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bnc newspaper being in their judgment, enough for America. At this time (1771) there are not less than jive-and-twenty.* He went on however, with the undertaking; I was employed to carry the papers to the customers, after having worked in composing the types and printing off the sheets. He had some ingenious men among his friends, who amused themselves by writing little pieces for this paper, which gained it credit, and made it more in demand, and these gentlemen often visited us.
Hearing their conversations and their accounts of the approbation their papers were received with, I was excited to try my hand among them: but being still a boy, and suspecting that my brother would object to printing any thing of mine in his paper, if he knew it to be mine, I contrived to disguise my hand, and writing an anonymous paper, I put it at night under the door of the printing house. It was found in the morning, and communicated to his writing friends, when they called in as usual. They read it, commented on it in my hearing, and I had the exquisite pleasure of finding it had met with their approbation, and that in their different guesses at the author, none were named but men of some character among us for learning and ingenuity. I suppose that I was rather lucky in my judges, and they were not really so very good as I then believed them to be'.
Encouraged however by this attempt I wrote and sent in the same way to the press several other pieces, that were equally approved; and I kept my secret till all my fund of sense for such performances was exhausted, and then discovered it, when I began to be considered with a little more attention by my brother's acquaintance. However, that did not quite please him, as he thought it tended to make me too vain. This might be one occasion of the differences we began to bare about this time. Though a brother, he considered himself as my master, and me as his apprentice, and accordingly expected the same services from me as he would from another, while I thought he degraded me too much in some he required
4 The number in 1817, exceeds 400.
of me, who from a brother required more indulgence. Our disputes were often brought before our father, and I fancy I was cither generally in the right or else a better pleader, because the judgment was generally in my favor. But my brother was passionate and had often beaten me, which I took extremely amiss; and thinking my apprenticeship very tedious, 1 was continually wishing for some opportunity of shortcuing it, which at length offered in a manner unexpected..
Perhaps the harsh and tyrannical treatment of me, might be a means of impressing me with the aversion to arbitrary power, that has stuck to me through my whole life.
One of the pieces in our newspaper, on some political point, which I have now forgotten, gave offence to the assembly. He was taken up, censured, and imprisoned for a month, by the speaker's warrant, I suppose because he would not discover the author. I too was taken up and examined before the council; but though I did not give them any satisfaction, they contented themselves with admonishing me and dismissed me, considering me perhaps as an apprentice, who was bound to keep his master's secrets.
During my brother's confinement, which I resented a good deal, notwithstanding our differences, 1 had the management of the paper; and I made bold to give our rulers some rubs in it, which my brother took very kindly, while others began to consider me in an unfavorable light, as a youth that had a turn for libelling ami satire. My brother's discharge was acT companied with an order (and a very odd one) that "James Franklin should no longer print the newspaper called the New England Courant."
On a consultation held in our printing office amongst his friends, what he should do in this conjuncture, it was proposed to elude the order, by changing the name of the paper; but my brother seeing inconveniences in this, came to a conclusion, as a better way, to let the paper in future be printed in the name of Benjamin Franklin: and in order to avoid the censure of the assembly that might fall on him, as still printing it by his apprentice, he contrived and consented that my old indenture should be returned to me, with a discharge on the back of it, to show in case of necessity, and in order to secure to him the benefit ol my service, I should sign new indentures for the remainder of my time, which was to be kept private. A very flimsy scheme it was; however, it was immediately executed, and the paper was printed accordingly under my name for several months. At length a fresh difference arising between my brother and me, I took upon me to assert my freedom; presuming that he would not venture to produce the new indentures. It was not fair in me to take this advantage, and this I therefore reckon as one of the first errata of my life; but the unfairness of it weighed little with rac, when under the impressions of resentment for the blows his passion too often urged him to bestow upon me: though he was otherwise not an illnatured man: perhaps I was too saucy and provoking.
