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him for a compositor. I shall speak more of him presently.
Lastly, David Harry, a country lad, who was apprenticed to nim.
I soon perceived that Keimer's intention, in engaging me at a price so much above what he was accus. tomed te give, was, that I might form all these raw journeymen and apprentices, who scarcely cost him any thing, and who, being indentured, would, as soon as they should be sufficiently instructed, enable him to do without me. I nevertheless adhered to my igreement. I put the office in order, which was in the utmost confusion, and brought his people, by degrees, to pay attention to their work, and to execute it in a more masterly style.
It was singular to see an Oxford scholar in the conuition of a purchased servant. He was not more than eighteen years of age; and the following are the particulars he gave me of himself. Born at Gloucester, he had been educated at a grammar-school, and had distinguished himself among the scholars, by his suDerior style of acting, when they represented drama· tic performances. He was member of a literary club in the town ; and some pieces of his composition, in prose as well as in verse, had been inserted in the Gloucester papers. From hence he was sent to Oxford, where he remained about a year; but he was not contented, and wished above all things to see London, and become an actor. At length, having received fifteen guineas to pay bis quarter's board, he decamped with the money from Oxford, hid his gown in a hedge, and travelled to London. There, having no friend to direct him, he fell into bad company, soon squandered his fifteen guineas, could find no way of being introduced to the actors, became contemptible, pawned his clothes, and was in want of bread. As he was walking along the streets, almost famished with hunger, and not knowing what to do, a recruiting bill was put into his hand, which offered an immediate treat and bounty-money to whoever was disposed to serve in America. He instantly repaired to the house of rendezvous, enlisted himself, was put on board a ship, and conveyed to Ainerica,
without ever writing a line to inform his parents what was become of him. His inental vivacity, and good natural disposition, made him an excellent cornpanion; but he was indolent, thoughtless, and to the last degree imprudent.
John, the Irishman, soon ran away. I began to live very agreeably with the rest. They respected me, and the more so as they found Keiner incapable of instructing them, and as they learned something from me every day. We never worked on a Saturday, it being Keimer's sabbath; so that I had two days a-week for reading
I increased my icquaintance with persons of know. ledge and inforination in the town. Keimer himself treated are with great civility and apparent esteem; and I had nothing to give me uneasiness, but my debi to Vernon, which was unable to pay, my savings as yet being very little. He bad the goodness, however, not to ask me for the muncy.
Our press was frequently in want of the necessary quantity of letter; and there was no such trade as that of letter-founder in America. I had seen the practice of this art at the house of James, in London ; hut had, at the time, paid it very little attention. í however contrived to fabricate a mould. I made use of such letters as we had for punches, founded new letters of lead in matrices of clay, and thus supplied, in a tolerable manner, the wants that were most pressing.
I also, upon occasion, engraved various ornaments, made nuk, gave an eye to the shop; in short, I was, in every respect, the factotum. But useful as I macje myself, I perceived that my services became every day of less importance, in proportion as the other men improved; and when Keimer paid me my second quarter's wages, he gave me to understand that they were too heavy, and that he thought I ought to make an abatement. He became by degrees less civil, and assumed more the tone of master. He frequently found fault, was difficult to please, and seemed al ways on the point of coming to an open quarrel with me.
I contimed, tiowever, to bear it patiently, conceiy
ing that his ill-humour was partly occasioned by the derangement and embarrassment of his affairs. At last a slight incident broke our connexion. Hearing a noise in the neighbourhood, I put my head out at the window to see what was the matter. Keimer being in the street, observed me, and, in a loud and angry tone, wld me to mind my work; adding some reproachful words, which piqued me the more, as they were uttered in the street, and the neighbours, whom the same noise had attracted to the windows, were witnesses of the manner in which I was treated. He immediately came up to the printing-room, and continued to exclaim against me. The quarrel became warm on both sides, and he gave me notice to quit him at the expiration of three inonths, as had been agreed upon between us; regretting that he was obliged to give me so long a term. I told him that bis regret was superfluous, as I was ready to quit him instantly; and I took my hat and came out of the house, begging Meredith to take care of some things whicn I left, and bring them to my lodgings.
