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and business neglected him. Finding in a short time nothing to do in the country, he followed Keimer to Barbadoes, carrying his printing materials with him. There the apprentice employed his old master as a journeyman. They were continually quarrelling ; and Harry still getting in debt, was obliged at last to sell his press and types, and return to his old occupation of husbandry in Pennsylvania. The person who purchased them employed Keimer to manage the business; but he died a few years after.
I had now at Philadelphia no competitor but Bradford, who, being in easy circumstances, did not engage in the printing of books, except now and then as workmen chanced to offer themselves; and was not anxious to extend his trade. He had, however, one advantage over me, as he had the direction of the post-office, and was of consequence supposed to have better opportunities of obtaining new 3. His paper was also supposed to be more advantageous to advertising customers; and in consequence of that supposition, his advertisements were much more numerous than mine : this was a source of great profit to him, and disadvantageous to me. It was to no purpose that I really procur. ed other papers, and distributed my own, by means of the post; the public took for granted my inability in this respect; and I was indeed unable to conquer it in any other mode than by bribing the post-boys, who served me only by stealth, Bradford being so illiberal as to forbid them. This treatment of his excited my resentment; and my disgust was so rooted, that, when I afterwards succeeded him in the post-offie, I took care to avoid copying his example.
I had hitherto continued to board with Godfrey, who, with his wife and children, occupied part of my house, and half of the shop for his business; at which indeed he worked very little, being always absorbed by mathematics. Mrs. Godfrey formed a wish of marrying me to the daughter of one of her relations. She contrived various opportunities of bringing us together, till she saw that I was captivated; which was not difficult, the lady in question possessing great personal merit. The parents encouraged my addresses, by inviting me continually to supper, and leaving us together, till at last it was time to come to an explanation. Mrs. Godfrey undertook to negociate our little treaty. I gave her to understand, that I expected to receive with the young lady a sum of money that would enable me at least to discharge the remainder of my debt for my printing materials. It was then, I believe, not more than a hundred pounds. She brought me for answer, that they had no such sum at their disposal. I observed that it might easily be obtained, by a mortgage on their house. The reply of this was, after a few days interval, that they dij not approve of the match ; that they had consulted Bradford, and found that the business of a printer was not lucrative; that my letters would soon be worn out, and must be supplied with new ones ; that Keimer and Harry had failed, and that, probably, I should do so too. Accordingly they forbade me the house, and the young lady was confined. I know not if they had really changed their minds, or if it was merly an artifice, supposing our affections to be too far engaged for us to desist, and that we should contrive to marry secretly, which would leave them at liberty to give or not as they pleased. But, suspecting this motive, I never went again to their house.
Some time after Mrs. Godfrey informed me that they were favourably disposed towards me, and wished me to renew the acquaintance; but I declared a firm resolution never to have any thing more to do with the family. The Godfrey's expressed some resentment at this; and as we could no longer agree, they changed their residence, leaving me in possession of the whole house. I then resolved to take no more lodgers, This affair having turned my thoughts to marriage, I looked around me, and made overtures of alliance in other quarters.;. but I soon found that the profession of a printer being generally looked upon as a poor trade, I could expect no money with a wife, at least if I wished her to possess any other charm. Meanwhile, that passion of youth, so difficult to govern, had often drawn me into intrigues with despicable women, who fell in my way; which were not unaccompanied with expence and inconvenience, besides the perpetual risk of injuring my health, and catching a disease which I dreaded above all things. But I was fortunate enough to escape this danger.
As a neighbour and old acquaintance, I kept up a friendly intimacy with the family of Miss Read. Her parents had retained an affection for me from the time of my lodging in their house. I was often invited thither; they consulted me about their affairs, and I had been sometimes servicable to them. I was touched with the unhappy situation of their daughter, who was almost always melancholy, and continually seeking solitude. I regarded my forgetfulness and inconstancy, during my abode in London, as the principal cause of her misfortune; though her mother had the candour to attribute the fault to herself, rather than to me, because, after having prevented our marriage previous to my departure she had induced her to marry another in my absence.
Our mutual affection revived; but there existed great obstacles to our union. Her marriage was considered, indeed, as not being valid, the man having, it was said, a former wife still living in England; but of this it was difficult to obtain a proof at so great a distance; and though a report prevailed of his being dead, yet we had no certainty of it; and supposing it to be true, he had left many debts, for the payment of which his successor might be sued. We ventured nevertheless, in spite of all these difficulties, and I married her on the first of September 1730. None of the inconveniences we had feared happened to us; she proved to me a good and faithful companion, and contributed essentially to the success of my shop. We prospered together, and it was our mutual study to render each
other happy. Thus I corrected, as well as I could, this great error of my youth.
Our club was not at that time established at a tavern. We held our meetings at the house of Mr. Grace, who appropriated a room to the purpose. Some member observed one day, that as our books were frequently quoted in the course of our discussions, it would be convenient to have them collected in the room in which we assembled, in order to be consulted upon occasion ; and that, by thus forming a common library of our individual collections, each would have the advantage of using the books of all the other members, which would nearly be the same as if he possessed them all himself. The idea was approved, and we accordingly brought such books as we thought we could spare, which were placed at the end of the club-room. They amounted not to so many as we expected; and though we made considerable use of them, yet some inconveniencies resulting, from want of care, it was agreed, after about a years, to destroy the collection; and each took away such books as belonged to him.
It was now that I first stated the idea of establishing: by subscription, a public library. I drew up the proposals, had them ingrossed in form by Brockden the attorney, and my project succeeded, as will be seen in the sequel* * *
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
[The life of Dr. Franklin, as written by himself, so far as it has been communicated to the world, breaks off in this place. We understand that it was continued by him somewhat further, and we hope that the remainder will, at some future period, be communicated to the public. We have no hesitation in supposing that every reader will find himself greatly interested by the frank simplicity and the philosophical discernment by which these pages are so eminently characterised. We have therefore thought proper,
order as much as possible to relieve his regret, to subjoin the following continuation, by one of the doctor's intimate friends. It is extracted from an American periodical publication, and was written by the late Dr. Stuber* of Philadelphia.]
The promotion of literature had been little attended to in Pennsylvania. Most of the inhabi. tants were too much immersed in business to think of scientific pursuits; and those few, whose inclinations led them to study, found it difficult to gratify them, from the want of sufficiently large libraries. In such circumstances, the establishments of a public library was an important event. This was first set on foot by Franklin, about the year 1731. Fifty persons subscribed forty shillings each, and agreed to pay ten
* Dr. Stuber was born in Philadelphia, of German parents. He was sent, at an early age, to the university, where his genius, diligence, and amiable temper soon acquired him particular notice and favour of those under whose immediate direction he was placed. After passing through the common course of study, in a much shorter time than usual, he left the university, at the age of sixteen, with great reputation. Not long after, he entered on the study of Physic; and the zeal with which he pursued it, and the advances he made, gave his friends reason to form the most flattering prospects of his future eminence and usefulness in the pro. fession. As Dr. Stuber's circumstances were very moderate, he *did not think this pursuit well calculated to answer them. He therefore relinquished it, after he had obtained a degree in the profession, and qualified himself to practise with credit and success; and immediately entered on the study of Law. In pursuit of the last mentioned object, he was prematurely arrested, before he had an opportunity of reaping the fruit of those talents with which he was endowed, and of a youth spent in the ardent and successful pursuit of useful and elegant literature.