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their friends, and treated me with the greatest civility; while Keimer, though master, saw himself a little neglected. He was, in fact, a strange animal, ignorant of the common modes of life, apt to oppose with rudeness generally received opinions, an enthusiast in certain points of religion, disgustingly unclean in his person, and a little knavish withal.
We remained there nearly three months; and at the expiration of this period I could include in the list of my friends, Judge Allen, Samuel Bustil, Secretary of the province, Isaac Pearson, Joseph Cooper, several of the Smiths, all members of the Assembly, and Isaac Docon, Inspector-general. The last was a shrewd and subtle old man. He told me, that when a boy, his first employment had been that of carrying clay to brick-makers; that he did not learn to write till he was somewhat advanced in life; that he was afterwards employed as an underling to a survey. or, who taught him this trade, and that by industry he had at last acquired a competent fortuně. “ Í foresee,” said he one day to me, “that you will soon supplant this man (speaking of Keimer,) and get a fortune in the business at Philadelphia. He was totally ignorant at the time, of my intention of establishing myself there, or any where else. These friends were very serviceable to me in the end, as was I also, upon occasion, to some of them; and they have continued ever since their esteem for me.
Before I relate the particulars of my entrance into business, it may be proper to inform you what was at that time the state of my mind as to moral principles, that you may see the degree of influence they had upon the subsequent events of my life.
My parents had given me betinės religious ina.
pressions, and I received from my infancy a pious
Whatever is is right; though purblind man
That puises all above.
tinctions. I no longer regarded it as so blameJess a work as I had formerly imagined ; and I suspected that some error must bave imperceptibly glided into my argument, by which all the inferences I had drawn from it biad been affected, as frequently happens in metaphysical reasonings. In a word, I was at last convinced that truth, probity, and sincerity, in transactions between man and man, were of the utmost importance to the happiness of life; and I resolved from that moment, and wrote the resolution in my Journal, to practise them as long as I lived,
Revelation, indeed, as such, had no influence on my mind; but I was of opinion that, though certain actions could not be bad merely because revelation had prohibited them, or good because it enjoined them, yet it was probable that those actions were prohibited because they were bad for us, or enjoined because advantageous in their nature, all things considered. This persuasion, Divine Providence, or some guardian angel, and perhaps a concurrence of favorable circumstances co-operating, preserved me from all immorality, or gross and voluntary injustice, to which my want of religion was calculated to expose me, in the dangerous period of youth, and in the hazardous situations in which I sometimes found myself, among strangers, and at a distance from the eye and admonitions of my father. I may say voluntary, because the errors into which I had fallen, had been in a manner the forced result either of my own inexperience, or the dishonesty of others. Thus, before I entered on my own new career, I had imbibed solid principles, and a character of probity. I knew their value; and I made a solemn engagement with myself never to depart from them. I had not long returned from Burlington before
our printing materials arrived from London. I settled my accounts with Keimer, and quitted him with his own consent, before he had any knowledge of our plan. We found a house to let near the market. We took it, and, to render the rent less burdensome (it was then twenty. four pounds a year, but I have since known it let for seventy,) we admitted Thomas Godfrey, a glazier, with his family, who eased us of a considerable part of it; and with him we agreed to board.
We had no sooner unpacked our letter, and put our press in order, than a person of my acquaintance, George House, brought us a countryman, whom he had met in the streets inquiring for a printer. Our money was almost exhausted by the number of things we had been obliged to procure. The five shillings we received from this countryman, the first fruit of our earnings, coming su seasonably, gave me more pleasure than any sum I have since gained; and the recollection of the gratitude I felt on this occasion to George House has rendered me often more disposed, than perhaps I should otherwise bave been, to encourage young beginners in trade.
There are in every country morose beinga who are always prognosticating ruin. The was one of this stamp at Philadelphia. He w: a man of fortune, declined in years, had an a. of wisdom, and a very grave manner of speaking His name was Samuel Mickle. I knew bim noi but he stopped one day at my door, and aske me if I was the young man who had lately opened a new printing-house. Upon my answering in the affirmative, he said that he was very sorry for me, as it was an expensive undertaking, and the inoney that had been laid out upon it would be lost, Philadelphia being a place falling into
decay; its inbabitants having all, or nearly all of them, been obliged to call together their creditors. That he knew, froin undoubted fact, the circumstances which might lead us to suppose the contrary, such as new buildings and the advanced price of rent, to be deceitful appear. ances, which in reality contributed to hasten the general ruin; and he gave me so long a detail of misfortunes actually existing, or which were soon to take place, that he left me almost in a state of despair. Had I known this man before I entered into trade, I should doubtless never have ventured. He continued, however, to live in this place of decay, and to declaim in the same style, refusing for many years to buy a house, because all was going to wreck; and in the end I had the satisfaction to see him pay five times as much for one as it would have cost him had he purchased it when he first began his lamentations.
I ought to have related, that, during the autumn of the preceding year, I had tinited the majority of well-informed persons of my acquaintence into a club, which we called by the name of the Junto, and the object of which was to improve our understandings. We met every Friday evening. The Regulations I drew up, obliged every member to propose, in his turn, one or more questions upon some point of morality, politics, or philosophy, which were to be discussed by the Society; and to read, once in three months, an Essay of his own composition, on whatever subject he pleased. Our debates were under the direction of a President, and were to be dictated only by a sincere desire of truth; the pleasure of disputing and the vanity of triumph having no share in the business; and in order to prevent undue warmth, every expression which implied obstinate adherence to an