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opinion, and all direct contradiction, were prohibited, under small pecuniary penalties.

The first members of our Club were Joseph Breintnal, whose occupation was that of a scrivener. He was a middle-aged man, of a good natural disposition, strongly attached to his friends, a great lover of poetry, reading every thing that came in his way and writing tolerably well, ingenious in many little trifles, and of an agreeable conversation.

Thomas Godfrey, a skilful though self-taught mathematician, and who was afterwards the inventor of what now goes by the name of Hadley's Dial; but he had little knowledge out of his own line, and was insupportable in company, always requiring, like the majority of mathematicians that have fallen in my way, an unusual precision in every thing that is said, continually contradicting, or making trifling distinctions; a sure way of defeating all the ends of conversation. He very soon left us.

Nicholas Scull, a surveyor, and who became afterwards Surveyor-general. He was fond of books, and wrote verses.

William Parsons, brought up to the trade of a shoemaker, but who, having a taste for reading, had acquired a profound knowledge of mathematics. He first studied them with a view to astrology, and was afterwards the first to laugh at his folly. He also became Surveyor-general. William Mawgride, a joiner, and very excellent mechanic; and in other respects a man of solid understanding.

Hugh Meredith, Stephen Potts, and George Webb, of whom I have already spoken.

Robert Grace, a young man of fortune; generous, animated, and witty; fond of epigrams, but more fond of his friends.

And, lastly, William Coleman, at that time a merchant's clerk, and nearly of my own age. He had a cooler and clearer head, a better heart, and more scrupulous morals, than almost any other person I have ever met with. He became a very respectable merchant, and one of our provincial judges. Our friendship subsisted, without interruption, for more than forty years, till the period of his death; and the Club continued to exist almost as long.

This was the best school for politics and philosophy that then existed in the province; for our questions, which were read once a week previous to their discussion, induced us to peruse attentively such books as were written upon the subjects proposed, that we might be able to speak upon them more pertinently. We thus acquired the habit of conversing more agreeably; every object being discussed conformably to our regulations, and in a manner to prevent mutual disgust. To this circumstance may be attributed the long duration of the Club; which I shall have frequent occasion to mention as I proceed.

I have introduced it here, as being one of the means on which I had to count for success in my business, every member exerting himself to procure work for us. Breintnal, among others, obtained for us, on the part of the Quakers, the printing of forty sheets of their history; of which the rest was to be done by Keimer. Our execution of this work was by no means masterly; as the price was very low. It was in folio, upon pro patria paper, and in the pica letter, with heavy notes in the smallest type. I composed a sheet a day, and Meredith put it to the press. It was frequently eleven o'clock at night, sometimes later, before I had finished my distribution for the next day's task; for the little things

which our friends occasionally sent us, kept us back in this work: but I was so determined to compose a sheet a day, that one evening, when my form was imposed, and my day's work, as I thought, at an end, an accident having broken this form, and deranged two complete folio pages, I immediately distributed, and composed them anew before I went to bed.

This unwearied industry, which was perceived by our neighbors, began to acquire us reputation and credit. I learned, among other things, that our new printing-house, being the subject of conversation at a Club of merchants, who met every evening, it was the general opinion that it would fail; there being already two printing-houses in the town, Keimer's and Bradford's. But Dr. Bard, whom you and I had occasion to see, many years after, at his native town of St. Andrews, in Scotland, was of a different opinion. "The industry of this Franklin (said he) is superior to any thing of the kind I have ever witnessed. I see him still at work when I return from the Club at night, and he is at it again in the morning before his neighbors are out of bed." This account struck the rest of the assembly, and, shortly after, one of its members came to our house, and offered to supply us with articles of stationary; but we wished not as yet to embarrass ourselves with keeping a shop. It is not for the sake of applause that I enter so freely into the particulars of my industry, but that such of my descendants as shall read these Memoirs may know the use of this virtue, by seeing in the recital of my life the effects it operated in my favor.

George Webb, having found a friend who lent him the necessary sum to buy out his time of Keimer, came one day to offer himself to us as a journeyman. We could not employ him imme

diately; but I foolishly told him, under the rose, that I intended shortly to publish a new periodical paper, and that we should then have work for him. My hopes of success, which I imparted to him, were founded on the circumstance, that the only paper we had in Philadelphia at that time, and which Bradford printed, was a paltry thing, miserably conducted, in no respect amusing, and which yet was profitable. I consequently supposed that a good work of this kind could not fail of success. Webb betrayed my secret to Keimer, who, to prevent me, immediately published the prospectus of a paper that he intended to institue himself, and in which Webb was to be engaged.

I was exasperated at this proceeding, and with a view to counteract them, not being able at present to institute my own paper, I wrote' some humorous pieces in Bradford's, under the title of the Busy Body; and which was continued for several months by Breintnal. I hereby fixed the attention of the public upon Bradford's paper; and the prospectus of Keimer, which we turned into ridicule, was treated with contempt. He began, notwithstanding, his paper; and after continuing it for nine months, having at most not more than ninety subscribers, he offered it me for a mere trifle. I had for some time been ready for such an engagement; I therefore instantly took it upon myself, and in a few years it proved extremely profitable to me.

I perceive that I am apt to speak in the first person, though our partnership still continued. It is, perhaps, because, in fact, the whole bu

A manuscript note in the file of the American Mercury, preserved in the Philadelphia library, says, that Franklin wrote the five first numbers, and part of the eighth.

siness devolved upon me. Meredith was no compositor, and but an indifferent pressman; and it was rarely that he abstained from hard drinking. My friends were sorry to see me connected with him; but I contrived to derive from it the utmost advantage the case admitted.

Our first number produced no other effect than any other paper which had appeared in the Province, as to type and printing; but some remarks, in my peculiar style of writing, upon the dispute which then prevailed between Governor Burnet and the Massachusetts Assembly, struck some persons as above mediocrity, caused the paper and its editors to be talked of, and in a few weeks induced them to become our subscribers. Many others followed their example, and our subscription continued to increase. This was one of the first good effects of the pains I had taken to learn to put my ideas on paper. I derived this farther advantage from it, that the leading men of the place, seeing in the author of this publication a man so well able to use his pen, thought it right to patronise and encourage me.

The votes, laws, and other public pieces were printed by Bradford. An address of the House of Assembly to the Governor had been executed by him in a very coarse and incorrect manner. We Te reprinted it with accuracy and neatness, and sent a copy to every member. They perceived the difference; and it so strengthened the influence of our friends in the Assembly, that we were nominated its printer for the following year.

Among these friends I ought not to forget one member in particular, Mr. Hamilton, whom I have mentioned in a former part of my narrative, and who was now returned from England. He warmly interested himself for me on this oc

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