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´╗┐Title: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Author: Franklin, Benjamin, 1706-1790
Language: English
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BENJAMIN FRANKLIN was born in Milk Street, Boston, on January 6, 1706.
His father, Josiah Franklin, was a tallow chandler who married twice,
and of his seventeen children Benjamin was the youngest son.  His
schooling ended at ten, and at twelve he was bound apprentice to his
brother James, a printer, who published the "New England Courant." To
this journal he became a contributor, and later was for a time its
nominal editor. But the brothers quarreled, and Benjamin ran away,
going first to New York, and thence to Philadelphia, where he arrived
in October, 1723.  He soon obtained work as a printer, but after a few
months he was induced by Governor Keith to go to London, where, finding
Keith's promises empty, he again worked as a compositor till he was
brought back to Philadelphia by a merchant named  Denman, who gave him
a position in his business. On Denman's death he returned to his former
trade, and shortly set up a printing house of his own from which he
published "The Pennsylvania Gazette," to which he contributed many
essays, and which he made a medium for agitating a variety of local
reforms. In 1732 he began to issue his famous "Poor Richard's Almanac"
for the enrichment of which he borrowed or composed those pithy
utterances of worldly wisdom which are the basis of a large part of his
popular reputation.  In 1758, the year in which he ceases writing for
the Almanac, he printed in it "Father Abraham's Sermon," now regarded
as the most famous piece of literature produced in Colonial America.

Meantime Franklin was concerning himself more and more with public
affairs.  He set forth a scheme for an Academy, which was taken up
later and finally developed into the University of Pennsylvania; and he
founded an "American Philosophical Society" for the purpose of enabling
scientific  men to communicate their discoveries to one another.  He
himself had already begun his electrical researches, which, with other
scientific inquiries, he called on in the intervals of money-making and
politics to the end of his life.  In 1748 he sold his business in order
to get leisure for study, having now acquired comparative wealth; and
in a few years he had made discoveries that gave him a reputation with
the learned throughout Europe.  In politics he proved very able both as
an administrator and as a controversialist; but his record as an
office-holder is stained by the use he made of his position to advance
his relatives.  His most notable service in home politics was his
reform of the postal system; but his fame as a statesman rests chiefly
on his services in connection with the relations of the Colonies with
Great Britain, and later with France.  In 1757 he was sent to England
to protest against the influence of the Penns in the government of the
colony, and for five years he remained there, striving to enlighten the
people and the ministry of England as to Colonial conditions.  On his
return to America he played an honorable part in the Paxton affair,
through which he lost his seat in the Assembly; but in 1764 he was
again despatched to England as agent for the colony, this time to
petition the King to resume the government from the hands of the
proprietors.  In London he actively opposed the proposed Stamp Act, but
lost the credit for this and much of his popularity through his
securing for a friend the office of stamp agent in America.  Even his
effective work in helping to obtain the repeal of the act left him
still a suspect; but he continued his efforts to present the case for
the Colonies as the troubles thickened toward the crisis of the
Revolution.  In 1767 he crossed to France, where he was received with
honor; but before his return home in 1775 he lost his position as
postmaster through his share in divulging to Massachusetts the famous
letter of Hutchinson and Oliver.  On his arrival in Philadelphia he was
chosen a member of the Continental Congress and in 1777 he was
despatched to France as commissioner for the United States.  Here he
remained till 1785, the favorite of French society; and with such
success did he conduct the affairs of his country that when he finally
returned he received a place only second to that of Washington as the
champion of American independence.  He died on April 17, 1790.

The first five chapters of the Autobiography were composed in England
in 1771, continued in 1784-5, and again in 1788, at which date he
brought it down to 1757.  After a most extraordinary series of
adventures, the original form of the manuscript was finally printed by
Mr. John Bigelow, and is here reproduced in recognition of its value as
a picture of one of the most notable personalities of Colonial times,
and of its acknowledged rank as one of the great autobiographies of the




TWYFORD, at the Bishop of St. Asaph's,[0]  1771.

     [0] The country-seat of Bishop Shipley, the good bishop,
         as Dr. Franklin used to style him.--B.

DEAR SON:  I have ever had pleasure in obtaining any little anecdotes
of my ancestors.  You may remember the inquiries I made among the
remains of my relations when you were with me in England, and the
journey I undertook for that purpose.  Imagining it may be equally
agreeable to[1] you to know the circumstances of my life, many of which
you are yet unacquainted with, and expecting the enjoyment of a week's
uninterrupted leisure in my present country retirement, I sit down to
write them for you.  To which I have besides some other inducements.
Having emerged from the poverty and obscurity in which I was born and
bred, to a state of affluence and some degree of reputation in the
world, and having gone so far through life with a considerable share of
felicity, the conducing means I made use of, which with the blessing of
God so well succeeded, my posterity may like to know, as they may find
some of them suitable to their own situations, and therefore fit to be

     [1] After the words "agreeable to" the words "some of" were
         interlined and afterward effaced.--B.

That felicity, when I reflected on it, has induced me sometimes to say,
that were it offered to my choice, I should have no objection to a
repetition of the same life from its beginning, only asking the
advantages authors have in a second edition to correct some faults of
the first.  So I might, besides correcting the faults, change some
sinister accidents and events of it for others more favorable.  But
though this were denied, I should still accept the offer.  Since such a
repetition is not to be expected, the next thing most like living one's
life over again seems to be a recollection of that life, and to make
that recollection as durable as possible by putting it down in writing.

Hereby, too, I shall indulge the inclination so natural in old men, to
be talking of themselves and their own past actions; and I shall
indulge it without being tiresome to others, who, through respect to
age, might conceive themselves obliged to give me a hearing, since this
may be read or not as any one pleases.  And, lastly (I may as well
confess it, since my denial of it will be believed by nobody), perhaps
I shall a good deal gratify my own vanity.  Indeed, I scarce ever heard
or saw the introductory words, "Without vanity I may say," &c., but
some vain thing immediately followed.  Most people dislike vanity in
others, whatever share they have of it themselves; but I give it fair
quarter wherever I meet with it, being persuaded that it is often
productive of good to the possessor, and to others that are within his
sphere of action; and therefore, in many cases, it would not be
altogether absurd if a man were to thank God for his vanity among the
other comforts of life.

And now I speak of thanking God, I desire with all humility to
acknowledge that I owe the mentioned happiness of my past life to His
kind providence, which lead me to the means I used and gave them
success.  My belief of this induces me to hope, though I must not
presume, that the same goodness will still be exercised toward me, in
continuing that happiness, or enabling me to bear a fatal reverse,
which I may experience as others have done:  the complexion of my
future fortune being known to Him only in whose power it is to bless to
us even our afflictions.

The notes one of my uncles (who had the same kind of curiosity in
collecting family anecdotes) once put into my hands, furnished me with
several particulars relating to our ancestors.  From these notes I
learned that the family had lived in the same village, Ecton, in
Northamptonshire, for three hundred years, and how much longer he knew
not (perhaps from the time when the name of Franklin, that before was
the name of an order of people, was assumed by them as a surname when
others took surnames all over the kingdom), on a freehold of about
thirty acres, aided by the smith's business, which had continued in the
family till his time, the eldest son being always bred to that
business; a custom which he and my father followed as to their eldest
sons.  When I searched the registers at Ecton, I found an account of
their births, marriages and burials from the year 1555 only, there
being no registers kept in that parish at any time preceding.  By that
register I perceived that I was the youngest son of the youngest son
for five generations back.  My grandfather Thomas, who was born in
1598, lived at Ecton till he grew too old to follow business longer,
when he went to live with his son John, a dyer at Banbury, in
Oxfordshire, with whom my father served an apprenticeship.  There my
grandfather died and lies buried.  We saw his gravestone in 1758.  His
eldest son Thomas lived in the house at Ecton, and left it with the
land to his only child, a daughter, who, with her husband, one Fisher,
of Wellingborough, sold it to Mr. Isted, now lord of the manor there.
My grandfather had four sons that grew up, viz.: Thomas, John, Benjamin
and Josiah.  I will give you what account I can of them, at this
distance from my papers, and if these are not lost in my absence, you
will among them find many more particulars.

Thomas was bred a smith under his father; but, being ingenious, and
encouraged in learning (as all my brothers were) by an Esquire Palmer,
then the principal gentleman in that parish, he qualified himself for
the business of scrivener; became a considerable man in the county; was
a chief mover of all public-spirited undertakings for the county or
town of Northampton, and his own village, of which many instances were
related of him; and much taken notice of and patronized by the then
Lord Halifax.  He died in 1702, January 6, old style, just four years
to a day before I was born.  The account we received of his life and
character from some old people at Ecton, I remember, struck you as
something extraordinary, from its similarity to what you knew of mine.

"Had he died on the same day," you said, "one might have supposed a

John was bred a dyer, I believe of woolens.  Benjamin was bred a silk
dyer, serving an apprenticeship at London.  He was an ingenious man.  I
remember him well, for when I was a boy he came over to my father in
Boston, and lived in the house with us some years.  He lived to a great
age.  His grandson, Samuel Franklin, now lives in Boston.  He left
behind him two quarto volumes, MS., of his own poetry, consisting of
little occasional pieces addressed to his friends and relations, of
which the following, sent to me, is a specimen.[2] He had formed a
short-hand of his own, which he taught me, but, never practising it, I
have now forgot it.  I was named after this uncle, there being a
particular affection between him and my father.  He was very pious, a
great attender of sermons of the best preachers, which he took down in
his short-hand, and had with him many volumes of them.  He was also
much of a politician; too much, perhaps, for his station.  There fell
lately into my hands, in London, a collection he had made of all the
principal pamphlets, relating to public affairs, from 1641 to 1717;
many of the volumes are wanting as appears by the numbering, but there
still remain eight volumes in folio, and twenty-four in quarto and in
octavo.  A dealer in old books met with them, and knowing me by my
sometimes buying of him, he brought them to me.  It seems my uncle must
have left them here, when he went to America, which was about fifty
years since.  There are many of his notes in the margins.

     [2] Here follow in the margin the words, in brackets, "here
         insert it," but the poetry is not given.  Mr. Sparks
         informs us (Life of Franklin, p. 6) that these volumes
         had been preserved, and were in possession of Mrs. Emmons,
         of Boston, great-granddaughter of their author.

This obscure family of ours was early in the Reformation, and continued
Protestants through the reign of Queen Mary, when they were sometimes
in danger of trouble on account of their zeal against popery.  They had
got an English Bible, and to conceal and secure it, it was fastened
open with tapes under and within the cover of a joint-stool. When my
great-great-grandfather read it to his family, he turned up the
joint-stool upon his knees, turning over the leaves then under the
tapes.  One of the children stood at the door to give notice if he saw
the apparitor coming, who was an officer of the spiritual court.  In
that case the stool was turned down again upon its feet, when the Bible
remained concealed under it as before.  This anecdote I had from my
uncle Benjamin.  The family continued all of the Church of England till
about the end of Charles the Second's reign, when some of the ministers
that had been outed for nonconformity holding conventicles in
Northamptonshire, Benjamin and Josiah adhered to them, and so continued
all their lives: the rest of the family remained with the Episcopal

Josiah, my father, married young, and carried his wife with three
children into New England, about 1682.  The conventicles having been
forbidden by law, and frequently disturbed, induced some considerable
men of his acquaintance to remove to that country, and he was prevailed
with to accompany them thither, where they expected to enjoy their mode
of religion with freedom.  By the same wife he had four children more
born there, and by a second wife ten more, in all seventeen; of which I
remember thirteen sitting at one time at his table, who all grew up to
be men and women, and married; I was the youngest son, and the youngest
child but two, and was born in Boston, New England.  My mother, the
second wife, was Abiah Folger, daughter of Peter Folger, one of the
first settlers of New England, of whom honorable mention is made by
Cotton Mather in his church history of that country, entitled Magnalia
Christi Americana, as "a godly, learned Englishman," if I remember the
words rightly.  I have heard that he wrote sundry small occasional
pieces, but only one of them was printed, which I saw now many years
since.  It was written in 1675, in the home-spun verse of that time and
people, and addressed to those then concerned in the government there.
It was in favor of liberty of conscience, and in behalf of the
Baptists, Quakers, and other sectaries that had been under persecution,
ascribing the Indian wars, and other distresses that had befallen the
country, to that persecution, as so many judgments of God to punish so
heinous an offense, and exhorting a repeal of those uncharitable laws.
The whole appeared to me as written with a good deal of decent
plainness and manly freedom.  The six concluding lines I remember,
though I have forgotten the two first of the stanza; but the purport of
them was, that his censures proceeded from good-will, and, therefore,
he would be known to be the author.

          "Because to be a libeller (says he)
          I hate it with my heart;
          From Sherburne town, where now I dwell
          My name I do put here;
          Without offense your real friend,
          It is Peter Folgier."

My elder brothers were all put apprentices to different trades.  I was
put to the grammar-school at eight years of age, my father intending to
devote me, as the tithe of his sons, to the service of the Church.  My
early readiness in learning to read (which must have been very early,
as I do not remember when I could not read), and the opinion of all his
friends, that I should certainly make a good scholar, encouraged him in
this purpose of his.  My uncle Benjamin, too, approved of it, and
proposed to give me all his short-hand volumes of sermons, I suppose as
a stock to set up with, if I would learn his character.  I continued,
however, at the grammar-school not quite one year, though in that time
I had risen gradually from the middle of the class of that year to be
the head of it, and farther was removed into the next class above it,
in order to go with that into the third at the end of the year.  But my
father, in the meantime, from a view of the expense of a college
education, which having so large a family he could not well afford, and
the mean living many so educated were afterwards able to
obtain--reasons that he gave to his friends in my hearing--altered his
first intention, took me from the grammar-school, and sent me to a
school for writing and arithmetic, kept by a then famous man, Mr.
George Brownell, very successful in his profession generally, and that
by mild, encouraging methods.  Under him I acquired fair writing pretty
soon, but I failed in the arithmetic, and made no progress in it.  At
ten years old I was taken home to assist my father in his business,
which was that of a tallow-chandler and sope-boiler; a business he was
not bred to, but had assumed on his arrival in New England, and on
finding his dying trade would not maintain his family, being in little
request.  Accordingly, I was employed in cutting wick for the candles,
filling the dipping mold and the molds for cast candles, attending the
shop, going of errands, etc.

I disliked the trade, and had a strong inclination for the sea, but my
father declared against it; however, living near the water, I was much
in and about it, learnt early to swim well, and to manage boats; and
when in a boat or canoe with other boys, I was commonly allowed to
govern, especially in any case of difficulty; and upon other occasions
I was generally a leader among the boys, and sometimes led them into
scrapes, of which I will mention one instance, as it shows an early
projecting public spirit, tho' not then justly conducted.

There was a salt-marsh that bounded part of the mill-pond, on the edge
of which, at high water, we used to stand to fish for minnows.  By much
trampling, we had made it a mere quagmire.  My proposal was to build a
wharff there fit for us to stand upon, and I showed my comrades a large
heap of stones, which were intended for a new house near the marsh, and
which would very well suit our purpose.  Accordingly, in the evening,
when the workmen were gone, I assembled a number of my play-fellows,
and working with them diligently like so many emmets, sometimes two or
three to a stone, we brought them all away and built our little wharff.
The next morning the workmen were surprised at missing the stones,
which were found in our wharff.  Inquiry was made after the removers;
we were discovered and complained of; several of us were corrected by
our fathers; and though I pleaded the usefulness of the work, mine
convinced me that nothing was useful which was not honest.

I think you may like to know something of his person and character.  He
had an excellent constitution of body, was of middle stature, but well
set, and very strong; he was ingenious, could draw prettily, was
skilled a little in music, and had a clear pleasing voice, so that when
he played psalm tunes on his violin and sung withal, as he sometimes
did in an evening after the business of the day was over, it was
extremely agreeable to hear.  He had a mechanical genius too, and, on
occasion, was very handy in the use of other tradesmen's tools; but his
great excellence lay in a sound understanding and solid judgment in
prudential matters, both in private and publick affairs.  In the
latter, indeed, he was never employed, the numerous family he had to
educate and the straitness of his circumstances keeping him close to
his trade; but I remember well his being frequently visited by leading
people, who consulted him for his opinion in affairs of the town or of
the church he belonged to, and showed a good deal of respect for his
judgment and advice: he was also much consulted by private persons
about their affairs when any difficulty occurred, and frequently chosen
an arbitrator between contending parties.

At his table he liked to have, as often as he could, some sensible
friend or neighbor to converse with, and always took care to start some
ingenious or useful topic for discourse, which might tend to improve
the minds of his children.  By this means he turned our attention to
what was good, just, and prudent in the conduct of life; and little or
no notice was ever taken of what related to the victuals on the table,
whether it was well or ill dressed, in or out of season, of good or bad
flavor, preferable or inferior to this or that other thing of the kind,
so that I was bro't up in such a perfect inattention to those matters
as to be quite indifferent what kind of food was set before me, and so
unobservant of it, that to this day if I am asked I can scarce tell a
few hours after dinner what I dined upon.  This has been a convenience
to me in travelling, where my companions have been sometimes very
unhappy for want of a suitable gratification of their more delicate,
because better instructed, tastes and appetites.

My mother had likewise an excellent constitution:  she suckled all her
ten children.  I never knew either my father or mother to have any
sickness but that of which they dy'd, he at 89, and she at 85 years of
age.  They lie buried together at Boston, where I some years since
placed a marble over their grave, with this inscription:

                        JOSIAH FRANKLIN,
                         ABIAH his Wife,
                       lie here interred.
             They lived lovingly together in wedlock
                        fifty-five years.
          Without an estate, or any gainful employment,
                 By constant labor and industry,
                      with God's blessing,
                 They maintained a large family
                and brought up thirteen children
                     and seven grandchildren
                   From this instance, reader,
           Be encouraged to diligence in thy calling,
                  And distrust not Providence.
                 He was a pious and prudent man;
               She, a discreet and virtuous woman.
                       Their youngest son,
                In filial regard to their memory,
                       Places this stone.
              J.F. born 1655, died 1744, AEtat 89.
              A.F. born 1667, died 1752, ----- 95.

By my rambling digressions I perceive myself to be grown old.  I us'd
to write more methodically.  But one does not dress for private company
as for a publick ball.  'Tis perhaps only negligence.

To return:  I continued thus employed in my father's business for two
years, that is, till I was twelve years old; and my brother John, who
was bred to that business, having left my father, married, and set up
for himself at Rhode Island, there was all appearance that I was
destined to supply his place, and become a tallow-chandler.  But my
dislike to the trade continuing, my father was under apprehensions that
if he did not find one for me more agreeable, I should break away and
get to sea, as his son Josiah had done, to his great vexation.  He
therefore sometimes took me to walk with him, and see joiners,
bricklayers, turners, braziers, etc., at their work, that he might
observe my inclination, and endeavor to fix it on some trade or other
on land.  It has ever since been a pleasure to me to see good workmen
handle their tools; and it has been useful to me, having learnt so much
by it as to be able to do little jobs myself in my house when a workman
could not readily be got, and to construct little machines for my
experiments, while the intention of making the experiment was fresh and
warm in my mind.  My father at last fixed upon the cutler's trade, and
my uncle Benjamin's son Samuel, who was bred to that business in
London, being about that time established in Boston, I was sent to be
with him some time on liking.  But his expectations of a fee with me
displeasing my father, I was taken home again.

From a child I was fond of reading, and all the little money that came
into my hands was ever laid out in books.  Pleased with the Pilgrim's
Progress, my first collection was of John Bunyan's works in separate
little volumes.  I afterward sold them to enable me to buy R. Burton's
Historical Collections; they were small chapmen's books, and cheap, 40
or 50 in all.  My father's little library consisted chiefly of books in
polemic divinity, most of which I read, and have since often regretted
that, at a time when I had such a thirst for knowledge, more proper
books had not fallen in my way since it was now resolved I should not
be a clergyman.  Plutarch's Lives there was in which I read abundantly,
and I still think that time spent to great advantage.  There was also a
book of De Foe's, called an Essay on Projects, and another of Dr.
Mather's, called Essays to do Good, which perhaps gave me a turn of
thinking that had an influence on some of the principal future events
of my life.

This bookish inclination at length determined my father to make me a
printer, though he had already one son (James) of that profession.  In
1717 my brother James returned from England with a press and letters to
set up his business in Boston.  I liked it much better than that of my
father, but still had a hankering for the sea.  To prevent the
apprehended effect of such an inclination, my father was impatient to
have me bound to my brother.  I stood out some time, but at last was
persuaded, and signed the indentures when I was yet but twelve years
old.  I was to serve as an apprentice till I was twenty-one years of
age, only I was to be allowed journeyman's wages during the last year.
In a little time I made great proficiency in the business, and became a
useful hand to my brother.  I now had access to better books.  An
acquaintance with the apprentices of booksellers enabled me sometimes
to borrow a small one, which I was careful to return soon and clean.
Often I sat up in my room reading the greatest part of the night, when
the book was borrowed in the evening and to be returned early in the
morning, lest it should be missed or wanted.

And after some time an ingenious tradesman, Mr. Matthew Adams, who had
a pretty collection of books, and who frequented our printing-house,
took notice of me, invited me to his library, and very kindly lent me
such books as I chose to read.  I now took a fancy to poetry, and made
some little pieces; my brother, thinking it might turn to account,
encouraged me, and put me on composing occasional ballads.  One was
called The Lighthouse Tragedy, and contained an account of the drowning
of Captain Worthilake, with his two daughters: the other was a sailor's
song, on the taking of Teach (or Blackbeard) the pirate.  They were
wretched stuff, in the Grub-street-ballad style; and when they were
printed he sent me about the town to sell them.  The first sold
wonderfully, the event being recent, having made a great noise.  This
flattered my vanity; but my father discouraged me by ridiculing my
performances, and telling me verse-makers were generally beggars.  So I
escaped being a poet, most probably a very bad one; but as prose
writing bad been of great use to me in the course of my life, and was a
principal means of my advancement, I shall tell you how, in such a
situation, I acquired what little ability I have in that way.

There was another bookish lad in the town, John Collins by name, with
whom I was intimately acquainted.  We sometimes disputed, and very fond
we were of argument, and very desirous of confuting one another, which
disputatious turn, by the way, is apt to become a very bad habit,
making people often extremely disagreeable in company by the
contradiction that is necessary to bring it into practice; and thence,
besides souring and spoiling the conversation, is productive of
disgusts and, perhaps enmities where you may have occasion for
friendship.  I had caught it by reading my father's books of dispute
about religion.  Persons of good sense, I have since observed, seldom
fall into it, except lawyers, university men, and men of all sorts that
have been bred at Edinborough.

A question was once, somehow or other, started between Collins and me,
of the propriety of educating the female sex in learning, and their
abilities for study.  He was of opinion that it was improper, and that
they were naturally unequal to it.  I took the contrary side, perhaps a
little for dispute's sake.  He was naturally more eloquent, had a ready
plenty of words; and sometimes, as I thought, bore me down more by his
fluency than by the strength of his reasons.  As we parted without
settling the point, and were not to see one another again for some
time, I sat down to put my arguments in writing, which I copied fair
and sent to him.  He answered, and I replied.  Three or four letters of
a side had passed, when my father happened to find my papers and read
them.  Without entering into the discussion, he took occasion to talk
to me about the manner of my writing; observed that, though I had the
advantage of my antagonist in correct spelling and pointing (which I
ow'd to the printing-house), I fell far short in elegance of
expression, in method and in perspicuity, of which he convinced me by
several instances.  I saw the justice of his remark, and thence grew
more attentive to the manner in writing, and determined to endeavor at

About this time I met with an odd volume of the Spectator.  It was the
third.  I had never before seen any of them.  I bought it, read it over
and over, and was much delighted with it.  I thought the writing
excellent, and wished, if possible, to imitate it.  With this view I
took some of the papers, and, making short hints of the sentiment in
each sentence, laid them by a few days, and then, without looking at
the book, try'd to compleat the papers again, by expressing each hinted
sentiment at length, and as fully as it had been expressed before, in
any suitable words that should come to hand.  Then I compared my
Spectator with the original, discovered some of my faults, and
corrected them.  But I found I wanted a stock of words, or a readiness
in recollecting and using them, which I thought I should have acquired
before that time if I had gone on making verses; since the continual
occasion for words of the same import, but of different length, to suit
the measure, or of different sound for the rhyme, would have laid me
under a constant necessity of searching for variety, and also have
tended to fix that variety in my mind, and make me master of it.
Therefore I took some of the tales and turned them into verse; and,
after a time, when I had pretty well forgotten the prose, turned them
back again.  I also sometimes jumbled my collections of hints into
confusion, and after some weeks endeavored to reduce them into the best
order, before I began to form the full sentences and compleat the
paper.  This was to teach me method in the arrangement of thoughts.  By
comparing my work afterwards with the original, I discovered many
faults and amended them; but I sometimes had the pleasure of fancying
that, in certain particulars of small import, I had been lucky enough
to improve the method or the language, and this encouraged me to think
I might possibly in time come to be a tolerable English writer, of
which I was extremely ambitious.  My time for these exercises and for
reading was at night, after work or before it began in the morning, or
on Sundays, when I contrived to be in the printing-house alone, evading
as much as I could the common attendance on public worship which my
father used to exact on me when I was under his care, and which indeed
I still thought a duty, though I could not, as it seemed to me, afford
time to practise it.

When about 16 years of age I happened to meet with a book, written by
one Tryon, recommending a vegetable diet.  I determined to go into it.
My brother, being yet unmarried, did not keep house, but boarded
himself and his apprentices in another family.  My refusing to eat
flesh occasioned an inconveniency, and I was frequently chid for my
singularity.  I made myself acquainted with Tryon's manner of preparing
some of his dishes, such as boiling potatoes or rice, making hasty
pudding, and a few others, and then proposed to my brother, that if he
would give me, weekly, half the money he paid for my board, I would
board myself.  He instantly agreed to it, and I presently found that I
could save half what he paid me.  This was an additional fund for
buying books.  But I had another advantage in it.  My brother and the
rest going from the printing-house to their meals, I remained there
alone, and, despatching presently my light repast, which often was no
more than a bisket or a slice of bread, a handful of raisins or a tart
from the pastry-cook's, and a glass of water, had the rest of the time
till their return for study, in which I made the greater progress, from
that greater clearness of head and quicker apprehension which usually
attend temperance in eating and drinking.

And now it was that, being on some occasion made asham'd of my
ignorance in figures, which I had twice failed in learning when at
school, I took Cocker's book of Arithmetick, and went through the whole
by myself with great ease.  I also read Seller's and Shermy's books of
Navigation, and became acquainted with the little geometry they
contain; but never proceeded far in that science.  And I read about
this time Locke On Human Understanding, and the Art of Thinking, by
Messrs. du Port Royal.

While I was intent on improving my language, I met with an English
grammar (I think it was Greenwood's), at the end of which there were
two little sketches of the arts of rhetoric and logic, the latter
finishing with a specimen of a dispute in the Socratic method; and soon
after I procur'd Xenophon's Memorable Things of Socrates, wherein there
are many instances of the same method.  I was charm'd with it, adopted
it, dropt my abrupt contradiction and positive argumentation, and put
on the humble inquirer and doubter.  And being then, from reading
Shaftesbury and Collins, become a real doubter in many points of our
religious doctrine, I found this method safest for myself and very
embarrassing to those against whom I used it; therefore I took a
delight in it, practis'd it continually, and grew very artful and
expert in drawing people, even of superior knowledge, into concessions,
the consequences of which they did not foresee, entangling them in
difficulties out of which they could not extricate themselves, and so
obtaining victories that neither myself nor my cause always deserved.
I continu'd this method some few years, but gradually left it,
retaining only the habit of expressing myself in terms of modest
diffidence; never using, when I advanced any thing that may possibly be
disputed, the words certainly, undoubtedly, or any others that give the
air of positiveness to an opinion; but rather say, I conceive or
apprehend a thing to be so and so; it appears to me, or I should think
it so or so, for such and such reasons; or I imagine it to be so; or it
is so, if I am not mistaken.  This habit, I believe, has been of great
advantage to me when I have had occasion to inculcate my opinions, and
persuade men into measures that I have been from time to time engag'd
in promoting; and, as the chief ends of conversation are to inform or
to be informed, to please or to persuade, I wish well-meaning, sensible
men would not lessen their power of doing good by a positive, assuming
manner, that seldom fails to disgust, tends to create opposition, and
to defeat every one of those purposes for which speech was given to us,
to wit, giving or receiving information or pleasure.  For, if you would
inform, a positive and dogmatical manner in advancing your sentiments
may provoke contradiction and prevent a candid attention.  If you wish
information and improvement from the knowledge of others, and yet at
the same time express yourself as firmly fix'd in your present
opinions, modest, sensible men, who do not love disputation, will
probably leave you undisturbed in the possession of your error.  And by
such a manner, you can seldom hope to recommend yourself in pleasing
your hearers, or to persuade those whose concurrence you desire.  Pope
says, judiciously:

          "Men should be taught as if you taught them not,
          And things unknown propos'd as things forgot;"

farther recommending to us

          "To speak, tho' sure, with seeming diffidence."

And he might have coupled with this line that which he has coupled with
another, I think, less properly,

          "For want of modesty is want of sense."

If you ask, Why less properly? I must repeat the lines,

          "Immodest words admit of no defense,
          For want of modesty is want of sense."

Now, is not want of sense (where a man is so unfortunate as to want it)
some apology for his want of modesty? and would not the lines stand
more justly thus?

          "Immodest words admit but this defense,
          That want of modesty is want of sense."

This, however, I should submit to better judgments.

My brother had, in 1720 or 1721, begun to print a newspaper.  It was
the second that appeared in America, and was called the New England
Courant.  The only one before it was the Boston News-Letter. I remember
his being dissuaded by some of his friends from the undertaking, as not
likely to succeed, one newspaper being, in their judgment, enough for
America.  At this time (1771) there are not less than five-and-twenty.
He went on, however, with the undertaking, and after having worked in
composing the types and printing off the sheets, I was employed to
carry the papers thro' the streets to the customers.

He had some ingenious men among his friends, who amus'd themselves by
writing little pieces for this paper, which gain'd it credit and made
it more in demand, and these gentlemen often visited us.  Hearing their
conversations, and their accounts of the approbation their papers were
received with, I was excited to try my hand among them; but, being
still a boy, and suspecting that my brother would object to printing
anything of mine in his paper if he knew it to be mine, I contrived to
disguise my hand, and, writing an anonymous paper, I put it in at night
under the door of the printing-house. It was found in the morning, and
communicated to his writing friends when they call'd in as usual.  They
read it, commented on it in my hearing, and I had the exquisite
pleasure of finding it met with their approbation, and that, in their
different guesses at the author, none were named but men of some
character among us for learning and ingenuity.  I suppose now that I
was rather lucky in my judges, and that perhaps they were not really so
very good ones as I then esteem'd them.

Encourag'd, however, by this, I wrote and convey'd in the same way to
the press several more papers which were equally approv'd; and I kept
my secret till my small fund of sense for such performances was pretty
well exhausted and then I discovered it, when I began to be considered
a little more by my brother's acquaintance, and in a manner that did
not quite please him, as he thought, probably with reason, that it
tended to make me too vain.  And, perhaps, this might be one occasion
of the differences that we began to have about this time.  Though a
brother, he considered himself as my master, and me as his apprentice,
and accordingly, expected the same services from me as he would from
another, while I thought he demean'd me too much in some he requir'd of
me, who from a brother expected more indulgence.  Our disputes were
often brought before our father, and I fancy I was either generally in
the right, or else a better pleader, because the judgment was generally
in my favor.  But my brother was passionate, and had often beaten me,
which I took extreamly amiss; and, thinking my apprenticeship very
tedious, I was continually wishing for some opportunity of shortening
it, which at length offered in a manner unexpected.[3]

      [3] I fancy his harsh and tyrannical treatment of me
          might be a means of impressing me with that aversion
          to arbitrary power that has stuck to me through my
          whole life.

One of the pieces in our newspaper on some political point, which I
have now forgotten, gave offense to the Assembly.  He was taken up,
censur'd, and imprison'd for a month, by the speaker's warrant, I
suppose, because he would not discover his author.  I too was taken up
and examin'd before the council; but, tho' I did not give them any
satisfaction, they content'd themselves with admonishing me, and
dismissed me, considering me, perhaps, as an apprentice, who was bound
to keep his master's secrets.

During my brother's confinement, which I resented a good deal,
notwithstanding our private differences, I had the management of the
paper; and I made bold to give our rulers some rubs in it, which my
brother took very kindly, while others began to consider me in an
unfavorable light, as a young genius that had a turn for libelling and
satyr.  My brother's discharge was accompany'd with an order of the
House (a very odd one), that "James Franklin should no longer print the
paper called the New England Courant."

There was a consultation held in our printing-house among his friends,
what he should do in this case.  Some proposed to evade the order by
changing the name of the paper; but my brother, seeing inconveniences
in that, it was finally concluded on as a better way, to let it be
printed for the future under the name of BENJAMIN FRANKLIN; and to
avoid the censure of the Assembly, that might fall on him as still
printing it by his apprentice, the contrivance was that my old
indenture should be return'd to me, with a full discharge on the back
of it, to be shown on occasion, but to secure to him the benefit of my
service, I was to sign new indentures for the remainder of the term,
which were to be kept private.  A very flimsy scheme it was; however,
it was immediately executed, and the paper went on accordingly, under
my name for several months.

At length, a fresh difference arising between my brother and me, I took
upon me to assert my freedom, presuming that he would not venture to
produce the new indentures.  It was not fair in me to take this
advantage, and this I therefore reckon one of the first errata of my
life; but the unfairness of it weighed little with me, when under the
impressions of resentment for the blows his passion too often urged him
to bestow upon me, though he was otherwise not an ill-natur'd man:
perhaps I was too saucy and provoking.

When he found I would leave him, he took care to prevent my getting
employment in any other printing-house of the town, by going round and
speaking to every master, who accordingly refus'd to give me work.  I
then thought of going to New York, as the nearest place where there was
a printer; and I was rather inclin'd to leave Boston when I reflected
that I had already made myself a little obnoxious to the governing
party, and, from the arbitrary proceedings of the Assembly in my
brother's case, it was likely I might, if I stay'd, soon bring myself
into scrapes; and farther, that my indiscrete disputations about
religion began to make me pointed at with horror by good people as an
infidel or atheist.  I determin'd on the point, but my father now
siding with my brother, I was sensible that, if I attempted to go
openly, means would be used to prevent me.  My friend Collins,
therefore, undertook to manage a little for me.  He agreed with the
captain of a New York sloop for my passage, under the notion of my
being a young acquaintance of his, that had got a naughty girl with
child, whose friends would compel me to marry her, and therefore I
could not appear or come away publicly.  So I sold some of my books to
raise a little money, was taken on board privately, and as we had a
fair wind, in three days I found myself in New York, near 300 miles
from home, a boy of but 17, without the least recommendation to, or
knowledge of any person in the place, and with very little money in my

My inclinations for the sea were by this time worne out, or I might now
have gratify'd them.  But, having a trade, and supposing myself a
pretty good workman, I offer'd my service to the printer in the place,
old Mr. William Bradford, who had been the first printer in
Pennsylvania, but removed from thence upon the quarrel of George Keith.
He could give me no employment, having little to do, and help enough
already; but says he, "My son at Philadelphia has lately lost his
principal hand, Aquila Rose, by death; if you go thither, I believe he
may employ you."  Philadelphia was a hundred miles further; I set out,
however, in a boat for Amboy, leaving my chest and things to follow me
round by sea.

