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Printing Press at which F?^anklin worked in
Watt's Printing-Office, London, in 1725-
See p. 46
THE HARVARD CLASSICS
EDITED BY CHARLES W ELIOT LL D

THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF
BEXJAMIN FRANKLIN
THE JOURNAL OF
JOHN WOOLMAN
FRUITS OF SOLITUDE
WILLIAM PENN
WITH INTRODUCTIONS AND NOTES

VOLUME 1

P F COLLIER & SON COMPANY


NEW YORK
Copyright, 1909
By p. F. Collier & Son

manufactured in u. s. a.
CONTENTS
PAGE
Benjamin Franklin, His Autobiography .... 5

The Journal of John Woolman


Chapter I I77
Chapter II 187
Chapter III i95
Chapter IV 208
Chapter V 225
Chapter VI 235
Chapter VII 248
Chapter VIII 260
Chapter IX 282
Chapter X 295
Chapter XI Z^'^
Chapter XII 316
The Death of John Woolman 327

Some Fruits of Solitude, in Reflections and Maxims


Part I. William Penn 329

More Fruits of Solitude, Being the Second Part of


Reflections and Maxims 385

HCVol. 1
Planned and Designea
at The Collier Press
By William Patten
'
INTRODUCTORY NOTE
Benjamin Franklin was horn in Milk Street, Boston, on
January 6 {January 17, new style), 1706. His father, Josiah
Franklin, was a tallow chandler who married twice, and of his
seventeen children Benjamin was the youngest son. His school-
ing ended at ten, and at twelve he was bound apprentice to hi^-
brother James, a printer, who published the "New England Cour^
ant.'' To this journal he became a contributor, and later was for

a time nominal editor. But the brothers quarreled, and Ben-


its
jamin ran away, going first to New York, and thence to Philadel-
phia, where he arrived in October, 1723. He soon obtained work
as a printer, but after a few months he zvas induced by Governor
Keith to go to London, where, finding Keith's promises empty, he
again worked as a compositor till he was brought back to Phila-
delphia by a merchant named Denman, who gave him a position
in his business. On Denman's death he returned to his former
trade, and shortly up a printing house of his own from which
set
he published "The Pennsylvania Gazette," to which he contrib-
uted many essays, and which he made a medium for agitating a
variety of local reforms. In 1732 he began to issue his famous
"Poor Richard's Almanac" for the enrichment of which he bor-
rowed or composed those pithy utterances of worldly wisdom
which are the basis of a large part of his popular reputation. In
1758, the year in which he ceased writing for the Alm,anac, he
printed in it "Father Abraham's Sermon," now regarded as the
most famous piece of literature produced in Colonial America.
Meantime Franklin was concerning himself more and more
with public affairs. He set forth a scheme for an Academy,
'which was taken up later and finally developed into the Uni-
versity of Pennsylvania; and he founded an "American Philo-
sophical Society" for the purpose of enabling scientific men to
communicate their discoveries to one another. He himself had
already begun his electrical researches, which, imth other scien-
tific inquiries, he carried on in the intervals of money-making

and politics to the end of his life. In 1748 he sold' his business
in order to get leisure for study, having now acquired compara-
tive wealth; and in a few years he had made discove-ries that
gave hhn a reputation with the learned throughout Europe. In
3

^O <J ^
4 INTRODUCTORY NOTE
politics he praved very able botk as an administrator and as a
controversialist ; hut his rei:ord as an oiHce-holder fs stained by
the use he made of his position to advance his relatives. His
most notable service in home politics was
reform of the
his
postal system; but his fame a^ a statesman rests chiefly on his
services in connection with the relations of the Colonies with
Great Britain, and later with France. In 1757 he was ^ent to
England to protest against the influence of the Penns in the
government of the colony, and for five years he remained there,
striving to enlighten the people and the ministry of England d^s
to Colonial conditions. On his return to America he played an
honorable part in the Paxton affair, through which he lost his
seat in the Assembly; but in 1764 he was again despatched to
England as agent for the colony, this time to petition the King to
resume the government from the hands of the proprietors. In
London he actively opposed the proposed Stamp Act, but lost the
credit for this and much of his popularity through his securing
for a friend theoffice of >stamp agent in America. Even his effect-

ive workin helping to obtain the repeal of the act left him still
a suspect; but he continued his efforts to present the case for
the Colonies as the troubles thickened toward the crisis of the
Revolution. In 1767 he crossed to France, where he was re-
ceived with honor; but before his return home in 1775 he lost his
position as postmaster through his share in divulging to Massa-
chusetts the famous letter of Hutchinson and Oliver. On his ar-
rival in Philadelphia he was chosen a member of the Continental
Congress, and in 1777 he was despatched to France as commissioner
for the United States. Here he remained till 1785, the favorite of
French society ; and with such success did he conduct the affairs
of his country that when he finally returned he received a place
only second to that of Washington as the champion of American
independence. He died on April 17, 1790.
The first five chapters of the Autobiography were composed in
England in 1771, continued in 1784-5, and again in 1788, at which
date he brought it down to 1757. After a most extraordinary
series of adventures, the original form of the manuscript was
finally printed by Mr. John Bigelow, and is here reproduced in
recognition of its value as a picture of one of the most notable
personalities of Colonial times, and of its acknowledged rank oj?
one of the great autobiographies of the world.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY
1706-1757

TwYFORD, at the Bishop of St. Asuph^s,^ 1771.

DEAR SON little


have ever had pleasure in obtainmg any
: I
my ancestors. You may remember
anecdotes of
the inquiries I made among the remains of my rela-
tions when you were with me in England, and the journey
I undertook for that purpose. Imagining it may be equally
agreeable to* you to know the circumstances of my life,
many of which you are yet unacquainted with, and expecting
the enjoyment of a week's uninterrupted leisure in my present
country retirement, I sit down to write them for you. To
which I have besides some other inducements. Having
emerged from the poverty and obscurity in which I was
born and bred;, to a state of afHuence and some degree of
reputation in the world, and having gone so far through life
with a considerable share of felicity, the conducing means I
made use of, which with the blessing of God so well suc-
ceeded, my posterity may like to know, as they may find
some of them suitable to their own situations, and therefore
fit to be imitated.
That felicity, when I reflected on it, has indnced me some-
times to say, that were it offered to my choice, I should
have no objection to a repetition of the same life from its
beginning, only asking the advantages authors have in a
second edition to correct some faults of the first. So I might,
^ The country-seat of Bishop Shipley, the good bishop, as Dr. Franklin
used to style him. B.
' After the words " agreeable to " the words " some of " Were interlined
aad afterward effaced. B.
6 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
besides correcting the faults, change some sinister accidents
and events of it for others more favorable. But though
this were denied, I should still accept the offer. Since such a
repetition is not to be expected^ the next thing most like
living one's life over again seems to be a recollection of that
life, and to make that recollection as durable as possible by

putting it down in writing.


Hereby, too, I shall indulge the inclination so natural in
old m.en, to be talking of themselves and their own past ac-
tions and I shall indulge it without being tiresome to others,
;

who, through respect to age, might conceive themselves


obliged to give me a hearing, since this may be read or not
as any one pleases. And, lastly (I may as well confess it,

since my
denial of it by nobody), perhaps
will be believed
I shall agood deal gratify my own vanity. Indeed, I scarce
ever heard or saw the introductory words, '' Without vanity
I may say/' &c., but some vain thing immediately followed.
Most people dislike vanity in others, whatever share they
have of it themselves; but I give it fair quarter wherever I
meet with it, being persuaded that it is often productive of
good to the possessor, and to others that are within his
sphere of action; and therefore, in many cases, it would not
be altogether absurd if a man were to thank God for his
vanity among the other comforts of life.

And now I I desire with all humil-


speak of thanking God,
ity to acknowledge that I owe the mentioned happiness of
my past life to His kind providence, which lead me to the
means I used and gave them success. My belief of this
induces me to hope, though I must not presume, that the
sam.e goodness will still be exercised toward me, in con-
tinuing that happiness, or enabling me to bear a fatal
reverse, which I may experience as others have done:
the complexion of my future fortune being knov/n to
Him only in whose power it is to bless to us even our
afflictions.
The notes one of my uncles (who had
the same kind of
curiosity in collecting family anecdotes) once put into my
hands, furnished me with several particulars relating to our
ancestors. From these notes I learned that the family had
lived in the same village, Ecton, in Northamptonshire, for
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 7

three hundred years, and how much longer he knew not


(perhaps from the time when the name of Franklin, that be-
fore was the name of an order of people, was assumed
by them as a surname when others took surnames all over
the kingdom), on a freehold of about thirty acres, aided by
the smith's business, which had continued in the family till
his time, the eldest son being always bred to that business;
a custom which he and my father followed as to their eldest
sons. When I searched the registers at Ecton, I found an
account of their births, marriages and burials from the
year 1555 only, there being no registers kept in that parish
at any time preceding. By that register I perceived that I
was the youngest son of the youngest son for five generations
back. My grandfather Thomas, who was born in 1598, lived
at Ecton till he grew too old to follow business longer, when
he went to live with his son John, a dyer at Banbury, in
Oxfordshire, with whom my father served an apprentice-
ship. There my grandfather died and lies buried. saw We
his gravestone in 1758. His eldest son Thomas lived in the
house at Ecton, and left it with the land to his only child,
a daughter, who, with her husband, one Fisher, of Welling-
borough, sold it to Mr. Isted, now lord of the manor there.
My grandfather had four sons that grew up, viz. Thomas, :

John, Benjamin and Josiah. I will give you what account


I can of them, at this distance from my papers, and if these
are not lost in my absence, you will among them find many
more particulars.
Thomas was bred a smith under his father; but, being
ingenious, and encouraged in learning (as all my brothers
were) by an Esquire Palmer, then the principal gentleman in
that parish, he qualified himself for the business of scrivener;
became a considerable man in the county was a chief mover
;

of all public-spirited undertakings for the county or town of


Northampton, and his own village, of which many instances
were related of him; and much taken notice of and patron-
ized by the then Lord Halifax. He died in 1702, January 6,
old style, just four years to a day before I was born. The
account we received of his life and character from some
old people at Ecton, I remember, struck you as something
extraordinary, from its similarity to what you knew of minCo
8 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
" Hadhe died on the same day," you said, " one might have
supposed a transmigration."
John was bred a dyer, I believe of woolens. Benjamin
was bred a silk dyer, serving an apprenticeship at London.
He was an ingenious man. I remember him well, for when
I was a boy he came over to my father in Boston, and lived
in the house with us some years. He lived to a great age.
His grandson, Samuel Franklin, now lives in Boston. He
left behind him two quarto volumes, MS., of his own poetry,
consisting of occasional pieces addressed to his friends
little

and relations, of which the following, sent to me, is a speci-


men.^ He had formed a short-hand of his own, which he
taught me, but, never practising it, I have now forgot it.

I was named after this uncle, there being a particular affect


tion between him and my He was very pious, a great
father.
attender of sermons of the best preachers, which he took
down in his short-hand, and had with him many volumes of
them. He was much of a politician too much, perhaps,
also ;

for his station. There fell lately into my hands, in London,


a collection he had made of all the principal pamphlets,
relating to public affairs, from 1641 to 1717; many of
the volumes are wanting as appears by the numbering,
but there still remain eight volumes in folio, and twenty-
four in quarto and in octavo. A dealer in old books
met with them, and knowing me by my sometimes buy-
ing of him, he brought them to me. It seems my uncle
must have left them here, when he went to America, which
was about fifty years since. There are many of his notes
in the margins.
This obscure family of ours was early in the Reformation,
and continued Protestants through the reign of Queen Mary,
when they were sometimes in danger of trouble on account
of their zeal against popery. They had got an English
Bible, and to conceal and secure it, it was fastened open
with tapes under and within the cover of a joint-stool. When
my great-great-grandfather read It to his family, he turned
up the joint-stool upon his knees, turning over the leaves then
^ Here follow in the margin the words, in brackets, "here insert it," but
the poetry is not given. Mr. Sparks informs us (Life of Franklin, p. 6)
that these volumes had been preserved, and were in possession of MtS4
Emmons, of Boston> greatrgranddaughter of their author.
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 9

under the tapes. One of the children stood at the door to


give notice if he saw the apparitor coming, who was an
officer of the spiritual court. In that case the stool was turned
down again upon its feet, when the Bible remained concealed
under it as before. This anecdote I had from my uncle
Benjamin. The family continued all of the Church of Eng-
land till about the end of Charles the Second's reign,
when some of the ministers that had been outed for non-
conformity holding conventicles in Northamptonshire, Ben-
jamin and Josiah adhered to them, and so continued all
their lives :the rest of the family remained with the Episco-
pal Church.
Josiah, my father, married young, and carried his wife
with three children into New England, about 1682. The
conventicles having been forbidden by law, and frequently
disturbed, induced some considerable men of his acquaintance
to remove to that country, and he was prevailed with to ac-
company them thither, where they expected to enjoy their
mode of religion with freedom. By the same wife he had
four children more born there, and by a second wife ten
more, in all seventeen of which I remember thirteen sitting
;

at one time at his table, who all grew up to be men and


women, and married I was the youngest son, and the young-
;

est child but two, and was born in Boston, New Eng-
land. My mother, the second wife, was Abiah Folger,
daughter of Peter Folger, one of the first settlers of New
England, of whom honorable mention is made by Cotton
Mather, in his church history of that country, entitled
Magnalia Christi Americana;, as '"o godly, learned English-
man, " if I remember the words rightly, I have heard
that he wrote sundry small occasional pieces, but only -

pne of them was printed, which I saw now many years since.
It was written in 1675, in the home-spun verse of that time
and people, and addressed to those then concerned in the
government there. It was in f a-vor of liberty of conscience, and
in behalf of the Baptists, Quakers, and other sectaries that
had been under persecution, ascribing the Indian wars, and
other distresses that had befallen the country, to that perse-
cution, as so many judgments of God to punish so heinous
an offense, and exhorting a repeal of those uncharitable laws.
10 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
The whole appeared me as written with a good deal o
to
decent plainness and manly freedom. The six concluding
lines I remember, though I have forgotten the two first of
the stanza; but the purport of them was, that his censures
proceeded from good-will, and, therefore, he would be known
to be the author.
" Because to be a libeller (says lie)
I hate it with my heart;
From Sherburne town, where now I dwell
My name I do put here ;

Without offense your real friend.


It is Peter Folgier."

My elder brothers were all put apprentices to different


trades. I was put to the grammar-school at eight 5^ears of
age, my father intending to devote me, as the tithe of his
sons, to the service of the Church. My early readiness in
learning to read (which must have been very early, as I do not
remember when I could not read), and the opinion of all his
friends, that I should certainly make a good scholar, encour-
aged him in this purpose of his^ My uncle Benjamin, too,
approved of it, and proposed to give me all his short-hand
volumes of sermons, I suppose as a stock to set up with, if I
would learn his character. I continued, however, at the
grammar-school not quite one year, though in that time I
had risen gradually from the middle of the class of that year
to be the head of it, and farther was rem.oved into the next
class above it, go with that into the third at the
in order to
end of the year. But my father, in the meantime, from a
view of the expense of a college education, which having so
large a family he could not well afford, and the mean living
many so educated were afterwards able to obtain reasons
that he gave to his friends in my hearing altered his first
intention, took me from the grammar-school, and sent me to
a school for writing and arithmetic^ kept by a then famous
man, Mr. George Brownell, very successful in his profession
generally, and that by mild, encouraging miethods. Under
him acquired fair writing pretty soon, but I failed in the
I
arithmetic, and made no progress in it. At ten years old
I was taken home to assist my father in his business, which
was that of a tallow-chandler and sope-boiler ; a business he
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 11

was not bred to, but had assumed on his arrival in New
England, and on finding his dying trade would not main-
tain his family, being in little request. Accordingly, I was
employed in cutting wick for the candles, filling the dipping
mold and the molds for cast candles, attending the shop,
going of errands, etc.
I disliked the trade, and had a strong inclination for the
sea, but my father declared against it; however, living near
the water, I was much in and about it, learnt early to swim
well, and to manage boats; and when in a boat or canoe
with other boys, I was commonly allowed to govern,
especially in any case of difficulty; and upon other occasions
I was generally a leader among the boys, and sometimes
led them into scrapes, of which I will mention one instance,
as it shows an early projecting public spirit, tho' not then
justly conducted.
There was a salt-marsh that bounded part of the mill-pond,
on the edge of which, at high water, we used to stand to
fish for minnows. By much trampling, we had made it a
mere quagmire. My proposal was to build a wharff there
fi.t for us to stand upon, and I showed my comrades a large

heap of stones, which were intended for a new house near


the marsh, and which v/ould very well suit our purpose.
Accordingly, in the evening, v/hen the workmen were gone,
I assembled a number of my play-fellows, and working with
them diligently like so many emmets, sometimes two of
three to a stone, we brought them all away and built our
little wharfi. The next morning the workmen were sur-
prised at missing the stones, which were found in our
wharff. Inquiry was made after the removers; we were
discovered and complained of; several of us were corrected
by our fathers; and though I pleaded the usefulness of the
work, mine convinced me that nothing was useful which
was not honest.
I think you may like to know som.ething of his person and
character. He had an excellent constitution of body, was
of middle stature, but v/ell set, and very strong; he was
ingenious, could draw prettily, was skilled a little in music,
and had a clear pleasing voice, so that when he played
psalm tunes on his violin and sung withal, as he sometimes
12 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
did m an evening after the business of the day was over,
it was extremely agreeable to hear. He had a mechanical
genius too, and, on occasion, was very handy in the use of
other tradesmen's tools; but his great excellence lay in a
sound understanding and solid judgment in prudential mat-
ters, both in private and publick affairs. In the latter,
indeed, he was never employed, the numerous family he had
to educate and the straitness of his circumstances keeping
him close to his trade; but I remember well his being fre-
quently visited by leading people, who consulted him for
his opinion in affairs of the town or of the church he
belonged to, and showed a good deal of respect for his
judgment and advice: he was also much consulted by
private persons about their affairs [when any difficulty
occurred, and frequently chosen an arbitrator between
contending parties.
At his table he liked to have, as often as he could, some
sensible friend or neighbor to converse with, and always
took care to start some ingenious or useful topic for dis-
course, which might tend to improve the minds of his
children. By this means he turned our attention to what
was good, just, and prudent in the conduct of life; and
little or no notice was ever taken of what related to the

victuals on the table, whether it was well or ill dressed, in


or out of season, of good or bad flavor, preferable or inferior
to this or that other thing of the kind, so that I was bro't
lUp in such a perfect inattention to those matters as to be
quite indifferent what kind of food was set before me, and
so unobservant of it, that to this day if I am asked I can
scarce tell a few hours after dinner what I dined upon. This
has been a convenience to me in travelling, where my
companions have been sometimes very unhappy for want
of a suitable gratification of their more delicate, because
and appetites.
better instructed, tastes
Mymother had likewise an excellent constitution: she
suckled all her ten children. I never knew either my
father or mother to have any sickness but that of which
they dy'd, he at 89, and she at 85 years of age. They lie
buried together at Boston, where I some years since placed
a marble over their gr^ive, with this inscription:
'

HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 13

JosiAH Franklin,
and
Abiah his wife,
here interred.
lie
\ They lived lovingly together in wedlock
fifty-five years.
Without an any gainful emploj^nenfj
estate, or
By constant labor and industry,
with God's blessing,
They maintained a large family
comfortably,
and brought up thirteen children
and seven grandchildren
reputably.
Fromthis instance, reader,
Be encouraged to diligence in thy calling,
And distrust not Providence.
He was
a pious and prudent man;
She, a discreet and virtuous woman.
Their youngest son.
In filialregard to their memory.
Places this stone*
J. F.born 1655, died 1744, -^tat 89.
A. F. born 1667, died 1752, 85.

By my rambling digressions I perceive myself to be grown


old. I us'd towrite more methodically. But one does not
dress for private company as for a publick ball. 'Tis per*
haps only negligence.
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., at their work, that he might observe my inclination,
and endeavor to fix it on some trade or other on land. It
has ever since been a pleasure to m.e 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 myseli
14 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN '

in myhouse 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.
From 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 after-
ward 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 advan-
tage. There was also a book of De Foe's, called an Essay
on Projects, and another of Dr. 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 1717 my brother James
returned from England with a press and letters to set up
his business in Boston. I liked it m.uch 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 allmved journeyman's wages during the
last year. In a little trnie I mad^ great proficiency in the
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 15

business, and became a useftil 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 v/as borrowed irt 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 fre-
quented 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 m.ade some little
pieces; m.y brother, thinking it might turn to account,
encouraged me, and put me on composing occasional bal-
lads. One was called The Lighthouse Tragedy, and
con-
tained 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 m.e about the town to sell them.
The first sold wonderfully, the event being recent, having
made a great noise. This flattered my vanity but m.y father
;

discouraged me by ridiculing my perform.ances, and telling


me verse-makers were generally beggars. So I escaped
being a poet, most probably a very bad one; but as prose
writing had 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 disputa-
tious 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 read-
;

16 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
ing my father's books of dispute about religion. Persons of
good have since observed, seldom fall into it, except
sense^ I
lawyers, university men, and men of all sorts thac have
been bred at Edinborough.
Aquestion 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 remark, 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.
It was the third. 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, tr/d to compleat the papers again, by express-
ing 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
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 17

acquired before that time if I had gone on making verses;


since the continual occasion for words of the same import,
but of ditterent 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. Isometimes
also
jumbled m.y collections of hints into confusion, and after
some weeks endeavored to reduce them into the best order,
before 1 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 or 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 on me when I was under
his care, and which indeed I still thought a duty, though I
could not, as it seemed to me, afford time to practise it.
When about i6 years of age I happened to meet v/ith 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 vvras an additional fund for buying
;

18 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
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, despatching 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 apprehen-
sion 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, w^hich I had twice failed in
learning when at school, I took Cocker's book of Arith-
metick, 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. And I read about
this time Locke On Htmmn Understanding, and the Art of
Thinking, by Messrs. du Port Royal.
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 specim.en 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 Vvdth
it, adopted it, dropt my abrupt contradiction and positive
argumentation, and put en the humble inquirer and doubter.
And being then, from reading Shaftesbury and Collins,
become a real doubter in many points of our religious doc-
trine, I found this method safest for myself and very embar-
rassing 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 difiiculties out of which they
could not extricate themselves, and so obtaining victories
that neither myself nor my cause always deserved. I con-
tinu'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 any thing
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 19

that may possibly be disputed, the words certainly, undoubt-


edly, 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 / shoiild think it so or so,


;

for such and such reasons; or / imagine it to he 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 incul-
cate my opinions, and persuade men into measures that I
have been from time to time engag'd 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 m.en 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 every one 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
sentim.ents may provoke contradiction and prevent a candid
attention. If you wish information and im.provement from
the knowledge of others, and yet at the same time express
yourself as firmly fix'd in your present opinions, m.odest,
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 your-
self in pleasing your hearers, or to persuade those whose
concurrence you desire. Pope says, judiciously:
"Men should he taught as if you taught them not.
And thingsunknown propos'd as things forgot; "
farther recommending to us
" To speak, tho' sure, with seeming diffidence."

And he might have coupled with this line that which he has
coupled with another, I think, less properly,
" For want of modesty is want of sense."
If you ask, Why less properly? I must repeat the lines,
" Immodest words admit of no defense,
For want of modesty is want of sense."
Now, not want of sense (where a man is so unfortunate
is

as to it) some apology for his want of modesty? and


want
would not the lines stand more justly thus?
20 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
"Immodest words admit but this defense,
That want of modesty is want of sense."
This, however, I should submit to better judgments.
Mybrother had, in 1720 or 1721, begun to print a news-
paper. 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 dis-
suaded 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 (1771) 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 conversa-
tions, 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 morn-
ing, 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 convey'd 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 m.ore by my brother's acquaintance, and in a manner

that did not quite please him, as he thought, probabl}r


HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 21

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 appren-
tice, 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 gen-
erally in the right, or else a better pleader, because the
judgmxcnt was generally in my favor. But my brother
was passionate, and had often beaten me, which Itook ex-
treamly amiss and, thinking my apprenticeship very tedious,
;

I was continually wishing for some opportunity of shorten-


ing 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 dis-
cover his author. I too was taken up and examin'd before
the council; but, tho' I did not give them any satisfaction,
they content'd themselves with admonishing me, and dis-
missed 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 libelling and satyr.
My brother's discharge was accompany'd with an order o
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
3 I fancy his harsh and tyrannical treatment of me might be a means of
impressing me with that aversion to arbitrary power that has stuck to me
through my whole life.
22 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
for the future under the name of Benjamii^ 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 v/as;
however, it was immediately executed, and the paper went
on accordingly, under my name for several months.
At between my brother
length, a fresh difference arising
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 oi 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.
AVhen he found I would leave him, he took care to pre-
vent 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 m.ade 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 indiscrete disputations about religion
began to make me pointed at with horror hy 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 v/ith the captain of a New
York sloop for my passage, under the notion of may being
a young acquaintance of his, that had got a naughty girl
with child, whose friends would compel me to marry her,
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 23

and therefore I could not appear or come away publicly.


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 300 miles
from home> a boy of but 17, without the least recommenda-
tion to, or knowledge of any person in the place, and with
very little money in my pocket.
My inclinations for the sea were by this time worne
out, or I might now have gratify'd them. Butj 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 Penn-
sylvania, but removed from thence upon the quarrel of
George Keith. He could give me no em.ployment, having
little to do, and help enough already but says he, " My son
;

at Philadelphia has lately lost his principal hand, Aquila


Rose, by death; if you go thither, I believe he may employ
you." Philadelphia was a hundred miles ftirther; I set
out, however, in a boat for Amboy, leaving my chest and
things to follow me round by sea.
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, Bun-
yan'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 waiting 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
24 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
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 con-
cluded 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 vic-
tuals, 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 plentiful most of the night, my fever left me, and in
the morning, crossing the ferry, I proceeded on my journey
n 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. Brown. He entered into
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 25

conversation with me while I took some refreshment, and,


finding I had read a little, became \^ery sociable and friendly.
Our acquaintance continu'd as long as he liv'd. He had
been, I imagine, an itinerant dootor,' 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 in-
genious, but much of an unbeliever, and wickedly undertook,
some years after, to travestie 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 Satur-
day; 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 travelling, I accepted the invitation. She under-


standing 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 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 cred^,
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.
;

26 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
have been the more particular in this description of my
I
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 cloaths 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 travelling, 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 gave the people of the boat for my
latter I
passage, who it, on account of my rowing
at first ref us'd
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 knovv^ing the difference
of money, and the greater cheapness nor the names of his
bread, I made him give me three-penny worth of any sort.
He gave me, accordingly, three great puffy rolls. I was
surpriz'd at the quantity, but took it, and, having no room
in my pockets, walk'd off v/ith 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


X went for a draught of the river w^ater; and, being filled
iwith 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.
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 27

Thus refreshed, I walked again tip 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
m.arket. I sat down among them, and, after looking round
awhile and hearing nothing said, being very drowsy thro' labor
and want of rest the preceding night, I fell fast asleep, and
continued 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 tov/ard 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," says he, " is
one place that entertains strangers, but it is not a reputable
house; if thee wilt walk with ihe, I'll show thee a better."
He brought me to the Crooked Billet in Water-street. Here
I got a dinner; and, while I was eating it, several sly
questions vv'^ere 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 Brad-
ford the printer's. I found in the shop the old man his
father, whom I had seen at New York, and who, travelling
on horseback, had got to Philadelphia before me. He intro-
duc'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, Vv^ho, perhaps,
might employ me; if not^ I should be v/elcome 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 v^^ould go with me to the new
printer ; and when we found him, " Neighbor," says Brad-
ford, " I have brought to see you a young man of your
business; perhaps you may want such a one." He ask'd
;

28 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
me a @w qiiesdons, pui a composing stiGk in my hand to
see how I woxk'd, and t-tmn said he would empl<?7 me soon,
though he had just then nothing for me to do; and, taking
old Bradford, whom he bati never seen before, to be one
of the town's people that had a good will for him, enter'd
into a conversation on his present undertaking and prospects
while Bradford, not discovering that he was the other
printer's father, on Keimer's salving he expected soon to get
the greatest part of the business into his own hands, drew
him on by and starting little doubts, to
artful questions,
explain all his views, what interests he reli'd on, and in what
manner he intended to proceed. 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 surprised 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
Aquila 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 endeavored 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 oft' 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 busi-
ness. Bradford had not been bred to it, and was very
illiterate; and Keimer, tho' som.ething of a scholar, was a
"mere compositor, knov/ing nothing of presswork. He had
been one of the French prophets, and could act their
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 29

enthusiastic agitations. At he did not profess any


this time
particular religion, hut 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, s.o he could not lodge
me; but he got me a lodging at Mr. Read's, before men-
tioned, who w^as 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, for-
getting 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 rne, 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 every thing 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.
Sir William Keith, governor of the province, was then at
Newcastle, and Captain Holmes, happening to be in com-
pany with him when my letter came to hand, spoke to him
of me, and show'd him the letter. The governor read it,

and seem'd surpris'd when he was told my age. He said


I appeard a young man of promising parts, and therefore
should be encouraged; the printers at Philadelphia wer^
wretched ones; and, if I would set up thera^ he made no
30 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
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-lav/ afterwards told me in Bos-
ton, but I knew as yet nothing of it vv^hen, 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 of politeness I had been quite imus'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 cam.e 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 surprised, and Keimer star'd like a pig
little
poison'd. however, with the governor and Colonel
I vv^ent,
French to a tavern, at the corner of Third-street, and over
the Madeira he propos'd my setting up my business, laid
before me the probabilities of success, and both he and
Colonel French assur'd me I should have their interest and
influence in procuring the public business of both govern-
ments. On my doubting whether my father would assist
me in it. Sir William said he would give me a letter to him,
in which he would state the advantages, and he did not
doubt of prevailing with him. So it was concluded I should
return to Boston in the first vessel, with the governor's
letter recommending m.e to my father. In the mean time
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 honor I thought it,
and conversing with me in the most affable, familiar, and
friendly manner imaginable.
About the end of April, 1724, 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 flatter-
ing things of me to my father, and strongly recommending
the project of my setting up at Philadelphia as a thing that
must m.ake my fortune. We struck on a shoal in going
;

HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 31

down the bay, and sprung a leak we had a


; blustering time
at sea, and were oblig'd to pump almost continually, at
which Itook 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 yd return'd^ and had not written about me. My
unexpected appearance surpriz'd the family; all were, how-
ever, 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 gen-
teel nev/ suitfrom 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'4 it

much, the happy life I expressing strongly my


led in it,

intention of returning to it; and, one of them asking what


kind of mioney we had there, I produc'd a handful of silver,
and spread it before them, which was a kind of raree-show
they iad not been us'd to, paper being the money o Boston.
Then 1 took an opportunity of letting them see my watch
and, lastly (my brother still grum and sullen), I gave them
a piece of eight to drink, and took my leave. 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,
vv^hen Capt. Holmes returning he showed it to him, ask'd'
him if he knew Keith, and what kind of man he was ; add-
ing his opinion that he must be of small discretion to think
of setting a boy up in business who v/anted yet three years
of being at man's estate. Holmes said what he could in
favor of the project, but my father was clear in the impro-
priety of it, and at last gave a flat denial to it. Then he
wrote a civil letter to Sir Williamj thanking him for th^
32 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
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
< so be
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 prcpos'd to wait
for me.
My father, tho' he did not approve Sir William's proposi-
tion, 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 handsom.ely in so short a time; there-
fore, 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, endeavor 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 v/as 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 mymother'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 m.arried 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 Pensilvania, 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
HC3Vol 1 ^
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 33

York, among which were two young women, companions,


and a grave, sensible, matron-like 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 w^ll 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
:

has 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." As I seem'd at first not to
think so ill of them as she did, she mentioned som.e things
she had observ'd and heard that had escap'd my notice, but
now convinc'd me she was right. I thank'd her for her
kind advice, and promis'd to follow it. When we arriv'd at
New York, they told me vv^here they liv'd, and invited me
to come and see them; but I avoided it, and it was v/ell I
did; for the next day the captain miss'd a silver spoon and
some other things, that had been taken out of his cabbin,
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 im-portance 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 m.aking 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

^ HC-Vol. 1
34 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
what I heard from others, that he had been "drunk every-
day since his arrival at Nev/ 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. treated me with great civility, show'd me his
library, which was a very large one, and we had a good
deal of conversation about books and authors. This was the
second governor who had done me the honor 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 recom-
mendations, he met with no success in any application, and
contlnu'd lodging and boarding at the same house with me,
and at my expense, ICnowing I had that money of Vernon's,
he was continually borrowing of me, still promising repay-
ment 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 continued, about which we sometimes quar
rell'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. " I will be row'd home,"
says he. " We will not row you," says I. * You must, or
stay all night on the water," says he, "just as you please."
The others said, "Let us row; what signifies it?" But, my
mind being soured with his other conduct, I continu'd to
refuse. 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,
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 35

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 puU'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 exchanged a civil word afterwards^ and a West India
captain, who had a commission to procure a tutor for the
sons of a gentleman at Barbadoes, 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
m.e 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 ;\vithout
it.
''
And since he will not set you up," says he, " I will
do it myself. Give me an inventory of the things neces-
sary 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."
This was spoken with such an appearance of cordiality, that
I had not the least doubt of his meaning what he said, 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 insin-
cere? I believ'd him one of the best m.en in the world.
I presented him an inventory of a little print'g-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 every thing was
36 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
good of the kind, might not be of some advantage. " Then,"
says he, " when there, you may make acquaintances, and
establish correspondences in the bookselling and stationery
way." I agreed that this might be advantageous. " Then,"
says he, " get yourself ready to go with Annis ;" which was
the annual ship, and the only one at that time usually pass-
ing between London and Philadelphia. But it would be
some months before Annis sail'd, so I continu'd working
with Keimer, fretting about the money Collins had got from
me, and in daily apprehensions of being call'd upon by Ver-
non, 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 consider'd, with my master
Tryon, the taking every fish as a kind of tmprovoked mur-
der, since none of them had, or ever could do us any injury
that might justify the slaughter. All this seemed very rea-
sonable. 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 inclina-
tion, 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 I din'd upon cod very heartily, and continued to eat with
other people, returning only now and then occasionally to a
vegetable diet. So convenient a thing it is to be a reason-;
able creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason
for everything one has a mind to do.
Keimer and I liv'd on a pretty good familiar footing, an(j
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 withmy Socratic method, and had
trepann'd him by questions apparently so distant
so often
from any point we had in hand, and yet by degrees lead
to the point, and brought him into difficulties and contra-
dictions, that at last he grew ridiculously cautious, and
would hardly answer me the most common question, without
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 37

asking first, ^
What do you intend to infer from that?"
However, gave him so high an opinion of my abilities in
it

the confuting way, that he seriously proposed my being his


colleague in a project he had of setting up a new sect.
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 theMosaic law it is said, " Thou shdlt not mar the corners
of thy heard." He likewise kept the Seventh day, Sabbath;
and these two points were essentials with him. I dislik'd
both but agreed to admit them upon condition of
; his adopt-
ing the doctrine of using no animal food. " I doubt," said
he, " my constitution will not bear that." I assur'd him it
would, and that he would be the better for it. 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 dif-
ferent 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, common diet for that, and that
leaving the
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 tempta-
tion,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.


38 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
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, Vv^ould be more con-
venient after my return, when I should be, as I expected,
set up in my business. Perhaps, too, she thought my ex-
pectations not so well founded as I imagined them to be.
My chief acquaintances at this time were Charles Osborne,
Joseph Watson, and James Ralph, all lovers of reading.
The two first were clerks to an eminent scrivener or con-
veyancer in the town, Charles Brogden; 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 imsettled 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 criticising. Ralph was ingenious, genteel in
his manners, and extremely eloquent; I think I never knew
a prettier talker. Both of them 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, recom-
mend himself to employment as a factor, and in time
acquire wherewith to trade on his ov/n account. I approved
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 we
should each of us, at
that
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
;;

HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 39

by agreeing that the task should be a version of the eigh-


teenth 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. " Now," sa37s he, " Osborne never will allow the
least merit in any thing of mine, but makes looo criticisms
out of mere envy. 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." It was agreed,
and I immediately transcrib'd it, that it might appear in
my own hand.
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.
; but
no excuse could be admitted; produce I must. It was read
and repeated; Watson and Osborne gave up the contest,
and join'd in applauding it. Ralph only made some criti-
cisms, 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. As they
two went home together, Osborne expressed himself still
more strongly in favor of what he thought my production;
having restrain'd himself before, as he said, lest I should
think it flattery. " But who would have imiagin'd," said he,
" that Franklin had been capable of such a performance

such painting, such force, such fire He has even improv'd


!

the original. In his common conversation he seems to


have no choice of words; he hesitates and blunders; and
yet, good God how he writes " When we next met,
!
!

Ralph discovered the trick we had plaid him, and Osborne


was a little laught at.
This transaction fixed Ralph in his resolution of becoming
a poet. I did all I could to dissuade him from it, but he
40 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
continued scribbling verses till Pope cured him. He became,
however, a pretty good prose writer. More of him here-
after. But, as I may not have occasion again to mention
the other two, I shall just remark here, that Watson died
in my arms a few years after, much lamented, being
the best of our set. Osborne went to the West Indies,
where he became an eminent lawyer and made money,
but died young. He and I had made a serious agree-
ment, that the one who happen'd first to die should, if
possible, make a friendly visit to the other, and acquaint
him how he found things in that separate state. But he
never fulfill'd his promise.
The governor, seeming to like my company, had m.e fre-
quently to his house, and his setting mie up was always
mention'd as a fixed thing. I was to take with me letters
recommendatory to a number of his friends, besides the
letter of credit to furnish me with the necessary money for
purchasing the press and types, paper, etc. For these letters
I was appointed to call at different times, when they were
to be ready, but a future time was still named. Thus
he went on till the ship, whose departure too had been
several times postponed, was on the point of sailing. Then,
when I caird to take my leave and receive the letters, his
secretary. Dr. Bard, came out to me and said the governor
was extremely busy in writing, butwould be down at New-
castle before the ship, and there the letters would be de-
livered to me.
Ralph, though married, and having one child, had de-
termined to accompany me in this voyage. It was thought
he intended to establish a correspondence, and obtain goods
to sell on commission; but I found afterwards, that, thro'
some discontent with his wife's relations, he purposed to
leave her on their hands, and never return again. Having
taken leave of my friends, and interchang'd some promises
with Miss Read, I left Philadelphia in the. ship, which
anchor'd at Newcastle. The governor was there; but when
I went to his lodging, the secretary came to me from him
with the civillest message in the world, that he could not
then see me, being engaged in business of the utmost im-
portance, but should send the letters to me on board, wish'd
HIS AUTOBIOGHAPHY 41

me heartily a good voyage and a speedy return, etc. I


returned on board a little puzzled, but still not doubting.
Mr. Andrew Hamilton, a famous lawyer of Philadelphia,
had taken passage in the same ship for himself and son,
and with Mr. Denham, a Quaker merchant, and Messrs.
Onion and Russel, masters of an iron work in Maryland,
had engag'd the great cabin so that Ralph and I were forced
;

to take up with a berth in the steerage, and none on board


knowing us^ were considered as ordinary persons. But Mr.
Hamilton and his son (it was James, since governor)
return'd from Newcastle to Philadelphia, the father being
recall'd by a great fee to plead for a seized ship; and, just
before we saiFd, Colonel French coming on board, and
showing me great respect, I was more taken notice of, and,
with my friend Ralph, invited by the other gentlemen to
come into the cabin, there being now room. Accordingly,
we remov'd thither.
Understanding that Colonel French had brought on board
the governor's despatches, I ask'd the captain for those
letters that were to be under my care. He said all were
put into the bag together and he could not then come at
them; but, before we landed in England, I should have an
opportunity of picking them out so I was satisfied for the
;

present, and we proceeded on our voyage. We had a


sociable company in the cabin, and lived uncommonly well,
having the addition of all Mr. Hamilton's stores, who had
laid in plentifully. In this passage Mr. Denham contracted
a friendship for me that continued during his life. The
voyage was otherwise not a pleasant one, as we had a great
deal of bad weather.
When we came into the Channel, the captain kept his
word with me, and gave me an opportunity of examining
the bag for the governor's letters. I found none upon which
my name was put as under my care. I picked out six or
seven, that,by the handwriting, I thought might be the
promised one of them was directed to
letters, especially as
Basket, the king's printer, and another to some stationer.
We arriv'd in London the 24th of December, 1724. I waited
upon the stationer, who came first in my way, delivering
the letter as from Governor Keith. "I don't know such a
42 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
person/' says he opening the letter, " O this is from
; but, !

Riddlesden. I have lately found him to be a compleat rascal,


and I will have nothing to do with him, nor receive any
letters from him." So, putting the letter into my hand, he
turn'd on his heel and left me to serve some customer.
I was surprized to find these were not the governor's letters ;
and, after recollecting and comparing circumstances, I began
to doubt his sincerity. I found my friend Denham, and
opened the whole affair to him. He let me into Keith's
character; told me there was not the least probability that
he had written any letters for me; that no one, who knew
him, had the smallest dependence on him; and he laught at
the notion of the governor's giving me a letter of credit,
having, as he said, no credit to give. On my expressing
some concern about what I should do, he advised me to
endeavor' getting some employment in the way of my busi-
ness. " Among the printers here," said he, " you will improve
yourself, and when you return to America, you will set up
to greater advantage."
Weboth of us happen'd to know, as well as the stationer,
that Riddlesden, the attorney, was a very knave. He had
half ruin'd Miss Read's father by persuading him to be
bound for him. By this letter it appear'd there was a secret
scheme on foot to the prejudice of Hamilton (suppos'd to
be then coming over with us)t; and that Keith was con-
cerned in it with Riddlesden. Denham, who was a friend
of Hamilton's thought he ought to be acquainted with it;
so, when he arriv'd in England, which was soon after,
partly from resentment and ill-will to Keith and Riddlesden,
and partly from good-will to him, I waited on him, and
gave him the letter. He thank'd me cordially, the infor-
mation being of importance to him; and from that time he
became my friend, greatly to my advantage afterwards on
many occasions.
But what shall we think of a governor's playing such
pitiful tricks,and imposing so grossly on a poor ignorant
boy !It was 3. habit he had acquired. He wish'd to please
everybody; and, having little to give, he gave expectations.
He was otherwise an ingenious, sensible man, a pretty good
writer, and a good governor for the people, tho' not for his
;

HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 43

constituents, the proprietaries, whose instructions he some-


times disregarded. Several of our best laws were of his
planning and passed during his administration.
Ralph and I were inseparable com.panions. "We took lodg-
ings together in Little Britain at three shillings and six-

pence a week as much as we could then afford. He found
some relations, but they were poor, and unable to assist him.
He now let me know his intentions of remaining in London,
and that he never meant to return to Philadelphia. He
had brought no money with him, the whole he could muster
having been expended in paying his passage. I had fifteen
pistoles so he borrowed occasionally of me to subsist, while
;

he was looking out for business. He first endeavored to get


into the playhouse, believing himself qualify'd for an actor
but Wilkes, to v/hom he apply'd, advis'd him candidly not
to think of that employment, as it was impossible he should
succeed in it. Then he propos'd to Roberts, a publisher in
Paternoster Row, to write for him a weekly paper like the
Spectator, on certain conditions, which Roberts did not
approve. Then he endeavored to get employment as a
hackney writer, to copy for the stationers and lawyers about
the Temple, but could find no vacancy.
I immediately got into work at Palmer's, then a famous
printing-house in Bartholomew Close, and here I continu'd
near a year. I w^as pretty diligent, but spent with Ralph a
good deal of my earnings in going to plays and other places
of amusemicnt. We had together consum_ed all my pistoles,
and now just rubbed on from hand to mouth. He seem'd
quite to forget his wife and child, and I, by degrees, my
engagements with Miss Read, to whom I never wrote more
than one letter, and that was to let her know I was not
likely soon to return. This y^sls another of the great errata
of my life, which I should wish to correct if I were to live
it over again. In fact, by our expenses, I was constantly
kept unable to pay my passage.
At Palmer's I was employed in composing for the second
edition of Wollaston's
''
Religion of Nature." Some of his
reasonings not appearing to me well founded, I wrote a
little metaphysical piece in which I made remarks on them.

It was entitled "A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity,


44 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
Pleasure and Pain." I inscribed it to my friend Ralph; I
printed a small number. It occasion'd my being more con-
sidered by Mr. Palmer as a young man of some ingenuity,
tho' he seriously expostulated with me upon the principles
of my pamphlet, which to him appear'd abominable. My
printing this pamphlet was another erratum. While I
lodg'd in Little Britain, I made an acquaintance with one
Wilcox, a bookseller, whose shop was at the next door.
He had an immense collection of second-hand books. Cir-
culating libraries were not then in use; but we agreed that,
on certain reasonable terms, which I have now forgotten,
I might take, read, and return any of his books. This I
esteem'd a great advantage, and I miade as much use of it
as I could.
My pamphlet by some means falling into the hands of
one Lyons, a surgeon, author of a book entitled " The In-
fallibility of Human Judgment," it occasioned an acquaint-
ance between us. He took great notice of me, called on me
often to converse on those subjects, carried me to the Horns,
a pale alehouse in Lane, Cheapside, and introduced me
to Dr. Mandeville, author of the " Fable of the Bees," v^rho
had a club there, of which he was the soul, being a most
facetious, entertaining companion. Lyons, too, introduced
me to Dr. Pemberton, at Batson's Coffee-house, who promised
to give me an opportunity, some time or other, of seeing
Sir Isaac Newton, of which I was extreamely desirous; but
this never happened.
I had brought over a few curiosities, among which th^
principal was a purse made of the asbestos, which purifies
by fire. Sir Hans Sloane heard of it, came to see me, and
invited me to his house in Bloomsbury Square, where he
show'd me all his curiosities, and persuaded me to let him
add that to the number, for which he paid me handsomely.
In our house there lodg'd a young woman, a milliner, who,
I think, had a shop in the Cloisters. She had been genteelly
bred, was sensible and lively, and of most pleasing conversa-
tion. Ralph read plays to her in the evenings, they grew
intimate, she took another lodging, and he followed her.
They liv'd together some time; but, he being still out of
business, and her income not sufficient to maintain them
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 45

with her child,he took a resolution of going from London,


to try for a country school, which he thought himself well
qualified to undertake, as he wrote an excellent hand, and
was a master of arithmetic and accounts. This, however, he
deemed a business below him, and confident of future better
fortune, when he should be unwilling to have it known that
he once was so meanly employed, he changed his name, and
did me the honor to assume mine; for I soon after had ^
letter from him, acquainting me that he was settled in a
small village (in Berkshire, I think it was, where he taught
reading and writing to ten or a dozen boys, at sixpence each
per week), recommending Mrs. T to my care, and
desiring me to write to him, directing for Mr. Franklin,
schoolmaster, at such a place.
He continued to write frequently, sending me large speci-
mens of an epic poem which he was then composing, and
desiring my remarks and corrections. These I gave him
from time to time, but endeavor'd rather to discourage his
proceeding. One of Young's Satires was then just pub-
lished. I copy'd and sent him a great part of it, which set in
a strong light the folly of pursuing the Muses with any hope
of advancement by them. All was in vain; sheets of the
poem continued to come by every post. In the mean time,
Mrs. T , having on his account lost her friends and
business, was often in distresses, and us'd to send for me,
and borrow what I could spare to help her out of them. I
grew fond of her company, and, being at that time under no
religious restraint, and presuming upon my importance to
her, I attempted familiarities (another erratum) which she
repuls'd with a proper resentment, and acquainted him with
my behaviour. This made a breach between us; and, when
he returned again to London, he let me know he thought I
had canceird all the obligations he had been under to me.
So I found I was never to expect his repaying me what I
lent to him, or advanced for him. This, however, was not
then of much consequence, as he was totally unable; and in
the loss of his friendship I found myself relieved from a
burthen. I now began to think of getting a little money
beforehand, and, expecting better work, I left Palmer's to
work at Watts's, near Lincoln's Inn Fields, a still ^rtdXQt
;

46 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
printing-house. Here I continued all the rest of my stay
in London.
At my admission into this printing-house I took to
first
working at press, imagining I felt a want of the bodily
zeroise I had been us'd to in America, where presswork
is mix'd with composing. I drank only water ; the other
workmen, near fifty in number, were great guzzlers of beer.
On occasion, I carried up and down stairs a large form of
types in each hand, when others carried but one in both
hands. They wondered to see, from this and several in-
stances, that the Wafer-American^ as they called me, was
stronger than themselves, who drank strong beer ! Wehad
an alehouse boy who attended always in the house to supply
the workmen. My companion at the press drank every day
a pint before breakfast, a pint at breakfast with his bread
and cheese, a pint between breakfast and dinner, a pint at
dinner, a pint in the afternoon about six o'clock, and
another when he had done his day's work. I thought it a
detestable custom; but it was necessary, he supposed, to
drink strong beer, that he might be strong to labor. I
endeavored to convince him that the bodily strength afforded
by beer could only be in proportion to the grain or flour of
the barley dissolved in the water of which it was made;
that there was more flour in a pennyworth of bread; and
therefore, if he y/ould eat that with a pint of water, it would
give him more strength than a quart of beer. He drank on,
however, and had four or five shillings to pay out of his
wages every Saturday night for that muddling liquor; an
expense I was free from. And thus these poor devils keep
themselves aKvays under.
Watts, after some weeks, desiring to have me in the com-
posing-room, I left the pressmen; a new bien venu or sum
for drink, being five shillings, was demanded of me by the
compositors. I thought it an imposition, as I had paid below
the master thought so too, and forbad my paying it. I stood
out two or three weeks, was accordingly considered as an
excommunicate, and had so many little pieces of private
mischief done me, by mixing my sorts, transposing my pages,
breaking my matter, etc., etc., if I were ever so little out of
the room, and all ascribed to the chappel ghost, which they
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 47

said ever hattnted those not regularly admitted, that, not-


withstanding the master's protection, I found myself oblig'd
to comply and pay the money, convinc'd of the folly of being
on ill terms with those one is to live with continually.

I was now on a fair footing with them, and soon acquir'd


considerable influence* I propos'd some reasonable altera-
tions in their chappel^ laws, and carried them against all
opposition. From my example, a great part of them left
their muddling breakfast of beer, and bread, and cheese, find-
ing they could with me be suppli'd from a neighboring house
with a large porringer of hot water-gruel, sprinkled with
pepper, crumbl'd with bread and a bit of butter in it, for the
price of a pint of beer, viz., three half-pence. This was a
more comfortable as well as cheaper breakfast, and kept
their heads clearer. Those who continued sotting with beer
all day, were often, by not paying, out of credit at the ale-
house, and us'd to make interest with me to get beer; their
lights as they phrased it, being out. I watch'd the pay-table
on Saturday night, and collected what I stood engag'd for
them, having to pay sometimes near thirty shillings a week
on their account. This, and my being esteem'd a pretty
good rig git eJ that is, a jocular verbal satirist, supported my
consequence in the society. My constant attendance (I
never making a St. Monday) recommended me to the mas-
ter; and my uncommon quickness at composing occasioned
my being put upon all v/ork of dispatch, which was generally
better paid. So I went on now very agreeably.
My lodging in Little Britain being too remote, I found
another in Duke-street, opposite to the Romish Chapel. It
was two pair of stairs backwards, at an Italian warehouse.
A widow lady kept the house; she had a daughter, and a
maid servant, and a journeyman who attended the ware-
house, but lodg'd abroad. After sending to inquire my
character at the house where I last lodg'd she agreed to take
me in at the same rate, 5s. 6d. per week; cheaper, as she
* "A printing--house is always called a chapel by the workmeti,^ the origifi
of which appears to have been that printing was first carried on in England
in an ancient chapel converted into a printing-house, and the title has been
preserved by tradition. ^ The bi-en venu among the printers answers to the
texms entrance and footing among mechanics; thus a journeyman, on enter-
ing a printing-house, was accustomed to pay one or more gallons of beer for
the good of the chapel; this custom was falling into disuse thirty years ago;
it is very properly rejected entirely in the United States." ^W. T. F.
48 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN -

said, from the protection she expected in having a man lodge


in the house. She was a widow, an elderly woman; had
been bred a Protestant, being a clergyman's daughter, but
was converted to the Catholic religion by her husband, whose
memory she much revered; had lived much among people
of distinction, and knew a thousand anecdotes of them as far
back as the times of Charles the Second. She was lam^e in
her knees with the gout, and, therefore, seldom stirred out
of her room, so sometimes wanted company; and hers was
so highly amusing to me, that I was sure to spend an evening
with her whenever she desired it. Our supper was only half
an anchovy each, on a very little strip of bread and butter,
asid half a pint of ale between us but the entertainment was
;

in her conversation. My always keeping good hours, and


giving little trouble in the family, made her unwilling to
part with me so that, when I talk'd of a lodging I had heard
;

of, nearer my business, for two shillings a week, which, intent


as I now |Was on saving money, made some difference, she
bid me not think of it, for she would abate me two shillings
a week for the future so I remained with her at one shilling
;

and sixpence as long as I staid in London.


In a garret of her house there lived a maiden lady of
seventy, in the most retired manner, of whom my landlady
gave me this account: that she was a Roman Catholic, had
been sent abroad when young, and lodg'd in a nunnery with
an intent of becoming a nun but, the country not agreeing
;

with her, she returned to England, where, there being no


nunnery, she had vow'd to lead the life of a nun, as near
as might be done in those circumstances. Accordingly, she
had given all her estate to charitable uses, reserving only
twelve pounds a year to live on, and out of this sum she
still gave a great deal in charity, living herself on water-

gruel only, and using no fire but to boil it. She had lived
many years in that garret, being permitted to remain there
gratis by successive Catholic tenants of the house below, as
they deemed it a blessing to have her there. A
priest visited
fief to confess her every day.
" I have ask'd her," says my
landlady, "how she, as she liv'd, could possibly find so mucH
employment for a confessor? " " Oh," said she, "it is inrpos-
jwble to avoid vain thoughts" I was permitted once to visit
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 49

her.She was chearful and polite, and convers'd pleasantly.


The room was clean, but had no other furniture than a
matras, a table with a crucifix and book, a stool which she
gave me to sit on, and a picture over the chimney of Saint
Veronica displaying her handkerchief, with the miraculous
figure of Christ's bleeding face on it, which she explained
to me with great seriousness. She look'd pale, but was never
sick; and I give it as another instance on how small an
income life and health may be supported.
At Watts's printing-house I contracted an acquaintance
with an ingenious young man, one Wygate, who, having
wealthy relations, had been better educated than most
printers; was a tolerable Latinist, spoke French, and lov'd
reading. I taught him and a friend of his to swim at twice
going into the river, and they soon became good swimmers.
They introduc'd me to some gentlemen from the country,
whd went to Chelsea by water to see the College and Don
Saltero's curiositieso In our return, at the request of the
company, whose curiosity Wygate had excited, I stripped
and leaped into the river, and swam from near Chelsea to
Blackfryar's, performing on the way many feats of activity,
both upon and under water, that surprised and pleas'd those
to whom they were novelties.
I had from a child been ever delighted with this exercise,
had studied and practis'd all Thevenot's motions and posi-
tions, added some of my own, aiming at the graceful and easy
as well as the useful. All these I took this occasion of exhib-
iting to the company, and was much flatter'd by their admira-
tion; and Wygate, who was desirous of becoming a master,
grew more and more attach'd to me on that account, as well
as from the similarity of our studies. He at length proposed
to me travelling all over Europe together, supporting our-
selves everywhere by working at our business. I was once
inclined to it; but, mentioning it to my good friend Mr.
Denham, with whom I often spent an hour when I had
leisure, he dissuaded me from it, advising me to think only
of returning to Pennsilvania, which he was now about to do.
I must record one trait of this good man's character. He
,liad formerly been in business at Bristol, but failed in ciebl:
to a number of people, compounded and went to Ajlierica.
50 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN -

There, by a close application to business as a mefclicint, he


acquir'd a plentiful fortune in a few years. Returning to
England in the ship with me, he invited his old creditors to
an entertainment^ at which he thank'd them for the easy
composition they had favored him with, and, when they
expected nothing but the treat, every man at the first remove
found under his plate an order on a banker for the full
amount of the unpaid remainder with interest.
He now told me he was about to return to Philadelphia,
and should carry over a great quantity of goods in order to
open a store there. He propos'd to take me over as his
clerk, to keep his books, in which he would instruct me, copy
his letters, and attend the store. He added that, as soon as
I should be acquainted with mercantile business, he would
promote me by sending me with a cargo of flour and bread,
etc., to the West Indies, and procure me commissions from
others which would be profitable; and, if I manag'd well,
would establish me handsomely. The thing pleas'd m.e; for
I was grown tired of London, remembered with pleasure the
happy months I had spent in Pennsylvania, and wish'd again
to see it; therefore I immediately agreed on the terms of
fifty pounds a year, Pennsylvania money; less, indeed, than
my present gettings as a compositor, but affording a better
prospect.
I now
took leave of printing, as I thought, for ever, and
was employed in my new business, going about with
daily
Mr. Denham among the tradesmen to purchase various
articles, and seeing them pack'd up, doing errands, calling
upon workmen to dispatch, etc. ; and, when all was on board,
I had a few days' leisure. On one of these days, I was, to
my surprise, sent for by a great man I knew only by name,
a Sir William Wyndham, and I waited upon him. He had
heard by some means or other of my swimming from Chelsea
to Blackfriar's, and of my teaching Wygate and another
young man to swim in a few hours. He had two sons, about
to set out on their travels; he wish'd to have them first
taught swimming, and proposed to gratify me handsomely
if I would teach them. They were not yet come to town,
and my stay was uncertain, so I could not undertake it but,
;

from this incident, I thought it likely that, if I were to


HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 51

remain in England and open a swimming-schoool, I might


get a good deal of money and it struck me so strongly, that,
;

had the overture been sooner made me, probably I should


not so soon have returned to America. After many years,
you and I had something of more importance to do with one
of these sons of Sir William Wyndham, becom.e Earl of
Egremoat, v/hich I shall mention in its place.
Thus I spent about eighteen months in London; most
part of the time I work'd hard at my business, and spent but
little upon m^yself except in seeing plays and in books. My
friend Ralph had kept me poor he owed me about twenty-
;

seven pounds, which I was now never likely to receive; a


great sum out of my small earnings I lov'd him, notwith-
!

