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other that gave the air of positiveness to a doctrine or sentiment, but to substitute “ I conceive" or apprehend” a thing to be so and so," or “ it is so, if I am not mistaken," “This habit, I believe,” says be, “ has been of great advantage to me, when I have had occasion to inculo cate my opinions, and persuade men into measures, that I have been from time to time engaged in promoting.”
Men must be taught, as if you taught them not,
And things unknown proposed as things forgot. Franklin early obtained that dominion over his appetite which is so important a step in moral discipline. Of this a remarkable instance was the effect produced upon him by reading in his sixteenth year, a treatise by one Tryon, recommending a vegetable diet. He immediately discarded animal food ; and offering to his brother to maintain himself for half the sum paid for his board, he was able out of the money saved from this half to reserve a considerable fund for the purehase of books. “But,” he says, “I had another advantage. My brother and the rest going from the printing-house to their meals, I remained there alone, and, despatching presently my light repast, (which was often no more than a biscuit, or 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 clearness of head, and quicker apprehension which generally attend temperance in eating and drinking " Though Franklin afterwards rea laxed in the austerity of his diet, the habit of being contented with little and disregarding the gratifications of the palate, remained with him, through life ; proving highly advantageous to him on various occasions. Indeed, the account which he gives of his early life abounds with incidents and observations which render it a most precious example to young persons of whatever degree.
James Franklin set up a newspaper, and Benjamin ventured anonymously to send some pieces for insertion, and had the proud satisfaction of finding them applauded by the best judges in the place. His conscious merit probably made him more impatient under the harsh treatinent of his brother, who behaved more to him as a severe master than a kind relation. At length an arbitrary interdiction from the State to James, against his paper-- a political offence having been alleged caused Benjamin's name to be employed as publisher, and in consequence,
his indentures to be given up. He was obliged however, to sign a private agreement for serving out his term till he was twenty one years of age; but not at the time thinking himself strictly bound by the new arrangement, (which notion he acknowledges to have been a fault) he resolved on secretly quitting Boston, where in consequence of his connexion with his brother's paper, he had already rendered himself an object of suspicion to the governing party. Besides, he confesses that his indiscreet disputes upon the subject of religion-he having been led to doubt and scepticism by the perusal of certain deistical publications, began to be regarded by pious souls with horror, and himself as an apostate or atheist. Collins undertook to favour his flight. Accordingly he departed by sea for New York, having sold part of his books in order to be master of a small sum of money, and almost immediately proceeded to Philadelphia, which was a hundred miles farther. His journey to the latter city was not without incidents, some of them of a disheartening and trying nature; every new circumstance, as indeed throughout the whole of his life, proving to be an occasion of eliciting feelings or views which served to form his future character or shape his fortunes.
For example, during a squall, a drunken Dutchman who was a fellow passenger, fell over board. At the moment that he was sinking, Franklin seized him by the fore-top and drew him into the boat. The immersion sobered the man a little, so that he fell asleep, after having taken from his pocket a volume which he requested the youth to dry, This volume was Bunyan's Pilgrim, in Dutch, being a beautiful impression on fine paper, with copperplate engravings, a dress in which Franklin had never seen the work, even in its original language. Honest John was already a favorite with Franklin, and he remarks, after reciting the anecdote, that he was the first writer he knew of who has mixed narrative and dialogue together -a mode of composition, the autobiographer adds, that is very pleasing to the reader, who in the most interesting passages, finds himself admitted as it were into the company, and present at the conversation. The young philosopher was at the period described, only seventeen years of age.
ARRIVAL IN PHILADELPHIA. FRANKLIN's own description of his first eutrance into Philadelphia, where he afterwards was in so high a situation, is too curious to be omitted, “I was dirty”, says he, “ from my being so long in the boat.
pockets were stuffed out with shirts and stockings, and I knew no one, nor where to look for lodging, Fatigued with walking, rowing, and the want of sleep, I was very hungry; and my whole stock of cash consisted in a single dollar, and about a shilling in copper coin, which I gave to the boatmen for my passage. At first they refused, on account of my having rowed, but I insisted on their taking it. Man is sometimes more generous when he has little money, than when he has plenty; perhaps to prevent his being thought to have but little.
