Abbildungen der Seite

moh force and clearness, that he was convinced I had been less to blame than he had imagined.

Sir William Keith, governor of the province, was at Newcastle at the time. Captain Holmes, being by chance in his company when he received my letter, took occasion to speak of me, and showed it him. The Governor read it, and appeared surprised whei. lie learned my age. He thought me, he said, ayoung man of very promising talents, and that, of consequence,

(Might to be encouraged; that there were at fhilarte''. fAiia n^ne but very ignorant printers, and that if I wera to set up for myself, he had no doubt of my success; that, for his own part, he would procure me all the public business, and would render me every other service in his power. My brother-in-law related all this to ma afterwards at Boston; but I knew nothing of it at the time; when one day Keimer and I, being at work together near the window, we saw the Governor and another gentleman, Colonel French, of Newcastle,handsomely dressed, cross the street, and make directly for our house. We heard them at the door, and Keimer, bciieving u io be a visit to himself, went immediately down: but tha Governor inquired for me, came up stiiirs, and, with a condescension and politeness to which I had not at all been accustomed, paid me many compliments, desired to be acquainted with me, obligingly reproached me for not having made myself known to him on my arrival in the town, and wished me to accompany him to a tavern, where he and Colonel French were going to taste some excellent Madeira wine. I was, I confess, somewhat surprised, and Keimer appeared thunderstruck. I went, however, with the Governor and the Colonel to a tavern, at the corner of Third-street, where, while we were drinking the Madeira, he proposed to me to establish a printing-house. He set forth the probaDilities of success, and himself and Colonel French assured me that I should have their protection-and influence in obtaining the printing of the public papers of both governments; and as I appeared to doubt whether my father would assist me in this enterprise, Sir William said he would give me a letter to him, in which he would represent the advantages of the scheme, m n light which he had no doubt would determine him. It was thus concluded that I should return to Boston by the first vessel, witti the letter of recommendation, from the Governor to my father. Meanwhile the project was to be kept secret, and I continued to work for Keimer as before.


The Governor sent every now and then to invite me to dine with him. I considered this as aver}' great honour; and was the more sensible of it, as he conversed with me in the most affable, familiar, and friendly manner imaginable.

Towards the end of April, 1724, a small vessel was ready to sail for Boston. I took leave of Keimer, upin the pretext of going to see my parents. The Governor gave me a long letter, in which he said many flattering things of me to my father; and strongly roiommcnded the project of my settling at Philadelphia, as a thing which could not fail to make my fortune.

Going down the bay we struck on a flat, and sprung a leak. The weather was very tempestuous, and we were obliged to pump without intermission; I took my lum. We arrived, however, safe and sound, at Boston, after about a fortnight's passage.

I had been absent seven complete months, and my relations, during that interval, had received no intelligence of me; for my brother-in-law, Holmes, was not yet returned, and had not written about me. My unexpected appearance surprised the family; but they were all delighted at seeing me a^ain, and, except my brother, welcomed me home. I went to him at the printing-house. I was better dressed than I had ever been while in his service: I had a complete suit of clothes, new and neat, a watch in my pocket, and my purse was furnished with nearly five pounds sterling in money. He gave me no very civil reception; and, having eyed me from head to foot, resumed his work.

The workmen asked me with eagerness where I had been, what sort of a country it was, and how I liked it. I spoke in the highest terms of Philadelphia, the happy life we led there, and expressed my intention of going back again. One of them asking what sort of money we had, I displayed before them a handful of silver, which I drew from my pocket. This was < cariosity to which they were not accustomed, paper being the current money at Boston. I failed not, afus Ihis, to let them see my watch; and, at last, my brother continuing sullen and out of humour, I g,ive them a shilling to drink, and took my leave. This visit stung my brother to the soul; for when, shortly after, my mother spoke to him of a reconciliation, and a desire to see us upon good terms, he told her that I had so insulted him before his men, that he would never forget or forgive it: in this, however, he was mistaken.

The Governor's letter appeared to excite in my f» titer some surprise; but he said little. After some days, Captain Holmes being returned, he showed it him, asking him if he knew Keith, and what sort of a man he was: adding, that, in his opinion, it proved very little discernment to think of setting up a boy in business, who, for three years to come, would not be of an age to be ranked in the class of men. Holmes said every thine he could in favour of the scheme; but my father firmly maintained its absurdity, and at last gave a positive refusal. He wrote, however, a civil letter to Sir William, thanking him for the protection he had so obligingly offered me, but refusing to assist me for the present, because he thought me too young to be entrusted with the conduct of so important an enterprise, and which would require so considerable a sum of money.

My old comrade, Collins, who was a clerk in tho post-office, charmed with the account I gave of my new residence, expressed a desire of going thither; and, while I waited my father's determination, he set off before me by land for Rhode Island, leaving his books, which formed a handsome collection in mathematics and natural philosophy, to be conveyed with mine to New York, where he proposed to wail forme.

My father, though he could not approve Sir William V proposal, was yet pleased that I had obtained so sd vantagcous a recommendation as that of a person of his rank, and that my industry and economy had enabled me to equip myself so handsomely in so short a period. Seeing no appearance of accommodating matters between my brother and me, he consented to my return to Philadelphia, advised me to be civil in eiwy body, to endeavour to obtain general esteem, and a - >id satire and sarcasm, to which he thought I was too much inclined; adding, that with perseverance and prudent economy, I might, by the time I became of age, save enough toestablish myself in business; and that if a small sum should then be wanting, he would undertake to supply it.

This was all I could obtain from him, except some trifling presents, in token of friendship from him and my mother. I embarked once more for New-York, furnished at this time with their approbation and blessing. The sloop having touched at Newport, in Rhodfl Iimuw, . 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 about thirty-six nouimedue him in Pennsylvania, begged me to receive it for him, and to keep the money till I should hear from him: accordingly he ga*e mean order for that purpose. This affair occasioned me, in the sequel, much uneasiness.

At Newport we took on board a number of passengers; amongwhom were two 3'oung women, and a grave and sensible quakei lady with her servants. I had shown an obliging forwardness in rendering the quaket 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 seemesl tu oc ignorant of the world, and the snares to which youth is exposed. Rely upon what I tell thee: those are women of bad characters; I perceive it in alltheu 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 connexion with them." As f appea-ed at first not to think quite so ill of them as she did, she re latcd many things she had seen and heard, which had escaped my attention, but which convinced me thai site 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 tvhere U:ei 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 during our passage, I escaped another of a still more dangerous nature.

At Now-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 being 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 topromise to make an advantageous figure in society. But, during my absence, he had unfortunately addicted himself 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 ourthen that was very inconvenient to me.

The Governor of New York, whose name was Bernet, hearing the Captain say, that a young man, who Tas 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. The Governor treated me with great ;ivility, 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 honoured me with his attention; and, to a pooi l«y, as I was then, these little adventures did not fail to be pleasing.

« ZurückWeiter »