standing, for he had many amiable qualities. I had by no


mieans improv'd m.y fortune; but I had picked up some very
ingenious acquaintance, whose conversation was of great
advantage to me; and I had read considerably.
We
sail'd from Gravesend on the 23d of July, 1726. For
the incidents of the voyage, I refer you to my Journal, where
you will find minutely related. Perhaps the most
them all
important part of that journal is the plan^ to be found in it,
which I formed at sea, for regulating my future conduct in
life. It is the more remarkable, as being formed when I was
so young, and yet being pretty faithfully adhered to quite
thro' to old age.
We landed in Philadelphia on the nth of October, where
I found sundry alterations. Keith was no longer governor,
being superseded by Major Gordon. I met liim walking the
streets as a common citizen. He seem'd a little asham'd at
seeing me, but pass'd without saying anything. I should
have been as much asham'd at seeing Miss Read, had not
her friends, despairing with reason of my return after the
receipt of my letter, persuaded her to marry another, one
Rogers, a potter, which was done in my absence. With him,
however, she was never happy, and soon parted from him,
refusing to cohabit with him or bear his name, it being
now said that he had another wife. He was a worthless
fellow, tho' an excellent workman, which was the temptation

s The " Journal " v/as printed by Sparks, from a copy made at Eeadlag
la 1787. But it
does not contain the Plan. Ed.
52 BENJAMIN f RANKLIIi
tQ her frien3s. He got into debt, ran away in 1^37 or 1728,
went to the West Indies, and died there. Keimer had got a
better house, a shop well supply 'd with stationery, plenty of
new types, a number of hands, tho' none good, and seemed
to have a great deal of business,
Mr. Denham took a store in Water-street, where wc openM
our goods; I attended the business diligently^ studied
accounts, and grew, in a little time, expert at selling. We
lodg'd and boarded together; he counsell'd me as a father,
having a sincere regard for me. I respected and lov'd him,
and we might have gone on together very happy ; but, in the
beginning of February, 1726-7, when I had just pass'd my
twenty-first year, we both were taken ill. My distemper was
a pleurisy, which very nearly carried me off, I suffered a
good deal, gave up the point in my own mind, and was rather
disappointed when I found myself recovering, regretting, in
some degree, that I must now, some time or other, have all
that disagreeable work to do over again. I forget what his
distemper was; it held him a long time, and at length car-
ried him off. He left me a small legacy in a nuncupative
will, as a token of his kindness for me, and he left me once
more to the v/ide world; for the store was taken into the
care of his executors, and my employment under him ended.
My brother-in-law, Holmes, being now at Philadelphia,
advised my return to my business and Keimer tempted me,
;

with an offer of large wages by the year, to come and take


the management of his printing-house, that he might better
attend his stationer's shop. I had heard a bad character of
him in London from his wife and her friends, and was not
fond of having any more to do with him. I tri'd for farther
employment as a merchant's clerk ; but, not readilymeeting
with any, I clos'd again with Keimer. I found in his house
these hands: Hugh Meredith, a Welsh Pensilvanian, thirty
years of age, bred to country work; honest, sensible, had a
great deal of solid observation, was something of a reader,
but given to drink. Stephen Potts, a young countryman of
full age, bred to the same, of uncommon natural parts, and
great wit and humor, but a little idle. These he had agreed
with at extream low wages per week, to be rais'd a shilling
every three months, as they would deserve by improving in
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 53

their business; and the expectation of these high wages, to


come on hereafter, was what he had drawn them in with.
Meredith was to work at press, Potts at book-binding, which
he, by agreement, was to teach them, though he knew neither
one nor t'other. John , a wild Irishman, brought up to
no business, whose service, for four years, Keimer had pur-
chased from the captain of a ship; he, too, was to be made
a pressm.an. George Webb, an Oxford scholar, whose time
for four years he had likewise bought, intending him for a
compositor, of whom more presently; and David Harry, a
Country boy, whom he had taken apprentice.
I soon perceiv'd that the intention of engaging me at wages
so much higher than he had been us'd to give, was, to have
these raw, cheap hands form'd thro' me; and, as soon as I
had instructed them, then they being all articled to him, he
should be able to do without me. I went on, however, very
cheerfully, put his printing-house in order, which had been
in great confusion, and brought his hands by degrees to
mind their business and to do it better.
It was an odd thing to find an Oxford scholar in the
situation of a bought servant. He was not more than
eighteen years of age, and gave me this account of himself;
that he was born in Gloucester, educated at a grammar-
school there, had been distinguish'd among the scholars for
some apparent superiority in performing his part, when they
exhibited plays; belonged to the Witty Club there, and had
written some pieces in prose and verse, which were printed
in the Gloucester newspapers; thence he was sent to Oxford;
where he continued about a year, but not well satisfi'd, wish-
ing of all things to see London, and become a playero At
length, receiving his quarterly allowance of fifteen guineas,
instead of discharging his debts he walk'd out of town, hid
his gown in a furze bush, and footed it to London, where,
having no friend to advise him, he fell into bad company,
soon spent his guineas, found no means of being introduc'd
among the players, grew necessitous, pawn'd his cloaths, and
wanted bread. Walking the street very hungry, and not
knowing what to do with himself, a crimp's bill was put into
his hand, offering immediate entertainment and encourage-
ment to such as would bind themselves to serve in America.
54 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
He went directly, sign'd the indentures, was put intt? tHe
ship, and came over, never writing a line to acquaint his
friends what was become of him. He was lively, witty,
good-natur'd, and a pleasant companion, but idle, thought-
less, and imprudent to the last degree.
John, the Irishman, soon ran away; with the rest I began
to live very agreeably, for they all respected me the more,
as they found Keimer incapable of instructing them, and that
from me they learned something daily. We never worked
on Saturday, that being Keimer's Sabbath, so I had two
days for reading. My acquaintance with ingenious people
in thetown increased. Keimer himself treated me with
great civility and apparent regard, and nothing now made
me uneasy but my debt to Vernon, which I was yet unable
to pay, being hitherto but a poor oeconomist. He, however,
kindly made no demand of it.
Our ptiiiting-house often wanted sorts, and there was no
letter-founder in America I had seen types cast at James's
;

in London, but without much attention to the manner; how-


ever, I now contrived a mould, made use of the letters we
had as puncheons, struck the matrices in lead, and thus
supply'd in a pretty tolerable way all deficiencies. I also
engrav'd several things on occasion ; I made the ink ; I was
warehouseman, and everything, and, in short, quite a fac-
totum.
But, however serviceable I might be, I found that my
services became every day of less im.portance, as the other
hands improved in the business; and, when Keimer paid
tny second quarter's wages, he let me know that he felt
them too heavy, and thought I should make an abatement.
He grew by degrees less civil, put on m-ore of the master,
frequently found fault, was captious, and seem'd ready for
an outbreaking. went on, nevertheless, with a good deal
I
of patience, thinking that his encumber'd circumstances
were partly the cause. At length a trifle snapt our connec-
tions; for, a great noise happening near the court-house,
I put my head out of the window to see what was the matter.
Keimer, being in the street, look'd up and saw me, call'd
out to me in a loud voice and angry tone to mind my
business, adding some reproachful words, that nettled me the
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 55

more for tKeir publicity, all the neighbors who were looking
out on the same occasion being witnesses how I was treated.
He came up imimediately into the printing-house, continu'd
the quarrel, high words pass'd on both sides, he gave me
the quarterns warning we had stipulated, expressing a wish
that he had not been oblig'd to so long a warning. I told
him his wish was unnecessary, for I would leave him that
instant; and so, taking my hat, walk'd out of doors, desir-
ing Meredith, whom I saw below, to take care of some
things I left, and bring them to my lodgings.
Meredith came accordingly in the evening, when we talked
my affair over. He had conceiv'd a great regard for me,
and was very unwilling that I should leave the house while
he remain'd in it. He dissuaded me from returning to my
native country, which I began to think of; he reminded me
that Keimer was in debt for all he possessed; that his
creditors began to be uneasy that he kept his shop mxiserably,
;

sold often without profit for ready money, and often trusted
without keeping accounts ; that he must therefore fail, which
would make a vacancy I might profit of. I objected my want
of money. He then let me know that his father had a high
opinion of me, and, from some discourse that had pass'd
between them, he was sure would advance money to set us
up, if I would enter into partnership with him. " My time,**
says he, " will be out with Keimer in the spring by that
;

time we may have our press and types in from London. I


am sensible I am no workman; if you like it, your skill In
the business shall be set against the stock I furnish, and
we will share the profits equally."
The proposal was agreeable, and I consented; his father
was in town and approv'd of it; the more as he saw I had
great influence with his son, had prevail'd on him to abstain
long from dram-drinking, and he hop'd m.ight break him off
that wretched habit entirely, when we came to be so closely
connected. I gave an inventory to the father, who carry'd
it to a merchant; the things were sent for, the secret v/as
to be kept till they should arrive, and in the mean time I
was to get work, if I could, at the other printing-house.
But I found no vacancy there, and so remain'd idle a few
days, when Keimer^ on a prospect of being employ'd to print
S6 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
some paper money in New Jersey, which would require cuts
and various types that I only could supply, and apprehending
Bradford might engage me and get the jobb from him,
sent me a very civil message, that old friends should not
part for a few words, the effect of sudden passion, and
wishing me to return, Meredith persuaded me to comply,
as it would give more opportunity for his improvement under
my daily instructions; so I return' d, and we went on more
smoothly than for some time before. The New Jersey jobb
was obtain'd, I contriv'd a copperplate press for it, the
first that had been seen in the country; I cut several orna-
ments and checks for the bills. We went together to Bur-
lington, where I executed the whole to satisfaction; and he
received so large a sum for the work as to be enabled there-
by to keep his head much longer above water.
At Burlington I made an acquaintance with many prin-
cipal people of the province. Several of them had been
appointed by the Assembly a com.mittee to attend the press,
and take care that no more bills were printed than the law
directed. They were therefore, by turns, constantly with
us, and generally he who attended, brought with him a
friend or two for company. My mind having been much
more improv'd by reading than Keimer's, I suppose it was
for that reason my conversation seem'd to be more valu'd.
They had me to their houses, introduced me to their friends,
and show'd me much civility; while he, tho' the master,
was a little neglected. In truth, he was an odd fish ignorant
;

of common life, fond of rudely opposing receiv'd opinions,


slovenly to extreme dirtiness, enthusiastic in some points of
religion, and a little knavish withal.
We continu'd there near three months; and by that time
I could reckon among my acquired friends, Judge Allen,
Samuel Bustill, the secretary of the Province, Isaac Pearson,
Joseph Cooper, and several of the Smiths, members of As-
sembly, and Isaac Decow, the surveyor-general. The latter
was a shrewd, sagacious old man, who told me that he began
for himself, when young, by wheeling clay for the brick-
makers, learned to write after he was of age, carri'd the
chain for surveyors, who. taught him surveying, and he
had now by his industry, acquir'd a good estate; and says
:

HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 57

he, "I foresee that you will soon work this man out of
business, and make a fortune in it at Philadelphia." He
had not then the least intimation of my intention to set up
there or anywhere. These friends were afterwards of great
use to me, as I occasionally was to som.e of them. They
all continued their regard for me as long as they lived.
Before I enter upon my public appearance in business, it
may be well to let you know the then state of my mind with
regard to m.y principles and morals, that you may see how far
those influenc'd the future events of my life. My parents
had early given me religious impressions, and brought me
through my childhood piously in the Dissenting way. But
I was scarce fifteen, when, after doubting by turns of several
points, as I found them disputed in the different books I
read, I began to doubt of Revelation itself. Some books
against Deism fell into my hands they were said to be the
;

substance of sermons preached at Boyle's Lectures. It hap-


pened that they wrought an effect on me quite contrary to
what was intended by them for the arguments of the Deists,
;

which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much


stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a
thorough Deist. My arguments perverted some others, par-
ticularly Collins and Ralph ; but, each of them having after-
wards wrong'd me greatly without the least compunction,
and recollecting Keith's conduct towards me (who was
another freethinker), and my own towards Vernon and Miss
Read, which at times gave me great trouble, I began to
suspect that this doctrine, tho' it might be true, was not
very useful. My London pamphlet, which had for its motto
these lines of Dryden:

" Whatever is, is right. Though purblind man


Sees but a part o' the chain, the nearest link
His eyes not carrying to the equal beam,
That poises all above ; "

and from the attributes of God, his infinite wisdom, goodness


and power, concluded that nothing could possibly be wrong
in the world, and that vice and virtue were empty distinctions,
no such things existing, appear'd now not so clever a per-
formance as I once thought it and I doubted whether some
;
"

S8 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
error had not insinuated itself unperceiv'd into
. my argu-
ment, so as to infect all that follow'd, as is common in
metaph3^sical reasonings.
I grew convinc'd that trutJi, sincerity and integrity in
dealings betv/een man and man were of the utmost importance
to the felicity of life; and I form'd written resolutions,
which still- remain in my journal book, to practice them
ever while I lived. Revelation had indeed no weight with
mc, as such; but entertain'd an opinion that, though
I
certain actions might not be bad because they were for-
bidden by it, or good because it commanded them, yet prob-
ably these actions might be forbidden because they were bad
for us, or commanded because they were beneficial to us,
in their own natures, all the circumstances of things con-
sidered. And this persuasion, with the kind hand of Provi-
dence, or some guardian angel, or accidental favorable cir-
cumstances and situations, or all together, preserved me,
thro' this dangerous time of youth, and the hazardous situa-
tions I was sometimes in among strangers, remote from
the eye and advice of my father, without any willful gross
immorality or injustice, that might have been expected from
my want of religion. I say willful, because the instances
I have mentioned had something of necessity in them, from
my youth, inexperience, and the knavery of others. I had
therefore a tolerable character to begin the world with;
I valued it properly, and determin'd to preserve it.

We had not been long return'd to Philadelphia before


the new types arriv'd from London. We settled with Keimer,
and left him by his consent before he heard of it. We found
a house to hire near the market, and took it. To lessen
the rent, which vv^as then but twenty-four pounds a year,
tho' I have since known it to let for seventy, we took in
Thomas Godfrey, a glazier, and his family, who were to
pay a considerable part of it to us, and we to board with
them. We
had scarce opened our letters and put our press in
order, before George House, an acquaintance of mine,
brought a countryman to us, whom he had met in the street
inquiring for a printer. All our cash was now expenckd
in the variety of particulars we had been obliged to procure,
and this countryman's five shillings, being our first-fruitSp
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 59

and coming so seasonably, gave me more pleasure than any


crown I have since earned; and the gratitude I felt toward
House has made me often more ready than perhaps I should
otherwise have been to assist young beginners.
There are croakers in every country, always boding its
ruin. Such a one then lived in Philadelphia; a person of
note, an elderly man, with a wise look and a very grave
manner of speaking; his name was Samuel Mickle. This
gentleman, a stranger to me, stopt one day at my door, and
asked me if I was the young man who had lately opened a
new printing-house. Being answered in the affirmative, he
said he was sorry for me, because it was an expensive
undertaking, and the expense would be lost for Philadelphia
;

was a sinking place, the people already half-bankrupts, or


near being so; all appearances to the contrary, such as new
buildings and the rise of rents, being to his certain knowledge
fallacious; for they were, in fact, among the things that
would soon ruin us. And he gave me
such a detail of mis-
fortunes now existing, or that were soon to exist, that he
left me half melancholy. Had I known him before I engaged
in this business, probably I never should have done it.
This man continued to live in this decaying place, and to
declaim in the same strain, refusing for many years to buy
a house there, because all was going to destruction; and
at last I had the pleasure of seeing him give five times as
much for one as he might have bought it for when he first
began his croaking.
I should have mentioned before, that, in the autumn of
the preceding year, I had form'd most of my ingenious
acquaintance into a club of mutual improvement, which we
called the Junto; we met on Friday evenings. The rules
that I drew up required that every member, in his turn,
should produce one or more queries on any point of Morals,
Politics, or Natural Philosophy, to be discuss'd by the com-
pany; and once in three months produce and read an
essay of his own writing, on any subject he pleased. Our
debates were to be under the direction of a president, and
to be conducted in the sincere spirit of inquiry after truth,
without fondness for dispute, or desire of victory; and, to
prevent warmth, all expressions of positiveness in opinions,
60 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
or direct contradiction, were after some time made contra-
band, and prohibited under small pecuniary penalties.
The first members were Joseph Breintnal, a copyer of
deeds for the scriveners, a good-natur'd, friendly, middle-
ag'd man^ a great lover of poetry, reading all he could meet
with, and writing some that was tolerable; very ingenious
in many little Nicknackeries, and of sensible conversation.
Thomas Godfrey, a self-taught mathematician, great in
his way, and afterward inventor of what is now called
Hadley's Quadrant. But he knew little out of his way, and
was not a pleasing companion; as, like most great mathe-
maticians I have met with, he expected universal precision
in everything said, or was for ever denying or distinguish-
ing upon trifles, to the disturbance of all conversation. He
soon left us.
Nicholas Scull, a surveyor, afterwards surveyor-general,
who lov'd books, and sometimes made a few verses.
William Parsons, bred a shoemaker, but loving reading,
had acquir'd a considerable share of mathematics, which
he first studied with a view to astrology, that he afterwards
laught at it. He also became surveyor-general.
William Maugridge, a joiner, a most exquisite mechanic,
and a solid, sensible m.an.
Hugh Meredith, Stephen Potts, and George Webb I have
characteriz'd before.
Robert Grace, a young gentleman of some fortune, gen-
erous, lively, and witty; a lover of punning and of his
friends.
And William Coleman, then a merchant's clerk, about
my age, who had the coolest, clearest head, the best heart,
and the exactest morals of almost any man I ever met with.
He became afterwards a merchant of great note, and one
of our provincial judges. Our friendship continued without
interruption to his death, upward of forty years; and the
club continued almost as long, and was the best school of
philosophy, morality, and politics that then existed in the
province; for our queries, which were read the week pre-
ceding their discussion, put us upon reading with atten-
tion upon the several subjects, that we might speak more
to the purpose; and here, too, we acquired better habits of
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 61

conversation, every thing being studied in our rules which


might prevent our disgusting each other. From hence the
long continuance of the club, which I shall have frequent
occasion to speak further of hereafter.
But my giving this account of it here is to show something
of the interest I had, every one of these exerting themselves
in recommending business to us. Breintnal particularly
procur'd us from the Quakers the printing forty sheets of
their history, the rest being to be done by Keimer ; and upon
this we work'dexceedingly hard, for the price was low. It
was a folio, pro patria size, in pica, with long primer notes.
I compos'd of it a sheet a day, and Meredith worked it off
at press; it was often eleven at night, and sometimes later,
before I had finished my distribution for the next day's
work, for the little jobbs sent in by our other friends now
and then put us back. But so determin'd I was to continue
doing a sheet a day of the folio, that one night, when,
having impos'd my forms, I thought my day's work over,
one of them by accident was broken, and two pages reduced
to pi, I immediately distributed and compos'd it over again
before I went to bed and this industry, visible to our neigh-
;

bors, began to give us character and credit; particularly, I


was told, that mention being made of the new printing-office
at the merchants' Every-night club, the general opinion was
that must fail, there being already two printers in the
it

place, Keimer and Bradford; but Dr. Baird (whom you and
I saw many years after at his native place, St. Andrew's
in Scotland) gave a contrary opinion " For the industry
:

of that Franklin," says he, " is superior to any thing I

ever saw of the kind; I see him still at work when I go


home from club, and he is at work again before his neigh-
bors are out of bed." This struck the rest, and we soon
after had offers from one of them to supply us with sta-
tionery; but as yet we did not chuse to engage in shop
business.
I mention industry the more particularly and the
this
more freely, tho' it seems to be talking in my own praise,
that those of my posterity, who shall read it, may know the
use of that virtue, when they see its effects in my favour
throughout this relation.
;

62 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
George Webb, who had found a female friend that lent
him wherewith to purchase his time of Keimer, now came
to offer himself as a journeyman to us. We could not then
employ him; but I foolishly let him know as a secret that
I soon intended to begin a newspaper, and might then have
work for him. My hopes of success, as I told him, were
founded on this, that the then only newspaper, printed by
Bradford, was a paltry thing, wretchedly manag'd, no way
entertaining, and yet was profitable to him; I therefore
thought a good paper would scarcely fail of good encourage-
ment. I requested Webb not to mention it; but he told it
to Keimer, who immediately, to be beforehand with me,
published proposals for printing one himself, on which Webb
was to be employ'd, resented this; and, to counteract
I
them, as I could not yet begin our paper, I wrote several
pieces of entertainment for Bradford's paper, under the
title of the Busy Body, which Breintnal continu'd some
months. By this means the attention of the publick was
fixed on that paper, and Keimer's proposals, which we bur-
lesqu'd and ridicul'd, were disregarded. He began his paper,
however, and, after carrying it on three quarters of a year,
with at most only ninety subscribers, he offered it to me for
a trifle; and having been ready some time to go on with
I,
it, took it in hand directly; and it prov'd in a few years
extremely profitable to me.
I perceive that I am apt to speak in the singular number,
though our partnership still continu'd; the reason may be
that, in fact, the whole management of the business lay upon
me. Meredith was no compositor, a poor pressman, and
seldom sober. My friends lamented my connection with him,
but I was to make the best of it.

Our first papers made a quite different appearance from


any before in the province a better type, and better printed
;

but som.e spirited remarks of my writing, on the dispute


then going on between Governor Burnet and the Massa-
chusetts Assembly, struck the principal people, occasioned
the paper and the manager of it to be much talk'd of, and
in a few weeks brought them all to be our subscribers.
Their example was folLow'd by many, and our number
went on growing continually. This was one of the first
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 63

good effects of my
having learnt a little to scribble; another
was, that the leading men, seeing a newspaper now in the
hands of one who could also handle a pen, thought it con-
venient to oblige and encourage me. Bradford still printed
the votes, and laws, and other publick business. He had
printed an address of the House to the governor, in a coarse,
blundering manner, we reprinted it elegantly and correctly,
and sent one to every member. They were sensible of the
difference: it strengthened the hands of our friends in the
House, and they voted us their printers for the year ensuing.
Among my friends in the House I must not forget Mr.
Hamilton, before mentioned, who was then returned from
England, and had a seat in it. He interested himself for
me strongly in that instance, as he did in many others after-
ward, continuing his patronage till his death.
Mr. Vernon, about this time, put me in mind of the debt
I ow'd him, but did not press me. I wrote him an ingenuous
letter of acknowledgment, crav'd his forbearance a little
longer, which he allow'd me, and as soon as I was able, I
paid the principal with interest, and many thanks; so that
erratum was in some degree corrected.
But now another difficulty came upon me which I had
never the least reason to expect. Mr. Meredith's father,
who was to have paid for our printing-house, according to
the expectations given me, was able to advance only one
hundred pounds currency, which had been paid; and a
hundred more was due to the merchant, who grew impatient,
and su'd us all. We gave bail, but saw that, if the money
could not be rais'd in time, the suit must soon come to a
judgment and execution, and our hopeful prospects must,
with us, be ruined, as the press and letters must be sold for
payment, perhaps at half price.
In this distress two true friends, whose kindness I have
never forgotten, nor ever shall forget while I can remember
any thing, came to me separately, unknown to each other,
and, without any application from me, offering each of them
to advance me all the money that should be necessary to
enable me to take the whole business upon myself, if that
should be practicable; but they did not like my continuing
I got his son once 500. [Mar^. note.J
64 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
the partnership with Meredith, who, as they said, was often
seen drunk in the streets^ and playing at low games in
alehouses, much to our discredit. These two friends were
William Coleman and Robert Grace. I told them I could
not propose a separation while any prospect remain'd of the
Merediths' fulfilling their part of our agreement, because
I thought myself under great obligations to them for what
they had done, and would do if they could; but, if they
finally fail'd in their performance, and our partnership must
be dissolv'd, I should then think myself at liberty to accept
the assistance of my friends.
Thus the matter rested for some time, when I said to my
partner, " Perhaps your father is dissatisfied at the part you
have undertaken in this affair of ours, and is unwilling to
advance for you and me what he would for you alone. If
that is the case, tell me, and I will resign the whole to ycu,
and go about my business." " No," said he, " my father has
really been disappointed, and is really unable; and I am
unwilling to distress him farther. I see this is a business
I am not fit for. I was bred a farmer, and it was a folly
in me to come to town, and put myself, at thirty years of
age, an apprentice to learn a new trade. Many of our
Welsh people are going to settle in North Carolina, where
land is cheap. I am inclin'd to go with them, and follow
my old emiployment. You may find friends to assist you.
If you will take the debts of the company upon you return
;

to my father the hundred pound he has advanced; pay my


little personal debts, and give me pounds and a new
thirty
saddle, I will relinquish the partnership,and leave the whole
in your hands," I agreed to this proposal it was drawn up
:

in writing, sign'd, and seal'd immediately. I gave him what


he demanded, and he went soon after to Carolina, from
whence he sent me next year two long letters, containing the
best account that had been given of that country, the climate,
the soil, husbandry, etc., for in those matters he was very
judicious. I printed them in the papers, and they gave great
satisfaction to the publick.
As soon was gone, I recurr'd to my two friends;
as he
and because I would not give an unkind preference to either,
I took half of what each had offered and I wanted of one,
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 65

and half o the other; paid off the company's debts, and went
on with the business in my own name, advertising that the
partnership was dissolved, I think this was in or about the
year 1729.
About this time there was a cry among the people for
more paper money, only fifteen thousand pounds being extant
in the province, and that soon to be sunk. The wealthy
inhabitants oppos'd any addition, being against all paper
currency, from an apprehension that it would depreciate,
as it had done in New England, to the prejudice of all
creditors. We had discuss'd this point in our Junto, where
I was on the side of an addition, being persuaded that the
first small sum struck in 1723 had done much good by
increasing the trade, employment, and number of inhabitants
in the province, since Inow saw all the old houses inhabited,
and many new ones building: whereas I remembered well,
that when I first walk'd about the streets of Philadelphia,
eating my roll, I saw most of the houses in Walnut-street,
between Second and Front streets, with bills on their doors,
" To be let " and many likewise in Chestnut-street and
;

other streets, which m.ade me then think the inhabitants of


the city were deserting it one after another.
Our debates possess'd me so fully of the subject, that I
wrote and printed an anonymous pamiphlet on it, entitled
" The Nature and Necessity of a Paper Currency." It was
well receiv'd by the common people in general; but the
rich men dislik'd it, for it increas'd and strengthen'd the
clamor for more money, and they happening to have no
writers among them that were able to answer it, their oppo-
sition slacken'd, and the point was carried by a majority
in the House. My friends there, who conceiv'd I had been
of some service, thought fit to reward me by employing me
in printing the money; a very profitable jobb and a great
help to me. This was another advantage gain'd by my being
able to Vv^rite.