In crossing the bay, we met with a squall that tore our rotten sails to
pieces, prevented our getting into the Kill and drove us upon Long
Island.  In our way, a drunken Dutchman, who was a passenger too, fell
overboard; when he was sinking, I reached through the water to his
shock pate, and drew him up, so that we got him in again.  His ducking
sobered him a little, and he went to sleep, taking first out of his
pocket a book, which he desir'd I would dry for him.  It proved to be
my old favorite author, Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, in Dutch, finely
printed on good paper, with copper cuts, a dress better than I had ever
seen it wear in its own language.  I have since found that it has been
translated into most of the languages of Europe, and suppose it has
been more generally read than any other book, except perhaps the Bible.
Honest John was the first that I know of who mix'd narration and
dialogue; a method of writing very engaging to the reader, who in the
most interesting parts finds himself, as it were, brought into the
company and present at the discourse.  De Foe in his Cruso, his Moll
Flanders, Religious Courtship, Family Instructor, and other pieces, has
imitated it with success; and Richardson has done the same, in his
Pamela, etc.

When we drew near the island, we found it was at a place where there
could be no landing, there being a great surff on the stony beach.  So
we dropt anchor, and swung round towards the shore.  Some people came
down to the water edge and hallow'd to us, as we did to them; but the
wind was so high, and the surff so loud, that we could not hear so as
to understand each other.  There were canoes on the shore, and we made
signs, and hallow'd that they should fetch us; but they either did not
understand us, or thought it impracticable, so they went away, and
night coming on, we had no remedy but to wait till the wind should
abate; and, in the meantime, the boatman and I concluded to sleep, if
we could; and so crowded into the scuttle, with the Dutchman, who was
still wet, and the spray beating over the head of our boat, leak'd
thro' to us, so that we were soon almost as wet as he.  In this manner
we lay all night, with very little rest; but, the wind abating the next
day, we made a shift to reach Amboy before night, having been thirty
hours on the water, without victuals, or any drink but a bottle of
filthy rum, and the water we sail'd on being salt.

In the evening I found myself very feverish, and went in to bed; but,
having read somewhere that cold water drank plentifully was good for a
fever, I follow'd the prescription, sweat plentiful most of the night,
my fever left me, and in the morning, crossing the ferry, I proceeded
on my journey on foot, having fifty miles to Burlington, where I was
told I should find boats that would carry me the rest of the way to

It rained very hard all the day; I was thoroughly soak'd, and by noon a
good deal tired; so I stopt at a poor inn, where I staid all night,
beginning now to wish that I had never left home.  I cut so miserable a
figure, too, that I found, by the questions ask'd me, I was suspected
to be some runaway servant, and in danger of being taken up on that
suspicion.  However, I proceeded the next day, and got in the evening
to an inn, within eight or ten miles of Burlington, kept by one Dr.
Brown.  He entered into conversation with me while I took some
refreshment, and, finding I had read a little, became very sociable and
friendly.  Our acquaintance continu'd as long as he liv'd. He had been,
I imagine, an itinerant doctor, for there was no town in England, or
country in Europe, of which he could not give a very particular
account.  He had some letters, and was ingenious, but much of an
unbeliever, and wickedly undertook, some years after, to travestie the
Bible in doggrel verse, as Cotton had done Virgil.  By this means he
set many of the facts in a very ridiculous light, and might have hurt
weak minds if his work had been published; but it never was.

At his house I lay that night, and the next morning reach'd Burlington,
but had the mortification to find that the regular boats were gone a
little before my coming, and no other expected to go before Tuesday,
this being Saturday; wherefore I returned to an old woman in the town,
of whom I had bought gingerbread to eat on the water, and ask'd her
advice.  She invited me to lodge at her house till a passage by water
should offer; and being tired with my foot travelling, I accepted the
invitation.  She understanding I was a printer, would have had me stay
at that town and follow my business, being ignorant of the stock
necessary to begin with.  She was very hospitable, gave me a dinner of
ox-cheek with great good will, accepting only a pot of ale in return;
and I thought myself fixed till Tuesday should come.  However, walking
in the evening by the side of the river, a boat came by, which I found
was going towards Philadelphia, with several people in her.  They took
me in, and, as there was no wind, we row'd all the way; and about
midnight, not having yet seen the city, some of the company were
confident we must have passed it, and would row no farther; the others
knew not where we were; so we put toward the shore, got into a creek,
landed near an old fence, with the rails of which we made a fire, the
night being cold, in October, and there we remained till daylight.
Then one of the company knew the place to be Cooper's Creek, a little
above Philadelphia, which we saw as soon as we got out of the creek,
and arriv'd there about eight or nine o'clock on the Sunday morning,
and landed at the Market-street wharf.

I have been the more particular in this description of my journey, and
shall be so of my first entry into that city, that you may in your mind
compare such unlikely beginnings with the figure I have since made
there.  I was in my working dress, my best cloaths being to come round
by sea.  I was dirty from my journey; my pockets were stuff'd out with
shirts and stockings, and I knew no soul nor where to look for lodging.
I was fatigued with travelling, rowing, and want of rest, I was very
hungry; and my whole stock of cash consisted of a Dutch dollar, and
about a shilling in copper.  The latter I gave the people of the boat
for my passage, who at first refus'd it, on account of my rowing; but I
insisted on their taking it.  A man being sometimes more generous when
he has but a little money than when he has plenty, perhaps thro' fear
of being thought to have but little.

Then I walked up the street, gazing about till near the market-house I
met a boy with bread.  I had made many a meal on bread, and, inquiring
where he got it, I went immediately to the baker's he directed me to,
in Secondstreet, and ask'd for bisket, intending such as we had in
Boston; but they, it seems, were not made in Philadelphia.  Then I
asked for a three-penny loaf, and was told they had none such.  So not
considering or knowing the difference of money, and the greater
cheapness nor the names of his bread, I made him give me three-penny
worth of any sort.  He gave me, accordingly, three great puffy rolls.
I was surpriz'd at the quantity, but took it, and, having no room in my
pockets, walk'd off with a roll under each arm, and eating the other.
Thus I went up Market-street as far as Fourth-street, passing by the
door of Mr. Read, my future wife's father; when she, standing at the
door, saw me, and thought I made, as I certainly did, a most awkward,
ridiculous appearance.  Then I turned and went down Chestnut-street and
part of Walnut-street, eating my roll all the way, and, corning round,
found myself again at Market-street wharf, near the boat I came in, to
which I went for a draught of the river water; and, being filled with
one of my rolls, gave the other two to a woman and her child that came
down the river in the boat with us, and were waiting to go farther.

Thus refreshed, I walked again up the street, which by this time had
many clean-dressed people in it, who were all walking the same way.  I
joined them, and thereby was led into the great meeting-house of the
Quakers near the market.  I sat down among them, and, after looking
round awhile and hearing nothing said, being very drowsy thro' labor
and want of rest the preceding night, I fell fast asleep, and continued
so till the meeting broke up, when one was kind enough to rouse me.
This was, therefore, the first house I was in, or slept in, in

Walking down again toward the river, and, looking in the faces of
people, I met a young Quaker man, whose countenance I lik'd, and,
accosting him, requested he would tell me where a stranger could get
lodging.  We were then near the sign of the Three Mariners.  "Here,"
says he, "is one place that entertains strangers, but it is not a
reputable house; if thee wilt walk with me, I'll show thee a better."
He brought me to the Crooked Billet in Water-street. Here I got a
dinner; and, while I was eating it, several sly questions were asked
me, as it seemed to be suspected from my youth and appearance, that I
might be some runaway.

After dinner, my sleepiness return'd, and being shown to a bed, I lay
down without undressing, and slept till six in the evening, was call'd
to supper, went to bed again very early, and slept soundly till next
morning.  Then I made myself as tidy 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 introduc'd me to his son, who receiv'd
me civilly, gave me a breakfast, but told me he did not at present want
a hand, being lately suppli'd 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, "Neighbor," says Bradford, "I have brought to see you a
young man of your business; perhaps you may want such a one."  He ask'd
me a few questions, put a composing stick in my hand to see how I
work'd, 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,
enter'd into a conversation on his present undertaking and projects;
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 interests he
reli'd on, and in what manner he intended to proceed.  I, who stood by
and heard all, saw immediately that one of them was a crafty old
sophister, and the other a mere novice.  Bradford left me with Keimer,
who was greatly surpris'd when I told him who the old man was.

Keimer's printing-house, I found, consisted of an old shatter'd press,
and one small, worn-out font of English which he was then using
himself, composing an Elegy on Aquila Rose, before mentioned, an
ingenious young man, of excellent character, much respected in the
town, clerk of the Assembly, and a pretty poet.  Keimer made verses
too, but very indifferently.  He could not be said to write them, for
his manner was to compose them in the types directly out of his head.
So there being no copy, but one pair of cases, and the Elegy likely to
require all the letter, no one could help him.  I endeavor'd to put his
press (which he had not yet us'd, and of which he understood nothing)
into order fit to be work'd with; and, promising to come and print off
his Elegy as soon as he should have got it ready, I return'd to
Bradford's, who gave me a little job to do for the present, 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,
tho' something of a scholar, was a mere compositor, knowing nothing of
presswork.  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 afterward found, a good deal of
the knave in his composition.  He did not like my lodging at Bradford's
while I work'd 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
and clothes being come by this time, I made rather a more respectable
appearance in the eyes of Miss Read than I had done when she first
happen'd 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 gaining money by my industry and frugality, I lived
very agreeably, forgetting Boston as much as I could, and not desiring
that any there should know where I resided, except my friend Collins,
who was in my secret, and kept it when I wrote to him.  At length, an
incident happened that sent me back again much sooner than I had
intended.  I had a brother-in-law, Robert Holmes, master of a sloop
that traded between Boston and Delaware.  He being at Newcastle, forty
miles below Philadelphia, heard there of me, and wrote me a letter
mentioning the concern of my 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 exhorted me very
earnestly.  I wrote an answer to his letter, thank'd him for his
advice, but stated my reasons for quitting Boston fully and in such a
light as to convince him I was not so wrong as he had apprehended.

Sir William Keith, governor of the province, was then at Newcastle, and
Captain Holmes, happening to be in company with him when my letter came
to hand, spoke to him of me, and show'd him the letter.  The governor
read it, and seem'd surpris'd when he was told my age.  He said I
appear'd 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 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
(which proved to be Colonel French, of Newcastle), finely dress'd, 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 inquir'd for me, came up, and with a condescension of
politeness I had been quite unus'd to, made me many compliments,
desired to be acquainted with me, blam'd me kindly for not having made
myself known to him when I first came to the place, and would have me
away with him to the tavern, where he was going with Colonel French to
taste, as he said, some excellent Madeira.  I was not a little
surprised, and Keimer star'd like a pig poison'd.  I went, however,
with the governor and Colonel French to a tavern, at the corner of
Third-street, and over the Madeira he propos'd my setting up my
business, laid before me the probabilities of success, and both he and
Colonel French assur'd me I should have their interest and influence in
procuring the public business of both governments.  On my doubting
whether my father would assist me in it, Sir William said he would give
me a letter to him, in which he would state the advantages, and he did
not doubt of prevailing with him.  So it was concluded I should return
to Boston in the first vessel, with the governor's letter recommending
me to my father.  In the mean time the intention was to be kept a
secret, and I went on working with Keimer as usual, the governor
sending for me now and then to dine with him, a very great honor I
thought it, and conversing with me in the most affable, familiar, and
friendly manner imaginable.

About the end of April, 1724, a little vessel offer'd for Boston.  I
took leave of Keimer as going to see my friends.  The governor gave me
an ample letter, saying many flattering things of me to my father, and
strongly recommending the project of my setting up at Philadelphia as a
thing that must make my fortune.  We struck on a shoal in going down
the bay, and sprung a leak; we had a blustering time at sea, and were
oblig'd to pump almost continually, at which I took my turn.  We
arriv'd safe, however, at Boston in about a fortnight.  I had been
absent seven months, and my friends had heard nothing of me; for my br.
Holmes was not yet return'd, and had not written about me.  My
unexpected appearance surpriz'd the family; all were, however, very
glad to see me, and made me welcome, except my brother.  I went to see
him at his printing-house. I was better dress'd than ever while in his
service, having a genteel new suit from head to foot, a watch, and my
pockets lin'd with near five pounds sterling in silver.  He receiv'd me
not very frankly, look'd me all over, and turn'd to his work again.

The journeymen were inquisitive where I had been, what sort of a
country it was, and how I lik'd it.  I prais'd it much, the happy life
I led in it, expressing strongly my intention of returning to it; and,
one of them asking what kind of money we had there, I produc'd a
handful of silver, and spread it before them, which was a kind of
raree-show they had not been us'd to, paper being the money of Boston.
Then I took an opportunity of letting them see my watch; and, lastly
(my brother still grum and sullen), I gave them a piece of eight to
drink, and took my leave.  This visit of mine offended him extreamly;
for, when my mother some time after spoke to him of a reconciliation,
and of her wishes to see us on good terms together, and that we might
live for the future as brothers, he said I had insulted him in such a
manner before his people that he could never forget or forgive it.  In
this, however, he was mistaken.

My father received the governor's letter with some apparent surprise,
but said little of it to me for some days, when Capt. Holmes returning
he showed it to him, ask'd him if he knew Keith, and what kind of man
he was; adding his opinion that he must be of small discretion to think
of setting a boy up in business who wanted yet three years of being at
man's estate.  Holmes said what he could in favor of the project, but
my father was clear in the impropriety of it, and at last gave a flat
denial to it.  Then he wrote a civil letter to Sir William, thanking
him for the patronage he had so kindly offered me, but declining to
assist me as yet in setting up, I being, in his opinion, too young to
be trusted with the management of a business so important, and for
which the preparation must be so expensive.

My friend and companion Collins, who was a clerk in the post-office,
pleas'd with the account I gave him of my new country, determined to go
thither also; and, while I waited for my father's determination, he set
out before me by land to Rhode Island, leaving his books, which were a
pretty collection of mathematicks and natural philosophy, to come with
mine and me to New York, where he propos'd to wait for me.

My father, tho' he did not approve Sir William's proposition, was yet
pleas'd that I had been able to obtain so advantageous a character from
a person of such note where I had resided, and that I had been so
industrious and careful as to equip myself so handsomely in so short a
time; therefore, seeing no prospect of an accommodation between my
brother and me, he gave his consent to my returning again to
Philadelphia, advis'd me to behave respectfully to the people there,
endeavor to obtain the general esteem, and avoid lampooning and
libeling, to which he thought I had too much inclination; telling me,
that by steady industry and a prudent parsimony I might save enough by
the time I was one-and-twenty to set me up; and that, if I came near
the matter, he would help me out with the rest.  This was all I could
obtain, except some small gifts as tokens of his and my mother's love,
when I embark'd again for New York, now with their approbation and
their blessing.

The sloop putting in at Newport, Rhode Island, I visited my brother
John, who had been married and settled there some years.  He received
me very affectionately, for he always lov'd me.  A friend of his, one
Vernon, having some money due to him in Pensilvania, about thirty-five
pounds currency, desired I would receive it for him, and keep it till I
had his directions what to remit it in.  Accordingly, he gave me an
order.  This afterwards occasion'd me a good deal of uneasiness.

At Newport we took in a number of passengers for New York, among which
were two young women, companions, and a grave, sensible, matron-like
Quaker woman, with her attendants.  I had shown an obliging readiness
to do her some little services, which impress'd her I suppose with a
degree of good will toward me; therefore, when she saw a daily growing
familiarity between me and the two young women, which they appear'd to
encourage, she took me aside, and said: "Young man, I am concern'd for
thee, as thou has no friend with thee, and seems not to know much of
the world, or of the snares youth is expos'd to; depend upon it, those
are very bad women; I can see it in all their actions; and if thee art
not upon thy guard, they will draw thee into some danger; they are
strangers to thee, and I advise thee, in a friendly concern for thy
welfare, to have no acquaintance with them."  As I seem'd at first not
to think so ill of them as she did, she mentioned some things she had
observ'd and heard that had escap'd my notice, but now convinc'd me she
was right.  I thank'd her for her kind advice, and promis'd to follow
it.  When we arriv'd at New York, they told me where they liv'd, and
invited me to come and see them; but I avoided it, and it was well I
did; for the next day the captain miss'd a silver spoon and some other
things, that had been taken out of his cabbin, 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 punish'd. So, tho' we had
escap'd a sunken rock, which we scrap'd upon in the passage, I thought
this escape of rather more importance to me.

At New York I found my friend Collins, who had arriv'd 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 liv'd in Boston most of my hours of leisure
for conversation were spent with him, and he continu'd a sober as well
as an 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 acquir'd a habit of
sotting with brandy; and I found by his own account, and what I heard
from others, that he had been drunk every day since his arrival at New
York, and behav'd very oddly.  He had gam'd, too, and lost his money,
so that I was oblig'd to discharge his lodgings, and defray his
expenses to and at Philadelphia, which prov'd extremely inconvenient to

The then governor of New York, Burnet (son of Bishop Burnet), hearing
from the captain that a young man, one of his passengers, had a great
many books, desir'd he would bring me to see him.  I waited upon him
accordingly, and should have taken Collins with me but that he was not
sober.  The gov'r. treated me with great civility, show'd me his
library, which was a very large one, and we had a good deal of
conversation about books and authors.  This was the second governor who
had done me the honor to take notice of me; which, to a poor boy like
me, was very pleasing.

We proceeded to Philadelphia.  I received on the way Vernon's money,
without which we could hardly have finish'd our journey.  Collins
wished to be employ'd in some counting-house, but, whether they
discover'd his dramming by his breath, or by his behaviour, tho' he had
some recommendations, he met with no success in any application, and
continu'd 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 distress'd to
think what I should do in case of being call'd on to remit it.

His drinking continu'd, about which we sometimes quarrell'd; for, when
a little intoxicated, he was very fractious.  Once, in a boat on the
Delaware with some other young men, he refused to row in his turn.  "I
will be row'd home," says he.  "We will not row you," says I. "You
must, or stay all night on the water," says he, "just as you please."
The others said, "Let us row; what signifies it?"  But, my mind being
soured with his other conduct, I continu'd to refuse.  So he swore he
would make me row, or throw me overboard; and coming along, stepping on
the thwarts, toward me, when he came up and struck at me, I clapped my
hand under his crutch, 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 pull'd her out of his reach; and ever when he
drew near the boat, we ask'd if he would row, striking a few strokes to
slide her away from him.  He was ready to die with vexation, and
obstinately would not promise to row.  However, seeing him at last
beginning to tire, we lifted him in and brought him home dripping wet
in the evening.  We hardly exchang'd a civil word afterwards, and a
West India captain, who had a commission to procure a tutor for the
sons of a gentleman at Barbadoes, happening to meet with him, agreed to
carry him thither.  He left me then, promising to remit me the first
money he should receive in order to discharge the debt; but I never
heard of him after.

The breaking into this money of Vernon's was one of the first great
errata of my life; and this affair show'd that my father was not much
out in his judgment when he suppos'd me too young to manage business of
importance.  But Sir William, on reading his letter, said he was too
prudent.  There was great difference in persons; and discretion did not
always accompany years, nor was youth always without it.  "And since he
will not set you up," says he, "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 resolv'd to
have a 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 advis'd 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 believ'd him one of the
best men in the world.

I presented him an inventory of a little print'g-house, amounting by my
computation to about one hundred pounds sterling.  He lik'd it, but
ask'd me if my being on the spot in England to chuse the types, and see
that every thing was good of the kind, might not be of some advantage.
"Then," says he, "when there, you may make acquaintances, and establish
correspondences in the bookselling and stationery way." I agreed that
this might be advantageous.  "Then," says 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 it would be some
months before Annis sail'd, so I continu'd working with Keimer,
fretting about the money Collins had got from me, and in daily
apprehensions of being call'd upon by Vernon, which, however, did not
happen for some years after.

I believe I have omitted mentioning that, in my first voyage from
Boston, being becalm'd off Block Island, our people set about catching
cod, and hauled up a great many.  Hitherto I had stuck to my resolution
of not eating animal food, and on this occasion consider'd, with my
master Tryon, the taking every fish as a kind of unprovoked murder,
since none of them had, or ever could do us any injury that might
justify the slaughter.  All this seemed very reasonable.  But I had
formerly been a great lover of fish, and, when this came hot out of the
frying-pan, it smelt admirably well.  I balanc'd some time between
principle and inclination, till I recollected 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 mayn't eat you."  So I
din'd upon cod very heartily, and continued to eat with other people,
returning only now and then occasionally to a vegetable diet.  So
convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables
one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do.

Keimer and I liv'd on a pretty good familiar footing, and agreed
tolerably well, for he suspected nothing of my setting up.  He retained
a great deal of his old enthusiasms and lov'd argumentation.  We
therefore had many disputations.  I used to work him so with my
Socratic method, and had trepann'd him so often by questions apparently
so distant from any point we had in hand, and yet by degrees lead to
the point, and brought him into difficulties and contradictions, that
at last he grew ridiculously cautious, and would hardly answer me the
most common question, without asking first, "What do you intend to
infer from that?"  However, it gave him so high an opinion of my
abilities in the confuting way, that he seriously proposed my being his
colleague in a project he had of setting up a new sect.  He was to
preach the doctrines, and I was to confound all opponents.  When he
came to explain with me upon the doctrines, I found several conundrums
which I objected to, unless I might have my way a little too, and
introduce some of mine.

Keimer wore his beard at full length, because somewhere in the Mosaic
law it is said, "Thou shalt not mar the corners of thy beard." He
likewise kept the Seventh day, Sabbath; and these two points were
essentials with him.  I dislik'd both; but agreed to admit them upon
condition of his adopting the doctrine of using no animal food.  "I
doubt," said he, "my constitution will not bear that."  I assur'd him
it would, and that he would be the better for it.  He was usually a
great glutton, and I promised myself some diversion in half starving
him.  He agreed to try the practice, if I would keep him company.  I
did so, and we held it for three months.  We had our victuals dress'd,
and brought to us regularly by a woman in the neighborhood, who had
from me a list of forty dishes to be prepar'd for us at different
times, in all which there was neither fish, flesh, nor fowl, and the
whim suited me the better at this time from the cheapness of it, not
costing us above eighteenpence sterling each per week.  I have since
kept several Lents most strictly, leaving the common diet for that, and
that for the common, abruptly, without the least inconvenience, so that
I think there is little in the advice of making those changes by easy
gradations.  I went on pleasantly, but poor Keimer suffered grievously,
tired of the project, long'd for the flesh-pots of Egypt, and order'd a
roast pig.  He invited me and two women friends to dine with him; but,
it being brought too soon upon table, he could not resist the
temptation, and ate the whole before we came.

I had made some courtship during this time to Miss Read.  I had a great
respect and affection for her, and had some reason to believe she had
the same for me; but, as I was about to take a long voyage, and we were
both very young, only a little above eighteen, it was thought most
prudent by her mother to prevent our going too far at present, as a
marriage, if it was to take place, would be more convenient after my
return, when I should be, as I expected, set up in my business.
Perhaps, too, she thought my expectations not so well founded as I
imagined them to be.

My chief acquaintances at this time were Charles Osborne, Joseph
Watson, and James Ralph, all lovers of reading.  The two first were
clerks to an eminent scrivener or conveyancer in the town, Charles
Brogden; the other was clerk to a merchant.  Watson was a pious,
sensible young man, of great integrity; the others rather more lax in
their principles of religion, particularly Ralph, who, as well as
Collins, had been unsettled by me, for which they both made me suffer.
Osborne was sensible, candid, frank; sincere and affectionate to his
friends; but, in literary matters, too fond of criticising.  Ralph was
ingenious, genteel in his manners, and extremely eloquent; I think I
never knew a prettier talker.  Both of them great admirers of poetry,
and began to try their hands in little pieces.  Many pleasant walks we
four had together on Sundays into the woods, near Schuylkill, where we
read to one another, and conferr'd on what we read.

Ralph was inclin'd to pursue the study of poetry, not doubting but he
might become eminent in it, and make his fortune by it, alleging that
the best poets must, when they first began to write, make as many
faults as he did.  Osborne dissuaded him, assur'd him he had no genius
for poetry, and advis'd him to think of nothing beyond the business he
was bred to; that, in the mercantile way, tho' he had no stock, he
might, by his diligence and punctuality, recommend himself to
employment as a factor, and in time acquire wherewith to trade on his
own account.  I approv'd the amusing one's self with poetry now and
then, so far as to improve one's language, but no farther.

On this it was propos'd that we should each of us, at our next meeting,
produce a piece of our own composing, in order to improve by our mutual
observations, criticisms, and corrections.  As language and expression
were what we had in view, we excluded all considerations of invention
by agreeing that the task should be a version of the eighteenth Psalm,
which describes the descent of a Deity.  When the time of our meeting
drew nigh, Ralph called on me first, and let me know his piece was
ready.  I told him I had been busy, and, having little inclination, had
done nothing.  He then show'd me his piece for my opinion, and I much
approv'd it, as it appear'd to me to have great merit.  "Now," says he,
"Osborne never will allow the least merit in any thing of mine, but
makes 1000 criticisms out of mere envy.  He is not so jealous of you; I
wish, therefore, you would take this piece, and produce it as yours; I
will pretend not to have had time, and so produce nothing.  We shall
then see what he will say to it." It was agreed, and I immediately
transcrib'd it, that it might appear in my own hand.

We met; Watson's performance was read; there were some beauties in it,
but many defects.  Osborne's was read; it was much better; Ralph did it
justice; remarked some faults, but applauded the beauties.  He himself
had nothing to produce.  I was backward; seemed desirous of being
excused; had not had sufficient time to correct, etc.; but no excuse
could be admitted; produce I must.  It was read and repeated; Watson
and Osborne gave up the contest, and join'd in applauding it.  Ralph
only made some criticisms, and propos'd some amendments; but I defended
my text.  Osborne was against Ralph, and told him he was no better a
critic than poet, so he dropt the argument.  As they two went home
together, Osborne expressed himself still more strongly in favor of
what he thought my production; having restrain'd himself before, as he
said, lest I should think it flattery.  "But who would have imagin'd,"
said he, "that Franklin had been capable of such a performance; such
painting, such force, such fire!  He has even improv'd the original.
In his common conversation he seems to have no choice of words; he
hesitates and blunders; and yet, good God! how he writes!" When we next
met, Ralph discovered the trick we had plaid him, and Osborne was a
little laught at.

This transaction fixed Ralph in his resolution of becoming a poet.  I
did all I could to dissuade him from it, but he continued scribbling
verses till Pope cured him.  He became, however, a pretty good prose
writer.  More of him hereafter.  But, as I may not have occasion again
to mention the other two, I shall just remark here, that Watson died in
my arms a few years after, much lamented, being the best of our set.
Osborne went to the West Indies, where he became an eminent lawyer and
made money, but died young.  He and I had made a serious agreement,
that the one who happen'd first to die should, if possible, make a
friendly visit to the other, and acquaint him how he found things in
that separate state.  But he never fulfill'd his promise.

The governor, seeming to like my company, had me frequently to his
house, and his setting me up was always mention'd as a fixed thing.  I
was to take with me letters recommendatory to a number of his friends,
besides the letter of credit to furnish me with the necessary money for
purchasing the press and types, paper, etc.  For these letters I was
appointed to call at different times, when they were to be ready, but a
future time was still named.  Thus he went on till the ship, whose
departure too had been several times postponed, was on the point of
sailing.  Then, when I call'd to take my leave and receive the letters,
his secretary, Dr. Bard, came out to me and said the governor was
extremely busy in writing, but would be down at Newcastle before the
ship, and there the letters would be delivered to me.

Ralph, though married, and having one child, had determined to
accompany me in this voyage.  It was thought he intended to establish a
correspondence, and obtain goods to sell on commission; but I found
afterwards, that, thro' some discontent with his wife's relations, he
purposed to leave her on their hands, and never return again.  Having
taken leave of my friends, and interchang'd some promises with Miss
Read, I left Philadelphia in the ship, which anchor'd at Newcastle.
The governor was there; but when I went to his lodging, the secretary
came to me from him with the civillest message in the world, that he
could not then see me, being engaged in business of the utmost
importance, but should send the letters to me on board, wish'd me
heartily a good voyage and a speedy return, etc.  I returned on board a
little puzzled, but still not doubting.

Mr. Andrew Hamilton, a famous lawyer of Philadelphia, had taken passage
in the same ship for himself and son, and with Mr. Denham, a Quaker
merchant, and Messrs. Onion and Russel, masters of an iron work in
Maryland, had engag'd the great cabin; so that Ralph and I were forced
to take up with a berth in the steerage, and none on board knowing us,
were considered as ordinary persons.  But Mr. Hamilton and his son (it
was James, since governor) return'd from Newcastle to Philadelphia, the
father being recall'd by a great fee to plead for a seized ship; and,
just before we sail'd, Colonel French coming on board, and showing me
great respect, I was more taken notice of, and, with my friend Ralph,
invited by the other gentlemen to come into the cabin, there being now
room.  Accordingly, we remov'd thither.

Understanding that Colonel French had brought on board the governor's
despatches, I ask'd the captain for those letters that were to be under
my care.  He said all were put into the bag together and he could not
then come at them; but, before we landed in England, I should have an
opportunity of picking them out; so I was satisfied for the present,
and we proceeded on our voyage.  We had a sociable company in the
cabin, and lived uncommonly well, having the addition of all Mr.
Hamilton's stores, who had laid in plentifully.  In this passage Mr.
Denham contracted a friendship for me that continued during his life.
The voyage was otherwise not a pleasant one, as we had a great deal of
bad weather.

When we came into the Channel, the captain kept his word with me, and
gave me an opportunity of examining the bag for the governor's letters.
I found none upon which my name was put as under my care.  I picked out
six or seven, that, by the handwriting, I thought might be the promised
letters, especially as one of them was directed to Basket, the king's
printer, and another to some stationer.  We arriv'd in London the 24th
of December, 1724.  I waited upon the stationer, who came first in my
way, delivering the letter as from Governor Keith.  "I don't know such
a person," says he; but, opening the letter, "O! this is from
Riddlesden.  I have lately found him to be a compleat rascal, and I
will have nothing to do with him, nor receive any letters from him."
So, putting the letter into my hand, he turn'd on his heel and left me
to serve some customer.  I was surprized to find these were not the
governor's letters; and, after recollecting and comparing
circumstances, I began to doubt his sincerity.  I found my friend
Denham, and opened the whole affair to him.  He let me into Keith's
character; told me there was not the least probability that he had
written any letters for me; that no one, who knew him, had the smallest
dependence on him; and he laught at the notion of the governor's giving
me a letter of credit, having, as he said, no credit to give.  On my
expressing some concern about what I should do, he advised me to
endeavor getting some employment in the way of my business.  "Among the
printers here," said he, "you will improve yourself, and when you
return to America, you will set up to greater advantage."

We both of us happen'd to know, as well as the stationer, that
Riddlesden, the attorney, was a very knave.  He had half ruin'd Miss
Read's father by persuading him to be bound for him.  By this letter it
appear'd there was a secret scheme on foot to the prejudice of Hamilton
(suppos'd to be then coming over with us); and that Keith was concerned
in it with Riddlesden.  Denham, who was a friend of Hamilton's thought
he ought to be acquainted with it; so, when he arriv'd in England,
which was soon after, partly from resentment and ill-will to Keith and
Riddlesden, and partly from good-will to him, I waited on him, and gave
him the letter.  He thank'd me cordially, the information being of
importance to him; and from that time he became my friend, greatly to
my advantage afterwards on many occasions.

But what shall we think of a governor's playing such pitiful tricks,
and imposing so grossly on a poor ignorant boy!  It was a habit he had
acquired.  He wish'd to please everybody; and, having little to give,
he gave expectations.  He was otherwise an ingenious, sensible man, a
pretty good writer, and a good governor for the people, tho' not for
his constituents, the proprietaries, whose instructions he sometimes
disregarded.  Several of our best laws were of his planning and passed
during his administration.

Ralph and I were inseparable companions.  We took lodgings together in
Little Britain at three shillings and sixpence a week--as much as we
could then afford.  He found some relations, but they were poor, and
unable to assist him.  He now let me know his intentions of remaining
in London, and that he never meant to return to Philadelphia.  He had
brought no money with him, the whole he could muster having been
expended in paying his passage.  I had fifteen pistoles; so he borrowed
occasionally of me to subsist, while he was looking out for business.
He first endeavored to get into the playhouse, believing himself
qualify'd for an actor; but Wilkes, to whom he apply'd, advis'd him
candidly not to think of that employment, as it was impossible he
should succeed in it.  Then he propos'd to Roberts, a publisher in
Paternoster Row, to write for him a weekly paper like the Spectator, on
certain conditions, which Roberts did not approve.  Then he endeavored
to get employment as a hackney writer, to copy for the stationers and
lawyers about the Temple, but could find no vacancy.

I immediately got into work at Palmer's, then a famous printing-house
in Bartholomew Close, and here I continu'd near a year.  I was pretty
diligent, but spent with Ralph a good deal of my earnings in going to
plays and other places of amusement.  We had together consumed all my
pistoles, and now just rubbed on from hand to mouth.  He seem'd quite
to forget his wife and child, and I, by degrees, my engagements with
Miss Read, to whom I never wrote more than one letter, and that was to
let her know I was not likely soon to return.  This was another of the
great errata of my life, which I should wish to correct if I were to
live it over again.  In fact, by our expenses, I was constantly kept
unable to pay my passage.

At Palmer's I was employed in composing for the second edition of
Wollaston's "Religion of Nature."  Some of his reasonings not appearing
to me well founded, I wrote a little metaphysical piece in which I made
remarks on them.  It was entitled "A Dissertation on Liberty and
Necessity, Pleasure and Pain." I inscribed it to my friend Ralph; I
printed a small number.  It occasion'd my being more consider'd by Mr.
Palmer as a young man of some ingenuity, tho' he seriously expostulated
with me upon the principles of my pamphlet, which to him appear'd
abominable.  My printing this pamphlet was another erratum.  While I
lodg'd in Little Britain, I made an acquaintance with one Wilcox, a
bookseller, whose shop was at the next door.  He had an immense
collection of second-hand books.  Circulating libraries were not then
in use; but we agreed that, on certain reasonable terms, which I have
now forgotten, I might take, read, and return any of his books.  This I
esteem'd a great advantage, and I made as much use of it as I could.

My pamphlet by some means falling into the hands of one Lyons, a
surgeon, author of a book entitled "The Infallibility of Human
Judgment," it occasioned an acquaintance between us.  He took great
notice of me, called on me often to converse on those subjects, carried
me to the Horns, a pale alehouse in ---- Lane, Cheapside, and
introduced me to Dr. Mandeville, author of the "Fable of the Bees," who
had a club there, of which he was the soul, being a most facetious,
entertaining companion.  Lyons, too, introduced me to Dr. Pemberton, at
Batson's Coffee-house, who promis'd to give me an opportunity, some
time or other, of seeing Sir Isaac Newton, of which I was extreamely
desirous; but this never happened.

I had brought over a few curiosities, among which the principal was a
purse made of the asbestos, which purifies by fire.  Sir Hans Sloane
heard of it, came to see me, and invited me to his house in Bloomsbury
Square, where he show'd me all his curiosities, and persuaded me to let
him add that to the number, for which he paid me handsomely.

