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The Project Gutenberg e-Book of Social Life in Queen Anne’s Reign. Author: John Ashton.. Windows 10 1703 download iso italianos humble definition synonym
Brides have raised a Charity School of fifty Girls as before of fifty Boys. You were so kind to recommend the Boys to the Charitable World, and the other Sex hope you will do them the same Favour in Fridays Spectator for Sunday next, when they are to appear with their humble Airs at the Parish Church of St.
Sir, the Mention of this may possibly be serviceable to the Children: and sure no one will omit a good Action attended with no expence. Paul’s to return thanks—and bitter must have been the disappointment of the little ones at the Queen’s absence, on account of illness.
A contemporary account of this festival says: ‘Upon the Thanksgiving day for the Peace, about Four Thousand Charity Children Boys and Girls , new Cloath’d, were placed upon a Machine in the Strand, which was in Length above Foot, and had in Bredth Eight Ranges of seats one above another, whereby all the Children appear’d in full View of both Houses of Parliament, in the solemn Procession they made to St.
Paul’s upon that joyful Occasion, and who, by their singing Hymns of Prayer and Praise to God for her Majesty, as well as by their Appearance, contributed very much to adorn so welcome a Festival; and gave great Satisfaction to all the Spectators, not without some Surprize to Foreigners who never had beheld such a glorious Sight.
Her Majesty not being present, the Hymns were both sung and repeated during the whole Procession, which lasted near Three Hours; and for the Satisfaction and Entertainment of the Publick they are printed as follows:—. Allelujah, Allelujah, Allelujah, Allelujah! Allelujah, Allelujah, Allelujah, Allelujah, Allelujah!
Girls were not all educated at home—though, doubtless, the majority of them were, with the exception of their dancing lessons—but had boarding schools of their own; and the schoolmistresses seem always to have been harassed by malicious reports.
For instance: ‘Whereas it is reported that Mrs. Overing who keeps a Boarding School at Bethnal Green near Hackney, is leaving off; this is to give Notice that the said Report is false, if not Malicious. And that she continues to take sober young Gentlewomen to board, and teaches whatsoever is necessary to the Accomplishment of that Sex. Elizabeth Tutchin  continues to p. Where young Gentlewomen may be soberly Educated, and taught all sorts of Learning fit for young Gentlewomen.
Read the plays—read the essays of the time—and then, if they are to be taken at all as a just standard of feminine conduct, you will, undoubtedly, come to the conclusion that sobriety of conduct was just the very quality that required instilling into the heads of the maidenhood of the time. Pert little hoydens—ogling the men, flirting their fans, their thoughts always running on a husband—the schoolmistresses of that time must have had hard work to keep them serious, and need of most dragon-like guardianship.
They were not taught much, these girls; ‘the Needle, Dancing, and the French tongue,’ says one—’a little Music, on the Harpsichord, or Spinet, to read, write, and cast accounts in a small way’—this was the sum of their education.
Essentially were they to be housekeepers. Here is the description an exceptionally accomplished young lady gives of her own education:  ‘You know my father was a tradesman, and lived very well by his traffick; and I, being beautiful, he thought nature had already given me part of my portion, and therefore he would add a liberal education, that I might be a complete gentlewoman; away he sent me to the boarding school; there I learned to dance and sing, to play on the bass viol, virginals, spinet, and guitar.
I learned to make wax work, japan, paint upon glass, to raise paste, make sweetmeats, sauces, and everything that was genteel and fashionable. What was a girl’s education in the country like? And to learn the top of your skill in Syrrup, Sweetmeats, Aqua mirabilis , and Snayl water. Ay, ay, and ’twere better for all the Gentlemen in England that Wives had no other breeding, but you had Musick and Dancing. Yes, an ignorant, illiterate, hopping Puppy, that rides his Dancing Circuit thirty Miles about, lights off his tyred Steed, draws his Kit  at a poor Country Creature, and gives her a Hich in her Pace, that she shall never recover.
And for Musick an old hoarse singing man riding ten miles from his Cathedral to Quaver out the Glories of our Birth and State, or it may be a Scotch Song more hideous and barbarous than an Irish Cronan.
And another Musick Master from the next town to Teach one to p. Good madam, don’t upbraid me with my Mother Bridget , and an excellent housewife. Yes, I say, she was, and spent her time in better Learning than ever you did. But, if girls could not learn pastry-making at home, or wanted a higher class of education therein, there were the forerunners of our ‘Schools of Cookery’ in the shape of ‘Pastry Schools,’ where the professor demonstrated. Here is one of them.
James’s Market, and at his School in St. And at his School at St. But one branch of a girl’s education seems never to have been neglected—her dancing. Steele says,  ‘When a girl is safely brought from her nurse, before she is capable of forming one simple notion of anything in life, she is delivered to the hands of her dancing master, and with a collar round her neck, the pretty wild thing is taught a fantastical gravity of behaviour, and forced to a particular way of holding her head, heaving her breast, and moving with her whole body; and all this under pain of never having a husband, if she steps, looks or moves awry.
Trott for the prettiest Master in Town, that no Man teaches a Jigg like him, that she has seen him rise Six or Seven Capers together with the greatest Ease imaginable, and that his Scholars twist themselves more ways than the Scholars of any Master in Town; besides there is Madam Prim, the Alderman’s Lady, recommends a Master of her Own Name, but she declares he is not of their p.
Indeed, dancing was much thought of as an accomplishment, and more will be said of it in its place among the social habits of the time. One book alone, ‘The Dancing Master’ for , 15th ed.
It got to be a fine art, and books were written on ‘Chorography’ and ‘Orchesography,’ illustrated with wonderful and most perplexing diagrams. A contemporary sketch of a dancing academy is interesting. It is by Budgell.
I must own to you, Sir, that having never been at any such Place before, I was very much pleased and surprized with that Part of his Entertainment which he called French Dancing. There were several young Men and Women, whose limbs seemed to have no other Motion but purely what the Musick gave them.
After this Part was over, they began a Diversion which they call Country Dancing , and wherein there were also some things not disagreeable, and divers Emblematical Figures , compos’d, as I guess, by Wise Men for the Instruction of Youth.
I was Amazed to see my Girl handed by, and handing young Fellows with so much Familiarity; and I could not have thought it had been in the Child. They very often made use of a most impudent and lascivious Step called Setting , which I know not how to describe to you, but by telling you that it is the very reverse of Back to Back.
At last an impudent young Dog bid the Fiddlers play a Dance called Mol Patley ,  and after having made two or three Capers, ran to his Partner, locked his Arms in hers, and whisked her round Cleverly above Ground in such manner that I, who sat upon one of the lowest Benches, saw further above her Shoe than I can think fit to acquaint you with. I could no longer endure these Enormities; wherefore, just as my Girl was p.
Poor Budgell! We may now consider the girl’s education complete, and, as she may be ‘sweet seventeen’ or so, she naturally would be, if either pretty or witty, ‘a TOAST’ among her male friends. This peculiar institution has its rise in Queen Anne’s time, and is aptly described  as ‘a new name found out by the Wits, to make a lady have the same effect, as burridge in the glass when a man is drinking.
Say why are beauties prais’d and honour’d most, The wise man’s passion, and the vain man’s toast? Why deck’d with all that land and sea afford, Why angels call’d, and angel-like adored? It was an old English custom to put a toast, a roasted pippin or so, in a hot drink, such as a tankard of spiced ale, or of sack; and this is whimsically applied as the derivation of the word used to express the slavish adulation and worship of the fair sex, as embodied in this custom.
It happened that, on a public day, a celebrated beauty of those times was in the Cross Bath, and one of the crowd of her admirers took a glass of the water in which the fair one stood and drank her health to the Company.
There was in the place a gay fellow half fuddled, who offered to jump in, and swore, though he liked not the liquor, he would have the Toast.
He was opposed in his resolution; yet this whim gave foundation to the present honour which is done to the lady we mention in our liquors, who has ever since been called a TOAST. Though this institution had so trivial a beginning, it is now elevated into a formal order; and that happy virgin, who is received and drunk to at their meetings, has no more to do in this life but to judge and accept of the first good offer.
The manner of her inauguration is much like that of the choice of a Doge in Venice: it is performed by balloting; and when she is so chosen, she reigns indisputably for that ensuing year; but must be re-elected anew to prolong her empire a moment beyond it.
When she is regularly chosen, her name is written with a diamond on a drinking glass. The hieroglyphic of the diamond is to shew her that her value is imaginary; and that of the glass to acquaint her, that her condition is frail, and depends on the hand which holds her.
Maynwaring and others—thus immortalised their Toasts. One, by Lord Lansdowne, will amply serve as an illustration—. There were two very famous toasts in Queen Anne’s time; one in particular was Lady Sunderland, a daughter of the Duke of Marlborough, who was known by the sobriquet of ‘The Little Whig. She was very lovely; indeed, her good looks were proverbial, as the current expression, ‘as beautiful as Madam Spanheim,’ shows. She was married early in the year to the Marquis de Montandre.
Her father died here in November of the same year, aged 81; and the Queen presented the Marchioness de Montandre with a thousand guineas, which was the usual present then given to an ambassador on taking his leave. Eloping with heiresses — Marriage between children — Tax on bachelors — Valentines — Marriage settlements — Pin money — Posies — Drummers — Private marriages — Irregular marriages — Fleet parsons — Marriage Act — Facility of marriage — Liability of husbands — Public marriages — Marriage customs — Bride’s garters — Throwing the stocking — The posset — Honeymoon.
Rawlins, an heiress. Nowadays, he would have been unhesitatingly acquitted, even if he had ever been prosecuted, as there was no real case against him, and Mrs. Rawlins married him of her own free will. That people could be married young enough is rendered sufficiently evident by the very painful case of Sir George Downing and Mary Forester, which excited much interest in the last year of Anne’s reign. It is very lucidly put as a case for counsel’s opinion.
This young Couple was put to Bed, in the Day time, according to Custom, and continu’d there a little while, but in the Presence of the Company, who all testify they touched not one the other; and after that, they came together no more;—the young Gentleman going immediately Abroad, the young Woman continuing with her Parents. Fourteen Years have pass’d since this Marriage Ceremony was perform’d, each Party having as is natural to think contracted an incurable Aversion to each the other, is very desirous to be set at liberty; and accordingly Application is made to the Legislative power to dissolve this Marriage, and to give each Party leave, if they think fit, to Marry elsewhere.
