Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Hisputes upon the subject of religion, I began to be regarded by pious souls, with horror, either as an apostate or an atheist. I came therefore to a resolution : but my father, siding with my brother, 1 presumed that if I attempted to depart openly, ineasures would be taken to prevent me. My friend Collins undertook to favour my flight. He agreed for my pas. sage with a captain of a New-York sloop, to whom he represented me as a young man of his a uaintance, who had an affair with a girl of bad character, whose parents wished to compel me to inarry her, and Of consequence I could neither inake my appearance, nor go off publicly. I sold part of my books to procure a small sum of money, and went privately on board the sloop. By favour of a good wind, i found inyself in thiee days at New-York, nearly three hun. dred miles from my home, at the age only of seventeen years, without knowing an individual in the place, and with very little money in my pocket.

The inclination I had felt for a sea-faring life was entirely subsided, or I should now have been able to gratify it; but, having another trade, and believing myself to be a tolerable workman, I hesitated not to offer my services to the old Mr. William Bradford, who had been the first printer in Pennsylvania, but had quitted the province on account of a quarrel with George Keith, the governor. He could not give me employnent himself, having little to do, and already as niany persons as he wanted; but he told me that his son, printer at Philadelphia, had lately lost his principal workman, Aquila Rose, who was dead, and ebat if I would go thither, he believed that he would engage me. Philadelphia was a hundred miles farther. I he. sitated not to embark in a boat in order to repair, by the shortest cut of the sea, to Amboy, leaving my trumk and effects to come after me by the usual and more tedious conveyance. In crossing the bay we inet with a squall, which shattered to pieces our rotten sails, prevented us from entering the Kill, and threw us upon Long Island.

During the squall, a drunken Dutchman, who, like myself, was a passenger in the boat, fell into the sea. Ai the moment that he was sinking, I seized hiin by the fore-top, saved him, and drew him on board. This immersion sobered him a little, so that he fell asleep, after having taken from his pocket a volume which he requested me to dry. This volume I found to be my old favourite work, Bunyan's Pilgrim, in Dutch, a beautiful impression on fine paper, with copper-plate engravings; a dress in which I had never seen it in its original language. I have since learned that it has been translated into almost all the languages of Europe, anzi, next to the Bible, I am persuaded it is one of the books that has had the greatest spread. Honest John is the first, that I know of, who has mixed narYative and dialogue together; a mode of writing very engaging to the reader, who in the most interesting passages finds himself admitted, as it were, into the company, and present at the conversation. De Foe has imitated it with success in his Robinson Crusoe, bis Moll Flanders, and other works; as also Richard. son in his Pamela, &c.

In approaching the island, we found that we had made a part of the coast where it was not possible to land, on account of the strong brcaxers produred by the rocky shore. We cast anchor and veered the ca ble towards the shore. Some men who stood upon the brink, halloed to us, while we did the same on our part; but the wind was so high, and the waves so noisy, that we could neither of us hear each owier. . There were some canoes upon the bank, and we called out to them, and made signs to prevail on them to come and take us up; but either they did not understand us, or they deemed our request in practicable, and withdrew. Night came on, and nothing remained for us but to wait quietly the subsiding of the wind; till when, we determined, that is, the pilot and I, to sleep if possible. For that purpose we went below the haiches along with the Dutchman, who was drenched with water. The sea broke over the boat, and reached us in our retreat, so that we were presently as completely drenched as he.

We had very little repose during the whole night; but the wind abating the next day, we succeeded in ruaching Amboy before it was dark, after having pagsed thirty hours without provisions, and with no other drink than a bottle of bad rum, the water upon which we rowed being salt. In the evening I went to bed with a very violent fever. I had somewhere read that cold water, drank plentifully, was a remedy in such cases. I followed the prescription, was in a profuse sweat for the greater part of the night, and the fever left ine. The next day I crossed the river iu a ferry. boat, and continued my journey on foot. I had fifty miles to walk, in order to reach Burlington, where I was told I should find passage-boats that would convey me to Philadelphia. It rained hard the whole day, so that I was wet to the skin. Finding niyself fatigued about noon, I stopped at a paltry inn, where I passed the rest of the day and the whole night, beginning to regret that I had quitted my home. I made besides so wretched a figure, that I was suspected to be some runaway servant. This I discovered by the questions that were asked me; and I felt that I was every moment in danger of being taken up as such. The next day, however, I continued my journey, and arrived in the evening at an inn, eight or ten miles from Burlingto”, that was kept by one Dr. Brown.

