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though an elegant preacher, he was but a inconsistency in our common mode of teachpoor writer, I wrote for him two or three ing languages
. We are told that it is proper pamphlets, and a piece in the Gazette of April, to begin first with the Latin, and having ac1735. Those pamphlets, as is generally the quired that, it will be more easy to attain case with controversial writings, though ea- those modern languages which are derived gerly read at the time, were soon put out of from it: and yet we do not begin with the vogue, and I question whether a single copy Greek, in order more easily to acquire the of them now exists.
Latin. It is true, that if we can clamber and During the contest, an unlucky occurrence get to the top of a staircase without using the hurt his cause exceedingly. One of our ad- steps, we shall more easily gain them in deversaries having heard him preach a sermon scending; but certainly if we begin with the that was much admired, thought he had some- lowest, we shall with more ease ascend to the where read the sermon before, or at least a top; and I would therefore offer it to the conpart of it. On searching, he found that part sideration of those who superintend the eduquoted at length in one of the British Reviews, cation of our youth, whether-since many of from a Discourse of Dr. Foster's. This detec- those who begin with the Latin, quit the same tion gave many of our party disguist, who ac- after spending some years without having cordingly abandoned his cause, and occasioned made any great proficiency, and what they our more speedy discomfiture in the synod. I have learned becomes almost useless, so that stuck by him however; I rather approved of their time has been lost-it would not have his giving us good sermons composed by been better to have begun with the French, others, than bad ones of his own manufacture; proceeding to the Italian, and Latin. For though the latter was the practice of our com- though, after spending the same time, they mon teachers. He afterwards acknowledged should quit the study of languages, and never to me that none of those he preached were arrive at the Latin, they would, however, his own; adding, that his memory was such have acquired another tongue or two, that as enabled him to retain and repeat any ser- being in modern use, might be serviceable to mon after once reading only. On our defeat them in common life. he left us in search elsewhere of better for- After ten years' absence from Boston, and tune, and I quitted the congregation, never having become easy in my circumstances, I attending it after; though I continued many made a journey thither to visit my relations, years my subscription for the support of its which I could not sooner afford. "In returnministers.
ing, I called at Newport to see my. brother I had begun in 1733 to study languages; I James, then settled there with his printingsoon made myself so much a master of the house; our former differences were forgotten, French, as to be able to read the books in that and our meeting was very cordial and affeclanguage with ease: I then undertook the tionate: he was fast declining in health, and Italian: an acquaintance who was also learn-. requested of me, that in case of his death, ing it, used often to tempt me to play chess which he apprehended not far distant, I would with him: finding this took up too much of take home his son, then but ten years of age, the time I had to spare for study, I at length and bring him up to the printing business. refused to play any more, unless on this con- This I accordingly performed, sending him a dition, that the victor in every game should few years to school before I took him into the have a right to impose a task, either of parts office. His mother carried on the business of the grammar to be got by heart, or in trans- till he was grown up, when I assisted him lations, &c. which tasks the vanquished was with an assortment of new types, those of his to perform upon honour before our next meet- father being in a manner worn out. Thus it ing: as we played pretty equally, we thus was that I made my brother ample amends beat one another into that language. I after- for the service I had deprived him of by leavwards, with a little pains-taking, acquired as ing him so early. much of the Spanish as to read their books In 1736, I lost one of my sons, a fine boy also. I have already mentioned that I had of four years old, by the small pox, taken in only one year's instruction in a Latin school, the common way. I long regretted him bitand that when very young, after which I ne- terly, and still regret that I had not given it glected that language entirely. But when I to him by inoculation. This I mention for had attained an acquaintance with the French, the sake of parents who omit that operation, Italian, and Spanish, I was surprised to find, on the supposition that they should never foron looking over a Latin Testament, that I give themselves if a child died under it; my understood more of that language than I had example showing that the regret may be the imagined; which encouraged me to apply same either way, and therefore that the safer myself again to the