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sed to be the uses, in order to sehaving roa
epoke of his intention of settling me in business as a point that was decided. I was to take with me letters of recommendation to a number of his friends; and particularly a letter of credit, in order to obtain the necessary sum for the purchase of my press, types, and paper. He appointed various times for me to come for these letters, which would certainly be ready; and, when I came, always put me off to another day.
These successive delays continued till the vessel, whose departure had been several times deferred, was on the point of getting sail; when I again went to Sir William's house, to receive my letters and take leave of him. I saw his secretary, Dr. Bard, who told me, that the Governor was extremely busy writing, but that he would be down at Newcastle before the vessel, and that the letters would be delivered to me there.
Ralph, though he was married and had a child, determined to accompany me in this voyage. His object was supposed to be the establishing a correspondence with some mercantile houses, in order to sell goods by commission ; but I afterwards learned that, having reason to be dissatisfied with the parents of his wife, he proposed to himself to leave her on their hands, and never to return to America again.
Having taken leave of my friends, and interchanged promises of fidelity with Miss Read, I quitted Philadelphia. At Newcastle the vessel came to anchor. The Governor was arrived, and I went to his lodgings. His secretary received me with great civility, told me, on the part of the Governor, that he could not see me then, as he was engaged in affairs of the utmost importance, but that he would send the letters on board, and that he wished me, with all his heart, a good voyage and speedy return. I returned somewhat astonished, to the ship, but still without entertaining the slightest suspicion.
Mr. Hamilton, a celebrated barrister of Philadelphia, had taken a passage to England for himself and his son, and, in conjunction with Mr. Denham, a Quaker, and Messrs. Oniam and Russel, proprietors of a forge in Maryland, had agreed for the whole cabin, so that Ralph and I were obliged to take up our lodging with the crew. Being unknown to every body in the ship, we were looked upon as of the common order of
people: but Mr. Hamilton and his son (it was James, · who was afterwards governor) left us at Newcastle,
and returned to Philadelphia, where he was recalled at a very great expense, to plead the cause of a vessel that had been seized ; and just as we were about to sail, Colonel French came on board, and showed me many
civilities. The passengers upon this paid me more attention, and I was invited, together with my friend Ralph, to occupy the place in the cabin which the return of the Mr. Hamiltons had made vacant; an offer which we readily accepted.
Having learned that the despatches of the Governor had been brought on board by Colonel French, I asked the captain for the letters that were to be entrusted to my care. He told me that they were all put together in the bag, which he could not open at present; but before we reached England, he would give me an opportunity of taking them out. I was satisfied with this answer, and we pursued our voyage.
The company in the cabin were all very sociable, and we were perfectly well off as to provision, as we had the advantage of the whole of Mr. Hamilton's, who had laid in a very plentiful stock. During the passage, Mr. Denham contracted a friendship for me, which ended only with his life : in other respects the voyage was by no means an agreeable one, as we had much bad weather.
When we arrived in the river, the captain was as good as his word, and allowed me to search in the bag for the Governor's letters. I could not find a single one with my name written on it, as committed to my care ; but I selected six or seven, which I judged from the direction to be those that were intended for me ; particularly one to Mr. Basket, the King's printer, and another to a stationer, who was the first person I called upon. I delivered him the letter as coming from Governor Keith. "I have no acquaintance,” said he, " with any such person;" and, opening the letter, “Oh, it is from Riddlesden !” he exclaimed. “I have lately discovered bim to be a very arrant knave, and wish to have nothing to do either with him or his letters." He instantly put the letter into my hand, turned upon his heel, and left me to serve some customers.
I was astonished at finding these letters were not from the Governor. Reflecting, and putting circumstances together, I then began to doubt his sincerity.-I rejoined my friend Denham, and related the whole affair to him. He let me at once into Keith's character, told me there was not the least probability of his bavirig written a single letter; that no one who knew him ever placed any reliance on him, and laughed at my credulity in supposing that the Governor would give me a letter of credit, when he had no credit for binıself.As I showed some uneasiness respecting what step I should take, he advised me to try to get employment in the house of some printer. “You may there,” said
play so scu. wholly wishing to pvish of pro
he, “ improve yourself in business, and you will be able to settle yourself the more advantageously when you return to America.”
We knew already as well as the stationer, attorney Riddlesden to be a knave. He had nearly ruined the father of Miss Read, by drawing him in to be his security. We learned from his letter, that he was secretly carrying on an intrigue, in concert with the Gov. ernor, to the prejudice of Mr. Hamilton, who, it was supposed, would by this time be in Europe. Denham, who was Hamilton's friend, was of opinion that he ought to be made acquainted with it ; and, in reality, the insant he arrived in England, which was very soon after, I waited on him, and, as much from good-will to him, as from resentment against the Governor, put the letter to his hands. He thanked me very sincerely, the information it contained being of consequence to him ; and from that moment bestowed on me his friendship, which afterwards proved, on many occasions, serviceable to me.