In our house there lodg'd a young woman, a milliner, who, I think, had
a shop in the Cloisters.  She had been genteelly bred, was sensible and
lively, and of most pleasing conversation.  Ralph read plays to her in
the evenings, they grew intimate, she took another lodging, and he
followed her.  They liv'd together some time; but, he being still out
of business, and her income not sufficient to maintain them with her
child, he took a resolution of going from London, to try for a country
school, which he thought himself well qualified to undertake, as he
wrote an excellent hand, and was a master of arithmetic and accounts.
This, however, he deemed a business below him, and confident of future
better fortune, when he should be unwilling to have it known that he
once was so meanly employed, he changed his name, and did me the honor
to assume mine; for I soon after had a letter from him, acquainting me
that he was settled in a small village (in Berkshire, I think it was,
where he taught reading and writing to ten or a dozen boys, at sixpence
each per week), recommending Mrs. T---- to my care, and desiring me to
write to him, directing for Mr. Franklin, schoolmaster, at such a place.

He continued to write frequently, sending me large specimens of an epic
poem which he was then composing, and desiring my remarks and
corrections.  These I gave him from time to time, but endeavor'd rather
to discourage his proceeding.  One of Young's Satires was then just
published.  I copy'd and sent him a great part of it, which set in a
strong light the folly of pursuing the Muses with any hope of
advancement by them.  All was in vain; sheets of the poem continued to
come by every post.  In the mean time, Mrs. T----, having on his
account lost her friends and business, was often in distresses, and
us'd to send for me, and borrow what I could spare to help her out of
them.  I grew fond of her company, and, being at that time under no
religious restraint, and presuming upon my importance to her, I
attempted familiarities (another erratum) which she repuls'd with a
proper resentment, and acquainted him with my behaviour.  This made a
breach between us; and, when he returned again to London, he let me
know he thought I had cancell'd all the obligations he had been under
to me.  So I found I was never to expect his repaying me what I lent to
him, or advanc'd for him.  This, however, was not then of much
consequence, as he was totally unable; and in the loss of his
friendship I found myself relieved from a burthen.  I now began to
think of getting a little money beforehand, and, expecting better work,
I left Palmer's to work at Watts's, near Lincoln's Inn Fields, a still
greater printing-house. Here I continued all the rest of my stay in

At my first admission into this printing-house I took to working at
press, imagining I felt a want of the bodily exercise I had been us'd
to in America, where presswork is mix'd with composing.  I drank only
water; the other workmen, near fifty in number, were great guzzlers of
beer.  On occasion, I carried up and down stairs a large form of types
in each hand, when others carried but one in both hands.  They wondered
to see, from this and several instances, that the Water-American, as
they called me, was stronger than themselves, who drank strong beer!
We had an alehouse boy who attended always in the house to supply the
workmen.  My companion at the press drank every day a pint before
breakfast, a pint at breakfast with his bread and cheese, a pint
between breakfast and dinner, a pint at dinner, a pint in the afternoon
about six o'clock, and another when he had done his day's work.  I
thought it a detestable custom; but it was necessary, he suppos'd, to
drink strong beer, that he might be strong to labor.  I endeavored to
convince him that the bodily strength afforded by beer could only be in
proportion to the grain or flour of the barley dissolved in the water
of which it was made; that there was more flour in a pennyworth of
bread; and therefore, if he would eat that with a pint of water, it
would give him more strength than a quart of beer.  He drank on,
however, and had four or five shillings to pay out of his wages every
Saturday night for that muddling liquor; an expense I was free from.
And thus these poor devils keep themselves always under.

Watts, after some weeks, desiring to have me in the composing-room, I
left the pressmen; a new bien venu or sum for drink, being five
shillings, was demanded of me by the compositors.  I thought it an
imposition, as I had paid below; the master thought so too, and forbad
my paying it.  I stood out two or three weeks, was accordingly
considered as an excommunicate, and bad so many little pieces of
private mischief done me, by mixing my sorts, transposing my pages,
breaking my matter, etc., etc., if I were ever so little out of the
room, and all ascribed to the chappel ghost, which they said ever
haunted those not regularly admitted, that, notwithstanding the
master's protection, I found myself oblig'd to comply and pay the
money, convinc'd of the folly of being on ill terms with those one is
to live with continually.

I was now on a fair footing with them, and soon acquir'd considerable
influence.  I propos'd some reasonable alterations in their chappel[4]
laws, and carried them against all opposition.  From my example, a
great part of them left their muddling breakfast of beer, and bread,
and cheese, finding they could with me be suppli'd from a neighboring
house with a large porringer of hot water-gruel, sprinkled with pepper,
crumbl'd with bread, and a bit of butter in it, for the price of a pint
of beer, viz., three half-pence. This was a more comfortable as well as
cheaper breakfast, and kept their heads clearer.  Those who continued
sotting with beer all day, were often, by not paying, out of credit at
the alehouse, and us'd to make interest with me to get beer; their
light, as they phrased it, being out.  I watch'd the pay-table on
Saturday night, and collected what I stood engag'd for them, having to
pay sometimes near thirty shillings a week on their account.  This, and
my being esteem'd a pretty good riggite, that is, a jocular verbal
satirist, supported my consequence in the society.  My constant
attendance (I never making a St. Monday) recommended me to the master;
and my uncommon quickness at composing occasioned my being put upon all
work of dispatch, which was generally better paid.  So I went on now
very agreeably.

     [4] "A printing-house is always called a chapel by the
         workmen, the origin of which appears to have been that
         printing was first carried on in England in an ancient
         chapel converted into a printing-house, and the title
         has been preserved by tradition.  The bien venu among
         the printers answers to the terms entrance and footing
         among mechanics; thus a journeyman, on entering a
         printing-house, was accustomed to pay one or more gallons
         of beer for the good of the chapel;  this custom was
         falling into disuse thirty years ago; it is very properly
         rejected entirely in the United States."--W. T. F.

My lodging in Little Britain being too remote, I found another in
Duke-street, opposite to the Romish Chapel.  It was two pair of stairs
backwards, at an Italian warehouse.  A widow lady kept the house; she
had a daughter, and a maid servant, and a journeyman who attended the
warehouse, but lodg'd abroad.  After sending to inquire my character at
the house where I last lodg'd she agreed to take me in at the same
rate, 3s.  6d.  per week; cheaper, as she said, from the protection she
expected in having a man lodge in the house.  She was a widow, an
elderly woman; had been bred a Protestant, being a clergyman's
daughter, but was converted to the Catholic religion by her husband,
whose memory she much revered; had lived much among people of
distinction, and knew a thousand anecdotes of them as far back as the
times of Charles the Second.  She was lame in her knees with the gout,
and, therefore, seldom stirred out of her room, so sometimes wanted
company; and hers was so highly amusing to me, that I was sure to spend
an evening with her whenever she desired it.  Our supper was only half
an anchovy each, on a very little strip of bread and butter, and half a
pint of ale between us; but the entertainment was in her conversation.
My always keeping good hours, and giving little trouble in the family,
made her unwilling to part with me; so that, when I talk'd of a lodging
I had heard of, nearer my business, for two shillings a week, which,
intent as I now was on saving money, made some difference, she bid me
not think of it, for she would abate me two shillings a week for the
future; so I remained with her at one shilling and sixpence as long as
I staid in London.

In a garret of her house there lived a maiden lady of seventy, in the
most retired manner, of whom my landlady gave me this account: that she
was a Roman Catholic, had been sent abroad when young, and lodg'd in a
nunnery with an intent of becoming a nun; but, the country not agreeing
with her, she returned to England, where, there being no nunnery, she
had vow'd to lead the life of a nun, as near as might be done in those
circumstances.  Accordingly, she had given all her estate to charitable
uses, reserving only twelve pounds a year to live on, and out of this
sum she still gave a great deal in charity, living herself on
water-gruel only, and using no fire but to boil it.  She had lived many
years in that garret, being permitted to remain there gratis by
successive Catholic tenants of the house below, as they deemed it a
blessing to have her there.  A priest visited her to confess her every
day.  "I have ask'd her," says my landlady, "how she, as she liv'd,
could possibly find so much employment for a confessor?"  "Oh," said
she, "it is impossible to avoid vain thoughts."  I was permitted once
to visit her, She was chearful and polite, and convers'd pleasantly.
The room was clean, but had no other furniture than a matras, a table
with a crucifix and book, a stool which she gave me to sit on, and a
picture over the chimney of Saint Veronica displaying her handkerchief,
with the miraculous figure of Christ's bleeding face on it, which she
explained to me with great seriousness.  She look'd pale, but was never
sick; and I give it as another instance on how small an income life and
health may be supported.

At Watts's printing-house I contracted an acquaintance with an
ingenious young man, one Wygate, who, having wealthy relations, had
been better educated than most printers; was a tolerable Latinist,
spoke French, and lov'd reading.  I taught him and a friend of his to
swim at twice going into the river, and they soon became good swimmers.
They introduc'd me to some gentlemen from the country, who went to
Chelsea by water to see the College and Don Saltero's curiosities.  In
our return, at the request of the company, whose curiosity Wygate had
excited, I stripped and leaped into the river, and swam from near
Chelsea to Blackfryar's, performing on the way many feats of activity,
both upon and under water, that surpris'd and pleas'd those to whom
they were novelties.

I had from a child been ever delighted with this exercise, had studied
and practis'd all Thevenot's motions and positions, added some of my
own, aiming at the graceful and easy as well as the useful.  All these
I took this occasion of exhibiting to the company, and was much
flatter'd by their admiration; and Wygate, who was desirous of becoming
a master, grew more and more attach'd to me on that account, as well as
from the similarity of our studies.  He at length proposed to me
travelling all over Europe together, supporting ourselves everywhere by
working at our business.  I was once inclined to it; but, mentioning it
to my good friend Mr. Denham, with whom I often spent an hour when I
had leisure, he dissuaded me from it, advising me to think only of
returning to Pennsilvania, which he was now about to do.

I must record one trait of this good man's character.  He had formerly
been in business at Bristol, but failed in debt to a number of people,
compounded and went to America.  There, by a close application to
business as a merchant, he acquir'd a plentiful fortune in a few years.
Returning to England in the ship with me, he invited his old creditors
to an entertainment, at which he thank'd them for the easy composition
they had favored him with, and, when they expected nothing but the
treat, every man at the first remove found under his plate an order on
a banker for the full amount of the unpaid remainder with interest.

He now told me he was about to return to Philadelphia, and should carry
over a great quantity of goods in order to open a store there.  He
propos'd to take me over as his clerk, to keep his books, in which he
would instruct me, copy his letters, and attend the store.  He added
that, as soon as I should be acquainted with mercantile business, he
would promote me by sending me with a cargo of flour and bread, etc.,
to the West Indies, and procure me commissions from others which would
be profitable; and, if I manag'd well, would establish me handsomely.
The thing pleas'd me; for I was grown tired of London, remembered with
pleasure the happy months I had spent in Pennsylvania, and wish'd again
to see it; therefore I immediately agreed on the terms of fifty pounds
a year, Pennsylvania money; less, indeed, than my present gettings as a
compositor, but affording a better prospect.

I now took leave of printing, as I thought, for ever, and was daily
employed in my new business, going about with Mr. Denham among the
tradesmen to purchase various articles, and seeing them pack'd up,
doing errands, calling upon workmen to dispatch, etc.; and, when all
was on board, I had a few days' leisure.  On one of these days, I was,
to my surprise, sent for by a great man I knew only by name, a Sir
William Wyndham, and I waited upon him.  He had heard by some means or
other of my swimming from Chelsea to Blackfriar's, and of my teaching
Wygate and another young man to swim in a few hours.  He had two sons,
about to set out on their travels; he wish'd to have them first taught
swimming, and proposed to gratify me handsomely if I would teach them.
They were not yet come to town, and my stay was uncertain, so I could
not undertake it; but, from this incident, I thought it likely that, if
I were to remain in England and open a swimming-school, I might get a
good deal of money; and it struck me so strongly, that, had the
overture been sooner made me, probably I should not so soon have
returned to America.  After many years, you and I had something of more
importance to do with one of these sons of Sir William Wyndham, become
Earl of Egremont, which I shall mention in its place.

Thus I spent about eighteen months in London; most part of the time I
work'd hard at my business, and spent but little upon myself except in
seeing plays and in books.  My friend Ralph had kept me poor; he owed
me about twenty-seven pounds, which I was now never likely to receive;
a great sum out of my small earnings!  I lov'd him, notwithstanding,
for he had many amiable qualities.  I had by no means improv'd my
fortune; but I had picked up some very ingenious acquaintance, whose
conversation was of great advantage to me; and I had read considerably.

We sail'd from Gravesend on the 23d of July, 1726.  For the incidents
of the voyage, I refer you to my journal, where you will find them all
minutely related.  Perhaps the most important part of that journal is
the plan[5] to be found in it, which I formed at sea, for regulating my
future conduct in life.  It is the more remarkable, as being formed
when I was so young, and yet being pretty faithfully adhered to quite
thro' to old age.

     [5] The "Journal" was printed by Sparks, from a copy made
         at Reading in 1787.  But it does not contain the Plan.

We landed in Philadelphia on the 11th of October, where I found sundry
alterations.  Keith was no longer governor, being superseded by Major
Gordon.  I met him walking the streets as a common citizen.  He seem'd
a little asham'd at seeing me, but pass'd without saying anything.  I
should have been as much asham'd at seeing Miss Read, had not her
friends, despairing with reason of my return after the receipt of my
letter, persuaded her to marry another, one Rogers, a potter, which was
done in my absence.  With him, however, she was never happy, and soon
parted from him, refusing to cohabit with him or bear his name, it
being now said that he had another wife.  He was a worthless fellow,
tho' an excellent workman, which was the temptation to her friends.  He
got into debt, ran away in 1727 or 1728, went to the West Indies, and
died there.  Keimer had got a better house, a shop well supply'd with
stationery, plenty of new types, a number of hands, tho' none good, and
seem'd to have a great deal of business.

Mr. Denham took a store in Water-street, where we open'd our goods; I
attended the business diligently, studied accounts, and grew, in a
little time, expert at selling.  We lodg'd and, boarded together; he
counsell'd me as a father, having a sincere regard for me.  I respected
and lov'd him, and we might have gone on together very happy; but, in
the beginning of February, 1726-7, when I had just pass'd my
twenty-first year, we both were taken ill.  My distemper was a
pleurisy, which very nearly carried me off.  I suffered a good deal,
gave up the point in my own mind, and was rather disappointed when I
found myself recovering, regretting, in some degree, that I must now,
some time or other, have all that disagreeable work to do over again.
I forget what his distemper was; it held him a long time, and at length
carried him off.  He left me a small legacy in a nuncupative will, as a
token of his kindness for me, and he left me once more to the wide
world; for the store was taken into the care of his executors, and my
employment under him ended.

My brother-in-law, Holmes, being now at Philadelphia, advised my return
to my business; and Keimer tempted me, with an offer of large wages by
the year, to come and take the management of his printing-house, that
he might better attend his stationer's shop.  I had heard a bad
character of him in London from his wife and her friends, and was not
fond of having any more to do with him.  I tri'd for farther employment
as a merchant's clerk; but, not readily meeting with any, I clos'd
again with Keimer.  I found in his house these hands: Hugh Meredith, a
Welsh Pensilvanian, thirty years of age, bred to country work; honest,
sensible, had a great deal of solid observation, was something of a
reader, but given to drink.  Stephen Potts, a young countryman of full
age, bred to the same, of uncommon natural parts, and great wit and
humor, but a little idle.  These he had agreed with at extream low
wages per week, to be rais'd a shilling every three months, as they
would deserve by improving in their business; and the expectation of
these high wages, to come on hereafter, was what he had drawn them in
with.  Meredith was to work at press, Potts at book-binding, which he,
by agreement, was to teach them, though he knew neither one nor
t'other. John ----, a wild Irishman, brought up to no business, whose
service, for four years, Keimer had purchased from the captain of a
ship; he, too, was to be made a pressman.  George Webb, an Oxford
scholar, whose time for four years he had likewise bought, intending
him for a compositor, of whom more presently; and David Harry, a
country boy, whom he had taken apprentice.

I soon perceiv'd that the intention of engaging me at wages so much
higher than he had been us'd to give, was, to have these raw, cheap
hands form'd thro' me; and, as soon as I had instructed them, then they
being all articled to him, he should be able to do without me.  I went
on, however, very cheerfully, put his printing-house in order, which
had been in great confusion, and brought his hands by degrees to mind
their business and to do it better.

It was an odd thing to find an Oxford scholar in the situation of a
bought servant.  He was not more than eighteen years of age, and gave
me this account of himself; that he was born in Gloucester, educated at
a grammar-school there, had been distinguish'd among the scholars for
some apparent superiority in performing his part, when they exhibited
plays; belong'd to the Witty Club there, and had written some pieces in
prose and verse, which were printed in the Gloucester newspapers;
thence he was sent to Oxford; where he continued about a year, but not
well satisfi'd, wishing of all things to see London, and become a
player.  At length, receiving his quarterly allowance of fifteen
guineas, instead of discharging his debts he walk'd out of town, hid
his gown in a furze bush, and footed it to London, where, having no
friend to advise him, he fell into bad company, soon spent his guineas,
found no means of being introduc'd among the players, grew necessitous,
pawn'd his cloaths, and wanted bread.  Walking the street very hungry,
and not knowing what to 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, sign'd the indentures, was put into the ship, and
came over, never writing a line to acquaint his friends what was become
of him.  He was lively, witty, good-natur'd, and a pleasant companion,
but idle, thoughtless, and imprudent to the last degree.

John, the Irishman, soon ran away; with the rest I began 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.  We never worked on Saturday, that being Keimer's Sabbath, so I
had two days for reading.  My acquaintance with ingenious people in the
town increased.  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 oeconomist.
He, however, kindly made no demand of it.

Our printing-house often wanted sorts, and there was no letter-founder
in America; I had seen types cast at James's in London, but without
much attention to the manner; however, I now contrived a mould, made
use of the letters we had as puncheons, struck the matrices in lead,
And thus supply'd in a pretty tolerable way all deficiencies.  I also
engrav'd several things on occasion; I made the ink; I was
warehouseman, and everything, and, in short, quite a factotum.

But, however serviceable I might be, I found that my services became
every day of less importance, as the other hands improv'd in the
business; and, when Keimer paid my 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 of the master,
frequently found fault, was captious, and seem'd ready for an
outbreaking.  I went on, nevertheless, with a good deal of patience,
thinking that his encumber'd circumstances were partly the cause.  At
length a trifle snapt our connections; for, a great noise happening
near the court-house, I put my head out of the window to see what was
the matter.  Keimer, being in the street, look'd up and saw me, call'd
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, continu'd the quarrel, high words pass'd on both sides,
he gave me the quarter's warning we had stipulated, expressing a wish
that he had not been oblig'd to so long a warning.  I told him his wish
was unnecessary, for I would leave him that instant; and so, taking my
hat, walk'd 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 conceiv'd a great regard for me, and was very unwilling
that I should leave the house while he remain'd 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 possess'd; that his
creditors began to be uneasy; that he kept his shop miserably, sold
often without profit for ready money, and often trusted without keeping
accounts; that he must therefore fall, 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 pass'd between them, he was sure would advance money to set us up,
if I would enter into partnership with him.  "My time," says 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, and I consented; his father was in town and
approv'd of it; the more as he saw I had great influence with his son,
had prevail'd on him to abstain long from dram-drinking, and he hop'd
might break him off that wretched habit entirely, when we came to be so
closely connected.  I gave an inventory to the father, who carry'd 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
remain'd idle a few days, when Keimer, on a prospect of being employ'd
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 jobb 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 return'd, and we went on more smoothly than for some
time before.  The New jersey jobb was obtain'd, I contriv'd a
copperplate 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 his head
much longer above water.

At Burlington I made an 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 improv'd by
reading than Keimer's, I suppose it was for that reason my conversation
seem'd to be more valu'd. They had me to their houses, introduced me to
their friends, and show'd me much civility; while he, tho' the master,
was a little neglected.  In truth, he was an odd fish; ignorant of
common life, fond of rudely opposing receiv'd opinions, slovenly to
extream dirtiness, enthusiastic in some points of religion, and a
little knavish withal.

We continu'd 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
himself, when young, by wheeling clay for the brick-makers, learned to
write after he was of age, carri'd the chain for surveyors, who taught
him surveying, and he had now by his industry, acquir'd a good estate;
and says he, "I foresee that you will soon work this man out of
business, and make a fortune in it at Philadelphia."  He had not then
the least intimation of my intention to set up there or anywhere.
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 those influenc'd 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 of several points, as
I found them disputed in the different books I read, I began to doubt
of Revelation itself.  Some books against Deism fell into my hands;
they were said to be the substance of sermons preached at Boyle's
Lectures.  It happened that they wrought an effect on me quite contrary
to what was intended 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
them having afterwards wrong'd 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,
tho' it might be true, was not very useful.  My London pamphlet, which
had for its motto these lines of Dryden:

          "Whatever is, is right.  Though purblind man
          Sees but a part o' the chain, the nearest link:
          His eyes not carrying to the equal beam,
          That poises all above;"

and from the attributes of God, his infinite wisdom, goodness and
power, concluded that nothing could possibly be wrong in the world, and
that vice and virtue were empty distinctions, no such things existing,
appear'd now not so clever a performance as I once thought it; and I
doubted whether some error had not insinuated itself unperceiv'd into
my argument, so as to infect all that follow'd, as is common in
metaphysical reasonings.

I grew convinc'd that truth, sincerity and integrity in dealings
between man and man were of the utmost importance to the felicity of
life; and I form'd written resolutions, which still remain in my
journal book, to practice them ever while I lived.  Revelation had
indeed no weight with me, as such; but I entertain'd an opinion that,
though certain actions might not be bad because they were forbidden by
it, or good because it commanded them, yet probably these 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, thro' this
dangerous time of youth, and the hazardous situations I was sometimes
in among strangers, remote from the eye and advice of my father,
without any willful gross immorality or injustice, that might have been
expected from my want of religion.  I say willful, 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
determin'd to preserve it.

We had not been long return'd to Philadelphia before the new types
arriv'd from London.  We settled with Keimer, and left him by his
consent before he heard of it.  We found a house to hire near the
market, and took it.  To lessen the rent, which was then but
twenty-four pounds a year, tho' 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 first-fruits, and
coming so seasonably, gave me more pleasure than any crown I have since
earned; and the gratitude I felt toward House has made me often more
ready than perhaps I should otherwise have been to assist young

There are croakers in every country, always boding its ruin.  Such a
one then lived in Philadelphia; a person of note, an elderly man, with
a wise look and a very grave manner of speaking; his name was Samuel
Mickle.  This gentleman, a stranger to me, stopt one day at my door,
and asked me if I was the young man who had lately opened a new
printing-house. Being answered in the affirmative, he said he was sorry
for me, because it was an expensive undertaking, and the expense would
be lost; for Philadelphia was a sinking place, the people already
half-bankrupts, or near being so; all appearances to the contrary, such
as new buildings and the rise of rents, being to his certain knowledge
fallacious; for they were, in fact, among the things that would soon
ruin us.  And he gave me such a detail of misfortunes now existing, or
that were soon to exist, that he left me half melancholy.  Had I known
him before I engaged in this business, probably I never should have
done it.  This man continued to live in this decaying place, and to
declaim in the same strain, refusing for many years to buy a house
there, because all was going to destruction; and at last I had the
pleasure of seeing him give five times as much for one as he might have
bought it for when he first began his croaking.

I should have mentioned before, that, in the autumn of the preceding
year, I had form'd most of my ingenious acquaintance into a club of
mutual improvement, which we called the JUNTO; we met on Friday
evenings.  The rules that I drew up required that every member, in his
turn, should produce one or more queries on any point of Morals,
Politics, or Natural Philosophy, to be discuss'd by the company; and
once in three months produce and read an essay of his own writing, on
any subject he pleased.  Our debates were to be under the direction of
a president, and to be conducted in the sincere spirit of inquiry after
truth, without fondness for dispute, or desire of victory; and, to
prevent warmth, all expressions of positiveness in opinions, or direct
contradiction, were after some time made contraband, and prohibited
under small pecuniary penalties.

The first members were Joseph Breintnal, a copyer of deeds for the
scriveners, a good-natur'd, friendly, middle-ag'd man, a great lover of
poetry, reading all he could meet with, and writing some that was
tolerable; very ingenious in many little Nicknackeries, and of sensible

Thomas Godfrey, a self-taught mathematician, great in his way, and
afterward inventor of what is now called Hadley's Quadrant.  But he
knew little out of his way, and was not a pleasing companion; as, like
most great mathematicians I have met with, he expected universal
precision in everything said, or was for ever denying or distinguishing
upon trifles, to the disturbance of all conversation.  He soon left us.

Nicholas Scull, a surveyor, afterwards surveyor-general, who lov'd
books, and sometimes made a few verses.

William Parsons, bred a shoemaker, but loving reading, had acquir'd a
considerable share of mathematics, which he first studied with a view
to astrology, that he afterwards laught at it.  He also became

William Maugridge, a joiner, a most exquisite mechanic, and a solid,
sensible man.

Hugh Meredith, Stephen Potts, and George Webb I have characteriz'd

Robert Grace, a young gentleman of some fortune, generous, lively, and
witty; a lover of punning and of his friends.

And William Coleman, then a merchant's clerk, about my age, who had the
coolest, dearest head, the best heart, and the exactest morals of
almost any man I ever met with.  He became afterwards a merchant of
great note, and one of our provincial judges.  Our friendship continued
without interruption to his death, upward of forty years; and the club
continued almost as long, and was the best school of philosophy,
morality, and politics that then existed in the province; for our
queries, which were read the week preceding their discussion, put us
upon reading with attention upon the several subjects, that we might
speak more to the purpose; and here, too, we acquired better habits of
conversation, every thing being studied in our rules which might
prevent our disgusting each other.  From hence the long continuance of
the club, which I shall have frequent occasion to speak further of

But my giving this account of it here is to show something of the
interest I had, every one of these exerting themselves in recommending
business to us.  Breintnal particularly procur'd us from the Quakers
the printing forty sheets of their history, the rest being to be done
by Keimer; and upon this we work'd exceedingly hard, for the price was
low.  It was a folio, pro patria size, in pica, with long primer notes.
I compos'd of it a sheet a day, and Meredith worked it off at press; it
was often eleven at night, and sometimes later, before I had finished
my distribution for the next day's work, for the little jobbs sent in
by our other friends now and then put us back.  But so determin'd I was
to continue doing a sheet a day of the folio, that one night, when,
having impos'd my forms, I thought my day's work over, one of them by
accident was broken, and two pages reduced to pi, I immediately
distributed and compos'd it over again before I went to bed; and this
industry, visible to our neighbors, began to give us character and
credit; particularly, I was told, that mention being made of the new
printing-office at the merchants' Every-night club, the general opinion
was that it must fail, there being already two printers in the place,
Keimer and Bradford; but Dr. Baird (whom you and I saw many years after
at his native place, St. Andrew's in Scotland) gave a contrary opinion:
"For the industry of that Franklin," says he, "is superior to any thing
I ever saw of the kind; I see him still at work when I go home from
club, and he is at work again before his neighbors are out of bed."
This struck the rest, and we soon after had offers from one of them to
supply us with stationery; but as yet we did not chuse to engage in
shop business.

I mention this industry the more particularly and the more freely, tho'
it seems to be talking in my own praise, that those of my posterity,
who shall read it, may know the use of that virtue, when they see its
effects in my favour throughout this relation.

George Webb, who had found a female friend that lent him wherewith to
purchase his time of Keimer, now came to offer himself as a journeyman
to us.  We could not then employ him; but I foolishly let him know as a
secret that I soon intended to begin a newspaper, and might then have
work for him.  My hopes of success, as I told him, were founded on
this, that the then only newspaper, printed by Bradford, was a paltry
thing, wretchedly manag'd, no way entertaining, and yet was profitable
to him; I therefore thought a good paper would scarcely fail of good
encouragement.  I requested Webb not to mention it; but he told it to
Keimer, who immediately, to be beforehand with me, published proposals
for printing one himself, on which Webb was to be employ'd. I resented
this; and, to counteract them, as I could not yet begin our paper, I
wrote several pieces of entertainment for Bradford's paper, under the
title of the BUSY BODY, which Breintnal continu'd some months.  By this
means the attention of the publick was fixed on that paper, and
Keimer's proposals, which we burlesqu'd and ridicul'd, were
disregarded.  He began his paper, however, and, after carrying it on
three quarters of a year, with at most only ninety subscribers, he
offered it to me for a trifle; and I, having been ready some time to go
on with it, took it in hand directly; and it prov'd in a few years
extremely profitable to me.

I perceive that I am apt to speak in the singular number, though our
partnership still continu'd; the reason may be that, in fact, the whole
management of the business lay upon me.  Meredith was no compositor, a
poor pressman, and seldom sober.  My friends lamented my connection
with him, but I was to make the best of it.

Our first papers made a quite different appearance from any before in
the province; a better type, and better printed; but some spirited
remarks of my writing, on the dispute then going on between Governor
Burnet and the Massachusetts Assembly, struck the principal people,
occasioned the paper and the manager of it to be much talk'd of, and in
a few weeks brought them all to be our subscribers.

Their example was follow'd by many, and our number went on growing
continually.  This was one of the first good effects of my having
learnt a little to scribble; another was, that the leading men, seeing
a newspaper now in the hands of one who could also handle a pen,
thought it convenient to oblige and encourage me.  Bradford still
printed the votes, and laws, and other publick business.  He had
printed an address of the House to the governor, in a coarse,
blundering manner, we reprinted it elegantly and correctly, and sent
one to every member.  They were sensible of the difference: it
strengthened the hands of our friends in the House, and they voted us
their printers for the year ensuing.

Among my friends in the House I must not forget Mr. Hamilton, before
mentioned, who was then returned from England, and had a seat in it.
He interested himself for me strongly in that instance, as he did in
many others afterward, continuing his patronage till his death.[6]

     [6] I got his son once L500.--[Marg. note.]

Mr. Vernon, about this time, put me in mind of the debt I ow'd him, but
did not press me.  I wrote him an ingenuous letter of acknowledgment,
crav'd his forbearance a little longer, which he allow'd me, and as
soon as I was able, I paid the principal with interest, and many
thanks; so that erratum was in some degree corrected.

But now another difficulty came upon me which I had never the least
reason to expect.  Mr. Meredith's father, who was to have paid for our
printing-house, according to the expectations given me, was able to
advance only one hundred pounds currency, which had been paid; and a
hundred more was due to the merchant, who grew impatient, and su'd us
all.  We gave bail, but saw that, if the money could not be rais'd in
time, the suit must soon come to a judgment and execution, and our
hopeful prospects must, with us, be ruined, as the press and letters
must be sold for payment, perhaps at half price.

In this distress two true friends, whose kindness I have never
forgotten, nor ever shall forget while I can remember any thing, came
to me separately, unknown to each other, and, without any application
from me, offering each of them to advance me all the money that should
be necessary to enable me to take the whole business upon myself, if
that should be practicable; but they did not like my continuing the
partnership with Meredith, who, as they said, was often seen drunk in
the streets, and playing at low games in alehouses, much to our
discredit.  These two friends were William Coleman and Robert Grace.  I
told them I could not propose a separation while any prospect remain'd
of the Merediths' fulfilling their part of our agreement, because I
thought myself under great obligations to them for what they had done,
and would do if they could; but, if they finally fail'd in their
performance, and our partnership must be dissolv'd, I should then think
myself at liberty to accept the assistance of my friends.

Thus the matter rested for some time, when I said to my partner,
"Perhaps your father is dissatisfied at the part you have undertaken in
this affair of ours, and is unwilling to advance for you and me what he
would for you alone.  If that is the case, tell me, and I will resign
the whole to you, and go about my business." "No," said he, "my father
has really been disappointed, and is really unable; and I am unwilling
to distress him farther.  I see this is a business I am not fit for.  I
was bred a farmer, and it was a folly in me to come to town, and put
myself, at thirty years of age, an apprentice to learn a new trade.
Many of our Welsh people are going to settle in North Carolina, where
land is cheap.  I am inclin'd to go with them, and follow my old
employment.  You may find friends to assist you.  If you will take the
debts of the company upon you; return to my father the hundred pound he
has advanced; pay my little personal debts, and give me thirty pounds
and a new saddle, I will relinquish the partnership, and leave the
whole in your hands."  I agreed to this proposal: it was drawn up in
writing, sign'd, and seal'd immediately.  I gave him what he demanded,
and he went soon after to Carolina, from whence he sent me next year
two long letters, containing the best account that had been given of
that country, the climate, the soil, husbandry, etc., for in those
matters he was very judicious.  I printed them in the papers, and they
gave great satisfaction to the publick.

As soon as he was gone, I recurr'd to my two friends; and because I
would not give an unkind preference to either, I took half of what each
had offered and I wanted of one, and half of the other; paid off the
company's debts, and went on with the business in my own name,
advertising that the partnership was dissolved.  I think this was in or
about the year 1729.

About this time there was a cry among the people for more paper money,
only fifteen thousand pounds being extant in the province, and that
soon to be sunk.  The wealthy inhabitants oppos'd any addition, being
against all paper currency, from an apprehension that it would
depreciate, as it had done in New England, to the prejudice of all
creditors.  We had discuss'd this point in our Junto, where I was on
the side of an addition, being persuaded that the first small sum
struck in 1723 had done much good by increasing the trade, employment,
and number of inhabitants in the province, since I now saw all the old
houses inhabited, and many new ones building; whereas I remembered
well, that when I first walk'd about the streets of Philadelphia,
eating my roll, I saw most of the houses in Walnut-street, between
Second and Front streets, with bills on their doors, "To be let"; and
many likewise in Chestnut-street and other streets, which made me then
think the inhabitants of the city were deserting it one after another.

Our debates possess'd me so fully of the subject, that I wrote and
printed an anonymous pamphlet on it, entitled "The Nature and Necessity
of a Paper Currency."  It was well receiv'd by the common people in
general; but the rich men dislik'd it, for it increas'd and
strengthen'd the clamor for more money, and they happening to have no
writers among them that were able to answer it, their opposition
slacken'd, and the point was carried by a majority in the House.  My
friends there, who conceiv'd I had been of some service, thought fit to
reward me by employing me in printing the money; a very profitable jobb
and a great help to me.  This was another advantage gain'd by my being
able to write.

The utility of this currency became by time and experience so evident
as never afterwards to be much disputed; so that it grew soon to
fifty-five thousand pounds, and in 1739 to eighty thousand pounds,
since which it arose during war to upwards of three hundred and fifty
thousand pounds, trade, building, and inhabitants all the while
increasing, till I now think there are limits beyond which the quantity
may be hurtful.

I soon after obtain'd, thro' my friend Hamilton, the printing of the
Newcastle paper money, another profitable jobb as I then thought it;
small things appearing great to those in small circumstances; and
these, to me, were really great advantages, as they were great
encouragements.  He procured for me, also, the printing of the laws and
votes of that government, which continu'd in my hands as long as I
follow'd the business.

I now open'd a little stationer's shop.  I had in it blanks of all
sorts, the correctest that ever appear'd among us, being assisted in
that by my friend Breintnal.  I had also paper, parchment, chapmen's
books, etc.  One Whitemash, a compositor I had known in London, an
excellent workman, now came to me, and work'd with me constantly and
diligently; and I took an apprentice, the son of Aquila Rose.

I began now gradually to pay off the debt I was under for the
printing-house. In order to secure my credit and character as a
tradesman, I took care not only to be in reality industrious and
frugal, but to avoid all appearances to the contrary.  I drest plainly;
I was seen at no places of idle diversion.  I never went out a fishing
or shooting; a book, indeed, sometimes debauch'd me from my work, but
that was seldom, snug, and gave no scandal; and, to show that I was not
above my business, I sometimes brought home the paper I purchas'd at
the stores thro' the streets on a wheelbarrow.  Thus being esteem'd an
industrious, thriving young man, and paying duly for what I bought, the
merchants who imported stationery solicited my custom; others proposed
supplying me with books, and I went on swimmingly.  In the mean time,
Keimer's credit and business declining daily, he was at last forc'd to
sell his printing house to satisfy his creditors.  He went to
Barbadoes, and there lived some years in very poor circumstances.

