Page images
PDF
EPUB

such force and clearness, that he was convinced I had been less to blame than he had imagined.

Sir William Keith, goverior of the province, was at Newcastle at the time. Captain Holmes, being by chance in his company when he received my letter. tnok occasion to speak of me, and showed it liim. The Governor read it, and appeared surprised when he learned iny age. He thougbi me, he said, a young inan f very promising talents, and thai, of consequence, ought to be encouraged; that there were al Philade leia nɔne but very ignoranl printers, andi hat if I were to set up for myself, he had no deibt of my success; that, for his own part, he would procure me all the pub. lic business, ana would reuder me every other service in his power. My brother-in-law related all this to me Af.erwards at Bosto:1; but I know nothing clit at the timu; when one day Keimer and I, being at work toge. ther near the window, we saw the Goverrior and ano. ther gentieman, Colonei French, of Newcastle, handsomely dressed, cross the street, and make directly for our house, We leard them at the door, and Keimer, helieving it to be a visit to himself, went immediately down; but the Governor inquired for me, came up stairs, and, with a condescension and politeness to which I had not at all been accustomed, paid me many complimenis, desired to be acquainted with me, oblig. ingiy reproached me for not having made myself known to him on my arrival in the town, and wished me to accompany him to a larern, where he and Col. French were going to taste soine exceilent Madeira wine.

I was, i confess, somewat surprised, and Keimer appeared thunderstruck. i weni, however, with the Governor and the Colonel to a tavern, at the corner of Thiril-street, where, while we were drinking the Ma deira, he proposed to me to estaisiish a printing-house He set forth the probabilities of success, and himself and Culonel Frerch assured me that I should have their protection and influence in obtaining the printing of the public papers of both governments; and as appeared to doubi whether my father would assist me in this enterprise, Sir Willian said he would give me a letter to him, in which he would represent the ante vanlages of the scheme, in a light which he had 110

[ocr errors]

doubt would determine him. It was thus concluded that I should return to Boston by the first vessel, with the letter of recommendation, from the Governor 10 my father. Meanwhile the project was to be kept sur cret, and I continued to work for Keimer as before.

The Governor sent erery now and the: to invito me to dine with him. I considered this as a very great honour; and was the more sensible of it, as he cour versed with me in the most aftabie, fainiliar, and friendly manner imaginable.

Towards the end of April, 1724, a snall vessel was ready to sail for Boston. " I took leave of Keimer, upin the pretext of going to see my parents. The Governor gave me a long letter, in which he said many da:tering things of ine to my father; and strongly rün commended the project of my settling at Philadelphia, As a thing which could not fail to make my fortune.

Going down the bay we struck on a fat, and sprung a leak. The weather was very tempestuous, and we were obliged to pump without intermission; I love my lurn. We arrived, however, safe and sound, at Bos. con, after about a fortnight's passage.

I har been absent seven complete months, and my relations, during the interval, had received no intelli. geuce of me; for my brother-in-law, Holmes, was not yet returned, and had not written about ine. My un. expected appearance surprised the fainily; 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 iu my pocket, and my purse was furnished with nearly fve 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 ! had been, what sort of a country it was, and how I liked it. spoke in the highest terms of Philadelphia, the happy, life we led there, and expressed my intention of going back again. One of them asking what ort of money we had, 1 displayed before them a hand. ful of silver, which I dew from my pucket. This was a curiosity to which they were noi accustomed, paper

being the current money at Boston. I failed not, after this, to let them see my watch; and, at last, my brotiier continuing sullen and out of humour, 1 gave them a shilling to dri:ik, and took my leave. This visit stung my brother to the soul; for when, shortly after, my mother spcke 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, lie was mistaken.