They were actually Marry’d according to the Form prescrib’d by the Church of England; the Minister pronouncing those solemn Words us’d by our Saviour, Those whom God has joyn’d let no Man put asunder. They are therefore Man and Wife both by the Laws of God and of the Land; and, since nothing but Adultery can dissolve a Marriage, and no Adultery is pretended here, the Marriage continues indissoluble.
And, in the course of some very able pleading, the author says, ‘My Lords, the Years of Consent are not fix’d to Fourteen or Twelve either by Nature , Reason , or any Law of God ; but purely and meerly by the positive Laws of the Land, which may change them to Morrow;  and if they were chang’d to Day, no Man in England would, I dare affirm it, be dissatisfy’d; it seems so senseless and unreasonable to give our Children the Power of disposing of their Persons for ever, at an Age when we will not let them dispose of Five Shillings without Direction and Advice.
In a most amusing tract  this Act is alluded to as a law discouraging marriage, and proposes to make bachelors of 24 and widowers of 50 pay 20 s.
There was every freedom of intercourse allowed between the young of both sexes: they visited, and we have seen that they mixed in the dancing academies. There was also the custom of valentines, now become obsolete and unmeaning.
Misson describes it well, as indeed he did everything he saw in England: ‘On the Eve of the 14th of Feb. Valentine’s Day, a Time when all living Nature inclines to couple, the Young Folks in England, and Scotland too, by a very ancient Custom, celebrate a little Festival that tends p.
An equal Number of Maids and Batchelors get together, each writes their true or some feign’d Name upon separate Billets, which they Roll up, and draw by way of Lots, the Maids taking the Men’s Billets, and the Men the Maids; so that each of the Young Men lights upon a Girl that he calls his Valentine, and each of the Girls upon a young Man which she calls hers: By this means each has two Valentines; but the Man sticks faster to the Valentine that is fallen to him, than to the Valentine to whom he is fallen.
Fortune having thus divided the Company into so many Couples, the Valentines give Balls and Treats to their Mistresses, wear their Billets several Days upon their Bosoms or Sleeves, and this little Sport often ends in Love. There is another kind of Valentine; which is the first young Man or Woman that Chance throws in your Way in the Street, or elsewhere, on that Day. The whole of the literature of the day speaks of the tendency of young men to avoid the trammels of matrimony. Most probably the wild blood engendered in Charles the Second’s time had not yet cooled down, and the licence then habitual, had hardly been superseded by decorum; but there were other causes, one of which was the introduction of marriage settlements.
These were comparatively new. Steele calls attention to it:  ‘Honest Coupler, the Conveyancer, says “He can distinguish, upon sight of the parties before they have opened upon any point of their business, which of the two has the daughter to sell. When the theatre, in some late reigns, owed its chief support to those scenes which were written to put matrimony out of countenance and render that state terrible, then it was that pin money first prevailed; and all the other articles were inserted, which create a diffidence, and intimate to the young people that they are very soon to be in a state of war with each other; though this has seldom happened, except the fear of it had been expressed.
Coupler will tell you also ‘that jointures were never frequent until the age before his own; but the women were contented with the third part of the estate the law allotted them, and scorn’d to engage with men whom they thought capable of abusing their Children.
These fellows knew each other to be knaves, and the Serjeant took hold of their mutual diffidence, for the benefit of the Law, to extend the Settlement to three skins of parchment. Nor did Steele like pin money: he not only declaims against it in his essays, but in his dramatic works—in ‘The Tender Husband,’ where two fathers are squabbling over settlements. One, Sir Harry Gubbin, says—. Look y’, Mr. Sir H. It is a Term, Brother, we never had in our Family, nor ever will.
Make her Jointure in Widowhood accordingly large, but Four hundred Pounds a Year is enough to give no account of. Addison, too, must needs have a fling at it, and wrote a whole essay on pin money,  and, in a letter therein, gives a doleful case.
This Proposal makes her Noble Blood swell in her Veins, insomuch, that finding me a little tardy in her last Quarter’s Payment, she threatens every Day to arrest me: and proceeds so far as to tell me, that if I do not do her Justice, I shall die in a Jayl.
To this she adds, when her Passion will let her argue calmly, that she has several Play Debts on her Hand, which must be discharged very suddenly, and that she cannot lose her Money as becomes a Woman of her Fashion, if she makes me any Abatements in this Article. Supposing the vexed question of settlements or no settlements disposed of, a thing of primary importance before marriage was to provide the ring, and that, according to the custom of the day, must have a posy on it.
The appended examples are all genuine of the time, as they are taken from the newspaper advertisements of things lost. On the Stage, a clergyman coupled the pair presently, or the young people just left the room and came back in a few minutes, duly married.
And this really was somewhat like real life, and not a travesty. A custom had grown up to avoid the noise and riot of a public wedding, which, besides, was very expensive—open house being but a small part of it; so it used to be, that the young people would get married with just sufficient legal witness, and with the full consent of the parents. Even the middle class were glad to get rid of the noise of drums, etc.
These private marriages had their inconveniences, as the following advertisement  shows: ‘Whereas, for several Reasons, the Marriage of Mrs. Frances Herbert to Capt.
James Price, Son to Brigadier Price of Ireland, was kept private for some time, which has occasioned some insolent People to censure her Virtue; to prevent which Censures for the future, it is thought proper to give this Publick Notice that she was marry’d to the said Capt.
Misson adverts to this custom of private marriage as being very common. There is another thing in it odd enough; for those Children by this means not only become their own Masters, but obtain this Advantage at a very easy Rate. If to be marry’d it were necessary to be proclaim’d three Times in a full Congregation, their Friends would be inform’d of the Matter, and might find a Way to disswade a little Girl, that had taken it into her Head to have a Husband, by giving her fine Cloaths, p.
The Law, indeed, requires that the Bans should be publish’d; but the strange Practice of a dispensing Power makes the Law of no Manner of Use.
To proclaim Bans is a Thing no Body now cares to have done; very few are willing to have their Affairs declar’d to all the World in a publick Place, when for a Guinea they may do it Snug , and without Noise; and my good Friends the Clergy, who find their Accounts in it, are not very zealous to prevent it.
Thus, then, they buy what they call a Licence, and are marry’d in their Closets, in Presence of a couple of Friends, that serve for Witnesses; and this ties them for ever: Nay, the Abuse is yet greater, for they may be marry’d without a Licence in some Chappels, which have that Privilege Hence comes the Matches between Footmen and young Ladies of Quality, who you may be sure live no very easy Life together afterwards: Hence, too, happen Polygamies, easily conceal’d, and too much practised.
Sometimes they were married at a tavern. The Parson, or any other that was then Present, is desired to come or send to the Publisher of this Paper, and give an account of the said Marriage, and shall be satisfied for their charges of coming or sending, and loss of time. The irregular marriages were a crying evil of the times—in spite of legislative efforts to stop them.
There was an Act passed, 6 and 7 Wm. There have been certain churches and chapels  exempted from the visitation of the ordinary—and the ministers of such, usually married without licence or banns—and these were called ‘lawless churches.
James’, Duke’s Place, by Aldgate. Another was Holy Trinity, Minories, which exercised the same privilege. The Savoy had not yet been much heard of, and they did a good business. In the former case, privilege was claimed, because the Mayor, Commonalty, and Citizens of London were lords of the manor and patrons of the church, and therefore set up an exemption from the jurisdiction p.
In the latter, it was pleaded that the living was held direct from the Crown, in whose gift it was, and that the minister held the same by an instrument of dotation, under the Great Seal of England, and that it was neither a rectory nor vicarage institutive. However, the arm of the ecclesiastical law did once reach Adam Elliott, rector of St. James’, and on Feb. He was, however, reinstituted on May 28, , after having petitioned the Ecclesiastical Commissioners; but he began his old trade very shortly afterwards, in fact the next day, as appears in the marriage register of the church—’There were no marriages from the tenth of March till y e 29 day of May’ People could be, and were, married without licence, both in the Fleet and Queen’s Bench Prisons.
It is probable that prisoners there were duly and properly married by banns in the prison chapel, long before , which is the date of the earliest illicit Fleet Register in the Bishop of London’s registry; for, in a letter, Sept.
Georg Lestor, and hath maryed M ris Babbington, Mr. Thomas Fanshawe mother-in-lawe. It is sayed she is a woman of good wealthe so as nowe the man wylle able to lyve and mayntayn hymself in prison, for hether unto he hath byne in poor estate.
In the chaplain was Robert Elborough, who married but few without banns or licence, ‘but under a colour doth allow his clerk Bartholomew Basset to do what he pleases,’ and in Mr. John Taylor filled the same office, but he does not seem to have solemnised matrimony at the Fleet.
There was, however, a low clergyman, named John Gaynam, otherwise Doctor Gaynam, who did a large trade there in marriages, from to A little anecdote of him, though not in Queen Anne’s time, may not be amiss.
He was giving evidence at the Old Bailey on the trial of Robert Hussey for bigamy, in The 9th of September, , I married a couple at the Rainbow Coffee House, the corner of Fleet Ditch, and entered the marriage in my register, as fair a register as any church in England can produce. Are you not ashamed to come and own a clandestine marriage in the face of a court of justice?
The same practice was followed by others during this reign. John Floud, who was for some years a prisoner p. John Mottram, from to He was convicted, in , in the Consistory Court, for marrying illegally, and was suspended from his ministerial functions for three years. Jerome Alley, from to , when he left off marrying ‘for some other preferment. John Evans, from to Henry Gower, to Hodgkins, to Marston, to Oswald, Nehemiah Rogers, a prisoner, but rector of Ashingdon, Essex, married between and He seems to have been a specially bright specimen of the Fleet parson.
Living in Essex, and all places else; he is a very wicked man as lives, for drinking, whoring, and swearing, he has struck and boxed y e bridegroom in y e Chapple, and damned like any com’on soldier, he marries both within and without y e Chapple like his brother Colton.
Bynes, to Walter Stanhope, Vice, to ; and J. Wise, in The Queen’s Bench was not behind its brother of the Fleet, but there even greater abuses existed—laymen officiating.
For which ’tis said too just Occasion has been given by a Discovery lately made that Laymen have been suffer’d to marry at the Queen’s Bench; and that John Sarjeant, who now acts there again as Clerk, has forg’d Certificates of pretended Marriages, for which he keeps Register books, with large blanks almost in every Page, whereby very mischievous Frauds are practicable.
For preventing whereof, the late Chaplain labour’d hard with the most proper Person to command the said books out of the Clerk’s Custody, and not prevailing, resign’d his Office, which he had discharg’d among the Prisoners, both in the House and in the Rules, above five years, charitably, having never receiv’d one Farthing of the Fees thereto annexed. It renewed, from June 24, , the penalty of l.