His apprentice, David Harry, whom I had instructed while I work'd with
him, set up in his place at Philadelphia, having bought his materials.
I was at first apprehensive of a powerful rival in Harry, as his
friends were very able, and had a good deal of interest.  I therefore
propos'd a partner-ship to him which he, fortunately for me, rejected
with scorn.  He was very proud, dress'd like a gentleman, liv'd
expensively, took much diversion and pleasure abroad, ran in debt, and
neglected his business; upon which, all business left him; and, finding
nothing to do, he followed Keimer to Barbadoes, taking the
printing-house with him.  There this apprentice employ'd his former
master as a journeyman; they quarrel'd often; Harry went continually
behindhand, and at length was forc'd to sell his types and return to
his country work in Pensilvania.  The person that bought them employ'd
Keimer to use them, but in a few years he died.

There remained now no competitor with me at Philadelphia but the old
one, Bradford; who was rich and easy, did a little printing now and
then by straggling hands, but was not very anxious about the business.
However, as he kept the post-office, it was imagined he had better
opportunities of obtaining news; his paper was thought a better
distributer of advertisements than mine, and therefore had many, more,
which was a profitable thing to him, and a disadvantage to me; for,
tho' I did indeed receive and send papers by the post, yet the publick
opinion was otherwise, for what I did send was by bribing the riders,
who took them privately, Bradford being unkind enough to forbid it,
which occasion'd some resentment on my part; and I thought so meanly of
him for it, that, when I afterward came into his situation, I took care
never to imitate it.

I had hitherto continu'd to board with Godfrey, who lived in part of my
house with his wife and children, and had one side of the shop for his
glazier's business, tho' he worked little, being always absorbed in his
mathematics.  Mrs. Godfrey projected a match for me with a relation's
daughter, took opportunities of bringing us often together, till a
serious courtship on my part ensu'd, the girl being in herself very
deserving.  The old folks encourag'd me by continual invitations to
supper, and by leaving us together, till at length it was time to
explain.  Mrs. Godfrey manag'd our little treaty.  I let her know that
I expected as much money with their daughter as would pay off my
remaining debt for the printing-house, which I believe was not then
above a hundred pounds.  She brought me word they had no such sum to
spare; I said they might mortgage their house in the loan-office. The
answer to this, after some days, was, that they did not approve the
match; that, on inquiry of Bradford, they had been inform'd the
printing business was not a profitable one; the types would soon be
worn out, and more wanted; that S. Keimer and D. Harry had failed one
after the other, and I should probably soon follow them; and,
therefore, I was forbidden the house, and the daughter shut up.

Whether this was a real change of sentiment or only artifice, on a
supposition of our being too far engaged in affection to retract, and
therefore that we should steal a marriage, which would leave them at
liberty to give or withhold what they pleas'd, I know not; but I
suspected the latter, resented it, and went no more.  Mrs. Godfrey
brought me afterward some more favorable accounts of their disposition,
and would have drawn me on again; but I declared absolutely my
resolution to have nothing more to do with that family.  This was
resented by the Godfreys; we differ'd, and they removed, leaving me the
whole house, and I resolved to take no more inmates.

But this affair having turned my thoughts to marriage, I look'd round
me and made overtures of acquaintance in other places; but soon found
that, the business of a printer being generally thought a poor one, I
was not to expect money with a wife, unless with such a one as I should
not otherwise think agreeable.  In the mean time, that
hard-to-be-governed passion of youth hurried me frequently into
intrigues with low women that fell in my way, which were attended with
some expense and great inconvenience, besides a continual risque to my
health by a distemper which of all things I dreaded, though by great
good luck I escaped it.  A friendly correspondence as neighbors and old
acquaintances had continued between me and Mrs. Read's family, who all
had a regard for me from the time of my first lodging in their house.
I was often invited there and consulted in their affairs, wherein I
sometimes was of service.  I piti'd poor Miss Read's unfortunate
situation, who was generally dejected, seldom cheerful, and avoided
company.  I considered my giddiness and inconstancy when in London as
in a great degree the cause of her unhappiness, tho' the mother was
good enough to think the fault more her own than mine, as she had
prevented our marrying before I went thither, and persuaded the other
match in my absence.  Our mutual affection was revived, but there were
now great objections to our union.  The match was indeed looked upon as
invalid, a preceding wife being said to be living in England; but this
could not easily be prov'd, because of the distance; and, tho' there
was a report of his death, it was not certain.  Then, tho' it should be
true, he had left many debts, which his successor might be call'd upon
to pay.  We ventured, however, over all these difficulties, and I took
her to wife, September 1st, 1730.  None of the inconveniences happened
that we had apprehended, she proved a good and faithful helpmate,
assisted me much by attending the shop; we throve together, and have
ever mutually endeavored to make each other happy.  Thus I corrected
that great erratum as well as I could.

About this time, our club meeting, not at a tavern, but in a little
room of Mr. Grace's, set apart for that purpose, a proposition was made
by me, that, since our books were often referr'd to in our
disquisitions upon the queries, it might be convenient to us to have
them altogether where we met, that upon occasion they might be
consulted; and by thus clubbing our books to a common library, we
should, while we lik'd to keep them together, have each of us the
advantage of using the books of all the other members, which would be
nearly as beneficial as if each owned the whole.  It was lik'd and
agreed to, and we fill'd one end of the room with such books as we
could best spare.  The number was not so great as we expected; and tho'
they had been of great use, yet some inconveniences occurring for want
of due care of them, the collection, after about a year, was separated,
and each took his books home again

And now I set on foot my first project of a public nature, that for a
subscription library.  I drew up the proposals, got them put into form
by our great scrivener, Brockden, and, by the help of my friends in the
Junto, procured fifty subscribers of forty shillings each to begin
with, and ten shillings a year for fifty years, the term our company
was to continue.  We afterwards obtain'd a charter, the company being
increased to one hundred:  this was the mother of all the North
American subscription libraries, now so numerous.  It is become a great
thing itself, and continually increasing.  These libraries have
improved the general conversation of the Americans, made the common
tradesmen and farmers as intelligent as most gentlemen from other
countries, and perhaps have contributed in some degree to the stand so
generally made throughout the colonies in defense of their privileges.

Memo.  Thus far was written with the intention express'd in the
beginning and therefore contains several little family anecdotes of no
importance to others.  What follows was written many years after in
compliance with the advice contain'd in these letters, and accordingly
intended for the public.  The affairs of the Revolution occasion'd the

     Letter from Mr. Abel James, with Notes of my Life
                    (received in Paris).

"MY DEAR AND HONORED FRIEND:  I have often been desirous of writing to
thee, but could not be reconciled to the thought that the letter might
fall into the hands of the British, lest some printer or busy-body
should publish some part of the contents, and give our friend pain, and
myself censure.

"Some time since there fell into my hands, to my great joy, about
twenty-three sheets in thy own handwriting, containing an account of
the parentage and life of thyself, directed to thy son, ending in the
year 1730, with which there were notes, likewise in thy writing; a copy
of which I inclose, in hopes it may be a means, if thou continued it up
to a later period, that the first and latter part may be put together;
and if it is not yet continued, I hope thee will not delay it.  Life is
uncertain, as the preacher tells us; and what will the world say if
kind, humane, and benevolent Ben.  Franklin should leave his friends
and the world deprived of so pleasing and profitable a work; a work
which would be useful and entertaining not only to a few, but to
millions?  The influence writings under that class have on the minds of
youth is very great, and has nowhere appeared to me so plain, as in our
public friend's journals.  It almost insensibly leads the youth into
the resolution of endeavoring to become as good and eminent as the
journalist.  Should thine, for instance, when published (and I think it
could not fail of it), lead the youth to equal the industry and
temperance of thy early youth, what a blessing with that class would
such a work be!  I know of no character living, nor many of them put
together, who has so much in his power as thyself to promote a greater
spirit of industry and early attention to business, frugality, and
temperance with the American youth.  Not that I think the work would
have no other merit and use in the world, far from it; but the first is
of such vast importance that I know nothing that can equal it."

The foregoing letter and the minutes accompanying it being shown to a
friend, I received from him the following:

     Letter from Mr. Benjamin Vaughan.
                                 "PARIS, January 31, 1783.

"My DEAREST SIR:  When I had read over your sheets of minutes of the
principal incidents of your life, recovered for you by your Quaker
acquaintance, I told you I would send you a letter expressing my
reasons why I thought it would be useful to complete and publish it as
he desired.  Various concerns have for some time past prevented this
letter being written, and I do not know whether it was worth any
expectation; happening to be at leisure, however, at present, I shall
by writing, at least interest and instruct myself; but as the terms I
am inclined to use may tend to offend a person of your manners, I shall
only tell you how I would address any other person, who was as good and
as great as yourself, but less diffident.  I would say to him, Sir, I
solicit the history of your life from the following motives:  Your
history is so remarkable, that if you do not give it, somebody else
will certainly give it; and perhaps so as nearly to do as much harm, as
your own management of the thing might do good.  It will moreover
present a table of the internal circumstances of your country, which
will very much tend to invite to it settlers of virtuous and manly
minds.  And considering the eagerness with which such information is
sought by them, and the extent of your reputation, I do not know of a
more efficacious advertisement than your biography would give.  All
that has happened to you is also connected with the detail of the
manners and situation of a rising people; and in this respect I do not
think that the writings of Caesar and Tacitus can be more interesting
to a true judge of human nature and society.  But these, sir, are small
reasons, in my opinion, compared with the chance which your life will
give for the forming of future great men; and in conjunction with your
Art of Virtue (which you design to publish) of improving the features
of private character, and consequently of aiding all happiness, both
public and domestic.  The two works I allude to, sir, will in
particular give a noble rule and example of self-education. School and
other education constantly proceed upon false principles, and show a
clumsy apparatus pointed at a false mark; but your apparatus is simple,
and the mark a true one; and while parents and young persons are left
destitute of other just means of estimating and becoming prepared for a
reasonable course in life, your discovery that the thing is in many a
man's private power, will be invaluable!  Influence upon the private
character, late in life, is not only an influence late in life, but a
weak influence.  It is in youth that we plant our chief habits and
prejudices; it is in youth that we take our party as to profession,
pursuits and matrimony.  In youth, therefore, the turn is given; in
youth the education even of the next generation is given; in youth the
private and public character is determined; and the term of life
extending but from youth to age, life ought to begin well from youth,
and more especially before we take our party as to our principal
objects.  But your biography will not merely teach self-education, but
the education of a wise man; and the wisest man will receive lights and
improve his progress, by seeing detailed the conduct of another wise
man.  And why are weaker men to be deprived of such helps, when we see
our race has been blundering on in the dark, almost without a guide in
this particular, from the farthest trace of time?  Show then, sir, how
much is to be done, both to sons and fathers; and invite all wise men
to become like yourself, and other men to become wise.  When we see how
cruel statesmen and warriors can be to the human race, and how absurd
distinguished men can be to their acquaintance, it will be instructive
to observe the instances multiply of pacific, acquiescing manners; and
to find how compatible it is to be great and domestic, enviable and yet

"The little private incidents which you will also have to relate, will
have considerable use, as we want, above all things, rules of prudence
in ordinary affairs; and it will be curious to see how you have acted
in these.  It will be so far a sort of key to life, and explain many
things that all men ought to have once explained to them, to give, them
a chance of becoming wise by foresight.  The nearest thing to having
experience of one's own, is to have other people's affairs brought
before us in a shape that is interesting; this is sure to happen from
your pen; our affairs and management will have an air of simplicity or
importance that will not fail to strike; and I am convinced you have
conducted them with as much originality as if you had been conducting
discussions in politics or philosophy; and what more worthy of
experiments and system (its importance and its errors considered) than
human life?

"Some men have been virtuous blindly, others have speculated
fantastically, and others have been shrewd to bad purposes; but you,
sir, I am sure, will give under your hand, nothing but what is at the
same moment, wise, practical and good, your account of yourself (for I
suppose the parallel I am drawing for Dr. Franklin, will hold not only
in point of character, but of private history) will show that you are
ashamed of no origin; a thing the more important, as you prove how
little necessary all origin is to happiness, virtue, or greatness.  As
no end likewise happens without a means, so we shall find, sir, that
even you yourself framed a plan by which you became considerable; but
at the same time we may see that though the event is flattering, the
means are as simple as wisdom could make them; that is, depending upon
nature, virtue, thought and habit. Another thing demonstrated will be
the propriety of everyman's waiting for his time for appearing upon the
stage of the world.  Our sensations being very much fixed to the
moment, we are apt to forget that more moments are to follow the first,
and consequently that man should arrange his conduct so as to suit the
whole of a life.  Your attribution appears to have been applied to your
life, and the passing moments of it have been enlivened with content
and enjoyment instead of being tormented with foolish impatience or
regrets.  Such a conduct is easy for those who make virtue and
themselves in countenance by examples of other truly great men, of whom
patience is so often the characteristic.  Your Quaker correspondent,
sir (for here again I will suppose the subject of my letter resembling
Dr. Franklin), praised your frugality, diligence and temperance, which
he considered as a pattern for all youth; but it is singular that he
should have forgotten your modesty and your disinterestedness, without
which you never could have waited for your advancement, or found your
situation in the mean time comfortable; which is a strong lesson to
show the poverty of glory and the importance of regulating our minds.
If this correspondent had known the nature of your reputation as well
as I do, he would have said, Your former writings and measures would
secure attention to your Biography, and Art of Virtue; and your
Biography and Art of Virtue, in return, would secure attention to them.
This is an advantage attendant upon a various character, and which
brings all that belongs to it into greater play; and it is the more
useful, as perhaps more persons are at a loss for the means of
improving their minds and characters, than they are for the time or the
inclination to do it.  But there is one concluding reflection, sir,
that will shew the use of your life as a mere piece of biography.  This
style of writing seems a little gone out of vogue, and yet it is a very
useful one; and your specimen of it may be particularly serviceable, as
it will make a subject of comparison with the lives of various public
cutthroats and intriguers, and with absurd monastic self-tormentors or
vain literary triflers.  If it encourages more writings of the same
kind with your own, and induces more men to spend lives fit to be
written, it will be worth all Plutarch's Lives put together.  But being
tired of figuring to myself a character of which every feature suits
only one man in the world, without giving him the praise of it, I shall
end my letter, my dear Dr. Franklin, with a personal application to
your proper self.  I am earnestly desirous, then, my dear sir, that you
should let the world into the traits of your genuine character, as
civil broils nay otherwise tend to disguise or traduce it.  Considering
your great age, the caution of your character, and your peculiar style
of thinking, it is not likely that any one besides yourself can be
sufficiently master of the facts of your life, or the intentions of
your mind.  Besides all this, the immense revolution of the present
period, will necessarily turn our attention towards the author of it,
and when virtuous principles have been pretended in it, it will be
highly important to shew that such have really influenced; and, as your
own character will be the principal one to receive a scrutiny, it is
proper (even for its effects upon your vast and rising country, as well
as upon England and upon Europe) that it should stand respectable and
eternal.  For the furtherance of human happiness, I have always
maintained that it is necessary to prove that man is not even at
present a vicious and detestable animal; and still more to prove that
good management may greatly amend him; and it is for much the same
reason, that I am anxious to see the opinion established, that there
are fair characters existing among the individuals of the race; for the
moment that all men, without exception, shall be conceived abandoned,
good people will cease efforts deemed to be hopeless, and perhaps think
of taking their share in the scramble of life, or at least of making it
comfortable principally for themselves.  Take then, my dear sir, this
work most speedily into hand:  shew yourself good as you are good;
temperate as you are temperate; and above all things, prove yourself as
one, who from your infancy have loved justice, liberty and concord, in
a way that has made it natural and consistent for you to have acted, as
we have seen you act in the last seventeen years of your life.  Let
Englishmen be made not only to respect, but even to love you.  When
they think well of individuals in your native country, they will go
nearer to thinking well of your country; and when your countrymen see
themselves well thought of by Englishmen, they will go nearer to
thinking well of England.  Extend your views even further; do not stop
at those who speak the English tongue, but after having settled so many
points in nature and politics, think of bettering the whole race of
men.  As I have not read any part of the life in question, but know
only the character that lived it, I write somewhat at hazard.  I am
sure, however, that the life and the treatise I allude to (on the Art
of Virtue) will necessarily fulfil the chief of my expectations; and
still more so if you take up the measure of suiting these performances
to the several views above stated.  Should they even prove unsuccessful
in all that a sanguine admirer of yours hopes from them, you will at
least have framed pieces to interest the human mind; and whoever gives
a feeling of pleasure that is innocent to man, has added so much to the
fair side of a life otherwise too much darkened by anxiety and too much
injured by pain.  In the hope, therefore, that you will listen to the
prayer addressed to you in this letter, I beg to subscribe myself, my
dearest sir, etc., etc.,

     "Signed, BENJ. VAUGHAN."

Continuation of the Account of my Life, begun at Passy, near Paris,

It is some time since I receiv'd the above letters, but I have been too
busy till now to think of complying with the request they contain.  It
might, too, be much better done if I were at home among my papers,
which would aid my memory, and help to ascertain dates; but my return
being uncertain and having just now a little leisure, I will endeavor
to recollect and write what I can; if I live to get home, it may there
be corrected and improv'd.

Not having any copy here of what is already written, I know not whether
an account is given of the means I used to establish the Philadelphia
public library, which, from a small beginning, is now become so
considerable, though I remember to have come down to near the time of
that transaction (1730). I will therefore begin here with an account of
it, which may be struck out if found to have been already given.

At the time I establish'd myself in Pennsylvania, there was not a good
bookseller's shop in any of the colonies to the southward of Boston.
In New York and Philad'a the printers were indeed stationers; they sold
only paper, etc., almanacs, ballads, and a few common school-books.
Those who lov'd reading were oblig'd to send for their books from
England; the members of the Junto had each a few.  We had left the
alehouse, where we first met, and hired a room to hold our club in.  I
propos'd that we should all of us bring our books to that room, where
they would not only be ready to consult in our conferences, but become
a common benefit, each of us being at liberty to borrow such as he
wish'd to read at home.  This was accordingly done, and for some time
contented us.

Finding the advantage of this little collection, I propos'd to render
the benefit from books more common, by commencing a public subscription
library.  I drew a sketch of the plan and rules that would be
necessary, and got a skilful conveyancer, Mr. Charles Brockden, to put
the whole in form of articles of agreement to be subscribed, by which
each subscriber engag'd to pay a certain sum down for the first
purchase of books, and an annual contribution for increasing them.  So
few were the readers at that time in Philadelphia, and the majority of
us so poor, that I was not able, with great industry, to find more than
fifty persons, mostly young tradesmen, willing to pay down for this
purpose forty shillings each, and ten shillings per annum.  On this
little fund we began.  The books were imported; the library wag opened
one day in the week for lending to the subscribers, on their promissory
notes to pay double the value if not duly returned.  The institution
soon manifested its utility, was imitated by other towns, and in other
provinces.  The libraries were augmented by donations; reading became
fashionable; and our people, having no publick amusements to divert
their attention from study, became better acquainted with books, and in
a few years were observ'd by strangers to be better instructed and more
intelligent than people of the same rank generally are in other

When we were about to sign the above-mentioned articles, which were to
be binding upon us, our heirs, etc., for fifty years, Mr. Brockden, the
scrivener, said to us, "You are young men, but it is scarcely probable
that any of you will live to see the expiration of the term fix'd in
the instrument."  A number of us, however, are yet living; but the
instrument was after a few years rendered null by a charter that
incorporated and gave perpetuity to the company.

The objections and reluctances I met with in soliciting the
subscriptions, made me soon feel the impropriety of presenting one's
self as the proposer of any useful project, that might be suppos'd to
raise one's reputation in the smallest degree above that of one's
neighbors, when one has need of their assistance to accomplish that
project.  I therefore put myself as much as I could out of sight, and
stated it as a scheme of a number of friends, who had requested me to
go about and propose it to such as they thought lovers of reading.  In
this way my affair went on more smoothly, and I ever after practis'd it
on such occasions; and, from my frequent successes, can heartily
recommend it.  The present little sacrifice of your vanity will
afterwards be amply repaid.  If it remains a while uncertain to whom
the merit belongs, some one more vain than yourself will be encouraged
to claim it, and then even envy will be disposed to do you justice by
plucking those assumed feathers, and restoring them to their right

This library afforded me the means of improvement by constant study,
for which I set apart an hour or two each day, and thus repair'd in
some degree the loss of the learned education my father once intended
for me.  Reading was the only amusement I allow'd myself.  I spent no
time in taverns, games, or frolicks of any kind; and my industry in my
business continu'd as indefatigable as it was necessary.  I was
indebted for my printing-house; I had a young family coming on to be
educated, and I had to contend with for business two printers, who were
established in the place before me.  My circumstances, however, grew
daily easier.  My original habits of frugality continuing, and my
father having, among his instructions to me when a boy, frequently
repeated a proverb of Solomon, "Seest thou a man diligent in his
calling, he shall stand before kings, he shall not stand before mean
men," I from thence considered industry as a means of obtaining wealth
and distinction, which encourag'd me, tho' I did not think that I
should ever literally stand before kings, which, however, has since
happened; for I have stood before five, and even had the honor of
sitting down with one, the King of Denmark, to dinner.

We have an English proverb that says, "He that would thrive, must ask
his wife."  It was lucky for me that I had one as much dispos'd to
industry and frugality as myself.  She assisted me cheerfully in my
business, folding and stitching pamphlets, tending shop, purchasing old
linen rags for the papermakers, etc., etc.  We kept no idle servants,
our table was plain and simple, our furniture of the cheapest.  For
instance, my breakfast was a long time bread and milk (no tea), and I
ate it out of a twopenny earthen porringer, with a pewter spoon.  But
mark how luxury will enter families, and make a progress, in spite of
principle:  being call'd one morning to breakfast, I found it in a
China bowl, with a spoon of silver!  They had been bought for me
without my knowledge by my wife, and had cost her the enormous sum of
three-and-twenty shillings, for which she had no other excuse or
apology to make, but that she thought her husband deserv'd a silver
spoon and China bowl as well as any of his neighbors.  This was the
first appearance of plate and China in our house, which afterward, in a
course of years, as our wealth increas'd, augmented gradually to
several hundred pounds in value.

I had been religiously educated as a Presbyterian; and tho' some of the
dogmas of that persuasion, such as the eternal decrees of God,
election, reprobation, etc., appeared to me unintelligible, others
doubtful, and I early absented myself from the public assemblies of the
sect, Sunday being my studying day, I never was without some religious
principles.  I never doubted, for instance, the existence of the Deity;
that he made the world, and govern'd it by his Providence; that the
most acceptable service of God was the doing good to man; that our
souls are immortal; and that all crime will be punished, and virtue
rewarded, either here or hereafter.  These I esteem'd the essentials of
every religion; and, being to be found in all the religions we had in
our country, I respected them all, tho' with different degrees of
respect, as I found them more or less mix'd with other articles, which,
without any tendency to inspire, promote, or confirm morality, serv'd
principally to divide us, and make us unfriendly to one another.  This
respect to all, with an opinion that the worst had some good effects,
induc'd me to avoid all discourse that might tend to lessen the good
opinion another might have of his own religion; and as our province
increas'd in people, and new places of worship were continually wanted,
and generally erected by voluntary contributions, my mite for such
purpose, whatever might be the sect, was never refused.

Tho' I seldom attended any public worship, I had still an opinion of
its propriety, and of its utility when rightly conducted, and I
regularly paid my annual subscription for the support of the only
Presbyterian minister or meeting we had in Philadelphia.  He us'd to
visit me sometimes as a friend, and admonish me to attend his
administrations, and I was now and then prevail'd on to do so, once for
five Sundays successively.  Had he been in my opinion a good preacher,
perhaps I might have continued, notwithstanding the occasion I had for
the Sunday's leisure in my course of study; but his discourses were
chiefly either polemic arguments, or explications of the peculiar
doctrines of our sect, and were all to me very dry, uninteresting, and
unedifying, since not a single moral principle was inculcated or
enforc'd, their aim seeming to be rather to make us Presbyterians than
good citizens.

At length he took for his text that verse of the fourth chapter of
Philippians, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, honest,
just, pure, lovely, or of good report, if there be any virtue, or any
praise, think on these things."  And I imagin'd, in a sermon on such a
text, we could not miss of having some morality.  But he confin'd
himself to five points only, as meant by the apostle, viz.: 1.  Keeping
holy the Sabbath day.  2.  Being diligent in reading the holy
Scriptures.  3.  Attending duly the publick worship.  4.  Partaking of
the Sacrament.  5.  Paying a due respect to God's ministers.  These
might be all good things; but, as they were not the kind of good things
that I expected from that text, I despaired of ever meeting with them
from any other, was disgusted, and attended his preaching no more.  I
had some years before compos'd a little Liturgy, or form of prayer, for
my own private use (viz., in 1728), entitled, Articles of Belief and
Acts of Religion.  I return'd to the use of this, and went no more to
the public assemblies.  My conduct might be blameable, but I leave it,
without attempting further to excuse it; my present purpose being to
relate facts, and not to make apologies for them.

It was about this time I conceiv'd the bold and arduous project of
arriving at moral perfection.  I wish'd to live without committing any
fault at any time; I would conquer all that either natural inclination,
custom, or company might lead me into.  As I knew, or thought I knew,
what was right and wrong, I did not see why I might not always do the
one and avoid the other.  But I soon found I had undertaken a task of
more difficulty than I bad imagined.  While my care was employ'd in
guarding against one fault, I was often surprised by another; habit
took the advantage of inattention; inclination was sometimes too strong
for reason.  I concluded, at length, that the mere speculative
conviction that it was our interest to be completely virtuous, was not
sufficient to prevent our slipping; and that the contrary habits must
be broken, and good ones acquired and established, before we can have
any dependence on a steady, uniform rectitude of conduct.  For this
purpose I therefore contrived the following method.

In the various enumerations of the moral virtues I had met with in my
reading, I found the catalogue more or less numerous, as different
writers included more or fewer ideas under the same name.  Temperance,
for example, was by some confined to eating and drinking, while by
others it was extended to mean the moderating every other pleasure,
appetite, inclination, or passion, bodily or mental, even to our
avarice and ambition.  I propos'd to myself, for the sake of clearness,
to use rather more names, with fewer ideas annex'd to each, than a few
names with more ideas; and I included under thirteen names of virtues
all that at that time occurr'd to me as necessary or desirable, and
annexed to each a short precept, which fully express'd the extent I
gave to its meaning.

These names of virtues, with their precepts, were:

1.  TEMPERANCE.  Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

2.  SILENCE.  Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid
trifling conversation.

3.  ORDER.  Let all your things have their places; let each part of
your business have its time.

4.  RESOLUTION.  Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without
fail what you resolve.

5.  FRUGALITY.  Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself;
i.e., waste nothing.

6.  INDUSTRY.  Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful;
cut off all unnecessary actions.

7.  SINCERITY.  Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly,
and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

8.  JUSTICE.  Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits
that are your duty.

9.  MODERATION.  Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as
you think they deserve.

10.  CLEANLINESS.  Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or

11.  TRANQUILLITY.  Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common
or unavoidable.

12.  CHASTITY.  Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to
dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or

13.  HUMILITY.  Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

My intention being to acquire the habitude of all these virtues, I
judg'd it would be well not to distract my attention by attempting the
whole at once, but to fix it on one of them at a time; and, when I
should be master of that, then to proceed to another, and so on, till I
should have gone thro' the thirteen; and, as the previous acquisition
of some might facilitate the acquisition of certain others, I arrang'd
them with that view, as they stand above.  Temperance first, as it
tends to procure that coolness and clearness of head, which is so
necessary where constant vigilance was to be kept up, and guard
maintained against the unremitting attraction of ancient habits, and
the force of perpetual temptations.  This being acquir'd and
establish'd, Silence would be more easy; and my desire being to gain
knowledge at the same time that I improv'd in virtue, and considering
that in conversation it was obtain'd rather by the use of the ears than
of the tongue, and therefore wishing to break a habit I was getting
into of prattling, punning, and joking, which only made me acceptable
to trifling company, I gave Silence the second place.  This and the
next, Order, I expected would allow me more time for attending to my
project and my studies.  Resolution, once become habitual, would keep
me firm in my endeavors to obtain all the subsequent virtues; Frugality
and Industry freeing me from my remaining debt, and producing affluence
and independence, would make more easy the practice of Sincerity and
Justice, etc., etc.  Conceiving then, that, agreeably to the advice of
Pythagoras in his Golden Verses, daily examination would be necessary,
I contrived the following method for conducting that examination.

I made a little book, in which I allotted a page for each of the
virtues.  I rul'd each page with red ink, so as to have seven columns,
one for each day of the week, marking each column with a letter for the
day.  I cross'd these columns with thirteen red lines, marking the
beginning of each line with the first letter of one of the virtues, on
which line, and in its proper column, I might mark, by a little black
spot, every fault I found upon examination to have been committed
respecting that virtue upon that day.

Form of the pages.

           |              TEMPERANCE.      |
           |       EAT NOT TO DULNESS;     |
           |     DRINK NOT TO ELEVATION.   |
           |   | S.| M.| T.| W.| T.| F.| S.|
           | T.|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
           | S.| * | * |   | * |   | * |   |
           | O.| **| * | * |   | * | * | * |
           | R.|   |   | * |   |   | * |   |
           | F.|   | * |   |   | * |   |   |
           | I.|   |   | * |   |   |   |   |
           | S.|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
           | J.|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
           | M.|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
           | C.|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
           | T.|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
           | C.|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
           | H.|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |

I determined to give a week's strict attention to each of the virtues
successively.  Thus, in the first week, my great guard was to avoid
every the least offence against Temperance, leaving the other virtues
to their ordinary chance, only marking every evening the faults of the
day.  Thus, if in the first week I could keep my first line, marked T,
clear of spots, I suppos'd the habit of that virtue so much
strengthen'd and its opposite weaken'd, that I might venture extending
my attention to include the next, and for the following week keep both
lines clear of spots.  Proceeding thus to the last, I could go thro' a
course compleat in thirteen weeks, and four courses in a year.  And
like him who, having a garden to weed, does not attempt to eradicate
all the bad herbs at once, which would exceed his reach and his
strength, but works on one of the beds at a time, and, having
accomplish'd the first, proceeds to a second, so I should have, I
hoped, the encouraging pleasure of seeing on my pages the progress I
made in virtue, by clearing successively my lines of their spots, till
in the end, by a number of courses, I should be happy in viewing a
clean book, after a thirteen weeks' daily examination.

This my little book had for its motto these lines from Addison's Cato:

          "Here will I hold.  If there's a power above us
          (And that there is all nature cries aloud
          Thro' all her works), He must delight in virtue;
          And that which he delights in must be happy."

Another from Cicero,

          "O vitae Philosophia dux! O virtutum indagatrix
          expultrixque vitiorum! Unus dies, bene et ex praeceptis
          tuis actus, peccanti immortalitati est anteponendus."

Another from the Proverbs of Solomon, speaking of wisdom or virtue:

          "Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left hand
          riches and honour.  Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
          and all her paths are peace." iii. 16, 17.

And conceiving God to be the fountain of wisdom, I thought it right and
necessary to solicit his assistance for obtaining it; to this end I
formed the following little prayer, which was prefix'd to my tables of
examination, for daily use.

"O powerful Goodness! bountiful Father! merciful Guide! increase in me
that wisdom which discovers my truest interest! strengthen my
resolutions to perform what that wisdom dictates.  Accept my kind
offices to thy other children as the only return in my power for thy
continual favors to me."

I used also sometimes a little prayer which I took from Thomson's
Poems, viz.:

          "Father of light and life, thou Good Supreme!
          O teach me what is good; teach me Thyself!
          Save me from folly, vanity, and vice,
          From every low pursuit; and fill my soul
          With knowledge, conscious peace, and virtue pure;
          Sacred, substantial, never-fading bliss!"

The precept of Order requiring that every part of my business should
have its allotted time, one page in my little book contain'd the
following scheme of employment for the twenty-four hours of a natural

       THE MORNING.            {  5 } Rise, wash, and address
                               {    } Powerful Goodness!  Contrive
  Question.  What good  shall  {  6 } day's business, and take the
  I do this day?               {    } resolution of the day; prosecute
                               {  7 } the present study, and
                               {    } breakfast.
                                  8 }
                                  9 } Work.
                                 10 }
                                 11 }

       NOON.                   { 12 } Read, or overlook my
                               {  1 } accounts, and dine.
                                  2 }
                                  3 } Work.
                                  4 }
                                  5 }

       EVENING.                {  6 } Put things in their places.
                               {  7 } Supper.  Music or diversion,
  Question.  What good have    {  8 } or conversation.  Examination
  I done to-day?               {  9 } of the day.
                               { 10 }
                               { 11 }
                               { 12 }

       NIGHT.                  {  1 } Sleep.
                               {  2 }
                               {  3 }
                               {  4 }

I enter'd upon the execution of this plan for self-examination, and
continu'd it with occasional intermissions for some time.  I was
surpris'd to find myself so much fuller of faults than I had imagined;
but I had the satisfaction of seeing them diminish.  To avoid the
trouble of renewing now and then my little book, which, by scraping out
the marks on the paper of old faults to make room for new ones in a new
course, became full of holes, I transferr'd my tables and precepts to
the ivory leaves of a memorandum book, on which the lines were drawn
with red ink, that made a durable stain, and on those lines I mark'd my
faults with a black-lead pencil, which marks I could easily wipe out
with a wet sponge.  After a while I went thro' one course only in a
year, and afterward only one in several years, till at length I omitted
them entirely, being employ'd in voyages and business abroad, with a
multiplicity of affairs that interfered; but I always carried my little
book with me.

My scheme of ORDER gave me the most trouble; and I found that, tho' it
might be practicable where a man's business was such as to leave him
the disposition of his time, that of a journeyman printer, for
instance, it was not possible to be exactly observed by a master, who
must mix with the world, and often receive people of business at their
own hours.  Order, too, with regard to places for things, papers, etc.,
I found extreamly difficult to acquire.  I had not been early
accustomed to it, and, having an exceeding good memory, I was not so
sensible of the inconvenience attending want of method.  This article,
therefore, cost me so much painful attention, and my faults in it vexed
me so much, and I made so little progress in amendment, and had such
frequent relapses, that I was almost ready to give up the attempt, and
content myself with a faulty character in that respect, like the man
who, in buying an ax of a smith, my neighbour, desired to have the
whole of its surface as bright as the edge.  The smith consented to
grind it bright for him if he would turn the wheel; he turn'd, while
the smith press'd the broad face of the ax hard and heavily on the
stone, which made the turning of it very fatiguing.  The man came every
now and then from the wheel to see how the work went on, and at length
would take his ax as it was, without farther grinding.  "No," said the
smith, "turn on, turn on; we shall have it bright by-and-by; as yet, it
is only speckled." "Yes," said the man, "but I think I like a speckled
ax best." And I believe this may have been the case with many, who,
having, for want of some such means as I employ'd, found the difficulty
of obtaining good and breaking bad habits in other points of vice and
virtue, have given up the struggle, and concluded that "a speckled ax
was best"; for something, that pretended to be reason, was every now
and then suggesting to me that such extream nicety as I exacted of
myself might be a kind of foppery in morals, which, if it were known,
would make me ridiculous; that a perfect character might be attended
with the inconvenience of being envied and hated; and that a benevolent
man should allow a few faults in himself, to keep his friends in

In truth, I found myself incorrigible with respect to Order; and now I
am grown old, and my memory bad, I feel very sensibly the want of it.
But, on the whole, tho' I never arrived at the perfection I had been so
ambitious of obtaining, but fell far short of it, yet I was, by the
endeavour, a better and a happier man than I otherwise should have been
if I had not attempted it; as those who aim at perfect writing by
imitating the engraved copies, tho' they never reach the wish'd-for
excellence of those copies, their hand is mended by the endeavor, and
is tolerable while it continues fair and legible.

