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We miet. Watson's performance was the first that was read. It had some beauties, but many faults. We next read Olborne's, which was much better. Ralph did it justice, remarking a few imperfections, and applauding such parts as were excellent. He had himself nothing to show, , It was now my turn. I made fome difficulty ; seemed as if I wished to be excused ; pretended that I had had no time to make corrections, &c. No excuse, however, was admiffible, and the piece must be produced, It was read and re-read. Watfun and Osborne immediately resigned the palm, and united in applauding it. Ralph alone made a few remarks, and proposed fome alterations ; but I defended my text, Osborne agreed with me, and told Ralph he was no more able to criticise than he was able to write.
When Osborne was alone with me, he expressed himself ftill more trongly in favour of what he considered as my performance. He pretended that he had put fcme restraint on himfelf before, apprehenfive of my construing his commendation into ilattery. But who would have supposed, said he, Franklin to be capable of such a composition? What painting, what energy, what fire! He has furpassed the original. In his common conversation he appears not to have choice of words; he hesitates, and is at a loss; and yet, good God how: he writes!
At our next mecting Ralph discovered the trick i we had played Osborne, who was rallied without mercy.
By this adventure Ralph was fixed in his refo-} Jusion of becoming a poet. I left nothing unats | lempted to divert him from his purpose ; but he is
persevered, till at last the reading of Pope* effected his cure: he became, however a very tolerable profe writer. I fall speak more of him hereafter; but as I shall probably have no farther occafion to mention the other two, I ought to observe here, that Watson died a few years after in my arms. He was greatly regretted for he was the best of our fociety. Osborne went to the islands, where he gained considerable reputation as a barrister, and was getting money; but he died young. We had seriously engaged, that whoever died first Thould return if pollible, and pay a friendly vifie to the survivor, to give him an account of the other world; but he has never fulfilled his engagement.
The governor appeared to be fond of my como pany, and frequently invited me to his house. He always spoke of his intention of settling me in bufiness, as a point that was decided. I was to take with me letters of recommendation to a number of friends; and particularly a letter of credit, in order to obtain the necessary sum for the purchase of my press, types and paper. He appoinied various times for me to come forthese letters, which would certainly be ready; and when I came, al ways.pub me cfi to another day.
These fucceffive delays continued till the veffel, whose departure had been several times deferred, was on the point of setting fail: when I again went to Sir William's house, to receive my letters, and take leave of him. I saw his secretary, Dr. Bard, who told me that the governor was extremely bu
* Probably the Dunciad, where we find hin thus immortalized by the author :
Silence, ye wolves, while RALPH to Cynthia lowis, And makes night liderilis; answer fun, ye owls !
sy writing, but that he would be down at Newcaftle before the vessel, and that the letters would be delivered to me there.
Ralph, though he was married and had a child, determined to accompany me in this voyage. His object was supposed to be the establishing a correspondence with some mercantile houses, in order to sell goods by commission; but I afterwards learned, that, having reason to be dissatisfied with the parents of his wife, he propofed to himself to leave ter on their hands, and never return to America again. · Flaving taken leave of my friends, and interchanged promises of fidelity with Miss Read, I quitted Philadelphia. At Newcaitle the veffel came to anchor. The governor was arrived, and I went to his lodgings. His secretary received me with great civility, told me on the part of the go. vernor that he could not see me then, as he was engaged in affairs of the utmost importance, buç th:t he would send the letters on board, and that he, wished me with all his heart, a good voyage and speedy return. I returned somewhat astonished to the thip, but still without entertaining the lighteft fufpicion.
Mr. Hamilton, a celebrated bariifer of Philzdelphia, had taken a passage to England for himfulf and his son, and, in conjunction with Mr Denham a quaker, and Messes. Oniam and Ruffel, proprietors of a forge in Maryland, had agreed for the whole cabin, so that Ralph and I were oblized to take up our lodging with the crew. Being unknown to every body in the Nip, we were look. ed upon as the common order of people: but Mr. Hamilton and his 'fo! (it was James, who was VOL 1
afterwards gorernor) left us at Newcastle, and rc. turned to Philadelphia, where he was recalled, at a very great expence, to plead the cause of a vessel that had been seized; and just as we were about to fail, colonel French came on board, and shewed me many civilities. The passengers upon this paid me more attention, and I was invited, together with my friend Ralph, to occupy the place in the cabin which the retuin of the 'Mr. Hamiltons had made vacant; an offer which we very readily acceptel.
Having learned that the dispatches of the gover. nor had been brought on board by colonel French, I aiked the captain for the litiers that were to be intrusted to my care.
He told nie that they were all put together in the bas, which he could 109 open at presunt; but before we reached England, he would give me a:) opportunity of taking them 001. I was fatistisd with this answer, and we pulued our voyage.
Toe company in the cabin were all very socia. ble, and we were perfectly well ff as to provisions, 6:9 we had the advantage of the whole of Mir. Ha. miltons, who had laid in a very plentiful frock, During the pasluge Mr. Denham contracted a friend thip for me, which ended only with his life : in other respecis the voyage was by no means an agreeable one, as we had much bad weather,
When we arrived in the river, the captain was as good as his word, and allowed me to search the lag for the governors letters. I could not find a fingle one with my name writien on it, as commi:ted to my care ; but I ielected fix or fever, which I judged from the direction to be those that were interded for me; particularly cne to Mr. Baiken
the king's printer, and another to a stationer, who was the first person I called upon, I delivered him the letter as coming from governor Keith. « have no acquaintance (said he) with any such person ;” and opening the letter, “Oh, it is from " Riddlesden !"heexclaimed. I have lately disc)si vered him to be a very arrant knave, and I wish "to have nothing to do either with him or his " letters.” He instantly put the letter in my hand, tuined upon his heel, and left me io lerve some cuitomers.
was astonished at finding these letters were not from the governor. Reflecting, and putting circumstances together, I then began to doubt his fincerity. I rejoined my friend Denhar, and related the whole adair to him. He let me at once into Keith's character, told me there was not the least probability of his having written a lingle le:ter; that no one who new him ever placed any reliance on him, and laughed at my credulity in fupposing that the governor would give me a letter of credit, when he had no credit für himself. As 1 shewed some uneasiness respecting what fiep I should take, he advised me to tryto getemployment in the house of some printer. You may there, said he, improve ynurteif in buliness, and you will be able to feitle yourself the more advantageouiiy when you return to America.
We knew already, as well as the ftationer, attorney Riddlesden to be a knave.
He had nearly ruined the father of Mrs Read, by drawing him in to be liis fecurity We learned from his letter, that lie as fecretly carrying on an intrigue, in concert with the governor, to the prejudice of MrHawilon, who it was supposed would by this time