The utility of this currency became by time and experience


so evident as never afterwards to be much disputed; so
that it grew soon thousand pounds, and in 1739
to fifty-five
which it arose during war
to eighty thousand pounds, since
to upwards of three hundred and fifty thousand pounds
3 HCVol. 1
S6 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN'
trade, building, and inhabitants all the while increasing, tho*
I now think there are limits beyond which the quantity may
.

be hurtful.
I soon after obtain'd, thro' my friend Hamilton, the print-
ing of the Newcastle paper money, another profitable jobb
as I then thought it; small things appearing great to those
in small circumstances; and these, to me, were really great
advantages, as they were great encouragements^ He pro-
cured for me, also, the printing of the laws and votes of
that government, which continu'd in my hands as long as
I followed the business,
I now
open'd a little stationer's shop, I had in it blanks
of all the correctest that ever appeard among us,
sorts,
being assisted in that by my friend BreintnaL I had also
paper, parchment, chapmen's books, etc. One Whitemash,
a compositor I had known in London, an excellent workman,
now came to me^ and work'd with me constantly and dili-
gently; and I took an apprentice, the son of Aquila Rose.
I began now gradually to pay off the debt I was under
for the printing-house. In order to secure my credit and
character as a tradesman, I took care not only to be in
reality industrious and frugal, but to avoid all appearances
to the contrary. I drest plainly; I was seen at no places
of idle diversion. I never v/ent out a fishing or shooting; a
book, indeed, sometimes debauch'd m^e from my work, but
that was seldom, snug, and gave no scandal and, to show
;

that I was not above my business, I sometimes brought home


the paper I purchased at the stores thro' the streets on a
wheelbarrow. Thus being esteem'd an industrious, thriving
young man, and paying duly for what I bought, the mer-
chants who imported stationery solicited my custom; others
proposed supplying me with books, and I went on swim-
mingly. In the mean time, Keimer's credit and business
declining daily, he was at last forc'd to sell his printing-
house to satisfy his creditors. He went to Barbadoes, and
there lived some years in very poor circumstances.
His apprentice, David Harry, whom I had instructed
while I work'd with him, set up in his place at Philadelphia,
having bought his materials. I was at first apprehensive
o a powerful rival in Harry, as his friends were very able^
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 67

and had a good deal of interesto I therefore propos'd a


partnership to him, which he, fortunately for me, rejected
with scorn. He was very proudj dress'd like a gentleBian, liv'd
expensively, took much divermon and pleasure abroa^d, ran
in debt, and neglected his business ;upon which, all bus.iriess
left him; and, finding nothing to do, he followed Keimer to
Barbadoes, taking the printing-house with him. There this
apprentice employ'd his former master as a journeyman;
they quarrel'd often; Harry went continually behindhand^
and at length was forc'd to sell his types and return to his
country work in Pensilvania. The person that bought them
employ'd Keimer to use them, but in a few years he died.
There remained now no competitor with me at Phila-
delphia but the old one, Bradford; who was rich and easy,
did a little printing now and then by straggling hands, but
was not very anxious about the business. However, as he
kept the post-office, it was imagined he had better oppor-
tunities of obtaining news; his paper was thought a better
distributer of advertisements than mine, and therefore had
many more, which was a profitable thing to him, and a
disadvantage to me; for, tho' I did indeed receive and send
papers by the post, yet the publick opinion was otherwise,
for what I did send was by bribing the riders, who took
them privately, Bradford being unkind enough to forbid it,
which occasion'd some resentment on my part and I thought
;

so meanly of him for it, that, when I afterward came into


his situation, I took care never to imitate it.
I had hitherto continued to board with Godfrey, who lived
in part of my house with his wife and children, and had
one side of the shop for his glazier's business, tho' he worked
littlCy being always absorbed in his mathematics. Mrs.
Godfrey projected a match for me with a relation's daughter,
took opportunities of bringing us often together, till S serious
courtship on my part ensu'd, the girl being in hergdf very
deservingo The old folks encourag'd me by continual invi-
tations to supper, and by leaving us together, till at length
it was time to explain. Mrs. Godfrey manag'd our little
treaty. I let her know that I expected as m-uch money with
their daughter as would pay off my remaining debt for the
printing-house, which I believe was not then above a
;

68 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
hundred pounds. She brought me word they had no sucH
sum to spare; I mortgage their house in
said they might
the loan-office. The answer to this, after some days, was,
that they did not approve the match; that, on inquiry of
Bradford, they had been inform'd the printing business was
not a profitable one; the types would soon be worn out,
and more wanted; that S. Keimer and D. Harry had failed
one after the other, and I should probably soon follow them;
and, therefore, I was forbidden the house, and the daughter
shut up.
Whether this was a real change of sentiment or only
artifice,on a supposition of our being too far engaged in
affection to retract, and therefore that we should steal a
marriage, which would leave them at liberty to give or
withhold what they pleas'd, I know not; but I suspected
the latter, resented it, and went no more. Mrs. Godfrey
brought me afterward some more favorable accounts of
their disposition, and would have drawn me on again; but
I declared absolutely my resolution to have nothing more
to do with that family. This was resented by the Godfreys
we differed, and they removed, leaving me the whole house,
and I resolved to take no more inmates.
But this affair having turned my thoughts to marriage,
I look'd round me and m.ade overtures of acquaintance in
other places; but soon found that, the business of a printer
being generally thought a poor one, I was not to expect
money with a wife, unless with such a one as I should not
otherwise think agreeable. In the mean time, that hard-to-
be-governed passion of youth hurried me frequently into
intrigues with low women that fell in my way, which were
attended with some expense and great inconvenience, be-
sides a continual risque to my health by a distemper which
of all things I dreaded, though by great good luck I escaped
it A
friendly correspondence as neighbors and old ac-
quaintances had continued between me and Mrs, Read's
family, who all had a regard for me from the time of my
firstlodging in their house. I was often invited there and
consulted in their affairs, wherein I sometimes was of serv-
ice. I piti'd poor Miss Read's unfortunate situation, who
was generally dejected, seldom cheerful, and avoided com-
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 69

pany. I considered my giddiness and inconstancy when in


London as in a great degree the cause of her unhappiness,
tho' the mother was good enough to think the fault m.ore
her own than mine, as she had prevented our marrying
before I went thither, and persuaded the other match in my
absence. Our mutual affection was revived, but there were
now great objections to our union. The match was indeed
looked upon as invalid, a preceding wife being said to be
living in England; but this could not easily be prov'd,
because of the distance; and, tho' there was a report of
his death, it was not certain. Then, tho' it should be true,
he had left many debts, vv'hich his successor might be call'd
upon to pay. We ventured, however, over all these diffi-
culties, and I took her to wife, September ist, 1730, None
of the inconveniences happened that we had apprehended;
she proved a good and faithful helpmate, assisted me much
by attending the shop; we throve together, and have ever
mutually endeavored to make each other happy. Thus I
corrected that great erratum as well as I could.
About this time, our club meeting, not at a tavern, but
in a little room of Mr, Grace's, set apart for that purpose,
a proposition was made by me, that, since our books were
often referr'd to in our disquisitions upon the queries, it
might be convenient to vis to have them altogether where
we met, that upon occasion they might be consulted; and
by thus clubbing our books to a common library, we should,
while we lik'd to keep them together, have each of us the
advantage of using the books of all the other members,
which would be nearly as beneficial as if each owned the
whole. It was lik'd and agreed to, and we fill'd one end
of the room with such books as we could best spare. The
number was not so great as we expected; and tho' they had
been of great use, yet some inconveniences occurring for
want of due care of them, the collection, after about a year,
v/as separated, and each took his books home again.
And now I set on foot my first project of a public nature,
that for a subscription library. I drew up the proposals,
got them put into form by our great scrivener, Brockdeii,
and, by the help of my fri.ends in the Junto, procured fifty
subscribers of forty shillings each to begin wit.h, and ten
70 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
term our company was
shillings a year for fifty years, the
to continue. We afterwards obtain'd a charter, the com-
pany being increased to one hundred: this was the mother
of all the North American subscription libraries, now so
numerous. It is become a great thing itself, and continually
increasing. These libraries have improved the general con-
versation of the Americans, made the common tradesmen
and farmers as intelligent as most gentlemen from other
countries, and perhaps have contributed in some degree to
the stand so generally miade throughout the colonies in
defense of their privileges.
Memo. Thus far was written with the intention express'd
in the beginning and therefore contains several little family
anecdotes of no importance to others. What follows was
written m.any years after in compliance with the advice con-
tain'd in these letters, and accordingly intended for the public.
The affairs of the Revolution occasion'd the interruption.
%etter from Mr. 'Ahel James, with Notes of my Life
{received in Paris').

M
""^ *~Y Dear and Honored Friend: I have often been
desirous of writing to thee, but could not be recon-
ciled to the thought that the letter might fall into
the hands of the British, lest some printer or busy-body
should publish some part of the contents, and give our friend
pain, and myself censure.
" Some time since there fell hands, to my great
into my
joy, about twenty-three sheets in thy ov/n handwriting,
containing an account of the parentage and life of thyself,
directed to thy son, ending in the year 1730, with which
there were notes, likewise in thy writing; a copy of which
I inclose, in hopes it may be a m_eans, if thou continued it
up to a later period, that the first and latter part may be
put together; and if it is not yet continued, I hope thee
will not delay it. Life is uncertain, as the preacher tells
us; and what will the world say if kind, humane, and
benevolent Ben. Franklin should leave his friends and the
world deprived of so pleasing and profitable a work a work ;

which would be useful and entertaining not only to a few,


but to millions? The influence writings under that class
have on the minds of youth is very great, and has nowhere
appeared to me so plain, as in our public friend's journals.
It almost insensibly leads the youth into the resolution of
endeavoring to become as good and eminent as the journalist.
Should thine, for instance, when published (and I think it
could not fail of it), lead the youth to equal the industry
and temperance of thy early youth, what a blessing with
that class would such a work be! I know of no character
living, nor many of them put together, who has so much in
his po\ver as thyself to promote a greater spirit of industry
71.
72 BENJAMIN FRATSTEXIN
aa4 early attention to business, frngality, and temperance
with the American youth. Not that I think the work v/ould
have no other merit and use in the world, far from it;
but th& first is of such vast importance that I know nothing
that can equal it."

The foregoing letter and the minutes accompanying it


being shown to a friend, I received from him the following:

Letter from Mr. Benjamin Vaughan.

" Paris, January 31, 1783.


" My Dearest Sir : When I had read over your sheets
oi minutes of the principal incidents of your life, recovered
for you by your Quaker acquaintance, I told you I would
send you a letter expressing my reasons why I thought it
would be useful to complete and publish it as he desired.
Various concerns have for some time past prevented this
letter being written, and I do not knov/ whether it was
worth any expectation; happening to be at leisure, however,
at present, I shall by writing, at least interest and instruct
myself; but as the terms I am inclined to use may tend
to offend a person of your manners, I shall only tell you
how I would address any other person, who was as good
and as great as yourself, but less diffident. I would say to
him. Sir, I solicit the history of your life from the following
motives: Your history is so remarkable, that if you do not
give it, somebody else will certainly give it; and perhaps
so as nearly to do as much harm, as your own management
of the thing might do good. It will moreover present a
table of the internal circumstances of your country, which
will very much tend to invite to it settlers of virtuous and
manly minds. And considering the eagerness with which
such information is sought by them, and the extent of youf
reputation, I do not know of a more efficacious advertise-
ment than your biography would give. All that has hap-
pened to you is also connected with the detail of the manners
and situation of a rising people; and in this respect I do
not think that the writings of C^sar and Tacitus can be
more interesting to a true judge of human nature and
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 73

society. But these, sir, are small reasons, in my opinion,


compared with the chance which your life will give for
the forming of future great men; and in conjunction with
your Art of Virtue (which you design to publish) of im-
proving the features of private character, and consequently
of aiding all happiness, both public and domestic. The two
works I allude to, sir, will in particular give a noble rule
and example of self-education. School and other education
constantly proceed upon false principles, and show a clumsy
apparatus pointed at a false mark; but your apparatus is
simple, and the mark a true one; and while parents and
young persons are left destitute of other just means of
estimating and becoming prepared for a reasonable course in
life, your discovery that the thing is in many a man's

private power, will be invaluable !Influence upon the private


character, late in life, is not only an influence late in life,
but a weak influence. It is in youth that we plant our
chief habits and prejudices; it is in youth that we take our
party as to profession, pursuits and matrimony. In youth,
therefore, the turn is given; in youth the education even
of the next generation is given; in youth the private and
public character is determined; and the term of life ex-
tending but from youth to age, life ought to begin well from
youth, and more especially before we take our party as to
our principal objects. But your biography will not merely
teach self-education, but the education of a wise man; and
the wisest man will receive lights and improve his progress,
by seeing detailed the conduct of another wise man. And
why are weaker men to be deprived of such helps, when v/e
see our race has been blundering on in the dark, almost
without a guide in this particular, from the farthest trace
of time? Show then, sir, how much is to be done, both to
sons and fathers; and invite all wise men to become like
yourself, and other men to become wise. When we see
how cruel statesmen and warriors can be to the hum.an race,
and how absurd distinguished m.en can be to their ac-
quaintance, it will be instructive to observe the instances
multiply of pacific, acquiescing manners; and to find how
compatible it is to be great and domestic, enviable and yet
good-humored.
74 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
"The private incidents which you will also have to
little

relate, willhave considerable use, as we want, above all


things, rules of prudence in ordinary affairs; and it will
be curious to see how you have acted in these. It will be
so far a sort of key to life, and explain many things that all
men ought to have once explained to them, to give them a
chance of becoming wise by foresight. The nearest thing
to having experience of one's own, is to have other people's
affairs brought before us in a shape that is interesting;
this is sure to happen from your pen; our affairs and
management will have an air of simplicity or importance
that will not fail to strike; and I am convinced 3^ou have
conducted them with as much originality as if you had been
conducting discussions in politics or philosophy; and what
more worthy of experiments and system (its importance and
its errors considered) than human life?
" Some men have been virtuous blindly, others have specu-
lated fantastically, and others have been shrewd to bad
purposes; but you, sir, I am sure, will give under your
hand, nothing but what is at the same moment, wise, prac-
tical and good. Your account of yourself (for I suppose
the parallel I am drawing for Dr. Franklin, will hold not
only in point of character, but of private history) will show
that you are ashamed of no origin; a thing the more im-
portant, as you prove how little necessary all origin is to
happiness, virtue, or greatness. As no end likewise happens
without a means, so we shall find, sir, that even you your-
self fram.ed a plan by which you became considerable; but
at the same time v/e may see that though the event is flat-
tering, the means are as simple as wisdom could make
them; that is, depending upon nature, virtue, thought and
habit. Another thing demonstrated will be the propriety of
every man's waiting for his time for appearing upon the
stage of the world. Our sensations being very much fixed
to the moment, we are apt to forget that more moments are
to follow the first, and consequently that man should arrange
his conduct so as to suit the whole of a life. Your attribu-
tion appears to have been applied to your life, and the
passing moments of it have been enlivened with content
and enjoyment, instead of being tormented with foolish
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 75

impatience or regrets. Such a conduct is easy for those


who make virtue and themselves in countenance by examples
of other truly great men, of whom patience is so often
the characteristic. Your Quaker correspondent, sir (for
here again I will suppose the subject of my letter resem.bling
Dr. Franklin), praised your frugality, diligence and tem-
perance, which he considered as a pattern for all youth;
but it is singular that he should have forgotten your mod-
esty and your disinterestedness, without which you never
could have waited for your advancement, or found your
situation in the m.ean time comfortable; which is a strong
lesson to show the poverty of glory and the importance of
regulating our minds. If this correspondent had known
the nature of your reputation as well as I do, he would have
said, Your former writings and measures would secure atten-
tion to your Biography, and Art of Virtue and your Biogra"
;

phy and Art of Virtue, in return, would secure attention


to them. This is an advantage attendant upon a various
character, and which brings all that belongs to it into
greater play; and it is the more useful, as perhaps more
persons are at a loss for the means of improving their
minds and characters, than they are for the time or the
inclination to do it. But there is one concluding reflection,
sir, that will shew the use of your life as a mere piece

of biography. This style of writing seems a little gone out of


vogue, and yet it is a very useful one and your specimen of
;

it maybe particularly serviceable, as it will make a subject


of comparison with the lives of various public cutthroats
and intriguers, and with absurd monastic self -tormentors or
vain literary triflers. If it encourages m.ore writings of
the same kind with your own, and induces more men to
spend lives fit to be written, it will be worth all Plutarch's
Lives put together. But being tired of figuring to myself
a character of which every feature suits only one man in
the world, without giving him the praise of it, I shall end
m.y letter, my dear Dr. Franklin, with a personal applica-
tion to your proper self. I am earnestly desirous, then, my
dear sir, that you should let the world into the traits of
your genuine character, as civil broils may otherwise tend
to disguise or traduce it. Considering your great age, the
76 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
caution o your character, and j^^our peculiar style of think-
ings it is not likely that any one besides yourself can be
sufficiently master of the facts of your life, or the inten-
tions of your mind. Besides all this, the immense revolu-
tion of the present period, will necessarily turn our atten-
tion towards the author of it, and when virtuous principles
have been pretended in it, it will be highly important to
shew that such have really influenced; and, as your own
character vnll be the principal one to receive a scrutiny, it
is proper (even for its effects upon your vast and rising
country, as well as upon England and upon Europe) that
it should stand respectable and eternal. For the furtherance
of human happiness, I have always maintained that it is
necessary to prove that man is not even at present a vicious
and detestable animal; and still more to prove that good
management may greatly amend him; and it is for much
the same reason, that I am anxious to see the opinion
established, that there are fair characters existing among
the individuals of the race; for the moment that all m.en,
without exception, shall be conceived abandoned, good people
will cease efforts deemed to be hopeless, and perhaps think
of taking their share in the scramble of life, or at least of
making it comfortable principally for themselves. Take then,
my dear sir, this work most speedily into hand shew your-
:

self good as you are good; temperate as you are temperate;


and above all things, prove yourself as one, who from your
infancy have loved justice, liberty and concord, in a way
that has made it natural and consistent for you to have
acted, as we have seen you act in the last seventeen years
of your life. Let Englishmen be made not only to respect,
but even to love you. When they think well of individuals
in your native country, they will go nearer to thinking
well of your country; and when your countrymen see them-
selves well thought of by Englishmen, they v/ill go nearer
to thinking well of England. Extend your views even
further ; do not stop at those who speak the English tongue,
but after having settled so many points in nature and
politics, think of bettering the whole race of men. As I
have not read any part of the life in question, but know
ionly the character that lived it. I write somewhat at hazard.
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 77

I am sure, however, that the life and the treatise I allude


to (on the Art of Virtue) will necessarily fulfil the chief
of my expectations; and still more .so if you take up the
measure of suiting these performances to the several views
above stated. Should they even prove unsuccessful in all
that a sanguine admirer of yours hopes from them, you
will at least have fram.ed pieces to interest the human
mind; and whoever gives a feeling of pleasure that is
innocent to man, has added so much to the fair side of a
life otherwise too much darkened by anxiety and too much
injured by pain. In the hope, therefore, that you will
listen to the prayer addressed to you in this letter, I beg
to subscribe myself, my dearest sir, etc., etc.,
" Signed, Benj. Vaughan."

Continuation of the Account of my Life, begun at


Passy, near Paris, 1784.

It is some time since I receiv'd the above letters, but I


have been too busy till now
to think of complying with the
request they contain. might, too, be much better done
It
if I were at home among my papers, which would aid my
memory, and help to ascertain dates; but my return being
uncertain, and having just now a little leisure, I will en-
deavor to recollect and write what I can; if I live to get
home, it may there be corrected and improv'd.
Not having any copy here of what is already written, I
know not whether an account is given of the means I used
to establish the Philadelphia public library, which, from a
small beginning, is now become so considerable, though
I remember to have come down to near the time of that
transaction (1730). I will therefore begin here with an
account of it, which may be struck out if found to have
been already given.
At the time I establish'd myself in Pennsylvania, there
was not a good bookseller's shop in any of the colonies to
the southward of Boston. In New York and Philad'a the
printers v/ere indeed stationers; they sold only paper, etc.,
almanacs, ballads, and a few common school-books. Those
78 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
who lov'd reading were oblig'd to send for tlieir books
from England; the members of the Junto had each a few.
We had left the alehouse, where we first met, and hired
a room to hold our club in. I propos'd that we should all
of us bring our books to that room, where they would not
only be ready to consult in our conferences, but become a
common benefit, each of us being at liberty to borrow
such as he wish'd to read at home. This was accordingly
done, and for some time contented us.
Finding the advantage of this little collection, I propos'd
to render the benefit from books more common, by commenc-
ing a public subscription library. I drew a sketch of the
plan and rules that would be necessary^ and got a skilful
conveyancer, Mr. Charles Brockden, to put the whole in
form of articles of agreement to be subscribed, by which
each subscriber engag'd to pay a certain sum down for the
first purchase of books, and an annual contribution for
increasing them. So few were the readers at that time in
Philadelphia, and the majority of us so poor, that I was
not able, with great industry, to find more than fifty persons,
mostly young tradesmen, willing to pay down for this pur-
pose forty shillings each, and ten shillings per annum. On
this little fund we began. The books were imported; the
library was opened one day in the week for lending to the
subscribers, on their promissory notes to pay double the
value if not duly returned. The institution soon mani-
fested its utility, was imitated by other towns, and in other
provinces. The libraries were augmented by donations;
reading became fashionable; and our people, having no
publick amusements to divert their attention from study,
became better acquainted with books, and in a few years
were observ'd by strangers to be better instructed and more
intelligent than people of the same rank generally are in
other countries.
When we were about to sign the above-mentioned ar-
ticles,which were to be binding upon us, our heirs, etc.,
for fifty years, Mr. Brockden, the scrivener, said to us,
" You are young men, but it is scarcely probable that
any of you will live to see the expiration of the term fix'd
in the instrument/' A number of us, however, are yet
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 79

living; but the instrument was after a few years rendered


by a charter that incorporated and gave perpetuity to
null
the company.
The objections and reluctances I met with in soliciting
the subscriptions, made me soon feel the impropriety of
presenting one's self as the proposer of any useful project,
that might be supposed to raise one's reputation in the
smallest degree above that of one's neighbors, when one has
need of their assistance to accomplish that project. I there-
fore put myself as much as I could out of sight, and stated
it as a scheme of a number of friends, who had requested

me to go about and propose it to such as they thought lovers


of reading. In this way my affair went on more smoothly,
and I ever after practis'd it on such occasions; and, from
my frequent successes, can heartily recommend it. The
present little sacrifice of your vanity will afterwards be
amply repaid. If it remains a while uncertain to whom
the merit belongs, some one more vain than yourself will
be encouraged to claim it^ and then even envy will be
disposed to do you justice by plucking those assumed feathers,
and restoring them to their right owner.
This library afforded me the means of improvement by
constant study, for which I set apart an hour or two each
day, and thus repair'd in some degree the loss of the learned
education my father once intended for me. Reading was
th only amusement I allow'd myself. I spent no time in
taverns, games, or frolicks of any kind; and my industry
in my business continu'd as indefatigable as it was necessary.
I was indebted for my printing-house I had a young family
;

coming on to be educated, and I had to contend with for


business two printers, who v/ere established in the place

before me. My circumistances, however, grew daily easier.


My original habits of frugality continuing, and my father
having, among his instructions to me when a boy, frequently
repeated a proverb of Solomon, " Seest thou a man diligent
in his calling, he shall stand before kings, he shall not stand
before mean men," I from thence considered industry as a
means of obtaining wealth and distinction, which encourag'd
me, tho* I did not think that I should ever literally stand
before kings, which^ however^ has since happened; for I have
80 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
stood before and even had the honor of
five, sitting down
with one, the King of Denmark, to dinner.
We have an English proverb that says, "He that would
thrive, must ask his wife." It was lucky for me that I had
one as much dispos'd to industry and frugality as myself.
She assisted me cheerfully in my business, folding and stitch-
ing pamphlets, tending shop, purchasing old linen rags for
the papermakers, etc., etc. We kept no idle servants, our
table was plain and simple, our furniture of the cheapest.
For instance, my breakfast was a long time bread and milk
(no tea), and I ate it out of a twopenny earthen porringer,
with a pewter spoon. But mark how luxury will enter
families, and make a progress, in spite of principle: being
calPd one morning to breakfast, I found it in a China bov/1,
with a spoon of silver They had been bought for me with-
!

out my knowledge by my wife, and had cost her the enormous


sum of three-and-twenty shillings, for which she had no other
excuse or apology to make, but that she thought her husband
deserv'd a silver spoon and China bowl as well as any of his
neighbors. This was the first appearance of plate and China
in our house, which afterward, in a course of years, as our
wealth increas'd, augmented gradually to several hundred
pounds in value.
I had been religiously educated as a Presbyterian; and
tho' some of the dogmas of that persuasion, such as the
eternal decrees of God, election, reprobation, etc., appeared
to me unintelligible, others doubtful, and I early absented
myself from the public assemblies of the sect, Sunday being
ttiy studying day, I never was without some religious prin-

ciples. I never doubted, for instance, the existence of the


Deity; that he made the world, and govern'd it by his
Providence; that the most acceptable service of God was
the doing good to man; that our souls are immortal; and
that all crime will be punished, and virtue rewarded, either
here or hereafter. These I esteem'd the essentials of every
religion; and, being to be found in all the religions we had
in our country, I respected them all, tho' with different
degrees of respect, as I found them more or less mix'd with
other articles, which, without any tendency to inspire, pro-
mote, or confirm morality, serv'd principally to divide uSj,
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 81

an<3 to one another. This respect to all,


make us unfriendly
>vith an opinion that the worst had some good effects, induc'd
me to avoid all discourse that might tend to lessen the good
opinion another might have of his own religion; and as our
province increas'd in people, and new places of worship were
continually wanted, and generally erected by voluntary con-
tributions, m-y mite for such purpose, whatever miight be the
sect, was never refused.
Tho' I seldom attended any pubHc worship, I had still an
opinion of its propriety, and of its utility when rightly con-
ducted, and I regularly paid my annual subscription for the
support of the only Presbyterian minister or meeting we had
in Philadelphia. He us'd to visit me sometimes as a friend,
and admonish me to attend his administrations, and I was
now and then prevail'd on to do so, once for five Sundays
successively. Had he been in my opinion a good preacher,
perhaps I might have continued, notwithstanding the occa-
sion I had for the Sunday's leisure in my course of study;
but his discourses were chiefly either polemic argumxCnts, or
explications of the peculiar doctrines of our sect, and were
all to me very dry, uninteresting, and unedifying, since not
a single m.oral principle was inculcated or enforc'd, their aim
seeming to be rather to make us Presbyterians than good
citizens.
Atlength he took for his text that verse of the fourth
chapter of Philippians, "" Finally, brethren, whatsoever things
are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, or of good report, if
there he any virtue, or any praise, think on these things'*
And I imagin'd, in a sermon on such a text, we could not
miss of having some morality. But he confin'd himself to
five points only, as meant by the apostle, viz. : i. Keeping
holy the Sabbath day. 2. Being diligent in reading the
holy Scriptures. 3. Attending duly the publick worship.
4. Partaking of the Sacrament. 5. Paying a due respect to
God's ministers. These might be all good things; but, as
they were not the kind of good things that I expected from
that text, I despaired of ever meeting with them from any
other, was disgusted, and attended his preaching no more.
I had some years before compos'd a little Liturgy, or form
of prayer, for my own private use (viz,, in 1728), entitled.
82 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
Articles of Belief and Acts of Religion. I retuni'd to the
use of this, and v^^ent no more to the public assemblies. My
conduct might be blameable, but I leave it, without attempt-
ing further to excuse it; my present purpose being to relate
facts, and not to make apologies for them.
It was about this time I conceiv'd the bold and arduous
project of arriving at moral perfection. I wish'd to live
without committing any fault at any time; I would conquer
all that either natural inclination, custom, or company might
lead me into. As I knew, or thought I knew, vs^hat was right
and wrong, I did not see why I might not always do the
one and avoid the other. But I soon found I had undertaken
a task of more difficulty than I had imagined. While
my care was employ'd in guarding against one fault, I was
often surprised by another; habit took the advantage
of inattention; inclination was sometimes too strong
for reason. I concluded, at length, that the mere spec-
ulative conviction that it was our interest to be com-
pletely virtuous, was not sufficient to prevent our slipping;
and that the contrary habits must be broken, and good
ones acquired and established, before we can have any
dependence on a steady, uniform rectitude of con-
duct. For this purpose I therefore contrived the fol-
lowing method.
In the various enumerations of the moral virtues I had
met with in my reading, I found the catalogue more or less
numerous, as different writers included more or fewer ideas
under the same name. Temperance, for example, was by
some confined to eating and drinking, while by others it was
extended to mean the moderating every other pleasure, appe-
tite, inclination, or passion, bodily or mental, even to our
avarice and ambition. I propos'd to myself, for the sake of
clearness, to use rather m.ore names, with fewer ideas annex'd
to each, than a few names with more ideas ; and I included
under thirteen names of virtues all that at th^t time occurr'd
to me as necessary or desirable, and annexed to each a short
precept, which fully express'd the extent I gave to its
meaning.
These names of virtues, .with their precepts, wefe:
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 83

I. Temperance.

Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

2. Silence.

Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid


trifling conversation.

3. Order.

Let all your things have their places; let each part of
your business have its time.

4. Resolution.

Resolve to perform v/hat you ought; perform without


fail what you resolve.

5. Frugality.

Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself;


i. e., waste nothing.

6. Industry.

Lose no time; be always employed in something useful;


cut off all unnecessary actions.

7. Sincerity.

Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and,


if you speak, speak accordingly.

8. Justice.

Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits


that are your duty.

9. Moderation.

Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as


you think they deserve.
84 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

10. Cleanliness.

Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.

II. Tranquillity.

Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or


ttnavoidabk.
12. Chastity.

Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to


dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's
peace or reputation.
13. Humility.

Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

My intention being to acquire the habitude of all these


virtues, I judg'd would be well not to distract my attention
it

by attempting the whole at once, but to fix it on one of


them at a time; and, when I should be master of that, then
to proceed to another, and so on, till I should have gone
thro' the thirteen; and, as the previous acquisition of some
might facilitate the acquisition of certain others, I arrang'd
them with that view, as they stand above. Temperance
first, as it tends to procure that coolness and clearness of

head, which is so necessary where constant vigilance was


to be kept up, and guard maintained against the unremitting
attraction of ancient habits, and the force of perpetual
temptations. This being acquir'd and establish'd. Silence
would be more easy and my desire being to gain knowledge
;

at the same time that I improv'd in virtue, and considering


that in conversation it was obtain'd rather by the use of
the ears than of the tongue, and therefore wishing to break
a habit I was getting into of prattling, punning, and joking,
which only made me acceptable to trifling company, I gave
Silence the second place. This and the next, Order, I
expected would allow me more time for attending to my
project and my studies. Resolution, once become habitual,
would keep me firm in my endeavors to obtain all the subse-
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 85

qtient virtues; Frugality and Industry freeing me from my


remaining debt, and producing affluence and independence,
would make more easy the practice of Sincerity and Justice,
etc., etc. Conceiving then, that, agreeably to the advice of
Pythagoras in his Golden Verses, daily examination would
be necessary, I contrived the following method for conduct-
ing that examination.
I made a little book, in which I allotted a page for each
of the virtues. I rul'd each page with red ink, so as to
have seven columns, one for each day of the week, marking
each column with a letter for the day. I cross'd these

columns v/ith thirteen red lines, marking the beginning of


each line with the first letter of one of the virtues, on which
line, and in its proper column, I might mark, by a little
black spot, every fault I found upon examination to have
been committed respecting that virtue upon that day.

Form of the pages.

TEMPERANCE.
86 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
I determined to give a week's strict attention to eacli of
the virtues successively. Thus, in the first week, my great
guard was to avoid every the least offence against Temper-
ance, leaving the other virtues to their ordinary chance,
only marking every evening the faults of the day. Thus, if
in the first week I could keep my first line, marked T, clear
of spots, I suppos'd the habit of that virtue so much
strengthen'd, and its opposite weaken'd, that I might venture
extending my attention to include the next, and for the
following week keep both lines clear of spots. Proceeding
thus to the last, I could go thro' a course compleat in thir-
teen weeks, and four courses in a year. And like him who,
having a garden to weed, does not attempt to eradicate all
the bad herbs at once, which would exceed his reach and
his strength, but works on one of the beds at a time, and,
having accomplish'd the first, proceeds to a second, so I
should have, I hoped, the encouraging pleasure of seeing on
my pages the progress I made in virtue, by clearing suc-
cessively my lines of their spots, till in the end, by a num-
ber of courses, I should be happy in viewing a clean book,
after a thirteen weeks' daily examination.
This my little book had for its motto these lines from
Addison's Cato:
" Here will I hold. If there's a power above us
(And that there is, all nature cries aloud
Thro' all her works), He must delight in virtue;
And that which he delights in must be happy."
Another from Cicero,
" O vitse O virtutum indagatrix expultrlxque
Philosophia dux !

vitiorum ! Unus
bene et ex praeceptis tuis actus, peccanti
dies,
immortalitati est anteponendus."

Another from the Proverbs of Solomon, speaking of


wisdom or virtue:

" Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left hand riches
and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths
are peace." iii. i6, 17.

And conceiving God to be the fountain of wisdom, I


thought it right and necessary to solicit his assistance for
obtaining it ; to this end I formed the following little prayer.
: ! !

HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 87

which was prefix'd to my tables of examination, for daily-


use.
"O powerful Goodness! bountiful Father! merciful Guide!
Increase in me that zuisdom which discovers my truest interest.
Strengthen my resolutions to perform what that wisdom dictates.
Accept my kind offices to thy other children as the only return in
my power for thy continual favors to me."
I used also sometimes a little prayer which I took from
Thomson's Poems, viz.
" Father of light and life, thou Good Supreme
O teach me what is good teach me Thyself
;

Save me from folly, vanity, and vice,


From every low pursuit; and fill my soul
With knowledge, conscious peace, and virtue pure;
substantial, never-fading
"
Sacred, bliss !

The precept of Order requiring that every part of my


business should have its allotted time, one page in my little
book contain'd the following scheme of employment for the
twenty-four hours of a natural day:
The Morning. Rise, wash, and address
Powerful Goodness! Contrive
Question. What good shall
6
day's business, and take the
<
I do this day? resolution of the day; prose-
cute the present study, and
breakfast.

9 \. Work.
lO
II

Noon. 12 Read, or overlook my ac-


vw I
2
counts, and dine.

3 Work.
4
5J
Evening. Put things in their places.
^
Supper. Music or diversion,
Question. What good have 8 ' or conversation. Examinatior
\ done to-day? 9 of the day.
ID
II
12
Night. I Sleep.
2
3
L 4X
88 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
upon the execution of this plan for self-examina-
I enter'd
tion,and continu'd it v/ith occasional intermissions for some

time. I was surpris'd to find myself so much fuller of faults


than I had imagined; but I had the satisfaction of seeing
them diminish. To avoid the trouble of renewing now and
then my little book, which, by scraping out the marks on
the paper of old faults to make room for new ones in a
new course, became full of holes, I transferr'd my tables
and precepts to the ivory leaves of a memorandum book,
on which the lines were drawn with red ink, that made a
durable stain, and on those lines I mark'd my faults with
a black-lead pencil, which marks I could easily wipe out
with a wet sponge. After a while I went thro' one course
only in a year, and afterward only one in several years, till
at length I omitted them entirely, being employ'd in voyages
and business abroad, with a multiplicity of affairs that inter-
fered; but I always carried my little book with me.
My scheme of Order gave me the most trouble; and I
found that, tho' it might be practicable where a man's busi-
ness was such as to leave him the disposition of his time,
that of a journeyman printer, for instance, it was not pos-
sible to be exactly observed by a master, who must mix
with the world, and often receive people of business at their
own hours. Order, too, vv^ith regard to places for things,
papers, found extreamly difficult to acquire. I had
etc., I
not been early accustomed to it, and, having an exceeding
good memory, I was not so sensible of the inconvenience
attending want of method. This article, therefore, cost me
so much painful attention, and my faults in it vexed me so
much, and I made so little progress in amendment, and had
such frequent relapses, that I was almost ready to give up
the attempt, and content myself with a faulty character in
that respect, like the man who, in buying an ax of a smith,
my neighbour, desired to have the whole of its surface as
bright as the edge. The smith consented to grind it bright
for him if he would turn the wheel; he turn'd, while the
smith press'd the broad face of the ax hard and heavily on
the stone, which made the turning of it very fatiguing.
The man came every now and then from the wheel to see
how the work went on, and at length would take his ax as
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 89

it was, without farther grinding. " No," said the smith,


" turn on, turn on we shall have it bright by-and-by as
; ;

yet, it is only speckled/'' " Yes," said the man, "" but I

think I like a speckled ax best/' And I believe this may


have been the case with many, who, having, for want of
some such means as I employ'd, found the difficulty of
obtaining good and breaking bad habits in other points of
vice and virtue, have given up the struggle, and concluded
that " a speckled ax was best " ; for something, that pretended
to be reason, was every now and then suggesting to me that
such extream nicety as I exacted of myself might be a kind
of foppery in morals, which, if it were known, would make
me ridiculous; that a perfect character might be attended
with the inconvenience of being envied and hated; and that
a benevolent man should allow a few faults in himself, to
keep his friends in countenance.
In truth, I found myself incorrigible with respect to
Order; and now I am grown old, and my memory bad, I
feel very sensibly the want of it. But, on the whole, tho'
I never arrived at the perfection I had been so ambitious of
obtaining, but fell far short of it, yet I was, by the endeavour,
a better and a happier man than I otherwise should have
been if I had not attempted it; as those who aim at
perfect writing by imitating the engraved copies, tho' they
never reach the wish'd-for excellence of those copies, their
hand is mended by the endeavor, and is tolerable while it
continues fair and legible.
It may be well my posterity should be informed that to
this little artifice, with the blessing of God, their ancestor
cw'd the constant felicity of his life, down to his 79th year,
in which this is written. What reverses may attend the
remainder is in the hand of Providence; but, if they arrive,
the reflection on past happiness enjoy'd ought to help his
bearing them with more resignation. To Temperance he
ascribes his long-continued health, and what is still left to him
of a good constitution; to Industry and Frugality, the early
easiness of his circumstances and acquisition of his fortune,
with all that knowledge that enabled him to be a useful
citizen, and obtained for him some degree of reputation
among the learned; to Sincerity and Justice, the confidence

90 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
of his country, and the honorable employs it conferred upon
him; and to the joint influence of the whole mass of the
virtues, even in the imperfect state he was able to acquire
them, all that evenness of temper, and that cheerfulness in
conversation, which makes his company still sought for, and
agreeable even to his younger acquaintance. I hope, there-
fore,, that some of my descendants may follow the example

and reap the benefit.


It will be remark'd that, tho' my schem.e was not wholly
without religion, there was in it no mark of any of the
distinguishing tenets of any particular sect. I had purposely
avoided them; for, being fully persuaded of the utility and
excellency of my method, and that it might be serviceable
to people in all religions, and intending some time or other
to publish it, I would not have any thing in it that should
prejudice any one, of any sect, against it. I purposed
writing a little comment on each virtue, in which I would
have shown the advantages of possessing it, and the mis-
chiefs attending its opposite vice; and I should have called
my book The Art of Virtue,^ because it would have shown
the means and manner of obtaining virtue, which would
have distinguished it from the mere exhortation to be good,
that does not instruct and indicate the m.eans, but is like
the apostle's man of verbal charity, who only without show-
ing to the naked and hungry how or where they might get
clothes or victuals, exhorted them to be fed and clothed.
James ii. 15, 16.
But it so happened that my intention of writing and
publishing this comment was never fulfilled. I did, indeed,
from time to time, put down short hints of the sentiments,
reasonings, etc., to be made use of in it, some of which I
have still by me but the necessary close attention to private
;

business in the earlier part of my life, and public business


since, have occasioned my postponing it; for, it being con-
nected in my mind with a great and extensive project, that
required the whole man to execute, and which an unforeseen
succession of employs prevented my attending to, it has
liitherto remain'd unfinish'd.
In this piece it was my design to explain and enforce this
'Nothing so likely to make 3 man's fortune as virtne.'^lMarg. note.l

f
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 91

doctrine, that vicious actions are not hurtful because they


are forbidden, but forbidden because they are hurtful, the
nature of man alone considered; that it was, therefore,
every one's interest to be virtuous who wish'd to be happy
even in this v/orld; and I should, from this circumstance
(there being always in the world a number of rich mer-
chants, nobility, states, and princes, who have need of honest
instruments for the management of their affairs, and such
being so rare), have endeavored to convince young persons
that no qualities were so likely to make a poor man's fortime
as those of probity and integrity.
My list of virtues contain'd at first but twelve; but a
Quaker friend having kindly informed me that I was gen-
erally thought proud; that my pride show'd itself frequently
in conversation; that I was not content with being in the
right when discussing any point, but was overbearing, and
rather insolent, of which he convinc'd me by mentioning
several instances ;I determined endeavouring to cure myself,
if I among the rest, and I added
could^ of this vice or folly
Humility to my list, giving an extensive meaning to the
word.
I cannot boast of much success in acquiring the reality
of this virtue, but I had a good deal with regard to the
appearance of it. I made it a rule to forbear all direct con-
tradiction to the sentiments of others, and all positive asser-
tion of my own. I even forbid myself, agreeably to t^e old
laws of our Junto, the use of every word or expresjion in
the language that imported a fix'd opinion, such as certainly,
undoubtedly, etc., and I adopted., instead of them, / conceive,
I apprehend, or / imagine a thing to be so or so; or it
so appears to me at present. When another asserted some-
thing that I thought an error, I deny'd myself the pleasure
of contradicting him abruptly, and of showing immediately
some absurdity in his proposition and in answering I began
;

by observing that in certain cases or circumstances his


opinion would be right, but in the present case there appeared
or seem'd to me some difference, etc. I soon found the
advantage of this change in my manner; the conversations
I engag'd in went on more pleasantly. The modest way in
which I propos'd my opinions procur'd them a readier recep-
92 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
tion and less contradiction; I had less mortification when I
was found to be in the wrong, and I more easily prevail'd
with others to give up their mistakes and join with me when
I happened to be in the right.
And this mode, which I at first put on with some violence
to natural inclination, became at length so easy, and so
habitual to me, that perhaps for these fifty years past no
one has ever heard a dogmatical expression escape me. And
to this habit (after m.y character of integrity) I think it

principally owing that I had early so much weight with my


fellow-citizens proposed new institutions, or altera-
when I
tions in the old, and so niuch influence in public councils
when I became a member; for I was but a bad speaker,
never eloquent, subject to much hesitation in my choice of
words, hardly correct in language, and yet I generally
carried my points.
In reality, there is, perhaps, no one of our natural passions
so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it,

beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases,


it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and
show itself; you will see it, perhaps, often in this history;
for, even if I could conceive that I had com.pleatly overcome
it, I should probably be proud of my humility.
[Thus far written at Passy, 1784.]
:

f / not
am now ah out write home,
to at 'August, iy88, hut can
have the help expected from my papers, many of
them being lost in the war. I have, however, found the
following "Y
'AVING mentioned a great and extensive project
which I had conceiv'd, it seems proper that some
account should be here given of that project and its
object. Its first rise in my mind appears in the following
little paper, accidentally preserv'd, viz.
Observations on my reading history, in Library, May
19th, 1731.
" That the great affairs of the world, the wars, revolutions,
etc., are carried on and affected by parties.
" That the view of these parties is their present general
interest, or what they take to be such.
" That the different views of these different parties occa-
sion all confusion.
**
That while a party is carrying on a general design, each
man has his particular private interest in view.
" That as soon as a party has gain'd its general point,
each member becomes intent upon his particular interest;
which, thwarting others, breaks that party into divisions,
and occasions more confusion.
" That few in public affairs act from a meer view of the
good of their country, whatever they may pretend; and,
good to their country, yet men
tho' their actings bring real
primarily considered that their own and their country's
interest was united, and did not act from a principle of
benevolence.
" That fewer still, in public affairs, act with a view tQ
the good of mankind.
s This is a marginal memorandum. B.
93
:

94 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
*'THere seems to me at present to be great occasion for
raising a United Party for Virtue, by forming the vir-
tuous and good men of all nations into a regular body, to
be governed by suitable good and wise rules, which good and
wise men may probably be more unanimous in their obedience
to, than common people are to common laws.
" I at present think that whoever attempts this aright,
and is well qualified, can not fail of pleasing God, and of
meeting with success. B. F."
Revolving this project in my mind, as to be undertaken
hereafter, when my circumstances should afford me the
necessary leisure, I put down from tinie to time, on pieces
of paper, such thoughts as occurr'd to me respecting it.
Most of these are lost; but I find one purporting to be the
substance of an intended creed, containing, as I thought,
the essentials of every known religion, and being free of
every thing that might shock the professors of any religion.
It is express'd in these words, viz.
" That there is one God, who made all things.
" That he governs the world by his providence.
" That he ought to be worshiped by adoration, prayer,
and thanksgiving.
" But that the most acceptable service of God is doing
good to man.
" That the soul is immortal.
"And that God will certainly reward virtue and punish
vice, either here or hereafter."^
My ideas at that time were, that the sect should be begun
and spread at first among young and single men only; that
each person to be initiated should not only declare his assent
to such creed, but should have exercised himself with the
thirteen v/eeks* examination and practice of the virtues, as
in the before-mention'd model; that the existence of such
a society should be kept a secret, till it was become consid-
erable, to prevent solicitations for the admission of improper
persons, but that the members should each of them search
among his acquaintance for ingenuous, well-disposed youths,
to whom, with prudent caution, the scheme should be grad-
^ In the Middle Ages, Franklin, if such a phenomenon as Franklin were
possible in the Middle Ages, would probably have been the founder of a

monastic order. B.
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 95

ually comirmnicated ; that the members should engage to


afford their advice, assistance^ and support to each other in
promoting one another's interests, business, and advancement
in life; that, for distinction, we
should be call'd The Society
of the Free and Easy: free, as being, by the general prac-
tice and habit of the virtues, free from the dominion of vice;
and particularly by the practice of industry and frugality,
free from debt, which exposes a man to confinement, and
a species of slavery to his creditors.
This is as much as I can now recollect of the project,
except that I comm.unicated it in part to two young men,
who adopted it with some enthusiasm; but my then narrow
circumstances, and the necessity I was under of sticking
close to my business, occasion'd my postponing the further
prosecution of it at that time; and my multifarious occupa-
tions, public and private, induc'd me to continue post-
poning, so that it has been omitted till I have no longer
strength or activity left sufficient for such an enterprise;
tho* I am still of opinion that it was a practicable scheme,
and mJght have been very useful, by forming a great num-
ber of good citizens and I was not discourag'd by the seem-
;

ing magnitude of the undertaking, as I have always thought


that one man of tolerable abilities may work great changes,
and accomplish great affairs among mankind, if he first
forms a good plan, and, cutting off all amusements or other
employments that would divert his attention, makes the exe-
cution of that same plan his sole study and business.
In 1732 I first publish'd my Almanack, under the name
of Richard Saunders; it was continu'd by me about twenty-
five years, commonly call'd Poor Richard's Almanac. I
endeavor'd to make it both entertaining and useful, and it
accordingly came to be in such demand, that I reap'd con-
siderable profit from it, vending annually near ten thousand.
And observing that it was generally read, scarce any neigh-
borhood in the province being without it, I consider'd it as
a proper vehicle for conveying instruction among the com-
mon people, who bought scarcely any other books; I there-
fore filled all the little spaces that occurr'd between the
remarkable days in the calendar with proverbial sentences,
chiefly such as inculcated industry and frugality, as the
96 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
means of procuring wealth, and thereby securing virtue; it
being more difficult for a man in want, to act always hon-
estly, as, to use here one of those proverbs, it is hard for an
empty sack to stand upright.
These proyerbs, which contained the wisdom of many
ages and nations, I assem^bled and form'd into a connected
discourse prefix'd to the Almanack of 1757, as the harangue
of a wise old man to the people attending an auction. The
bringing all these scatter'd counsels thus into a focus enabled
them to make greater impression. The piece, being univer-
sally approved, was copied newspapers of the Con-
in all the
tinent reprinted in Britain on a broad side, to be stuck up in
;

houses; two translations were made of it in French, and


great numbers bought by the clergy and gentry, to distribute
gratis among their poor parishioners and tenants. In Penn-
sylvania, as discouraged useless expense in foreign super-
it

fluities, it had its share of influence in pro-


somiC thought
ducing that growing plenty of money which was observable
for several years after its publication.
I considered my newspaper, also, as another means of
communicating instruction, and in that view frequently
reprinted in it extracts from the Spectator, and other moral
writers; and sometimes publish'd little pieces of my own,
which had been first compos'd for reading in our Junto. Of
these are a Socratic dialogue, tending to prove that, what-
ever might be his parts and abilities, a vicious man could
not properly be called a man of sense; and a discourse on
showing that virtue was not secure till its prac-
self-denial,
ticebecame a habitude, and was free from the opposition of
contrary inclinations. These may be found in the papers
about the beginning of 1735.
In the conduct of my newspaper, I carefully excluded all
libelling and personal abuse, which is of late years become
so disgraceful to our country. Whenever I was solicited
to insert anything of that kind, and the writers pleaded, as
they generally did, the liberty of the press, and that a news-
paper was like a stage-coach, in which any one who would
pay had a right to a place, my answer was, that I would
print the piece separately if desired, and the author mxight
have as many copies as he pleased to distribute himself,
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 97

but that I would not take upon me to spread his detraction;


and that, having contracted with my subscribers to furnish
them with what might be either useful or entertaining, I
could not fill their papers with private altercation, in which
they had no concern, without doing them manifest injustice.
Now, many of our printers make no scruple of gratifying
the malice of individuals by false accusations of the fairest
characters among ourselves, augmenting animosity even to
the producing of duels; and are, moreover, so indiscreet as
to print scurrilous reflections on the government of neigh-
boring states, and even on the conduct of our best national
allies, which may be attended with the most pernicious con-
sequences. These things I mention as a caution to young
printers, and that they may be encouraged not to pollute their
presses and disgrace their profession by such infamous prac-
tices, but refuse steadily, as they may see by my example
that such a course of conduct will not, on the whole, be in-
jurious to their interests.
In 1733 I sent one of my journeymen to Charleston, Soutfi
Carolina, where a printer was wanting. I furnish'd him
with a press and letters, on an agreement of partnership,
by which I was to receive one-third of the profits of the
business, paying one-third of the expense. He was a man
of learning, and honest but ignorant in matters of account;
and, tho' he sometimes made me remittances, I could get no
account from him, nor any satisfactory state of our partner-
ship while he lived. On his decease, the business was con-
tinued by his widow, who, being born and bred in Holland,
where, as I have been inform' d, the knowledge of accounts
makes a part of fem.ale education, she not only sent me as
clear a state as she could find of the transactions past, but
continued to account with the greatest regularity and exact-
ness every quarter afterwards, and m.anaged the business
with such success, that she not only brought up reputably
a family of children, but, at the expiration of the term,
was able to purchase of me the printing-house, and establish
her son in it.
I mention this affair chiefly for the sake of recommend-
ing that branch of education for our young females, as likely
to be of more use to them and their children, in case of
4 HOVol. 1
98 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
widowhood, than either music or dancing, by preserving
them from losses by imposition of crafty men, and enabling
them to continue, perhaps, a profitable mercantile house,
with established correspondence, till a son is grown up fit to
undertake and go on with it, to the lasting advantage and
enriching of the family.
About the year 1734 there arrived among us from Ireland
a young Presbyterian preacher, named Hemphill, who de-
livered with a good voice, and apparently extempore, most
excellent discourses, which drew together considerable num-
bers of different persuasion, who join'd in admiring them.
Among the rest, I became one of his constant hearers, his
sermons pleasing me, as they had little of the dogmatical
kind, but inculcated strongly the practice of virtue, or what
in the religious stile are called good works. Those, however,
of our congregation, who considered themselves as orthodox
Presbyterians, disapprov'd his doctrine, and were join'd by
most of the old clergy, who arraign'd him of heterodoxy
before the synod, in order to have him silenc'd. I became
his zealous partisan, and contributed all I could to raise a
party in his favour, and we combated for him a while with
some hopes of success. There was much scribbling pro and
con upon the occasion; and finding that, tho' an elegant
preacher, he was but a poor writer, I lent him my pen and
wrote for him two or three pamphlets, and one piece in the
Gazette of April, 1735. Those pamphlets, as is generally
the case with controversial writings, tho' eagerly read at the
time, were soon out of vogue, and I question whether a
single copy of them now exists.
Puring the contest an unlucky occurrence hurt his cause
exceedingly. One of our adversaries having heard him
preach a sermon that was much admired, thought he had
somewhere read the sermon before, or at least a part of it.
On search he found that part quoted at length, in one of
the British Reviews, from a discourse of Dr. Foster's. This
detection gave many of our party disgust, who accordingly
abandoned his cause, and occasioned our more speedy discom-
fiture in the synod. I stuck by him, hovv^ever, as I rather
approv'd Us giving us good sermons compos'd by others,
than bad ones of his own manufacture, tho' the latter was
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 99

the practice of our common teachers. He afterward acknowl-


edg'd to me that none of those he preach'd were his own;
adding, that his memory was such as enabled him to retain
and repeat any sermon after one reading only. On our
defeat, he left us in search elsewhere of better fortune, and
I quitted the congregation, never joining it after, tho' I
continu'd many years my subscription for the support of
its ministers.
I had begun in 1733 to study languages; I soon made
myself so much a master of the French as to be able to
read the books with ease. I then undertook the Italian. An
acquaintance, who was also learning it, us'd often to tempt
me to play chess with him. Finding this took up too much
of the time I had to spare for study, I at length refus'd
to play any more, unless on this condition, that the victor
in every game should have a right to impose a task, either
in parts of the grammar to be got by heart, or in transla-
tionSj etc., which tasks the vanquish'd was to perform upon
honour, before our next meeting. As we play'd pretty
equally, we thus beat one another into that language. I
afterwards with a little painstaking, acquir'd as much of
the Spanish as to read their books also.
I have already mention'd that I had only one year's in-
struction in a Latin school,, and that when very young, after
which I neglected that language entirely. But, when I had
attained an acquaintance with the French, Italian, and
Spanish, I was surpriz'd to find, on looking over a Latin
Testament, that I understood so much more of that language
than I had imagined, which encouraged me to apply myself
again to the study of it, and I met with more success, as those
preceding languages had greatly smooth'd my way.
From these circumstances, I have thought that there is
some inconsistency in our common mode of teaching lan-
guages. We are told that it is proper to begin first with
the Latin, and, having acquir'd that, it will be more easy
to attain those modern languages which are deriv'd from it;
and yet we do not begin with the Greek, in order more
easily to acquire the Latin. It is true that, if you can
clamber and get to the top of a staircase v/ithout using the
steps, you will mere easily gain them in descending; but
100 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
certainly, ifyou begin with the lowest you will with more
ease ascend to the top; and I would therefore offer it to
the consideration of those who superintend the education of
our youth, whether, since many of those who begin with
the Latin quit the same after spending some years without
having made any great proficiency, and what they have
learnt becomes almost useless, so that their time has been
lost, it would not have been better to have begun with the
French, proceeding to the Italian, etc.; for, tho', after
spending the same time, they should quit the study of lan-
guages and never arrive at the Latin, they would, however,
have acquired another tongue or two, that, being in modern
use, might be serviceable to them in common life.
After ten years' absence from Boston, and having become
easy in my circumstances, I made a journey thither to visit
my relations, which I could not sooner well afford. In
returning, I call'd at Newport to see my brother, then settled
thdre with his printing-house. Our former differences were
forgotten, and our meeting was very cordial and affec-
tionate. He was fast declining in his health, and requested
of me that, in case of his death, which he apprehended not
far distant, I would take home his son, then but ten years
of age, and bring him up to the printing business. This I
accordingly perform'd, sending him a few years to school
before I took him into the office. His mother carried on
the business till he was grown up, when I assisted him with
an assortment of new types, those of his father being in a
manner worn out. Thus it was that I made my brother
ample amends for the service I had depriv'd him of by
leaving him so early.
In 1736 I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four years
old, by the small-pox, taken in the common way. I long
regretted bitterly, and regret that I had not given it
still

to him by inoculation. This I mention for the sake of


parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that
they should never forgive themselves if a child died under
it; my example showing that the regret may be the same

either way, and that, therefore, the safer should be chosen.


Our club, the Junto, was found so and afforded
useful,
such satisfaction to the members, that several were desirous
: .

of introducin,
without exce
number, viz.,
a rule to keep ;

observ'd; the i

persons for ad
find it difficult
against any adc
in writing a pr
endeavor to fo^
respecting quer
connection with
the improvemen
of our institutic
sentiments of th
member might j
was to report to
the promotion of
extensive recommt
in public affairs, a
thro' the several c
The project j'o --

to form his club, but l

only were compleated, w


as the Vine, the Union, t
themselves, and afforded
information, and instruction
considerable degree, our vie
opinion on particular occasion:^
instances in course of time as i.

My promotion was my beix-


first

of the General Assembly. The cho.


without opposition; but the year foi ..

again propos'd (the choice, like that of ..'

annual), a new member made a long speeu


order to favour some other candidate. I v
chosen, which was the more agreeable to me, as,
pay for the immediate service as clerk, the place g
better opportunity of keeping up an interest amoi.^
members, which secur'd to me the business o printing
nal jobbs for
itable.
i new member,
m, with talents
nfluence in the
I did not, how-
/ servile respect
method. Hav-
ain very scarce
expressing my
ig he would do
'
days. He sent
^t a week with
J of the favour.
to me (which he
civility; and he
J me on occa- all
<nd our friendship
iv instance of the
ich says, ''He that
re ready to do you
yje obliged." And it

iS prudently to remove,
J inimical proceedings.

ite governor of Virginia,


Ag dissatisfied with the con-
.phia, respecting some negli-
,:actitude of his accounts, took
ad offered it to me. I accepted
jf great advantage; for, tho' the
acilitated the correspondence that
^r, increas'd the number demanded, as

cments to be inserted, so that it came to


jerable income. My old competitor's news-
proportionably, and I was satisfy'd without
.s refusal, while postmaster, to permit my papers

-led by the riders. Thus he suffer'd greatly from


^lect in due accounting; and I mention it as a lesson
.lose young men who may be employed in managing
aairs for others, that they should alv^^ays render accounts.
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 103

and make remittances, with great clearness and punctuality.


The character of observing such a conduct is the most
powerful of all recommendations to new employments and
increase of business.
I began now to turn my thoughts a little to public affairs,
beginning, however, with small matters. The city watch
was one of the first things that I conceiv'd to want regula-
tion. It was managed by the constables of the respective
wards in turn; the constable warned a number of house-
keepers to attend him for the night. Those who chose never
to attend paid him six shillings a year to be excus'd, which
was suppos'd to be for hiring substitutes, but was, in reality,
much more than was necessary for that purpose, and made
the constableship a place of profit; and the constable, for a
little drink, often got such ragamuffins about him as a watch,

that respectable housekeepers did not choose to mix with.