study of it, and I met with should be chosen. the more success, as those preceding languages Our club, the Junto, was found so useful, had greatly smoothed my way. From these and afforded such satisfaction to the members, circumstances, I have thought there was some that some were desirous of introducing their friends, which could not well be done with heard that he had in his library a certain out exceeding what we had settled as a con- very scarce and curious book, I wrote a note venient wimber ; viz. twelve. We had from to him, expressing my desire of perusing that the beginning made it a rule to keep our in- book, and requesting that he would do me the stitution a secret, which was pretty well ob- favour of lending it to me for a few days. He served; the intention was to avoid applica- sent it immediately; and I returned it in tions of improper persons for admittance, about a week with another note, expressing some of whom, perhaps, we might find it diffi- strongly my sense of the favour. When we cult to refuse." "I was one of those who were next met in the house, he spoke to me, (which against any addition to our number; but, in- he had never done before,) and with great stead of it, made in writing a proposal, that civility; and he ever after manifested a readievery member separately should endeavour ness to serve me on all occasions, so that we to form a subordinate club, with the same became great friends, and our friendship conrules, respecting queries, &c., and without tinued to his death. This is another instance informing them of the connection with the of the truth of an old maxim I had learned, Junto. The advantages proposed, were the which says, " He that has once done you ( improvement of so many more young citizens kindness, will be more ready to do you anby the use of our institutions; our better ac- other, than he whom you yourself have quaintance with the general sentiments of obliged.” And it shows how much more the inhabitants on any occasion, as the junto profitable it is prudently to remove, than to member might propose what queries we resent, return, and continue inimical proshould desire, and was to report to the Junto, ceedings. what passed in his separate club: the promo- In 1737, colonel Spotswood, late governor tion of our particular interests in business by of Virginia, and then postmaster-general, more extensive recommendation, and the in- being dissatisfied with the conduct of his de crease of our influence in public affairs, and puty at Philadelphia, respecting some negliour power of doing good by spreading through gence in rendering, and want of exactness in the several clubs the sentiments of the Junto. framing his accounts, took from him the comThe project was approved, and every member mission, and offered it to me. I accepted it undertook to form his club: but they did not readily, and found it of great advantage; for, all succeed. Five or six only were completed, though the salary was small, it facilitated the which were called by different names, as the correspondence that improved my newspaper, Vine, the Union, the Band, &c. they were increased the number demanded, as well as useful to themselves, and afforded us a good the advertisements to be inserted, so that it deal of amusement, information, and instruc- came to afford me a considerable income. tion; besides, answering in some considerable My old competitor's newspaper declined prodegree our views of influencing the public on portionably, and I was satisfied, without reparticular occasions; of which I shall give taliating his refusal, while postmaster, to persome instances in course of time as they mit my papers being carried by the riders. happened.
Thus he suffered greatly from his neglect in My first promotion was my being chosen, due accounting; and I mention it as a lesson in 1736, clerk of the general assembly. The to those young men who may be employed in choice was made that year without opposi- managing affairs for others, that they should tion; but the year following, whe I was always render accounts, and make remit-' anin proposed, (the choice, like that of the tances with great clearness and punctuality. members, being annual,) a new member made The character of observing such a conduct, a long speech against me, in order to favour is the most powerful of recommendations to some other candidate. I was, however, new employments and increase of business. chosen, which was the more agreeable to me, I began now to turn my thoughts to public as, besides, the pay for the immediate service affairs, beginning, however, with small matof clerk, the place gave me a better opportu- ters. The city watch was one of the first tunity of keeping up an interest among the things that I conceived to want regulation. It members, which secured to me the business was managed by the constables of the reof printing the votes, laws, paper-money, and spective wards in turn; the constable sumother occasional jobs for the public, that on moned a number of housekeepers to attend the whole were very profitable. I therefore him for the night. Those who chose never did not like the opposition of this new mem- to attend, paid him six shillings a year to be ber, who was a gentleman of fortune and excused, which was supposed to go to hiring education, with talents that were likely to substitutes, but was, in reality, much more give him in time great influence in the house, than was necessary for that purpose, and which indeed afterwards happened. . I did made the constableship a place of profit; and not, however, aim at gaining his favour by the constable, for a little drink, often got such paying any servile respect to him, but after ragamuffins about him as a watch, that resome time took this other method. Ilaving spectable housekeepers did not choose to mix Vol. I. ...F