You could go a country walk and pop in and get married. A newly built church at Hampstead thus  advertises: ‘As there are many weddings at Sion Chapel, Hampstead, five Shillings only is required for all the Church fees of any Couple that are married there, provided they bring with them a license or Certificate, according to the Act of Parliament. Two Sermons are continued to be preached in the said Chapel every Sunday, and the place will be given to any Clergyman that is willing to accept of it, to be approved of.
Whilst on the subject of curious marriages, the following may well be noticed, extracted from the Parish Register: ‘John Bridmore and Anne Sellwood, both of Chiltern All Saints, were married October 17, This is not uncommon, the object being, according to a vulgar error, to exempt the husband from the payment of any debts his wife may have contracted in her ante-nuptial condition.
This error seems to have been founded on a misconception of the law, as it is laid down  that ‘the husband is liable for the wife’s debts, because he acquires an absolute interest in the personal estate of the wife,’ etc.
An unlearned person from this might conclude, and not unreasonably, that if his wife had no estate whatever , he could not incur any liability.
Anyhow, after marriage they were liable, as the following gentlemen knew: ‘Whereas Elizabeth Stephenson, Wife of George Stephenson, late of Falken Court, near the Queen’s Bench, in Southwark, hath Eloped from her said Husband, and since hath contracted several Debts with a design to Ruin her said Husband. These are therefore to give notice to the Publick, That the said George Stephenson will not on any Account whatever Pay or allow of any Debt so Contracted by the said Elizabeth Stephenson, either before or since her elopement.
These are therefore to give notice to all Traders, and all other persons whatsoever, that from and after this present Notice they do not maintain, sustain, or detain the said Isabella from the said Aaron her Husband, or any of his Goods or Plate carryed off by the said Isabella, either by lending her Money or Selling her Goods, or by any other ways whatsoever, under penalty of the law, and forfeiture of the credit, if any, given to the said Isabella from the Notice hereof.
Having discussed the private hole-and-corner, and clandestine marriages, it may be well to inquire the reasons why these were preferred to the more ceremonious ones. Mainly on the score of expense, and to get rid of the uproarious and senseless festivities which accompanied them. Let Misson describe what one was like: ‘One of the Reasons that they have for marrying secretly, as they generally do in England, is that thereby they avoid a great deal of Expence and Trouble Persons of Quality, and many others who imitate them, have lately taken up the Custom of being marry’d very late at Night in their Chamber, and very often at some Country House.
In England it is done still among the greatest Noblemen. These Ribbands they Call Favours,  and give them not only to those that are at the Wedding, but to five hundred People besides; they send them about, and distribute them at their own houses Among the Citizens and plain Gentlemen which is what they call the Gentry they sometimes give these Favours; but it is very Common to avoid all Manner of Expence as much as Possible.
When those of a middling Condition have a mind to be so extravagant as to marry in Publick which very rarely happens they invite a Number of Friends and Relations; every one puts on new Cloaths,  and dresses finer than ordinary; the Men lead the Women, they get into Coaches, and so go in Procession, and are marry’d in full Day at Church. After Feasting and Dancing, and having made merry that Day and the next, they take a Trip into the Country, and there divert themselves very pleasantly.
These are extraordinary Weddings. The Ordinary ones, as I said before, are generally incognito. The Bridegroom , that is to say, the Husband that is to be, and the Bride , who is the p. Curate and his Clerk, tell him their Business; are marry’d with a low Voice, and the Doors shut; tip the Minister a Guinea, and the Clerk a Crown; steal softly out, one way, and t’other another, either on Foot or in Coaches; go different Ways to some Tavern at a Distance from their own Lodgings, or to the House of some trusty Friend, there have a good Dinner, and return Home at Night as quietly as Lambs.
If the Drums and Fiddles have notice of it they will be sure to be with them by Day break, making a horrible Racket, till they have got the Pence; and, which is worst of all, the whole Murder will come out.
This done, and the Garters being fastened to the Hats of the Gallants, the Bride maids carry the Bride into the Bed chamber, where they undress her,  and lay her in Bed. The Bridegroom, who by the Help of his Friends is undress’d in some other Room, comes in his Night-gown as soon as possible to his Spouse, who is surrounded by Mother, Aunt, Sisters, and Friends, and without any farther Ceremony gets into Bed.
Some of the Women run away, others remain, and the Moment afterwards they are all got together again. If the Man’s stockings, thrown by the Maids, fall upon the Bridegroom’s Head, it is a Sign she will quickly be marry’d herself; and the same Prognostick holds good of the Woman’s Stockings thrown by the Man. Oftentimes these young People engage with one another upon the Success of the Stockings, tho’ they themselves look upon it to be nothing but Sport. While some amuse themselves agreeably with these little Follies, others are preparing a good Posset , which is a kind of Cawdle, a Potion made up of Milk, Wine, Yolk of Eggs, Sugar, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, etc.
This they present to the young Couple, who swallow it down as fast as they can to get rid of so troublesome Company; the p. If they obstinately continue to retard the Accomplishment of their Wishes, the Bridegroom jumps up in his Shirt, which frightens the Women, and puts them to Flight. The Men follow them, and the Bridegroom returns to the Bride.
The young Woman, more gay and more contented than ever she was in her Life, puts on her finest Cloaths for she was married only in a Mob  , the dear Husband does the same, and so do the young Guests; they laugh, they dance, they make merry; and these Pleasures continue a longer or shorter time, according to the several Circumstances of Things. There was no going away for the honeymoon for the newly married couple. That trying season was spent at home, in a somewhat stately manner—receiving company, and must have been excessively irksome, as the following amusing account of a citizen’s honeymoon shows:  ‘I have lately married a very pretty body, who being somewhat younger and richer than myself, I was advised to go a wooing to her in a finer suit of clothes than ever I wore in my life: for I love to dress plain, and suitable to a man of my rank.
How ever, I gained her heart by it. Upon the wedding day I put myself, according to custom, in another suit, fire new, with silver buttons to it. I am so out of Countenance among my neighbours, upon being so fine, that I heartily wish my clothes well worn out. I fancy every body observes me as I walk the street, and long to be in my own plain geer again. Besides, forsooth, they have put me in a Silk Night gown and a gaudy fool’s cap, and make me now and then stand in the window with it.
I am ashamed to be dandled thus, and cannot look in the glass without blushing to see myself turned into such a pretty little master. They tell me I must appear in my wedding suit for the first month at least; after which I am resolved to come again to my every day’s clothes, for at present every day is Sunday with me I forgot to tell you of my white gloves, which they say, too, I must wear all the first month.
I am afraid some of these good gentlemen beat their wives sometimes; and even the gallant Sir Richard Steele says:  ‘I cannot deny but there are perverse Jades that fall to Men’s Lots, with whom it requires more than common Proficiency in Philosophy to be able to live. When these are joined to Men of warm Spirits, without Temper or Learning, they are frequently corrected with Stripes; but one of our famous Lawyers is of opinion, That this ought to be used sparingly.
Where the brass knocker, wrapt in flannel band, Forbids the thunder of the footman’s hand; Th’ upholder, rueful harbinger of death, Waits with impatience for the dying breath; As vultures o’er a camp, with hovering flight, Snuff up the future carnage of the fight. Nay, if Steele is to be believed, they even feed heavily for early information of death.
First, Twenty Guineas to my Lady’s Woman for notice of your Death a Fee I’ve, before now, known the Widow herself go halfs in , but no matter for that.
I mean attending to give notice of your Death. I had all your long fit of Sickness last Winter, at Half a Crown a day, a fellow waiting at your Gate, to bring me Intelligence, but you unfortunately recovered, and I Lost all my Obliging pains for your Service. This, of course, is exaggeration, but although, as we have seen, people were sparing in expense over births or marriages, they were absolutely lavish over funerals, and the undertaker could well afford to disgorge some of his gains.
Was it the funeral of a rich man, the corpse must straightway be embalmed, roughly though it may be. Have you the hangings and the Sixpenny nails for my Lord’s Coat of Arms? Ha you! This Fellow has a good Mortal look, place him near the Corps; That Wanscoat Face must be o’ top of the Stairs: That Fellow’s almost in a Fright that looks as if he were full of some strange misery at the Entrance of the Hall. The undertaker issued his handbills—gruesome things, with grinning skulls and shroud-clad corpses, thigh bones, mattocks and pickaxes, hearses, and what not.
John Elphick, Woollen Draper, over against St. The dead were then buried in woollen, which was rendered compulsory by the Acts 30 Car. The p. You are desired to Accompany the Corps of Mr. Thomas Newborough , from his late Dwelling-House in St. No affidavit to be necessary for a person dying of the plague.
It imposed a fine of 5 l. The material used was flannel, and such interments are frequently mentioned in the literature of the time, and Luttrell mentions in his diary Oct. Elegies, laudatory of the deceased, were sometimes printed and sent to friends: these were got up in the same charnel-house style.
Indeed, no pains were spared to make a funeral utterly miserable and expensive. Hatbands were costly items. Indeed it is refreshing among the universal spoiling of the deceased’s survivors to find that one man advertises cheap mourning and funeral necessaries.
And all sorts of set Mourning both Black and Gray and all other Furniture sutable to it, fit for any person of Quality. Which I promise to perform 2 s. Of course these remarks do not apply to the poor: they had already started burial clubs or societies, and very cheap they seem to have been. We see in the invitation to Mr.
Newborough’s funeral that it was to take place on an evening in January. This probably was so p. These were heavy, and sometimes judging from the illustrations to undertakers’ handbills were made of four tapers twisted at the stem and then branching out. That these wax candles were expensive enough to excite the thievish cupidity of a band of roughs the following advertisement will show: ‘Riots and Robberies.
Committed in and about Stepney Church Yard, at a Funeral Solemnity, on Wednesday the 23rd day of September; and whereas many Persons, who being appointed to attend the same Funeral with white Wax lights of a considerable Value, were assaulted in a most violent manner, and the said white Wax lights taken from them.
Whoever shall discover any of the Persons, guilty of the said Crimes, so as they may be convicted of the same, shall receive of Mr. We get a curious glimpse of the paraphernalia of a funeral in the Life of a notorious cheat, ‘The German Princess’ who lived, and was hanged, in the latter part of the seventeenth century, and the same funeral customs therein described obtained in Anne’s time. She took a lodging at a house, in a good position, and told the landlady that a friend of hers, a stranger to London, had just died, and was lying at ‘a pitiful Alehouse,’ and might she, for convenience sake, bring his corpse there, ready for burial on the morrow.
