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tertainment he valued was her conversation. At Watts's printing-house, Franklin contracted an intimacy with a sensible young man named Wy. gate, who, as his parents were in good circumstances, had received a proportionate liberal education; to this young man he taught the art of swimming, in which he excelled. One day, Wygate and he made a party on the water to Chelsea ; on their return, Franklin, at the intimation of Wygate, undressed, quitted the boat near Chelsea, and swam to Blackfri. ar's-bridge, exhibiting in this course a great variety of feats of activity and address, both on the surface of the water and under it. Wygate proposed to Franklin, to make the tour of Europe, maintaining themselves by the exercise of their profession. Franklin was on the point of consenting, when he mentioned it to his friend Mr. Denham, who dissua. ded him from it, and advised him to return to Philadelphia, to which place he was going. This
gen. tleman had formerly been a merchant at Bristol, but failing, he compounded with his creditors, and emi. grated to America, where he acquired a fortune; then returned, invited his creditors to a feast, and paid their balances with interest. He engaged Franklin as his clerk and book-keeper, and to superintend the goods he was taking to America.
"I had passed,” says Franklin, “about eighteen months in London, working almost without intermission, avoid. ing all expense, except going now and then to the play, and purchasing a few books. But my friend Ralph kept me poor. He owed me about twentyseven pounds, which was so much money lost; and when considered as taken from my little savings, was a very great sum. I had notwithstanding this a regard for him, as he possessed many amiable quali
ties." They sailed July 23, 1726, and arrived at Philadelphia, Oct. 11. They found that Keith had been deprived of his office of governor.
Mr. Denham took a warehouse. Franklin applied closely, studied accounts, and was expert in trade. He indeed behaved to him like a father, and they loved and respected each other. But this happiness was of short duration. Mr. Denham died in Feb. 1727, leaving Franklin a small legacy in his will, as a testimony of friendship.
Our author once more abandoned to himself, in the wide world, engaged as a printer with Keimer; whom he also served as a letter founder, ink-maker, engraver, and copperplate-printer; as well as constructor of a press for
which was the first that had been seen in the country, was erected by Franklin at Burlington, to print some new Jersey moneybills; and proved the means of his aquaintance with Judge Allen, and several other members of the assembly, who were afterwards of great service to him. After this he imported types from London, set up a printing office, in company with Hugh Meredith, one of Keimer's lads. Franklin has recorded the extraordinary pleasure he experienced in receiving the first fruits of their industry, amounting to five shillings.
66 The recollection of what I felt on this occasion,” says he, “has rendered me more disposed, than perhaps I should otherwise have been, to encourage young beginners in trade."
At the same time he established a weekly club, for mu. tual improvement, which not only proved an excel. lent school of philosophy and politics, but turned out also beneficially to his business. tions,” says Franklin, “ which were read a week previous to their discussion, induced us to peruse at
66 Our ques
tentively such books as had been written on the subjects proposed, that we might be able to speak on them more pertinently. We thus acquired the habit of conversing more agreeably; every subject being discussed conformably to regulations, and in a man. ner which prevented dissatisfaction." The following queries put to the candidates for admission, by way of test, indicate the liberal and philanthropical spirit of the founder. • Do you sincerely declare that you love mankind in general, of what profession or reli. gion soever? Do you think any person ought to be harmed in his body, name, or goods, for mere speculative opinions, or his external way of worship? Do you
love the truth for truth's sake; and will you endeavour impartially to find and receive it yourself, and communicate it to others ?” This society, which was called the “ Junto," lasted nearly forty years.
Franklin now applied himself with unwearied industry to the concern of printing. Early and late at work, he composed and distributed a folio sheet per day, on pica letter, loaded with heavy notes in a smaller type, besides doing other occasional jobs as they came in. Meredith, his partner, executed the presswork. Franklin, had an intention of commencing a newspaper, and communicated his design to a workman of Keimer's, who had solicited employment. This man betrayed his secret to Keimer, who immediately published a prospectus of a paper he intended to institute himself. Franklin wrote some satire on the design in Bradford's paper, the only one then existing in Philadelphia. Keimer, however commenced his paper, under the patronage of not more than ninety subscribers; he continued it for nine months only, and then sold the copy-right of it to Franklin for a mere trifle. At this period he
was much harrassed by pecuniary difficulties. In his first visit to Philadelphia he had received £36 for a friend of his brother John, of the name Vernon; this money he had not yet repaid. Mr. Ver. non reminded him of it. Meredith's father had a. greed to advance the whole expense of the printing materials, but had paid only £100. Another £100 was still due, and the merchant, tired of waiting, commenced a suit for it's recovery.
In this dis. tress two real friends, offered, without the knowledge of each other's intentions, to assist our enterprising printer with whatever money was necessary, if he would detach himself from Meredith, who they said was frequently seen drunk in the streets. These friends were William Coleman, and Robert Grace.
Such a separation Franklin soon effected; for Meredith's father could not advance the money he promised, and his son, having not been educated a printer, grew tired of it, and gladly returned to his original occupation of farming, and thus in 1729, Franklin was left sole proprietor of the business. He then accepted from his friends one half of the needful sum from each, which enabled him to carry on his undertaking more extensively.
At this time a new emission of paper.currency being wished for by the public, but opposed by the opulent part of the Assembly, Franklin published a pamphlet on the subject, which, being unanswerable, occasioned the measure to be carried, and the author rewarded by the lucrative employment of printing the bills. Public and private employment now enabled our author to begin to pay the debt he had contracted, and to open a stationer's shop. 6 In order,” says he,
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 I went a fishing or hunting. A book indeed enticed
me sometimes from my work, but it was by stealth, and occasioned no-scandal. To shew that I did not think myself above my business, I conveyed home, occasionally, in a wheel-barrow, the paper I had purchased at the warehouses. I thus obtained the reputation of being industrious, and punctual in my payments. The merchants who imported artica les of stationary solicited my custom; others offered to furnish me with books, and my little trade went on prosperously." Franklin, early in life, had made an acquaintance with the daughter of Mr. Read of Philadelphia; at whose house he was a lodger on his first visit to that place. On his departure for London they parted with regret, interchanging mutual promises of fidelity ; but on this new theatre of amusement he forgot his fair blossom. He wrote to her indeed, once, but his letter merely informed her that he was not likely to return soon.
Her fam. ily, justly despairing of Franklin's attachment, urged her to marry a potter, of the name of Rogers; to which she consented; but they grew miserable and parted. The husband involved himself in debt and fled, about 1727, to the West Indies, where he died. In the mean time, the passion of youth, so difficult to govern, led Franklin into various intrigues, not unaccompanied with expense and inconvenience, but fortunately his health remained untainted. On his return to Philadelphia, he reflected on his conduct with shame, regarding his inconstancy, du ring his abode in London, as the principal cause of Miss Read's misfortune. Franklin endeavoured, as a