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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 intro. duced 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 Lin. coln'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 i 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
produced by the beer, could only be in proportion to the solid part of the barley dissolved in the water of which the beer was composed; that there was a larger portion of flour in a penny loaf, and that consequently if he ate such a loaf and drank a pint of water with it, he would derive more strength from it than from a pint of beer. This reasoning, however, did not deter him from drinking his accustomed quantity of beer, and paying every Saturday night a score of four or five shillings a week for this cursed beverage; an expense from which I was wholly exempt. Thus do such poor
devils continue all their lives in a state of voluntary wretchedness and poverty.” Franklin was afterwards required as a compositor, in thesame house, and quitted the press. His example prevailed with several of his fellow workmen to renounce theirabom. inable practice of bread and cheese with beer; and they procured, like him, from a neighbouring house, a good bason of warm gruel, in which was a small slice of butter, with toasted bread and nutmeg. This was a much better breakfast, which did not cost more than threehalfpence, and preserved the head clear.
Franklin recommended himself to his employer by his assiduous application to business; and his extra. ordinary quickness in compositing always procured him the work most urgently required, which is com. monly paid an advanced price for. He lodged in Duke-street, with a woman rather advanced in life, who had been educated a protestant; but herhusband, whose memory she highly revered, had converted her Bo the Catholic religion. Franklin was always glad to pass an evening with her, and was sometimes inwited to her room. Their supper consisted only of half an anchovy each, upon a slice of bread and dut. ter, and half a pint of ale between them. But the en
porno 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 in this young man he taught the art of swimming, in 2, 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 i 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 delphia, to which place he was going. 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 twenty: seven 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 67
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 that purpose. This
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
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 receive ing 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 pefuse at.
Our quesand will you
s tentively such books-as had been written on the sub
jects 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 manner which prevented dissatisfaction.” The following
queries put to the candidates for admission, by way of a 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. in gion soever? Do you think any person ought to be
harmed in his body, name, or goods, for mere specis ulative opinions, or his external way of worship?
Do you love the truth for truth's sake;
Franklin now applied himself with unwearied in. si dustry 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 e presswork.
Franklin, had an intention of commencing a newspaper, and communicated his design to a workman of Keimer's, who had solicited employ. ment. This man betrayed his secret to Keimer, who immediately published a prospectus of a paper he
intended to institute himself. Franklin wrote some iyi satire on the design in Bradford's paper, the only one
then existing in Philadelphia. Keimer, however i commenced his paper, under the patronage of not
more than ninety subscribers; he continued it for i nine months only, and then sold the copy-right of it
to Franklin for a mere trifle. At this period he