The landlady consented, and ‘that Evening the Corps in a very handsome Coffin was brought in a Coach, and plac’d in the Chamber, which was the Room one pair of Stairs next the street and had a Balcony. The Coffin being cover’d only with an ordinary black Cloth, our Counterfeit seems much to dislike it; the Landlady tells her that for 20 s. Another very costly item in funerals was the giving of mourning rings. We see  the number of rings given at Pepys’ funeral in p.
Thoresby  shows to what a prodigal extent this custom might be carried. Thomas Gale, Dean of York, who was interred with great solemnity: lay in state, rings besides scarfs to bearers and gloves to all given in the room where I was, which yet could not contain the company. Naturally, a great many must have come to a man in the course of his life, as we may see by the contents of a box lost out of a waggon between Stamford and London: ‘3 Hair Rings, 6 with a Death’s Head, about 2 penny weight apiece the Posie Prepared be to follow me ; 3 other mourning rings with W.
Heltey, ob. Whoever brings it to Mr. White’s at the Chocolate House in St. James’s shall have two Guineas reward. Besides the rings, hatbands, scarves, and gloves, there was another tax; for Evelyn,  noting Pepys’ death and burial, says, ‘Mr.
Pepys had been for neare 40 years so much my particular friend that Mr. Jackson sent me compleat mourning , desiring me to be one to hold up the pall at his magnificent obsequies, but my indisposition hinder’d me from doing him this last office.
The pomp of funerals was outrageous. Gay, observant as he always was, notes this in ‘Trivia,’ book 3:—. No, the Dead know it not, nor profit gain: It only serves to prove the Living vain. How short is Life! Is all this Pomp for laying Dust to Dust? No wonder he exclaimed against these mortuary extravagances.
Albans to Dunstable; and the next day through Hockley where it was met by about 20 Persons on Horseback to Woburn and Newport Pagnel, and to his seat at Great Lynford a Mile farther in the county of Buckingham: Where, after the Body had been set out, with all Ceremony befitting his Degree, for near 2 hours, ’twas carried to the Church adjacent in this order, viz. But there was one thing they did not spend so much money upon as their forefathers did, i. In this age the bust, or ‘busto,’ was used in preference to the recumbent, or half-figures, of the previous century; but by far the greater number of mortuary memorials took the form of mural tablets, more or less ornate, according to the taste and wealth of the parties concerned.
As a rule the epitaph was in Latin—this classical age, and the somewhat pedantic one that followed, could brook no meaner tongue in which to eulogise its dead; and their virtues were pompously set forth in that language which is common to the whole of the civilised world. No account of the funerals of this age would be complete without seeing what Misson says on the subject:—’As soon as any Person is dead, they are oblig’d to give Notice thereof to the Minister of the Parish, and to those who are appointed to visit dead Bodies.
This Custom of visiting dead Bodies was establish’d after the dreadful Plague that ravag’d London in , to the Intent that it might be immediately known if there was any Contagious Distemper, and proper Methods taken to put a Stop to it.
They are generally two Women that do this. The Clerk of the Parish receives their Certificate, and out of these is form’d an Abridgment that is publish’d every Week. By this Paper you may see how many Persons of both Sexes dy’d within that Week, of what Distemper, or by what Accident.
This Shift is always White; but there are different Sorts of it as to Fineness, and consequently of different Prices. To make these Dresses is a particular Trade, and there are many that sell nothing else; so that these Habits for the Dead are always to be had ready made, of what Size or Price you please, for People of every Age and Sex.
After they have p. When these Ornaments are not of Woollen Lace, they are at least edg’d, and sometimes embroider’d with black Thread. The Shirt shou’d be at least half a Foot longer than the Body, that the Feet of the Deceas’d may be wrapped in it as in a Bag. When they have thus folded the End of the Shirt close to the Feet, they tye the Part that is folded down with a Piece of Woollen Thread, as we do our Stockings; so that the End of the Shirt is done into a Kind of Tuft.
That the Body may ly the softer, some put a Lay of Bran, about four inches thick, at the Bottom of the Coffin. The Body being thus equipp’d and laid in the Coffin which Coffin is sometimes very magnificent , it is visited a second time, to see that it is bury’d in Flannel, and that nothing about it is sowed with Thread.
They let it lye three or four Days in this Condition; which Time they allow, as well to give the dead Person an Opportunity of Coming to Life again, if his Soul has not quite left his Body, as to prepare Mourning, and the Ceremonies of the Funeral. A little before the Company is set in Order for the March, they lay the Body into the Coffin upon two Stools, in a Room where all that please may go and see it; they then take off the Top of the Coffin, and remove from off the Face a little square Piece of Flannel, made on Purpose to cover it, and not fastened to any Thing; Upon this Occasion the rich Equipage of the Dead does Honour to the Living.
The Relations and chief Mourners are in a Chamber apart, with their more intimate Friends; and the rest of the Guests are dispersed in several Rooms about the House. Before they set out, and after they return, it is usual to present the Guests with something to drink, either red or white Wine, boil’d with Sugar and Cinnamon, or some such Liquor.
Note, no Men ever go to Women’s burials, nor the Women to the Men’s; so that p. Such Women in England will hold it out with the Men, when they have a Bottle before them, as well as upon t’other Occasion, and tattle infinitely better than they.
This is spread over the Coffin, and is so broad that the Six or Eight Men that carry the Body are quite hid beneath it to their Waste, and the Corners and Sides of it hang down low enough to be born by those  who, according to Custom, are invited for that purpose. The Minister of the Parish, generally accompany’d by some other Minister, and attended by the Clerk, walks next; and the Body carry’d as I said before, comes just after him.
The Relations in close Mourning, and all the Guests two and two, make up the rest of the Procession. The Common Practice is to carry the corpse thus into the Body of the Church, where they set it down upon two Tressels, while either a Funeral Sermon is preach’d, containing an Eulogium upon the deceased, or certain Prayers said, adapted to the Occasion.
If the Body is not bury’d in the Church, they carry it to the Church Yard belonging to the same, where it is interr’d in the Presence of the Guests, who are round the Grave, and they do not leave it ’till the Earth is thrown in upon it.
Then they return Home in the same order that they came, and each drinks two or three Glasses more before he goes Home. Among Persons of Quality ’tis customary to embalm the Body, and to expose it for a Fortnight or more on a Bed of State. After which they carry it in a Sort of a Waggon  made for that Purpose, and cover’d with black Cloth, to the Place appointed by the Deceased.
A notice of a Roman Catholic funeral must conclude this subject. It is taken from the will of ‘Mr. I also appoint my Corps to be carried in a Herse drawn with Six white Horses, with white Feathers, and followed by Six Coaches, with six Horses to each Coach, to carry the four and twenty Persons As for Mourning I leave that to my Executors hereafter nam’d; and I do not desire them to give any to whom I shall leave a legacy.
I die in the Faith of the True Catholic Church. Widows wore black veils, and a somewhat peculiar cap, and had long trains—allusions to which are very frequent in the literature of the time. If, Thirteen Months hence, a Friend should haul one to a Play one has a mind to see! Although for the purpose of this work it is necessary to say somewhat of the houses of the period, it is not worth while discussing the so-called revival of the architecture of Queen Anne’s time.
The modern houses are quaint and pretty, but they are innocent of any close connection with her reign. Artists’ and architects’ holiday rambles in Holland are provocative of most of them; ‘sweet little bits’ having been brought home in sketch-books from Dordrecht and kindred happy hunting-grounds for the picturesque.
The style was not even adopted for mansions— vide Marlborough House and Blenheim; and the exterior of the ordinary town houses, even of the better class, was singularly unpretentious. Hatton  is struck with admiration of Queen Square now Queen Anne’s Gate , and says it is ‘a beautiful New tho’ small Square, of very fine Buildings.
It was not that there was a lack of good architects, for Wren and Vanbrugh were alive, but the houses and furniture were in conformity with the spirit of the times—very dull, and plain, and solid. We must never forget that during nearly the whole of this queen’s reign a cruel war exhausted the people’s finances, that trade was circumscribed, and that there were no mushroom parvenus , with inflated fortunes made from shoddy or the Stock Exchange, to spend their wealth lavishly on architecture or art in any shape.
A dull mediocrity in thought and feeling prevailed, and if any originality in architecture was attempted, it would certainly have been satirised, as it was in the very little-known poem of ‘The History of Vanbrugh’s House. But should any reader wish to see good specimens of real Queen Anne’s houses, I would recommend a visit to Nos. They are undoubtedly genuine mark the date on the waterspout ; and the staircase of No. The ceiling, too, at the top of the staircase is very beautifully painted, and was most probably the work either of Laguerre or Thornhill.
It is good enough for either of them. See also an old house, now used as a Ward School, formerly the residence of Sir C. Wren, in a courtyard in Botolph Lane, Eastcheap. But a good plan is to judge of the houses by contemporary evidence and description. Paul’s Church Yard, London. The windows of these houses were long but narrow; the smallness of the panes being rendered necessary by the fact that no large size could be made in window-glass, it being only of late years that the manufacture has improved to that extent.
Here is another house described, temp. There is under the Shop a very good dry Warehouse that is brickt at Bottom. Inquire of Mr. Richard Wright at the Perriwig in Bread Street. This must have been an extra good house, for they were mostly roofed with tiles, a fact which has practical demonstration, for after the terrible storm of Nov. On Dec. As a rule the rooms were fairly lofty, and the walls of the better class were mostly wainscotted with oak, walnut, chestnut, or cedar, and sometimes beautifully carved, and in the lower-class houses with deal, painted.
But wall papers were coming in. Stained glass was not used, generally, for decorative purposes, save for coats of arms; indeed, the art seems to have been in a bad way, judging from the following advertisement:  ‘Whereas the ancient Art of Painting and Staining Glass has been much discouraged, by reason of an Opinion generally received, That the Red Colour not made in Europe for many Years is totally lost; These are to give Notice, That the said Red, and all other Colours are made to as great a Degree of Curiosity and Fineness as in former Ages by William and Joshua Price, Glasiers and Glass Painters near Hatton Garden in Holborn, London, where any Gentlemen, who have the Curiosity, may be convinc’d by Demonstration, there being a large Window just now finished for his Grace the Duke of Leeds, which will be sent into the Country in a few days.
Houses were not always let by Agreement, but the leases were sold; and it is by means of such advertisements that we are able to get at the rents, which seem to have been very low—even reckoning the difference of value in money. Certainly they had none of our modern appliances and conveniences, which add so considerably to the cost of buildings, nor do they seem to have been saddled with exorbitant ground rents.
