« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
by no means to have spared endeavours to succeed in his turn.
The subject of this memoir took leave of the printing business, and closely engaged himself for some weeks in assisting his friend Denham in collecting his freight. They sailed from Gravesend for Philadelphia, 23d July 1726, on board the Berkshire, Clerk, master.
The leisure-hours of this voyage were memorable for producing the first draft of Franklin's plan for his conduct in life, which there will be occasion to speak of shortly. His journal, kept throughout the voyage, exhibits the observant character of his mind. The following is a characteristic extract:
“ Tuesday, August 9. “ Took our leave of the land this morning. Calms the fore part of the day. In the afternoon, a small gale ; fair. Saw a grampus.
“ Friday, August 19. " This day we had a pleasant breeze at East. In the morning, we spied a sail upon our larboard bow, about two leagues distance. About noon, she put out English colours, and we answered with our ensign; and in the afternoon, we spoke with her. She was a ship of New York, Walter Kippen, master, bound from Rochelle in France, to Boston, with salt. Our captain and Mr D. went on board, and stayed till evening, it being fine weather. Yesterday, complaints being made that a Mr G-n, one of the passengers, had with a fraudulent design marked the cards, a court of justice was called immediately, and he was brought to trial in form. A Dutchman, who could speak no English, deposed by his interpreter, that when our mess was on shore at Cowes, the prisoner at the bar marked all the court cards on the back with a pen.
“ I have sometimes observed, that we are apt to fancy the person that cannot speak intelligibly to us, proportionably stupid in understanding; and when we
speak two or three words of English to a foreigner, it is louder than ordinary, as if we thought him deaf, and that he had lost the use of his ears as well as his tongue. Something like this, I imagine, might be the case of Mr Gn; he fancied the Dutchman could not see what he was about, because he could not understand English, and therefore boldly did it before his face.
“ The evidence was plain and positive ; the prisoner could not deny the fact, but replied, in his defence, that the cards he marked were not those we commonly played with, but an imperfect pack which he afterwards gave to the cabin-boy. The attorney-general observed to the court, that it was not likely he should take the pains to mark the cards without some illdesign, or some further intention than just to give them, when he had done, to the boy, who understood nothing at all of cards. But another evidence, being called, deposed that he saw the prisoner in the main-top one day, when he thought himself unobserved, marking a pack of cards on the backs, some with the print of a dirty thumb, others with the top of his finger, &c. Now there being, but two packs on board, and the prisoner having just confessed the marking of one, the court perceived the case was plain. În fine, the jury brought him in guilty, and he was condemned to be carried up to the round-top, and made fast there, in view of all the ship's company, during the space of three hours, that being the place where the act was committed, and to pay a fine of two bottles of brandy. But the prisoner resisting authority, and refusing to submit to punishment, one of the sailors stepped up aloft and let down a rope to us, which we, with much struggling, made fast about his middle, and hoisted him
up into the air, sprawling, by main force. We let him hang, cursing and swearing, for near a quarter of an hour; but at length he crying out murder! and looking black in the face, the rope being overtort about his middle, we thought proper to let him down again; and our mess have excommunicated him till
he pays his fine, refusing either to play, eat, drink, or converse, with him.
Thursday, August 25. “ Our excommunicated shipmate thinking proper to comply with the sentence the court passed upon him, and expressing himself willing to pay the fine, we have this morning received him into unity again. Man is a sociable being, and it is, for ought I know, one of the worst of punishments to be excluded from society. I have read abundance of fine things on the subject of solitude, and I know it is a common boast in the mouths of those that affect to be thought wise, that they are never less alone than when alone. knowledge solitude an agreeable refreshment to a busy mind; but were these thinking people obliged to be always alone, I am apt to think they would quickly find their very being insupportable to them. I have heard of a gentleman who underwent seven years' close confinement in the Bastile at Paris. He was a man of sense, he was a thinking man; but being deprived of all conversation, to what purpose should he think? For he was denied even the instruments of expressing his thoughts in writing. There is no burden so grievous to man as time that he knows not how to dispose of. He was forced, at last, to have recourse to this invention; he daily scattered pieces of paper about the floor of his little room, and then employed himself in picking them up, and sticking them in rows and figures on the arm of his elbow chair; and he used to tell his friends, after his release, that he verily believed, if he had not taken this method, he should have lost his senses. One of the philosophers, I think it was Plato, used to say,
66 That he had rather be the veriest stupid block in nature, than the possessor of all knowledge without some intelligent being to communicate it to.
“ 'Tis a common opinion among the ladies, that if a man is ill-natured, he infallibly discovers it when he is in liquor. But I, who have known many instances
to the contrary, will teach them a more effectual method to discover the natural temper and disposition of their humble servants. Let the ladies make one long sea-voyage with them, and if they have the least spark of ill-nature in and conceal it to the end of the voyage, I will forfeit all my pretensions to their favour. The wind continues fair."
Change of circumstances in Philadelphia.-Miss Read married. The Gover
nor superseded, and ashamed to see him.-Illness of Franklin and his employer.-Death of the latter, and Franklin's return to the printing business. -New engagement with Keimer..Quarrels with and leaves him, to become a master.-Commences business in partnership, and in a very humble way. --The Junto.-Specimen of his early essays.-Rise of his paper.—Dissolves the partnership, and succeeds gradually on his own account.--Marries.
FRANKLIN and his friend landed at Philadelphia the 11th of October, and found Keith no longer governor, being superseded by major Gordon. He seemed ashamed at meeting Franklin in the streets, but they passed. “I,” says he, “ should have been equally ashamed myself at meeting Miss Read, had not her family, justly despairing of my return, after reading my letter, advised her to give me up, and marry a potter of the name of Rogers, to which she consented; but he never made her happy, and she soon separated from him, refusing to cohabit with him, or even bear his name, on account of a report which prevailed of his having another wife. His skill in his profession had seduced Miss Read's parents; but he was a bad subject although an excellent workman. He involved himself in debt, and fled, in the year 1727 or 1728, to the West Indies, where he died.”
With Keimer appearances had improved; he had a shop well supplied with stationery, various new types, a number of hands, though none good, and seemed to have plenty of printing business. A store in Water-street was taken by Mr Denham, where Franklin attended closely to business, applied himself diligently to accounts, and was very successful in the disposal of goods. The friends lodged and boarded together. “He was sincerely attached to me,” Franklin says, 66 and acted towards me as if he had been my father.-On my side, I respected and