Walking the rounds, too, was often neglected, and most o
the nights spent in tippling. I thereupon wrote a paper to
be read in Junto, representing these irregularities, but insist-
ing more particularly on the inequality of this six-shilling
tax of the constables, respecting the circumstances of those
who paid it, since a poor widow housekeeper, all whose
property to be guarded by the watch did not perhaps exceed
the value of fifty pounds, paid as much as the wealthiest
merchant, who had thousands of pounds' worth of goods
in his stores.
On the whole, I proposed as a more effectual watch, the
hiring of proper men to serve constantly in that business;
and as a more equitable way of supporting the charge the
levying a tax that should be proportion'd to the property.
This idea, being approv'd by the Junto, was communicated
to the other clubs, but as arising in each of them; and
though the plan was not immediately carried into execution,
yet, by preparing the minds of people for the change, it
paved the way for the law obtained a few years after, v/hen
the members of our clubs were grown into more influence.
About this time I wrote a paper (first to be read in
Junto, but it was afterward publish'd) on the different acci-
dents and carelessnesses by which houses were set on fire,
with cautions against them,, and means proposed of avoiding
104 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
them. This was much spoken of as a useful piece, and gave
rise toa project, which soon followed it, of forming a
company for the more ready extinguishing of fires, and
mutual assistance in removing and securing the goods when
in danger. Associates in this scheme were presently found,
amounting to thirty. Our articles of agreement oblig'd
every member to keep always in good order, and fit for use,
a certain number of leather buckets, with strong bags and
baskets (for packing and transporting of goods), which
were to be brought to every fire; and we agreed to meet
oace a month and spend a social evening together, in dis^
coursing and comm.unicating such ideas as occurred to us
upon the subject of fires, as might be useful in our conduct
on such occasions.
The utiHty of this institution soon appeared, and many
more desiring to be admitted than we thought convenient for
one company, they Vv^ere advised to form another, which was
accordingly done and this went on, one new company being
;

formed after another, till they became so numerous as to


include most of the inhabitants who were men of property;
and now, at the time of my writing this, tho' upward of
fifty years since its establishment, that which I first formed,
called theUnion Fire Company, still subsists and flourishes,
tho' the firstmembers are all deceas'd but myself and one,
who is older by a year than I am. The small fines that have
been paid by members for absence at the monthly meetings
have been apply'd to the purchase of fire-engines, ladders,
fire-hooks, and other useful implements for each company,
so that I question whether there is a city in the world better
provided with the means of putting a stop to beginning con-
flagrations and, in fact, since these institutions, the city has
;

never lost by fire more than one or two houses at a time,


and the flames have often been extinguished before the
house in which they began has been half consumed.
In 1739 arrived among us from Ireland the Reverend Mr.
Whitefidd, who had made himself remarkable there as an
itinerant preacher. He was at first permitted to preach in
some of our churches; but the clergy, taking a dislike to
him, soon refus'd him their p.ulpits, and he was oblig'd to
pre;a.ch in the fields. The multitudes of all sects and denomi-
HIS AUTOBIOGBAPHY 105

nations that attended his sermons were enormous^ and it


was matter of speculation to me, who was one of the num-
ber, to observe the extraordinary influence of his oratory on
his hearers, and how much they admir'd and respected him,
notwithstanding his common abuse of them, by assuring
them that they were naturally half beasts and half devils.
It was wonderful to see the change soon made in the man-
ners of our inhabitants. From being thoughtless or indif-
ferent about religion, it seem'd as if all the world were
growing religious, so that one could not walk thro' the
town in an evening without hearing psalms sung in different
families of every street.
And it being found inconvenient to assemble in the open
air, subject to its inclemencies, the building of a house to
meet in was no sooner propos'd, and persons appointed to
receive contributions, but sufficient sums were soon receiv'd
to procure the ground and erect the building, which was one
hundred feet long and seventy broad, about the size of
Westminster Hall; and the work was carried on with such
spirit as to be finished in a much shorter time than could
have been expected. Both house and ground were vested
in trustees, expressly for the use of any preacher of any
religious persuasion who might desire to say something to
the people at Philadelphia ; the design in building not being
to accommodate any particular sect, but the inhabitants in
general; so that even if the Mufti of Constantinople were
to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism to us, he
would find a pulpit at his service.
Mr. Whitefield, in leaving us, went preaching all the way

thro' the colonies to Georgia. The settlement of that


province had lately been begun, but, instead of being made
with hardy, industrious husbandmen, accustomed to labor,
the only people fit for such an enterprise, it was with families
of broken shop-keepers and other insolvent debtors, many
of indolent and idle habits, taken out of the jails, who, being
set down in the woods, unqualified for clearing land, and
unable to endure the hardships of a new settlement, perished
in numbers, leaving many helpless children unprovided for.
The sight of their miserable situation inspir'd the benevolent
heart of Mr. Whitefield with the idea of building an Orphan
106 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
House there, in which they might be supported and educated.
Returning northward, he preach'd up this charity, and made
large collections, for his eloquence had a wonderful power
over the hearts and purses of his hearers, of which I myself
was an instance.
I did not disapprove of the design, but, as Georgia was
then destitute of materials and workmen, and it was pro-
posed to send them from Philadelphia at a great expense,
I thought it would have been better to have built the house
here, and brought the children to it. This I advis'd; but
he was resolute in his first project, rejected my counsel, and
I therefore refus'd to contribute. I happened soon after to
attend one of his sermions, in the course of which I per-
ceived he intended to finish with a collection, and I silently
resolved he should get nothing from me. I had in my pocket
a handful of copper money, three or four silver dollars, and
five pistoles in gold. As he proceeded I began to soften,
and concluded to give the coppers. Another stroke of his
oratory made me asham'd of that, and determin'd me to
give the silver and he finished so admirably, that I empty'd
;

my pocket wholly into the collector's dish, gold and all. At


this sermon there was also one of our club, who, being of
my sentiments respecting the building in Georgia, and sus-
pecting a collection might be intended, had, by precaution,
emptied his pockets before he cam.e from home. Towards
the conclusion of the discourse, how^ever, he felt a strong
desire to give, and apply'd to a neighbour, who stood near
him, to borrow some money for the purpose. The applica-
tion was unfortunately [made] to perhaps the only man in
the company who had the firmness not to be affected by the
preacher. His ansvv^er was, ^' At any other time, Friend
Hopkinson, I would lend to thee freely; hut not now, for
thee seems to he out of thy right senses."
Some of Mr. Whitefield's enemies affected to suppose that
he would apply these collections to his own private emolu-
ment; but I who was intimately acquainted v/ith him (being
employed in printing his Sermons and Journals, etc.), never
had the least suspicion of his integrity, but am to this day
decidedly of opinion that he was in all his conduct a per-
fectly honestman; and metliinks my testimony in his favour
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 107

ought to have the more weight, as we had no rehgious con-


nection. He us'd, indeed, sometimes to pray for my conver-
sion, but never had the satisfaction of believing that his
prayers were heard. Ours was a mere civil friendship, sin-
cere on both sides, and lasted to his death.
The following instance will show something of the terms
on which we stood. Upon one of his arrivals from England
at Boston, he wrote to me that he should come soon to
Philadelphia, but knew not where he could lodge when there,
as he understood his old friend and host, Mr. Benezet, was
removed to Germantown. My answer was, " You know my
house; if you can make shift with its scanty accommoda-
tions, you will be most heartily welcome." He reply'd, that
if I made that kind offer for Christ's sake, I should not miss
of a reward. And I returned, "Don't let me he mistaken;
it was not for Christ's sake, hut for your sake." One of our
common acquaintance jocosely remark'd, that, knowing it to
be the custom of the saints, when they received any favour,
to shift the burden of the obligation from off their own
shoulders, and place it in heaven, I had contrived to fix it
on earth.
The time I saw Mr. Whitefield was in London, when
last
he consulted me about his Orphan House concern, and his
purpose of appropriating it to the establishment of a college.
He had a loud and clear voice, and articulated his words
and sentences so perfectly, that he might be heard and
understood at a great distance, especially as his auditories,
however numerous, observ'd the most exact silence. He
preach'd one evening from the top of the Court-house steps,
which are in the middle of Market-street, and on the west
side of Second-street, which crosses it at right angles. Both
streets were with his hearers to a considerable distance.
fill'd

Being among the hindmost in Market-street, I had the


curiosity to learn how far he could be heard, by retiring
backwards down the street towards the river; and I found
his voice distinct till I came near Front-street, when some
noise in that street obscur'd it. Imagining then a semi-
circle, of which my distance should be the radius, and that
it were fill'd with auditors, to each of whom I allow'd two

square feet, I computed that he might well be heard by


108 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
more than thirty thousand. This reconcil'd me to the news-
paper accounts of his having preach'd to twenty-five thousand
people in the fields, and to the antient histories of generals
haranguing whole armies, of which I had sometimes doubted.
By hearing him often, T came to distinguish easily between
sermons newly compos'd, and those which he had often
preach'd in the course of his travels. His delivery of the
latter was so improv'd by frequent repetitions that every
accent, every em.phasis, every modulation of voice, was so
perfectly well turn'd and well plac'd, that, without being in-
terested in the subject, one could not help being pleas'd with
the discourse; a pleasure of much the same kind with that
receiv'd from an excellent piece of musick. This is an
advantage itinerant preachers have over those who are sta-
tionary, as the latter can not well improve their delivery of
a sermon by so many rehearsals.
Kis writing and printing from time to time gave great
advantage to his enemies; unguarded expressions, and even
erroneous opinions, delivered in preaching, might have been
afterwards explain'd or qualifi'd by supposing others that
might have accompani'd them^ or they might have been
deny'd; but lifera scripta manet. Critics attack'd his writings
violently, and with so much appearance of reason as to
diminish the number of his votaries and prevent their en-
crease; so that I am of opinion if he had never written any
thing, he would have left behind him a much more num.erous
and important sect, and his reputation might in that case
have been still growing, even after his death, as there being
nothing of his writing on which to found a censure and give
him a lower character, his proselytes would be left at liberty
to feign for him as great a variety of excellence as their
enthusiastic admiration might wish him to have possessed.
My business was now continually augmenting, and my
circumstances growing daily easier, my newspaper having
become very profitable, as being for a time alm^ost the only
one in this and the neighbouring provinces. I experienced,
''
too, the truth of the observation, that after getting the iirst
hundred pounds it is more easy to get the second," money
itself being of a prolific nature.
The partnership at Carolina having succeeded, I was en-
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 109

courag'd to engage in others, and to promote several of my


workmen, who had behaved well, by establishing them with
printing-houses in different colonies, on the same terms with
that in Carolina. Most of them did well, being enabled at
the end of our term, six years, to purchase the types of me
and go on working for themselves, by which means several
families were raised. Partnerships often finish in quarrels;
but I was happy in this, that mine were all carried on and
ended amicably, owing, I think, a good deal to the precau-
tion of having very explicitly settled, in our articles, every
thing to be done by or expected from each partner, so that
there was nothing to dispute, which precaution I would
therefore recommend to all who enter into partnerships for,
;

whatever esteem partners may have for, and confidence in


each other at the time of the contract, little jealousies and
disgusts may arise, with ideas of inequality in the care and
burden of the business, etc., which are attended often with
breach of friendship and of the connection, perhaps with
lawsuits and other disagreeable consequences.
I had, on the whole, abundant reason to be satisfied with
my being established in Pennsylvania. There were, however,
two things that I regretted, there being no provision for
defense, nor for a compleat education of youth; no militia,
nor any college. I therefore, in 1743, drew up a proposal
for establishing an academy; and at that time, thinking the
Reverend Mr. Peters, who was out of employ, a fit person
to superintend such an institution, I communicated the project
to him; but he, having more profitable views in the service
of the proprietaries, which succeeded, declin'd the under-
taking; and, not knowing another at that time suitable for
such a trust, I let the scheme lie a while dormant. I suc-
ceeded better the next year, 1744, in proposing and establish-
ing a Philosophical Society. The paper I wrote for that
purpose will be found among my writings, when collected.
With respect to defense, Spain having been several years
at war against Great Britain, and being at length joln'd by
France, which brought us into great danger; and the
laboured and long-continued endeavour of our govenKJr,
Thomas, to prevail with our Quaker Assembly to pass a
militia law, and make other provisions for the security of
110 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
the province, having proved abortive, I determined to tr^
what might be done by a voluntary association of the people.
To promote this, I wrote and published a pamphlet,
first
entitled Plain Truth, which I stated our defenceless
in
situation in strong lights, with the necessity of union and
discipline for our defense, and promis'd to propose in a few
days an association, to be generally signed for that purpose.
The pamphlet had a sudden and surprising effect. I was
call'd upon for the instrument of association, and having
settled the draft of it with a few friends, I appointed a
meeting of the citizens in the large building before mentioned.
The house was pretty full; I had prepared a number of
printed copies, and provided pens and ink dispers'd all over
the room. I harangued them a little on the subject, read the
paper, and explained it, and then distributed the copies, which
were eagerly signed, not the least objection being made.
When the company separated, and the papers were col-
lected, we found above twelve hundred hards; and, other
copies being dispersed in the country, the subscribers
amounted at length to upward of ten thousand. These all
furnished themselves as soon as they could with arms, formed
themselves into companies and regiments, chose their own
officers, and met every week to be instructed in the manual
exercise, and other parts of military discipline. The women,
by subscriptions among themselves, provided silk colors,
which they presented to the companies, painted with different
devices and mottos, which I supplied.
The officers of the companies composing the Philadelphia
regiment, being met, chose me for their colonel; but, con-
ceiving myself unfit, I declin'd that station, and recom-
mended Mr. Lawrence, a fine person, and man of influence,
who was accordingly appointed. I then proposed a lottery
to defray the expense of building a battery below the town,
and furnishing it with cannon. It filled expeditiously, and
the battery was soon erected, the merlons being fram'd of
logs and fiU'd with earth. We
bought some old cannon
from Boston, but, these not being sufficient, v/e wrote to
England for more, soliciting, at the same time, our proprie-
taries for some assistance, tho' without much expectation o
obtaining it.
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 111

Meanwhile, Colonel Lawrence, William Allen, Abram


Taylor, Esqr., and myself were sent to New York hy the
associators, comm.ission'd to borrow some cannon of Gov-
ernor Clinton. He at first refus'd us peremptorily; but at
dinner with his council, where there was great drinking of
Madeira wine, as the custom of that place then was, he
softened by degrees, and said he would lend us six. After
a few more bumpers he advanced to ten; and at length he
very good-naturedly conceded eighteen. They were fine
cannon, eighteen-pounders, with their carriages, which we
soon transported and mounted on our battery, where the
associators kept a nightly guard while the war lasted, and
among the rest I regularly took my turn of duty there as a
common soldier.
My activity in these operations was agreeable to the gov-
ernor and council; they took me into confidence, and I
was consulted by them in every measure wherein their con-
currence was thought useful to the association. Calling in
the aid of religion, I proposed to them the proclaiming a
fast, to promote reformation, and implore the blessing of
Heaven on our undertaking. They embrac'd the motion;
but, as it was the first fast ever thought of in the province,
the secretary had no precedent from which to draw the
proclamation. My education in New England, where a fast
is proclaimed every year, was here of some advantage: I
drev/ it in the accustomed stile, it was translated into Ger-
man, printed in both languages, and divulg'd thro' the
province. This gave the clergy of the different sects an
opportunity of influencing their congregations to join in the
association, and it would probably have been general among
all but Quakers if the peace had not soon interven'd.
It was thought by some of my friends that, by my activity
in these affairs, I should offend that sect, and thereby lose
my interest in the Assembly of the province, where they
formed a great majority. A young gentleman who had like-
wise some friends in the House, and v/ished to succeed me as
their clerk, acquainted me that it was decided to displace me
at the next election and he, therefore, in good will, advis'd
;

me to resign, as more consistent with my honour than being


turn'd out. My answer to him was, that I had read or
112 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN |

heard of some public man who made it a rule never to a$k


for an office, and never to refuse one when offer'd to him.
" I approve/' says I, " of his rule, and will practice it with
a small addition; I shall never ask, never refuse, nor ever
resign an office. If they will have my office of clerk to dis-'
pose of to another, they shall take it from me. I will not,
by giving it up, lose my right of some time or other making
reprisals on my adversaries." I heard, however, no more
of this; I was chosen again unanimously as usual at the
next election. Possibly, as they dislik'd my late intimacy
with the mem.bers of council, who had join'd the governors
in all the disputes about military preparations, with which
the House had long been harass'd, they might have been
pleas'd if I would voluntarily have left them; but they did
not care to displace me on account merely of my zeal for
the association, and they could not well give another reason.
Indeed I had some cause to believe that the defense of
the country was not disagreeable to any of them, provided
they were not requir'd to assist in it. And I found that a
much greater number of them than I could have imagined,
tho' against offensive war, were clearly for the defensive.
Many pamphlets pro and con were publish'd on the subject,
and some by good Quakers, in favour of defense, which I
believe convinc'd most of their younger people.
A transaction in our fire company gave me some insight
into their prevailing sentiments. It had been proposed that
we should encourage the scheme for building a battery by
laying out the present stock, then about sixty pounds, in
tickets of the lottery. By our rules, no money could be
dispos'd of the next meeting after the proposal.
till The
company consisted of thirty members, of which twenty-two
were Quakers, and eight only of other persuasions. We eight
punctually attended the meeting; but, tho' we thought that
some of the Quakers would join us, v/e were by no mxeans
sure of a majority. Only one Quaker, Mr. James Morris,
appear'd to oppose the measure. He expressed much sorrow
that it had ever been proposed, as he said Friends were all
against it, and it would create such discord as might break
up the company. We told him that we saw no reason for
that; we were the minority, and if Friends were against
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 113

the measure, and outvoted us, we must and should, agreeably


to the usage of all societies, submit. When the hour for
business arriv'd it was mov'd to put the vote; he allo-'-v'd we
might then do it by the rules, but, as he could assure us
that a number of members intended to be present for the
purpose of opposing it, it would be but candid to allow a
little time for their appearing.
While we were disputing this, a waiter came to tell me
two gentlemen below desir'd to speak with me. I went down,
and found they were two of our Quaker members. They
told me there were eight of them assembled at a tavern
just by; that they were determin'd to come and vote with
us if there should be occasion, which they hop'd would not
be the case, and desir'd we would not call for their assistance
if we could do without it, as their voting for such a measure
might embroil them with their elders and friends. Being
thus secure of a majority, I went up, and after a little seem-
ing hesitation, agreed to a delay of another hour. This Mr.
Morris allow'd to be extreamly fair. Not one of his oppos-
ing friends appear'd, at which he express'd great surprize;
and, at the expiration of the hour, we carry'd the resolution
eight to one and as, of the twenty-two Quakers, eight were
;

ready to vote with us, and thirteen, by their absence, mani-


fested that they were not inclin'd to oppose the measure,
I afterv/ard estimated the proportion of Quakers sincerely
against defense as one to twenty-one only; for these were
all regular members of that society, and in good reputation
among them, and had due notice of what was propos'd at
that meeting.
The honorable and learned Mr. Logan, who had always
been of that sect, was one who wrote an address to them,
declaring his approbation of defensive war, and supporting
his opinion by many strong argum.ents. He put into my
hands sixty pounds to be laid out in lottery tickets for the
battery, with directions to apply what prizes might be drawn
wholly to that service. He told me the following anecdote
of his old master, V/illiam Penn, respecting defense. He
came over from England, when a young man, with that
proprietary, and as his secretary. It was v/ar-time, and their
ship 3?vas chas'd by an armed vessel, suppos'd to be an enemy.
114 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
Their captain prepar'd for defense; but told William Penn,
and his company of Quakers, that he did not expect their
assistance, and they might retire into the cabin, which they
did, except James Logan, who chose to stay upon deck, and
was quarter'd to a gun. The suppos'd enemy prov'd a
friend, so there was no fighting; but when the secretary
went down to communicate the intelligence, William Penn
rebuk'd him severely *f or staying upon deck, and undertaking
to assist in defending the vessel, contrary to the principles of
Friends, especially as it had not been required by the cap-
tain. This reproof^ being before all the company, piqu'd the
secretary, who answer'd, ''I being thy servant, why did thee
not order me to come down? But thee was willing enough
that I should stay and help to fight the ship when thee thought
there was danger."
My being many years in the Assembly, the majority of
which were constantly Quakers, gave me frequent oppor-
tunities of seeing the embarrassment given them by their
principle against war, whenever application was made to
them, by order of the crown, to grant aids for military pur-
poses. They were unwilling to offend government, on the
one hand, by a direct refusal and their friends, the body
;

of the Quakers, on the other^ by a compliance contrary to


their principles; hence a variety of evasions to avoid com-
plying, and modes of disguising the com.pliance when it be-
came unavoidable. The com.mon mode at last was, to grant
money under the phrase of its being ''for the king's use"
and never to inquire how it was applied.
But, if the demand was not directly from the crown, that
phrase was found not so proper, and some other was to be
invented. As, when powder was wanting (I think it wa3
for the garrison at Louisburg), and the government of New
England solicited a grant of some from Pennsilvania, which
was much urg'd on the House by Governor Thomas, they
could not grant money to buy powder, because that was an
ingredient of war; but they voted an aid to New England
of three thousand pounds, to be put into the hands of the
governor, and appropriated it for the purchasing of bread,
wheat, or other grain. Some of the council, desirous
flour,
of giving the House still further embarrassment, advis'd
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 115

the governor not to accept provision, as not being the thing


he had demanded ; but he reply'd, " I shall take the money,
for I understand very well their meaning; other grain is
gunpowder," which he accordingly bought, and they never
objected to it/

It was when in our fire com-


in allusion to this fact that,
pany we feared the success of our proposal in favour of the
lottery, and I had said to my friend Mr, Syng, one of our
members, " If we fail, let us move the purchase of a fire-
engine with the money; the Quakers can have no objection
to that; and then, if you nominate me and I you as a commit-
tee for that purpose, we will buy a great gun, which is cer-
tainly a -fire-engine/' " I see," says he, " you have imiprov'd
by being so long in the Assembfy; your equivocal project
would be just a match for their wheat or other grain."
These embarrassm^ents that the Quakers suffer'd from
having establish'd and published it as one of their principles
that no kind of war was lawful, and which, being once pub-
lished, they could not afterwards, however they might change
their minds, easily get rid of, reminds mc of what I think a
more prudent conduct in another sect among tis, that of the
Dunkers. I v/as acquainted with one of its founders, Michael
Welfare, soon after it appear'd. He complain'd to me that
they were grievously calumniated by the zealots of other
persuasions, and charg'd with abominable principles and prac-
tices, to which they were utter strangers. I told him this
had always been the case with new sects, and that, to put
a stop to such abuse, I imagin'd it might be well to publish
the articles of their belief, and the rules of their discipline.
He said that it had been propos'd among them, but not
agreed to, for this reason " When we were first drawn
:

together as a society," says he, " it had pleased God to


enlighten our minds so far as to see that some doctrines,
which we once esteem.ed truths, v/ere errors; and that
others, which we had esteem.ed errors, were real truths.
From time to time He has been pleased to afford us farther
light, and our principles have been improving, and our errors
diminishing. Now we are not sure that we are arrived at
the end of this progression, and at the perfection of spiritual
1 See the votes. [Mar^. note.'i
116 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
or theological knowledge; and we fear that, if we should
once print our confession of faith, we should feel ourselves
as if bound and confin'd by it, and perhaps be unwilling
to receive farther improvement, and our successors still
more so, as conceiving what we their elders and founders
had done, to be something sacred, never to be departed
from."
This modesty in a sect is perhaps a singular instance in
the history of mankind, every other sect supposing itself in
possession of all truth, and that those who differ are so far
in the wrong; like a man traveling in foggy weather, those
at some distance before him on the road he sees wrapped
up in the fog, as well as those behind him, and also the
people in the fields on each side, but near him all appears
clear, tho' in truth he is as much in the fog as any of them.
To avoid this kind of embarrassment, the Quakers have of
late years been gradually declining the public service in the
Assembly and in the magistracy, choosing rather to quit
their power than their principle.
In order of time, I should have mentioned before, that
having, in 1742, invented an open stove for the better warm-
ing of rooms, and at the same time saving fuel, as the fresh
air admitted was warmed in entering, I made a present of
the model to Mr. Robert Grace, one of my early friends,
who, having an iron-furnace, found the casting of the plates
for these stoves a profitable thing, as they were growing in
demand. To promote that demand, I wrote and published a
^|5amphlet, entitled "An Account of the new-invented
^Pennsylvania Fireplaces; wherein their Construction and
Manner of Operation is particularly explained; their
Advantages above every other Method of warming Rooms
demonstrated; and all Objections that have been raised
against the Use of them answered and obviated" etc. This
pamphlet had a good effect. Gov'r. Thomas was so pleas'd
with the construction of this stove, as described in it, that
he offered to give me a patent for the sole vending of them
for a term of years but I declin'd it from a principle which
;

has ever Vv^eighed with me on such occasions, viz.. That, as


we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others,
'we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 117

invention of ours; and this we should do freely and


generously.
An ironmonger in London however, assuming a good deal
of my pamphlet, and working it up into his own, and making
some small changes in the machine, which rather hurt its
operation, got a patent for it there, and made, as I was told,
a little fortune by it. And this is not the only instance of
patents taken out for m.y inventions by others, tho' not
always with the same success, which I never contested, as
having no desire of profiting by patents myself, and hating
disputes. The use of these fireplaces in very many houses,
both of this and the neighbouring colonies, has been, and is,
a great saving of wood to the inhabitants.
Peace being concluded, and the association business there-
fore at an end, I turn'd my thoughts again to the affair of
establishing an academy. The first step I took was to asso-
ciate in the design a number of active friends, of whom the
Junto furnished a good part; the next was to v/rite and
publish a pamphlet, entitled Proposals Relating to the
Education of Youth in Pennsylvania. This I distributed
among the principal inhabitants gratis; and as soon as I
could suppose their minds a little prepared by the perusal
of it, I set on foot a subscription for opening and supporting
an academy; it was to be paid in quotas yearly for five
years; by so dividing it, I judg'd the subscription might be
larger, and I believe it was so, amounting to no less, if I
remember right, than five thousand pounds.
In the introduction to these proposals, I stated their pub-
lication, not as an act of mine, but of some puhlick-spirifed
gentlemen, avoiding as much as I could, according to m;^
usual rule, the presenting myself to the publick as the author
of any scheme for their benefit.
The subscribers, to carry the project into immediate
execution, chose out of their number twenty-four trustees,
and appointed Mr. Francis, then attorney-general, and my-
self to draw up constitutions for the government of the
academy; which being done and signed, a house v/as hired,
masters engag'd, and the schools opened, I think, in the
same year, 1749.
The scholars increasing fast, the house was soon found
118 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
too small, and we were looking out for a piece of ground,
properly situated, with intention to build, when Providence
threw into our way a large house ready built, which, with a
few alterations, might well serve our purpose. This was
the building before mentioned, erected by the hearers of Mr.
Whitefield, and was obtained for us in the following manner.
It is to be noted that the contributions to this building
being made by people of different sects, care was taken in
the nomination of trustees, in whom the building and ground
was to be vested, that a predominancy should not be given
to any sect, lest in time that predominancy might be a means
of appropriating the whole to the use of such sect, contrary
to the original intention. It was therefore that one of each
sect was appointed, viz., one Church-of-England man, one
Presbyterian, one Baptist, one Moravian, etc., those, in case
of vacancy by death, were to fill it by election from among
the contributors. The Moravian happen'd not to please his
colleagues, and on his death they resolved to have no other
of that sect. The difficulty then was, how to avoid having
two of some other sect, by means of the new choice.
Several persons were named, and for that reason not
agreed to. At length one mentioned me, with the observation
that I was merely an honest man, and of no sect at all,
which prevail'd with them to chuse me. The enthusiasm
which existed when the house was built had long since
abated, and its trustees had not been able to procure fresh
contributions for paying the ground-rent, and discharging
some other debts the building had occasion'd, which embar-
rass'd them greatly. Being now a member of both setts of
trustees, that for the building and that for the Academy,
I had a good opportunity of negotiating with both, and
brought them finally to an agreement, by which the trustees
for the building were to cede it to those of the academy, the
latter undertaking to discharge the debt, to keep for ever
open in the building a large hall for occasional preachers,
according to the original intention, and maintain a free-
school for the instruction of poor children. Writings were
accordingly drawn, and on paying the debts the trustees of
the academy were put in possession of the premises; and
by dividing the great and lofty hall into stories, and dif-
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 119

ferent rooms above and below for the several schools, and
purchasing some additional ground, the whole was soon
made fit for our purpose, and the scholars remov'd into the
building. The care and trouble of agreeing with the work-
men, purchasing materials, and superintending the work,
fell upon me; and I went thro' it the more cheerfully, as
it did not then interfere with my private business, having

the year before taken a very able, industrious, and honest


partner, Mr. David Hall, with whose character I was well
acquainted, as he had work'd for me four years. He took
off my hands all care of the printing-office, paying me punc-
tually my share of the profits. This partnership continued
eighteen years, successfully for us both.
The trustees of the academy, after a while, were incor-
porated by a charter from the governor; their funds were
increas'd by contributions in Britain and grants of land from
the proprietaries, to which the Assembly has since made
considerable addition; and thus was established the present
University of Philadelphia. I have been continued one of
its trustees from the beginning, now near forty years, and

have had the very great pleasure of seeing a number of the


youth who have received their education in it, distinguish'd
by their improv'd abilities, serviceable in public stations, and
ornaments to their country.
When I disengaged myself, as above mentioned, from
private business, I flatter'd myself that, by the sufficient tho'
moderate fortune I had acquir'd, I had secured leisure dur-
ing the rest of my life for philosophical studies and amuse-
ments. I purchased all Dr. Spence's apparatus, who had
come from England to lecture here, and I proceeded in my
electricalexperiments with great alacrity; but the publick,
now considering me as a man of leisure, laid hold of me
for their purposes, every part of our civil government, and
almost at the same time, imposing some duty upon me. The
governor put me into the commission of the peace; the cor-
poration of the city chose m.e of the common council, and
soon after an alderman; and the citizens at large chose me
a burgess to represent them in Assembly. This latter sta-
tion was the more agreeable to me, as I was at length
tired with sitting there to hear debates, in which, as clerk,
120 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
I could take no part, and which were often so unentertain-
ing that I was hiduc'd to amuse myself with making magic
squares or circles, or any thing to avoid weariness; and I
conceiv'd my becoming a member would enlarge my power
of doing good. I would not, however, insinuate that my
am.bition was not flatter'd by all these promotions; it cer-
tainly was; for, considering my low beginning, they were
great things to me; and they were still more pleasing, as
being so many spontaneous testimonies of the public good
opinion, and by me entirely unsolicited.
The of justice of the peace I try'd a little, by attend-
office
ing a few courts, and sitting on the bench to hear causes;
but finding that more knowledge of the common law than I
possess'd was necessary to act in that station with credit, I
gradually withdrew from it, excusing myself by my being
oblig'd to attend the higher duties of a legislator in the
Assembly. My election to this trust was repeated every year
for ten years, without my ever asking any elector for his
vote, or signifying, either directly or indirectly, any desire
of being chosen. On taking my seat in the House, my son
was appointed their clerk.
The year following, a treaty being to be held with the
Indians at Carlisle, the governor sent a message to the
House, proposing that they should nominate some of their
members, to be join'd with some members of council, as
cornxmissioners for that purpose.^ The House named the
Speaker (Mr. Norris) and myself; and, being commission'd,
we went to Carlisle, and met the Indians accordingly.
As those people are extreamly apt to get drunk, and,
when so, are very quarrelsome and disorderly, we strictly
forbad the selling any liquor to them; and when they com-
plain'd of this restriction, we told them that if they would
continue sober during the treaty, we would give them plenty
of rum when business was over. They promis'd this, and
they kept their promise, because they could get no liquor,
and the treaty was conducted very orderly, and concluded
to mutual satisfaction. They then claim'd and receiv'd the
rum; was in the afternoon; they were near one hun-
this
dred men, women, and children, and were lodg'd in tem-
^ See the votes to have this more correctly. [Mor^r. note.}
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 121

porary cabins, huilt in the form of a square, just without


the town. In the evening, hearing a great noise among
them, the commissioners walk'd out to see what was the
matter. We found they had m-ade a great bonfire in the
middle of the square they were all drunk, men and women,
;

quarreling and fighting. Their dark-colour'd bodies, half


naked, seen only by the gloomy light of the bonfire, running
after and beating one another with firebraads, accompanied
by their horrid yeiUngs, form'd a scene the most resembling
our ideas of hell that could well be imagin'd; there was no
appeasing the tumult, and we retired to our lodging. At
midnight a number of them came thundering at our door,
demanding more rum, of which we took no notice.
The next day, sensible they had misbehav'd in giving us
that disturbance, they sent three of their old counselors to
make their apology. The orator acknowledg'd the fault, but
laid it upon the rum; and then endeavored to excuse th^
rum by saying, '' The Great Spirit, who made all things,
made every thing for sor/te use,and whatever use he
designed any thing for, that use it should always he put to.
Now, when he made rum, he said 'Let this he for the In-
dians to get drunk with,' and it mMst he so.'* And, indeed,
if itbe the design of Providence to extirpate these savages
in order to make room for cultivators of the earth, it seems
not improbable that rum may be the appointed means. It
has already annihilated all the trihes who formerly inhabited
the sea-coast.
In 175 1, Dr. Thomas Bond, a particular friend of mine,
conceived the idea of establishing a hospital in Philadelphia
(a very beneficent design, which has been ascrib'd to me, but
was originally his), for the reception and cure of poor sick
persons, whether inhabitants of the province or strangers.
He was zealous and active in endeavouring to procure sub-
scriptions for it, but the proposal being a novelty in America,
and at first not well understood, he met with but small
success.
At length he came to me with the compliment that he
found there was no such thing as carrying a public-spirited
project through without my being concern'd in it. "For,"
says he, "I am often ask'd by those to whom I propose
122 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
subscribing, Have youconsulted Franklin upon this busi-
ness? And what does he think of it? And when I tell
them that I have not (supposing it rather out of your line),
they do not subscribe, but say they will consider of it." I
enquired into the na/ure and probable utility of his schemej
and receiving from him a very satisfactory explanation, I
not only subscrib'd to it myself, but engag'd heartily in the
design of procuring subscriptions from others. Previously,
however, to the solicitation, I endeavoured to prepare the
minds of the people by writing on the subject in the news-
papers, which was my usual custom in such cases, but yvhich
he had omitted.
The subscriptionsafterwards were more free and gen-
erous; but, beginning to flag, I saw they would be insuffi-
cient without some assistance from the Assembly, and there-
fore propos'd to petition for it, which v/as done. The coun-
try members did not at first relish the project; they objected
that it could only be serviceable to the city, and therefore
the citizens alone should be at the expense of it; and they
doubted whether the citizens themselves generally approv'd
of it. My allegation on the contrary, that it met with such
approbation as to leave no doubt of our being able to raise
two thousand pounds by voluntary donations, they consid-
ered as a most extravagant supposition, and utterly im-
possible.
On this I f orm'd my
plan and asking leave to bring in a
;

