Page images
PDF
EPUB

a

well received by the lower and middling class of people; but it displeafed the opulent, as it increaled the clamour in favour of the new emillion. Having, however, no writer among them capable of answering it; their opposition became less violent; and there being in the 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 very

seasonable help to me; another advantage which I derived from having habituated myself to write.

Time and experience fo fully demonstrated the utility of paper currency, that it never afier experienced any considerable opposition; so that it foon amounted' to 55,00cl. and in the year 1739 to 80,oool. It has since risen, during the lait war, to 350,000l. trade, buildings and population liava ing 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 iniluence of my friend Hamilton, the printing of the Newcastle paper moncy, another profitable work, as I then thought it, little things appearing great to persons of moderate fortune; and 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 mule accurate form than had yet been seen in that 158347

part

means of the poft ; 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 by stealth, 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, with his wife and children, occupied part of my house, and half of the shop for his bufiness; 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 the faw that I was captivat:d; which was not difficult, the lady in question poffeffing great perfonal me. rit. The parents encouraged my addresses, by inviting me continually to supper, and leaving us together, till at laft it was time to come to an ex. planation. Mrs. Godfrey undertook to negociare our little treaty.

I gave her to understand, that I expected to receive with the young lady a sum of money chat would enable me at least to difcharge the reinainder of my debt for my prin ing materials. It was then, I believe, not more than a hundred pounds. She brought me for answer, that they had 110 such sum at their disposal. observed that it might easily be obtained, by a mortgage on their houle.

The reply of this was, aiter a few days interval, that they did not ap. prove of the match; that they had confered Eradiard, and found that the buliness of a prinier

was not lucrative; that my letters would soon be worn out, and must be supplied by new ones; that Keimer and Harry had failed, and that, probably, I fould do so too. Accordingly they forbade me the house, and the young lady was confined. I know not if they had really changed their minds, or if it was merely an artifice, fuppofing our affections to be too far engaged for us to defift, and that we should contrive to marry fecretly, which would leave them at liberty to give or not as they pleased. But, fufpecting this motive, I never went again to their house.

Some time after Mrs. Godfrey informed me that they were favourably disposed towards me, and wished me to renew the acquaintance; but I declared a firm resolution never to have any thing more to do with the family. The Godfrey's expreffed some resentment at this; and as we could no longer agree, they changed their residence, leaving me in poffeffion of the whole house. I then resolved to take no more lodgers. This affair having turned my thoughts to mariiage, I looked around me, and made overtures of all ance in other quarters; but I foon found that the profeffion of a printer being generally looked upon as a poor trade. I could expect no money with a wife, at leat if I wished her to poff ss any other charm. Meanwhile, that passion of youth, lo difficult to govern, had often drawn me into intrigues with despicable women who fell in my way ; which were not unaccompanied with expence and inconvenience, befides the perpetual r.fs of injuring my hialth, and ca:ching a ditcafe W. Idie ded above all things. But I wa, for. tunate enough to escape this danger.

As a neighbour and old acquaintance, I kept up a friendly intimacy with the family of Miss Read. Her parents had retained an affection for me from the time of my lodging in their house. I was often invited thither; they consulted me about their affairs, and I had been sometimes serviceable to them. I was touched with the unhappy situation of their daughter, who was almost always melancholy, and continually seeking solitude. I regard. ed ny forgetfulness and inconftancy, during my abode in London, as the principal cause of her misfortune; though her mother had the candour to attribute the fault co herself, rather than to me, because, after having prevented our marriage previous to my departure, she had induced her to marry another in my absence.

Our mutual affection revived ; but there exifted great obstacles to our union. Her marriage was considered, indeed, as not being valid, the man having, it was said, a former wife ftill living in England; but of this it was difficult to obtain a proof at so great a distance; and though a report prevailed of his being dead, yet we had no certainty of ir ; and supposing it to be true, he had Jeft many debts, for the payment of which his fucceffor might be sued. We ventured neverthe. less, in spite of all these difficulties, and I married her on the first of September 1730. None of the inconveniences we had feared happened to usShe proved to me a good and faithful companion, and contributed essentially to the success of my shop. We prospered together, and it was our mutual study to render each other happy. Thus I corrected, as well as I could, this great error of my youth.

ur club was not at that time establimed at a rn. We held our meetings at the house of Grace, who appropriated a room to the pur1 Some member observed one day, that as our as were frequently quoted in the course of our

atlions, it would be convenient to have tben collected in the room in which we assembled, in order to be consulted upon occasion ; and that, by thus forming a common library of our individual collections, each would have the advantage of using the books of all the other members, which would nearly be the same as if he possessed themi all himself, The idea was approved, and we ac, cordingly brought such books as we thought we could spare, which were placed at the end of the club-room. They amounted not to so many as we expected ; and though we made confiderable uf of them, yet fone inconveniencies resulting, fron. want of care, it was agreed, after about a year, to destroy the collection; and each took away such books as belonged to him.

It was now that I firit stated the idea of eftablithing, by subscrip:ion, a public library, I drew up the proposals, had them ingroffed in form by Brockden the attorney, and niy project succeeded, as will be seen in the sequel

*

[The life of Dr. Franklin, as written by himself, so far as it has yet been communicated to the world, breaks off in this place. We understand that it was continued by himn somewhat further ald we hpe that the remainder will, at some future period, be communicated to the public. We have no netiration in supposing that every reader will find himself greatly interested by the frank

« PreviousContinue »