It may be well my posterity should be informed that to this little
artifice, with the blessing of God, their ancestor ow'd the constant
felicity of his life, down to his 79th year, in which this is written.
What reverses may attend the remainder is in the hand of Providence;
but, if they arrive, the reflection on past happiness enjoy'd ought to
help his bearing them with more resignation.  To Temperance he ascribes
his long-continued health, and what is still left to him of a good
constitution; to Industry and Frugality, the early easiness of his
circumstances and acquisition of his fortune, with all that knowledge
that enabled him to be a useful citizen, and obtained for him some
degree of reputation among the learned; to Sincerity and Justice, the
confidence of his country, and the honorable employs it conferred upon
him; and to the joint influence of the whole mass of the virtues, even
in the imperfect state he was able to acquire them, all that evenness
of temper, and that cheerfulness in conversation, which makes his
company still sought for, and agreeable even to his younger
acquaintance.  I hope, therefore, that some of my descendants may
follow the example and reap the benefit.

It will be remark'd that, tho' my scheme was not wholly without
religion, there was in it no mark of any of the distinguishing tenets
of any particular sect.  I had purposely avoided them; for, being fully
persuaded of the utility and excellency of my method, and that it might
be serviceable to people in all religions, and intending some time or
other to publish it, I would not have any thing in it that should
prejudice any one, of any sect, against it.  I purposed writing a
little comment on each virtue, in which I would have shown the
advantages of possessing it, and the mischiefs attending its opposite
vice; and I should have called my book THE ART OF VIRTUE,[7] because it
would have shown the means and manner of obtaining virtue, which would
have distinguished it from the mere exhortation to be good, that does
not instruct and indicate the means, but is like the apostle's man of
verbal charity, who only without showing to the naked and hungry how or
where they might get clothes or victuals, exhorted them to be fed and
clothed.--James ii.  15, 16.

     [7] Nothing so likely to make a man's fortune as virtue.
         --[Marg. note.]

But it so happened that my intention of writing and publishing this
comment was never fulfilled.  I did, indeed, from time to time, put
down short hints of the sentiments, reasonings, etc., to be made use of
in it, some of which I have still by me; but the necessary close
attention to private business in the earlier part of thy life, and
public business since, have occasioned my postponing it; for, it being
connected in my mind with a great and extensive project, that required
the whole man to execute, and which an unforeseen succession of employs
prevented my attending to, it has hitherto remain'd unfinish'd.

In this piece it was my design to explain and enforce this doctrine,
that vicious actions are not hurtful because they are forbidden, but
forbidden because they are hurtful, the nature of man alone considered;
that it was, therefore, every one's interest to be virtuous who wish'd
to be happy even in this world; and I should, from this circumstance
(there being always in the world a number of rich merchants, nobility,
states, and princes, who have need of honest instruments for the
management of their affairs, and such being so rare), have endeavored
to convince young persons that no qualities were so likely to make a
poor man's fortune as those of probity and integrity.

My list of virtues contain'd at first but twelve; but a Quaker friend
having kindly informed me that I was generally thought proud; that my
pride show'd itself frequently in conversation; that I was not content
with being in the right when discussing any point, but was overbearing,
and rather insolent, of which he convinc'd me by mentioning several
instances; I determined endeavouring to cure myself, if I could, of
this vice or folly among the rest, and I added Humility to my list,
giving an extensive meaning to the word.

I cannot boast of much success in acquiring the reality of this virtue,
but I had a good deal with regard to the appearance of it.  I made it a
rule to forbear all direct contradiction to the sentiments of others,
and all positive assertion of my own.  I even forbid myself, agreeably
to the old laws of our Junto, the use of every word or expression in
the language that imported a fix'd opinion, such as certainly,
undoubtedly, etc., and I adopted, instead of them, I conceive, I
apprehend, or I imagine a thing to be so or so; or it so appears to me
at present.  When another asserted something that I thought an error, I
deny'd myself the pleasure of contradicting him abruptly, and of
showing immediately some absurdity in his proposition; and in answering
I began by observing that in certain cases or circumstances his opinion
would be right, but in the present case there appear'd or seem'd to me
some difference, etc.  I soon found the advantage of this change in my
manner; the conversations I engag'd in went on more pleasantly.  The
modest way in which I propos'd my opinions procur'd them a readier
reception and less contradiction; I had less mortification when I was
found to be in the wrong, and I more easily prevail'd with others to
give up their mistakes and join with me when I happened to be in the

And this mode, which I at first put on with some violence to natural
inclination, became at length so easy, and so habitual to me, that
perhaps for these fifty years past no one has ever heard a dogmatical
expression escape me.  And to this habit (after my character of
integrity) I think it principally owing that I had early so much weight
with my fellow-citizens when I proposed new institutions, or
alterations in the old, and so much influence in public councils when I
became a member; for I was but a bad speaker, never eloquent, subject
to much hesitation in my choice of words, hardly correct in language,
and yet I generally carried my points.

In reality, there is, perhaps, no one of our natural passions so hard
to subdue as pride.  Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down,
stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and
will every now and then peep out and show itself; you will see it,
perhaps, often in this history; for, even if I could conceive that I
had compleatly overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.

[Thus far written at Passy, 1784.]

["I am now about to write at home, August, 1788, but can not have the
help expected from my papers, many of them being lost in the war.  I
have, however, found the following."][8]

     [8]This is a marginal memorandum.--B.

HAVING mentioned a great and extensive project which I had conceiv'd,
it seems proper that some account should be here given of that project
and its object.  Its first rise in my mind appears in the following
little paper, accidentally preserv'd, viz.:

Observations on my reading history, in Library, May 19th, 1731.

"That the great affairs of the world, the wars, revolutions, etc., are
carried on and affected by parties.

"That the view of these parties is their present general interest, or
what they take to be such.

"That the different views of these different parties occasion all

"That while a party is carrying on a general design, each man has his
particular private interest in view.

"That as soon as a party has gain'd its general point, each member
becomes intent upon his particular interest; which, thwarting others,
breaks that party into divisions, and occasions more confusion.

"That few in public affairs act from a meer view of the good of their
country, whatever they may pretend; and, tho' their actings bring real
good to their country, yet men primarily considered that their own and
their country's interest was united, and did not act from a principle
of benevolence.

"That fewer still, in public affairs, act with a view to the good of

"There seems to me at present to be great occasion for raising a United
Party for Virtue, by forming the virtuous and good men of all nations
into a regular body, to be govern'd by suitable good and wise rules,
which good and wise men may probably be more unanimous in their
obedience to, than common people are to common laws.

"I at present think that whoever attempts this aright, and is well
qualified, can not fail of pleasing God, and of meeting with success.
B. F."

Revolving this project in my mind, as to be undertaken hereafter, when
my circumstances should afford me the necessary leisure, I put down
from time to time, on pieces of paper, such thoughts as occurr'd to me
respecting it.  Most of these are lost; but I find one purporting to be
the substance of an intended creed, containing, as I thought, the
essentials of every known religion, and being free of every thing that
might shock the professors of any religion.  It is express'd in these
words, viz.:

"That there is one God, who made all things.

"That he governs the world by his providence.

"That he ought to be worshiped by adoration, prayer, and thanksgiving.

"But that the most acceptable service of God is doing good to man.

"That the soul is immortal.

"And that God will certainly reward virtue and punish vice either here
or hereafter."[9]

     [9] In the Middle Ages, Franklin, if such a phenomenon as
         Franklin were possible in the Middle Ages, would
         probably have been the founder of a monastic order.--B.

My ideas at that time were, that the sect should be begun and spread at
first among young and single men only; that each person to be initiated
should not only declare his assent to such creed, but should have
exercised himself with the thirteen weeks' examination and practice of
the virtues, as in the before-mention'd model; that the existence of
such a society should be kept a secret, till it was become
considerable, to prevent solicitations for the admission of improper
persons, but that the members should each of them search among his
acquaintance for ingenuous, well-disposed youths, to whom, with prudent
caution, the scheme should be gradually communicated; that the members
should engage to afford their advice, assistance, and support to each
other in promoting one another's interests, business, and advancement
in life; that, for distinction, we should be call'd The Society of the
Free and Easy:  free, as being, by the general practice and habit of
the virtues, free from the dominion of vice; and particularly by the
practice of industry and frugality, free from debt, which exposes a man
to confinement, and a species of slavery to his creditors.

This is as much as I can now recollect of the project, except that I
communicated it in part to two young men, who adopted it with some
enthusiasm; but my then narrow circumstances, and the necessity I was
under of sticking close to my business, occasion'd my postponing the
further prosecution of it at that time; and my multifarious
occupations, public and private, induc'd me to continue postponing, so
that it has been omitted till I have no longer strength or activity
left sufficient for such an enterprise; tho' I am still of opinion that
it was a practicable scheme, and might have been very useful, by
forming a great number of good citizens; and I was not discourag'd by
the seeming magnitude of the undertaking, as I have always thought that
one man of tolerable abilities may work great changes, and accomplish
great affairs among mankind, if he first forms a good plan, and,
cutting off all amusements or other employments that would divert his
attention, makes the execution of that same plan his sole study and

In 1732 I first publish'd my Almanack, under the name of Richard
Saunders; it was continu'd by me about twenty-five years, commonly
call'd Poor Richard's Almanac.  I endeavor'd to make it both
entertaining and useful, and it accordingly came to be in such demand,
that I reap'd considerable profit from it, vending annually near ten
thousand.  And observing that it was generally read, scarce any
neighborhood in the province being without it, I consider'd it as a
proper vehicle for conveying instruction among the common people, who
bought scarcely any other books; I therefore filled all the little
spaces that occurr'd between the remarkable days in the calendar with
proverbial sentences, chiefly such as inculcated industry and
frugality, as the means of procuring wealth, and thereby securing
virtue; it being more difficult for a man in want, to act always
honestly, as, to use here one of those proverbs, it is hard for an
empty sack to stand up-right.

These proverbs, which contained the wisdom of many ages and nations, I
assembled and form'd into a connected discourse prefix'd to the
Almanack of 1757, as the harangue of a wise old man to the people
attending an auction.  The bringing all these scatter'd counsels thus
into a focus enabled them to make greater impression.  The piece, being
universally approved, was copied in all the newspapers of the
Continent; reprinted in Britain on a broad side, to be stuck up in
houses; two translations were made of it in French, and great numbers
bought by the clergy and gentry, to distribute gratis among their poor
parishioners and tenants.  In Pennsylvania, as it discouraged useless
expense in foreign superfluities, some thought it had its share of
influence in producing that growing plenty of money which was
observable for several years after its publication.

I considered my newspaper, also, as another means of communicating
instruction, and in that view frequently reprinted in it extracts from
the Spectator, and other moral writers; and sometimes publish'd little
pieces of my own, which had been first compos'd for reading in our
Junto.  Of these are a Socratic dialogue, tending to prove that,
whatever might be his parts and abilities, a vicious man could not
properly be called a man of sense; and a discourse on self-denial,
showing that virtue was not secure till its practice became a habitude,
and was free from the opposition of contrary inclinations.  These may
be found in the papers about the beginning Of 1735.

In the conduct of my newspaper, I carefully excluded all libelling and
personal abuse, which is of late years become so disgraceful to our
country.  Whenever I was solicited to insert anything of that kind, and
the writers pleaded, as they generally did, the liberty of the press,
and that a newspaper was like a stagecoach, in which any one who would
pay had a right to a place, my answer was, that I would print the piece
separately if desired, and the author might have as many copies as he
pleased to distribute himself, but that I would not take upon me to
spread his detraction; and that, having contracted with my subscribers
to furnish them with what might be either useful or entertaining, I
could not fill their papers with private altercation, in which they had
no concern, without doing them manifest injustice.  Now, many of our
printers make no scruple of gratifying the malice of individuals by
false accusations of the fairest characters among ourselves, augmenting
animosity even to the producing of duels; and are, moreover, so
indiscreet as to print scurrilous reflections on the government of
neighboring states, and even on the conduct of our best national
allies, which may be attended with the most pernicious consequences.
These things I mention as a caution to young printers, and that they
may be encouraged not to pollute their presses and disgrace their
profession by such infamous practices, but refuse steadily, as they may
see by my example that such a course of conduct will not, on the whole,
be injurious to their interests.

In 1733 I sent one of my journeymen to Charleston, South Carolina,
where a printer was wanting.  I furnish'd him with a press and letters,
on an agreement of partnership, by which I was to receive one-third of
the profits of the business, paying one-third of the expense.  He was a
man of learning, and honest but ignorant in matters of account; and,
tho' he sometimes made me remittances, I could get no account from him,
nor any satisfactory state of our partnership while he lived.  On his
decease, the business was continued by his widow, who, being born and
bred in Holland, where, as I have been inform'd, the knowledge of
accounts makes a part of female education, she not only sent me as
clear a state as she could find of the transactions past, but continued
to account with the greatest regularity and exactness every quarter
afterwards, and managed the business with such success, that she not
only brought up reputably a family of children, but, at the expiration
of the term, was able to purchase of me the printing-house, and
establish her son in it.

I mention this affair chiefly for the sake of recommending that branch
of education for our young females, as likely to be of more use to them
and their children, in case of widowhood, than either music or dancing,
by preserving them from losses by imposition of crafty men, and
enabling them to continue, perhaps, a profitable mercantile house, with
establish'd correspondence, 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 from Ireland a young
Presbyterian preacher, named Hemphill, who delivered with a good voice,
and apparently extempore, most excellent discourses, which drew
together considerable numbers of different persuasion, who join'd 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
stile are called good works.  Those, however, of our congregation, who
considered themselves as orthodox Presbyterians, disapprov'd his
doctrine, and were join'd by most of the old clergy, who arraign'd him
of heterodoxy before the synod, in order to have him silenc'd. I became
his zealous partisan, and contributed all I could to raise a party in
his favour, and we combated for him a while with some hopes of success.
There was much scribbling pro and con upon the occasion; and finding
that, tho' an elegant preacher, he was but a poor writer, I lent him my
pen and wrote for him two or three pamphlets, and one piece in the
Gazette of April, 1735.  Those pamphlets, as is generally the case with
controversial writings, tho' eagerly read at the time, were soon out of
vogue, and I question whether a single copy of them now exists.

During the contest an unlucky occurrence hurt his cause exceedingly.
One of our adversaries having 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 search he found that part quoted at length, in one of
the British Reviews, from a discourse of Dr. Foster's. This detection
gave many of our party disgust, who accordingly abandoned his cause,
and occasion'd our more speedy discomfiture in the synod.  I stuck by
him, however, as I rather approv'd his giving us good sermons compos'd
by others, than bad ones of his own manufacture, tho' the latter was
the practice of our common teachers.  He afterward acknowledg'd to me
that none of those he preach'd were his own; adding, that his memory
was such as enabled him to retain and repeat any sermon after one
reading only.  On our defeat, he left us in search elsewhere of better
fortune, and I quitted the congregation, never joining it after, tho' I
continu'd many years my subscription for the support of its ministers.

I had begun in 1733 to study languages; I soon made myself so much a
master of the French as to be able to read the books with ease.  I then
undertook the Italian.  An acquaintance, who was also learning it, us'd
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 refus'd to play
any more, unless on this condition, that the victor in every game
should have a right to impose a task, either in parts of the grammar to
be got by heart, or in translations, etc., which tasks the vanquish'd
was to perform upon honour, before our next meeting.  As we play'd
pretty equally, we thus beat one another into that language.  I
afterwards with a little painstaking, acquir'd as much of the Spanish
as to read their books also.

I have already mention'd 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 surpriz'd to find, on looking over
a Latin Testament, that I understood so much more of that language than
I had imagined, which encouraged me to apply myself again to the study
of it, and I met with more success, as those preceding languages had
greatly smooth'd my way.

From these circumstances, I have thought that there is some
inconsistency in our common mode of teaching languages.  We are told
that it is proper to begin first with the Latin, and, having acquir'd
that, it will be more easy to attain those modern languages which are
deriv'd from it; and yet we do not begin with the Greek, in order more
easily to acquire the Latin.  It is true that, if you can clamber and
get to the top of a staircase without using the steps, you will more
easily gain them in descending; but certainly, if you begin with the
lowest you will 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 learnt 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, etc.; for, tho', 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 modern 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 well afford.  In returning, I call'd at Newport to see
my brother, 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 his health, and requested of me
that, in case of his death, which he apprehended not far distant, I
would take home his son, then but ten years of age, and bring him up to
the printing business.  This I accordingly perform'd, sending him a few
years to school before I took him 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 depriv'd 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 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 showing that the regret may be the same either
way, and that, therefore, the safer should be chosen.

Our club, the Junto, was found so useful, and afforded such
satisfaction to the members, that several 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 observ'd; 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, etc., 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 pass'd 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 thro' the several clubs the sentiments of the Junto.

The project was approv'd, and every member undertook to form his club,
but they did not all succeed.  Five or six only were compleated, which
were called by different names, as the Vine, the Union, the Band, etc.
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 opinion 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 propos'd (the choice, like that of the
members, being annual), a new member made a long speech against me, in
order to favour some other candidate.  I was, however, chosen, which
was the more agreeable to me, as, besides the pay for the immediate
service as clerk, the place gave me a better opportunity of keeping up
an interest among the members, which secur'd to me the business of
printing the votes, laws, paper money, and other occasional jobbs 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 favour 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 he would do me the favour of lending
it to me for a few days.  He sent it immediately, and I return'd it in
about a week with another note, expressing strongly my sense of the
favour.  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 negligence in rendering, and
inexactitude of his accounts, took from him the commission and offered
it to me.  I accepted it readily, and found it of great advantage; for,
tho' the salary was small, it facilitated the correspondence that
improv'd my newspaper, increas'd 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 newspaper declin'd
proportionably, and I was satisfy'd without retaliating his refusal,
while postmaster, to permit my papers being carried by the riders.
Thus he suffer'd greatly from his neglect in due accounting; and I
mention it as a lesson to those young men who may be employ'd in
managing affairs for others, that they should always render accounts,
and make remittances, with great clearness and punctuality.  The
character of observing such a conduct is the most powerful of all
recommendations to new employments and increase of business.

I began now to turn my thoughts a little to public affairs, beginning,
however, with small matters.  The city watch was one of the first
things that I conceiv'd to want regulation.  It was managed by the
constables of the respective wards in turn; the constable warned a
number of housekeepers to attend him for the night.  Those who chose
never to attend paid him six shillings a year to be excus'd, which was
suppos'd to be for hiring substitutes, but was, in reality, much more
than was necessary for that purpose, and made the constableship a place
of profit; and the constable, for a little drink, often got such
ragamuffins about him as a watch, that respectable housekeepers did not
choose to mix with.  Walking the rounds, too, was often neglected, and
most of the nights spent in tippling.  I thereupon wrote a paper, to be
read in Junto, representing these irregularities, but insisting more
particularly on the inequality of this six-shilling tax of the
constables, respecting the circumstances of those who paid it, since a
poor widow housekeeper, all whose property to be guarded by the watch
did not perhaps exceed the value of fifty pounds, paid as much as the
wealthiest merchant, who had thousands of pounds worth of goods in his

On the whole, I proposed as a more effectual watch, the hiring of
proper men to serve constantly in that business; and as a more
equitable way of supporting the charge the levying a tax that should be
proportion'd to the property.  This idea, being approv'd by the Junto,
was communicated to the other clubs, but as arising in each of them;
and though the plan was not immediately carried into execution, yet, by
preparing the minds of people for the change, it paved the way for the
law obtained a few years after, when the members of our clubs were
grown into more influence.

About this time I wrote a paper (first to be read in Junto, but it was
afterward publish'd) on the different accidents and carelessnesses by
which houses were set on fire, with cautions against them, and means
proposed of avoiding them.  This was much spoken of as a useful piece,
and gave rise to a project, which soon followed it, of forming a
company for the more ready extinguishing of fires, and mutual
assistance in removing and securing the goods when in danger.
Associates in this scheme were presently found, amounting to thirty.
Our articles of agreement oblig'd every member to keep always in good
order, and fit for use, a certain number of leather buckets, with
strong bags and baskets (for packing and transporting of goods), which
were to be brought to every fire; and we agreed to meet once a month
and spend a social evening together, in discoursing and communicating
such ideas as occurred to us upon the subject of fires, as might be
useful in our conduct on such occasions.

The utility of this institution soon appeared, and many more desiring
to be admitted than we thought convenient for one company, they were
advised to form another, which was accordingly done; and this went on,
one new company being formed after another, till they became so
numerous as to include most of the inhabitants who were men of
property; and now, at the time of my writing this, tho' upward of fifty
years since its establishment, that which I first formed, called the
Union Fire Company, still subsists and flourishes, tho' the first
members are all deceas'd but myself and one, who is older by a year
than I am.  The small fines that have been paid by members for absence
at the monthly meetings have been apply'd to the purchase of
fire-engines, ladders, fire-hooks, and other useful implements for each
company, so that I question whether there is a city in the world better
provided with the means of putting a stop to beginning conflagrations;
and, in fact, since these institutions, the city has never lost by fire
more than one or two houses at a time, and the flames have often been
extinguished before the house in which they began has been half

In 1739 arrived among us from Ireland the Reverend Mr. Whitefield, who
had made himself remarkable there as an itinerant preacher.  He was at
first permitted to preach in some of our churches; but the clergy,
taking a dislike to him, soon refus'd him their pulpits, and he was
oblig'd to preach in the fields.  The multitudes of all sects and
denominations that attended his sermons were enormous, and it was
matter of speculation to me, who was one of the number, to observe the
extraordinary influence of his oratory on his hearers, and how much
they admir'd and respected him, notwithstanding his common abuse of
them, by assuring them that they were naturally half beasts and half
devils.  It was wonderful to see the change soon made in the manners of
our inhabitants.  From being thoughtless or indifferent about religion,
it seem'd as if all the world were growing religious, so that one could
not walk thro' the town in an evening without hearing psalms sung in
different families of every street.

And it being found inconvenient to assemble in the open air, subject to
its inclemencies, the building of a house to meet in was no sooner
propos'd, and persons appointed to receive contributions, but
sufficient sums were soon receiv'd to procure the ground and erect the
building, which was one hundred feet long and seventy broad, about the
size of Westminster Hall; and the work was carried on with such spirit
as to be finished in a much shorter time than could have been expected.
Both house and ground were vested in trustees, expressly for the use of
any preacher of any religious persuasion who might desire to say
something to the people at Philadelphia; the design in building not
being to accommodate any particular sect, but the inhabitants in
general; so that even if the Mufti of Constantinople were to send a
missionary to preach Mohammedanism to us, he would find a pulpit at his

Mr. Whitefield, in leaving us, went preaching all the way thro' the
colonies to Georgia.  The settlement of that province had lately been
begun, but, instead of being made with hardy, industrious husbandmen,
accustomed to labor, the only people fit for such an enterprise, it was
with families of broken shop-keepers and other insolvent debtors, many
of indolent and idle habits, taken out of the jails, who, being set
down in the woods, unqualified for clearing land, and unable to endure
the hardships of a new settlement, perished in numbers, leaving many
helpless children unprovided for.  The sight of their miserable
situation inspir'd the benevolent heart of Mr. Whitefield with the idea
of building an Orphan House there, in which they might be supported and
educated.  Returning northward, he preach'd up this charity, and made
large collections, for his eloquence had a wonderful power over the
hearts and purses of his hearers, of which I myself was an instance.

I did not disapprove of the design, but, as Georgia was then destitute
of materials and workmen, and it was proposed to send them from
Philadelphia at a great expense, I thought it would have been better to
have built the house here, and brought the children to it.  This I
advis'd; but he was resolute in his first project, rejected my counsel,
and I therefore refus'd to contribute.  I happened soon after to attend
one of his sermons, in the course of which I perceived he intended to
finish with a collection, and I silently resolved he should get nothing
from me, I had in my pocket a handful of copper money, three or four
silver dollars, and five pistoles in gold.  As he proceeded I began to
soften, and concluded to give the coppers.  Another stroke of his
oratory made me asham'd of that, and determin'd me to give the silver;
and he finish'd so admirably, that I empty'd my pocket wholly into the
collector's dish, gold and all.  At this sermon there was also one of
our club, who, being of my sentiments respecting the building in
Georgia, and suspecting a collection might be intended, had, by
precaution, emptied his pockets before he came from home.  Towards the
conclusion of the discourse, however, he felt a strong desire to give,
and apply'd to a neighbour, who stood near him, to borrow some money
for the purpose.  The application was unfortunately [made] to perhaps
the only man in the company who had the firmness not to be affected by
the preacher.  His answer was, "At any other time, Friend Hopkinson, I
would lend to thee freely; but not now, for thee seems to be out of thy
right senses."

Some of Mr. Whitefield's enemies affected to suppose that he would
apply these collections to his own private emolument; but I who was
intimately acquainted with him (being employed in printing his Sermons
and Journals, etc.), never had the least suspicion of his integrity,
but am to this day decidedly of opinion that he was in all his conduct
a perfectly honest man, and methinks my testimony in his favour ought
to have the more weight, as we had no religious connection.  He us'd,
indeed, sometimes to pray for my conversion, but never had the
satisfaction of believing that his prayers were heard.  Ours was a mere
civil friendship, sincere on both sides, and lasted to his death.

The following instance will show something of the terms on which we
stood.  Upon one of his arrivals from England at Boston, he wrote to me
that he should come soon to Philadelphia, but knew not where he could
lodge when there, as he understood his old friend and host, Mr.
Benezet, was removed to Germantown.  My answer was, "You know my house;
if you can make shift with its scanty accommodations, you will be most
heartily welcome." He reply'd, that if I made that kind offer for
Christ's sake, I should not miss of a reward.  And I returned, "Don't
let me be mistaken; it was not for Christ's sake, but for your sake."
One of our common acquaintance jocosely remark'd, that, knowing it to
be the custom of the saints, when they received any favour, to shift
the burden of the obligation from off their own shoulders, and place it
in heaven, I had contriv'd to fix it on earth.

The last time I saw Mr. Whitefield was in London, when he consulted me
about his Orphan House concern, and his purpose of appropriating it to
the establishment of a college.

He had a loud and clear voice, and articulated his words and sentences
so perfectly, that he might be heard and understood at a great
distance, especially as his auditories, however numerous, observ'd the
most exact silence.  He preach'd one evening from the top of the
Court-house steps, which are in the middle of Market-street, and on the
west side of Second-street, which crosses it at right angles.  Both
streets were fill'd with his hearers to a considerable distance.  Being
among the hindmost in Market-street, I had the curiosity to learn how
far he could be heard, by retiring backwards down the street towards
the river; and I found his voice distinct till I came near
Front-street, when some noise in that street obscur'd it.  Imagining
then a semi-circle, of which my distance should be the radius, and that
it were fill'd with auditors, to each of whom I allow'd two square
feet, I computed that he might well be heard by more than thirty
thousand.  This reconcil'd me to the newspaper accounts of his having
preach'd to twenty-five thousand people in the fields, and to the
antient histories of generals haranguing whole armies, of which I had
sometimes doubted.

By hearing him often, I came to distinguish easily between sermons
newly compos'd, and those which he had often preach'd in the course of
his travels.  His delivery of the latter was so improv'd by frequent
repetitions that every accent, every emphasis, every modulation of
voice, was so perfectly well turn'd and well plac'd, that, without
being interested in the subject, one could not help being pleas'd with
the discourse; a pleasure of much the same kind with that receiv'd from
an excellent piece of musick.  This is an advantage itinerant preachers
have over those who are stationary, as the latter can not well improve
their delivery of a sermon by so many rehearsals.

His writing and printing from time to time gave great advantage to his
enemies; unguarded expressions, and even erroneous opinions, delivered
in preaching, might have been afterwards explain'd or qualifi'd by
supposing others that might have accompani'd them, or they might have
been deny'd; but litera scripta monet.  Critics attack'd his writings
violently, and with so much appearance of reason as to diminish the
number of his votaries and prevent their encrease; so that I am of
opinion if he had never written any thing, he would have left behind
him a much more numerous and important sect, and his reputation might
in that case have been still growing, even after his death, as there
being nothing of his writing on which to found a censure and give him a
lower character, his proselytes would be left at liberty to feign for
him as great a variety of excellence as their enthusiastic admiration
might wish him to have possessed.

My business was now continually augmenting, and my circumstances
growing daily easier, my newspaper having become very profitable, as
being for a time almost the only one in this and the neighbouring
provinces.  I experienced, too, the truth of the observation, "that
after getting the first hundred pound, it is more easy to get the
second," money itself being of a prolific nature.

The partnership at Carolina having succeeded, I was encourag'd to
engage in others, and to promote several of my workmen, who had behaved
well, by establishing them with printing-houses in different colonies,
on the same terms with that in Carolina.  Most of them did well, being
enabled at the end of our term, six years, to purchase the types of me
and go on working for themselves, by which means several families were
raised.  Partnerships often finish in quarrels; but I was happy in
this, that mine were all carried on and ended amicably, owing, I think,
a good deal to the precaution of having very explicitly settled, in our
articles, every thing to be done by or expected from each partner, so
that there was nothing to dispute, which precaution I would therefore
recommend to all who enter into partnerships; for, whatever esteem
partners may have for, and confidence in each other at the time of the
contract, little jealousies and disgusts may arise, with ideas of
inequality in the care and burden of the business, etc., which are
attended often with breach of friendship and of the connection, perhaps
with lawsuits and other disagreeable consequences.

I had, on the whole, abundant reason to be satisfied with my being
established in Pennsylvania.  There were, however, two things that I
regretted, there being no provision for defense, nor for a compleat
education of youth; no militia, nor any college.  I therefore, in 1743,
drew up a proposal for establishing an academy; and at that time,
thinking the Reverend Mr. Peters, who was out of employ, a fit person
to superintend such an institution, I communicated the project to him;
but he, having more profitable views in the service of the
proprietaries, which succeeded, declin'd the undertaking; and, not
knowing another at that time suitable for such a trust, I let the
scheme lie a while dormant.  I succeeded better the next year, 1744, in
proposing and establishing a Philosophical Society.  The paper I wrote
for that purpose will be found among my writings, when collected.

With respect to defense, Spain having been several years at war against
Great Britain, and being at length join'd by France, which brought us
into great danger; and the laboured and long-continued endeavour of our
governor, Thomas, to prevail with our Quaker Assembly to pass a militia
law, and make other provisions for the security of the province, having
proved abortive, I determined to try what might be done by a voluntary
association of the people.  To promote this, I first wrote and
published a pamphlet, entitled PLAIN TRUTH, in which I stated our
defenceless situation in strong lights, with the necessity of union and
discipline for our defense, and promis'd to propose in a few days an
association, to be generally signed for that purpose.  The pamphlet had
a sudden and surprising effect.  I was call'd upon for the instrument
of association, and having settled the draft of it with a few friends,
I appointed a meeting of the citizens in the large building before
mentioned.  The house was pretty full; I had prepared a number of
printed copies, and provided pens and ink dispers'd all over the room.
I harangued them a little on the subject, read the paper, and explained
it, and then distributed the copies, which were eagerly signed, not the
least objection being made.

When the company separated, and the papers were collected, we found
above twelve hundred hands; and, other copies being dispersed in the
country, the subscribers amounted at length to upward of ten thousand.
These all furnished themselves as soon as they could with arms, formed
themselves into companies and regiments, chose their own officers, and
met every week to be instructed in the manual exercise, and other parts
of military discipline.  The women, by subscriptions among themselves,
provided silk colors, which they presented to the companies, painted
with different devices and mottos, which I supplied.

The officers of the companies composing the Philadelphia regiment,
being met, chose me for their colonel; but, conceiving myself unfit, I
declin'd that station, and recommended Mr. Lawrence, a fine person, and
man of influence, who was accordingly appointed.  I then propos'd a
lottery to defray the expense of building a battery below the town, and
furnishing it with cannon.  It filled expeditiously, and the battery
was soon erected, the merlons being fram'd of logs and fill'd with
earth.  We bought some old cannon from Boston, but, these not being
sufficient, we wrote to England for more, soliciting, at the same time,
our proprietaries for some assistance, tho' without much expectation of
obtaining it.

Meanwhile, Colonel Lawrence, William Allen, Abram Taylor, Esqr., and
myself were sent to New York by the associators, commission'd to borrow
some cannon of Governor Clinton.  He at first refus'd us peremptorily;
but at dinner with his council, where there was great drinking of
Madeira wine, as the custom of that place then was, he softened by
degrees, and said he would lend us six.  After a few more bumpers he
advanc'd to ten; and at length he very good-naturedly conceded
eighteen.  They were fine cannon, eighteen-pounders, with their
carriages, which we soon transported and mounted on our battery, where
the associators kept a nightly guard while the war lasted, and among
the rest I regularly took my turn of duty there as a common soldier.

My activity in these operations was agreeable to the governor and
council; they took me into confidence, and I was consulted by them in
every measure wherein their concurrence was thought useful to the
association.  Calling in the aid of religion, I propos'd to them the
proclaiming a fast, to promote reformation, and implore the blessing of
Heaven on our undertaking.  They embrac'd the motion; but, as it was
the first fast ever thought of in the province, the secretary had no
precedent from which to draw the proclamation.  My education in New
England, where a fast is proclaimed every year, was here of some
advantage: I drew it in the accustomed stile, it was translated into
German, printed in both languages, and divulg'd thro' the province.
This gave the clergy of the different sects an opportunity of
influencing their congregations to join in the association, and it
would probably have been general among all but Quakers if the peace had
not soon interven'd.

It was thought by some of my friends that, by my activity in these
affairs, I should offend that sect, and thereby lose my interest in the
Assembly of the province, where they formed a great majority.  A young
gentleman who had likewise some friends in the House, and wished to
succeed me as their clerk, acquainted me that it was decided to
displace me at the next election; and he, therefore, in good will,
advis'd me to resign, as more consistent with my honour than being
turn'd out.  My answer to him was, that I had read or heard of some
public man who made it a rule never to ask for an office, and never to
refuse one when offer'd to him.  "I approve," says I, "of his rule, and
will practice it with a small addition; I shall never ask, never
refuse, nor ever resign an office.  If they will have my office of
clerk to dispose of to another, they shall take it from me.  I will
not, by giving it up, lose my right of some time or other making
reprisals on my adversaries." I heard, however, no more of this; I was
chosen again unanimously as usual at the next election.  Possibly, as
they dislik'd my late intimacy with the members of council, who had
join'd the governors in all the disputes about military preparations,
with which the House had long been harass'd, they might have been
pleas'd if I would voluntarily have left them; but they did not care to
displace me on account merely of my zeal for the association, and they
could not well give another reason.

Indeed I had some cause to believe that the defense of the country was
not disagreeable to any of them, provided they were not requir'd to
assist in it.  And I found that a much greater number of them than I
could have imagined, tho' against offensive war, were clearly for the
defensive.  Many pamphlets pro and con were publish'd on the subject,
and some by good Quakers, in favour of defense, which I believe
convinc'd most of their younger people.