“I walked towards the top of the street gazing about till near Market Street, where I met a boy with bread. I had often made a meal of dry bread, and inquiring where he had bought it, I went immediately to the baker's, he directed me to. I asked for biscuits, meaning such as we had at Boston; that sort, it seems, was not made in Philadelphia. I then asked for a threepenny loaf, and was told they had none. Not knowing the different prices, nor the names of the different sorts of bread, I told him to give me three-penny worth of any sort. He gave me accordingly three great puffy rolls. I was surprised at the quantity, but took it, and, having no room in my pockets, walked 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.”
Having along with a draught of water, eaten one of the rolls, and given the other two away to a woman and her child, that had come down the river in the same boat with him, Franklin goes on to relate as follows :--- 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 was thereby led into the great meeting-house of the Quaker's near the market. I sat down among them, and after looking round awhile, and hearing nothing said, being very drowsy through labour, and want of rest the preceding night, I fell fast asleep, and continued so till the meeting broke up, when some one was kind enough to rouse me. This therefore, was the first house I was in, or slept in, in Philadelphia."
Franklin, notwithstanding this unpromising commencement, soon met with employment in his business from one Keimer, who united the professions of printer and author, as did the young adventurer; only this worthy son of the muses, had' not so ungratefully abandoned them. In fact he was composing verses in solid printing metal, not finding
them to require the crucible of writing or further thought; and with but a pair of cases, this metalic stream was proceeding solely out of “ one small head.” However, Franklin was the only pressman of the two, and found himself quickly the sole person in Philadelphia, who was well acquainted with the whole printing business. After getting Keimer's press into order, and working it for him, the worthy poet in metal provided for the youth a lodging at Mr. Read's, his own landlord ; and thus commenced Franklin's acquaintance with his future wife's family.
It was during his first voyage to Philadelphia, while they were becalmed off Block Island,--the crew employing themselves in catching cod,--that Franklin was cured of his youthful fancy to relinquish ani. mal food. “Till then,”-says the autobiography, “ I had stuck to my resolution to eat nothing that had had life; and on this occasion I considered according to my master Tryon, the taking of every fish as a kind of unprovoked murder, since none of them had, nor could do us any injury that might justify this massacre. All this seemed very reasonable. But I had been formerly a great lover of fish, and when it came out of the frying-pan it smelt admirably well. I balanced sometime between principle and inclination, till recollecting, that, when the fish were opened, I saw smaller fish taken out of their stomachs; then, thought I, 'If you eat one another, I don't see why we may not eat you:' so dined upon cod very heartily, and have since continued to eat as 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."
Franklin has bequeathed several diverting anecdotes about Keimer, with whom, he says, he lived on a pretty good familiar footing, agreeing tolerably well. “He retained a great deal of his old enthusiasm, and loved argumentation. We therefore had many disputations. I used to work him so with my Socratic method, and had trepanned him so often by questions so apparently distant from any point we had in hand, yet by degrees leading to the point and bringing him into difficulties and contradictions, that at last he grew ridiculously cautious, and would hardly answer me the most common question, without asking Arst, 'what do you intend to infer from that. However it gave him such 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 apponents. 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 essential with him. I disliked both; but agreed to them on condition of his adopting the doctrine of not using animal food. 'I doubt,' said he, 'my constitution will not bear it. I assured him it would, and that he should be the better for it. He was usually a great eater, and I wished to give myself some diversion in half starving him. He consented to try the practice, if I would keep him company. I did so, and we had it for three months. Our provisions were purchased, cooked, and brought to us regularly by a woman in the neighbourhood, who had from me a list of forty dishes, which she prepared for us at different times in which there entered neither fish, flesh, nor fowl. This whim suited me the better, as 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 greivously, grew tired of the project, longed for the fleshpots of Egypt, and ordered a roast pig. He invited me and two women friends to dine with him ; but it being brought too soon to table, he could not resist the temptation, and ate the whole before we came.”
In Philadelphia, Franklin soon contracted an acquaintance with several young men fond of reading, in whose society he spent his evenings, and improved his literary taste. He has left a character of his three principle associates at this time, which throws considerable light on his own. Watson, according to the autobiographer's description, was & religious, intelligent, and very worthy youth; the other two, Ralph and Osborne, were unsettled in their religious principles, chiefly by his own arguments. The whole party were of course professed critics, and Ralph and Osborne poetical enthusiasts.
After some time Franklin became known to Sir William Keith, the governor of the province, who took much notice of him. Keith had accidentally seen the young printer's first letter from Philadelphia to his parents, and was impressed 80 favourably with its contents as to declare that he