Rent is reserved. The Houses are let at l. A little way out of town rents were even cheaper than this. Here would be a boon for rowing men. The benefit of the air may be had at pleasure, for 6 l. I have the first floor, a dining room and bed chamber, at eight shillings a week; plaguy deep, but I spend nothing on eating,’ etc. When he removed to Chelsea he had to pay more. Atkin’s mother demand of 4 s. It is needless to say that there was more danger of fire then than now; and the inhabitants of London, very many of whom must have had a vivid remembrance of that awful fire in , were not altogether neglectful of their interests in this matter.
In an Act was passed amending an Act made in the sixth year of Anne’s reign, ‘for the better preventing of Mischiefs that may happen by Fire. They were also fully alive to the necessity of keeping life-saving appliances in their houses.
There were three fire insurance companies, whose leaden badges used to be nailed on to the houses, to show they were insured, and in what office; and a reward was offered by the Friendly Society on July 14, , for the discovery of persons who had stolen some of them. The system was to pay 30 s. Second, the Friendly Society, in Palsgrave Court, without Temple Bar, which was the first in that insured by mutual contribution, where you could insure l.
In the number of assured was 18, Martin’s Lane commenced about Here a payment of 12 s. All these employed several men in liveries, and with badges on their arms, to extinguish fire.
The accompanying contemporary illustration is very rude, but it gives a vivid representation of a fire at that time. Gay gives the following graphic description of a fire, so that we may almost fancy we see the firemen at work. But hark!
The sanitary arrangements of these houses were very defective, and the streets at night time must have been anything but pleasant walks. The water supply, too, was not good. Old-fashioned wells and pumps, sunk in a crowded city full of cesspools and graveyards, could not have furnished a healthy supply. Of course there was the water brought by the city from Highgate and Hampstead, and there was the New River, but it evidently was not sufficient for the use of the inhabitants, or it would not have been hawked about.
More was furnished by the Thames Water Works by means of a huge water-wheel, which worked many force-pumps, and which was erected by a Dutchman named Peter Morrice, in By my rambling digressions I perceive myself to be grown old. I us’d to write more methodically. But one does not dress for private company as for a publick ball.
To return: I continued thus employed in my father’s business for two years, that is, till I was twelve years old; and my brother John, who was bred to that business, having left my father, married, and set up for himself at Rhode Island, there was all appearance that I was destined to supply his place, and become a tallow-chandler. But my dislike to the trade continuing, my father was under apprehensions that if he did not find one for me more agreeable, I should break away and get to sea, as his son Josiah had done, to his great vexation.
He therefore sometimes took me to walk with him, and see joiners, bricklayers, turners, braziers, etc. It has ever since been a pleasure to me to see good workmen handle their tools; and it has been useful to me, having learnt so much by it as to be able to do little jobs myself in my house when a workman could not readily be got, and to construct little machines for my experiments, while the intention of making the experiment was fresh and warm in my mind.
My father at last fixed upon the cutler’s trade, and my uncle Benjamin’s son Samuel, who was bred to that business in London, being about that time established in Boston, I was sent to be with him some time on liking. But his expectations of a fee with me displeasing my father, I was taken home again. Here was the country seat of the Bishop of St.
Asaph, Dr. Jonathan Shipley, the “good Bishop,” as Dr. Franklin used to style him. Their relations were intimate and confidential. In his pulpit, and in the House of Lords, as well as in society, the bishop always opposed the harsh measures of the Crown toward the Colonies. Every year whose number in the common reckoning since Christ is not divisible by 4, as well as every year whose number is divisible by but not by , shall have days, and all other years shall have days.
In the eighteenth century there was a difference of eleven days between the old and the new style of reckoning, which the English Parliament canceled by making the 3rd of September, , the 14th. The Julian calendar, or “old style,” is still retained in Russia and Greece, whose dates consequently are now 13 days behind those of other Christian countries.
The house where he was born was burned in Pastor of the North Church, Boston. He took an active part in the persecution of witchcraft. ROM a child I was fond of reading, and all the little money that came into my hands was ever laid out in books. Pleased with the Pilgrim’s Progress , my first collection was of John Bunyan’s works in separate little volumes. I afterward sold them to enable me to buy R. Burton’s Historical Collections ; they were small chapmen’s books,  and cheap, 40 or 50 in all.
My father’s little library consisted chiefly of books in polemic divinity, most of which I read, and have since often regretted that, at a time when I had such a thirst for knowledge, more proper books had not fallen in my way, since it was now resolved I should not be a clergyman.
Plutarch’s Lives there was in which I read abundantly, and I still think that time spent to great advantage. Mather’s, called Essays to do Good , which perhaps gave me a turn of thinking that had an influence on some of the principal future events of my life.
This bookish inclination at length determined my father to make me a printer, though he had already one son James of that profession. In my brother James returned from England with a press and letters to set up his business in Boston. I liked it much better than that of my father, but still had a hankering for the sea. To prevent the apprehended effect of such an inclination, my father was impatient to have me bound to my brother.
I stood out some time, but at last was persuaded, and signed the indentures when I was yet but twelve years old. I was to serve as an apprentice till I was twenty-one years of age, only I was to be allowed journeyman’s wages during the last year. In a little time I made great proficiency in the business, and became a useful hand to my brother. I now had access to better books. An acquaintance with the apprentices of booksellers enabled me sometimes to borrow a small one, which I was careful to return soon and clean.
Often I sat up in my room reading the greatest part of the night, when the book was borrowed in the evening and to be returned early in the morning, lest it should be missed or wanted. And after some time an ingenious tradesman, Mr. Matthew Adams, who had a pretty collection of books, and who frequented our printing-house, took notice of me, invited me to his library, and very kindly lent me such books as I chose to read.
I now took a fancy to poetry, and made some little pieces; my brother, thinking it might turn to account, encouraged me, and put me on composing occasional ballads. One was called The Lighthouse Tragedy , and contained an account of the drowning of Captain Worthilake, with his two daughters: the other was a sailor’s song, on the taking of Teach or Blackbeard the pirate.
They were wretched stuff, in the Grub-street-ballad style;  and when they were printed he sent me about the town to sell them. The first sold wonderfully, the event being recent, having made a great noise. This flattered my vanity; but my father discouraged me by ridiculing my performances, and telling me verse-makers were generally beggars.
So I escaped being a poet, most probably a very bad one; but as prose writing has been of great use to me in the course of my life, and was a principal means of my advancement, I shall tell you how, in such a situation, I acquired what little ability I have in that way. There was another bookish lad in the town, John Collins by name, with whom I was intimately acquainted. We sometimes disputed, and very fond we were of argument, and very desirous of confuting one another, which disputatious turn, by the way, is apt to become a very bad habit, making people often extremely disagreeable in company by the contradiction that is necessary to bring it into practice; and thence, besides souring and spoiling the conversation, is productive of disgusts and, perhaps enmities where you may have occasion for friendship.
I had caught it by reading my father’s books of dispute about religion. Persons of good sense, I have since observed, seldom fall into it, except lawyers, university men, and men of all sorts that have been bred at Edinborough. A question was once, somehow or other, started between Collins and me, of the propriety of educating the female sex in learning, and their abilities for study.
He was of opinion that it was improper, and that they were naturally unequal to it. I took the contrary side, perhaps a little for dispute’s sake. He was naturally more eloquent, had a ready plenty of words, and sometimes, as I thought, bore me down more by his fluency than by the strength of his reasons.
As we parted without settling the point, and were not to see one another again for some time, I sat down to put my arguments in writing, which I copied fair and sent to him.
He answered, and I replied. Three or four letters of a side had passed, when my father happened to find my papers and read them.
Without entering into the discussion, he took occasion to talk to me about the manner of my writing; observed that, though I had the advantage of my antagonist in correct spelling and pointing which I ow’d to the printing-house , I fell far short in elegance of expression, in method and in perspicuity, of which he convinced me by several instances.
I saw the justice of his remarks, and thence grew more attentive to the manner in writing, and determined to endeavor at improvement. About this time I met with an odd volume of the Spectator. I had never before seen any of them. I bought it, read it over and over, and was much delighted with it. I thought the writing excellent, and wished, if possible, to imitate it.
With this view I took some of the papers, and, making short hints of the sentiment in each sentence, laid them by a few days, and then, without looking at the book, try’d to compleat the papers again, by expressing each hinted sentiment at length, and as fully as it had been expressed before, in any suitable words that should come to hand.
Then I compared my Spectator with the original, discovered some of my faults, and corrected them. But I found I wanted a stock of words, or a readiness in recollecting and using them, which I thought I should have acquired before that time if I had gone on making verses; since the continual occasion for words of the same import, but of different length, to suit the measure, or of different sound for the rhyme, would have laid me under a constant necessity of searching for variety, and also have tended to fix that variety in my mind, and make me master of it.
Therefore I took some of the tales and turned them into verse; and, after a time, when I had pretty well forgotten the prose, turned them back again. I also sometimes jumbled my collections of hints into confusion, and after some weeks endeavored to reduce them into the best order, before I began to form the full sentences and compleat the paper.
This was to teach me method in the arrangement of thoughts. By comparing my work afterwards with the original, I discovered many faults and amended them; but I sometimes had the pleasure of fancying that, in certain particulars of small import, I had been lucky enough to improve the method of the language, and this encouraged me to think I might possibly in time come to be a tolerable English writer, of which I was extremely ambitious.
My time for these exercises and for reading was at night, after work or before it began in the morning, or on Sundays, when I contrived to be in the printing-house alone, evading as much as I could the common attendance on public worship which my father used to exact of me when I was under his care, and which indeed I still thought a duty, thought I could not, as it seemed to me, afford time to practise it. When about 16 years of age I happened to meet with a book, written by one Tryon, recommending a vegetable diet.
I determined to go into it. My brother, being yet unmarried, did not keep house, but boarded himself and his apprentices in another family. My refusing to eat flesh occasioned an inconveniency, and I was frequently chid for my singularity. I made myself acquainted with Tryon’s manner of preparing some of his dishes, such as boiling potatoes or rice, making hasty pudding, and a few others, and then proposed to my brother, that if he would give me, weekly, half the money he paid for my board, I would board myself.
He instantly agreed to it, and I presently found that I could save half what he paid me. This was an additional fund for buying books. But I had another advantage in it. My brother and the rest going from the printing-house to their meals, I remained there alone, and, dispatching presently my light repast, which often was no more than a bisket or a slice of bread, a handful of raisins or a tart from the pastry-cook’s, and a glass of water, had the rest of the time till their return for study, in which I made the greater progress, from that greater clearness of head and quicker apprehension which usually attend temperance in eating and drinking.