bill for incorporatingthe contributors according to the


prayer of their petition, and granting them a blank sum of
money, which leave was obtained chiefly on the considera-
tion that the House could throw the bill out if they did not
like it, I drew it so as to make the important clause a con-
ditional one, viz., " And be it enacted, by the authority
aforesaid, that when the said contributors shall have met
and chosen their managers and treasurer, and shall have
raised by their contributions a capital stock of value
(the yearly interest of which is to be applied to the accom-
modating of the sick poor in the said hospital, free of charge
for diet, attendance, advice, and medicines), and shall make
the same appear to the satisfaction of the speaker of the
Assembly for the tirae being, that then it shall and may be
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 123

lawful for tHe said speaker, and he is hereby required, to


sign an order on the provincial treasurer for the payment
of two thousand pounds, in two yearly payments, to the
treasurer of the said hospital, to be applied to the founding,
building, and finishing of the same."
This condition carried the bill through; for the members,
who had oppos'd the grant, and now conceiv'd they might
have the credit of being charitable without the expence,
agreed to its passage; and then, in soliciting subscriptions
among the people, we urg'd the conditional premise of the
law as an additional motive to give, since every man's dona-
tion would be doubled; thus the clause work'd both ways.
The subscriptions accordingly soon exceeded the requisite
sum, and we claim'd and receiv'd the public gift, which
enabled us to carry the design into execution. A convenient
and handsome building was soon erected; the institution has
by constant experience been found useful, and flourishes to
this day; and I do not remember any of my political
manoeuvres, the success of which gave me at the time more
pleasure, or wherein, after thinking of it, I more easily
excus'd myself for having made some use of cunning.
It was about this time that another projector, the Rev.
Gilbert Tennent, came to me with a request that I would
assist him in procuring a subscription for erecting a new
meeting-house. It was to be for the use of a congregation he
had gathered among the Presbyterians, who were originally
disciples of Mr. Whitefield. Unwilling to m.ake myself dis-
agreeable to my fellow-citizens by too frequently soliciting
their contributions, I absolutely refus'd. He then desired
I would furnish him with a list of the namxes of persons I
knew by experience to be generous and public-spirited. I
thought it would be unbecoming in m.e, after their kind
compliance with my solicitations, to mark them out to be
worried by other beggars, and therefore refus'd also to give
such a list. He then desir'd I would at least give him my
advice. " That I will readily do," said I ; " and, in the first
place, I advise you to apply to all those whom you know
will give something; next, to those whom you are uncertain
whether they will give any thing or not, and show them the
list of those who have given; and, lastly, do not neglect
124 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
thosewho you are sure will give nothing-, for in some of
them you may be mistal^en." He laugh'd and thank'd me,
and said he would take m.y advice. He did so, for he ask'd
of everybody, and he obtained a much larger sum than he
expected, with which he erected the capacious and very;
elegant meeting-house that stands in Arch-street.
Our city, tho' laid out with a beautiful regularity, the
streets large, strait, and crossing each other at right angles,
had the disgrace of suffering those streets to remain long
unpav'd, and in wet weather the wheels of heavy carriages
plough'd them into a quagmire, so that it was difficult to
cross them; and in dry weather the dust was offensive. I
had liv'd near what was call'd the Jersey Market, and saw
with pain the inhabitants wading in mud while purchasing
their provisions. A strip of ground down the middle of
that market was at length pav'd with brick, so that, being
once in the market, they had firm footing, but were often
over shoes in dirt to get there. By talking and writing on
the subject, I was at length instrumental in getting the
street pav'd v^ith stone between the market and the brick'd
foot-pavem.ent, that was on each side next the houses. This,
for some time, gave an easy access to the market dry-shod;
but, the rest of the street not being pav'd, whenever a
carriage came out of the mud upon this pavement, it shook
off and left its dirt upon it, and it was soon cover'd with
mire, which was not remov'd, the city as yet having no
scavengers.
After some inquiry I found a poor industrious man, who
was willing to undertake keeping the pavement clean, by
sweeping it twice a week, carrying off the dirt from before
all the neighbours' doors, for the sum of sixpence per month,

to be paid by each house. I then wrote and printed a paper


setting forth the advantages to the neighbourhood that might
be obtain'd by this small expense; the greater ease in keep-
ing our houses clean, so much dirt not being brought in by
people's feet; the benefit to the shops by more custom, etc.,
etc., as buyers could more easily get at them; and by not
having, in windy weather, the dust blown in upon their
goods, etc., etc. I sent one of these papers to each house,
and in a day or two went round to see who would subscribe
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 125

an agreement to pay these sixpences; it was unanimously


sign'd, and for a time well executed. All the inhabitants
of the city were delighted with the cleanliness of the pave-
ment that surrounded the market, it being a convenience to
all and this rais'd a general desire to have all the streets
paved, and made the people more willing to submit to a tax
for that purpose.
After some time I drew a bill for paving the city, and
brought it into the Assembly. It was just before I went
to England, in 1757-, and did not pass till I was gone,^ and
then with an alteration in the mode of assessment, which
I thought not for the better, but with an additional provision
for lighting as well as paving the streets, which was a
great improvement. It was by a private person, the late
Mr. John Clifton, his giving a sample of the utility of lamps,
by placing one at his door, that the people were first im-
press'd with the idea of enlighting all the city. The honotir
of this public benefit has also been ascrib'd to me, but it
belongs truly to that gentleman. I did but follow his
example, and have only some merit to claim respecting
the form of our lamps^ as differing from the globe lamps
we were at first supply'd with from London. Those we
found inconvenient in these respects: they admitted no
air below; the smoke, therefore, did not readily go out
above, but circulated in the globe, lodg'd on its inside, and
soon obstructed the light they were intended to afford; giv-
ing, besides, the daily trouble of wiping them clean; and an
accidental stroke on one of them would demolish it, and
render it totally useless. I therefore suggested the com-
posing them of four flat panes, with a long funnel above
to draw up the smoke^ and crevices admitting air below, to
facilitate the ascent of the smoke; by this means they were
kept clean, and did not grow dark in a few hours, as the
London lamps do, but continu'd bright till morning, and
an accidental stroke would generally break but a single
pane, easily repair'd.
I have sometimes wonder'd that the Londoners did not,
from the effect holes in the bottom of the globe lamps us'd
at Vauxhall have in keeping them clean, learn to have such
^ See votes.
126 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
holes in their street lamps. But, these holes being made
for another purpose, viz., to communicate flame more sud-
denly to the wick by a little flax hanging down thro' them,
the other use, of letting in air, seems not to have been
thought of; and therefore, after the lamps have been lit
a few hours, the streets of London are very poorly
illuminated.
The mention me in mnnd of
of these improvements puts
one I propos'd, when in London, to Dr. Fothergill, who
was among the best men I have known, and a great pro-
moter of useful projects. I had observ'd that the streets,
when dry, were never swept, and the light dust carried
away; but it was suffer'd to accumulate till wet weather
reduc'd it to mud, and then, after lying some days so deep
on the pavement that there was no crossing but in paths
kept clean by poor people with brooms, it was with great
labour rak'd together and thrown up into carts open above,
the sides of which suffer'd some of the slush at every jolt
on the pavement to shake out and fall, sometim-cs to the an-
noyance of foot-passengers. The reason given for not
sweeping the dusty streets was, that the dust would fly into
the windows of shops and houses.
An accidental occurrence had instructed me how much
sweeping might be done in a little time. I found at my
door in Craven-street, one morning, a poor woman sweeping
my pavement with a birch broom; she appeared very pale
and feeble, as just come out of a fit of sickness. I ask'd
who employ'd her to sweep there she said, " Nobody, but
;

I am very poor and in distress, and I sweeps before gen-


tlefolkses doors, and hopes they will give me something."
I bid her sweep the whole street clean, and I would give
her a shilling ; this was at nine o'clock ; at 12 she came for
the shilling. From
the slowness I saw at first in her work-
ing, I could scarce believe that the work was done so soon,
and sent m^y servant to examine it, who reported that the
whole street was swept perfectly clean, and all the dust
plac'd in the gutter, which was in the middle; and the
next rain wash'd it quite away, so that the pavement and
even the kennel v/ere perfectly clean.
I then judg'd that, if that feeble woman could sweep
:

HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 127

such a street in three hours, a strong, active man might


have done it in half the time. And here let me remark the
convenience of having but one gutter in such a narrow
street, running down its middle, instead of two, one on each
side, near the footway; for where all the rain that falls
on a street runs from the sides and meets in the middle, it
forms there a current strong enough to wash away all the
mud it meets with; but when divided into two channels, it
is often too weak to cleanse either, and only makes the

mud it finds mxore fluid, so that the wheels of carriages


and feet of horses throw and dash it upon the foot-pave-
ment, which thereby rendered foul
is and slippery, and some-
times splash upon those who are walking. My proposal,
it

communicated to the good doctor, was as follows


" For the more effectual cleaning and keeping clean the
streets of London and Westminster, it is proposed that the
several watchmen be contracted with to have the dust swept
up in dry seasons, and the mud rak'd up at other times, each
in the several streets and lanes of his round that they be
;

furnish'd with brooms and other proper instruments for


these purposes, to be kept at their respective stands, ready
to furnish the poor people they may employ in the service.
" That in the dry summ.er months the dust be all swept
up into heaps at proper distances, before the shops and
Vv^indows of houses are usually opened, when the scavengers,
with close-covered carts, shall also carry it all away.
" That the mud, when rak'd up, be not left in heaps to
be spread abroad again by the wheels of carriages and
trampling of horses, but that the scavengers be provided
with bodies of carts, not plac'd high upon wheels, but low
upon sliders, with lattice bottoms, which, being cover'd witH
straw, will retain the mud thrown into them, and permit the
water to drain from it, v/hereby it will become much lighter,
water making the greatest part of its weight; these bodies
of carts to be plac'd at convenient distances, and the mud
brought to them in wheel-barrows; they remaining v/here
plac'd till the mud is drain'd, and then horses brought to
draw them away."
I have since had doubts of the practicability of the latter
part of this proposal, on account of the narrowness of some
128 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
streets, and the difficulty of placing the draining-sleds so as
not to encumber too much the passage; but I am still of
opinion that the former, requiring the dust to be swept up
and carry'd away before the shops are open, is very prac-
ticable in the summer, when the days are long; for, in
walking thro' the Strand and Fleet-street one morning at
seven o'clock, I observ'd there was not one shop open, tho'
it had been daylight and the sun up above three hours; the
inhabitants of London chusing voluntarily to live much by
candle-light, and sleep by sunshine, and yet often complain,
a little absurdly, of the duty on candles and the high price
of tallow.
Some may think these trifling matters not worth minding
or relating; but when they consider that tho' dust blown
into the eyes of a single person, or into a single shop on a
windy day, is but of small importance, yet the great number
of the instances in a populous city, and its frequent repeti-
tions give it weight- and consequence, perhaps they will not
censure very severely those who bestow some attention to
affairs of this seemingly low nature. Human felicity is
produc'd not so much by great pieces of good fortune that
seldom happen, as by little advantages that occur every
day. Thus, if you teach a poor young man to shave himself,
and keep his razor in order, you may contribute more to
the happiness of his life than in giving him a thousand
guineas. The money may be soon spent, the regret only
remaining of having foolishly consumed it but in the other
;

case, he escapes the frequent vexation of waiting for barbers,


and of their sometimes dirty fingers, offensive breaths, and
dull razors; he shaves when most convenient to him, and
enjoys daily the pleasure of its being done with a good
instrument. With these sentiments I have hazarded the
few preceding pages, hoping they may afford hints w^hich
some time or other may be useful to a city I love, having
lived many years in it very happily, and perhaps to some
of our towns in America.
Having been for some time employed by the postmaster-
general of America as his comptroller in regulating several
offices, and bringing the officers to account, I was, upon his
death in 1753, appointed, jointly with Mr. William Hunter,
!

HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 129

to succeed him_, by a commission from the postmaster-


general in England. The American office never had hitherto
paid any thing to that of Britain. We
were to have six
hundred pounds a year between us, ifwe could make that
sum out of the profits of the office. To do this, a variety
of improvements necessary; some of these were
were
inevitably at first expensive, so that in the first four years
the office became above nine hundred pounds in debt to us.
But it soon after began to repay us; and before I was dis-
plac'd by a freak of the ministers, of which I shall speak
hereafter, we had brought it to yield three times as much
clear revenue to the crown as the postoffice of Ireland.
Since that imprudent transaction, they have receiv'd from

it not one farthing
The business of the postoffice occasion'd my taking a
journey this year to New England, where the College of
Cambridge, of their own motion, presented me with the
degree of Master of Arts. Yale College, in Connecticut,
had before made me a similar compliment. Thus, without
studying in any college, I came to partake of their honours.
They were conferr'd in consideration of my improvements
and discoveries in the electric branch of natural philosophy.
In 1754, war with France being again apprehended, a
congress of com.missioners from the different colonies was,
by an order of the Lords of Trade, to be assembled at Albany,
there to confer with the chiefs of the Six Nations concern-
ing the m.eans of defending both their country and ours.
Governor Hamilton, having receiv'd this order, acquainted
the House with it, requesting they would furnish proper
presents for the Indians, to be given on this occasion; and
naming the speaker (Mr. Norris) and myself to join Mr.
Thomas Penn and Mr. Secretary Peters as commissioners
to act for Pennsylvania. The House approv'd the nomina-
tion, and provided the goods for the present, and tho' they
did not m.uch like treating out of the provinces; and we
met the other commissioners at Albany about the middle of
June.
In our way thither, I projected and drew a plan for the
union of all the colonies under one government, so far as
might be necessary for defense, and other important general
5 HCVol. 1
130 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
purposes. As we pass'd thro' New York, I had there sfiown
my project to Mr. James Alexander and Mr. Kennedy, two
gentlem.en of great knowledge in public affairs, and, being
fortified by their approbation, I ventur'd to lay it before
the Congress. It then appeared that several of the com-
missioners had form'd plans of the same kind. Aprevious
question was first taken, whether a union should be estab-
lished, which pass'd in the afifirmxative unanimously. A
com-
mittee was then appointed, one member from each colony,
to consider the several plans and report. Mine happen'd to
be preferr'd, and, v/ith a few amendments, was accordingly
reported.
By this plan the general government was to be administered
by a president-general, appointed and supported by the crown,
and a grand council was to be chosen by the representa-
tives of the people of the several colonies, met in their
respective assemblies. The debates upon it in Congress
went on daily, hand in hand with the Indian business.
Many objections and difficulties were started, but at length
they were overcome, and the plan was unanimously agreed
all

to, and copies ordered to be transmitted to the Board of


Trade and to the assemblies of the several provinces. Its
fate was singular: the assemblies did not adopt it, as they
all thought there was too much prerogative in it, and in
England it was judg'd to have too much of the democratic.
The Board of Trade therefore did not approve of it, nor
recommend it for the approbation of his majesty; but
another scheme was form'd, supposed to answer the same
purpose better, whereby the governors of the provinces,
with some mem.bers of their respective councils, were to
meet and order the raising of troops, building of forts, etc.,
and to draw on the treasury of Great Britain for the expense,
which was afterwards to be refunded by an act of Parlia-
ment laying a tax on America. My plan, with my reasons
in support of it, is to be found among my political papers
that are printed.
Being the winter following in Boston, I had m.uch con-
versation with Governor Shirley upon both the plans. Part
of what passed between us on the occasion may also be seen
among those papers. The different and contrary reasons
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 131

o dislike to my plan makes me suspect that it was really


the true medium; and I am still of opinion it would have
been happy for both sides the water if it had been adopted.
The colonies, so united, would have been sufficiently strong
to have defended themselves; there would then have been
no need of troops from England; of course, the subsequent
pretence for taxing America, and the bloody contest it occa-
sioned, would have been avoided. But such mistakes are
not new; history is full of the errors of states and princes.
" Look round the habitable world, how few
Know their own good, or, knowing it, pursue " !

Those who govern, having much business on their hands,


do not generally like to take the trouble of considering and
carrying into execution new projects. The best public
measures are therefore seldom adopted from previous wis-
dom, hut forc'd by the occasion.
The Governor of Pennsylvania, in sending it down to the
Assembly, express'd his approbation of the plan, " as appear-
ing to him to be drawn up with great clearness and strength
of judgment, and therefore recommended it as well worthy
of their closest and most serious attention." The House,
however, by the management of a certain member, took it
up when I happen'd to be absent, which I thought not very
fair, and reprobated it without paying any attention to it at
all, to my no small mortification.

In my journey to Boston this year, I m^et at New York


with our new governor, Mr. Morris, just arriv'd there from
England, with whom I had been before intimately acquainted.
He brought a commission to supersede Mr. Hamilton, who,
tir'd with the disputes his proprietary instructions subjected
him to, had resign'd. Mr. Morris ask'd me if I thought he
must expect as uncomfortable an administration. I said,
" No ;
you may, on the contrary, have a very comfortable
one, if you will only take care not to enter into any dispute
with the Assembly/' " My dear friend," says he, pleasantly,
"how can you advise my avoiding disputes? You know
I love disputing; it is one of my greatest pleasures; how-
ever, to show the regard I have for your counsel, I promise
you I will, if possible, avoid them." He had some reason
for loving to dispute, being eloquent, an acute sophister, and,
132 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
therefore, generally successful in argumentative conversa-
tion. He had been brought up to it from a boy, his father,
as I have heard, accustoming his children to dispute with
one another for his diversion, while sitting at table after
dinner; but I think the practice was not wise; for, in the
course of my observation, these disputing, contradicting, and
confuting people are generally unfortunate in their affairs.
They get victory sometimes, but they never get good will,
which would be of more use to them. We parted, he going
to Philadelphia, and I to Boston.
In returning, I met at New York with the votes of the
Assembly, by which it appear'd that, notwithstanding his
promise to me, he and the House were already in high con-
tention; and it was a continual battle between them as long
as he retain'd the government. I had my share of it; for,
as soon as I got back to my seat in the Assembly, I was
put on every committee for answering his speeches and
messages, and by the committees always desired to make
the drafts. Our answers, as well as his messages, were
often tart, and sometimes indecently abusive; and, as he
knew I wrote for the Assem^bly, one might have imagined
that,when we met, we could hardly avoid cutting throats;
but he was so good-natur'd a man that no personal difference
between him and me was occasion'd by the contest, and we
often din'd together.
One afternoon, in the height of this public quarrel, we
met " Franklin," says he, " you must go home
in the street.
with me and spend the evening; I am to have some com-
pany that you will like " and, taking me by the arm, he
;

led me In gay conversation over our wine,


to his house.
much admir'd the
after supper, he told us, jokingly, that he
idea of Sancho Panza, who, when it was proposed to give
him a government, requested it might be a government of
blacks, as then, if he could not agree with his people, he
might sell them. One of his friends, who sat next to me,
says, " Franklin, why do you continue to side with these
damn'd Quakers? Had not you better sell them? The pro-
prietor would give you a good price." " The governor," says
I, " has not yet blacked them enough." He, indeed, had
labored hard to blacken the Assembly in all his messages.
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 133

but they wjp'd off his coloring as fast as he laid


it on, and

plac'd it, upon his own face; so that, finding


in return, thick
he was likely to be negroned himself, he, as well as Mr.
Hamilton, grew tir'd of the contest, and quitted the
government.
^^
These public quarrels were all at bottom owing to the
proprietaries, our hereditary governors, who, when any
expense was to be incurred for the defense of their province,
with incredible meanness instructed their deputies to pass
no act for levying the necessary taxes, unless their vast
estates were in the same act expressly excused; and they
had even taken bonds of these deputies to observe such in-
structions. The Assemblies for three years held out against
this injustice, tho' constrained to bend at last. At length
Captain Denny, who was Governor Morris's successor, ven-
tured to disobey those instructions; how that was brought
about I shall show hereafter.
But I am got forward too fast with my story: there are
still some transactions to be mention'd that happened during

the administration of Governor Morris.


War being in a manner com.menced with France, the
government of Massachusetts Bay projected an attack upon
Crown Point, and sent Mr. Quincy to Pennsylvania, and
Mr. Pownall, afterward Governor Pownall, to New York,
to solicit assistance. As I was in the Assembly, knew its
temper, and was Mr. Quincy's countryman, he appli'd to me
for my influence and assistance. I dictated his address to
them, which was well receiv'd. They voted an aid of ten
thousand pounds, to be laid out in provisions. But the
governor refusing his assent to their bill (which included this
with other sums granted for the use of the crown), unless
a clause were inserted exempting the proprietary estate
from bearing any part of the tax that would be necessary,
the Assembly, tho' very desirous of making their grant to
New England effectual, were at a loss how to accomplish it.
Mr. Quincy labored hard with the governor to obtain his
assent, but he was obstinate.
I then suggested a method of doing the business without
the governor, by orders on the trustees of the Loan Office,
^ My acts in Morris's time, military, etc. [Marg. note.}
134 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
which, by law, the Assembly had the right of drawing.
There was, indeed, Httle or no money at that time in the
office, and therefore I propos'd that the orders should be
payable in a year, and to bear an interest of five per cent.
With these orders I suppos'd the provisions might easily be
purchas'd. The Assembly, with very little hesitation, adopted
the proposal. The orders were immediately printed, and I
iWas one of the committee directed to sign and dispose of
them. The fund for paying them was the interest of all the
paper currency then extant in the province upon loan, to-
gether with the revenue arising from the excise, which being
known to be more than sufficient, they obtain'd instant credit,
and were not only receiv'd in payment for the provisions,
but many money 'd people, who had cash lying by them,
vested it in those orders, which they found advantageous,
as they bore interest while upon hand, and might on any
occasion be used as money; so that they were eagerly all
bought up, and in a few weeks none of them were to be seen.
Thus this important affair was by my means compleated.
My Quincy return'd thanks to the Assembly in a handsome
memorial, went home highly pleas'd with the success of his
em.bassy, and ever after bore for me the most cordial and
affectionate friendship.
The British government, not chusing to permit the union
of the colonies as propos'd at Albany, and to trust that
union with their defense, lest they should thereby grow
too military, and feel their own strength, suspicions and
jealousies at this time
being entertain'd of them, sent
over General Braddock with two regiments of regular
English troops for that purpose. He landed at Alexandria,
in Virginia, and thence march'd to Frederictown, in Mary-
land, where he halted for carriages. Our Assembly ap-
prehending, from some information, that he had con-
ceived violent prejudices against them, as averse to the
service, wish'd me to wait upon him, not as from them,
but as postmaster-general, under the guise of proposing
to settle with him the mode of conducting with most
celerity and certainty the despatches between him and
the governors of the several provinces, with whom he must
necessarily have continual correspondence, and of which
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 135

they propos'd to pay the expense. My son accompanied me


on this journey.
We found the general at Frederictown, waiting impa-
tiently for the return of those he had sent thro' the back
parts of Maryland and Virginia to collect waggons. I
stayed with him several days, din'd with him daily, and had
full opportunity of removing all his prejudices, by the in-
formation of what the Assembly had before his arrival
actually done, and were still willing to do, to facilitate his
operations. When I was about to depart, the returns of
waggons to be obtained were brought in, by which it ap-
pear'd that they amounted only to twenty-five, and not all
of those were in serviceable condition. The general and
all the officers were surpris'd, declar'd the expedition was
then at an end, being impossible, and exclaim'd against the
ministers for ignorantly landing them in a country destitute
of the means of conveying their stores, baggage, etc., not
less than one hundred and fifty waggons being necessary.
I happened to say I thought it was a pity they had not been
landed rather in Pennsylvania, as in that country almost
every farmer had his waggon. The general eagerly laid
hold of my words, and said, " Then you, sir, who are a man
of interest there, can probably procure them for us; and I
beg you will undertake it." I ask'd what terms were to be
offer'd the owners of the waggons and I was desir'd to put
;

on paper the terms that appeared to me necessary. This I


did, and they were agreed and a commission and instruc-
to,
tions accordingly prepar'd immediately. What those terms
were will appear in the advertisement I publish'd as soon as
I arriv'd at Lancaster, which being, from the great and
sudden effect it produc'd, a piece of some curiosity, I shall
insert it at length, as follows:

" Advertisement.

"Lancaster, Afril 26, lyss*

"Whereas, one hundred and fifty waggons, with four


horses to each waggon, and fifteen hundred saddle or pack
horses, are wanted for the service of his majesty's forces
now about to rendezvous at Will's Creek, and his excellency
136 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
General Braddock having been pleased to empower me to
contract for the hire of the same, I hereby give notice that
I shall attend for that purpose at Lancaster from this day
to next Wednesday evening, and at York from next Thurs-
day morning till Friday evening, where I shall be ready to
agree for waggons and teams, or single horses, on the fol-
lowing terms, viz.: i. That there shall be paid for each
waggon, with four good horses and a driver, fifteen shillings
per diem; and for each able horse with a pack-saddle, or
other saddle and furniture, two shillings per diem; and for
each able horse without a saddle, eighteen pence per diem.
2. That the pay commence from the time of their joining
the forces at Will's Creek, which must be on or before the
20th of May ensuing, and that a reasonable allowance be
paid over and above for the time necessary for their travel-
ling to Will's Creek and home again after their discharge.
3. Each waggon and team, and every saddle or pack horse,
is to be valued by indifferent persons chosen between me
and the owner and in case of the loss of any waggon, team,
;

or other horse in the service, the price according to such


valuation is to be allowed and paid. 4. Seven days' pay is
to be advanced and paid in hand by me to the owner of each
[waggon and team, or horse, at the time of contracting, if
required, and the remainder to be paid by General Brad-
dock, or by the paymaster of the army, at the time of their
discharge, or from time to time, as it shall be demanded.
'5. No drivers of waggons, or persons taking care of the
hired horses, are on any account to be called upon to do the
'duty of soldiers, or be otherwise employed than in conduct-
ing or taking care of their carriages or horses. 6. All oats,
Indian com, or other forage that waggons or horses bring to
the camp, more than is necessary for the subsistence of the
horses, is to be taken for the use of the army, and a reason-
able price paid for the same.

" Note. My son, William Franklin, is empowered to enter
Into like contracts with any person in Cumberland county.
"B. Franklin."
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 137

^*To the inhabitants of the Counties of Lancaster,


York and Cumberland.

^'Friends and Countrymen,


" Being occasionally at the camp at Frederic a few days
since, I found the general and officers extremely exasperated
on account of their not being supplied with horses and car-
riages, which had been expected from this province, as most
able to furnish them; but, through the dissensions between
our governor and Assembly^ money had not been provided,
nor any steps taken for that purpose.
*'
It was proposed to send an armed force immediately
into these counties, to seize as many of the best carriages
and horses as should be wanted, and compel as many persons
into the service as would be necessary to drive and take care
of them,
"1 apprehended that the progress of British soldiers
through these counties on such an occasion, especially con-
sidering the temper they are in, and their resentment against
us, would be attended with many and great inconveniences
to the inhabitants, and therefore more willingly took the
trouble of trying first what might be done by fair and
equitable means. The people of these back counties have
lately complained to the Assembly that a sufficient currency
was wanting; you have an opportunity of receiving and
dividing among you a very considerable sum; for, if the
service of this expedition should continue, as it is more than
probable it will, for one hundred and twenty days, the hire
of these v\^aggons and horses will amount to upward of
thirty thousand pounds, which will be paid you in silver
and gold of the king's money.
" The service will be light and easy, for the army will
scarce march above twelve miles per day, and the waggons
and baggage-horses, as they carry those things that are
absolutely necessary to the v/elfare of the army, must march
with the army, and no faster; and are, for the army's sake,
always placed where they can be most secure, whether in a
march or in a camp.
"If you are really, as I believe you are, good and loyal
138 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
subjects to his majesty, you may now do a most acceptable
service, and make easy to yourselves; for three or four
it

of such as can not separately spare from the business of


their plantations a w^aggon and four horses and a driver,
may do it together, one furnishing the waggon, another one
or two horses, and another the driver, and divide the pay
proportionately between you; but if you do not this service

to your king and country voluntarily, when such good pay


and reasonable terms are offered to you, your loyalty will be
strongly suspected. The king's business must be done; so
many brave troops, come so far for your defense, must not
stand idle through your backwardness to do what may be
reasonably expected from you waggons and horses must be
;

had; violent measures will probably be used, and you will


be left to seek for a recompense where you can find it, and
your case, perhaps, be little pitied or regarded.
" I have no particular interest in this affair, as, except
the satisfaction of endeavoring to do good, I shall have only
my labour for my pains. If this method of obtaining the
waggons and horses is not likely to succeed, I am obliged
to send word to the general in fourteen days; and I suppose
Sir John St. Clair, the hussar, with a body of soldiers, will
immediately enter the province for the purpose, which I
shall be sorry to hear, because I am very sincerely and truly
your friend and well-wisher, B. Franklin."

