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my brother was passionate, and often had recourse to blows; a circumstance which I took in very ill. part. This severe and tyrannical treatment contributed, I believe, to imprint on my mind that aversion to arbitrary power, which during my whole life I have ever preserved. My apprenticeship became insupportable to me, and I continually sighed for an opportunity of shortening it, which at length unexpectedly offered.
An article inserted in our paper, upon some political subject, which I have now forgotten, gavo offence to the assembly. My brother was taken into custody; censured, and ordered into confinement for a month, because, as I presume, he would · not discover the author. I was also taken up, and examined before the council; but, though I gave them no satisfaction, they contented themselves with reprimanding, and then dismissed me; considering me, probably, as bound, in quality of apprentice, to keep my master's secrets.
The imprisonment of my brother kindled my resentment, notwithstanding our private quarrels. During its continuance, the management of the paper was entrusted to me, and I was bold enough to insert some pasquinades against the governors, which highly pleased my brother, while others began to look upon me in an unfavourable point of view, considering me as a young wit, inclined to satire and lampoon.
My brother's enlargement was accompanied with an arbitrary order froin the house of assembly, 6. That James Franklin should no longer print the newspaper entitled, the New England Courant." In this conjuncture, we held a consultation of our friends at the printing-house, in order to determine what was proper to be done. Some proposed to evade the order, by changing the title of the paper; but my brother foreseeing inconveniences that would result from this step, thought it better that
it should in future be printed in the name of Benjamin Franklin; and to avoid the censure of the assembly, who might charge him with still printing the paper himself, under the name of his apprentice, it was resolved that my old indentures should be given up to me, with a full and entire discharge written on the back, in order to be produced upon an emergency; but that, to secure to my brother the benefit of my service, I should sign a new contract, which should be kept secret during the remainder of the term. This was a very shallow arrangement. It was, however, carried into immediate execution, and the paper continued, in consequence, to make its appearance for some months in my name. At length a new difference arising between my brother and me, I ventured to take advantage of my liberty, presuming that he would not dare to produce the new contract. It was undoubtedly dishonourable to avail myself of this circumstance, and I reckon this action as one of the first errors of my life; but I was little capable of estimating it at its true value, embittered as my mind had been, by the recollection of the blows I had received. Exclusively of his passionate treatment of me, my brother was by no means a man of an ill temper, and perhaps my manners had too much of impertinence not to afford it a very natural pretext.
When he knew that it was my determination to quit him, he wished to prevent my finding employ. ment elsewhere. He went to all the printinghouses in the town, and prejudiced the masters against me, who accordingly refused to employ me. The idea then suggested itself to me of going to New York, the nearest town in which there was a printing office. Farther reflections confirmed me in the design of leaving Boston, where I had already rendered myself an object of suspicion to the governing party. It was probable, from the 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 compelme to marry her, and that, of eonsequence, I could neither make my appearance nor go 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 Governor. 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 work- . man, Aquila Rose, who was dead, and that, if would go thither, he believed that he would engage me. Philadelphia was 100 miles farther. I nesi.
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 impracticable, 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