When he found 1 would leave him, he took care to prevent my getting employment in any other printing house in town, by going round and speaking to every master, who accordingly refused to give me work. I then thought of going to New York, as the nearest place where there was a printer,; and I was rather inclined to leave Boston, when I reflected that I had already made myself a little obnoxious to the governing party, and from the arbitrary proceedings of the assembly in my brother's rase, it was likely I might, if I staid, 6oon bring myself into scrapes; and further that my indiscreet disputations about religion began to make me pointed at with horror, by good people, as an infidel or atheist. I concluded therefore to remove to New York; but my father now siding with my brother, I was sensible that if I attempted to go openly, means would be used to prevent me. My friend Collins, therefore undertook to manage my flight. He agreed with the captain of a New York sloop to take me, under pretence of my being a young man of his acquaintance that had an intrigue with a girl of bad character, whoso parents would compel me to marry her; and that I could neither appear or come away publicly. I sold my books to raise a little money, was taken on board the sloop privately, had a fair wind, and in three days, found myself at New York, near three hundred miles from my home, at the age of seventeen; without the least recommendation, or knowledge of any person in the place, and very little money in my pocket.
The inclination I had felt for the sea was by this time done away, or I might now have gratified it. But having another profession, and conceiving myself a pretty good workman, I olFcred my services to a printer of the place, old Mr. W. Bradford, who had been the first printer in Pennsylvania, but had removed thence, in consequence of a quarrel with the governor, general Keith. He could give me no employment, having little to do, and hands enough already. But he said, "my son "at Philadelphia, has lately lost his principal hand, Aquilla "Rose, by death; if you go thither, I believe he may employ "you." Philadelphia was one hundred miles farther; I set out however, in a boat for Amboy, leaving my chest and things to follow me round by sea. In crossing the bay we met with a squall that tore our rotten sails to pieces, prevented our getting into the kill, and drove us upon Long Island. In our way, a drunken Dutchman, who was a passenger too, fell over board; when he was sinking, I reached through the water to his shock pate, and drew him up, so that we got him in again. His ducking sobered him a little and he went to sleep, taking first out of his pocket a book, which he desired I would dry for him. It proved to be my old favorite author, Bungan's Pilgrim's Progress, in Dutch, finely printed on good paper, copper cuts, a dress better than I had ever seen it wear in its own language. I have since found that it has been translated into most of the languages of Europe, and suppose it has been more generally read than any other book, except perhaps the Bihlc. Honest John was the first that I know of, who mixed narration and dialogue; a method of writing very engaging to the reader, who in the most interesting parts finds himself, as it were, admitted into the company and present at the conversation. Vt Foe has imitated him successfully in his Robinson Crusoe, in his Moll Flanders, and other pieces; and Richardson has dune the same in his Pamela, &c.
On approaching the island, we found it was in a place where there could be no landing, there being a great surf on the stony beach. So we dropped anchor, and swung out our cable towards the shore. Some people came down to the shore, and hallooed us, as we did to them, but the wind was so high, and the surf so loud, that we could not understand each other. There were some small boats near the shore, and we made signs, and called to them to fetch us; but they either did not comprehend us, or it was impracticable, so they went oft". Night approaching, we had no remedy but to have patience till the wind abated, and in the mean time the boatmen and myself concluded to sleep if we could; and so we crowded into the hatches, where we joined the Dutchman, who was still wet, and the spray breaking over the head of our boat, leaked through to us, so that we were soon almost as wet as he. In this manner we lay all night with very little rest; but the wind abating the next day, we made a shift to reach Amboy before night; having been thirty hours on the water, without victuals, or any drink but a bottle of filthy rum: the water we sailed on being salt.
In the evening I found myself very feverish, and went to bed: but having read somewhere that cold water drank plentifully was good for a fever, I followed the prescription; and sweat plentifully most of the night: my fever left me, and in the morning, crossing the ferry, I proceeded on my journey on foot, having fifty miles to Burlington, where I was told I should find boats that would carry tnc the rest of the way to Philadelphia.
It rained very hard all the day, I was thoroughly soaked, and by noon a good deal tired, so I stopt at a poor inn, where I stayed all night; beginning now to wish I had never left home. I made so miserable a figure too, that I found by the questions asked me, I was suspected to be some runaway indentured servant, and in danger of being taken up on that suspicion. However, I proceeded next day, and got in the