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ed, that, when I afterwards succeeded him in the postoffice, 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 by mathematics. Mrs. Godfrey formed a wish of marrying me 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 addresses, by inviting me continually to supper, and leaving us together, till at last it was time to come to an explanation. Mrs. Godfrey undertook to negociate 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 my debt for my printing materials. It was then, I believe, not more than a hundred pounds. She brought me 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 of this was, after a few days interval, that they did not approve of the match; that they had consulted Bradford, and found that the business of a printer was not lucrative ; that my letters would soon be worn out, and must be supplied by new ones; that Keimer and Harry had failed, and that, probably, I should do so too. Accordingly they forbade me 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 too far engaged for us to desist, and that we should contrive to marry secrectly, 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 favourably disposed towards 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 to marriage, 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 kept up a friendly intimacy with the family of Miss Read. Her parents had retained an affection for me from the time of my lodging in their house. I was often invited 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 seeking solitude. I regarded my forgetfulness and inconstancy, during my abode in London, as the principal cause of her misfortune ; though her mother had the candour to attribute the fault to herself, rather than to me, because, after having prevented our marriage previous 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 considered indeed, as not being valid, the man having, it was said, a former wife still living in England; but of
this it was difficult to obtain a proof at so great a dis. tance; 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 the 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 mutual 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 ta
We held our meetings at the house of Mr. Grace, who appropriated a room to the purpose.-Some members observed one day, that as our books were frequently quoted in the course of our discussions, it would be convenient to have them collected 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 nearly be the same as if he possessed them himself. The idea was approved, and we accordingly brought such books as we thought we could spare, which were placed at the end of the club-room. They amounted not to so many as we expected; and though we made considerable use of them, yet some inconveniences resulting, from want of care, it was agreed, after about a year, to destroy the collection, and each took away such books as belonged to him.
It was now that I first started the idea of establishing by subscription, a public library. I drew up the proposals, had them ingrossed in form by Brockden the attorney, and my project succeeded, as will be seen in the sequel
[The life of Dr. Franklin, as written by himself, so far as it has yet been communicated to the world, breaks off in this place. We have no hesitation in supposing that every reader will find himself greatly interested by the frank simplicity and the philosophical discernment by which these pages are so eminently characterized. We have therefore thought proper, in order as much as possible to relieve his regret, to subjoin the following continuation, by one of the doctor's intimate friends, Dr. Stuber,* of Philadelphia.}
CONTINUATION OF FRANKLIN'S LIFE.
BY DR. STUBER.
The promotion of literature had been little attended to in Pennsylvania. Most of the inhabitants were too much immersed in business to think of scien
* Dr. Stuber was born in Philadelphia, of German parents. He was sent, at an early age, to the university, where his genius, diligence, and amiable temper soon acquired him the particular notice and favor of those under whose immediate direction he was placed. After passing through the common course of study, in a much shorter time than usual, he left the university, at the age of sixteen, with great reputation. Not long after, he entered on the study of physic; and the zeal with which he pursued it, and the advances he made, gave his friends reason to form the most flattering prospects of his future eminence and usefulness in the profession. As Dr. Stuber's circumstances were very moderate, he did not think his pursuit well calculated to answer them. He therefore relinquished it, after he had obtained a degree in the profession, and qualified himself to practice with credit and suco cess : and immediately entered on the study of Law. In pursuit of the last-mentioned object, he was prematurely arrested, before he had an opportunity of reaping the fruits of those talents with which he was endowed, and of a youth spent in the ardent and successful pursuit of useful and elegant literature
tfic pursuits ; and those few, whose inclinations led them to study, found it difficult to gratify them, from the want of sufficiently large libraries. In such circumstances, the establishment of a public library was an important event. This was first set on foot by Franklin, about the year 1731. Fifty persons subscribed forty shillings each, and agreed to pay ten shillings annually. The number increased ; and in 1742, the company was incorporated by the name of “ The Library Company of Philadelphia.” Several other companies were formed in this city in imitation of it. These were all at length united with the library company of Philadelphia, which thus received a considerable accession of books and property.
It now contains about 8,000 volumes* on all subjects, a philosophical apparatus, and a good beginning towards a collection of natural and artificial curiosities, besides landed property of considerable value. The company have an elegant library-house, corner of Fifth and Liberty streets, in front of which is a marble statue of its founder, Dr. Franklin.
This institution was greatly encouraged by the friends of literature in America and in Great-Britain. The Penn family distinguished themselves by their donations. Among the earliest friends of this institution must be mentioned the late Peter Collinson, the friend and correspondent of Dr. Franklin. He not only made considerable presents himself, and obtained others from his friends, but voluntarily undertook to manage the business of the company in London, recommending books, purchasing and shipping them. His extensive knowledge, and zeal for the promotion of science, enabled him to execute this important trust with the greatest advantage. He continued to perform these services for more than thirty years, and uniformly refused to accept of any compensation. During this time, he communicated to the directors every in
* In 1817, it was more than 12,000 volumes.--Pub.