And now it was that, being on some occasion made asham’d of my ignorance in figures, which I had twice failed in learning when at school, I took Cocker’s book of Arithmetick, and went through the whole by myself with great ease. I also read Seller’s and Shermy’s books of Navigation, and became acquainted with the little geometry they contain; but never proceeded far in that science.
While I was intent on improving my language, I met with an English grammar I think it was Greenwood’s , at the end of which there were two little sketches of the arts of rhetoric and logic, the latter finishing with a specimen of a dispute in the Socratic  method; and soon after I procur’d Xenophon’s Memorable Things of Socrates, wherein there are many instances of the same method.
I was charm’d with it, adopted it, dropt my abrupt contradiction and positive argumentation, and put on the humble inquirer and doubter. And being then, from reading Shaftesbury and Collins, become a real doubter in many points of our religious doctrine, I found this method safest for myself and very embarrassing to those against whom I used it; therefore I took a delight in it, practis’d it continually, and grew very artful and expert in drawing people, even of superior knowledge, into concessions, the consequences of which they did not foresee, entangling them in difficulties out of which they could not extricate themselves, and so obtaining victories that neither myself nor my cause always deserved.
I continu’d this method some few years, but gradually left it, retaining only the habit of expressing myself in terms of modest diffidence; never using, when I advanced anything that may possibly be disputed, the words certainly , undoubtedly , or any others that give the air of positiveness to an opinion; but rather say, I conceive or apprehend a thing to be so and so; it appears to me, or I should think it so or so , for such and such reasons; or I imagine it to be so ; or it is so, if I am not mistaken.
This habit, I believe, has been of great advantage to me when I have had occasion to inculcate my opinions, and persuade men into measures that I have been from time to time engaged in promoting; and, as the chief ends of conversation are to inform or to be informed , to please or to persuade , I wish well-meaning, sensible men would not lessen their power of doing good by a positive, assuming manner, that seldom fails to disgust, tends to create opposition, and to defeat everyone of those purposes for which speech was given to us, to wit, giving or receiving information or pleasure.
For, if you would inform, a positive and dogmatical manner in advancing your sentiments may provoke contradiction and prevent a candid attention. If you wish information and improvement from the knowledge of others, and yet at the same time express yourself as firmly fix’d in your present opinions, modest, sensible men, who do not love disputation, will probably leave you undisturbed in the possession of your error.
And by such a manner, you can seldom hope to recommend yourself in pleasing your hearers, or to persuade those whose concurrence you desire. Pope  says, judiciously:. And he might have coupled with this line that which he has coupled with another, I think, less properly,. Now, is not want of sense where a man is so unfortunate as to want it some apology for his want of modesty? My brother had, in or , begun to print a newspaper.
It was the second that appeared in America,  and was called the New England Courant. The only one before it was the Boston News-Letter. I remember his being dissuaded by some of his friends from the undertaking, as not likely to succeed, one newspaper being, in their judgment, enough for America. At this time there are not less than five-and-twenty. He went on, however, with the undertaking, and after having worked in composing the types and printing off the sheets, I was employed to carry the papers thro’ the streets to the customers.
He had some ingenious men among his friends, who amus’d themselves by writing little pieces for this paper, which gain’d 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 anything 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 in at night under the door of the printing-house.
It was found in the morning, and communicated to his writing friends when they call’d in as usual. They read it, commented on it in my hearing, and I had the exquisite pleasure of finding it 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 now that I was rather lucky in my judges, and that perhaps they were not really so very good ones as I then esteem’d them.
Encourag’d, however, by this, I wrote and conveyed in the same way to the press several more papers which were equally approv’d; and I kept my secret till my small fund of sense for such performances was pretty well exhausted, and then I discovered  it, when I began to be considered a little more by my brother’s acquaintance, and in a manner that did not quite please him, as he thought, probably with reason, that it tended to make me too vain.
And, perhaps, this might be one occasion of the differences that we began to have 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 demean’d me too much in some he requir’d of me, who from a brother expected more indulgence.
Our disputes were often brought before our father, and I fancy I was either 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 extreamly amiss; and, thinking my apprenticeship very tedious, I was continually wishing for some opportunity of shortening it, which at length offered in a manner unexpected. One of the pieces in our newspaper on some political point, which I have now forgotten, gave offense to the Assembly.
He was taken up, censur’d, and imprison’d for a month, by the speaker’s warrant, I suppose, because he would not discover his author. I too was taken up and examin’d before the council; but, tho’ 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 private differences, I 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 young genius that had a turn for libeling and satyr.
My brother’s discharge was accompany’d with an order of the House a very odd one , that ” James Franklin should no longer print the paper called the New England Courant. There was a consultation held in our printing-house among his friends, what he should do in this case. Some proposed to evade the order by changing the name of the paper; but my brother, seeing inconveniences in that, it was finally concluded on as a better way, to let it be printed for the future under the name of Benjamin Franklin ; and to avoid the censure of the Assembly, that might fall on him as still printing it by his apprentice, the contrivance was that my old indenture should be return’d to me, with a full discharge on the back of it, to be shown on occasion, but to secure to him the benefit of my service, I was to sign new indentures for the remainder of the term, which were to be kept private.
A very flimsy scheme it was; however, it was immediately executed, and the paper went on 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 one of the first errata of my life; but the unfairness of it weighed little with me, 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 ill-natur’d man: perhaps I was too saucy and provoking.
When he found I would leave him, he took care to prevent my getting employment in any other printing-house of the town, by going round and speaking to every master, who accordingly refus’d 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 inclin’d 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 case, it was likely I might, if I stay’d, soon bring myself into scrapes; and farther, that my indiscreet disputations about religion began to make me pointed at with horror by good people as an infidel or atheist.
I determin’d on the point, 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 a little for me. He agreed with the captain of a New York sloop for my passage, under the notion of my being a young acquaintance of his. So I sold some of my books to raise a little money, was taken on board privately, and as we had a fair wind, in three days I found myself in New York, near miles from home, a boy of but 17, without the least recommendation to, or knowledge of, any person in the place, and with very little money in my pocket.
The Spectator and its predecessor, the Tatler , marked the beginning of periodical literature. He drew up a constitution for the colonists of Carolina. The Courant was really the fifth newspaper established in America, although generally called the fourth, because the first, Public Occurrences , published in Boston in , was suppressed after the first issue. Y inclinations for the sea were by this time worne out, or I might now have gratify’d them. But, having a trade, and supposing myself a pretty good workman, I offer’d my service to the printer in the place, old Mr.
William Bradford, who had been the first printer in Pennsylvania, but removed from thence upon the quarrel of George Keith. He could give me no employment, having little to do, and help enough already; but says he, “My son at Philadelphia has lately lost his principal hand, Aquilla Rose, by death; if you go thither, I believe he may employ you.
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 overboard; 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 desir’d I would dry for him.
It proved to be my old favorite author, Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, in Dutch, finely printed on good paper, with 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 Bible.
Honest John was the first that I know of who mix’d narration and dialogue; a method of writing very engaging to the reader, who in the most interesting parts finds himself, as it were, brought into the company and present at the discourse.
De Foe in his Cruso, his Moll Flanders, Religious Courtship, Family Instructor, and other pieces, has imitated it with success; and Richardson  has done the same in his Pamela, etc.
When we drew near the island, we found it was at a place where there could be no landing, there being a great surff on the stony beach. So we dropt anchor, and swung round towards the shore. Some people came down to the water edge and hallow’d to us, as we did to them; but the wind was so high, and the surff so loud, that we could not hear so as to understand each other.
There were canoes on the shore, and we made signs, and hallow’d that they should fetch us; but they either did not understand us, or thought it impracticable, so they went away, and night coming on, we had no remedy but to wait till the wind should abate; and, in the meantime, the boatman and I concluded to sleep, if we could; and so crowded into the scuttle, with the Dutchman, who was still wet, and the spray beating over the head of our boat, leak’d thro’ 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, and the water we sail’d on being salt.
In the evening I found myself very feverish, and went in to bed; but, having read somewhere that cold water drank plentifully was good for a fever, I follow’d the prescription, 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 me the rest of the way to Philadelphia. It rained very hard all the day; I was thoroughly soak’d, and by noon a good deal tired; so I stopt at a poor inn, where I staid all night, beginning now to wish that I had never left home.
I cut so miserable a figure, too, that I found, by the questions ask’d me, I was suspected to be some runaway servant, and in danger of being taken up on that suspicion. However, I proceeded the next day, and got in the evening to an inn, within eight or ten miles of Burlington, kept by one Dr. He entered into conversation with me while I took some refreshment, and, finding I had read a little, became very sociable and friendly. Our acquaintance continu’d as long as he liv’d. He had been, I imagine, an itinerant doctor, for there was no town in England, or country in Europe, of which he could not give a very particular account.
He had some letters, and was ingenious, but much of an unbeliever, and wickedly undertook, some years after, to travesty the Bible in doggrel verse, as Cotton had done Virgil. By this means he set many of the facts in a very ridiculous light, and might have hurt weak minds if his work had been published; but it never was. At his house I lay that night, and the next morning reach’d Burlington, but had the mortification to find that the regular boats were gone a little before my coming, and no other expected to go before Tuesday, this being Saturday; wherefore I returned to an old woman in the town, of whom I had bought gingerbread to eat on the water, and ask’d her advice.
She invited me to lodge at her house till a passage by water should offer; and being tired with my foot traveling, I accepted the invitation. She understanding I was a printer, would have had me stay at that town and follow my business, being ignorant of the stock necessary to begin with. She was very hospitable, gave me a dinner of ox-cheek with great good will, accepting only of a pot of ale in return; and I thought myself fixed till Tuesday should come.
However, walking in the evening by the side of the river, a boat came by, which I found was going towards Philadelphia, with several people in her. They took me in, and, as there was no wind, we row’d all the way; and about midnight, not having yet seen the city, some of the company were confident we must have passed it, and would row no farther; the others knew not where we were; so we put toward the shore, got into a creek, landed near an old fence, with the rails of which we made a fire, the night being cold, in October, and there we remained till daylight.
Then one of the company knew the place to be Cooper’s Creek, a little above Philadelphia, which we saw as soon as we got out of the creek, and arriv’d there about eight or nine o’clock on the Sunday morning, and landed at the Market-street wharf. I have been the more particular in this description of my journey, and shall be so of my first entry into that city, that you may in your mind compare such unlikely beginnings with the figure I have since made there.
