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rfwuld continue in partnership with Meredith, who, they said, was frequently seen drunk in the streets, and gambling at ale-houses, which very much injured our credit. These friends were William Coleman and Robert Grace. I told them, that while there remained any probability that the Merediths would fulfil their part of the compact, I could not propose a separation, as I conceived myself to be under obligations to them for what they had done already, and were still disposed to do, if they had the power; but, in the end, should they fail in their engagement, and our partnership be dissolved, I should then think myself at liberty to accept the kindness of my friends. Things remained for some time in this state. At last, I said one day to my partner, " Your father is perhaps dissatisfied with your having a sha -e only in the business, and is unwilling to do for two, what he would do for you alone. Tell me frankly if that be the case, and I will resign the whole to you, and do for myself as well as I can." "No, (said he) my father has really been disappointed in his hopes; he is not able to pay, and I wish to put him to no farther inconvenience. I see that I am not at all calculated for a printer; I was educated as a farmer, and it was absurd in me to come here, at thirty years of age, and bind myseli apprentice to a new trade. Many of my countrymen are going to settle in North Carolina, where the soil is exceedingly favourable. I am tempted to go with them, and to resume my former occupation. You will, douotless, find friends who will assist you. If you will take upon yourself the debts of the partnership, return my father the hundred pounds he has advanced, payipy little personal debts, and give me thirty pounds and a new saddle, I will renounce the partnership, and consign over the whole stock to you."
I accepted this proposal without hesitation. It was committed to paper, and signed and sealed without delay. I gave him what he demanded, and he departed soon after for Carolina, from whence he sent me, in the following year, two long letters, containing the best accounts that had yet been given of that country, as to climate, soil, agriculture, &c. for lie was well versed in these matters. I published them in my newspaper, and they were received with great satisfaction.
As soon as he was gone, I applied to my two friends, and not wishing to give a disobliging preference to either of them, I accepted from each, hali what he had offered me, and which it was necessary I should have. I paid the partnership debts, and continued the business on my own account; taking care to inform the public, by advertisement, of the partnership beaig dissolved. This was, I think, in the year I729v jr thereabout.
Nearly at the same period, the people demanded a new emission of paper-money; the existing and only one that had taken place in the province, and which amounted to fifteen thousand pounds, being soon to expire. The wealthy inhabitants, prejudiced against every sort of paper currency, from the fear of itsdepreciation, of which therehad been an instance in the province of New-Fnelacd, to the injury of its holders, strongly opposed this measure. We had discussed this affair in our Junto, in which I was on the side of the new emission; convinced that the first small sum, fabricated in 1723, had done much good in the province, b^ favouring commerce, industry, and population, since all the lwuses wero now inhabited, and many others building; whereas I remembered to nave seen when I first paraded the streets of I Xiila delphia eatng my roll, the majority of those in Wal nut-street, Second-street, Fourth-street, as well as a great number in Chesnut and other streets, with papers on them signifying that they were to be let; which made me think at the time that the inhabi- Iants of the town were deserting it one after another. Our debates made me so fully master of the subject, that I wrote and published an anonymous pamplet, entitled, " An Inquiry into the Nature and Necessity of Paper Currency." It was very well received by the lower and middling classes of people; but it displeased the opulent, as it increased the clamour in favour of the new emission. Having, however, no writer among them capable of answering it, their opposition became less violent; and there being in ta$
House of Assembly a majority for the measure, it passed. The friends I had acquired in the House, persuaded that I had done the country essential service on this occasion, rewarded me by giving me the printing of the bills. It was a lucrative employment, and proved a very seasonable help to me; another advantage which I derived from having habituated myself to write.
Time and experience so fully demonstrated the utility of paper currency, that it never after experienced any considerable opposition; so that it soon amounted to 55,0002. and in the year 1739 to 80,0(KM. It has since risen, during the last war, to 350,000l. trade, buildings, and population, having in the interval continually increased: but I am now convinced that there are limits beyond which paper money would be prejudicial.
I soon after obtained, by the influence of my friend Hamilton, the printing of the Newcastle paper money, another profitable work, as I then thought it, little things appearing great to persons of moderate fortune, ami they were really great to me, as proving great encouragements. He also procured me the printing of the laws and votes of that government, which I retained as long as I continued in the business.
