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arbitrary proceedings of the assembly in the affair of my brother, that, by remaining, I should soon have been exposed to difficulties, which I had the greater reason to apprehend, as, from my indiscreet disputes upon the subject of religion, I begun to be regarded by pious souls with horror, either as an apostate or an atheist. I came, therefore, to a resolution; but, my father, in this instance, siding with my brother, I presumed that if I attempted to depart openly, measures would be taken to prevent me. My friend Collins undertook to favour my flight. He agreed for my passage with the captain of a New York sloop, to whom he represented me as a young man of his acquaintance, who had an affair with a girl of bad character, whose parents wished to compel me to marry her, and that, of consequence, I could neither make my appearance
off publicly. I sold part of my books to procure a small sum of money, and went privately on board the sloop. By favour of a good wind, I found myself, in three days, at New-York, nearly 300 miles from my home, at the age only of seventeen years, without knowing an individual in the place, and with very little money in my pocket.
The inclination I had felt for a seafaring life was entirely subsided, or I should now have been able to gratify it; but having another trade, and believing myself to be a tolerable workman, I hesitated not to offer my services to the old Mr. William Bradford, who had been the first printer in Pennsylvania, but had quitted that province on account of a quarrel with George Keith, the Govern
He could not give me employment himself, having little to do, and already as many hands as he wanted ; but he told me, that his son, a printer at Philadelphia, had lately lost his principal workman, Aquila Rose, who was dead, and that, if it would go thither, he believed that he would engage
Philadelphia was 100 miles farther. I Resi
tated not to embark in a boat in order to repair, by the shortest cut of the sea, to Amboy, leaving my trunk and effects to come after me by the usual and more tedious conveyance. In crossing the bay we met with a squall, which shattered to pieces our rotten sails, prevented us from entering the Kill, and threw us upon Long Island.
During the squall a drunken Dutchman, who like myself was a passenger in the boat, fell into the sea.
At the moment that he was sinking I seized him by the fore-top, saved him, and drew him on board. This immersion sobered him a little, so that he fell asleep, after having taken from his pocket a volume, which he requested me to dry. This volume I found to be my old favourite work, Bunyan's Voyages, in Dutch, a beautiful impression on fine paper, with copper-plate engravings; a dress in which I had never seen it in its original language. I have since learned that it had been translated into almost all the languages of Europe, and, next to the bible, I am persuaded it is one of the books which has had the greatest spread. Honest John is the first that I know of, who has mixed narrative and dialogue together; a mode of writing very engaging to the reader, who, in the most interesting passages, finds himself admitted as it were into the company, and present at the conversation. De Foe has imitated it with success in his Robinson Crusoe, his Moll Flanders, and other works; as also has Richardson in his Pamela, &c.
In approaching the island, we found that we had made a part of the coast where it was not possible to land, on account of the strong breakers produced by the rocky shore. We cast anchor and veered the cable toward the shore.
Some men, who stood upon the brink, hallooed to us, while we did the same on our part; but the wind was so high, and the waves so noisy, that we could neither
of us hear each other. There were some canoes upon the bank, and we called out to them, and made signs to prevail on them to come and take us up; but either
they did not understand us, or they deemed our request impractieable, and withdrew. Night came on, and nothing remained for us but to wait the subsiding of the wind; till when we determined, that is, the pilot and I, to sleep if possible. For that purpose we went below the hatches along with the Dutchman, who was drenched with water. The sea broke over the boat, and reached us in our retreat, so that we were presently as completely drenched as he.
We had very little repose during the whole night; but the wind abating the next day, we succeeded in reaching Amboy before it was dark, after having passed thirty hours without provisions, and with no other drink than a bottle of bad rum, the water upon which we rowed being salt. In the evening I went to bed with a violent fever.
I had somewhere read that cold water, drank plentifully, was a remedy in such cases.
I followed the prescription, was in a profuse sweat for the greater part of the night, and the fever left me. The next day I crossed the river in a ferry-boat, and continued my journey on foot. I had fifty miles to walk, in order to reach Burlington, where I was told I should find passage-boats that would convey me to Philadelphia. It rained hard the whole day, so that I was wet to the skin. Finding myself fatigued about noon, I stopped at a paltry inn, where I passed the rest of the day and the whole night, beginning to regret that I quitted my home. I made besides so wretched a figure, that I was suspected to be some runaway servant. This I discovered by the questions that were asked me; and I felt that I was every moment in danger of being taken up as such. The next day, however, I continued my journey, and arrived in the evening at an inn, eight or ten miles from Burlington, that was kept by one Dr. Brown.
This man entered into conversation with me while I took some refreshment, and, perceiving that I had read a little, he expressed towards me considerable interest and friendship. Our acqaintance continued during the remainder of his life. I believe him to have been what is called an itinerant doctor; for there was no town in England, or indeed in Europe, of which he could not giye a particular account.
I spent the night at his house, and reached BurJington the next morning. On my arrival, I had the mortification to learn that the ordinary passage-boats had sailed a little before. This was on a Saturday, and there would be no other boat till the Tuesday following. I returned to the house of an old woman in the town, who had sold me some gingerbread to eat on my passage, and I asked her advice. She invited me to take up my abode with her till an opportunity offered for me to embark. Fatigued with having travelled so far on foot, I accepted her invitation. Wben she understood that I was a printer, she would have persuaded me to stay at Burlington, and set up my trade: but she was little aware of the capital that would be necessary for such a purchase! I was treated while at her house with true hospitality. She gave me, with the utmost good will, a dinner of beef-steaks and would accept of nothing in return but a pint of ale.
Here I imagined myself to be fixed till the Tuesday in the ensuing week; but walking out in the evening by the river side, I saw a boat with a number of persons in it approach. It was going to Philadelphia, and the company took me in. As there was no wind, we could only make way with
About midnight, not perceiving the town, some of the company were of opinion that
we must have passed it, and were unwilling to row any farther; the rest not knowing where we were, it was resolved that we should stop. We drew towards the shore, entered a creek, and landed near some old palisades, which served us for fire-wood, it being a cold night in October. Here we staid till day, when one of the company found the place, in which we were, to be Cooper's Creek, a little above Philadelphia; which in reality we perceived the moment we were out of the creek. We arrived on Sunday, about eight or nine o'clock in the morning, and landed on Market-street wharf.
I have entered into the particulars of my voyage, and shall in like manner describe my
first entrance into this city, that you may be able to compare beginnings so little auspicious, with the figure I bave since made,
On my arrival at Philadelphia I was in my working dress, my best clothes being to come by
I was covered with dirt; my pockets were filled with shirts and stockings; I was unacquainted with a single soul in the place, and knew not where to seek for a lodging. Fatigued with walking, rowing, and having passed the night without sleep, I was extremely hungry, and all my money consisted of a Dutch dollar, and about a shilling's worth of coppers, which I gave to the boatmen for my passage. As I had assisted them in rowing, they refused it at first; but I insisted on their taking it. A man is sometimes more generous when he has little, than when he has much money; probably because, in the first case, he is desirous of concealing his poverty.
I walked towards the top of the street, looking eagerly on both sides, till I came to Market-street, where I met a child with a loaf of bread. Often had I made my dinner on dry bread. I enquired where he had bought it, and went straight to the baker's shop which he had pointed out to me.