Page images

The baker gave him three large rolls.


He had no room in his pockets, so put one roll under each arm, and walked on, eating the third. After taking some water, he found himself well satisfied with his first roll, he gave the other two to a poor woman and her child. At Philadelphia, he soon obtained employment from Bradford and Keimer, the only print ers then in the city. He here contracted an acquaintance with several young men attached to literary pursuits, in whose society he spent many of his evenings. He was afterwards introduced, by his brother in law, Captain Holmes, to Sir Wm. Keith, governor of the province, who promised to do much for him, but, except entertaining him occasionally, in his own house, or at a tavern, performed nothing. Towards the end of April 1724, he set out to pay a visit to his parents. On his return, "At Newport," says Franklin, we took on board a number of passengers; among whom were two young women, and a grave, sensible, quaker lady, with her servants. I had shewn an obliging forwardness in rendering the quaker some trifling services, which lead 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 seemest to be ignorant of the world. Rely on what I tell thee; those are women of bad charac ters; I perceive it in all their actions. If thou dost not take care they will lead thee into danger. I advise thee to form no connection with them." As I appeared at first, not to think so ill of them as she did, she related many things which she had seen and heard, that had escaped my attention, but which

convinced me she 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 where they lodged, and invited me to come and see them. It was, however, well I did not go, for the next day the captain missing a silver spoon and some other things, which had been taken from the cabin, he procured a search-warrant, found the stolen goods, and had them punished. Thus, after having been preserved from one rock concealed under water, upon which the vessel struck, during our passage, I escaped another of a more dangerous nature." It must not be omitted, that in this passage, during a calm which stopped the vessel above Block-island, the crew employed themselves in fishing for cod, of which they caught a great number. Franklin had hitherto adhered to his resolution of abstaining from eating every thing which had lived and moved. "I considered says he, 66 agreeably to the maxims of my master Tryon, that the capture of every fish was a murder committed without provocation; since these animals had neither done, nor were capable of doing, the smallest injury to any one, that could jus. tify such a measure. This mode of reasoning I con. ceived to be unanswerable. 1 had formerly been fond of fish, and when one of these cod were taken out of the frying-pan, I thought it's flavour deli. cious. Hesitating, for some time, between princi. ple and inclination, I recollected that when the cod had been opened some small fish had been found in it's belly. I then argued, if fish eat each other, why may they not be eaten? I then dined on the cod, and have continued since to eat like mankind in general, returning only occasionally to my veget. ablediet. How convenient it proves to be a RATIONAL

[ocr errors]

animal, who knows how to find or invent, a plausible pretext for whatever it has an inclination to do!"

Franklin returned from this visit to Keimer, with whom he lived on good terms, but he concealed from him a design which he had formed of going to Lon don. Keimer was fond of argumentation, but Frank #lin drew him into difficulties by his Socratic method of reasoning, from whence he could not extricate him, self. Keimer urged him to wear his beard and keep the sabbath, to which Franklin consented, on condi tion that he would abstain from eating flesh. Kei mer doubted whether his constitution would be able to bear it. Franklin assured him that he would find himself much better for it. "He was a glutton," says Franklin, “and I wished to amuse myself by starving him. He consented to make trial of this regimen, if I would bear him company; we continued it for three months. A woman in the neighbourhood prepared and brought our victnals, to whom I gave a list of forty dishes, in the composition of which there .entered neither flesh nor fish. This fancy was the more agreeable to me as it turned to good account. The whole expense of our living did not exceed, for each, eighteen-pence a week. I have since that period," continues Franklin, "observed several Lents with the greatest strictness, and have suddenly returned again to my ordinary diet, without experiencing the smallest inconvenience; which had led me to re gard as of no importance the advice commonly given, of introducing gradually such alterations of regimen. I continued this plan cheerfully; but poor Keimer was a great sufferer. Tired of the project, he sighed for the flesh pots of Egypt. At length he ordered a roast pig, and invited me and two of our female ac、 quaintance to dine with him; but the pig being ready

a little too soon, he had eaten it all up before we arrived!" At the end of 1724, Franklin determined on removing to London. He was much encouraged in this undertaking by Sir William Keith, who promised him letters of recommendation, and one of credit, to enable him to purchase a press, types, and paper. After repeated waitings, and repeated evasions, on the part of Sir William, Franklin obtained not a single letter. An associate of the name of James Ralph, accompanied Franklin on his voy. age, but as he had no business to recur to for subsis. tence he was a considerable incumbrance to Franklin. This man underwent some difficulties, and was involved in some adventures, before he became settled as a schoolmaster at a village in Berkshire. He after wards became a political writer of some eminence, and is noticed in Pope's Dunciad. Franklin, thus unrecommended, was fortunate enough to obtain employment at Palmer's in Bartholomew-close, where he continued nearly a year. Here he was en.

gaged in compositing "Wolaston's Religion of Na. ture." Franklin thought some of Wolaston's argu ments not well founded, and wrote an animadversion on some passages, intitled A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain; dedicated to his friend Ralph. In this production he endeavoured to prove that there is no difference between virtue and vice; which he afterwards considered as one of the great errors of his life. "This pamphlet," says our author, falling into the hands of a surgeon, of the name of Lyons, author of a book called "Infallibil. ity of Human Judgment," was the occasion of a considerable intimacy between us. He expressed great esteem for me, came frequently to see me, in order to converse on metaphysical subjects; and introduced


me to Dr. Mandeville, author of the "Fable of the
Bees," who had instituted a club at a tavern in
Cheapside, of which he was the soul.
He was a

facetious and very amusing character. He also introduced me at Baston's coffee-house, to Dr. Pemberton, who promised to give me an opportunity of seeing Sir Isaac Newton, which I very ardently desired; but he did not keep his word. I had brought some curiosities with me from America; the principal of which was a purse made of the abestos, which fire only purifies, Sir Hans Sloane hearing of it, called on me, and invited me to his house in Bloomsburysquare, where, after shewing me all his curiosities he prevailed on me to add this piece to his collection; for which he paid me very handsomely." Franklin

calculating on some advantages to be obtained by a removal, solicited and obtained employment as a pressman at the printing-house of Watts, near Lincoln's-Inn-Fields. "I drank," says he, "nothing but water. The other workmen, to the number of about fifty, were great drinkers of beer. I carried occasionally a large form of types in each hand, up and down stairs, while the rest employed both hands to carry one. They were surprised to see, by this and many other examples, that the "American A. quatic," as they used to call me, was stronger than those who drank porter. My fellow pressmen drank every day a pint of beer before breakfast, a pint with bread and cheese for breakfast, one between breakfast and dinner, one at dinner, one again about the hour of six in the afternoon, and another after he had finished his day's work. This custom appeared to me abominable; but he had need, he said, of all this beer, in order to acquire strength to work. I endeavoured to convince him that the bodily strength

« EelmineJätka »