with Walking the rounds too was often have been applied to the purchase of fire enneglected, and most of the nights spent in gines, ladders, fire-hooks, and other useful imtippling : I thereupon wrote a paper to be plements for each company; so that I ques. read in junto, representing these irregulari- tion whether there is a city in the world betties, but insisting more particularly on the ter provided with the means of putting a stop inequality of this six-shilling tax of the con- to beginning conflagrations; and, in fact, since stables, respecting the circumstances of those these institutions, the city has never lost by who paid it, since a poor widow housekeeper, fire more than one or two houses at a time, all whose property to be guarded by the and the flames have often been extinguished watch did not perhaps exceed the value of before the house in which they began has fifty pounds, paid as much as the wealthiest been half consumed. merchant who had thousands of pounds worth In 1739, arrived among us from Ireland, of goods in his stores. On the whole, I pro- the reverend Mr. Whitefield, who had made posed as a more effectual watch, the hiring himself remarkable there as an itinerant of proper men to serve constantly in the busi- preacher. He was at first permitted to preach ness; and as a more equitable way of sup- in some of our churches; but the clergy porting the charge, the levying a tax that taking a dislike to him, soon refused him their should be proportioned to the property. This pulpits, and he was obliged to preach in the idea being approved by the Junto, was com- fields. The multitude of all sects and demunicated to the other clubs, but as origi- nominations that attended his sernions were nating in each of them; and though the plan enormous, and it was a matter of speculation was not immediately carried into execution, to me, (who was one of the number) to obyet by preparing the minds of people for the serve the extraordinary influence of his orachange, it paved the way for the law obtain- tory on his hearers, and how much they aded a few years after, when the members of mired and respected him, notwithstanding our clubs were grown into more influence. his common abuse of them, by assuring them,
About this time I wrote a paper (first to be they were naturally half beasts and half read in the Janto, but it was afterwards pub- devils. It was wonderful to see the change lished) on the different accidents and care-soon made in the manners of our inhabitants. lessnesses by which houses were set on fire, From being thoughtless or indifferent about with cautions against them, and means pro- religion, it seemed as if all the world were posed of avoiding them. This was spoken of growing religious, so that one could not walk as an useful piece, and gave rise to a project, through the town in an evening without hearwhich soon followed it, of forming a company ing psalms sung in different families of every for the more ready extinguishing of fires, and street. And it being found inconvenient to mutual assistance in removing and securing assemble in the open air, subject to its inof goods when in danger. Associates in this clemencies, the building of a house to meet scheme were presently found, amounting to in, was no sooner proposed, and persons apthirty. Our articles of agreement obliged pointed to receive contributions, but sufficient every member to keep always in good order, sums were soon received to procure the and fit for use, a certain number of leathern ground, and erect the building, which was buckets, with strong bags and baskets, (for one hundred feet long and seventy broad; and packing and transporting of goods) which the work was carried with such spirit as to be were to be brought to every fire; and we finished in a much shorter time than could agreed ubout once a month to spend a social have been expected. Both house and ground evening together, in discoursing and commu- were vested in trustees, expressly for the use nicating such ideas as occurred to us upon of any preacher of any religious persuasion, the subject of fires, as might be useful in our who might desire to say something to the conduct on such occasions. The utility of this people at Philadelphia. The design in buildinstitution soon appeared, and many more de- ing not being to accommodate any particular siring to be admitted than we thought con- sect, but the inhabitants in general; so that venient for one company, they were advised even if the Mufti of Constantinople, were to to form another, which was accordingly done; send a missionary to preach Mahomedanism and thus went on one new company after an- to us, he would find a pulpit at his service. other, till they became so numerous as to in- Mr. Whitefield, on leaving us, went preachclude most of the inhabitants who were men ing all the way through the colonies to of property; and now at the time of my wri- Georgia. The settlement of that province ting this