But what are we to think of a Governor who could play so scurvy a trick, and thus grossly deceive a poor young lad, wholly destitute of experience! It was a practice with him. Wishing to please every body, and having little to bestow, he was lavish of promises. He was, in other respects, sensible and judicious, a very tolerable writer, and a good governor for the people; though not so for the proprietaries, whose instructions he frequently disregarded. Many of our best laws were his work, and established during his administration.
Ralph and I were inseparable companions. We took a lodging together at three and sixpence a week, which was as much as we could afford. He met with some relations in London, but they were poor and not able to assist him. He now, for the first time, informed me of his intention to remain in England, and that he had no thoughts of ever returning to Philadelphia. He was totally without money; the little he had been able to raise having barely sufficed for his passage. I bad still fifteen pistoles remaining; and to me he had from time to time recourse, while he tried to get employment.
At first, believing himself possessed of talents for the stage, he thought of turning actor ; but Wilkes, to whom he applied, frankly advised hiin to renounce the idea, as it was impossible he should succeed. He next proposed to Roberts, a bookseller in Paternostet Row, to write a weekly paper in the manner of the Spectator, upon terms to which Roberts would not listen. Lastiy, he endeavoured to procure employment
as a copyist, and applied to the lawyers and stationers about the Temple, but he could find no vacancy.
As to myself f immediately got engaged at Palmer's, at that time a noted printer in Bartholomewclose, with whom I continued nearly a year. I applied very assiduously to my work ; but I expended with Ralph almost all that I earned. Plays and other places of amusement which we frequented together, having exhausted my pistoles, we lived after this from hand to mouth. He appeared to have entirely forgotten his wife and child, as I also, by degrees, forgot my engagements with Miss Read, to whom I never wrote more than one letter, and that merely to inform lier that I was not likely to return soon. This was another grand error of my life, which I should be desirous of correcting, were I to begin my career again.
I was employed at Palmer's on the second edition of Woolaston's Religion of Nature. Some of his arguments appearing to me not to be well founded, I wrote a small metaphysical treatise, in which I animadverted on those passages. It was entitled a “ Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain.” I dedicated it to my friend Ralph, and printed a small number of copies. Palmer upon this treated me with more consideration, and regarded me as a young man of talents; though he seriously took me to task for the principles of my pamphlet, which he looked upon as abominable. The printing of this work was another error of my life.
While I lodged in Little Britain, I formed an acquaintance with a bookseller of the name of Wilcox, whose shop was next door to me. Circulating libraries were not then in use. He had an immense collection of books of all sorts. We agreed that, for a reasonable compensation, of which I have now forgotten the price, I should have free access to his library, and take what books I pleased, which I was to return when I had read them. I considered this agreement as a very great advantage; and I derived from it as much benefit as was in my power.
My pamphlet falling into the hands of a surgeon, of the name of Lyons, author of a book entitled, “ Infallibility of Human Judgment,” was the occasion of a considerable intimacy between us. He expressed great esteem for me, came frequently to see me, in order to converse upon metaphysical subjects, and introduced me to Dr. Mandeville, author of the Fable of the Bees, who had instituted a club at a tavern in Cheapside, of which he was the soul : he was a facetious and very amusing character. He also introduced me, at Bat
son's coffee-house, to Dr. Pemberton, who promised to give me an opportunity of seeing Sir Isaac Newton, which I very ardently desired ; but he never kept his word.
I had brought some curiosities with me from America; the principal of which was a purse made of the asbestos, which fire only purifies. Sir Hans Sloane, hearing of it, called upon me and invited me to his house in Bloomsbury Square, where, after showing me every thing that was curious, he prevailed on me to ada this piece to his collection, for which he paid me very handsomely.
There lodged in the same house with us a young woman, a milliner, who had a shop by the side of the Exchange. Lively and sensible, and having received an education somewhat above her rank, her conversation was very agreeable. Ralph read plays to her every evening. They became intimate. She took another lodging, and he followed her. They lived for some time together ; but Ralph being without employment, she having a child, and the profits of her business not sufficing for the maintenance of three, he resolved to quit London, and try a country school. This was a plan in which he thought himself likely to succeed; as he wrote a fine hand, and was versed in arithmetic and accounts. But considering the office as beneath him, and expecting some day to make a better figure in the world, when he should be ashamed of its being known that he had exercised a profession: so little honourable, he changed his name, and did me the honour of assuming mine. He wrote to me soon after his departure, informing me that he was settled at a small village in Berkshire. In his letter he recommended Mrs. T. the milliner, to my care, and requested an answer, directed to Mr. Franklin, schoolmaster at N***.
He continued to write to me frequently, sending me large fragments of an epic poem he was composing, and which he requested me to criticise and correct. 1 did so, but not without endeavouring to prevail on him to renounce this pursuit. Young had just published one of his Satires. I copied and sent him a great part of it ; in which the author demonstrates the folly of cultivating the muses, from the hope, by their instru mentality, of rising in the world. It was all to no purpose; paper after paper of his poem continued to arrive every post.
Meanwhile Mrs. T*** having lost, on his accomt, both her friends and business, was frequently in dig trees. In this dilemma she had recourse to me, and,