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ernor playing such pitiful tricks, and imposing so grossly upon a poor ignorant boy? It was a habit he had acquired; he wished to please every body, and having little to give, he gave expectations. He was otherwise an ingenuous, sensible man, a pretty good writer, and a good governor for the people, though not for his constituents the proprietaries. Several of our best laws were of his planning, and passed during his administration.”
The entire absence of anger in this statement, has won for Franklin great commendation.
With his dependent protegé Ralph, he took humble lodgings in Little Britain street. Ralph had remarkable powers of conversation, with much more than ordinary literary talent, and could, whenever he wished, make himself very agreeable and almost fascinating as a companion. But he was quite a child as to all ability to take care of himself. Franklin really loved him at that time. He was a very handsome young man, graceful in his demeanor; and those who listened to his eloquent harangues would imagine that he was destined to attain to greatness.
Franklin immediately applied for work at the great printing establishment of Palmer in Bartholomew Close. Fifty journeymen were here employed. He promptly entered into a contract with the proprieter for the remuneration of about six dollars a week. Ralph, characteristically hurried to the theatre to enter upon the profession of a play-actor. Being disappointed in that attempt, his next plan was to edit a newspaper to be called the Spectator. Not being able to find a publisher, he then went the rounds of the law offices, in search of copying, but not even this, could he obtain. In the meantime they were both supported by the purse of Franklin. With fifty dollars in his pocket, and earning six dollars a week, he felt quite easy in his circumstances, and was quite generous in his expenditure for their mutual enjoyment.
Faithfulness to work—Neglect of Deborah Read—Treatise on Lib.
erty and Necessity-Skill in swimming-Return to America-
FRANKLIN and Ralph were essentially congenial in their tastes. Neither of them were religiously incined in the ordinary acceptation of those words. But the thoughtful philosophy of Franklin has by many been regarded as the development of an instinctively religious character. They were both exceedingly fond of amusement and especially of pleasure excursions on the Sabbath. Very seldom, did either the intellect or the heart lure them to listen to such teachings at they would hear from the pulpit. It certainly would have been better for them both, had they been church-going young men. There was no pulpit in all London from which they would not hear the reiterated counsel, Cease to do evil ; learn to do well,
Franklin was faithful in the highest degree to his employer. Weary with the day's toil, which with his active mind was highly intellectual as well as mechanical, he almost invariably in the evening sought recreation with Ralph in the theatre. It is safe to infer that the best productions of our best dramatists, were those which would most interest the mind of our young philosopher. Ralph was daily gaining an increasing influence over his mind. It is said that we are prone to love more ardently those upon whom we confer favors than those from whom we receive them.
To these two young men the pleasures of London seemed inexhaustible. Franklin began to forget his old home and his friends. He began to think that London was a very pleasant place of residence, and that it was doubtful whether he should ever return to America again. He had constant employment, the prospect of an increasing income, and with his economical habits he had ample funds to relieve himself from all pecuniary embarrassment. With his friend Ralph, he was leading a very jovial life, free from all care.
His love for Deborah Read began to vanish away. He thought very seldom of her: seldom could he find time to write to her; and ere long his letters ceased altogether; and she was cruelly left to the
uncertainty of whether he was alive or dead. Ralph had entirely forgotten his wife and child, and Franklin had equally forgotten his affianced. In subsequent years the memory of this desertion seems to have weighed heavily on him. He wrote in his advanced life in reference to his treatment of Deborah,
“This was another of the great errors of my life; which I could wish to correct were I to live it over
For nearly a year, Franklin thus continued in the employment of Mr. Palmer, receiving good wages and spending them freely. A very highly esteemed clergyman of the Church of England named Wollaston, had written a book entitled, “ The Religion of Nature Delineated.” It was a work which obtained much celebrity in those days and was published by Mr. Palmer. It was of the general character of Butler's Analogy, and was intended to prove that the morality enjoined by Jesus Christ, was founded in the very nature of man; and that the principles of that morality were immutable, even though deists should succeed in destroying the public faith in the divine authority of Christianity. It was eminently an amiable book, written with great charity and candor, and without any dogmatic assumptions.
It chanced to fall to Franklin to set up the type.