This man entered into conversation with me while I took some refreshinent, and perceiving that I had read a little, he expressed towards me considerable interest and friendship. Our acquaintance continued during the remainder of his life. I believe him to have been what is called an itinerant doctor; for there was no town in England, or indeed in Europe, of which he could not give a particular account. He was neither deficient in understanding or literature, but he was a sad infidel; and, some years after, wickedly undertook to travesty the Bible, in burlesque verse, as Cot. ton travestied Virgil. He exhibited, by this means, many facts in a very ludicrous point of view, which would have given umbrage to weak minds, had his work been published, which it never was.

I spent the night at his house, and reached Burlingo ton the next morning. On my arrival, I had the inorrification to learn that the ordinary passage-boats bad sailed a little before. This was on a Saturday, and there would be no other boat till the Tuesday follow. ing. I returned to the house of an old woman in the town, who had sold me some gingerbread to eat on my passage, and I asked her advice. She invited me to take up my abode with her till an opportunity offered for ine to embark. Fatigued with having travelled so far on foot, I accepted her invitation. When she understood that I was a printer, she would have persuaded me to stay at Burlington, and set up my trade; but she was little aware of the capital that would be necessary for such a purpose! I was treated while at her house with true hospitality. She gave me, with the utmost good-will, a dinner of beef-steaks, and would accept of nothing in retum but a pint of ale.

Here I imagined myself to be fixed till the Tuesday in the ensuing week ; but, walking out in the evening by the river side, I saw a boat with a number of persons in it approach. It was going to Philadelphia, and the company took me in. As there was no wind, we could only make way with our oars. About midnight, not perceiving the town, some of the company were of opinion that we must have passed it, and were unwilling to row any farther; the rest not knowing where we were, it was resolved that we should stop. We drew towards the shore, entered a creek, and lande: near some old palisades, which served us for firewood, it being a cold night in October. Here we staid till day, when one of the company found the place in which we were to be Cooper's Creek, a little above Philadelphia; which, in reality we perceived the moment we were out of the creek. We arrived on Sunday about eight or nine o'clock in the morning, and landed on Market-street wharf.

I have entered into the particulars of my voyage, and shall, in like manner, describe my first entrance into this city, that you may compare beginnings so little auspicious, with the figure I have since made.

On my arrival at Philadelphia I was in my working dress, iny best clothes being to come by sea. I was covered with dirt; my pockets were filled with shirts and stockings; I was unacquainted with a single soui in the place, and knew not where to look for a lodg. ing. Fatigued with walking, rowing, and having passed the night without sleep, I was extremely hungry, and all ny inoney consisted of a Dutch dollar, and

about a shilling's worth of coppers, which I gave to the boatmen for my passage. As I had assisted them in rowing, they refused it at first; but I insisted on their taking it. A man is sometimes more generous when he has little, than when he has much money; probably because, in the first case, he is desirous of concealing his poverty.

I walked towards the top of the street, looking eaį gerly on both sides, till i came to Market-street, where

I met with a child with a loaf of bread. Often had · I made my dinner on dry bread. I inquired where

he had bought it, and went straight to the baker's shop which he pointed out to me. I asked for some Liscuits, expecting to find such as we had at Boston; but they made, it seems, none of that sort at i hiladelphia. I then asked for a three-nenny loaf. They made no loaves of that price. Finding myself ignorant of the prices, as well as of the different kind of bread, I desired him to let me have three-pennyworth of bread of some kind or other. He gave me three large rolls. I was surprised at receiving so ruch I took them, however, and having no room in my pockets, I walked on with a roll under each arm, eating the third. In this manner I went through Market-street to Fourth-street, and passed the house of Mr. Read, the father of my future wife. She was standing at the door, observed me, and thought with reason, that I made a very singular and grotesque an. pearance.

I then turned the correr, and went thrsagh ChestDut-street, eating my roll all the way; and having made this round, I found myseif again on Market. street wart, near the boat in which I arrived. I stepped into it to take a dravght of the river water; and, finding myself satisfied with the first roll, I gave the other two to a woman and her child, who had come down the river with us in the boat, and was waiting to continue her journey. Thus refreshed, I regained the street, which was now full of well dressed people, all going the same way. I joined them, and was thus lec w a large Quaker meeting-house near the market-place. I sat down with the rest, and, aftc: louisking round me for some thine, hearing nothing said,

« ZurückWeiter »