Benjamin Franklin

In 1720, his brother established a public paper, entitled The New England Courant, the second that had appeared in America. Franklin was employed to distribute the copies, and, occasionally, being present at the meetings which were held at his brother's house, by a number of literary characters, who were contributors, his, love of authorship was rekindled, and he sent a communication -in the usual way, but in a feigned hand. It was received, and commented upon in Franklin's hearing; who, in his memoir, tells us, he had, 'the exquisite pleasure to find that it met with their approbation, and that, in the various conjectures they made respecting its author, no one was mentioned who did not enjoy a high reputation in the country for talents and genius.' Many other articles were written, and forwarded in the same manner, and, being equally well received, their author made himself known; expecting that the discovery would insure for him more respect and greater fraternal indulgence than he had previously experienced. His brother, however, continued to treat him with much rigor, and being a man of ungovernable passions, frequently proceeded to the extremity of blows. This severe and tyrannical treatment,' says Franklin, contributed, I believe, to imprint on my mind that aversion to arbitrary power, which, during my whole life, I have ever preserved.'

The brothers, however, had soon occasion to be reconciled with each other. James, in consequence of an offensive article in the Courant, was taken into custody, and imprisoned for a month; Benjamin, during that period, was intrusted with the management of the paper, in which he inserted several pasquinades against the governor and other persons in authority. James's enlargement was accompanied with an arbitrary order, that he should no longer print the newspaper called The New England Courant.' To evade this order, it was determined that his brother's indentures should be given up, and the paper, in future, be printed in the name of Benjamin Franklin. A new contract was at the same time secretly entered into between the parties, by which Benjamin's services were to be secured for the remainder of the term of his former apprenticeship; but, a fresh quarrel arising, Franklin thought proper to separate from his brother; dishonorably,' as he candidly acknowledges, availing himself of the circumstance that the contract could not safely be produced.'

Being unable to obtain employment in Boston, he determined upon going to New York; but, apprehending his father would object to this resolution, he sold a part of his books to procure a small sum of money, and departed privately. On his arrival at the latter place, he applied for employment to a printer, who, having no occasion for his services, recommended him to extend his journey to Philadelphia.

His arrival at Philadelphia is thus recorded by himself I was in my working-dress, my best clothes being to come from New York by sea. 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 a lodging. Fatigued with walking and 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. At first they refused it on account of my having rowed; but I insisted on their taking it. Man is sometimes more generous when he has little money than when he has plenty; perhaps to prevent his being thought to have but little. I walked towards the top of the street, gazing about, till near Market Street, where I met a boy with bread, and, inquiring where he had bought it, I went immediately to the baker he directed me to. I asked for biscuits, meaning such as we had at Boston; that sort, it seems, was not then made in Philadelphia. I then asked for a three penny loaf, and was told they had none. Not knowing the different prices, nor the names of the different sorts of bread, I told him to give me three penny worth of any sort. He gave me, accordingly, three great puffy rolls. I was surprised at the quantity, but took it; and, having no room in my pockets, walked off with a roll under each arm, and eating the other. Thus I went up Market 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 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, through labor and want of rest the preceding night, I fell fast asleep, and continued so till the meeting broke up, when some one was kind enough to rouse me. This, therefore, was the first house I was in, or slept in, in Philadelphia.'