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House of Assembly a majority for the measure, it passed. The friends I had acquired in the House, persuaded that I had done the country essential ser. vice on this occasion, rewarded me by giving me the printing of the bills. It was a lucrative employment, and proved a very seasonable help to me, another advantage which I derived from having habituated myself to write.
Time and experience so fully demonstrated the utility of paper currency, that it never after expe rienced any considerable opposition; so that it soon amounted to 55,0001. and in the year 1739 to 80,0001. It has since risen, during the last war, to 350,0001. trade, buildings, and population, having in the interval continually increased : but I am now convinced that there are limits beyond which paper money would be prejudicial.
I soon after obtained, by the influence of my friend Hamilton, the printing of the Newcastle paper money, another profitable work, as I then thought it, little things appearing great to persons of moderate fortune; and they were really great to me, as proving great en. courageinents. He also procured me the printing of the laws and votes of that government, which I retained as long as I continued in the business.
I now opened a small stationer's shop. I kept bonds and agreements of all kinds, drawn up in a more accurate form than had vet been seen in that part of the world; a work in which I was assisted by my friend Breintnal. I had also paper, parchment, pasteboard, books, &c. One Whitemash, an excel. lent compositor, whom I had known in London, came to offer himself: I engaged him ; and he continued constantly and diligently to work with me. I also took an apprentice, the son of Aquila Rose.
I began to pay, by degrees, the debt I had contracted; and, in order to insure my credit and character as a tradesman, I took care not only to be really in dustrious and frugal, but also to avoid every appear ance of the contrary. I was plainly dressed, and never seen in any place of public amusement. I never went a fishing or hunting. A book, indeed, enticed me sometimes from my work, but it was seldom,
by stealih, and occasioned no scandal; and, to show that I did not think myself above my profession, I conveyed home sontetimes in a wheelbarrow, the paper I had purchased at the warehouses.
I thus obtained the reputation of being an indus. trious young man, and very punctual in his payments. The merchants, who imporled articles of stationary, solicited my custom; others offered to furnish me vith books, and my little trade went on prosperously.
Meanwhile, the credit and business of Keimer diminishing every day, he was at last forced to seil his stock to satisfy his creditors; and he betook himself to Barbadoes, where he lived for some time in a very impoverished state. His apprentice, David Harry, whom I had instructed while I worked with Keimer, haging bought his materials, succeeded him in the bu. siness. I was apprehensive, at first, of finding in Harry a powerful competitor, as he was al ied to an opulent and respectable family; I therefore proposed a partnership, which, happily for me, he rejected with disdain. He was extremely proud, thought himself a fine gentleman, lived extravagantly, and pursued amusements which suffered him to be scarcely ever at home; of consequence he became in debt, neglected his business, and business neglected him. Finding in a short time, nothing to do in the country he followed Keimer to Barbadoes, carrying his printing materials with him. There the apprentice employed his old master as a journeyınan. They were continually quarrelling; and Harry, still getting in debt, was obliged, at last, to seil his press and types, and return to his old occupation of husbandry in Pennsylvania. The person who purchased them, employed Keimer to manage the business: but he died a few years after
I had now at Philadelphia, no competitor but Brad ford, who, being in easy circumstances, did not engage in the printing of books, except now and then as workmen chanced to offer themselves; and was not anxious to extend his trade. He had, however, one advantage over nie, as he had the direction of the post-office, and was, of consequence, supposed to have better opportunities of obtaining news. His paper was also supposed to be more advantageous to adverusing customers; and, in consequence of that suppo sition, his advertisements were much more numerous than mine: this was a source of great profit to him, and disadvantageous to me. It was to no purpose that I really procured other papers, and distributed iny own, by means of the post; and the public took zor granted, my inability in this respect; and I was, indeed, unable to conquer it in any other mode than by bribing the post-boys, who served me only by stealth, Bradford being so illibera, as to forbid them. This treatment of his excited my l'esentinent; and any disgust was so rooted, that, when I afterwards succeeded him in the post-office, I took care to avoid copying his example.