A transaction in our fire company gave me some insight into their
prevailing sentiments.  It had been propos'd that we should encourage
the scheme for building a battery by laying out the present stock, then
about sixty pounds, in tickets of the lottery.  By our rules, no money
could be dispos'd of till the next meeting after the proposal.  The
company consisted of thirty members, of which twenty-two were Quakers,
and eight only of other persuasions.  We eight punctually attended the
meeting; but, tho' we thought that some of the Quakers would join us,
we were by no means sure of a majority.  Only one Quaker, Mr. James
Morris, appear'd to oppose the measure.  He expressed much sorrow that
it had ever been propos'd, as he said Friends were all against it, and
it would create such discord as might break up the company.  We told
him that we saw no reason for that; we were the minority, and if
Friends were against the measure, and outvoted us, we must and should,
agreeably to the usage of all societies, submit.  When the hour for
business arriv'd it was mov'd to put the vote; he allow'd we might then
do it by the rules, but, as he could assure us that a number of members
intended to be present for the purpose of opposing it, it would be but
candid to allow a little time for their appearing.

While we were disputing this, a waiter came to tell me two gentlemen
below desir'd to speak with me.  I went down, and found they were two
of our Quaker members.  They told me there were eight of them assembled
at a tavern just by; that they were determin'd to come and vote with us
if there should be occasion, which they hop'd would not be the case,
and desir'd we would not call for their assistance if we could do
without it, as their voting for such a measure might embroil them with
their elders and friends.  Being thus secure of a majority, I went up,
and after a little seeming hesitation, agreed to a delay of another
hour.  This Mr. Morris allow'd to be extreamly fair.  Not one of his
opposing friends appear'd, at which he express'd great surprize; and,
at the expiration of the hour, we carry'd the resolution eight to one;
and as, of the twenty-two Quakers, eight were ready to vote with us,
and thirteen, by their absence, manifested that they were not inclin'd
to oppose the measure, I afterward estimated the proportion of Quakers
sincerely against defense as one to twenty-one only; for these were all
regular members of that society, and in good reputation among them, and
had due notice of what was propos'd at that meeting.

The honorable and learned Mr. Logan, who had always been of that sect,
was one who wrote an address to them, declaring his approbation of
defensive war, and supporting his opinion by many strong arguments.  He
put into my hands sixty pounds to be laid out in lottery tickets for
the battery, with directions to apply what prizes might be drawn wholly
to that service.  He told me the following anecdote of his old master,
William Penn, respecting defense.  He came over from England, when a
young man, with that proprietary, and as his secretary.  It was
war-time, and their ship was chas'd by an armed vessel, suppos'd to be
an enemy.  Their captain prepar'd for defense; but told William Penn
and his company of Quakers, that he did not expect their assistance,
and they might retire into the cabin, which they did, except James
Logan, who chose to stay upon deck, and was quarter'd to a gun.  The
suppos'd enemy prov'd a friend, so there was no fighting; but when the
secretary went down to communicate the intelligence, William Penn
rebuk'd him severely for staying upon deck, and undertaking to assist
in defending the vessel, contrary to the principles of Friends,
especially as it had not been required by the captain.  This reproof,
being before all the company, piqu'd the secretary, who answer'd, "I
being thy servant, why did thee not order me to come down?  But thee
was willing enough that I should stay and help to fight the ship when
thee thought there was danger."

My being many years in the Assembly, the majority of which were
constantly Quakers, gave me frequent opportunities of seeing the
embarrassment given them by their principle against war, whenever
application was made to them, by order of the crown, to grant aids for
military purposes.  They were unwilling to offend government, on the
one hand, by a direct refusal; and their friends, the body of the
Quakers, on the other, by a compliance contrary to their principles;
hence a variety of evasions to avoid complying, and modes of disguising
the compliance when it became unavoidable.  The common mode at last
was, to grant money under the phrase of its being "for the king's use,"
and never to inquire how it was applied.

But, if the demand was not directly from the crown, that phrase was
found not so proper, and some other was to be invented.  As, when
powder was wanting (I think it was for the garrison at Louisburg), and
the government of New England solicited a grant of some from
Pennsilvania, which was much urg'd on the House by Governor Thomas,
they could not grant money to buy powder, because that was an
ingredient of war; but they voted an aid to New England of three
thousand pounds, to be put into the hands of the governor, and
appropriated it for the purchasing of bread, flour, wheat, or other
grain.  Some of the council, desirous of giving the House still further
embarrassment, advis'd the governor not to accept provision, as not
being the thing he had demanded; but be reply'd, "I shall take the
money, for I understand very well their meaning; other grain is
gunpowder," which he accordingly bought, and they never objected to

     [10] See the votes.--[Marg. note.]

It was in allusion to this fact that, when in our fire company we
feared the success of our proposal in favour of the lottery, and I had
said to my friend Mr. Syng, one of our members, "If we fail, let us
move the purchase of a fire-engine with the money; the Quakers can have
no objection to that; and then, if you nominate me and I you as a
committee for that purpose, we will buy a great gun, which is certainly
a fire-engine." "I see," says he, "you have improv'd by being so long
in the Assembly; your equivocal project would be just a match for their
wheat or other grain."

These embarrassments that the Quakers suffer'd from having establish'd
and published it as one of their principles that no kind of war was
lawful, and which, being once published, they could not afterwards,
however they might change their minds, easily get rid of, reminds me of
what I think a more prudent conduct in another sect among us, that of
the Dunkers.  I was acquainted with one of its founders, Michael
Welfare, soon after it appear'd. He complain'd to me that they were
grievously calumniated by the zealots of other persuasions, and charg'd
with abominable principles and practices, to which they were utter
strangers.  I told him this had always been the case with new sects,
and that, to put a stop to such abuse, I imagin'd it might be well to
publish the articles of their belief, and the rules of their
discipline.  He said that it had been propos'd among them, but not
agreed to, for this reason:  "When we were first drawn together as a
society," says he, "it had pleased God to enlighten our minds so far as
to see that some doctrines, which we once esteemed truths, were errors;
and that others, which we had esteemed errors, were real truths.  From
time to time He has been pleased to afford us farther light, and our
principles have been improving, and our errors diminishing.  Now we are
not sure that we are arrived at the end of this progression, and at the
perfection of spiritual or theological knowledge; and we fear that, if
we should once print our confession of faith, we should feel ourselves
as if bound and confin'd by it, and perhaps be unwilling to receive
farther improvement, and our successors still more so, as conceiving
what we their elders and founders had done, to be something sacred,
never to be departed from."

This modesty in a sect is perhaps a singular instance in the history of
mankind, every other sect supposing itself in possession of all truth,
and that those who differ are so far in the wrong; like a man traveling
in foggy weather, those at some distance before him on the road he sees
wrapped up in the fog, as well as those behind him, and also the people
in the fields on each side, but near him all appears clear, tho' in
truth he is as much in the fog as any of them.  To avoid this kind of
embarrassment, the Quakers have of late years been gradually declining
the public service in the Assembly and in the magistracy, choosing
rather to quit their power than their principle.

In order of time, I should have mentioned before, that having, in 1742,
invented an open stove for the better warming of rooms, and at the same
time saving fuel, as the fresh air admitted was warmed in entering, I
made a present of the model to Mr. Robert Grace, one of my early
friends, who, having an iron-furnace, found the casting of the plates
for these stoves a profitable thing, as they were growing in demand.
To promote that demand, I wrote and published a pamphlet, entitled "An
Account of the new-invented Pennsylvania Fireplaces; wherein their
Construction and Manner of Operation is particularly explained; their
Advantages above every other Method of warming Rooms demonstrated; and
all Objections that have been raised against the Use of them answered
and obviated," etc.  This pamphlet had a good effect.  Gov'r. Thomas
was so pleas'd with the construction of this stove, as described in it,
that he offered to give me a patent for the sole vending of them for a
term of years; but I declin'd it from a principle which has ever
weighed with me on such occasions, viz., That, as we enjoy great
advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an
opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours; and this we
should do freely and generously.

An ironmonger in London however, assuming a good deal of my pamphlet,
and working it up into his own, and making some small changes in the
machine, which rather hurt its operation, got a patent for it there,
and made, as I was told, a little fortune by it.  And this is not the
only instance of patents taken out for my inventions by others, tho'
not always with the same success, which I never contested, as having no
desire of profiting by patents myself, and hating disputes.  The use of
these fireplaces in very many houses, both of this and the neighbouring
colonies, has been, and is, a great saving of wood to the inhabitants.

Peace being concluded, and the association business therefore at an
end, I turn'd my thoughts again to the affair of establishing an
academy.  The first step I took was to associate in the design a number
of active friends, of whom the Junto furnished a good part; the next
was to write and publish a pamphlet, entitled Proposals Relating to the
Education of Youth in Pennsylvania.  This I distributed among the
principal inhabitants gratis; and as soon as I could suppose their
minds a little prepared by the perusal of it, I set on foot a
subscription for opening and supporting an academy; it was to be paid
in quotas yearly for five years; by so dividing it, I judg'd the
subscription might be larger, and I believe it was so, amounting to no
less, if I remember right, than five thousand pounds.

In the introduction to these proposals, I stated their publication, not
as an act of mine, but of some publick-spirited gentlemen, avoiding as
much as I could, according to my usual rule, the presenting myself to
the publick as the author of any scheme for their benefit.

The subscribers, to carry the project into immediate execution, chose
out of their number twenty-four trustees, and appointed Mr. Francis,
then attorney-general, and myself to draw up constitutions for the
government of the academy; which being done and signed, a house was
hired, masters engag'd, and the schools opened, I think, in the same
year, 1749.

The scholars increasing fast, the house was soon found too small, and
we were looking out for a piece of ground, properly situated, with
intention to build, when Providence threw into our way a large house
ready built, which, with a few alterations, might well serve our
purpose.  This was the building before mentioned, erected by the
hearers of Mr. Whitefield, and was obtained for us in the following

It is to be noted that the contributions to this building being made by
people of different sects, care was taken in the nomination of
trustees, in whom the building and ground was to be vested, that a
predominancy should not be given to any sect, lest in time that
predominancy might be a means of appropriating the whole to the use of
such sect, contrary to the original intention.  It was therefore that
one of each sect was appointed, viz., one Church-of-England man, one
Presbyterian, one Baptist, one Moravian, etc., those, in case of
vacancy by death, were to fill it by election from among the
contributors.  The Moravian happen'd not to please his colleagues, and
on his death they resolved to have no other of that sect.  The
difficulty then was, how to avoid having two of some other sect, by
means of the new choice.

Several persons were named, and for that reason not agreed to.  At
length one mention'd me, with the observation that I was merely an
honest man, and of no sect at all, which prevail'd with them to chuse
me.  The enthusiasm which existed when the house was built had long
since abated, and its trustees had not been able to procure fresh
contributions for paying the ground-rent, and discharging some other
debts the building had occasion'd, which embarrass'd them greatly.
Being now a member of both sets of trustees, that for the building and
that for the Academy, I had a good opportunity of negotiating with
both, and brought them finally to an agreement, by which the trustees
for the building were to cede it to those of the academy, the latter
undertaking to discharge the debt, to keep for ever open in the
building a large hall for occasional preachers, according to the
original intention, and maintain a free school for the instruction of
poor children.  Writings were accordingly drawn, and on paying the
debts the trustees of the academy were put in possession of the
premises; and by dividing the great and lofty hall into stories, and
different rooms above and below for the several schools, and purchasing
some additional ground, the whole was soon made fit for our purpose,
and the scholars remov'd into the building.  The care and trouble of
agreeing with the workmen, purchasing materials, and superintending the
work, fell upon me; and I went thro' it the more cheerfully, as it did
not then interfere with my private business, having the year before
taken a very able, industrious, and honest partner, Mr. David Hall,
with whose character I was well acquainted, as he had work'd for me
four years.  He took off my hands all care of the printing-office,
paying me punctually my share of the profits.  This partnership
continued eighteen years, successfully for us both.

The trustees of the academy, after a while, were incorporated by a
charter from the governor; their funds were increas'd by contributions
in Britain and grants of land from the proprietaries, to which the
Assembly has since made considerable addition; and thus was established
the present University of Philadelphia.  I have been continued one of
its trustees from the beginning, now near forty years, and have had the
very great pleasure of seeing a number of the youth who have receiv'd
their education in it, distinguish'd by their improv'd abilities,
serviceable in public stations and ornaments to their country.

When I disengaged myself, as above mentioned, from private business, I
flatter'd myself that, by the sufficient tho' moderate fortune I had
acquir'd, I had secured leisure during the rest of my life for
philosophical studies and amusements.  I purchased all Dr. Spence's
apparatus, who had come from England to lecture here, and I proceeded
in my electrical experiments with great alacrity; but the publick, now
considering me as a man of leisure, laid hold of me for their purposes,
every part of our civil government, and almost at the same time,
imposing some duty upon me.  The governor put me into the commission of
the peace; the corporation of the city chose me of the common council,
and soon after an alderman; and the citizens at large chose me a
burgess to represent them in Assembly.  This latter station was the
more agreeable to me, as I was at length tired with sitting there to
hear debates, in which, as clerk, I could take no part, and which were
often so unentertaining that I was induc'd to amuse myself with making
magic squares or circles, or any thing to avoid weariness; and I
conceiv'd my becoming a member would enlarge my power of doing good.  I
would not, however, insinuate that my ambition was not flatter'd by all
these promotions; it certainly was; for, considering my low beginning,
they were great things to me; and they were still more pleasing, as
being so many spontaneous testimonies of the public good opinion, and
by me entirely unsolicited.

The office of justice of the peace I try'd a little, by attending a few
courts, and sitting on the bench to hear causes; but finding that more
knowledge of the common law than I possess'd was necessary to act in
that station with credit, I gradually withdrew from it, excusing myself
by my being oblig'd to attend the higher duties of a legislator in the
Assembly.  My election to this trust was repeated every year for ten
years, without my ever asking any elector for his vote, or signifying,
either directly or indirectly, any desire of being chosen.  On taking
my seat in the House, my son was appointed their clerk.

The year following, a treaty being to be held with the Indians at
Carlisle, the governor sent a message to the House, proposing that they
should nominate some of their members, to be join'd with some members
of council, as commissioners for that purpose.[11] The House named the
speaker (Mr. Norris) and myself; and, being commission'd, we went to
Carlisle, and met the Indians accordingly.

     [11] See the votes to have this more correctly.
          --[Marg. note.]

As those people are extreamly apt to get drunk, and, when so, are very
quarrelsome and disorderly, we strictly forbad the selling any liquor
to them; and when they complain'd of this restriction, we told them
that if they would continue sober during the treaty, we would give them
plenty of rum when business was over.  They promis'd this, and they
kept their promise, because they could get no liquor, and the treaty
was conducted very orderly, and concluded to mutual satisfaction.  They
then claim'd and receiv'd the rum; this was in the afternoon; they were
near one hundred men, women, and children, and were lodg'd in temporary
cabins, built in the form of a square, just without the town.  In the
evening, hearing a great noise among them, the commissioners walk'd out
to see what was the matter.  We found they had made a great bonfire in
the middle of the square; they were all drunk, men and women,
quarreling and fighting.  Their dark-colour'd bodies, half naked, seen
only by the gloomy light of the bonfire, running after and beating one
another with firebrands, accompanied by their horrid yellings, form'd a
scene the most resembling our ideas of hell that could well be
imagin'd; there was no appeasing the tumult, and we retired to our
lodging.  At midnight a number of them came thundering at our door,
demanding more rum, of which we took no notice.

The next day, sensible they had misbehav'd in giving us that
disturbance, they sent three of their old counselors to make their
apology.  The orator acknowledg'd the fault, but laid it upon the rum;
and then endeavored to excuse the rum by saying, "The Great Spirit, who
made all things, made every thing for some use, and whatever use he
design'd any thing for, that use it should always be put to.  Now, when
he made rum, he said 'Let this be for the Indians to get drunk with,'
and it must be so."  And, indeed, if it be the design of Providence to
extirpate these savages in order to make room for cultivators of the
earth, it seems not improbable that rum may be the appointed means.  It
has already annihilated all the tribes who formerly inhabited the

In 1751, Dr. Thomas Bond, a particular friend of mine, conceived the
idea of establishing a hospital in Philadelphia (a very beneficent
design, which has been ascrib'd to me, but was originally his), for the
reception and cure of poor sick persons, whether inhabitants of the
province or strangers.  He was zealous and active in endeavouring to
procure subscriptions for it, but the proposal being a novelty in
America, and at first not well understood, he met with but small

At length he came to me with the compliment that he found there was no
such thing as carrying a public-spirited project through without my
being concern'd in it.  "For," says he, "I am often ask'd by those to
whom I propose subscribing, Have you consulted Franklin upon this
business?  And what does he think of it?  And when I tell them that I
have not (supposing it rather out of your line), they do not subscribe,
but say they will consider of it." I enquired into the nature and
probable utility of his scheme, and receiving from him a very
satisfactory explanation, I not only subscrib'd to it myself, but
engag'd heartily in the design of procuring subscriptions from others.
Previously, however, to the solicitation, I endeavoured to prepare the
minds of the people by writing on the subject in the newspapers, which
was my usual custom in such cases, but which he had omitted.

The subscriptions afterwards were more free and generous; but,
beginning to flag, I saw they would be insufficient without some
assistance from the Assembly, and therefore propos'd to petition for
it, which was done.  The country members did not at first relish the
project; they objected that it could only be serviceable to the city,
and therefore the citizens alone should be at the expense of it; and
they doubted whether the citizens themselves generally approv'd of it.
My allegation on the contrary, that it met with such approbation as to
leave no doubt of our being able to raise two thousand pounds by
voluntary donations, they considered as a most extravagant supposition,
and utterly impossible.

On this I form'd my plan; and asking leave to bring in a bill for
incorporating the contributors according to the prayer of their
petition, and granting them a blank sum of money, which leave was
obtained chiefly on the consideration that the House could throw the
bill out if they did not like it, I drew it so as to make the important
clause a conditional one, viz., "And be it enacted, by the authority
aforesaid, that when the said contributors shall have met and chosen
their managers and treasurer, and shall have raised by their
contributions a capital stock of ----- value (the yearly interest of
which is to be applied to the accommodating of the sick poor in the
said hospital, free of charge for diet, attendance, advice, and
medicines), and shall make the same appear to the satisfaction of the
speaker of the Assembly for the time being, that then it shall and may
be lawful for the said speaker, and he is hereby required, to sign an
order on the provincial treasurer for the payment of two thousand
pounds, in two yearly payments, to the treasurer of the said hospital,
to be applied to the founding, building, and finishing of the same."

This condition carried the bill through; for the members, who had
oppos'd the grant, and now conceiv'd they might have the credit of
being charitable without the expence, agreed to its passage; and then,
in soliciting subscriptions among the people, we urg'd the conditional
promise of the law as an additional motive to give, since every man's
donation would be doubled; thus the clause work'd both ways.  The
subscriptions accordingly soon exceeded the requisite sum, and we
claim'd and receiv'd the public gift, which enabled us to carry the
design into execution.  A convenient and handsome building was soon
erected; the institution has by constant experience been found useful,
and flourishes to this day; and I do not remember any of my political
manoeuvres, the success of which gave me at the time more pleasure, or
wherein, after thinking of it, I more easily excus'd myself for having
made some use of cunning.

It was about this time that another projector, the Rev. Gilbert
Tennent, came to me with a request that I would assist him in procuring
a subscription for erecting a new meeting-house. It was to be for the
use of a congregation he had gathered among the Presbyterians, who were
originally disciples of Mr. Whitefield.  Unwilling to make myself
disagreeable to my fellow-citizens by too frequently soliciting their
contributions, I absolutely refus'd. He then desired I would furnish
him with a list of the names of persons I knew by experience to be
generous and public-spirited. I thought it would be unbecoming in me,
after their kind compliance with my solicitations, to mark them out to
be worried by other beggars, and therefore refus'd also to give such a
list.  He then desir'd I would at least give him my advice.  "That I
will readily do," said I; "and, in the first place, I advise you to
apply to all those whom you know will give something; next, to those
whom you are uncertain whether they will give any thing or not, and
show them the list of those who have given; and, lastly, do not neglect
those who you are sure will give nothing, for in some of them you may
be mistaken." He laugh'd and thank'd me, and said he would take my
advice.  He did so, for he ask'd of everybody, and he obtained a much
larger sum than he expected, with which he erected the capacious and
very elegant meeting-house that stands in Arch-street.

Our city, tho' laid out with a beautiful regularity, the streets large,
strait, and crossing each other at right angles, had the disgrace of
suffering those streets to remain long unpav'd, and in wet weather the
wheels of heavy carriages plough'd them into a quagmire, so that it was
difficult to cross them; and in dry weather the dust was offensive.  I
had liv'd near what was call'd the Jersey Market, and saw with pain the
inhabitants wading in mud while purchasing their provisions.  A strip
of ground down the middle of that market was at length pav'd with
brick, so that, being once in the market, they had firm footing, but
were often over shoes in dirt to get there.  By talking and writing on
the subject, I was at length instrumental in getting the street pav'd
with stone between the market and the brick'd foot-pavement, that was
on each side next the houses.  This, for some time, gave an easy access
to the market dry-shod; but, the rest of the street not being pav'd,
whenever a carriage came out of the mud upon this pavement, it shook
off and left its dirt upon it, and it was soon cover'd with mire, which
was not remov'd, the city as yet having no scavengers.

After some inquiry I found a poor industrious man, who was willing to
undertake keeping the pavement clean, by sweeping it twice a week,
carrying off the dirt from before all the neighbours' doors, for the
sum of sixpence per month, to be paid by each house.  I then wrote and
printed a paper setting forth the advantages to the neighbourhood that
might be obtain'd by this small expense; the greater ease in keeping
our houses clean, so much dirt not being brought in by people's feet;
the benefit to the shops by more custom, etc., etc., as buyers could
more easily get at them; and by not having, in windy weather, the dust
blown in upon their goods, etc., etc.  I sent one of these papers to
each house, and in a day or two went round to see who would subscribe
an agreement to pay these sixpences; it was unanimously sign'd, and for
a time well executed.  All the inhabitants of the city were delighted
with the cleanliness of the pavement that surrounded the market, it
being a convenience to all, and this rais'd a general desire to have
all the streets paved, and made the people more willing to submit to a
tax for that purpose.

After some time I drew a bill for paving the city, and brought it into
the Assembly.  It was just before I went to England, in 1757, and did
not pass till I was gone.[12] and then with an alteration in the mode
of assessment, which I thought not for the better, but with an
additional provision for lighting as well as paving the streets, which
was a great improvement.  It was by a private person, the late Mr. John
Clifton, his giving a sample of the utility of lamps, by placing one at
his door, that the people were first impress'd with the idea of
enlighting all the city.  The honour of this public benefit has also
been ascrib'd to me but it belongs truly to that gentleman.  I did but
follow his example, and have only some merit to claim respecting the
form of our lamps, as differing from the globe lamps we were at first
supply'd with from London.  Those we found inconvenient in these
respects:  they admitted no air below; the smoke, therefore, did not
readily go out above, but circulated in the globe, lodg'd on its
inside, and soon obstructed the light they were intended to afford;
giving, besides, the daily trouble of wiping them clean; and an
accidental stroke on one of them would demolish it, and render it
totally useless.  I therefore suggested the composing them of four flat
panes, with a long funnel above to draw up the smoke, and crevices
admitting air below, to facilitate the ascent of the smoke; by this
means they were kept clean, and did not grow dark in a few hours, as
the London lamps do, but continu'd bright till morning, and an
accidental stroke would generally break but a single pane, easily

     [12] See votes.

I have sometimes wonder'd that the Londoners did not, from the effect
holes in the bottom of the globe lamps us'd at Vauxhall have in keeping
them clean, learn to have such holes in their street lamps.  But, these
holes being made for another purpose, viz., to communicate flame more
suddenly to the wick by a little flax hanging down thro' them, the
other use, of letting in air, seems not to have been thought of; and
therefore, after the lamps have been lit a few hours, the streets of
London are very poorly illuminated.

The mention of these improvements puts me in mind of one I propos'd,
when in London, to Dr. Fothergill, who was among the best men I have
known, and a great promoter of useful projects.  I had observ'd that
the streets, when dry, were never swept, and the light dust carried
away; but it was suffer'd to accumulate till wet weather reduc'd it to
mud, and then, after lying some days so deep on the pavement that there
was no crossing but in paths kept clean by poor people with brooms, it
was with great labour rak'd together and thrown up into carts open
above, the sides of which suffer'd some of the slush at every jolt on
the pavement to shake out and fall, sometimes to the annoyance of
foot-passengers. The reason given for not sweeping the dusty streets
was, that the dust would fly into the windows of shops and houses.

An accidental occurrence had instructed me how much sweeping might be
done in a little time.  I found at my door in Craven-street, one
morning, a poor woman sweeping my pavement with a birch broom; she
appeared very pale and feeble, as just come out of a fit of sickness.
I ask'd who employ'd her to sweep there; she said, "Nobody, but I am
very poor and in distress, and I sweeps before gentlefolkses doors, and
hopes they will give me something."  I bid her sweep the whole street
clean, and I would give her a shilling; this was at nine o'clock; at 12
she came for the shilling.  From the slowness I saw at first in her
working, I could scarce believe that the work was done so soon, and
sent my servant to examine it, who reported that the whole street was
swept perfectly clean, and all the dust plac'd in the gutter, which was
in the middle; and the next rain wash'd it quite away, so that the
pavement and even the kennel were perfectly clean.

I then judg'd that, if that feeble woman could sweep such a street in
three hours, a strong, active man might have done it in half the time.
And here let me remark the convenience of having but one gutter in such
a narrow street, running down its middle, instead of two, one on each
side, near the footway; for where all the rain that falls on a street
runs from the sides and meets in the middle, it forms there a current
strong enough to wash away all the mud it meets with; but when divided
into two channels, it is often too weak to cleanse either, and only
makes the mud it finds more fluid, so that the wheels of carriages and
feet of horses throw and dash it upon the foot-pavement, which is
thereby rendered foul and slippery, and sometimes splash it upon those
who are walking.  My proposal, communicated to the good doctor, was as

"For the more effectual cleaning and keeping clean the streets of
London and Westminster, it is proposed that the several watchmen be
contracted with to have the dust swept up in dry seasons, and the mud
rak'd up at other times, each in the several streets and lanes of his
round; that they be furnish'd with brooms and other proper instruments
for these purposes, to be kept at their respective stands, ready to
furnish the poor people they may employ in the service.

"That in the dry summer months the dust be all swept up into heaps at
proper distances, before the shops and windows of houses are usually
opened, when the scavengers, with close-covered carts, shall also carry
it all away.

"That the mud, when rak'd up, be not left in heaps to be spread abroad
again by the wheels of carriages and trampling of horses, but that the
scavengers be provided with bodies of carts, not plac'd high upon
wheels, but low upon sliders, with lattice bottoms, which, being
cover'd with straw, will retain the mud thrown into them, and permit
the water to drain from it, whereby it will become much lighter, water
making the greatest part of its weight; these bodies of carts to be
plac'd at convenient distances, and the mud brought to them in
wheel-barrows; they remaining where plac'd till the mud is drain'd, and
then horses brought to draw them away."

I have since had doubts of the practicability of the latter part of
this proposal, on account of the narrowness of some streets, and the
difficulty of placing the draining-sleds so as not to encumber too much
the passage; but I am still of opinion that the former, requiring the
dust to be swept up and carry'd away before the shops are open, is very
practicable in the summer, when the days are long; for, in walking
thro' the Strand and Fleet-street one morning at seven o'clock, I
observ'd there was not one shop open, tho' it had been daylight and the
sun up above three hours; the inhabitants of London chusing voluntarily
to live much by candle-light, and sleep by sunshine, and yet often
complain, a little absurdly, of the duty on candles and the high price
of tallow.

Some may think these trifling matters not worth minding or relating;
but when they consider that tho' dust blown into the eyes of a single
person, or into a single shop on a windy day, is but of small
importance, yet the great number of the instances in a populous city,
and its frequent repetitions give it weight and consequence, perhaps
they will not censure very severely those who bestow some attention to
affairs of this seemingly low nature.  Human felicity is produc'd not
so much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen, as by
little advantages that occur every day.  Thus, if you teach a poor
young man to shave himself, and keep his razor in order, you may
contribute more to the happiness of his life than in giving him a
thousand guineas.  The money may be soon spent, the regret only
remaining of having foolishly consumed it; but in the other case, he
escapes the frequent vexation of waiting for barbers, and of their
sometimes dirty fingers, offensive breaths, and dull razors; he shaves
when most convenient to him, and enjoys daily the pleasure of its being
done with a good instrument.  With these sentiments I have hazarded the
few preceding pages, hoping they may afford hints which some time or
other may be useful to a city I love, having lived many years in it
very happily, and perhaps to some of our towns in America.

Having been for some time employed by the postmaster-general of America
as his comptroller in regulating several offices, and bringing the
officers to account, I was, upon his death in 1753, appointed, jointly
with Mr. William Hunter, to succeed him, by a commission from the
postmaster-general in England.  The American office never had hitherto
paid any thing to that of Britain.  We were to have six hundred pounds
a year between us, if we could make that sum out of the profits of the
office.  To do this, a variety of improvements were necessary; some of
these were inevitably at first expensive, so that in the first four
years the office became above nine hundred pounds in debt to us.  But
it soon after began to repay us; and before I was displac'd by a freak
of the ministers, of which I shall speak hereafter, we had brought it
to yield three times as much clear revenue to the crown as the
postoffice of Ireland.  Since that imprudent transaction, they have
receiv'd from it--not one farthing!

The business of the postoffice occasion'd my taking a journey this year
to New England, where the College of Cambridge, of their own motion,
presented me with the degree of Master of Arts.  Yale College, in
Connecticut, had before made me a similar compliment.  Thus, without
studying in any college, I came to partake of their honours.  They were
conferr'd in consideration of my improvements and discoveries in the
electric branch of natural philosophy.

In 1754, war with France being again apprehended, a congress of
commissioners from the different colonies was, by an order of the Lords
of Trade, to be assembled at Albany, there to confer with the chiefs of
the Six Nations concerning the means of defending both their country
and ours.  Governor Hamilton, having receiv'd this order, acquainted
the House with it, requesting they would furnish proper presents for
the Indians, to be given on this occasion; and naming the speaker (Mr.
Norris) and myself to join Mr. Thomas Penn and Mr. Secretary Peters as
commissioners to act for Pennsylvania.  The House approv'd the
nomination, and provided the goods for the present, and tho' they did
not much like treating out of the provinces; and we met the other
commissioners at Albany about the middle of June.

In our way thither, I projected and drew a plan for the union of all
the colonies under one government, so far as might be necessary for
defense, and other important general purposes.  As we pass'd thro' New
York, I had there shown my project to Mr. James Alexander and Mr.
Kennedy, two gentlemen of great knowledge in public affairs, and, being
fortified by their approbation, I ventur'd to lay it before the
Congress.  It then appeared that several of the commissioners had
form'd plans of the same kind.  A previous question was first taken,
whether a union should be established, which pass'd in the affirmative
unanimously.  A committee was then appointed, one member from each
colony, to consider the several plans and report.  Mine happen'd to be
preferr'd, and, with a few amendments, was accordingly reported.

By this plan the general government was to be administered by a
president-general, appointed and supported by the crown, and a grand
council was to be chosen by the representatives of the people of the
several colonies, met in their respective assemblies.  The debates upon
it in Congress went on daily, hand in hand with the Indian business.
Many objections and difficulties were started, but at length they were
all overcome, and the plan was unanimously agreed to, and copies
ordered to be transmitted to the Board of Trade and to the assemblies
of the several provinces.  Its fate was singular:  the assemblies did
not adopt it, as they all thought there was too much prerogative in it,
and in England it was judg'd to have too much of the democratic.

The Board of Trade therefore did not approve of it, nor recommend it
for the approbation of his majesty; but another scheme was form'd,
supposed to answer the same purpose better, whereby the governors of
the provinces, with some members of their respective councils, were to
meet and order the raising of troops, building of forts, etc., and to
draw on the treasury of Great Britain for the expense, which was
afterwards to be refunded by an act of Parliament laying a tax on
America.  My plan, with my reasons in support of it, is to be found
among my political papers that are printed.

Being the winter following in Boston, I had much conversation with
Governor Shirley upon both the plans.  Part of what passed between us
on the occasion may also be seen among those papers.  The different and
contrary reasons of dislike to my plan makes me suspect that it was
really the true medium; and I am still of opinion it would have been
happy for both sides the water if it had been adopted.  The colonies,
so united, would have been sufficiently strong to have defended
themselves; there would then have been no need of troops from England;
of course, the subsequent pretence for taxing America, and the bloody
contest it occasioned, would have been avoided.  But such mistakes are
not new; history is full of the errors of states and princes.

          Look round the habitable world, how few
          Know their own good, or, knowing it, pursue!

Those who govern, having much business on their hands, do not generally
like to take the trouble of considering and carrying into execution new
projects.  The best public measures are therefore seldom adopted from
previous wisdom, but forc'd by the occasion.

The Governor of Pennsylvania, in sending it down to the Assembly,
express'd his approbation of the plan, "as appearing to him to be drawn
up with great clearness and strength of judgment, and therefore
recommended it as well worthy of their closest and most serious
attention."  The House, however, by the management of a certain member,
took it up when I happen'd to be absent, which I thought not very fair,
and reprobated it without paying any attention to it at all, to my no
small mortification.

In my journey to Boston this year, I met at New York with our new
governor, Mr. Morris, just arriv'd there from England, with whom I had
been before intimately acquainted.  He brought a commission to
supersede Mr. Hamilton, who, tir'd with the disputes his proprietary
instructions subjected him to, had resign'd. Mr. Morris ask'd me if I
thought he must expect as uncomfortable an administration.  I said,
"No; you may, on the contrary, have a very comfortable one, if you will
only take care not to enter into any dispute with the Assembly."  "My
dear friend," says he, pleasantly, "how can you advise my avoiding
disputes?  You know I love disputing; it is one of my greatest
pleasures; however, to show the regard I have for your counsel, I
promise you I will, if possible, avoid them."  He had some reason for
loving to dispute, being eloquent, an acute sophister, and, therefore,
generally successful in argumentative conversation.  He had been
brought up to it from a boy, his father, as I have heard, accustoming
his children to dispute with one another for his diversion, while
sitting at table after dinner; but I think the practice was not wise;
for, in the course of my observation, these disputing, contradicting,
and confuting people are generally unfortunate in their affairs.  They
get victory sometimes, but they never get good will, which would be of
more use to them.  We parted, he going to Philadelphia, and I to Boston.

In returning, I met at New York with the votes of the Assembly, by
which it appear'd that, notwithstanding his promise to me, he and the
House were already in high contention; and it was a continual battle
between them as long as he retain'd the government.  I had my share of
it; for, as soon as I got back to my seat in the Assembly, I was put on
every committee for answering his speeches and messages, and by the
committees always desired to make the drafts.  Our answers, as well as
his messages, were often tart, and sometimes indecently abusive; and,
as he knew I wrote for the Assembly, one might have imagined that, when
we met, we could hardly avoid cutting throats; but he was so
good-natur'd a man that no personal difference between him and me was
occasion'd by the contest, and we often din'd together.

One afternoon, in the height of this public quarrel, we met in the
street.  "Franklin," says he, "you must go home with me and spend the
evening; I am to have some company that you will like;" and, taking me
by the arm, he led me to his house.  In gay conversation over our wine,
after supper, he told us, jokingly, that he much admir'd the idea of
Sancho Panza, who, when it was proposed to give him a government,
requested it might be a government of blacks, as then, if he could not
agree with his people, he might sell them.  One of his friends, who sat
next to me, says, "Franklin, why do you continue to side with these
damn'd Quakers?  Had not you better sell them?  The proprietor would
give you a good price." "The governor," says I, "has not yet blacked
them enough." He, indeed, had labored hard to blacken the Assembly in
all his messages, but they wip'd off his coloring as fast as he laid it
on, and plac'd it, in return, thick upon his own face; so that, finding
he was likely to be negrofied himself, he, as well as Mr. Hamilton,
grew tir'd of the contest, and quitted the government.

