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some one was kind enough to rouse me. This, therefore, was the first house I was in, or slept in, in Philadelphia.” Refreshed by his brief sojourn in this cheap place of repose, he then set out in quest of a lodging for the night. Next morning he found the person to whom he had been directed, who was not, however, able to give him any employment; but upon applying to another printer in the place, of the name of Keimer, he was a little more fortunate, being set by him, in the first instance, to put an old press to rights, and afterwards taken into regular work. He had been some months at Philadelphia, his relations in Boston knowing nothing of what had become of him, when a brother-in-law, who was the master of a trading sloop, happening to hear of him in one of his voyages, wrote to him in very earnest terms to entreat him to return home. The letter which he sent in reply to this application reaching his brotherin-law when he chanced to be in company with Sir William Keith, the Governor of the Province, it was shewn to that gentleman, who expressed considerable surprise on being told the age of the writer; and immediately said that he appeared to be a young man of promising parts, and that if he would set up on his own account in Philadelphia, where the printers were wretched ones, he had no doubt he would succeed: for his part, he would procure him the public business, and do him every service in his power. Some time after this, Franklin, who knew nothing of what had taken place, was one day at work along with his master near the window, when “we saw,” says he, “the Governor and another gentleman (who proved to be Colonel French, of Newcastle, in the province of Delaware), finely dressed, come directly across the street to our house, and heard them at the door. Keimer ran down X
immediately, thinking it a visit to him ; but the Governor inquired for me, came up, and with a condescension and politeness I had been quite unused to, made me many compliments, desired to be acquainted with me, blamed me kindly for not having made myself known to him when I first came to the place, and would have me away with him to the tavern, where he was going with Colonel French, to taste, as he said, some excellent Madeira. I was not a little surprised, and Keimer stared with astonishment.” The reader already perceives that Sir William must have been rather an odd sort of person; and this becomes still more apparent in the sequel of the story. Having got his young protegé to the tavern, he proposed to him, over their wine, that he should as soon as possible set up in Philadelphia as a master printer, only continuing to work with Keimer till an opportunity should offer of a passage to Boston, when he would return home, to arrange the matter with his father, who, the Governor had no doubt, would, upon a letter from him, at once advance his son the necessary funds for commencing business. Accordingly, Franklin set out for Boston by the first vessel that sailed; and, upon his arrival, was very kindly received by all his family, except his brother, and surprised his father not a little by presenting him with the Governor's letter. For some time his father said little or nothing on the subject, merely remarking, that Sir William must be a person of simall discretion, to think of setting a youth up in business who wanted three years to arrive at man's estate. But at last he decidedly refused to have anything to do with the arrangement; and Franklin returned to his patron to tell him of his bad success, going this time, however, with the consent and blessing of his parents, who, finding how industrious he had been while in Philadelphia, were willing that he should continue there. When Franklin presented himself to Sir William with his father's answer to the letter he had been honoured with from that functionary, the Governor observed that he was too prudent: “but since he will not set you up,” added he, “I will do it myself.” It was finally agreed that Franklin should proceed in person to England, to purchase types and other necessary articles, for which the Governor was to give him letters of credit to the extent of one hundred pounds.
AFTER repeated applications to the Governor for the promised letters of credit, Franklin was at last sent on board the vessel for England, which was just on the point of sailing, with an assurance that Colonel French should be sent to him with the letters immediately. That gentleman soon after made his appearance, bearing a packet of dispatches from the Governor : in this packet Franklin was informed his letters were. Accordingly, when they got into the British Channel, the Captain having allowed him to search for them among the others, he found several addressed to his care, which he concluded of course to be those he had been promised. Upon presenting one of them, however, to a stationer, to whom it was directed, the man, having opened it, merely said, “Oh, this is from Riddlesdon (an attorney in Philadelphia, whom Franklin knew to be a thorough knave); I have lately found him to be a complete rascal;” and giving back the letter, turned on his heel, and proceeded to serve his customers. Upon this, Franklin's confidence in his patron began to be a little shaken; and, after reviewing the whole affair in his own mind, he resolved to lay it before a very intelligent mercantile gentleman, who had come over from America with them, and with whom he had contracted an intimacy on the passage. His friend very soon put an end to his doubts. “He let me,” says Franklin, “ into Keith's character; told me there was not the least probability that he had written any letters for me; that no one who knew him had the smallest dependence on him; and he laughed at the idea of the Governor's giving me a letter of credit, having, as he said, no credit to give.” Thus thrown once more on his own means, our young adventurer found there was no resource for him but to endeavour to procure some employment at his trade in London. Accordingly, having applied to a Mr. Palmer, a printer of eminence in Bartholomew-close, his services were accepted, and he remained there for nearly a year. During this time, although he was led into a good deal of idleness by the example of a friend, somewhat older than himself, he by no means forgot his old habits of reading and study. Having been employed in printing a second edition of Wollaston's Religion of Nature, his perusal of the work induced him to compose and publish a small pamphlet in refutation of some of the author's positions, which, he tells us, he did not afterwards look back upon as altogether a wise proceeding. He employed the greater part of his leisure more profitably in reading a great many works, which (circulating libraries, he remarks, not being then in use) he borrowed, on certain terms that were agreed upon between them, from a bookseller, whose shop was next door to his lodgings in Little Britain, and who had an immense collection of second-hand books. His pamphlet, however, was the means of making him known to a few of the literary characters then in London, among the rest to the noted Dr. Mandeville, author of the Fable of the Bees; and to Dr. Pemberton, Sir Isaac Newton's friend, who promised to give him an opportunity, some time or other, of seeing that great man: but this, he says, never happened. He also became acquainted about the same time with the famous collector and naturalist, Sir Hans Sloane, the founder of the British Museum, who had heard of some curiosities