The Governor's letter appeared to excite in my fa ther some surprise ; but he said little. After some days Captain Holines being returned, he showed it him, esking him if he knew Keith, and what sort of a man he was: aclding, that, in his opinion, it proved very little discerninent 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 every thing he could in favc:r of thre scheme; but my father firmly maintained its absurdity, and at last gave a positive refusal. He wrote, however, a civil letler to Sir William, thanking him for the protection he had so obligingly offered me, but refusing to assist me for the present, because he thought ine too yourg to be en trusted with the conduct of so important an enterprise, and which would require so considerable a sum of money:

My old comrade, Collins, who was a clerk in the post-uffice, charmed with the account I gare of my new residence, expressed a desire of gcing, thither; and, while I waited my father's determination, he sti off before ine by land for Rhode Island, leaving his books, which fomed a handsome collection in Matheroatics and natural philosop'ıy, to bư conveyed with mine to New-York, where he proposed to wait for me.

My father, though he could not approve Sir Williamy proposal, was yet pleased that I had obtained so ad vantageous a recoininendation as that of a person of his rank, and that my industry and economy had enabled me to equip myself so handsome!y in so short a period. Seeing no appearance of accommodating mat. icrs between my brother and me, he consented w my return to Philadelphia, adrised me to be civil in every body, to endeavour to obtain general esteem, and a projd satire and sarcasm, to wbich he thought I was too Much inclined; adding, that with perseverence and pruderit economy, I inight, by the time I became of age, save enough to establish inyself in business; and that if a small sum should then be wanting, lie would unto dertake 10 supply it.

This was all I could obtain from him, except some iriding presents, in token of friendship froin him and my mother. I erubarked once more for Neu-York, furnished at this time with their approbation and biessing. The sloop having touched at Newport, in Rhode Isían a paid a visit to my brother Jolin, who han wr some years been setled there, and was married. He had always been av..ched to me, and he received me with great affe won. One of his friends, whose nanie was Vemon, having a debt of about thirty-six prounos due him in Pennsylvania, begged me to receive it for him, and to keep the money till I should hear from him; accordingly he gare me an order for that purpose. This affair occasioned me, in the sequel, pruch uneasiness.

A: Newport we took on board & number of pasti gers; among whom were two young women, and a grave and sensible quaker lady with her servants. I had shown an obliging forwardness in rendering the quaker some triflı:g services, övhich led her, probably, to feel an interest in iny welfare; for when she saw a fanili. arity take place, and every day increase, between the two young women and me, she touk me asicle, and said, “ Young man, I am in pain for thee. Thou hast no parent to watch over thy conduct, and thou seemest tu oc ignorant of the world, and the snares to which youth is exposed. Rely upon what I tell thee: those are wonien of bad characters; I perceive it in all theis actions. If thou dost not take care, they will lead thro into danger. They are strangers to thee, and I advise thee, by the friendly interest I take in thy

preservation, to forin no connexion with them.” As I appeared at first not to think quite so ill of them as she did, she re lated many inings 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 ubbiging Alvice, and promised to follow it.

When we arrived at New York, they informed me wirere ul:ey lodged, and invited me to conie and xe them. I did not however 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 froni the cabin, and knowing these women to be prostitiries, procured a search-warrant, found the stolen gonds upon them, and hail them punished. And thus, after having been saved from one rock concealed under water, upon which the vessel struck during our passage, I escaped Another of a still more dangerous nature.

At New York, I found my friend Collins, who had arrived some time before. We had been intimate from our infancy, aud had read the same books together; but he had the advantage of being able to devote more time to reading and study, and an astonishing disposi. tion for mathematics, in which he left ine far behind hiin. When at Boston, I had been accustoined to pass with him almost all my leisure hours. He was then a sober and industrious 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 unfortunately addicted himself to brandy, and I learned, as weil front himself as from the report of others, that every day since his arrival at New-York, ne had been intoxicated, and liad acted in a very extravagant manner. He had also played and lost all his moncy; so that I was obliged to pay his expenses at the inn, and to maintain hin during the rest of his jourpey; a vurthen that was very inconvenient to nie.

The Governor of New York, whose name was Ber. het, hearing the Captain say, that a young ina?, who T'as a passenger in his ship, had a great number of oks, begged hiin to bring me to his house. I accordo mgly went, und should have iaken Collins with me, had he been sober. The Governor treated me with great sivility, showed me his library, which was a very considerable one, and we talked for some time upon bouks and authors. This was the second guvernor who had honoured me with his attention; and to a poor lony, as I was then, these little adventures did not fail to be pleasing.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »