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wished to read it to his family, he placed the joint-stool on his knees, and then turned over the leaves under the tapes. One of the children stood at the door to give notice if he saw the apparitor coming, who was an officer of the spiritual court. In that case the stool was turned down again upon its feet, when the bible remained concealed under it as before. The family continued all of the Church of England, till the end of Charles the Second's reign, when some of the ministers that had been ousted for their nonconformity, holding conventicles in Northamptonshire, my uncle Benjamin and my father Josiah adhered to them, and 80 continued all their lives. The rest of the family remained with the Episcopal church.”
*Josiah married young, and carried his wife with three children to Boston in New England, about 1685. By the same wife he had four children more, born there, and by a second, ten others, in all seventeen; of whom Franklin remembered to have seen thirteen sitting together at table, who all grew up to years of maturity and were married. He himself was the youngest of all the children except two daughters ; having been born January 6th 1706, 0. S. “My elder brothers” says the autobiography, “were all put apprentices to different trades. I was put to the grammar-school at eight years of age, my father intending me, as the tythe of his sons, to the service of the church. My early readiness in learning to read, which must have been very early, as I do not remember when I could not read, and the opinion of all his friends, that I should certainly make a good scholar, encouraged him in this purpose or his."
Franklin, however, continued at the grammar school rather less than a year; although in that time he had made good progress. The straitoned circumstances of his father ill-affording the expence, and his excellent understanding teaching him the folly of educating a child beyond his probable prospects in life, the boy was placed at a respectable school for writing and arithmetic, where he continued until he had completed his tenth year. It now appeared to be his destiny to become a tallow-chandler, like his father. This unsettled him, and together, with the contiguity of the sea, as well as the similar choice of an elder brother, urged him frequently to think of resorting to a like course of life. The father was too wise a parent to constrain a boy's inclinations violently; exhibiting on the contrary, the practical philosophy of a mind adapted to his circumstances. “He took mo” says Franklin, “ to walk with him, to see joiners, bricklayers, turners, braziers, &c., at their work, that he might observe my inclination, and endeavour to fix it on some trade or profession that would keep me on land. It has ever since been a pleasure to me to see good workmen handle their tools. And it has been often useful to me, to have learned so much of it as to be able to do some trifling jobs in the house when a workman was not at hand, and to construct little machines for my experiments, at the moment when the intention of making these was warm in my mind."
This certainly was one of the most critical points in the youth's history. It augured well that at the time he appreciated the kindness and wisdom of his father's motives and method of treatment. The result was, that at length, when but twelve years of age, he was apprenticed until his majority, to his brother James, as a printer, who had just returned from England with a press and letters to set up his business in Boston; and thus Franklin's course and fortunes were in a great measure decided for the remainder of his days.
He soon rendered himself a proficient in the mechanical part of his business, and he also eagerly seized every opportunity it afforded of procuring new books to read, in which amusement and occupation he frequently spent the greater part of the night. It was not long before he began to imitate what he so much admired, and his first attempts were in verse. He wrote ballads and printed them; but notwithstanding their temporary success, his father was able to convince him that his talent and interests were not with poetry. His efforts to acquire a facility in writing prose were better directed, and pursued with greater assiduity, making the Spectator one of his models; and to the success of these efforts may be attributed his early superiority to his brethren of the press, and his subsequent elevation to stations of great public importance. With a passion for reading and writing, he imbibed the kindred one of disputing. This met with fuel from his familiarity with John Collins, a youth of a similar turn, and he was for a time a very doughty and dogmatic polemic. The perusal of a translation of Xenophon's Memorabilia softened him into a Socratic, and he grew to be dextrous in the sly mode of confuting or confounding an antagonist by a series of questions; in such a course of mental exercises, ho became a sceptic with respect to the religious tenets in which he had been educated, and with the zeal of a convert took all opportunities to inculcate his opinions. Still, with great good sense, he at length established for himself a rule, never to use the words “ certainly," "undoubtedly" or any other that gave the air of positiveness to a doctrine or sentiment, but to substitute " I conceive" or " apprehend” a thing to be so and 80," or “ it is so, if I am not mistaken," "This habit, I believe," says he, “ has been of great advantage to me, when I have had occasion to inculcate my opinions, and persuade men into measures, that I have been from time to time engaged in promoting.”
Men must be taught, as if you taught them not,
And things unknown proposed as things forgot. Franklin early obtained that dominion over his appetite which is so important a step in moral discipline. Of this a remarkable instance was the effect produced upon him by reading in his sixteenth year, a treatise by one Tryon, recommending a vegetable diet. He immediately discarded animal food ; and offering to his brother to maintain himself for half the sum paid for his board, he was able out of the money saved from this half to reserve a considerable fund for the purchase of books. “But,” he says, “I had another advantage. My brother and the rest going from the printing-house to their meals, I remained there alone, and, despatching presently my light repast, (which was often no more than a biscuit, or slice of bread, a handful of raisins, or a tart from the pastry-cook's, and a glass of water) had the rest of the time, till their return, for study, in which I made the greater progress from that clearness of head, and qnicker apprehension which generally attend temperance in eating and drinking " Though Franklin afterwards relaxed in the austerity of his diet, the habit of being contented with little and disregarding the gratifications of the palate, remained with him, through life ; proving highly advantageous to him on various occasions. Indeed, the account which he gives of his early life abounds with incidents and observations which render it a most precious example to young persons of whatever degree.