[13]These public quarrels were all at bottom owing to the
proprietaries, our hereditary governors, who, when any expense was to
be incurred for the defense of their province, with incredible meanness
instructed their deputies to pass no act for levying the necessary
taxes, unless their vast estates were in the same act expressly
excused; and they had even taken bonds of these deputies to observe
such instructions.  The Assemblies for three years held out against
this injustice, tho' constrained to bend at last.  At length Captain
Denny, who was Governor Morris's successor, ventured to disobey those
instructions; how that was brought about I shall show hereafter.

     [13] My acts in Morris's time, military, etc.--[Marg. note.]

But I am got forward too fast with my story:  there are still some
transactions to be mention'd that happened during the administration of
Governor Morris.

War being in a manner commenced with France, the government of
Massachusetts Bay projected an attack upon Crown Point, and sent Mr.
Quincy to Pennsylvania, and Mr. Pownall, afterward Governor Pownall, to
New York, to solicit assistance.  As I was in the Assembly, knew its
temper, and was Mr. Quincy's countryman, he appli'd to me for my
influence and assistance.  I dictated his address to them, which was
well receiv'd. They voted an aid of ten thousand pounds, to be laid out
in provisions.  But the governor refusing his assent to their bill
(which included this with other sums granted for the use of the crown),
unless a clause were inserted exempting the proprietary estate from
bearing any part of the tax that would be necessary, the Assembly, tho'
very desirous of making their grant to New England effectual, were at a
loss how to accomplish it.  Mr. Quincy labored hard with the governor
to obtain his assent, but he was obstinate.

I then suggested a method of doing the business without the governor,
by orders on the trustees of the Loan Office, which, by law, the
Assembly had the right of drawing.  There was, indeed, little or no
money at that time in the office, and therefore I propos'd that the
orders should be payable in a year, and to bear an interest of five per
cent.  With these orders I suppos'd the provisions might easily be
purchas'd. The Assembly, with very little hesitation, adopted the
proposal.  The orders were immediately printed, and I was one of the
committee directed to sign and dispose of them.  The fund for paying
them was the interest of all the paper currency then extant in the
province upon loan, together with the revenue arising from the excise,
which being known to be more than sufficient, they obtain'd instant
credit, and were not only receiv'd in payment for the provisions, but
many money'd people, who had cash lying by them, vested it in those
orders, which they found advantageous, as they bore interest while upon
hand, and might on any occasion be used as money; so that they were
eagerly all bought up, and in a few weeks none of them were to be seen.
Thus this important affair was by my means compleated.  My Quincy
return'd thanks to the Assembly in a handsome memorial, went home
highly pleas'd with the success of his embassy, and ever after bore for
me the most cordial and affectionate friendship.

The British government, not chusing to permit the union of the colonies
as propos'd at Albany, and to trust that union with their defense, lest
they should thereby grow too military, and feel their own strength,
suspicions and jealousies at this time being entertain'd of them, sent
over General Braddock with two regiments of regular English troops for
that purpose.  He landed at Alexandria, in Virginia, and thence march'd
to Frederictown, in Maryland, where he halted for carriages.  Our
Assembly apprehending, from some information, that he had conceived
violent prejudices against them, as averse to the service, wish'd me to
wait upon him, not as from them, but as postmaster-general, under the
guise of proposing to settle with him the mode of conducting with most
celerity and certainty the despatches between him and the governors of
the several provinces, with whom he must necessarily have continual
correspondence, and of which they propos'd to pay the expense.  My son
accompanied me on this journey.

We found the general at Frederictown, waiting impatiently for the
return of those he had sent thro' the back parts of Maryland and
Virginia to collect waggons.  I stayed with him several days, din'd
with him daily, and had full opportunity of removing all his
prejudices, by the information of what the Assembly had before his
arrival actually done, and were still willing to do, to facilitate his
operations.  When I was about to depart, the returns of waggons to be
obtained were brought in, by which it appear'd that they amounted only
to twenty-five, and not all of those were in serviceable condition.
The general and all the officers were surpris'd, declar'd the
expedition was then at an end, being impossible, and exclaim'd against
the ministers for ignorantly landing them in a country destitute of the
means of conveying their stores, baggage, etc., not less than one
hundred and fifty waggons being necessary.

I happened to say I thought it was a pity they had not been landed
rather in Pennsylvania, as in that country almost every farmer had his
waggon.  The general eagerly laid hold of my words, and said, "Then
you, sir, who are a man of interest there, can probably procure them
for us; and I beg you will undertake it."  I ask'd what terms were to
be offer'd the owners of the waggons; and I was desir'd to put on paper
the terms that appeared to me necessary.  This I did, and they were
agreed to, and a commission and instructions accordingly prepar'd
immediately.  What those terms were will appear in the advertisement I
publish'd as soon as I arriv'd at Lancaster, which being, from the
great and sudden effect it produc'd, a piece of some curiosity, I shall
insert it at length, as follows:

                        "LANCASTER, April 26, 1755.

"Whereas, one hundred and fifty waggons, with four horses to each
waggon, and fifteen hundred saddle or pack horses, are wanted for the
service of his majesty's forces now about to rendezvous at Will's
Creek, and his excellency General Braddock having been pleased to
empower me to contract for the hire of the same, I hereby give notice
that I shall attend for that purpose at Lancaster from this day to next
Wednesday evening, and at York from next Thursday morning till Friday
evening, where I shall be ready to agree for waggons and teams, or
single horses, on the following terms, viz.: I. That there shall be
paid for each waggon, with four good horses and a driver, fifteen
shillings per diem; and for each able horse with a pack-saddle, or
other saddle and furniture, two shillings per diem; and for each able
horse without a saddle, eighteen pence per diem.  2.  That the pay
commence from the time of their joining the forces at Will's Creek,
which must be on or before the 20th of May ensuing, and that a
reasonable allowance be paid over and above for the time necessary for
their travelling to Will's Creek and home again after their discharge.
3.  Each waggon and team, and every saddle or pack horse, is to be
valued by indifferent persons chosen between me and the owner; and in
case of the loss of any waggon, team, or other horse in the service,
the price according to such valuation is to be allowed and paid.  4.
Seven days' pay is to be advanced and paid in hand by me to the owner
of each waggon and team, or horse, at the time of contracting, if
required, and the remainder to be paid by General Braddock, or by the
paymaster of the army, at the time of their discharge, or from time to
time, as it shall be demanded.  5.  No drivers of waggons, or persons
taking care of the hired horses, are on any account to be called upon
to do the duty of soldiers, or be otherwise employed than in conducting
or taking care of their carriages or horses.  6.  All oats, Indian
corn, or other forage that waggons or horses bring to the camp, more
than is necessary for the subsistence of the horses, is to be taken for
the use of the army, and a reasonable price paid for the same.

"Note.--My son, William Franklin, is empowered to enter into like
contracts with any person in Cumberland county.

                                        "B. FRANKLIN."

     "To the inhabitants of the Counties of Lancaster,
                    York and Cumberland.

"Friends and Countrymen,

"Being occasionally at the camp at Frederic a few days since, I found
the general and officers extremely exasperated on account of their not
being supplied with horses and carriages, which had been expected from
this province, as most able to furnish them; but, through the
dissensions between our governor and Assembly, money had not been
provided, nor any steps taken for that purpose.

"It was proposed to send an armed force immediately into these
counties, to seize as many of the best carriages and horses as should
be wanted, and compel as many persons into the service as would be
necessary to drive and take care of them.

"I apprehended that the progress of British soldiers through these
counties on such an occasion, especially considering the temper they
are in, and their resentment against us, would be attended with many
and great inconveniences to the inhabitants, and therefore more
willingly took the trouble of trying first what might be done by fair
and equitable means.  The people of these back counties have lately
complained to the Assembly that a sufficient currency was wanting; you
have an opportunity of receiving and dividing among you a very
considerable sum; for, if the service of this expedition should
continue, as it is more than probable it will, for one hundred and
twenty days, the hire of these waggons and horses will amount to upward
of thirty thousand pounds, which will be paid you in silver and gold of
the king's money.

"The service will be light and easy, for the army will scarce march
above twelve miles per day, and the waggons and baggage-horses, as they
carry those things that are absolutely necessary to the welfare of the
army, must march with the army, and no faster; and are, for the army's
sake, always placed where they can be most secure, whether in a march
or in a camp.

"If you are really, as I believe you are, good and loyal subjects to
his majesty, you may now do a most acceptable service, and make it easy
to yourselves; for three or four of such as can not separately spare
from the business of their plantations a waggon and four horses and a
driver, may do it together, one furnishing the waggon, another one or
two horses, and another the driver, and divide the pay proportionately
between you; but if you do not this service to your king and country
voluntarily, when such good pay and reasonable terms are offered to
you, your loyalty will be strongly suspected.  The king's business must
be done; so many brave troops, come so far for your defense, must not
stand idle through your backwardness to do what may be reasonably
expected from you; waggons and horses must be had; violent measures
will probably be used, and you will be left to seek for a recompense
where you can find it, and your case, perhaps, be little pitied or

"I have no particular interest in this affair, as, except the
satisfaction of endeavoring to do good, I shall have only my labour for
my pains.  If this method of obtaining the waggons and horses is not
likely to succeed, I am obliged to send word to the general in fourteen
days; and I suppose Sir John St. Clair, the hussar, with a body of
soldiers, will immediately enter the province for the purpose, which I
shall be sorry to hear, because I am very sincerely and truly your
friend and well-wisher, B. FRANKLIN."

I received of the general about eight hundred pounds, to be disbursed
in advance-money to the waggon owners, etc.; but, that sum being
insufficient, I advanc'd upward of two hundred pounds more, and in two
weeks the one hundred and fifty waggons, with two hundred and
fifty-nine carrying horses, were on their march for the camp.  The
advertisement promised payment according to the valuation, in case any
waggon or horse should be lost.  The owners, however, alleging they did
not know General Braddock, or what dependence might be had on his
promise, insisted on my bond for the performance, which I accordingly
gave them.

While I was at the camp, supping one evening with the officers of
Colonel Dunbar's regiment, he represented to me his concern for the
subalterns, who, he said, were generally not in affluence, and could
ill afford, in this dear country, to lay in the stores that might be
necessary in so long a march, thro' a wilderness, where nothing was to
be purchas'd. I commiserated their case, and resolved to endeavor
procuring them some relief.  I said nothing, however, to him of my
intention, but wrote the next morning to the committee of the Assembly,
who had the disposition of some public money, warmly recommending the
case of these officers to their consideration, and proposing that a
present should be sent them of necessaries and refreshments.  My son,
who had some experience of a camp life, and of its wants, drew up a
list for me, which I enclos'd in my letter.  The committee approv'd,
and used such diligence that, conducted by my son, the stores arrived
at the camp as soon as the waggons.  They consisted of twenty parcels,
each containing

  6 lbs. loaf sugar.                1 Gloucester cheese.
  6 lbs. good Muscovado do.         1 kegg containing 20 lbs. good
  1 lb. good green tea.             butter.
  1 lb. good bohea do.              2 doz. old Madeira wine.
  6 lbs. good ground coffee.        2 gallons Jamaica spirits.
  6 lbs. chocolate.                 1 bottle flour of mustard.
  1-2 cwt. best white biscuit.      2 well-cur'd hams.
  1-2 lb. pepper.                   1-2 dozen dry'd tongues.
  1 quart best white wine vinegar   6 lbs. rice.
                                    6 lbs. raisins.

These twenty parcels, well pack'd, were placed on as many horses, each
parcel, with the horse, being intended as a present for one officer.
They were very thankfully receiv'd, and the kindness acknowledg'd by
letters to me from the colonels of both regiments, in the most grateful
terms.  The general, too, was highly satisfied with my conduct in
procuring him the waggons, etc., and readily paid my account of
disbursements, thanking me repeatedly, and requesting my farther
assistance in sending provisions after him.  I undertook this also, and
was busily employ'd in it till we heard of his defeat, advancing for
the service of my own money, upwards of one thousand pounds sterling,
of which I sent him an account.  It came to his hands, luckily for me,
a few days before the battle, and he return'd me immediately an order
on the paymaster for the round sum of one thousand pounds, leaving the
remainder to the next account.  I consider this payment as good luck,
having never been able to obtain that remainder, of which more

This general was, I think, a brave man, and might probably have made a
figure as a good officer in some European war.  But he had too much
self-confidence, too high an opinion of the validity of regular troops,
and too mean a one of both Americans and Indians.  George Croghan, our
Indian interpreter, join'd him on his march with one hundred of those
people, who might have been of great use to his army as guides, scouts,
etc., if he had treated them kindly; but he slighted and neglected
them, and they gradually left him.

In conversation with him one day, he was giving me some account of his
intended progress.  "After taking Fort Duquesne," says he, "I am to
proceed to Niagara; and, having taken that, to Frontenac, if the season
will allow time; and I suppose it will, for Duquesne can hardly detain
me above three or four days; and then I see nothing that can obstruct
my march to Niagara."  Having before revolv'd in my mind the long line
his army must make in their march by a very narrow road, to be cut for
them thro' the woods and bushes, and also what I had read of a former
defeat of fifteen hundred French, who invaded the Iroquois country, I
had conceiv'd some doubts and some fears for the event of the campaign.
But I ventur'd only to say, "To be sure, sir, if you arrive well before
Duquesne, with these fine troops, so well provided with artillery, that
place not yet compleatly fortified, and as we hear with no very strong
garrison, can probably make but a short resistance.  The only danger I
apprehend of obstruction to your march is from ambuscades of Indians,
who, by constant practice, are dexterous in laying and executing them;
and the slender line, near four miles long, which your army must make,
may expose it to be attack'd by surprise in its flanks, and to be cut
like a thread into several pieces, which, from their distance, can not
come up in time to support each other."

He smil'd at my ignorance, and reply'd, "These savages may, indeed, be
a formidable enemy to your raw American militia, but upon the king's
regular and disciplin'd troops, sir, it is impossible they should make
any impression."  I was conscious of an impropriety in my disputing
with a military man in matters of his profession, and said no more.
The enemy, however, did not take the advantage of his army which I
apprehended its long line of march expos'd it to, but let it advance
without interruption till within nine miles of the place; and then,
when more in a body (for it had just passed a river, where the front
had halted till all were come over), and in a more open part of the
woods than any it had pass'd, attack'd its advanced guard by a heavy
fire from behind trees and bushes, which was the first intelligence the
general had of an enemy's being near him.  This guard being disordered,
the general hurried the troops up to their assistance, which was done
in great confusion, thro' waggons, baggage, and cattle; and presently
the fire came upon their flank:  the officers, being on horseback, were
more easily distinguish'd, pick'd out as marks, and fell very fast; and
the soldiers were crowded together in a huddle, having or hearing no
orders, and standing to be shot at till two-thirds of them were killed;
and then, being seiz'd with a panick, the whole fled with precipitation.

The waggoners took each a horse out of his team and scamper'd; their
example was immediately followed by others; so that all the waggons,
provisions, artillery, and stores were left to the enemy.  The general,
being wounded, was brought off with difficulty; his secretary, Mr.
Shirley, was killed by his side; and out of eighty-six officers,
sixty-three were killed or wounded, and seven hundred and fourteen men
killed out of eleven hundred.  These eleven hundred had been picked men
from the whole army; the rest had been left behind with Colonel Dunbar,
who was to follow with the heavier part of the stores, provisions, and
baggage.  The flyers, not being pursu'd, arriv'd at Dunbar's camp, and
the panick they brought with them instantly seiz'd him and all his
people; and, tho' he had now above one thousand men, and the enemy who
had beaten Braddock did not at most exceed four hundred Indians and
French together, instead of proceeding, and endeavoring to recover some
of the lost honour, he ordered all the stores, ammunition, etc., to be
destroy'd, that he might have more horses to assist his flight towards
the settlements, and less lumber to remove.  He was there met with
requests from the governors of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania,
that he would post his troops on the frontiers, so as to afford some
protection to the inhabitants; but he continu'd his hasty march thro'
all the country, not thinking himself safe till he arriv'd at
Philadelphia, where the inhabitants could protect him.  This whole
transaction gave us Americans the first suspicion that our exalted
ideas of the prowess of British regulars had not been well founded.

In their first march, too, from their landing till they got beyond the
settlements, they had plundered and stripped the inhabitants, totally
ruining some poor families, besides insulting, abusing, and confining
the people if they remonstrated.  This was enough to put us out of
conceit of such defenders, if we had really wanted any.  How different
was the conduct of our French friends in 1781, who, during a march
thro' the most inhabited part of our country from Rhode Island to
Virginia, near seven hundred miles, occasioned not the smallest
complaint for the loss of a pig, a chicken, or even an apple.

Captain Orme, who was one of the general's aids-de-camp, and, being
grievously wounded, was brought off with him, and continu'd with him to
his death, which happen'd in a few days, told me that he was totally
silent all the first day, and at night only said, "Who would have
thought it?"  That he was silent again the following day, saying only
at last, "We shall better know how to deal with them another time;" and
dy'd in a few minutes after.

The secretary's papers, with all the general's orders, instructions,
and correspondence, falling into the enemy's hands, they selected and
translated into French a number of the articles, which they printed, to
prove the hostile intentions of the British court before the
declaration of war.  Among these I saw some letters of the general to
the ministry, speaking highly of the great service I had rendered the
army, and recommending me to their notice.  David Hume, too, who was
some years after secretary to Lord Hertford, when minister in France,
and afterward to General Conway, when secretary of state, told me he
had seen among the papers in that office, letters from Braddock highly
recommending me.  But, the expedition having been unfortunate, my
service, it seems, was not thought of much value, for those
recommendations were never of any use to me.

As to rewards from himself, I ask'd only one, which was, that he would
give orders to his officers not to enlist any more of our bought
servants, and that he would discharge such as had been already
enlisted.  This he readily granted, and several were accordingly
return'd to their masters, on my application.  Dunbar, when the command
devolv'd on him, was not so generous.  He being at Philadelphia, on his
retreat, or rather flight, I apply'd to him for the discharge of the
servants of three poor farmers of Lancaster county that he had
enlisted, reminding him of the late general's orders on that bead.  He
promised me that, if the masters would come to him at Trenton, where he
should be in a few days on his march to New York, he would there
deliver their men to them.  They accordingly were at the expense and
trouble of going to Trenton, and there he refus'd to perform his
promise, to their great loss and disappointment.

As soon as the loss of the waggons and horses was generally known, all
the owners came upon me for the valuation which I had given bond to
pay.  Their demands gave me a great deal of trouble, my acquainting
them that the money was ready in the paymaster's hands, but that orders
for paying it must first be obtained from General Shirley, and my
assuring them that I had apply'd to that general by letter; but, he
being at a distance, an answer could not soon be receiv'd, and they
must have patience, all this was not sufficient to satisfy, and some
began to sue me.  General Shirley at length relieved me from this
terrible situation by appointing commissioners to examine the claims,
and ordering payment.  They amounted to near twenty thousand pound,
which to pay would have ruined me.

Before we had the news of this defeat, the two Doctors Bond came to me
with a subscription paper for raising money to defray the expense of a
grand firework, which it was intended to exhibit at a rejoicing on
receipt of the news of our taking Fort Duquesne.  I looked grave, and
said it would, I thought, be time enough to prepare for the rejoicing
when we knew we should have occasion to rejoice.  They seem'd surpris'd
that I did not immediately comply with their proposal.  "Why the d--l!"
says one of them, "you surely don't suppose that the fort will not be
taken?" "I don't know that it will not be taken, but I know that the
events of war are subject to great uncertainty."  I gave them the
reasons of my doubting; the subscription was dropt, and the projectors
thereby missed the mortification they would have undergone if the
firework had been prepared.  Dr. Bond, on some other occasion
afterward, said that he did not like Franklin's forebodings.

Governor Morris, who had continually worried the Assembly with message
after message before the defeat of Braddock, to beat them into the
making of acts to raise money for the defense of the province, without
taxing, among others, the proprietary estates, and had rejected all
their bills for not having such an exempting clause, now redoubled his
attacks with more hope of success, the danger and necessity being
greater.  The Assembly, however, continu'd firm, believing they had
justice on their side, and that it would be giving up an essential
right if they suffered the governor to amend their money-bills. In one
of the last, indeed, which was for granting fifty thousand pounds, his
propos'd amendment was only of a single word.  The bill expressed "that
all estates, real and personal, were to be taxed, those of the
proprietaries not excepted."  His amendment was, for not read only:  a
small, but very material alteration.  However, when the news of this
disaster reached England, our friends there, whom we had taken care to
furnish with all the Assembly's answers to the governor's messages,
rais'd a clamor against the proprietaries for their meanness and
injustice in giving their governor such instructions; some going so far
as to say that, by obstructing the defense of their province, they
forfeited their right to it.  They were intimidated by this, and sent
orders to their receiver-general to add five thousand pounds of their
money to whatever sum might be given by the Assembly for such purpose.

This, being notified to the House, was accepted in lieu of their share
of a general tax, and a new bill was form'd, with an exempting clause,
which passed accordingly.  By this act I was appointed one of the
commissioners for disposing of the money, sixty thousand pounds.  I had
been active in modelling the bill and procuring its passage, and had,
at the same time, drawn a bill for establishing and disciplining of a
voluntary militia, which I carried thro' the House without much
difficulty, as care was taken in it to leave the Quakers at their
liberty.  To promote the association necessary to form the militia, I
wrote a dialogue,[14] stating and answering all the objections I could
think of to such a militia, which was printed, and had, as I thought,
great effect.

     [14] This dialogue and the militia act are in the
          "Gentleman's Magazine" for February and March, 1756.
           --[Marg. note.]

While the several companies in the city and country were forming and
learning their exercise, the governor prevail'd with me to take charge
of our North-western frontier, which was infested by the enemy, and
provide for the defense of the inhabitants by raising troops and
building a line of forts.  I undertook this military business, tho' I
did not conceive myself well qualified for it.  He gave me a commission
with full powers, and a parcel of blank commissions for officers, to be
given to whom I thought fit.  I had but little difficulty in raising
men, having soon five hundred and sixty under my command.  My son, who
had in the preceding war been an officer in the army rais'd against
Canada, was my aid-de-camp, and of great use to me.  The Indians had
burned Gnadenhut, a village settled by the Moravians, and massacred the
inhabitants; but the place was thought a good situation for one of the

In order to march thither, I assembled the companies at Bethlehem, the
chief establishment of those people.  I was surprised to find it in so
good a posture of defense; the destruction of Gnadenhut had made them
apprehend danger.  The principal buildings were defended by a stockade;
they had purchased a quantity of arms and ammunition from New York, and
had even plac'd quantities of small paving stones between the windows
of their high stone houses, for their women to throw down upon the
heads of any Indians that should attempt to force into them.  The armed
brethren, too, kept watch, and reliev'd as methodically as in any
garrison town.  In conversation with the bishop, Spangenberg, I
mention'd this my surprise; for, knowing they had obtained an act of
Parliament exempting them from military duties in the colonies, I had
suppos'd they were conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms.  He
answer'd me that it was not one of their established principles, but
that, at the time of their obtaining that act, it was thought to be a
principle with many of their people.  On this occasion, however, they,
to their surprise, found it adopted by but a few.  It seems they were
either deceiv'd in themselves, or deceiv'd the Parliament; but common
sense, aided by present danger, will sometimes be too strong for
whimsical opinions.

It was the beginning of January when we set out upon this business of
building forts.  I sent one detachment toward the Minisink, with
instructions to erect one for the security of that upper part of the
country, and another to the lower part, with similar instructions; and
I concluded to go myself with the rest of my force to Gnadenhut, where
a fort was tho't more immediately necessary.  The Moravians procur'd me
five waggons for our tools, stores, baggage, etc.

Just before we left Bethlehem, eleven farmers, who had been driven from
their plantations by the Indians, came to me requesting a supply of
firearms, that they might go back and fetch off their cattle.  I gave
them each a gun with suitable ammunition.  We had not march'd many
miles before it began to rain, and it continued raining all day; there
were no habitations on the road to shelter us, till we arriv'd near
night at the house of a German, where, and in his barn, we were all
huddled together, as wet as water could make us.  It was well we were
not attack'd in our march, for our arms were of the most ordinary sort,
and our men could not keep their gun locks dry.  The Indians are
dextrous in contrivances for that purpose, which we had not.  They met
that day the eleven poor farmers above mentioned, and killed ten of
them.  The one who escap'd inform'd that his and his companions' guns
would not go off, the priming being wet with the rain.

The next day being fair, we continu'd our march, and arriv'd at the
desolated Gnadenhut.  There was a saw-mill near, round which were left
several piles of boards, with which we soon hutted ourselves; an
operation the more necessary at that inclement season, as we had no
tents.  Our first work was to bury more effectually the dead we found
there, who had been half interr'd by the country people.

The next morning our fort was plann'd and mark'd out, the circumference
measuring four hundred and fifty-five feet, which would require as many
palisades to be made of trees, one with another, of a foot diameter
each.  Our axes, of which we had seventy, were immediately set to work
to cut down trees, and, our men being dextrous in the use of them,
great despatch was made.  Seeing the trees fall so fast, I had the
curiosity to look at my watch when two men began to cut at a pine; in
six minutes they had it upon the ground, and I found it of fourteen
inches diameter.  Each pine made three palisades of eighteen feet long,
pointed at one end.  While these were preparing, our other men dug a
trench all round, of three feet deep, in which the palisades were to be
planted; and, our waggons, the bodys being taken off, and the fore and
hind wheels separated by taking out the pin which united the two parts
of the perch, we had ten carriages, with two horses each, to bring the
palisades from the woods to the spot.  When they were set up, our
carpenters built a stage of boards all round within, about six feet
high, for the men to stand on when to fire thro' the loopholes.  We had
one swivel gun, which we mounted on one of the angles, and fir'd it as
soon as fix'd, to let the Indians know, if any were within hearing,
that we had such pieces; and thus our fort, if such a magnificent name
may be given to so miserable a stockade, was finish'd in a week, though
it rain'd so hard every other day that the men could not work.

This gave me occasion to observe, that, when men are employ'd, they are
best content'd; for on the days they worked they were good-natur'd and
cheerful, and, with the consciousness of having done a good day's work,
they spent the evening jollily; but on our idle days they were mutinous
and quarrelsome, finding fault with their pork, the bread, etc., and in
continual ill-humor, which put me in mind of a sea-captain, whose rule
it was to keep his men constantly at work; and, when his mate once told
him that they had done every thing, and there was nothing further to
employ them about, "Oh," says he, "Make them scour the anchor."

This kind of fort, however contemptible, is a sufficient defense
against Indians, who have no cannon.  Finding ourselves now posted
securely, and having a place to retreat to on occasion, we ventur'd out
in parties to scour the adjacent country.  We met with no Indians, but
we found the places on the neighboring hills where they had lain to
watch our proceedings.  There was an art in their contrivance of those
places, that seems worth mention.  It being winter, a fire was
necessary for them; but a common fire on the surface of the ground
would by its light have discovered their position at a distance.  They
had therefore dug holes in the ground about three feet diameter, and
somewhat deeper; we saw where they had with their hatchets cut off the
charcoal from the sides of burnt logs lying in the woods.  With these
coals they had made small fires in the bottom of the holes, and we
observ'd among the weeds and grass the prints of their bodies, made by
their laying all round, with their legs hanging down in the holes to
keep their feet warm, which, with them, is an essential point.  This
kind of fire, so manag'd, could not discover them, either by its light,
flame, sparks, or even smoke: it appear'd that their number was not
great, and it seems they saw we were too many to be attacked by them
with prospect of advantage.

We had for our chaplain a zealous Presbyterian minister, Mr. Beatty,
who complained to me that the men did not generally attend his prayers
and exhortations.  When they enlisted, they were promised, besides pay
and provisions, a gill of rum a day, which was punctually serv'd out to
them, half in the morning, and the other half in the evening; and I
observ'd they were as punctual in attending to receive it; upon which I
said to Mr. Beatty, "It is, perhaps, below the dignity of your
profession to act as steward of the rum, but if you were to deal it out
and only just after prayers, you would have them all about you." He
liked the tho't, undertook the office, and, with the help of a few
hands to measure out the liquor, executed it to satisfaction, and never
were prayers more generally and more punctually attended; so that I
thought this method preferable to the punishment inflicted by some
military laws for non-attendance on divine service.

I had hardly finish'd this business, and got my fort well stor'd with
provisions, when I receiv'd a letter from the governor, acquainting me
that he had call'd the Assembly, and wished my attendance there, if the
posture of affairs on the frontiers was such that my remaining there
was no longer necessary.  My friends, too, of the Assembly, pressing me
by their letters to be, if possible, at the meeting, and my three
intended forts being now compleated, and the inhabitants contented to
remain on their farms under that protection, I resolved to return; the
more willingly, as a New England officer, Colonel Clapham, experienced
in Indian war, being on a visit to our establishment, consented to
accept the command.  I gave him a commission, and, parading the
garrison, had it read before them, and introduc'd him to them as an
officer who, from his skill in military affairs, was much more fit to
command them than myself; and, giving them a little exhortation, took
my leave.  I was escorted as far as Bethlehem, where I rested a few
days to recover from the fatigue I had undergone.  The first night,
being in a good bed, I could hardly sleep, it was so different from my
hard lodging on the floor of our hut at Gnaden wrapt only in a blanket
or two.

While at Bethlehem, I inquir'd a little into the practice of the
Moravians:  some of them had accompanied me, and all were very kind to
me.  I found they work'd for a common stock, eat at common tables, and
slept in common dormitories, great numbers together.  In the
dormitories I observed loopholes, at certain distances all along just
under the ceiling, which I thought judiciously placed for change of
air.  I was at their church, where I was entertain'd with good musick,
the organ being accompanied with violins, hautboys, flutes, clarinets,
etc.  I understood that their sermons were not usually preached to
mixed congregations of men, women, and children, as is our common
practice, but that they assembled sometimes the married men, at other
times their wives, then the young men, the young women, and the little
children, each division by itself.  The sermon I heard was to the
latter, who came in and were plac'd in rows on benches; the boys under
the conduct of a young man, their tutor, and the girls conducted by a
young woman.  The discourse seem'd well adapted to their capacities,
and was deliver'd in a pleasing, familiar manner, coaxing them, as it
were, to be good.  They behav'd very orderly, but looked pale and
unhealthy, which made me suspect they were kept too much within doors,
or not allow'd sufficient exercise.

I inquir'd concerning the Moravian marriages, whether the report was
true that they were by lot.  I was told that lots were us'd only in
particular cases; that generally, when a young man found himself
dispos'd to marry, he inform'd the elders of his class, who consulted
the elder ladies that govern'd the young women.  As these elders of the
different sexes were well acquainted with the tempers and dispositions
of their respective pupils, they could best judge what matches were
suitable, and their judgments were generally acquiesc'd in; but if, for
example, it should happen that two or three young women were found to
be equally proper for the young man, the lot was then recurred to.  I
objected, if the matches are not made by the mutual choice of the
parties, some of them may chance to be very unhappy.  "And so they
may," answer'd my informer, "if you let the parties chuse for
themselves;" which, indeed, I could not deny.

Being returned to Philadelphia, I found the association went on
swimmingly, the inhabitants that were not Quakers having pretty
generally come into it, formed themselves into companies, and chose
their captains, lieutenants, and ensigns, according to the new law.
Dr. B. visited me, and gave me an account of the pains he had taken to
spread a general good liking to the law, and ascribed much to those
endeavors.  I had had the vanity to ascribe all to my Dialogue;
however, not knowing but that he might be in the right, I let him enjoy
his opinion, which I take to be generally the best way in such cases.
The officers, meeting, chose me to be colonel of the regiment, which I
this time accepted.  I forget how many companies we had, but we paraded
about twelve hundred well-looking men, with a company of artillery, who
had been furnished with six brass field-pieces, which they had become
so expert in the use of as to fire twelve times in a minute.  The first
time I reviewed my regiment they accompanied me to my house, and would
salute me with some rounds fired before my door, which shook down and
broke several glasses of my electrical apparatus.  And my new honour
proved not much less brittle; for all our commissions were soon after
broken by a repeal of the law in England.

During this short time of my colonelship, being about to set out on a
journey to Virginia, the officers of my regiment took it into their
heads that it would be proper for them to escort me out of town, as far
as the Lower Ferry.  Just as I was getting on horseback they came to my
door, between thirty and forty, mounted, and all in their uniforms.  I
had not been previously acquainted with the project, or I should have
prevented it, being naturally averse to the assuming of state on any
occasion; and I was a good deal chagrin'd at their appearance, as I
could not avoid their accompanying me.  What made it worse was, that,
as soon as we began to move, they drew their swords and rode with them
naked all the way.  Somebody wrote an account of this to the
proprietor, and it gave him great offense.  No such honor had been paid
him when in the province, nor to any of his governors; and he said it
was only proper to princes of the blood royal, which may be true for
aught I know, who was, and still am, ignorant of the etiquette in such

This silly affair, however, greatly increased his rancour against me,
which was before not a little, on account of my conduct in the Assembly
respecting the exemption of his estate from taxation, which I had
always oppos'd very warmly, and not without severe reflections on his
meanness and injustice of contending for it.  He accused me to the
ministry as being the great obstacle to the king's service, preventing,
by my influence in the House, the proper form of the bills for raising
money, and he instanced this parade with my officers as a proof of my
having an intention to take the government of the province out of his
hands by force.  He also applied to Sir Everard Fawkener, the
postmaster-general, to deprive me of my office; but it had no other
effect than to procure from Sir Everard a gentle admonition.

Notwithstanding the continual wrangle between the governor and the
House, in which I, as a member, had so large a share, there still
subsisted a civil intercourse between that gentleman and myself, and we
never had any personal difference.  I have sometimes since thought that
his little or no resentment against me, for the answers it was known I
drew up to his messages, might be the effect of professional habit, and
that, being bred a lawyer, he might consider us both as merely
advocates for contending clients in a suit, he for the proprietaries
and I for the Assembly.  He would, therefore, sometimes call in a
friendly way to advise with me on difficult points, and sometimes, tho'
not often, take my advice.

We acted in concert to supply Braddock's army with provisions; and,
when the shocking news arrived of his defeat, the governor sent in
haste for me, to consult with him on measures for preventing the
desertion of the back counties.  I forget now the advice I gave; but I
think it was, that Dunbar should be written to, and prevail'd with, if
possible, to post his troops on the frontiers for their protection,
till, by re-enforcements from the colonies, he might be able to proceed
on the expedition.  And, after my return from the frontier, he would
have had me undertake the conduct of such an expedition with provincial
troops, for the reduction of Fort Duquesne, Dunbar and his men being
otherwise employed; and he proposed to commission me as general.  I had
not so good an opinion of my military abilities as he profess'd to
have, and I believe his professions must have exceeded his real
sentiments; but probably he might think that my popularity would
facilitate the raising of the men, and my influence in Assembly, the
grant of money to pay them, and that, perhaps, without taxing the
proprietary estate.  Finding me not so forward to engage as he
expected, the project was dropt, and he soon after left the government,
being superseded by Captain Denny.

Before I proceed in relating the part I had in public affairs under
this new governor's administration, it may not be amiss here to give
some account of the rise and progress of my philosophical reputation.

