delaware with some other young men, he refused to row in his turn: “I will be rowed home,” said he:
will not row you,” said I: "you must,” said he, “or stay all night on the water, just as you please. The others said, “ let us row, what signifies it?" But my mind being soured with his other conduct, I continued to refuse. So he swore he would make me row, or throw me over-board; and coming along stepping on the thwarts towards me, when he came up and struck at me, I clapt my head under his thighs, and rising, pitched him head foremost into the river. I knew he was a good swimmer and so was under little concern about him; but before he could get round to lay hold of the boat, we had with a few strokes pulled her out of his reach: and whenever he drew near the boat, we asked him if he would row, striking a few strokes to slide her away from him. He was ready to stifle with vexation, and obstinately would not promise to row. Finding him at last beginning to tire, we drew him into the boat, and brought him home dripping wet. We hardly exchanged a civil word after this adventure. At length a West-India Captain, who had a commission to procure a preceptor for the sons of a gentleman at Barbadoes, met with him, and proposed to carry him thither to fill that situation. He accepted and promised to remit me what he owed me out of the first money he should receive: But I never heard of him after. The violation of my trust respecting Vernon's money was one of the first great errata of my lífe; and this shewed that my father was not much
out in his judgment, when he considered me as too young to manage business. But Sir William, on reading his letter, said he was too prudent, that there was a great difference in persons; and discretion did not always accompany years, nor was youth always without it. “ But since he will not set you up, I will do it myself. Give me an inventory of the things necessary to be had from England, and I will send for them. You shall repay me when you are able; I am resolved to have good printer here, and I am sure you must succeed." This was spoken with such an appearance of cordiality, that I had not the least doubt of his meaning what he said. I had hitherto kept the proposition of my setting up a secret in Philadelphia, and I still kept it. Had it been known that I depended on the Governor, probably some friend that knew him better, would have advised me not to rely on him; as I afterwards heard it as his known character to be liberal of promises which he never meant to keep. Yet unsolicited as he was by me, how could I think his generous offers insincere ? I believed him one of the best men in the world.
I presented bim an inventory of a little printinghouse, amounting by my computation to about one hundred pounds sterling.
sterling. He liked it, but asked me if my being on the spot in England to choose the types and see that every thing was good of the kind, might not be of some advantage; “ then,” said he,“ when there you may make acquaintance, and establish correspondences in the bookselling and stationery line.” I agreed that this might be advantageous. “ Then,” said he, “ get yourself ready to go with Annis;" which was the annual ship, and the only one at that time usually passing between London and Philadelphia. But as it would be some months before Annis sailed, I continued working with Keimer, fretting extremely about the money Collins had got from me, and in great apprehensions of being called upon for it by Vernon ; this however did not happen for some
I believe I have omitted mentioning that in my first voyage from Boston to Philadelphia, being becalmed off Block Island, our crew employed themselves in catching cod and hauled up a great number. Till then I had stuck to my resolution to eat nothing that had had life; and on this occasion I considered, according to my master Tryon, the taking every fish as a kind of unprovoked murder, since none of them had, nor could do us any injury that might justify this massacre. All this seemed very reasonable. But I had been formerly a great lover of fish, and when it came out of the frying-pan it smelt admirably well. I balanced some time between principle and inclination, 'till recollecting that when the fish were opened I saw smaller fish taken out of their stomachs; then thought I, “if you eat one another, I don't see why we may not eat you." So I dined upon cod very