James Franklin set up a newspaper, and Benjamin ventured anonymously to send some pieces for insertion, and had the proud satisfaction of finding them applauded by the best judges in the place. His conscious merit probably made him more impatient under the harsh treatment of his brother, who behaved more to him as a severe master than a kind relation. At length an arbitrary interdiction from the State to James, against his paper--a political offence having been alleged, caused Benjamin's name to be employed as publisher, and in consequence, his indentures to be given up. He was obliged however, to sign a private agreement for serving out his term till he was twenty one years of age; but not at the time thinking himself strictly bound by the new arrangement, (which notion he acknowledges to have been a fault) he resolved on secretly quitting Boston, where in consequence of his connexion with his brother's paper, he had already rendered himself an object of suspicion to the governing party. Besides, he confesses that his indiscreet disputes upon the subject of religion-he having been led to doubt and scepticism by the perusal of certain deistical publications, began to be regarded by pious souls with horror, and himself as an apostate or atheist. Collins undertook to favour his flight. Accordingly he departed by sea for New York, having sold part of his books in order to be master of a small sum of money, and almost immediately proceeded to Philadelphia, which was a hundred miles farther. His journey to the latter city was not without incidents, some of them of a disheartening and trying nature; every new circumstance, as indeed throughout the whole of his life, proving to be an occasion of eliciting feelings or views which served to form his future character or shape his fortunes.
For example, during a squall, a drunken Dutchman who was a fellow passenger, fell over board. At the moment that he was sinking, Franklin seized him by the fore-top and drew him into the boat. The immersion sobered the man a little, so that he fell asleep, after having taken from his pocket a volume which he requested the youth to dry, This volume was Bunyan's Pilgrim, in Dutch, being a beautiful impression on fine paper, with copperplate engravings, a dress in which Franklin had never seen the work, even in its original language. Honest John was already a favorite with Franklin, and he remarks, after reciting the anecdote, that he was the first writer he knew of who has mixed narrative and dialogue together -a mode of composition, the autobiographer adds, that is very pleasing to the reader, who in the most interesting passages, finds himself admitted as it were into the company, and present at the conversation. The young philosopher was at the period described, only seventeen years of age.
ARRIVAL IN PHILADELPHIA. FRANKLIN's own description of his first entrance into Philadelphia, where he afterwards was in so high a situation, is too curious to be omitted, “I was dirty”, says he, “ from my being so long in the boat. My pockets were stuffed out with shirts and stockings, and I knew no one, nor where to look for lodging, Fatigued with walking, rowing, and the want of sleep, I was very hungry; and my whole stock of cash consisted in a single dollar, and about a shilling in copper coin, which I gave to the boatmen for my passage. At first they refused, on account of my having rowed, but I insisted on their taking it. Man is sometimes more generous when he has little money, than when he has plenty; perhaps to prevent his being thought to have but little.
“I walked towards the top of the street gazing about till near Market Street, where I met a boy with bread. I had often made a meal of dry bread, and inquiring where he had bought it, I went immediately to the baker's, he directed me to. I asked for biscuits, meaning such as we had at Boston; that sort, it seems, was not made in Philadelphia. I then asked for a threepenny loaf, and was told they had none. Not knowing the different prices, nor the names of the different sorts of bread, I told him to give me three-penny worth of any sort. He gave me accordingly three great puffy rolls. I was surprised at the quantity, but took it, and, having no room in my pockets, walked off with a roll under each arm, and eating the other. Thus I went up Market Street, as far as Fourth Street, passing by the door of Mr. Read, my future wife's father; when she, standing at the door, saw me, and thought I made, as I certainly did, a most awkward, ridiculous appearance."
Having along with a draught of water, eaten one of the rolls, and given the other two away to a woman and her child, that had come down the river in the same boat with him, Franklin goes on to relate as follows : “ Thus refreshed, I walked again up the street, which by this time had many clean dressed people in it, who were all walking the same way. I joined them, and was thereby led into the great meeting-house of the Quaker's near the market. I sat down among them, and after looking round awhile, and hearing nothing said, being very drowsy through labour, and want of rest the preceding night, I fell fast asleep, and continued so till the meeting broke up, when someone was kind enough to rouse me. This therefore, was the first house I was in, or slept in, in Philadelphia.”
Franklin, notwithstanding this unpromising commencement, soon met with employment in his business from one Keimer, who united the professions of printer and author, as did the young adventurer; only this worthy son of the muses, had not so ungratefully abandoned them. In fact he was composing verses in solid printing metal, not finding