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House has made me often more ready, than perhaps I otherwise should have been, to assist young beginners.
There are croakers in every country, always boding its ruin. Such a one there lived in Philadelphia; a person of note, an elderly man, with a wise look and a very grave manner of speaking; his name was Samuel Mickle. This gentleman, a stranger to me, stopped me one day at my door, and asked me if I was the young man, who had lately opened a new printing-house? Being answered in the affirmative, he said he was sorry for me, because it was an expensive undertaking, and the expense would be lost; for Philadelphia was a sinking place, the people already half bankrupts, or
forgiven. Our Liturgy uses neither the debtors of Matthew, nor the indebted of Luke, but instead of them speaks of those that trespass against us. Perhaps the considering it as a Christian duty to forgive debtors was by the compilers thought an inconvenient idea in a trading nation. There seems, however, something presumptuous in this mode of expression, which has the air of proposing ourselves as an example of goodness fit for God to imitate. We hope you will at least be as good as we are; you see we forgive one another, and therefore we pray that you would forgive us. Some have considered it in another sense. Forgive us as we forgive others. That is, if we do not forgive others, we pray that thou wouldst not forgive us. But this, being a kind of conditional imprecation against ourselves, seems improper in such a prayer; and therefore it may be better to say humbly and modestly
NEW VERSION. - Forgive us our trespasses, and enable us likewise to forgive those who offend us. This, instead of assuming that we have already in and of ourselves the grace of forgiveness, acknowledges our dependence on God, the Fountain of Mercy, for any share we may have of it, praying that he would communicate it to us.
OLD VERSION. And lead us not into temptation. The Jews had a notion, that God sometimes tempted, or directed, or permitted, the tempting of people. Thus it was said, he tempted Pharaoh, directed Satan to tempt Job, and a false Prophet to tempt Ahab. Under this persuasion, it was natural for them to pray, that he would not put them to such severe trials. We now suppose that temptation, so far as it is supernatural, comes from the Devil only; and this petition continued conveys a suspicion, which, in our present conceptions, seems unworthy of God; therefore it might be altered to
NEW VERSION. Keep us out of temptation.
near being so; all the appearances of the contrary, such as new buildings and the rise of rents, being to his certain knowledge fallacious; for they were in fact among the things that would ruin us. Then he gave me such a detail of misfortunes now existing, or that were soon to exist, that he left me half melancholy. Had I known him before I engaged in this business, probably I never should have done it. This person continued to live in this decaying place, and to declaim in the same strain, refusing for many years to buy a house there, because all was going to destruction; and at last I had the pleasure of seeing him give five times as much for one, as he might have bought it for when he first began croaking.
Description of its original Members. - Franklin writes the "Busy Body." - Establishes a Newspaper. - Partnership with Meredith dissolved. Writes a Tract on the Necessity of a Paper CurOpens a Stationer's Shop. - His Habits of Industry and FruCourtship. - Marriage.
I SHOULD have mentioned before, that, in the autumn of the preceding year, I had formed most of my ingenious acquaintance into a club for mutual improvement, which we called the JUNTO; we met on Friday evenings. The rules that I drew up required, that every member in his turn should produce one or more queries on any point of Morals, Politics, or Natural Philosophy, to be discussed by the company; and once in three months produce and read an essay of his own writing, on any subject he pleased. Our debates were to be under the direction of a president, and to be conducted in the sincere spirit of inquiry after truth, without fondness for dispute, or desire of victory; and, to prevent warmth, all expressions of positiveness in opinions, or direct contradiction, were after some time made contraband, and prohibited under small pecuniary penalties.
The first members were Joseph Breintnal, a copier of deeds for the scriveners, a good-natured, friendly, middle-aged man, a great lover of poetry, reading all he could meet with, and writing some that was tolerable; very ingenious in making little nicknackeries, and of sensible conversation.
Thomas Godfrey, a self-taught mathematician, great in his way, and afterwards inventor of what is now
called Hadley's Quadrant.* But he knew little out of his way, and was not a pleasing companion; as, like most great mathematicians I have met with, he expected universal precision in every thing said, or was for ever denying or distinguishing upon trifles, to the disturbance of all conversation. He soon left us.
Nicholas Scull, a surveyor, afterwards surveyorgeneral, who loved books, and sometimes made a few
William Parsons, bred a shoemaker, but, loving reading, had acquired a considerable share of mathematics, which he first studied with a view to astrology, and afterwards laughed at it. He also became surveyorgeneral.
William Maugridge, joiner, but a most exquisite mechanic, and a solid, sensible man.
Hugh Meredith, Stephen Potts, and George Webb, I have characterized before.
Robert Grace, a young gentleman of some fortune, generous, lively, and witty; a lover of punning and of his friends.
Lastly, William Coleman, then a merchant's clerk, about my age, who had the coolest, clearest head, the best heart, and the exactest morals, of almost any man I ever met with. He became afterwards a merchant of great note, and one of our provincial judges. Our friendship continued without interruption to his death, upwards of forty years; and the club continued almost as long, and was the best school of philosophy, morality, and politics, that then existed in the province; for our queries, which were read the week preceding their discussion, put us upon reading with attention on
* Godfrey's claims to this invention are fully explained and confirmed in MILLER'S Retrospect of the Eighteenth Century, Vol. I. pp. 468–480.
the several subjects, that we might speak more to the purpose; and here too we acquired better habits of conversation, every thing being studied in our rules, which might prevent our disgusting each other. Hence the long continuance of the club, which I shall have frequent occasion to speak further of hereafter.*
But my giving this account of it here, is to show something of the interest I had, every one of these exerting themselves in recommending business to us. Breintnal particularly procured us from the Quakers the printing of forty sheets of their history, the rest being to be done by Keimer; and upon these we worked exceedingly hard, for the price was low. It was a folio, pro patriâ size, in pica, with long primer notes. I composed a sheet a day, and Meredith worked it off at press; it was often eleven at night, and sometimes later, before I had finished my distribution for the next day's work. For the little jobs sent in by our other friends now and then put us back. But, so determined I was to continue doing a sheet a day of the folio, that one night, when, having imposed my forms, I thought my day's work over, one of them by accident was broken, and two pages reduced to pie. I immediately distributed, and composed it over again before I went to bed; and this industry, visible to our neighbours, began to give us character and credit; particularly I was told, that mention being made of the new printing-office, at the merchants' every-night club, the general opinion was that it must fail, there being
* For other particulars about the Junto, see Vol. II. pp. 9, 551. Mr. Roberts Vaux read a paper to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, in February, 1835, in which he mentions an additional list of members, who belonged subsequently to the JUNTO. Their names are Hugh Roberts, Philip Syng, Enoch Flower, Joseph Wharton, William Griffith, Luke Morris, Joseph Turner, Joseph Shippen, Joseph Trotter, Samuel Jervis, and Samuel Rhoads. - EDITOR.