I now opened a small stationer's shop. I kept bonds and agreements of all kinds, drawn up in a more accurate form than had yet been seen in that part of the world; a work in which I was assisted by my friend Brcintnal. I had also paper, parchment, pasteboard, books, itc. One Whitewash, an excellent compositor, whom I had known in London, came to offer himself: I engaged him; and he continued constantly and diligently to work with me. I also' look an apprentice, the son of Aquila Rose.
I began to pay, by degrees, the debt I had contracted; and, in order to insure my credit and character as a tradesman, I took care not only to be really industrious and frugal, but also to avoid every appearance of the contrary. I was plainly dressed, and never seen in any place of public amusement. I never went a fishing or hunting. A book, indeed, enfeed me sometimes from my work, but it was seldom. »y stealth, and occasioned no scandal; and, to show (hat I did not think myself above my profession, I conveyed home sometimes in a wheelbarrow, the paper I had purchased at the warehouses.
I thus obtained the reputation of being an industrious young man, and very punctual in his payment*. Tho merchants, who imported articles of stations! r, eolicited my custom; others offered to furnish me with books, and my little trade went on prosperously.
Meanwhile the credit and business of Keimer di- Jminishing every day, he was at last forced to sell his stock to satisfy his creditors; and he betook himself to Barbadoes, where he lived for some time in a very impoverished state. His apprentice, David Harry, whom I had instructed while I worked with Keimer, having bought his materials, succeeded him in the business. I was apprehensive, at first, of findiiLg m Harry a powerful competitor, as he was allied to an opulent and respectable family; I therefore proposed a partnership, which, happily for me, he rejected with disdain. He was extremely proud, thought himself a fine gentleman, lived extravagantly, and pursued amusements which suffered him to be scarcely ever at home; of consequence he became in debt, neglected his business, and business neglected him. Finding in a short time nothing to do in the country, he followed Keimer to Barbadoes, carrying his printing materials with him. There the apprentice employed his old master as a journeyman. They were continually quarrelling; and Harry, still getting in debt, was obliged at last to sell his press and types, and return to his old occupation of husbandry in Pennsylvania. The person who purchased them employed Keimer to manage the busmess: but he died a few years after.
I had now at Philadelphia no competitor but Bradford, who, being in easy circumstances, did not engage in the printing of books, except now and then as workmen chanced to offer themselves; and was not anxious to extend his trade. He had, however, one advantage over me, as he had the direction of the post-office, and was of consequence supposed to have better opportunities of obtaining news. His paper was also supposed to be more advantageous to adtcv
tising customers i and, fa. consequence of that supposition, his advertisements were mucn mure numerous than mine: this was a source of great profit to him, and disadvantageous to me. It was to no purpose that I really procured other papers and distributed my own, by means of the post; and the public took for granted my inability in this respect; and I was indeed unable to conquer it in any other mode than by bribing the post-boys, who served me only bi eteaith, Bradford being so illiberal as to forbid them. This treatment of his excited my resentment; and my disgust was so rooted, that, when I afterwards succeeded him in the post-office, I took care to avoid copying his example. I had hitherto continued to board with Godfrey, who, withhis wife and children, occupied part of my house, and half of the shop for his business; at which, indeed, he worked very little, being always absorbed by mathematics. Mrs. Godfrey formed a wish of marrying me to the daughter of one of her relations. She contrived various opportunities of bringing us together, till she saw that I was captivated; which was not difficult; the lady in question possessing great personal merit. The parents encouraged my addresses, by inviting me continually to supper, and leaving us to^etiaer, tin at last it was time to come to an explanation. Mrs. Godfrey undertook to negotiate our little treaty. I gave her to understand, that I expected to receive with the young lady a sum of money that would enable me at least to discbarge ilia remainder of the debt for my printing materials. It was then, I believe, not more than a hundred pounds. She brought me for answer, that they had no such sum at their disposal. I observed that it might easily be obtained, by a mortgage on their house. The reply to this, was, after a few days interval, that they did not approve of the match; that they had consulted Bradford, and found that the business of a Erimer was not lucrative; that my letters would soon be worn out, and must be supplied by new ones: thai Keimer and Harry had failed, and that, probably, I should do so too. Accordingly they forbade me*ths> house, and the young lady was confined. I know