I was in my working dress, my best clothes being to come round by sea. I was dirty from my journey; my pockets were stuff’d out with shirts and stockings, and I knew no soul nor where to look for lodging. I was fatigued with traveling, rowing, and want of rest, I was very hungry; and my whole stock of cash consisted of a Dutch dollar, and about a shilling in copper. The latter I gave the people of the boat for my passage, who at first refus’d it, on account of my rowing; but I insisted on their taking it.
A man being sometimes more generous when he has but a little money than when he has plenty, perhaps thro’ fear of being thought to have but little. Then I walked up the street, gazing about till near the market-house I met a boy with bread. I had made many a meal on bread, and, inquiring where he got it, I went immediately to the baker’s he directed me to, in Second-street, and ask’d for bisket, intending such as we had in Boston; but they, it seems, were not made in Philadelphia.
Then I asked for a three-penny loaf, and was told they had none such. So not considering or knowing the difference of money, and the greater cheapness nor the names of his bread, I bade him give me three-penny worth of any sort. He gave me, accordingly, three great puffy rolls. I was surpris’d at the quantity, but took it, and, having no room in my pockets, walk’d off with a roll under each arm, and eating the other. Thus I went up Market-street as far as Fourth-street, passing by the door of Mr.
Read, my future wife’s father; when she, standing at the door, saw me, and thought I made, as I certainly did, a most awkward, ridiculous appearance. Then I turned and went down Chestnut-street and part of Walnut-street, eating my roll all the way, and, coming round, found myself again at Market-street wharf, near the boat I came in, to which I went for a draught of the river water; and, being filled with one of my rolls, gave the other two to a woman and her child that came down the river in the boat with us, and were waiting to go farther.
Thus refreshed, I walked again up the street, which by this time had many clean-dressed people in it, who were all walking the same way. I joined them, and thereby was led into the great meeting-house of the Quakers near the market. I sat down among them, and, after looking round awhile and hearing nothing said, being very drowsy thro’ labour and want of rest the preceding night, I fell fast asleep, and continu’d so till the meeting broke up, when one was kind enough to rouse me. This was, therefore, the first house I was in, or slept in, in Philadelphia.
Walking down again toward the river, and, looking in the faces of people, I met a young Quaker man, whose countenance I lik’d, and, accosting him, requested he would tell me where a stranger could get lodging. We were then near the sign of the Three Mariners. Here I got a dinner; and, while I was eating it, several sly questions were asked me, as it seemed to be suspected from my youth and appearance, that I might be some runaway.
After dinner, my sleepiness return’d, and being shown to a bed, I lay down without undressing, and slept till six in the evening, was call’d to supper, went to bed again very early, and slept soundly till next morning.
Then I made myself as tidy as I could, and went to Andrew Bradford the printer’s. I found in the shop the old man his father, whom I had seen at New York, and who, traveling on horseback, had got to Philadelphia before me.
He introduc’d me to his son, who receiv’d me civilly, gave me a breakfast, but told me he did not at present want a hand, being lately suppli’d with one; but there was another printer in town, lately set up, one Keimer, who, perhaps, might employ me; if not, I should be welcome to lodge at his house, and he would give me a little work to do now and then till fuller business should offer.
The old gentleman said he would go with me to the new printer; and when we found him, “Neighbour,” says Bradford, “I have brought to see you a young man of your business; perhaps you may want such a one. I, who stood by and heard all, saw immediately that one of them was a crafty old sophister, and the other a mere novice. Bradford left me with Keimer, who was greatly surpris’d when I told him who the old man was. Keimer’s printing-house, I found, consisted of an old shatter’d press, and one small, worn-out font of English, which he was then using himself, composing an Elegy on Aquilla Rose, before mentioned, an ingenious young man, of excellent character, much respected in the town, clerk of the Assembly, and a pretty poet.
Keimer made verses too, but very indifferently. He could not be said to write them, for his manner was to compose them in the types directly out of his head.
So there being no copy,  but one pair of cases, and the Elegy likely to require all the letter, no one could help him. I endeavour’d to put his press which he had not yet us’d, and of which he understood nothing into order fit to be work’d with; and, promising to come and print off his Elegy as soon as he should have got it ready, I return’d to Bradford’s, who gave me a little job to do for the present, and there I lodged and dieted.
A few days after, Keimer sent for me to print off the Elegy. And now he had got another pair of cases,  and a pamphlet to reprint, on which he set me to work. These two printers I found poorly qualified for their business. Bradford had not been bred to it, and was very illiterate; and Keimer, tho’ something of a scholar, was a mere compositor, knowing nothing of presswork.
He had been one of the French prophets,  and could act their enthusiastic agitations. At this time he did not profess any particular religion, but something of all on occasion; was very ignorant of the world, and had, as I afterward found, a good deal of the knave in his composition.
He did not like my lodging at Bradford’s while I work’d with him. He had a house, indeed, but without furniture, so he could not lodge me; but he got me a lodging at Mr. Read’s before mentioned, who was the owner of his house; and, my chest and clothes being come by this time, I made rather a more respectable appearance in the eyes of Miss Read than I had done when she first happen’d to see me eating my roll in the street. I began now to have some acquaintance among the young people of the town, that were lovers of reading, with whom I spent my evenings very pleasantly; and gaining money by my industry and frugality, I lived very agreeably, forgetting Boston as much as I could, and not desiring that any there should know where I resided, except my friend Collins, who was in my secret, and kept it when I wrote to him.
At length, an incident happened that sent me back again much sooner than I had intended. I had a brother-in-law, Robert Holmes, master of a sloop that traded between Boston and Delaware. He being at Newcastle, forty miles below Philadelphia, heard there of me, and wrote me a letter mentioning the concern of my friends in Boston at my abrupt departure, assuring me of their good will to me, and that everything would be accommodated to my mind if I would return, to which he exhorted me very earnestly.
I wrote an answer to his letter, thank’d him for his advice, but stated my reasons for quitting Boston fully and in such a light as to convince him I was not so wrong as he had apprehended.
They had as mottoes “No Taxes” and “Liberty of Conscience. The governor read it, and seem’d surpris’d when he was told my age. He said I appear’d a young man of promising parts, and therefore should be encouraged; the printers at Philadelphia were wretched ones; and, if I would set up there, he made no doubt I should succeed; for his part, he would procure me the public business, and do me every other service in his power.
This my brother-in-law afterwards told me in Boston, but I knew as yet nothing of it; when, one day, Keimer and I being at work together near the window, we saw the governor and another gentleman which proved to be Colonel French, of Newcastle , finely dress’d, come directly across the street to our house, and heard them at the door. Keimer ran down immediately, thinking it a visit to him; but the governor inquir’d for me, came up, and with a condescension and politeness I had been quite unus’d to, made me many compliments, desired to be acquainted with me, blam’d me kindly for not having made myself known to him when I first came to the place, and would have me away with him to the tavern, where he was going with Colonel French to taste, as he said, some excellent Madeira.
I was not a little surprised, and Keimer star’d like a pig poison’d. So it was concluded I should return to Boston in the first vessel, with the governor’s letter recommending me to my father. In the meantime the intention was to be kept a secret, and I went on working with Keimer as usual, the governor sending for me now and then to dine with him, a very great honour I thought it, and conversing with me in the most affable, familiar, and friendly manner imaginable.
About the end of April, , a little vessel offer’d for Boston. I took leave of Keimer as going to see my friends. The governor gave me an ample letter, saying many flattering things of me to my father, and strongly recommending the project of my setting up at Philadelphia as a thing that must make my fortune. We struck on a shoal in going down the bay, and sprung a leak; we had a blustering time at sea, and were oblig’d to pump almost continually, at which I took my turn.
We arriv’d safe, however, at Boston in about a fortnight. I had been absent seven months, and my friends had heard nothing of me; for my br. Holmes was not yet return’d, and had not written about me. My unexpected appearance surpris’d the family; all were, however, very glad to see me, and made me welcome, except my brother.
I went to see him at his printing-house. I was better dress’d than ever while in his service, having a genteel new suit from head to foot, a watch, and my pockets lin’d with near five pounds sterling in silver. He receiv’d me not very frankly, look’d me all over, and turn’d to his work again. The journeymen were inquisitive where I had been, what sort of a country it was, and how I lik’d it.
I prais’d it much, and the happy life I led in it, expressing strongly my intention of returning to it; and, one of them asking what kind of money we had there, I produc’d a handful of silver, and spread it before them, which was a kind of raree-show  they had not been us’d to, paper being the money of Boston. This visit of mine offended him extreamly; for, when my mother some time after spoke to him of a reconciliation, and of her wishes to see us on good terms together, and that we might live for the future as brothers, he said I had insulted him in such a manner before his people that he could never forget or forgive it.
In this, however, he was mistaken. My father received the governor’s letter with some apparent surprise, but said little of it to me for some days, when Capt. Holmes returning he show’d it to him, asked him if he knew Keith, and what kind of man he was; adding his opinion that he must be of small discretion to think of setting a boy up in business who wanted yet three years of being at man’s estate. Holmes said what he could in favour of the project, but my father was clear in the impropriety of it, and at last, gave a flat denial to it.
Then he wrote a civil letter to Sir William, thanking him for the patronage he had so kindly offered me, but declining to assist me as yet in setting up, I being, in his opinion, too young to be trusted with the management of a business so important, and for which the preparation must be so expensive.
My friend and companion Collins, who was a clerk in the post-office, pleas’d with the account I gave him of my new country, determined to go thither also; and, while I waited for my father’s determination, he set out before me by land to Rhode Island, leaving his books, which were a pretty collection of mathematicks and natural philosophy, to come with mine and me to New York, where he propos’d to wait for me.
My father, tho’ he did not approve Sir William’s proposition, was yet pleas’d that I had been able to obtain so advantageous a character from a person of such note where I had resided, and that I had been so industrious and careful as to equip myself so handsomely in so short a time; therefore, seeing no prospect of an accommodation between my brother and me, he gave his consent to my returning again to Philadelphia, advis’d me to behave respectfully to the people there, endeavour to obtain the general esteem, and avoid lampooning and libeling, to which he thought I had too much inclination; telling me, that by steady industry and a prudent parsimony I might save enough by the time I was one-and-twenty to set me up; and that, if I came near the matter, he would help me out with the rest.
This was all I could obtain, except some small gifts as tokens of his and my mother’s love, when I embark’d again for New York, now with their approbation and their blessing. The sloop putting in at Newport, Rhode Island, I visited my brother John, who had been married and settled there some years.