, (though upwards of fifty years since had lately been begun, but instead of being its establishment,) that which I first formed, made with hardy industrious husbandmen, called the UNION FIRE COMPANY, still sub-accustomed to labour, the only people fit for sists; though the first members are all de- such an enterprise, it was with families of ceased but one, who is older by a year than I broken shopkeepers, and other insolvent am. The fines that have been paid by mem- debtors; many of indolent and idle habits, bers for absence at the monthly meetings, I taken out of the jails, who being set down in the woods, unqualified for clearing land, and was a mere civil friendship, sincere on both unable to endure the hardships of a new sides, and lasted to his death. The following settlement, perished in numbers, leaving instance will show the terms on which we many helpless children unprovided for. The stood. Upon one of his arrivals from England sight of their miserable situation inspired the at Boston, he wrote to me that he should benevolent heart of Mr. Whitefield, with the come soon to Philadelphia, but knew not idea of building an orphan-house there, in where he could lodge when there, as he unwhich they might be supported and educated. derstood his old friend and host, Mr. Benezet, Returning northward, he preached up this was, removed to Germantown. My answer charity, and made large collections: for his was, you know my house; if you can make eloquence had a wonderful power over the shift with its scanty accommodations you will hearts and purses of his hearers, of which I be most heartily welcome. He replied, that myself was an instance. I did not disapprove if I made that kind offer for Chrisi's sake, I of the design, but as Georgia was then desti- should not miss of a reward. And I returntute of materials and workmen, and it was ed, “ don't let me be mistaken ; it was not proposed to send them from Philadelphia at a for Christ's sake, but for your sake.” One great expense, I thought it would have been of our common acquaintance jocosely remarkbetter to have built the house at Philadelphia, ed, that knowing it to be the custom of the and brought the children to it. This I ad-saints, when they received any favour, to vised, but he was resolute in his first project, shift the burden of the obligation from off rejected my counsel, and I therefore refused their own shoulders, and place it in heaven, I to contribute. I happened soon after to at- had contrived to fix it on earth. tend one of his sermons, in the course of The last time I saw Mr. Whitefield, was which, I perceived he intended to finish with in London, when he consulted me about his a collection, and I silently resolved he should orphan-house concern, and his purpose of apget nothing from me: I had in my pocket a propriating it to the establishment of a college. handful of copper money, three or four silver He had a loud and clear voice, and articudollars, and five pistoles in gold; as he pro-lated his words so perfectly that he might be ceeded I began to soften, and concluded to heard and understood at a great distance ; give the copper. Another stroke of his ora- especially as his auditories observed the most tory' made me ashame:l of that, and determin- perfect silence. He preached one evening ed me to give the silver; and he finished so from the top of the Court-Ilouse steps, which admirably, that I emptied my pocket wholly are in the middle of Market street, and on the into the collector's dish, gold and all! At this west side of Second street, which crosses it sermon there was also one of our club, who at right angles. Both streets were filled with being of my sentiments respecting the build- his hearers to a considerable distance: being ing in Georgia, and suspecting a collection among the hindmost in Market street, I had might be intended, had by precaution emptied the curiosity to learn how far he could be his pockets before he came from home; to heard, by retiring backwards down the stret wards the conclusion of the discourse how-towards the river, and I found. his voice disever, he felt a strong inclination to give, and tinct till I came near Front street, when some applied to a neighbour who stood near him, noise in that street obscured it. Imagining to lend him some money for the purpose. then a semicircle, of which my distance should The request was fortunately made to perhaps be the rádius, and that it was filled with the only man in the company who had the auditors, to each of whom I allowed two firmness not to be affected by the preacher. square feet; I computed that he might well His answer was, “ At any other time, friend be heard by more than thirty thousand. This Hopkinson, I would lend to thee freely; but reconciled me to the newspaper accounts of not now, for thee seems to me to be out of his having preached to 25,000 people in the thy right senses.
