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paid a visit to my brother John, who had for some years been settled there, and was married. He had always been attached to me, and he received me with great affection. One of his friends, whose name was Vernon, having a debt of abuut thirty-six pounds due to him in Pennsylvania, begged me to receive it for him, and to keep the muney till I should hear from him: accordingly he gave me an order for that pur. pose. This affair occasioned me, in the sequel, much uneasiness.
At Newport we took on board a number of passengers; among whom were two young woinen, and a grave and sensible Quaker lady with her servants. I had shown an obliging forwardness in rendering the Quaker some trifling services, which led her, probably, to feel an interest in my welfare; for when she saw a familiarity take place, and every day increase, between the two young women and me, she took me aside, and said, “ Young man, I am in pain for thee. Thou hast no parent to watch over thy conduct, and thou seemest to be ignorant of the world, and the snares to which youth is exposed. Rely upon what I tell thee: those are women of bad char. acters; I perceive it in all their actions. If thou dost not take care, they will lead thee into danger. They are strangers to thee, and I advise thee, by the friendly interest I take in thy preservation, to form no connection with them." As I appeared at first not to think quite so ill of them as she did, she related many things she had seen and heard, which had escaped my attention, but which convinced ine that she was in the right. I thanked her for her obliging advice, and promised to follow it.
When we arrived at New York, they informed me where they lodged, and invited me to
come and see them. I did not however go, and it was well I did not; for the next day, the Captain missing a silver spoon and some other things which had been taken from the cabin, and knowing these women to be prostitutes, procured a search-warrant, found the stolen goods upon them, and had them punished. And thus, after having been saved from one rock concealed under water, upon which the vessel struck dur. ing our passage, I escaped another of a still more dangerous nature.
At New York I found my friend Collins, who had arrived some time before. We had been intimate from our infancy, and had read the same books together; but he had the advantage of be. ing able to devote more time to reading and study, and an astonishing disposition for mathematics, in which he left me far behind him. When at Boston, I had been accustomed to pass with him almost all my leisure hours. He was then a sober and industrious lad; his knowledge had gained him a very general esteem, and he seemed to proinise to make an advantageous figure in society. 'But, during my absence, he had un. fortunately addicted bimself to brandy, and I learned, as well from himself as from the report of others that every day since his arrival at New York he had been intoxicated, and had acted in a very extravagant manner. He had also played and lost all his money; so that I was obliged to pay his expenses at the inn, and to maintain him during the rest of his journey; a burthen that was very inconvenient to me.
The Governor of New York, whose name was Bernet, hearing the Captain say, that a young man who was a passenger in his ship had a great number of books, begged him to bring me to his house. I accordingly went, and should have
taken Collins with me, had he been sober. Thre Governor treated me with great civility, showed me his library, which was a very considerable one, and we talked for some time upon books and authors. This was the second Governor who had honored me with his attention; and, to a poor boy, as I was then, these little adventures did not fail to be pleasing.
We arrived at Philadelphia. On the way I received Vernon's money, without which we should have been unable to have finished our journey.
Collins wished to get employment as a mer. chant's clerk; but either his breath or his coun. tenance betrayed his bad habit; for, though be had recommendations, he met with no success, and continued to lodge and eat with me, and at my expense. Knowing that I had Vernon's money, he was continually asking me to lend him some of it; promising to repay me as soon as he should get employment. At last he had drawn so much of this money, that I was extremely alarmed at what might become of me, should be fail to make good the deficiency. His habit of drinking did not at all diminish, and was a frequent source of discord between us; for when he had drunk a little too much, he was very headstrong.
Being one day in a boat together, on the Delaware, with some other young persons, he refused to take his turn in rowing. “You shall row for me,” said he, “till we get home.”—“No,” I replied, “we will not row for you. shall,” said he, “or remain upon the water all night."-"As you please. Let us row, said the rest of the company; what signifies whether he assists or not. But, already angry with him for his conduct in other respects, I persisted in
my refusal. He then swore that he would make me row, or would throw me out of the boat; and he made up to me. As soon as he was within my reach, I took him by the collar, gave himn a violent thrust, and threw hin headforemost into the river. I knew that he was a good swimmer, and was therefore under no apprehensions for his life. Before he could turn himself, we able, by a few strokes of our oars, to place our. selves out of his reach; and, whenever he touched the boat, we asked him if he would row, striking his hands at the same time with the oars to make him let go his hold. He was nearly suffocated with rage, but obstinately refused making any promise to row. Perceiving, at length, that his strength began to be exhausted, we took him into the boat, and conveyed him home in the evening completely drenched. The utmost coldness subsisted between us after this adventure. At last the Captain of a West-India ship, who was commissioned to procure a tutor for the children of a gentleman at Barbadoes, meeting with Collins, offered him the place. He accepted it, and took his leave of me, promising to discharge the debt he owed me with the first money he should receive; but I have heard nothing of him since.
The violation of the trust reposed in me by Vernon was one of the first great errors of my life; and it proves that my father was not mistaken when he supposed me too young to be intrusted with the management of important affairs. But Sir William, upon reading his letter, thought him too prudent. There was a difference, he said, between individuals: years of maturity were not always accompanied with discretion, peither was youth in every instance devoid of it. “Since your father,
" added he, “will not
set you up in business, I will do it myself. Make out a list of what will be wanted from England, and I will send for the articles. You shall repay me when you can. I am determined to have a good printer here, and I am sure you will succeed." This was said with so much seeming cordiality, that I suspected not for an instant the sincerity of the offer. I had bitherto kept the project, with which Sir William had inspired me, of settling in business, a secret at Philadelphia, and I still continued to do so. Had my reliance on the Governor been known, some friend, better acquainted with his character than myself, would doubtless bave advised me not to trust kim; for I afterwards learned that he was universally known to be liberal of promises, when he had no intention to perform. But having never solicited him, how could I suppose his offers to be deceitful? On the contrary, I believed him to be the best man in the world.
I gave him an inventory of a small printing. office; the expense of which I had calculated at about a hundred pounds sterling. He expressed his approbation; but asked, if my presence in England, that I might choose the characters myself, and see that every article was good in its kind, would not be an advantage? 6. You will also be able,” said he, “.to form some acquaintance there, and establish a correspondence with stationers and booksellers.” This I acknowl. edged was desirable. 6. That being the case, added he, “ hold yourself in readiness to go with the Anpis." This was the avnual vessel, and the only one, at that time, which made regular voyages between the ports of London and Philadelphia. But the Annis was not to sail for some months. I therefore continued to work with Keimer, unhappy respecting the sum which Col