In 1746, being at Boston, I met there with a Dr. Spence, who was lately
arrived from Scotland, and show'd me some electric experiments.  They
were imperfectly perform'd, as he was not very expert; but, being on a
subject quite new to me, they equally surpris'd and pleased me.  Soon
after my return to Philadelphia, our library company receiv'd from Mr.
P. Collinson, Fellow of the Royal Society of London, a present of a
glass tube, with some account of the use of it in making such
experiments.  I eagerly seized the opportunity of repeating what I had
seen at Boston; and, by much practice, acquir'd great readiness in
performing those, also, which we had an account of from England, adding
a number of new ones.  I say much practice, for my house was
continually full, for some time, with people who came to see these new

To divide a little this incumbrance among my friends, I caused a number
of similar tubes to be blown at our glass-house, with which they
furnish'd themselves, so that we had at length several performers.
Among these, the principal was Mr. Kinnersley, an ingenious neighbor,
who, being out of business, I encouraged to undertake showing the
experiments for money, and drew up for him two lectures, in which the
experiments were rang'd in such order, and accompanied with such
explanations in such method, as that the foregoing should assist in
comprehending the following.  He procur'd an elegant apparatus for the
purpose, in which all the little machines that I had roughly made for
myself were nicely form'd by instrument-makers. His lectures were well
attended, and gave great satisfaction; and after some time he went
thro' the colonies, exhibiting them in every capital town, and pick'd
up some money.  In the West India islands, indeed, it was with
difficulty the experiments could be made, from the general moisture of
the air.

Oblig'd as we were to Mr. Collinson for his present of the tube, etc.,
I thought it right he should be inform'd of our success in using it,
and wrote him several letters containing accounts of our experiments.
He got them read in the Royal Society, where they were not at first
thought worth so much notice as to be printed in their Transactions.
One paper, which I wrote for Mr. Kinnersley, on the sameness of
lightning with electricity, I sent to Dr. Mitchel, an acquaintance of
mine, and one of the members also of that society, who wrote me word
that it had been read, but was laughed at by the connoisseurs.  The
papers, however, being shown to Dr. Fothergill, he thought them of too
much value to be stifled, and advis'd the printing of them.  Mr.
Collinson then gave them to Cave for publication in his Gentleman's
Magazine; but he chose to print them separately in a pamphlet, and Dr.
Fothergill wrote the preface.  Cave, it seems, judged rightly for his
profit, for by the additions that arrived afterward they swell'd to a
quarto volume, which has had five editions, and cost him nothing for

It was, however, some time before those papers were much taken notice
of in England.  A copy of them happening to fall into the hands of the
Count de Buffon, a philosopher deservedly of great reputation in
France, and, indeed, all over Europe, he prevailed with M. Dalibard to
translate them into French, and they were printed at Paris.  The
publication offended the Abbe Nollet, preceptor in Natural Philosophy
to the royal family, and an able experimenter, who had form'd and
publish'd a theory of electricity, which then had the general vogue.
He could not at first believe that such a work came from America, and
said it must have been fabricated by his enemies at Paris, to decry his
system.  Afterwards, having been assur'd that there really existed such
a person as Franklin at Philadelphia, which he had doubted, he wrote
and published a volume of Letters, chiefly address'd to me, defending
his theory, and denying the verity of my experiments, and of the
positions deduc'd from them.

I once purpos'd answering the abbe, and actually began the answer; but,
on consideration that my writings contain'd a description of
experiments which any one might repeat and verify, and if not to be
verifi'd, could not be defended; or of observations offer'd as
conjectures, and not delivered dogmatically, therefore not laying me
under any obligation to defend them; and reflecting that a dispute
between two persons, writing in different languages, might be
lengthened greatly by mistranslations, and thence misconceptions of one
another's meaning, much of one of the abbe's letters being founded on
an error in the translation, I concluded to let my papers shift for
themselves, believing it was better to spend what time I could spare
from public business in making new experiments, than in disputing about
those already made.  I therefore never answered M. Nollet, and the
event gave me no cause to repent my silence; for my friend M. le Roy,
of the Royal Academy of Sciences, took up my cause and refuted him; my
book was translated into the Italian, German, and Latin languages; and
the doctrine it contain'd was by degrees universally adopted by the
philosophers of Europe, in preference to that of the abbe; so that he
lived to see himself the last of his sect, except Monsieur B----, of
Paris, his eleve and immediate disciple.

What gave my book the more sudden and general celebrity, was the
success of one of its proposed experiments, made by Messrs.  Dalibard
and De Lor at Marly, for drawing lightning from the clouds.  This
engag'd the public attention every where.  M. de Lor, who had an
apparatus for experimental philosophy, and lectur'd in that branch of
science, undertook to repeat what he called the Philadelphia
Experiments; and, after they were performed before the king and court,
all the curious of Paris flocked to see them.  I will not swell this
narrative with an account of that capital experiment, nor of the
infinite pleasure I receiv'd in the success of a similar one I made
soon after with a kite at Philadelphia, as both are to be found in the
histories of electricity.

Dr. Wright, an English physician, when at Paris, wrote to a friend, who
was of the Royal Society, an account of the high esteem my experiments
were in among the learned abroad, and of their wonder that my writings
had been so little noticed in England.  The society, on this, resum'd
the consideration of the letters that had been read to them; and the
celebrated Dr. Watson drew up a summary account of them, and of all I
had afterwards sent to England on the subject, which he accompanied
with some praise of the writer.  This summary was then printed in their
Transactions; and some members of the society in London, particularly
the very ingenious Mr. Canton, having verified the experiment of
procuring lightning from the clouds by a pointed rod, and acquainting
them with the success, they soon made me more than amends for the
slight with which they had before treated me.  Without my having made
any application for that honor, they chose me a member, and voted that
I should be excus'd the customary payments, which would have amounted
to twenty-five guineas; and ever since have given me their Transactions
gratis.  They also presented me with the gold medal of Sir Godfrey
Copley for the year 1753, the delivery of which was accompanied by a
very handsome speech of the president, Lord Macclesfield, wherein I was
highly honoured.

Our new governor, Captain Denny, brought over for me the
before-mentioned medal from the Royal Society, which he presented to me
at an entertainment given him by the city.  He accompanied it with very
polite expressions of his esteem for me, having, as he said, been long
acquainted with my character.  After dinner, when the company, as was
customary at that time, were engag'd in drinking, he took me aside into
another room, and acquainted me that he had been advis'd by his friends
in England to cultivate a friendship with me, as one who was capable of
giving him the best advice, and of contributing most effectually to the
making his administration easy; that he therefore desired of all things
to have a good understanding with me, and he begg'd me to be assur'd of
his readiness on all occasions to render me every service that might be
in his power.  He said much to me, also, of the proprietor's good
disposition towards the province, and of the advantage it might be to
us all, and to me in particular, if the opposition that had been so
long continu'd to his measures was dropt, and harmony restor'd between
him and the people; in effecting which, it was thought no one could be
more serviceable than myself; and I might depend on adequate
acknowledgments and recompenses, etc., etc.  The drinkers, finding we
did not return immediately to the table, sent us a decanter of Madeira,
which the governor made liberal use of, and in proportion became more
profuse of his solicitations and promises.

My answers were to this purpose:  that my circumstances, thanks to God,
were such as to make proprietary favours unnecessary to me; and that,
being a member of the Assembly, I could not possibly accept of any;
that, however, I had no personal enmity to the proprietary, and that,
whenever the public measures he propos'd should appear to be for the
good of the people, no one should espouse and forward them more
zealously than myself; my past opposition having been founded on this,
that the measures which had been urged were evidently intended to serve
the proprietary interest, with great prejudice to that of the people;
that I was much obliged to him (the governor) for his professions of
regard to me, and that he might rely on every thing in my power to make
his administration as easy as possible, hoping at the same time that he
had not brought with him the same unfortunate instruction his
predecessor had been hamper'd with.

On this he did not then explain himself; but when he afterwards came to
do business with the Assembly, they appear'd again, the disputes were
renewed, and I was as active as ever in the opposition, being the
penman, first, of the request to have a communication of the
instructions, and then of the remarks upon them, which may be found in
the votes of the time, and in the Historical Review I afterward
publish'd. But between us personally no enmity arose; we were often
together; he was a man of letters, had seen much of the world, and was
very entertaining and pleasing in conversation.  He gave me the first
information that my old friend Jas. Ralph was still alive; that he was
esteem'd one of the best political writers in England; had been
employ'd in the dispute between Prince Frederic and the king, and had
obtain'd a pension of three hundred a year; that his reputation was
indeed small as a poet, Pope having damned his poetry in the Dunciad;
but his prose was thought as good as any man's.

[15]The Assembly finally finding the proprietary obstinately persisted
in manacling their deputies with instructions inconsistent not only
with the privileges of the people, but with the service of the crown,
resolv'd to petition the king against them, and appointed me their
agent to go over to England, to present and support the petition.  The
House had sent up a bill to the governor, granting a sum of sixty
thousand pounds for the king's use (ten thousand pounds of which was
subjected to the orders of the then general, Lord Loudoun), which the
governor absolutely refus'd to pass, in compliance with his

     [15] The many unanimous resolves of the Assembly--
          what date?--[Marg. note.]

I had agreed with Captain Morris, of the paquet at New York, for my
passage, and my stores were put on board, when Lord Loudoun arriv'd at
Philadelphia, expressly, as he told me, to endeavor an accommodation
between the governor and Assembly, that his majesty's service might not
be obstructed by their dissensions.  Accordingly, he desir'd the
governor and myself to meet him, that he might hear what was to be said
on both sides.  We met and discuss'd the business.  In behalf of the
Assembly, I urg'd all the various arguments that may be found in the
public papers of that time, which were of my writing, and are printed
with the minutes of the Assembly; and the governor pleaded his
instructions; the bond he had given to observe them, and his ruin if he
disobey'd, yet seemed not unwilling to hazard himself if Lord Loudoun
would advise it.  This his lordship did not chuse to do, though I once
thought I had nearly prevail'd with him to do it; but finally he rather
chose to urge the compliance of the Assembly; and he entreated me to
use my endeavours with them for that purpose, declaring that he would
spare none of the king's troops for the defense of our frontiers, and
that, if we did not continue to provide for that defense ourselves,
they must remain expos'd to the enemy.

I acquainted the House with what had pass'd, and, presenting them with
a set of resolutions I had drawn up, declaring our rights, and that we
did not relinquish our claim to those rights, but only suspended the
exercise of them on this occasion thro' force, against which we
protested, they at length agreed to drop that bill, and frame another
conformable to the proprietary instructions.  This of course the
governor pass'd, and I was then at liberty to proceed on my voyage.
But, in the meantime, the paquet had sailed with my sea-stores, which
was some loss to me, and my only recompense was his lordship's thanks
for my service, all the credit of obtaining the accommodation falling
to his share.

He set out for New York before me; and, as the time for dispatching the
paquet-boats was at his disposition, and there were two then remaining
there, one of which, he said, was to sail very soon, I requested to
know the precise time, that I might not miss her by any delay of mine.
His answer was, "I have given out that she is to sail on Saturday next;
but I may let you know, entre nous, that if you are there by Monday
morning, you will be in time, but do not delay longer."  By some
accidental hinderance at a ferry, it was Monday noon before I arrived,
and I was much afraid she might have sailed, as the wind was fair; but
I was soon made easy by the information that she was still in the
harbor, and would not move till the next day.  One would imagine that I
was now on the very point of departing for Europe.  I thought so; but I
was not then so well acquainted with his lordship's character, of which
indecision was one of the strongest features.  I shall give some
instances.  It was about the beginning of April that I came to New
York, and I think it was near the end of June before we sail'd. There
were then two of the paquet-boats, which had been long in port, but
were detained for the general's letters, which were always to be ready
to-morrow. Another paquet arriv'd; she too was detain'd; and, before we
sail'd, a fourth was expected.  Ours was the first to be dispatch'd, as
having been there longest.  Passengers were engag'd in all, and some
extremely impatient to be gone, and the merchants uneasy about their
letters, and the orders they had given for insurance (it being war
time) for fall goods! but their anxiety avail'd nothing; his lordship's
letters were not ready; and yet whoever waited on him found him always
at his desk, pen in hand, and concluded he must needs write abundantly.

Going myself one morning to pay my respects, I found in his antechamber
one Innis, a messenger of Philadelphia, who had come from thence
express with a paquet from Governor Denny for the General.  He
delivered to me some letters from my friends there, which occasion'd my
inquiring when he was to return, and where be lodg'd, that I might send
some letters by him.  He told me he was order'd to call to-morrow at
nine for the general's answer to the governor, and should set off
immediately.  I put my letters into his hands the same day.  A
fortnight after I met him again in the same place.  "So, you are soon
return'd, Innis?"  "Returned! no, I am not gone yet." "How so?"  "I
have called here by order every morning these two weeks past for his
lordship's letter, and it is not yet ready." "Is it possible, when he
is so great a writer? for I see him constantly at his escritoire."
"Yes," says Innis, "but he is like St. George on the signs, always on
horseback, and never rides on!" This observation of the messenger was,
it seems, well founded; for, when in England, I understood that Mr.
Pitt gave it as one reason for removing this general, and sending
Generals Amherst and Wolfe, that the minister never heard from him, and
could not know what he was doing.

This daily expectation of sailing, and all the three paquets going down
to Sandy Hook, to join the fleet there, the passengers thought it best
to be on board, lest by a sudden order the ships should sail, and they
be left behind.  There, if I remember right, we were about six weeks,
consuming our sea-stores, and oblig'd to procure more.  At length the
fleet sail'd, the General and all his army on board, bound to
Louisburg, with intent to besiege and take that fortress; all the
paquet-boats in company ordered to attend the General's ship, ready to
receive his dispatches when they should be ready.  We were out five
days before we got a letter with leave to part, and then our ship
quitted the fleet and steered for England.  The other two paquets he
still detained, carried them with him to Halifax, where he stayed some
time to exercise the men in sham attacks upon sham forts, then alter'd
his mind as to besieging Louisburg, and return'd to New York, with all
his troops, together with the two paquets above mentioned, and all
their passengers!  During his absence the French and savages had taken
Fort George, on the frontier of that province, and the savages had
massacred many of the garrison after capitulation.

I saw afterwards in London Captain Bonnell, who commanded one of those
paquets.  He told me that, when he had been detain'd a month, he
acquainted his lordship that his ship was grown foul, to a degree that
must necessarily hinder her fast sailing, a point of consequence for a
paquet-boat, and requested an allowance of time to heave her down and
clean her bottom.  He was asked how long time that would require.  He
answer'd, three days.  The general replied, "If you can do it in one
day, I give leave; otherwise not; for you must certainly sail the day
after to-morrow." So he never obtain'd leave, though detained
afterwards from day to day during full three months.

I saw also in London one of Bonnell's passengers, who was so enrag'd
against his lordship for deceiving and detaining him so long at New
York, and then carrying him to Halifax and back again, that he swore he
would sue for damages.  Whether he did or not, I never heard; but, as
he represented the injury to his affairs, it was very considerable.

On the whole, I wonder'd much how such a man came to be intrusted with
so important a business as the conduct of a great army; but, having
since seen more of the great world, and the means of obtaining, and
motives for giving places, my wonder is diminished.  General Shirley,
on whom the command of the army devolved upon the death of Braddock,
would, in my opinion, if continued in place, have made a much better
campaign than that of Loudoun in 1757, which was frivolous, expensive,
and disgraceful to our nation beyond conception; for, tho' Shirley was
not a bred soldier, he was sensible and sagacious in himself, and
attentive to good advice from others, capable of forming judicious
plans, and quick and active in carrying them into execution.  Loudoun,
instead of defending the colonies with his great army, left them
totally expos'd while he paraded idly at Halifax, by which means Fort
George was lost, besides, he derang'd all our mercantile operations,
and distress'd our trade, by a long embargo on the exportation of
provisions, on pretence of keeping supplies from being obtain'd by the
enemy, but in reality for beating down their price in favor of the
contractors, in whose profits, it was said, perhaps from suspicion
only, he had a share.  And, when at length the embargo was taken off,
by neglecting to send notice of it to Charlestown, the Carolina fleet
was detain'd near three months longer, whereby their bottoms were so
much damaged by the worm that a great part of them foundered in their
passage home.

Shirley was, I believe, sincerely glad of being relieved from so
burdensome a charge as the conduct of an army must be to a man
unacquainted with military business.  I was at the entertainment given
by the city of New York to Lord Loudoun, on his taking upon him the
command.  Shirley, tho' thereby superseded, was present also.  There
was a great company of officers, citizens, and strangers, and, some
chairs having been borrowed in the neighborhood, there was one among
them very low, which fell to the lot of Mr. Shirley.  Perceiving it as
I sat by him, I said, "They have given you, sir, too low a seat." "No
matter," says he, "Mr. Franklin, I find a low seat the easiest."

While I was, as afore mention'd, detain'd at New York, I receiv'd all
the accounts of the provisions, etc., that I had furnish'd to Braddock,
some of which accounts could not sooner be obtain'd from the different
persons I had employ'd to assist in the business.  I presented them to
Lord Loudoun, desiring to be paid the ballance.  He caus'd them to be
regularly examined by the proper officer, who, after comparing every
article with its voucher, certified them to be right; and the balance
due for which his lordship promis'd to give me an order on the
paymaster.  This was, however, put off from time to time; and, tho' I
call'd often for it by appointment, I did not get it.  At length, just
before my departure, he told me he had, on better consideration,
concluded not to mix his accounts with those of his predecessors.  "And
you," says he, "when in England, have only to exhibit your accounts at
the treasury, and you will be paid immediately."

I mention'd, but without effect, the great and unexpected expense I had
been put to by being detain'd so long at New York, as a reason for my
desiring to be presently paid; and on my observing that it was not
right I should be put to any further trouble or delay in obtaining the
money I had advanc'd, as I charged no commission for my service, "O,
sir," says he, "you must not think of persuading us that you are no
gainer; we understand better those affairs, and know that every one
concerned in supplying the army finds means, in the doing it, to fill
his own pockets."  I assur'd him that was not my case, and that I had
not pocketed a farthing; but he appear'd clearly not to believe me;
and, indeed, I have since learnt that immense fortunes are often made
in such employments.  As to my ballance, I am not paid it to this day,
of which more hereafter.

Our captain of the paquet had boasted much, before we sailed, of the
swiftness of his ship; unfortunately, when we came to sea, she proved
the dullest of ninety-six sail, to his no small mortification.  After
many conjectures respecting the cause, when we were near another ship
almost as dull as ours, which, however, gain'd upon us, the captain
ordered all hands to come aft, and stand as near the ensign staff as
possible.  We were, passengers included, about forty persons.  While we
stood there, the ship mended her pace, and soon left her neighbour far
behind, which prov'd clearly what our captain suspected, that she was
loaded too much by the head.  The casks of water, it seems, had been
all plac'd forward; these he therefore order'd to be mov'd further aft,
on which the ship recover'd her character, and proved the sailer in the

The captain said she had once gone at the rate of thirteen knots, which
is accounted thirteen miles per hour.  We had on board, as a passenger,
Captain Kennedy, of the Navy, who contended that it was impossible, and
that no ship ever sailed so fast, and that there must have been some
error in the division of the log-line, or some mistake in heaving the
log.  A wager ensu'd between the two captains, to be decided when there
should be sufficient wind.  Kennedy thereupon examin'd rigorously the
log-line, and, being satisfi'd with that, he determin'd to throw the
log himself.  Accordingly some days after, when the wind blew very fair
and fresh, and the captain of the paquet, Lutwidge, said he believ'd
she then went at the rate of thirteen knots, Kennedy made the
experiment, and own'd his wager lost.

The above fact I give for the sake of the following observation.  It
has been remark'd, as an imperfection in the art of ship-building, that
it can never be known, till she is tried, whether a new ship will or
will not be a good sailer; for that the model of a good-sailing ship
has been exactly follow'd in a new one, which has prov'd, on the
contrary, remarkably dull.  I apprehend that this may partly be
occasion'd by the different opinions of seamen respecting the modes of
lading, rigging, and sailing of a ship; each has his system; and the
same vessel, laden by the judgment and orders of one captain, shall
sail better or worse than when by the orders of another.  Besides, it
scarce ever happens that a ship is form'd, fitted for the sea, and
sail'd by the same person.  One man builds the hull, another rigs her,
a third lades and sails her.  No one of these has the advantage of
knowing all the ideas and experience of the others, and, therefore, can
not draw just conclusions from a combination of the whole.

Even in the simple operation of sailing when at sea, I have often
observ'd different judgments in the officers who commanded the
successive watches, the wind being the same.  One would have the sails
trimm'd sharper or flatter than another, so that they seem'd to have no
certain rule to govern by.  Yet I think a set of experiments might be
instituted, first, to determine the most proper form of the hull for
swift sailing; next, the best dimensions and properest place for the
masts:  then the form and quantity of sails, and their position, as the
wind may be; and, lastly, the disposition of the lading.  This is an
age of experiments, and I think a set accurately made and combin'd
would be of great use.  I am persuaded, therefore, that ere long some
ingenious philosopher will undertake it, to whom I wish success.

We were several times chas'd in our passage, but outsail'd every thing,
and in thirty days had soundings.  We had a good observation, and the
captain judg'd himself so near our port, Falmouth, that, if we made a
good run in the night, we might be off the mouth of that harbor in the
morning, and by running in the night might escape the notice of the
enemy's privateers, who often crus'd near the entrance of the channel.
Accordingly, all the sail was set that we could possibly make, and the
wind being very fresh and fair, we went right before it, and made great
way.  The captain, after his observation, shap'd his course, as he
thought, so as to pass wide of the Scilly Isles; but it seems there is
sometimes a strong indraught setting up St. George's Channel, which
deceives seamen and caused the loss of Sir Cloudesley Shovel's
squadron.  This indraught was probably the cause of what happened to us.

We had a watchman plac'd in the bow, to whom they often called, "Look
well out before there," and he as often answered, "Ay ay;" but perhaps
had his eyes shut, and was half asleep at the time, they sometimes
answering, as is said, mechanically; for he did not see a light just
before us, which had been hid by the studdingsails from the man at the
helm, and from the rest of the watch, but by an accidental yaw of the
ship was discover'd, and occasion'd a great alarm, we being very near
it, the light appearing to me as big as a cart-wheel. It was midnight,
and our captain fast asleep; but Captain Kennedy, jumping upon deck,
and seeing the danger, ordered the ship to wear round, all sails
standing; an operation dangerous to the masts, but it carried us clear,
and we escaped shipwreck, for we were running right upon the rocks on
which the light-house was erected.  This deliverance impressed me
strongly with the utility of light-houses, and made me resolve to
encourage the building more of them in America, if I should live to
return there.

In the morning it was found by the soundings, etc., that we were near
our port, but a thick fog hid the land from our sight.  About nine
o'clock the fog began to rise, and seem'd to be lifted up from the
water like the curtain at a play-house, discovering underneath, the
town of Falmouth, the vessels in its harbor, and the fields that
surrounded it.  This was a most pleasing spectacle to those who had
been so long without any other prospects than the uniform view of a
vacant ocean, and it gave us the more pleasure as we were now free from
the anxieties which the state of war occasion'd.

I set out immediately, with my son, for London, and we only stopt a
little by the way to view Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain, and Lord
Pembroke's house and gardens, with his very curious antiquities at
Wilton.  We arrived in London the 27th of July, 1757.[16]

     [16] Here terminates the Autobiography, as published by
          Wm. Temple Franklin and his successors.  What follows
          was written in the last year of Dr. Franklin's life,
          and was first printed (in English) in Mr. Bigelow's
          edition of 1868.--ED.

AS SOON as I was settled in a lodging Mr. Charles had provided for me,
I went to visit Dr. Fothergill, to whom I was strongly recommended, and
whose counsel respecting my proceedings I was advis'd to obtain.  He
was against an immediate complaint to government, and thought the
proprietaries should first be personally appli'd to, who might possibly
be induc'd by the interposition and persuasion of some private friends,
to accommodate matters amicably.  I then waited on my old friend and
correspondent, Mr. Peter Collinson, who told me that John Hanbury, the
great Virginia merchant, had requested to be informed when I should
arrive, that he might carry me to Lord Granville's, who was then
President of the Council and wished to see me as soon as possible.  I
agreed to go with him the next morning.  Accordingly Mr. Hanbury called
for me and took me in his carriage to that nobleman's, who receiv'd me
with great civility; and after some questions respecting the present
state of affairs in America and discourse thereupon, he said to me:
"You Americans have wrong ideas of the nature of your constitution; you
contend that the king's instructions to his governors are not laws, and
think yourselves at liberty to regard or disregard them at your own
discretion.  But those instructions are not like the pocket
instructions given to a minister going abroad, for regulating his
conduct in some trifling point of ceremony.  They are first drawn up by
judges learned in the laws; they are then considered, debated, and
perhaps amended in Council, after which they are signed by the king.
They are then, so far as they relate to you, the law of the land, for
the king is the LEGISLATOR OF THE COLONIES."  I told his lordship this
was new doctrine to me.  I had always understood from our charters that
our laws were to be made by our Assemblies, to be presented indeed to
the king for his royal assent, but that being once given the king could
not repeal or alter them.  And as the Assemblies could not make
permanent laws without his assent, so neither could he make a law for
them without theirs.  He assur'd me I was totally mistaken.  I did not
think so, however, and his lordship's conversation having a little
alarm'd me as to what might be the sentiments of the court concerning
us, I wrote it down as soon as I return'd to my lodgings.  I
recollected that about 20 years before, a clause in a bill brought into
Parliament by the ministry had propos'd to make the king's instructions
laws in the colonies, but the clause was thrown out by the Commons, for
which we adored them as our friends and friends of liberty, till by
their conduct towards us in 1765 it seem'd that they had refus'd that
point of sovereignty to the king only that they might reserve it for

After some days, Dr. Fothergill having spoken to the proprietaries,
they agreed to a meeting with me at Mr. T. Penn's house in Spring
Garden.  The conversation at first consisted of mutual declarations of
disposition to reasonable accommodations, but I suppose each party had
its own ideas of what should be meant by reasonable.  We then went into
consideration of our several points of complaint, which I enumerated.
The proprietaries justify'd their conduct as well as they could, and I
the Assembly's. We now appeared very wide, and so far from each other
in our opinions as to discourage all hope of agreement.  However, it
was concluded that I should give them the heads of our complaints in
writing, and they promis'd then to consider them.  I did so soon after,
but they put the paper into the hands of their solicitor, Ferdinand
John Paris, who managed for them all their law business in their great
suit with the neighbouring proprietary of Maryland, Lord Baltimore,
which had subsisted 70 years, and wrote for them all their papers and
messages in their dispute with the Assembly.  He was a proud, angry
man, and as I had occasionally in the answers of the Assembly treated
his papers with some severity, they being really weak in point of
argument and haughty in expression, he had conceived a mortal enmity to
me, which discovering itself whenever we met, I declin'd the
proprietary's proposal that he and I should discuss the heads of
complaint between our two selves, and refus'd treating with any one but
them.  They then by his advice put the paper into the hands of the
Attorney and Solicitor-General for their opinion and counsel upon it,
where it lay unanswered a year wanting eight days, during which time I
made frequent demands of an answer from the proprietaries, but without
obtaining any other than that they had not yet received the opinion of
the Attorney and Solicitor-General.  What it was when they did receive
it I never learnt, for they did not communicate it to me, but sent a
long message to the Assembly drawn and signed by Paris, reciting my
paper, complaining of its want of formality, as a rudeness on my part,
and giving a flimsy justification of their conduct, adding that they
should be willing to accommodate matters if the Assembly would send out
some person of candour to treat with them for that purpose, intimating
thereby that I was not such.

The want of formality or rudeness was, probably, my not having
address'd the paper to them with their assum'd titles of True and
Absolute Proprietaries of the Province of Pennsylvania, which I omitted
as not thinking it necessary in a paper, the intention of which was
only to reduce to a certainty by writing, what in conversation I had
delivered viva voce.

But during this delay, the Assembly having prevailed with Gov'r Denny
to pass an act taxing the proprietary estate in common with the estates
of the people, which was the grand point in dispute, they omitted
answering the message.

When this act however came over, the proprietaries, counselled by
Paris, determined to oppose its receiving the royal assent.
Accordingly they petition'd the king in Council, and a hearing was
appointed in which two lawyers were employ'd by them against the act,
and two by me in support of it.  They alledg'd that the act was
intended to load the proprietary estate in order to spare those of the
people, and that if it were suffer'd to continue in force, and the
proprietaries who were in odium with the people, left to their mercy in
proportioning the taxes, they would inevitably be ruined.  We reply'd
that the act had no such intention, and would have no such effect.
That the assessors were honest and discreet men under an oath to assess
fairly and equitably, and that any advantage each of them might expect
in lessening his own tax by augmenting that of the proprietaries was
too trifling to induce them to perjure themselves.  This is the purport
of what I remember as urged by both sides, except that we insisted
strongly on the mischievous consequences that must attend a repeal, for
that the money, L100,000, being printed and given to the king's use,
expended in his service, and now spread among the people, the repeal
would strike it dead in their hands to the ruin of many, and the total
discouragement of future grants, and the selfishness of the proprietors
in soliciting such a general catastrophe, merely from a groundless fear
of their estate being taxed too highly, was insisted on in the
strongest terms.  On this, Lord Mansfield, one of the counsel rose, and
beckoning me took me into the clerk's chamber, while the lawyers were
pleading, and asked me if I was really of opinion that no injury would
be done the proprietary estate in the execution of the act.  I said
certainly.  "Then," says he, "you can have little objection to enter
into an engagement to assure that point."  I answer'd, "None at all."
He then call'd in Paris, and after some discourse, his lordship's
proposition was accepted on both sides; a paper to the purpose was
drawn up by the Clerk of the Council, which I sign'd with Mr. Charles,
who was also an Agent of the Province for their ordinary affairs, when
Lord Mansfield returned to the Council Chamber, where finally the law
was allowed to pass.  Some changes were however recommended and we also
engaged they should be made by a subsequent law, but the Assembly did
not think them necessary; for one year's tax having been levied by the
act before the order of Council arrived, they appointed a committee to
examine the proceedings of the assessors, and on this committee they
put several particular friends of the proprietaries.  After a full
enquiry, they unanimously sign'd a report that they found the tax had
been assess'd with perfect equity.

The Assembly looked into my entering into the first part of the
engagement, as an essential service to the Province, since it secured
the credit of the paper money then spread over all the country.  They
gave me their thanks in form when I return'd. But the proprietaries
were enraged at Governor Denny for having pass'd the act, and turn'd
him out with threats of suing him for breach of instructions which he
had given bond to observe.  He, however, having done it at the instance
of the General, and for His Majesty's service, and having some powerful
interest at court, despis'd the threats and they were never put in
execution.  . . . [Unfinished].


Ending, as it does, with the year 1757, the autobiography leaves
important facts un-recorded.  It has seemed advisable, therefore, to
detail the chief events in Franklin's life, from the beginning, in the
following list:

1706    He is born, in Boston, and baptized in the Old South Church.

1714    At the age of eight, enters the Grammar School.

1716    Becomes his father's assistant in the tallow-chandlery business.

1718    Apprenticed to his brother James, printer.

1721    Writes ballads and peddles them, in printed form, in the
        streets; contributes, anonymously, to the "New England
        Courant," and temporarily edits that paper; becomes a
        free-thinker, and a vegetarian.

1723    Breaks his indenture and removes to Philadelphia; obtaining
        employment in Keimer's printing-office; abandons vegetarianism.

1724    Is persuaded by Governor Keith to establish himself
        independently, and goes to London to buy type; works at his trade
        there, and publishes "Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity,
        Pleasure and Pain."

1726    Returns to Philadelphia; after serving as clerk in a dry goods
        store, becomes manager of Keimer's printing-house.

1727    Founds the Junto, or "Leathern Apron" Club.

1728    With Hugh Meredith, opens a printing-office.

1729    Becomes proprietor and editor of the "Pennsylvania Gazette";
        prints, anonymously, "Nature and Necessity of a Paper Currency";
        opens a stationer's shop.

1730    Marries Rebecca Read.

1731    Founds the Philadelphia Library.

1732    Publishes the first number of "Poor Richard's Almanac" under
        the pseudonym of "Richard Saunders." The Almanac, which
        continued for twenty-five years to contain his witty,
        worldly-wise sayings, played a very large part in bringing
        together and molding the American character which was at
        that time made up of so many diverse and scattered types.

1738    Begins to study French, Italian, Spanish, and Latin.

1736    Chosen clerk of the General Assembly; forms the Union Fire
        Company of Philadelphia.

1737    Elected to the Assembly; appointed Deputy Postmaster-General;
        plans a city police.

1742    Invents the open, or "Franklin," stove.

1743    Proposes a plan for an Academy, which is adopted 1749 and
        develops into the University of Pennsylvania.

1744    Establishes the American Philosophical Society.

1746    Publishes a pamphlet, "Plain Truth," on the necessity for
        disciplined defense, and forms a military company; begins
        electrical experiments.

1748    Sells out his printing business; is appointed on the
        Commission of the Peace, chosen to the Common Council,
        and to the Assembly.

1749    Appointed a Commissioner to trade with the Indians.

1751    Aids in founding a hospital.

1752    Experiments with a kite and discovers that lightning is an
        electrical discharge.

1753    Awarded the Copley medal for this discovery, and elected a
        member of the Royal Society; receives the degree of M.A.
        from Yale and Harvard.  Appointed joint Postmaster-General.

1754    Appointed one of the Commissioners from Pennsylvania to the
        Colonial Congress at Albany; proposes a plan for the union
        of the colonies.

1755    Pledges his personal property in order that supplies may be
        raised for Braddock's army; obtains a grant from the Assembly
        in aid of the Crown Point expedition; carries through a bill
        establishing a voluntary militia; is appointed Colonel,
        and takes the field.

1757    Introduces a bill in the Assembly for paving the streets of
        Philadelphia; publishes his famous "Way to Wealth"; goes to
        England to plead the cause of the Assembly against the
        Proprietaries; remains as agent for Pennsylvania; enjoys the
        friendship of the scientific and literary men of the kingdom.


1760    Secures from the Privy Council, by a compromise, a decision
        obliging the Proprietary estates to contribute to the public

1762    Receives the degree of LL.D. from Oxford and Edinburgh; returns
        to America.

1763    Makes a five months' tour of the northern colonies for the
        Purpose of inspecting the post-offices.

1764    Defeated by the Penn faction for reelection to the Assembly;
        sent to England as agent for Pennsylvania.

1765    Endeavors to prevent the passage of the Stamp Act.

1766    Examined before the House of Commons relative to the
        passage of the Stamp Act; appointed agent of Massachusetts,
        New Jersey, and Georgia; visits Gottingen University.

1767    Travels in France and is presented at court.

1769    Procures a telescope for Harvard College.

1772    Elected Associe Etranger of the French Academy.

1774    Dismissed from the office of Postmaster-General; influences
        Thomas Paine to emigrate to America.

1775    Returns to America; chosen a delegate to the Second Continental
        Congress; placed on the committee of secret correspondence;
        appointed one of the commissioners to secure the cooperation
        of Canada.

1776    Placed on the committee to draft a Declaration of Independence;
        chosen president of the Constitutional Committee of Pennsylvania;
        sent to France as agent of the colonies.

1778    Concludes treaties of defensive alliance, and of amity and
        commerce; is received at court.

1779    Appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to France.

1780    Appoints Paul Jones commander of the "Alliance."

1782    Signs the preliminary articles of peace.

1783    Signs the definite treaty of peace.

1785    Returns to America; is chosen President of Pennsylvania;
        reelected 1786.

1787    Reelected President; sent as delegate to the convention for
        framing a Federal Constitution.

1788    Retires from public life.

1790    April 17, dies.  His grave is in the churchyard at Fifth and
        Arch streets, Philadelphia.  Editor.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin" ***

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