fields, and to the history of generals haranguSome of Mr. Whitefield's enemies affected ing whole armies, of which I had sometimes to suppose, that he would apply these collec- doubted. tions to his own private emolument; but I By hearing him often I came to distinguish who was intimately acquainted with him (be- easily between sermons newly composed, and ing employed in printing his sermons, jour- those which he had often preached in the nals, &c.) never had the least suspicion of his course of his travels. His delivery of the integrity; but am to this day decidedly of latter was so improved by frequent repetition, opinion, that he was in all his conduct a per- that every accent, every emphasis, every fectly honest man;" and methinks my testi- modulation of voice, was so perfectly wellmony in his favour ought to have the more turned and well-placed, that without being weight, as we had no religious connexion interested in the subject, one could not help He used indeed sometimes to pray for my being pleased with the discourse ; a pleasure conversion, but never had the satisfaction of of much the same kind with that received believing that his prayers were heard. Ours from an excellent piece of music. This is an
advantage itinerant preachers have over those things that I regretted, there being no pro who are stationary, as the latter cannot well vision for defence, nor for a complete educaimprove their delivery of a sermon by so many tion of youth ; no militia, nor any college: I rehearsals. His writing and printing from therefore, in 1743, drew up a proposal for time to time gave great advantage to his establishing an academy; and at that time, enemies ; unguarded expressions, and even thinking the Rev. Richard Peters, who was erroneous opinions delivered in preaching, out of employ, a fit person to superintend such: might have been afterwards explained or an institution, I communicated the project to qualified, by supposing others that might have him: but he having more profitable views in accompanied them; or they might have been the service of the proprietors, which succeeddenied; but litera scripta manet : critics at- ed, declined the undertaking: and not knowtacked his writings violently, and with so ing another at that time suitable for such a much appearance of reason, as to diminish the trust, I let the scheme lie awhile dormant, I number of his votaries and prevent their in- succeeded better the next year, 1744, in pro
So that I am satisfied that if he had posing and establishing a Philosophical So never written any thing, he would have left ciety. The paper I wrote for that purpose, behind him a much more numerous and im- will be found among my writings; if not lost portant sect; and his reputation might in that with many others. case have been still growing even after his With respect to defence, Spain having been death; as there being nothing of his writing several years at war against Great Britain, on which to found a censure, and give him a and being at length joined by France, which lower character, his proselytes would be left brought us into great danger; and the labourat liberty to attribute to him as great a variety ed and long continued endeavour of our goof excellencies, as their enthusiastic admira- vernor, Thomas, to prevail with our Quaker tion might wish him to have possessed. assembly to pass a militia law, and make
My business was now constantly augment- other provisions for the security of the proing, and my circumstances growing daily vince, having proved abortive; I. proposed to easier, my newspaper having become very try what might be done by a voluntary subprofitable, as being for a time almost the only scription of the people: to promote this, I first one in this and the neighbouring provinces. wrote and published a pamphlet, intįtled I experienced too the truth of the observa- PLAIN Truth, in which I stated our helpless tion, that after getting the first hundred situation in strong lights, with the necessity pounds it is more easy to get the second :” of union and discipline for qur defence, and money itself being of a prolific nature. promised to propose in a few days, an associa
The partnership at Carolina having suc- tion; to be generally signed for that purpose. ceeded, I was encouraged to engage in others, The pamphlet' had a sudden and surprising and to promote several of my workmen who effect. I was called upon for the instrument had behaved well, by establishing them with of association; having settled the draught of printing houses in different colonies, on the it with a few friends, I appointed a meeting same terms with that in Carolina. Most of of the citizens in the large building beforethem did well, being enabled at the end of mentioned. The house was pretty full; I our term, (six years) to purchase the types had prepared a number of printed copies, and of me and go on working for themselves; by provided pens and ink dispersed all over the which means several families were raised. room. I harangued them a little on the subPartnerships often finish. in quarrels, but I ject, read the paper, explained it, and then was happy in this that mine were all carried distributed the copies, which were eagerly on and ended amicably; owing I think a good signed, not the least objection being made. deal to the precaution of having very explicit. When the company separated, and the papers ly settled in our articles, every thing to be were collected, we found above twelve hundone by or expected from each partner; so dred signatures; and other copies being disthat there was nothing to dispute; which persed in the country, the subscribers amountprecaution I would therefore recommend to ed at length to upwards of ten thousand. all who enter into partnerships; for whatever These all furnished themselves as soon as esteem partners may have for, and confidence they could with arms, formed themselves into in each other at the time of the contract, little companies, and regiments, chose their own jealousies and disgusts may arise, with ideas officers, and met every week to be instructed of inequality in the care and burden, busi- in the manual exercise, and other parts of ness, &c. which are attended often with military discipline. The women, by subbreach of friendship and of the connection; scriptions among themselves, provided silk perhaps with law-suits and other disagreeable colours, which they presented to the comconsequences.
panies, painted with different devices and I had on the whole abundant reason to mottos, which I supplied. The officers of be satisfied with my being established in the companies composing the Philadelphia Pennsylvania; there were however some l regiment, being met, chose me for their