I had hitherto continued to board with Godfrey, who, with his wife and children, occupied part of my house, and half of the shop for his business; at which, indeed, he worked very little, being always absorbed hy mathicmatics. Mrs. Godfrey formed a wish of marrying nie to the daughter of one of her relations. She contrived various opportunities of bringing us together, till she saw that I was captivated; which was not difficult; the lady in question possessing great personal merit. The parents encouraged my acdresses, by inviting m; continually to supper, and leaving us toger.cer, till at last it was time to come to an explanation. Mrs. Godfrey undertook to negotiate our little treaty. I gave her to understand, that I expected to receive with the young lady, a sum of money that would enable me, at least, to discharge the remainder of the debt for my printing materials. It was then, I believe, not more than a hundred pounds. She brought ne for answer, that they had no such sum at their disposal. I observed that it might easily be obtained, by a mortgage on their house. The reply to this, was, after a few days interval, that they did not approve of the match; that they had consulted Bradiord, and found that the business of a printer was not lucrative; that iny letters would soon be worn out, and must be supplied ly new ones; that Keimer and Harry had failed, and that, probabiy, I should do so too. Accordingly they forbade ine the house and the young lady was confined. I know
not if they had really changed their minds, or if it was merely an artifice, supposing our affections to be 100 far engaged for us to desist, and that we should contrive to marry secretiy, which would leave them at liberty to give or not, as they pleased. But, suspecting this motive, I never went again to their house
Some time after, Mrs. Godfrey informed me that they were favourabiy disposed toward me, and wished me to renew the acquaintance; but I declared a firm resolution never to have any thing more to do with the family. The Godfreys expressed some resentment at this; and as we could no longer agree, they changed their residence, leaving me in possession of the whole house. I then resolved to take no more lodgers. This affair having turned my thoughts 10 mariage, I looked around me, and made overtures of alliance in other quarters, but I soon found that the profession of a printer, being generally looked upon as a poor trade, I could expect no money with a wife, at least, if I wished her to possess any other charm. Meanwhile, that passion of youth, so difficult to govern, had often drawn me into intrigues with despicable women who fell in my way; which were not unaccompanied with expense and inconvenience, besides the perpetual risk of injuring my health, and catching a disease which I dreaded above all things. But I was fortunate enough to escape this danger.
As a neighbour and old acquaintance, I had kept up a friendly intimacy with the family of Miss Road. Her parents had retained an affection for me fron, the time of my lodging in their house. I was often in. vited thither; they consulted me about their affairs, and I had been sometimes serviceable to them. I was touched with the unhappy situation of their daughter, who was almost always melancholy, and continually secking solitude. I regarded my forgetfulness and inconstancy, during my abode in London, as the principal part of her misfortune, though her mother had the cândour to attribute the fault to berself, rather than to me, because, after having prevented our mar. riage previously to my departure, she had induced her to marry another in my absence. · Our mutual affection revived; but there existed
great obstacles to our union Her marriage was con sidered, indeed, as not being valid, the man having, st was said, a former wife still living in England ; but of this it was difficult to obtain a proof at so great a distance; and though a report prevailed of his being dead, yet we had no certainty of it; and, supposing it to be true, he had left many debts, for the payment of which his successor might be sued. We ventured, nevertheless, in spite of all these difficulties; and I married her on tiie 1st of September, 1730. None of the inconveniences we had feared, happened to us. She proved to me a good and faithful companion, and contributed essentially to the success of my shop. We prospered together, and it was our inutual study to render each other happy. Thus I corrected, as well as I could, this great error of my youth.
Our club was not at that time established at a tavern. We held our meetings at the house of Mr. Grace, who appropriated a room to the purpose. Some inember observed, one day, that as our books were frequently quoted in the course of our discus
in the room in which we assembled, in order to be consulted upon occasion ; and that, by thus forming a common library of our individual collections, each would have the advantage of using the books of all the other members, which would neariy be the same as if he possessed them all himself. The idea was app overt, and we accordingly brouglit such books as we inought we could spare, which were placed at the end of the club-room. They amounted not to su many as we expected, and though we inade considerable use of them, yet some inconveniences resulting, from want of care, it was agreed, after about a year, o discontinue the collection; and each took away uch bool.s as belonged to him.
It was now that i first started the idea of establishing, by subscription, a public library. I drew up tho
roposals, bad them engrossed in form by Brockden, ne attorney, and my project succeeded, as will be er in the sequel. * * * * * * * * * *
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