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down the river with us in the boat, and was waiting to continue her journey. Thus refreshed, I regained the street, which was now full of well dressed people, all going the same way. I joined them, and was thus led to a large Quakers' meeting-house near the market place. I sat down with the rest, and after looking round me for some time hearing not ing said, and being drowsy from my last night's labour and want of rest, I fell into a sound sleep. In this state I continued till the assembly dispersed, when one of the con gregation had the goodness to wake me.
This was consequently the first house I entered, or in which I slept at Philadelphia.
I began again to walk along the street by the river side; and looking attentively at the face of every one I met, I at length perceived a young quaker whose countenance pleased me. I accosted him, and begged him to inform me where a stranger might find a lodging. We were then near the sign of the Three Mariners. They receive travellers here, said he, but it is not a house that bears a good character; if you will go with me, I will shew you a better ore. He con: ducted me to the Crooked Billet in Water-street. There I ordered something for dinner, and during my meal a number of curious questions were put to me, my youth and appearance exciting the suspicion of my being a runaway. After dinner my drowsiness returned, and I threw myself upon a bed without taking off my clothes, and slept till six o'clock in the evening, when I was called to supper. 1 afterwards went to bed at a very early hour, and did not awake till the next morning
As soon as I got up I put myself in as decent a trim as I could, and went to the house of Andrew Bradford the printer. I found' his father in the shop, whom I had seen at New-York. Having travelled on horseback, he had arrived at Philadelphia before me. He introduced me to his son, who received me with civility, and gave me some breakfast; but told me he had no occasion at present for a journeyman, having lately pro
cured one. He added, that there was another printer newly settled in the town, of the name of Keimer, who might perhaps employ me; and that in case of a refusal, I should be welcome to lodge at his house, and he would give me a little work now and then, till something better should offer.
The old man offered to introduce me to the new printer. When we were at his house; “ Neighbour,” said he, “I bring you a young man in the printing bu. siness; perhaps you may have need of his services.'
Keimer asked me some questions, put a composing stick in my hand to see how I could work, and then said, that at present he had nothing for me to do, but that he should soon be able to employ me. At the same time taking old Bradford for an inhabitant of the town well-disposed towards him, he communicated his project to him, and the prospect he had of success. Bradford was careful not to discover that he was the father of the other printer; and from what Keimer had said, that he hoped shortly to be in possession of the greater part of the business of the town, led him by art. ful questions, and by starting some difficulties, to disclose all his views, what his hopes were founded upon, and how he intended to proceed. I was present, and heard it all. I instantly saw that one of the two was a cunning old fox, and the other a perfect novice. Bradford left me with Keimer, who was strangely surprised when I informed him who the old man was.
I found Keimer's printing materials to consist of an old damaged press, and a small fount of worn-out English letters, with which he was himself at work upon an elogy on Aquilla Rose, whom I have mentioned above, an ingenious young man, and of an excellent character, highly esteemed
in the town, secretary to the assembly, and a very tolerable poet. Keimer also made verses, but they were indifferent ones. He could not be said to write in verse, for his method was to set the lines as they flowed from his muse; and as he worked without copy, had but one set of letter cases, and the elogy would probably occupy all his type, it was impossible for any one to assist him. I endeavoured to put his press in order, which he had not yet used, and of which indeed he understood nothing: and having promised to come and work off his elogy as soon as it should be ready, I returned to the house of Bradford, who gave me some trifle to do for the present, for which I had my board and lodging.
In a few days Keimer sent for me to print off his elogy. He had now procured another set of lettercases, and had a pamphlet to reprint, upon which he set me to work.