Meredith canie to me in the evening. We talked for some time upon the quarrel that had taken place. He had conceived a great veneration for me, and was sorry I should quit the house while he remained in it. He dissuaded me from returning to my native country, as í began to think of doing. He reminded me that Keimer owed ne miore than he possessed: that his creditors began to he alarmed ; that he kept his shop in a wretched state, often selling things at prime cost, for the sake of ready money, and continually giving credit without keeping any accounts; that of consequence, he must very soon fail, which would occasion a vacancy from which I night derive advantage. I objected my want of money. Upon which he insorined me that his father had a very high opininn of me, and, from a conversation that had passed between them, he was sure that he would advance whatever might be necessary to establish us, if I was willing to enter into partnership with him. “My time with Keimer," added he, « will be at an end next spring. In the mean tiine we may send to Loudon for cur press and types. I know that I am 110
workman; but if you agree to the proposal, your skill in the business will be balanced by the capital I shall furnish, and we will share the profits equally." His proposal was seaconable, and I fell in with it. His father, who was then in the town, approved of it. He knew that I had some ascendancy over his son, as I had been able to prevail on han to abstain a long time from drinking brandy: and he hoped that, when more closely connected with him, I should cure him entirely of this unfortunate habit.
I gave the father a list of what it would be necessary to import from London. He took it to a merchant, and the order was given. We agreed to keep the secret till the arrival of the materials, and I was in the mean time to procure work, if possible, in another printing-house; but there was no piace vacant, and I remained idle. After some days, Keimer having the expectation of being employed to print some NewJersey money bills, that would require types and engravings which I only could fumish, and fearful that Bradford, by cogaging me, might deprive him of this undertaking, sent me a very civil message, telling me that old friends ought not to be disunited on acc of a few words, which were the effect only of a momentary passion, and inviting me to return to him. Meredith persuaded me to comply with the invitation, particularly as it would afford him more opportunities of improving himself in the business by means of my instructions. I did so; and we lived upon better terms than before our separation.
He obtained the New-Jersey business; and, in or. der to execute it, I constructed a copper-plate printing. press, the first that had been seen in the country. I engraved various ornaments and vignettes for the bills; and we repaired to Burlington together, where I executed the whole to general satisfaction; and he receive ed a sum of money for this work, which enabled him to keep his head above water for a considerable time longer
At Burlington I formed an acquaintance with the principal personages of the province; many of whom were commissioned by the Assembly to superintend the press, and to see that no more bills were printed than the law had prescribed. Accordingly they were constantly with us, each in his turn; and he that came, cominonly brought with him a friend or two to bear him company. My mind was more cultivated by reading than Keimer's; and it was for this reason, prbably, that they set more value on my conversation. They took me to their houses, introduced me to their friends, ard treated me with the greatest civility; while Keimer, though master, saw himself a little neglected. He was, in fact, a strange animal, ignorant of the cominon modes of life, apt io oppose with rudeness gen erally received opinions, an enthusiast in certain points of religion, disgustingly unclean in his person, and a little knavish withal.
We remained there nearly three months; and at the expiration of this period I could include in the list of my friends, Judge Allen, Samuel Bustil, secretary of the province, Isaac Pearson, Joseph Cooper, several of the Smiths, all members of the Assembly, and Isaac Decon, inspector-general. The last was a shrewd and subtle old man. He told me, that when a boy, his first employment had been that of carrying clay to brick-makers; that he did not learn to write till he was somewhat advanced in life; that he was afterwards ernployed as an underling to a surveyor, who taught him this trade, and that by industry he had at last acquired a competent fortune. «I foresee,' said he one day to me “ that you will soon supplant this man (speaking of Keimer,) and get a fortune in the business at Philadelphia." He was totally igno. rant at the time, of my intention of establishing myself there, or any where else. These friends were very serviceable to me in the end, as I was also, upon occasion, to some of them; and they have continued ever since their esteem for me.
Before I relate the particulars of my entrance into business, it may be proper to inform you what was at that time the state of my mind as to moral principles, that you may see the degree of influence they had upon the subsequent events of my life.
My parents had given me betimes religious impressions, and I received from my infancy a pious education in the principles of Calvanism. Büt scarveis