He received me very affectionately, for he always lov’d me. A friend of his, one Vernon, having some money due to him in Pennsylvania, about thirty-five pounds currency, desired I would receive it for him, and keep it till I had his directions what to remit it in. Accordingly, he gave me an order. This afterwards occasion’d me a good deal of uneasiness. At Newport we took in a number of passengers for New York, among which were two young women, companions, and a grave, sensible, matronlike Quaker woman, with her attendants.
I had shown an obliging readiness to do her some little services, which impress’d her I suppose with a degree of good will toward me; therefore, when she saw a daily growing familiarity between me and the two young women, which they appear’d to encourage, she took me aside, and said, “Young man, I am concern’d for thee, as thou hast no friend with thee, and seems not to know much of the world, or of the snares youth is expos’d to; depend upon it, those are very bad women; I can see it in all their actions; and if thee art not upon thy guard, they will draw thee into some danger; they are strangers to thee, and I advise thee, in a friendly concern for thy welfare, to have no acquaintance with them.
I thank’d her for her kind advice, and promis’d to follow it. When we arriv’d at New York, they told me where they liv’d, and invited me to come and see them; but I avoided it, and it was well I did; for the next day the captain miss’d a silver spoon and some other things, that had been taken out of his cabin, and, knowing that these were a couple of strumpets, he got a warrant to search their lodgings, found the stolen goods, and had the thieves punish’d.
So, tho’ we had escap’d a sunken rock, which we scrap’d upon in the passage, I thought this escape of rather more importance to me. At New York I found my friend Collins, who had arriv’d there some time before me. We had been intimate from children, and had read the same books together; but he had the advantage of more time for reading and studying, and a wonderful genius for mathematical learning, in which he far outstript me.
While I liv’d in Boston, most of my hours of leisure for conversation were spent with him, and he continu’d a sober as well as an industrious lad; was much respected for his learning by several of the clergy and other gentlemen, and seemed to promise making a good figure in life.
But, during my absence, he had acquir’d a habit of sotting with brandy; and I found by his own account, and what I heard from others, that he had been drunk every day since his arrival at New York, and behav’d very oddly. He had gam’d, too, and lost his money, so that I was oblig’d to discharge his lodgings, and defray his expenses to and at Philadelphia, which prov’d extremely inconvenient to me.
The then governor of New York, Burnet son of Bishop Burnet , hearing from the captain that a young man, one of his passengers, had a great many books, desir’d he would bring me to see him. I waited upon him accordingly, and should have taken Collins with me but that he was not sober.
The gov’r. This was the second governor who had done me the honour to take notice of me; which, to a poor boy like me, was very pleasing.
We proceeded to Philadelphia. I received on the way Vernon’s money, without which we could hardly have finish’d our journey. Collins wished to be employ’d in some counting-house; but, whether they discover’d his dramming by his breath, or by his behaviour, tho’ he had some recommendations, he met with no success in any application, and continu’d lodging and boarding at the same house with me, and at my expense.
Knowing I had that money of Vernon’s, he was continually borrowing of me, still promising repayment as soon as he should be in business. At length he had got so much of it that I was distress’d to think what I should do in case of being call’d on to remit it. His drinking continu’d, about which we sometimes quarrel’d; for, when a little intoxicated, he was very fractious.
Once, in a boat on the Delaware with some other young men, he refused to row in his turn. So he swore he would make me row, or throw me overboard; and coming along, stepping on the thwarts, toward me, when he came up and struck at me, I clapped my hand under his crutch, and, rising, pitched him head-foremost into the river.
I knew he was a good swimmer, and so was under little concern about him; but before he could get round to lay hold of the boat, we had with a few strokes pull’d her out of his reach; and ever when he drew near the boat, we ask’d if he would row, striking a few strokes to slide her away from him. He was ready to die with vexation, and obstinately would not promise to row. However, seeing him at last beginning to tire, we lifted him in and brought him home dripping wet in the evening.
We hardly exchang’d a civil word afterwards, and a West India captain, who had a commission to procure a tutor for the sons of a gentleman at Barbados, happening to meet with him, agreed to carry him thither.
He left me then, promising to remit me the first money he should receive in order to discharge the debt; but I never heard of him after. The breaking into this money of Vernon’s was one of the first great errata of my life; and this affair show’d that my father was not much out in his judgment when he suppos’d me too young to manage business of importance.
But Sir William, on reading his letter, said he was too prudent. There was great difference in persons; and discretion did not always accompany years, nor was youth always without it. Give me an inventory of the things necessary to be had from England, and I will send for them. You shall repay me when you are able; I am resolv’d to have a good printer here, and I am sure you must succeed.
I had hitherto kept the proposition of my setting up, a secret in Philadelphia, and I still kept it. Had it been known that I depended on the governor, probably some friend, that knew him better, would have advis’d me not to rely on him, as I afterwards heard it as his known character to be liberal of promises which he never meant to keep.
Yet, unsolicited as he was by me, how could I think his generous offers insincere? I believ’d him one of the best men in the world. I presented him an inventory of a little print’-house, amounting by my computation to about one hundred pounds sterling. He lik’d it, but ask’d me if my being on the spot in England to chuse the types, and see that everything was good of the kind, might not be of some advantage. But it would be some months before Annis sail’d, so I continued working with Keimer, fretting about the money Collins had got from me, and in daily apprehensions of being call’d upon by Vernon, which, however, did not happen for some years after.
I believe I have omitted mentioning that, in my first voyage from Boston, being becalm’d off Block Island, our people set about catching cod, and hauled up a great many. Hitherto I had stuck to my resolution of not eating animal food, and on this occasion I consider’d, with my master Tryon, the taking every fish as a kind of unprovoked murder, since none of them had, or ever could do us any injury that might justify the slaughter. All this seemed very reasonable.
But I had formerly been a great lover of fish, and, when this came hot out of the frying-pan, it smelt admirably well. I balanc’d some time between principle and inclination, till I recollected that, when the fish were opened, I saw smaller fish taken out of their stomachs; then thought I, “If you eat one another, I don’t see why we mayn’t eat you. So convenient a thing is it to be a reasonable creature , since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do.
EIMER and I liv’d on a pretty good familiar footing, and agreed tolerably well, for he suspected nothing of my setting up. He retained a great deal of his old enthusiasms and lov’d argumentation. We therefore had many disputations. I used to work him so with my Socratic method, and had trepann’d him so often by questions apparently so distant from any point we had in hand, and yet by degrees led to the point, and brought him into difficulties and contradictions, that at last he grew ridiculously cautious, and would hardly answer me the most common question, without asking first, ” What do you intend to infer from that?
He was to preach the doctrines, and I was to confound all opponents. When he came to explain with me upon the doctrines, I found several conundrums which I objected to, unless I might have my way a little too, and introduce some of mine. Keimer wore his beard at full length, because somewhere in the Mosaic law it is said, ” Thou shalt not mar the corners of thy beard.
I dislik’d both; but agreed to admit them upon condition of his adopting the doctrine of using no animal food. He was usually a great glutton, and I promised myself some diversion in half starving him. He agreed to try the practice, if I would keep him company. I did so, and we held it for three months. We had our victuals dress’d, and brought to us regularly by a woman in the neighborhood, who had from me a list of forty dishes, to be prepar’d for us at different times, in all which there was neither fish, flesh, nor fowl, and the whim suited me the better at this time from the cheapness of it, not costing us above eighteenpence sterling each per week.
I have since kept several Lents most strictly, leaving the common diet for that, and that for the common, abruptly, without the least inconvenience, so that I think there is little in the advice of making those changes by easy gradations.
I went on pleasantly, but poor Keimer suffered grievously, tired of the project, long’d for the flesh-pots of Egypt, and order’d a roast pig.
He invited me and two women friends to dine with him; but, it being brought too soon upon table, he could not resist the temptation, and ate the whole before we came.
I had made some courtship during this time to Miss Read. I had a great respect and affection for her, and had some reason to believe she had the same for me; but, as I was about to take a long voyage, and we were both very young, only a little above eighteen, it was thought most prudent by her mother to prevent our going too far at present, as a marriage, if it was to take place, would be more convenient after my return, when I should be, as I expected, set up in my business.
Perhaps, too, she thought my expectations not so well founded as I imagined them to be. The two first were clerks to an eminent scrivener or conveyancer in the town, Charles Brockden; the other was clerk to a merchant. Watson was a pious, sensible young man, of great integrity; the others rather more lax in their principles of religion, particularly Ralph, who, as well as Collins, had been unsettled by me, for which they both made me suffer.
Osborne was sensible, candid, frank; sincere and affectionate to his friends; but, in literary matters, too fond of criticizing. Ralph was ingenious, genteel in his manners, and extremely eloquent; I think I never knew a prettier talker. Both of them were great admirers of poetry, and began to try their hands in little pieces. Many pleasant walks we four had together on Sundays into the woods, near Schuylkill, where we read to one another, and conferr’d on what we read.
Ralph was inclin’d to pursue the study of poetry, not doubting but he might become eminent in it, and make his fortune by it, alleging that the best poets must, when they first began to write, make as many faults as he did.
Osborne dissuaded him, assur’d him he had no genius for poetry, and advis’d him to think of nothing beyond the business he was bred to; that, in the mercantile way, tho’ he had no stock, he might, by his diligence and punctuality, recommend himself to employment as a factor, and in time acquire wherewith to trade on his own account.
I approv’d the amusing one’s self with poetry now and then, so far as to improve one’s language, but no farther. On this it was propos’d that we should each of us, at our next meeting, produce a piece of our own composing, in order to improve by our mutual observations, criticisms, and corrections. As language and expression were what we had in view, we excluded all considerations of invention by agreeing that the task should be a version of the eighteenth Psalm, which describes the descent of a Deity.
When the time of our meeting drew nigh, Ralph called on me first, and let me know his piece was ready. I told him I had been busy, and, having little inclination, had done nothing. He then show’d me his piece for my opinion, and I much approv’d it, as it appear’d to me to have great merit. He is not so jealous of you; I wish, therefore, you would take this piece, and produce it as yours; I will pretend not to have had time, and so produce nothing.
We shall then see what he will say to it. We met; Watson’s performance was read; there were some beauties in it, but many defects. Osborne’s was read; it was much better; Ralph did it justice; remarked some faults, but applauded the beauties. He himself had nothing to produce. I was backward; seemed desirous of being excused; had not had sufficient time to correct, etc. It was read and repeated; Watson and Osborne gave up the contest, and join’d in applauding it.
Ralph only made some criticisms, and propos’d some amendments; but I defended my text. Osborne was against Ralph, and told him he was no better a critic than poet, so he dropt the argument.