The two Philadelphia printers appeared destitute of every qualification necessary in their profession. Bradford had not been brought up to it, and was very illiterate. Keimer, though he understood a little of the bu. siness, was merely a compositior, and wholly incapable of working at press. He had been one of the French prophets, and knew how to imitate their supernatural agitations. At the time of our first acquaintance he professed no particular religion, but a little of all upon occasion. He was totally ignorant of the world, and a great knave at heart, as I had afterwards an opportunity of experiencing
Keimer could not endure that, working with him, I should lodge at Bradford's. He had indeed a house, but it was unfurnished; so that he could not take me in. He procured me a lodging at Mr. Read's, his landlord, whom I have already mentioned. My trunk and effects being now arrived, I thought of making, in the eyes of Miss Read, a more respectable appearance than when chance exhibited me to her view, eating my roll, and wandering in the streets.
From this period I began to contract acquaintance with such young people of the town as were found of reading, and spent my evenings with them agreeably, while at the same time I gained money by my industry, and, thanks to my frugality, lived contented. I thus forgot Boston as much as possible, and wished every one to be ignorant of the place of my residence, except my friend Collins, to whom I wrote, and who kept my secret,
An incident however arrived, which sent me home much sooner than I had proposed. I had a brother inlaw, of the name of Robert Holmes, master of a trading sloop from Boston to Delaware. Being at Newcastle, forty miles below Philadelphia, he heard of me, and wrote to inform me of the chagrin which my sudden departure from Boston had occasioned my parents, and of the affection which they still entertained for me, assuring me that, if I would return, every thing should be adjusted to my satisfaction; and he was very pressing in his entreaties. I answered his letter, thanked him for his advice, and explained the reasons which had induced me to quit Boston, with such force and clearness, that he was convinced I had been less to blame than he had imagined.
Sir William Keith, governor of the province, was at Newcastle at the time. Captain Holmes, being by chance in his company when he received my letter, took occasion to speak of me, and shewed it to him. The governor read it, and appeared surprised when he learned my age. He thought me, he said, a young man of very promising talents, and that of consequence I ought to be encouraged ; and there were at Philadelphia none but very ignorat printers, and that, if I were to set up for myself, he had no doubt of my success; that, for his own part, he would procure me all the public business, and would render me every other service in his power. My brother-in-law related all this to me afterwards at Boston ; but I knew nothing of it at the time; when one day Keimer and I being at work together near the window, we saw the governor, and another gentleman, Col. French of Newcastle, handsomely dressed, cross the street, and make directly for our house. We heard them at the door, and Keimer, believing it to be a visit to himself, went immediately down ; but the governor inquired for me, came up stairs, and, with a condescension and politeness to which I had not at all been accustomed, paid me many compliments, desired to be acquainted with me, obligingly reproached me for not having made
myself known to him on my arrival in the town, and wished me to accompany him to a tavern, where he and Colonel French were going, to taste some excellent Madeira wine.
I was, I confess somewhat surprised, and Keimer appeared thunderstruck. I went however with the governor and the colonel to a tavern at the corner of Third-street, where, while we were drinking the Madeira, he proposed to me to establish a printing-house He set forth the probabilities of success, and himself and colonel French assured me that I should have their protection and influence in obtaining the printing of the public papers of both governments; and as I appeared to doubt whether my father would assist me in this enterprise, Sir William said that he would give me a letter to him, in which he would represent the advantages of the scheme, in a light which he had no doubt would determine him. It was thus concluded that I should return to Boston by the first vessel, with the letter of recommendation from the governor to my father. Meanwhile the project was to be kept secret, and I continued to work for Keimer as before.
The governor sent every now and then to invite me to dine with him. I considered this as a very great honor; and I was the more sensible of it, as he conversed with me in the most affable, familiar and friendly manner imaginable.
Towards the end of April 1724, a small vessel was ready to sail for Boston. I took leave of Keimer, upon the pretext of going to see my parents. The governor gave me a long letter, in which he said many Hattering things of me to my father; and strongly recommended the project of my settling at Philadelphia, as a thing which could not fail to make
fortune. Going down the bay we struck on a flat, and sprung a leak. The weather was very tempestuous, and we were obliged to pump without intermission; I took my turn. We arrived however safe and sound at Boston, after about a fortnight's passage.