I received of the general about eight hundred pounds, to


be disbursed in advance-money to the waggon owners, etc.;
but that sum being insufficient, I advanc'd upward of two
hundred pounds more, and in two weeks the one hundred and
fifty waggons, with two hundred and fifty-nine carr^dng
horses, were on their march for the camp. The advertise-
ment promised payment according to the valuation, in case
any waggon or horse should be lost. The owners, however,
alleging they did not know General Braddock, or what de-
pendence might be had on his promise, insisted on my bond
for the performance, which I accordingly gave them.
While I was at the camp, supping one evening with the
ofHcers of Colonel Dunbar's regiment, he represented to me
his concern for the subalterns, who, he said, were generally
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 139

not in affluence, and could ill afford, in this dear country,


to lay in the stores that might be necessary in so long a
march, thro' a wilderness, where nothing was to be pur-
chas'd. commiserated their case, and resolved to endeavor
I
procuring them some relief. I said nothing, however, to him
of my intention, but wrote the next morning to the com-
mittee of the Assembly, who had the disposition of some
public money, w^armly recommending the case of these officers
to their consideration, and proposing that a present should
be sent them of necessaries and refreshments. My son, who
had some experience of a camp life, and of its wants, drew
up a list for m.e, which I enclos'd in my letter. The com-
mittee approv'd, and used such diligence that, conducted by
my son, the stores arrived at the camp as soon as the wag-
gons. They consisted of twenty parcels, each containing
6 lbs. loaf sugar. i Gloucester cheese.
6 good Muscovado do.
lbs. i kegg containing 20 lbs. good
I lb. good green tea. butter.
I lb. good bohea do. 2 doz. old Madeira wine.
6 lbs. good ground coffee. 2 gallons Jamaica spirits.
6 lbs. chocolate. i bottle flour of mustard.
1-2 cwt. best white biscuit. 2 well-cur'd hams.
1-2 lb. pepper. 1-2 dozen dry'd tongues.
I quart best white wine vine- 6 lbs. rice,
gar. 6 lbs. raisins.

These twenty parcels, well pack'd, were placed on as many


horses, each parcel, with the horse, being intended as a
present for one officer. They were very thankfully receiv'd,
and the kindness acknowdedg'd by letters to me from the
colonels of both regim.ents, in the most grateful terms. The
general, too, was highly satisfied with my conduct in pro-
curing him the waggons, etc., and readily paid my account
of disbursements, thanking me repeatedly, and requesting my
farther assistance in sending provisions after him. I under-
took this also, and was busily employ'd in it till we heard of
his defeat, advancing for the service of my own money,
upwards of one thousand pounds sterling, of which I sent
him an account. It came to his hands, luckily for m^e, a few
days before the battle, and he return'd me immediately an
order on the paymaster for the round sum of one thousand
pounds, leaving the remainder to the next account. I con-
140 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
sider this payment as good luck, having never been able to
obtain that remainder, of which more hereafter.
This general was, I think, a brave man, and might prob-
ably have made a figure as a good officer in some European
war. But he had too much self-confidence, too high an
opinion of the validity of regular troops, and too mean a
one of both Americans and Indians. George Croghan, our
Indian interpreter, join'd him on his march with one hundred
of those people, who might have been of great use to his
army as guides, scouts, etc., if he had treated them kindly;
but he slighted and neglected them, and they gradually left
him.
In conversation with him one day, he v/as giving me some
account of his intended progress. "After taking Fort
Duquesne," says he, "I am to proceed to Niagara; and,
having taken that, to Frontenac, if the season will allow
time and I suppose it will, for Duquesne can hardly detain
;

me above three or four days; and then I see nothing that


can obstruct my march to Niagara." Having before revolv'd
in my mind the long line his army must make in their march
by a very narrow road, to be cut for them thro' the woods
and bushes, and also what I had read of a former defeat of
fifteen hundred French, who invaded the Iroquois country,
I had conceiv'd some doubts and some fears for the event
of the campaign. But I ventur'd only to say, " To be sure,
sir, if you arrive well before Duquesne, with these fine
troops, so well provided with artillery, that place not yet
compleatly fortified, and as we hear with no very strong
garrison, can probably make but a short resistance. The
only danger I apprehend of obstruction to your march is

from ambuscades of Indians, who, by constant practice, are


dexterous in laying and executing them; and the slender
line, near four miles long, which your army m.ust m.ake, m.ay
expose it to be attack'd by surprise in its flanks, and to be
cut like a thread into several pieces, which, from their dis-
tance, can not come up in time to support each other."
He smil'd at my ignorance, and reply'd, "These savages
may, indeed, be a formidable enemy to your raw American
militia, but upon the king's regular and disciplin'd troops,
sir, it is impossible they should make any impression." I
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 141

was conscious of an impropriety in my disputing with a


military man and said no more.
in matters of his profession,
The enemy, however, did not take the advantage of his
army which I apprehended its long line of march expos'd
it to, but let it advance without interruption till within nine

miles of the place; and then, when more in a body (for it


had just passed a river, where the front had halted till
all were come over), and in a more open part of the woods
than any it had pass'd, attacked its advanced guard by a
heavy fire from behind trees and bushes, which was the first
intelligence the general had of an enemy's being near him.
This guard being disordered, the general hurried the troops
up to their assistance, which was done in great confusion,
thro' waggons, baggage, and cattle; and presently the fire
came upon their flank the officers, being on horseback, were
:

more easily distinguish'd, pick'd out as marks, and fell very


fast; and the soldiers were crowded together in a huddle,
having or hearing no orders, and standing to be shot at till
two-thirds of them were killed; and then, being seiz'd with
a panick, the whole fled with precipitation.
The waggoners took each a horse out of his team and
scam.per'd; their example was immediately followed by
others; so that all the waggons, provisions, artillery, and
stores were left to the enemy. The general, being wounded,
was brought oft* with difficulty; his secretary, Mr. Shirley,
was killed by his side; and out of eighty-six officers, sixty-
three were killed or wounded, and seven hundred and four-
teen men killed out of eleven hundred. These eleven hun-
dred had been picked men from the whole army; the rest
had been left behind with Colonel Dunbar, who was to fol-
low Avith the heavier part of the stores, provisions, and
baggage. The flyers, not being pursu'd, arriv'd at Dunbar's
camp, and the panick they brought with them instantly
seiz'd him and all his people; and, tho' he had now above
one thousand men, and the enemy who had beaten Braddock
did not at most exceed four hundred Indians and French
together, instead of proceeding, and endeavoring to recover
some of the lost honour, he ordered all the stores, ammuni-
tion, etc., to be destroy'd, that he might have more horses
to assist his flight towards the settlements, and less lumber
"

142 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN


to remove. He was there met with requests from the gov-
ernors of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, that he
would post his troops on the frontiers, so as to afford some
protection to the inhabitants; but he continu'd his hasty
march thro' all the country, not thinking himself safe till
he arriv'd at Philadelphia, where the inhabitants could pro-
tect him. This whole transaction gave us Americans the
first suspicion that our exalted ideas of the prowess of
British regulars had not been well founded.
In their first march, too, from their landing till they got
beyond the settlements, they had plundered and stripped the
inhabitants, totally ruining some poor families, besides insult-
ing, abusing, and confining the people if they remonstrated.
This was enough to put us out of conceit of such defenders,
if we had really wanted any. How different was the con-
duct of our French friends in 1781, who, during a march
thro' the most inhabited part of our country from Rhode
Island to Virginia, near seven hundred miles, occasioned not
the smallest complaint for thg loss of a pig, a chicken, or
even an apple.
Captain Orme, who was one of the general's aids-de-camp,
and, being grievously wounded, was brought oft* with him,
and continu'd with him to his death, which happen'd in a
few days, told me that he was totally silent all the first day,
and at night only said, " Who would have thought it?
That he was silent again the following day, saying only at
last, " We shall better know hozu to deal with them another
time;" and dy'd in a few minutes after.
The secretary's papers, with all the general's orders, in-
structions, and correspondence, falling into the enemy's
hands, they selected and translated into French a number of
the articles, which they printed, to prove the hostile inten-
tions of the British court before the declaration of war.
Among these I saw some letters of the general to the
ministry, speaking highly of the great service I had ren-
dered the army, and recommending me to their notice. David
Hume, too, who was some years after secretary to Lord
Hertford, when minister in France, and afterward to Gen-
eral Conway, when secretary of state, told me he had seen
among the papers in that office, letters from Braddock
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 143

highly recommending me. But, the expedition having been


unfortunate, my service, it seems, was not thought of much
value, for those recommendations vv^ere never of any use
to me.
As to rewards from himself, I ask'd only one, which was,
that he would give orders to his officers not to enlist any
more of our bought servants, and that he would discharge
such as had been already enlisted. This he readily granted,
and several were accordingly return'd to their masters, on
my application. Dunbar, when the command devolv'd on
him, was not so generous. He being at Philadelphia, on his
retreat, or rather flight, I apply'd to him for the discharge
of the servants of three poor farmers of Lancaster county
that he had enlisted, reminding him of the late general's
orders on that head. He promised me that, if the masters
would come to him at Trenton, where he should be in a few
days on his march to New York, he would there deliver
their men to them. They accordinglyvv^ere at the expense

and trouble of going and there he refus'd to per-


to Trenton,
form his promise, to their great loss and disappointment.
As soon as the loss of the waggons and horses was gen-
erally known, all the owners came upon me for the valuation
which I had given bond to pay. Their demands gave me
a great deal of trouble, my acquainting them that the money
was ready in the paymaster's hands, but that orders for
paying it must first be obtained from General Shirley, and
my assuring them that I had apply'd to that general by
letter; but, he being at a distance, an answer could not
soon be receiv'd^ and they must have patience, all this was
not sufficient to satisfy, and some began to sue me. Gen-
eral Shirley at length relieved me from this terrible situa-
tion by appointing commissioners to examine the claims,
and ordering payment. They amounted to near twenty
thousand pound, which to pay would have ruined me.
Before we had the news of this defeat, the two Doctors
Bond came to me with a subscription paper for raising money
to defray the expense of a grand firework, which it was
intended to exhibit at a rejoicing on receipt of the news
of our taking Fort Duquesne. I looked grave, and said it
would;. I thought^ be time enough to prepare for the rejoicing
144 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
when we knew we should have occasion to rejoice. They
seem'd surpris'd that I did not immediately comply with
their proposal. " Why
the d 1 " says one of them, " you
!

surely don't suppose that the fort will not be taken ? " "I
idon't that it will not be taken, but I know that the events
know
of are subject to great uncertainty." I gave them the
war
reasons of my doubting; the subscription was dropt, and
the projectors thereby missed the mortification they would
have undergone if the firework had been prepared. Dr.
Bond, on some other occasion afterward, said that he did
not like Franklin's forebodings.
Governor Morris, who had continually worried the As-
'sembly with message after message before the defeat of
Braddock, to beat them into the making of acts to raise
money for the defense of the province, v/ithout taxing,
among and had rejected all
others, the proprietary estates,
their bills for not having such an exempting clause, now
redoubled his attacks with more hope of success, the danger
and necessity being greater. The Assembly, however, con-
tinu'd firm, believing they had justice on their side, and that
it would be giving up an essential right if they suffered

the governor to amend their money-bills. In one of the


last, indeed, which was for granting fifty thousand pounds,
his propos'd amendment was only of a single word. The
bill expressed "that all and personal, were to
estates, real
be taxed, those of the proprietaries not excepted." His
amendment was, for not read only : sl small, but very material
alteration. However, when the news of this disaster reached
England, our friends there, w^om we had taken care to fur-
nish with all the Assembly's answers to the governor's mes-
sages, rais'd a clamor against the proprietaries for their
meanness and injustice in giving their governor such in-
structions; some going so far as to say that, by obstructing
the defense of their province, they forfeited their right to it.
They were intimidated by this, and sent orders to their
receiver-general to add five thousand pounds of their money
to whatever sum might be given by the Assembly for such
purpose.
This, being notified to the House, was accepted in lieu
of their share of a general tax, and a new bill was form'd.
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 145

with an exempting clause, which passed accordingly. By


this act I was appointed one of the commissioners for dis-
posing of the money, sixty thousand pounds. I had been
active in modelling the bill and procuring its passage, and
had, at the same time, drawn a bill for establishing and
disciplining of a voluntary militia, which I carried thro' the
House without much difficulty, as care was taken in it to
leave the Quakers at their liberty. To promote the associa-
tion necessary to form the militia, I wrote a dialogue,^*
stating and answering all the objections I could think of to
such a militia, which was printed, and had, as I thought,
great effect.
While the several companies in the city and country
were forming and learning their exercise, the gc^vernor pre-
vail'dwith me to take charge of our North-western frontier,
which was infested by the enem)^, and provide for the defense
of the inhabitants by raising troops and building a line of
forts. I undertook this military business, tho' I did not con-
ceive myself well qualified for it. He gave me a commission
with full powers, and a parcel of blank commissions for
officers, to be given to whom I thought fit. I had but little
difficulty in raising men, having soon five hundred and sixty
under my command. My son, who had in the preceding
war been an officer in the army rais'd against Canada, was
my aid-de-camp, and of great use to me. The Indians had
burned Gnadenhut, a village settled by the Moravians, and
massacred the inhabitants; but the place was thought a
good situation for one of the forts.
In order to march thither, I assembled the companies at
Bethlehem, the chief establishment of those people. I was
surprised to find it in so good a posture of defense; the
destruction of Gnadenhut had made them apprehend danger.
The principal buildings were defended by a stockade; they
had purchased a quantity of arms and ammunition from
New York, and had even plac'd quantities of small paving
stones between the windows of their high stone houses, for
their women to throw down upon the heads of any Indians
that should attempt to force into them. The armed brethren,

^ Xhis dialogue and the mSitia act are in the " Gentleman's Magazine "

for February a5<i March, t^i&i ^Marg. nofe-.}
146 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN /

too, kept watch, and reliev'd as methodically as in any gar-


rison town. In conversation with the bishop, Spailgenberg,
I mentioned this my surprise; for, knowing they had ob-
tained an act of Parhament exempting them from military
duties in the colonies, I had suppos'd they were conscien-
tiously scrupulous of bearing arms'. He answer'd me that
it was not one of their established principles, but that, at

the time of their obtaining that act, it was thought to be a


principle with many of their people. On this occasion, hov/-
ever, they, to their surprise, found it adopted by but a few.
It seems they were either deceiv'd in themselves, or deceiv'd
the Parliament ; but common sense, aided by present danger,
will sometimes be too strong for whimsical opinions.
It was the beginning of January when we set out upon this
business of building forts. I sent one detachment toward
the Minisink, with instructions to erect one for the security
of that upper part of the country^ and another to the lower
part, with similar instructions; and I concluded to go
myself with the rest of my force to Gnadenhut, where a
fort was tho't more immediately necessary. The Moravians
procur'd me five waggons for our tools, stores, baggage, etc.
Just before we left Bethlehem, eleven farmers, who had
been driven from their plantations by the Indians, came to
me requesting a supply of firearms, that they might go back
and fetch off their cattle. I gave them each a gun with
suitable ammunition. We had not march'd many miles
before it began to rain, and it continued raining all day;
there were no habitations on the road to shelter us, till we
arriv'd near night at the house of a German, where, and in
his barn, we were all huddled together, as wet as water
could make us. It was well we were not attack'd in our
march, for our arms were of the most ordinary sort, and
our men could not keep their gun locks dry. The Indians
are dextrous in contrivances for that purpose, which we had
not. They met that day the eleven poor farm.ers above
mentioned, and killed ten of them. The one who escap'd
inform'd that his and his companions' guns would not go off,
the priming being wet with the rain.
The next day being fair, we continu'd our march, and
arriv'd at the desolated Gnadenhut. There was a saw-mill
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 147

near, round which were left several piles of boards, with


which we soon hutted ourselves; an operation the more
necessary at that inclement season, as we had no tents. Our
first work was to bury more effectually the dead we found
there, who had been half interr'd by the country people.
The next morning our fort was plann'd and mark'd out,
the circumference m.easuring four hundred and fifty-five
feet, which would require as m.any palisades to be made of
trees, one with another, of a foot diameter each. Our axes,
of which we had seventy, were immediately set to work to
cut down trees, and, our men being dextrous in the use of
them, great despatch was made. Seeing the trees fall so
fast, I had the curiosity to look at my watch when two men
began to cut at a pine; in six minutes they had it upoii
the ground, and I found it of fourteen inches diameter-.
Each pine made three palisades of eighteen feet long,
pointed at one end. While these were preparing, our other
men dug a trench all round, of three feet deep, in which the
palisades v/ere to be planted; and, our waggons, the bodys
being taken off, and the fore and hind wheels separated by
taking out the pin which united the two parts of the perch,
we had ten carriages, with two horses each, to bring the
palisades from the woods to the spot. When they were set
up, our carpenters built a stage of boards all round within,
about six feet high, for the men to stand on when to fire
thro' the loopholes. We had one swivel gun, which we
mounted on one of the angles, and fir'd it as soon as fix'd, to
let the Indians know, if any were within hearing, that we
had such pieces; and thus our fort, if such a magnificent
name may be given to so miserable a stockade, was finish'd
in a week, though it rain'd so hard every other day that the
men could not work.
This gave me occasion to observe, that, when men are
employ'd, they are best content'd; for on the days they
worked they were good-natur'd and cheerful, and, with the
consciousness of having done a good day's work, they spent
the evening jollily; but on our idle days they v/ere mu-
tinous and quarrelsome, finding fault with their pork, the
bread, etc., and in continual ill-humor, which put me in
mind of a sea-captain, whose rule it was to keep his men
148 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
constantly at work; and, when his mate once told him that
they had done every thing, and there was nothing further
to employ them about, " Oh," says he, " make them scour
the anchor."
This kind of fort, however contemptible, is a sufficient
defense against Indians, who have no cannon. Finding our-
selves now posted securely, and having a place to retreat
to on occasion, we ventur'd out in parties to scour the ad-
jacent country. We met with no Indians, but we found
the places on the neighboring hills where they had lain to
watch our proceedings. There was an art in their con-
trivance of those places, that seems worth mention. It
being winter, a fire was necessary for them; but a common
fire on the surface of the ground would by its light have
discovered their position at a distance. They had therefore
dug holes in the ground about three feet diameter, and some-
what deeper; we saw where they had with their hatchets
cut off the charcoal from the sides of burnt logs lying in
the woods. With these coals they had made small fires in
the bottom of the holes, and we observed among the weeds
and grass the prints of their bodies, made by their laying
all round, with their legs hanging down in the holes to keep

their feet warm, which, with them, Is an essential point.


This kind of fire, so manag'd, could not discover them, either
by its light, flame, sparks, or even smoke: it appear'd that
their number was not great, and it seems they saw we were
too many to be attacked by them with prospect of advantage.
We had for our chaplain a zealous Presbyterian minister,
Mr. Beatty, who complained to me that the men did not
generally attend his prayers and exhortations. When they
enlisted, they were promised, besides pay and provisions, a
gill of rum a day, which was punctually serv'd out to them,
half in the morning, and the other half in the evening; and
I observ'd they were as punctual in attending to receive it;
upon which I said to Mr. Beatty, " It is, perhaps, below the
dignity of your profession to act as steward of the rum,
but if you were to deal it out and only just after prayers,
you would have them all about you." He liked the tho't,
undertook the office, and, with the help of a few hands to
measure out the liquor, executed it to satisfaction, and
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 149

never were prayers more generally and more punctually


attended; so that I thought this method preferable to the
punishment inflicted by some military laws for non-attend-
ance on divine service.
I had hardly finish'd this business, and got my fort well
stor'd with provisions, when I receiv'd a letter from the
governor, acquainting me that he had call'd the Assembly,
and wished my attendance there, if the posture of affairs on
the frontiers was such that my remaining there was no
longer necessary. My friends, too, of the Assembly, press-
ing me by their letters to be, if possible, at the meeting,
and my three intended forts being now compleated, and the
inhabitants contented to remain on their farms under that
protection, I resolved to return; the more willingly, as a
New England officer, Colonel Clapham, experienced in In-
dian war, being on a visit to our establishment, consented to
accept the command. I gave him a commission, and, parad-
ing the garrison, had it read before them, and introduc'd
him to them as an officer who, from his skill in military
afifairs, was much more fit to command them than myself;

and, giving them a little exhortation, took my leave. I was


escorted as far as Bethlehem, where I rested a few days to
recover from the fatigue I had undergone. The first night,
being in a good bed, I could hardly sleep, it was so different
from my hard lodging on the floor of our hut at Gnaden
wrapt only in a blanket or two.
While at Bethlehem, I inquir'd a little into the practice of
the Moravians: some of them had accompanied me, and all
were very kind to me. I found they work'd for a common
stock, eat at common tables, and slept in common dormi-
tories, great numbers together. In the dormitories I ob-
served loopholes, at certain distances all along just under
the ceiling, which I thought judiciously placed for change
of air. I was at their church, where I was entertaln'd with
good musick, the organ being accompanied with violins,
hautboys, flutes, clarinets, etc. I understood that their ser-
mons were not usually pVeached to mixed congregations of
men, women, and children, as is our comm.on practice, but
that they assembled sometimes the married men, at other
times their wives, then the young men, the young women.
150 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
and the little children, each division by itself. The sermon
I heard was to the latter, who came in and were plac'd in
rows on benches; the boys tmder the conduct of a young
man, their tutor, and the girls conducted by a young woman.
The discourse seem'd well adapted to their capacities, and
was delivered in a pleasing, familiar manner, coaxing them,
as it were, to be good. They behav'd very orderly, but
looked pale and unhealthy, which made me suspect they v/ere
kept too much within doors, or not allow'd sufficient exercise.
I inquir'd concerning the Moravian marriages, whether
the reportwas true that they were by lot. I was told that
lotswere us'd only in particular cases that generally, when
;

a young man found himself dispos'd to marry, he inform'd


the eiders of his class, who consulted the elder ladies that
govern'd the young women. As these elders of the different
sexes were well acquainted with the tempers and dispositions
of their respective pupils, they could best judge what matches
were suitable, and their judgments were generally acquiesc'd
in; but if, for example, it should happen that two or three
young women were found to be equally proper for the
young man, the lot was then recurred to. I objected, if the
matches are not m.ade by the mutual choice of the parties,
some of them may chance to be very unhappy. " And so
they may," answer'd my informer, *' if you let the parties
;
chuse for themselves " which, indeed, I could not deny.
Being returned to Philadelphia, I found the association
went on swimmingly, the inhabitants that were not Quakers
having pretty generally come into it, formed themselves into
companies, and chose their captains, lieutenants, and ensigns,
according to the new law. Dr. B. visited me, and gave me
an account of the pains he had taken to spread a general
good liking to the law, and ascribed much to those endeavors.
I had had the vanity to ascribe all to my Dialogue; however,
not knowing but that he might be in the right, I let him
enjoy his opinion, which I take to be generally the best way
in such cases. The officers, meeting, chose me to be colonel
of the regiment, which I this time accepted. I forget how
many companies we had, but we paraded about twelve hun-
dred well-looking men, with a company of artillery, who
had been furnished with six brass field-pieces, which they
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 151

had become so expert in the use of as to fire twelve times in


a minute. The time I reviewed my regiment they
first

accompanied me to my house, and would salute me with


some rounds fired before my door, which shook down and
broke several glasses of my electrical apparatus. And my
new honour proved not much less brittle; for all our com-
missions were soon after broken by a repeal of the law in
England.
'During this short time of my colonelship, being about to
set out on a journey to Virginia, the officers of my regiment
took it into their heads that it would be proper for them
to escort me out of town, as far as the Lower Ferry. Just
as I was getting on horseback they came to my door, between
thirty and forty, mounted, and all in their uniforms. I had
not been previously acquainted with the project, or I should
have prevented it, being naturally averse to the assum.ing
of state on any occasion; and I was a good deal chagrin'd
at their appearance, as I could not avoid their accompanying
me. What made it worse was, that, as soon as we began to
move, they drew their swords and rode with them naked all
the way. Somebody wrote an account of this to the pro-
prietor, and it gave him great offense. No such honor had
been paid him when in the province, nor to any of his
governors; and he said it was only proper to princes of the
blood royal, which may be true for aught I know, who was,
and still am, ignorant of the etiquette in such cases.
This silly affair, however, greatly increased his rancour
against me, which was before not a little, on account of my
conduct in the Assembly respecting the exemption of his
estate from taxation, which I had always oppos'd very
warmly, and not without severe reflections on his meanness
and injustice of contending for it. He accused me to the
ministry as being the great obstacle to the king's service,
preventing, by my influence in the House, the proper form
of the bills for raising money, and he instanced this parade
with my officers as a proof of my having an intention to take
the government of the province out of his hands by force.
He also applied to Sir Everard Fawkener, the postmaster-
general, to deprive me of my office but it had no other effect
;

than to procure from. Sir Everard a gentle admonition.


152 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
Notwithstanding the continual wrangle between the gov-
ernor and the House, in which I, as a member, had so large
a share, there still subsisted a civil intercourse between that
gentleman and myself, and we never had any personal dif-
ference. I have sometimes since thought that his little or
no resentment against me, for the answers it was known I
drew up to his messages, might be the effect of professional
habit, and that, being bred a lawyer, he mJght consider us
both as merely advocates for contending clients in a suit,
he for the proprietaries and I for the Assembly. He would,
therefore, sometimes call in a friendly way to advise with
me on difficult points, and sometimes, tho' not often, take
my advice.
We acted in concert to supply Braddock's army with pro-
visions; and, when the shocking news arrived of his defeat,
the governor sent in haste for me, to consult with him on
measures for preventing the desertion of the back counties.
I forget now the advice I gave; but I think it was, that
Dunbar should be written to, and prevail'd with, if possible,
to post his troops on the frontiers for their protection, till,
by re-enforcements from the colonies, he might be able to
proceed on the expedition. And, after my return from the
frontier, he w^ould have had me undertake the conduct of
such an expedition with provincial troops, for the reduction
of Fort Duquesne, Dunbar and his men being otherwise
employed; and he proposed to commission me as general.
I had not so good an opinion of my military abilities as he
profess'd to have, and I believe his professions must have
exceeded his real sentiments; but probably he might think
that my popularity would facilitate the raising of the men,
and my influence in Assembly, the grant of money to pay
them, and that, perhaps, withoi^t taxing the proprietary
estate. Finding me not so forward to engage as he expected,
the project was dropt, and he soon after left the government,
being superseded by Captain Denny.
Before I proceed in relating the part I had in public affairs
under this new governor's administration, it may not be
amiss here to give some account of the rise and progress of
my philosophical reputation.
In 1746, being at Boston, I met there with a Dr. Spence,
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 153

who was lately arrived from Scotland, and show'd me some


electric experiments. They were imperfectly perform'd, as
he was not very expert; but, being on a subject quite new
to me, they equally surpris'd and pleased me. Soon after my
return to Philadelphia, our library company receiv'd from
Mr. P. Collinson, Fellow of the Royal Society of London, a
present of a glass tube, with some account of the use of it
in making such experiments. I eagerly seized the oppor-
tunity of repeating what I had seen at Boston; and, by
much practice, acquir'd great readiness in performing those,
also, which we had an account of from England, adding a
number of new ones. I say much practice, for my house
was continually full, for some time, with people who came
to see these new wonders.
To divide a liftle this incumbrance among my friends, I
caused a number of similar tubes to be blown at our glass-
house, with which they furnish'd themselves, so that we had
at length several performers. Among these, the principal
,was Mr. Kinnersley, an ingenious neighbor, who, being out
of business, I encouraged to undertake showing the experi-
ments for money, and drew up for him two lectures, in which
the experiments were rang'd in such order, and accompanied
with such explanations in such method, as that the fore-
going should assist in comprehending the following. He
procur'd an elegant apparatus for the purpose, in which all
the little machines that I had roughly made for myself were
nicely form'd by instrument-makers. His lectures were well
attended, and gave great satisfaction; and after some time
he went thro' the colonies, exhibiting them in every capital
town, and pick'd up some money. In the West India islands,
indeed, it was with difficulty the experiments could be made,
from the general moisture of the air.
Oblig'd as we were to Mr. Collinson for his present of the
tube, etc., I thought it right he should be inform'd of our

success in using it, and wrote him several letters containing


accounts of our experiments. He got them read in the Royal
Society, where they were not at first thought worth so
much notice as to be printed in their Transactions. One
paper, which I wrote for Mr. Kinnersley, on the sameness
of lightning with electricity, I sent to Dr. Mitchel, an
154 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
acquaintance of mine, and one of the members also of that
society, who wrote me word that it had been read, but was
laughed at by the connoisseurs. The papers, however, being
shown to Dr. Fothergill, he thought them of too much value
to be stifled, and advis'd the printing of them. Mr. Collinson
then gave them to Cave for publication in his Gentleman's
Magazine; but he chose to print them separately in a
pam-phlet, and Dr. Fothergill wrote the preface. Cave, it
seems, judged rightly for his profit, for by the additions
that arrived afterward they swell'd to a quarto volume,
which has had five editions, and cost him nothing for
copy-money.
It was, however, some time before those papers were much
taken notice of in England. A copy of them happening to
fall into the hands of the Count de Buffon, a philosopher
deservedly of great reputation in France, and, indeed, all
over Europe, he prevailed with M. Dalibard to translate
them into French, and they were printed at Paris. The
publication offended the Abbe NoUet, preceptor in Natural
Philosophy to the royal family, and an able experimenter,
who had form'd and publish'd a theory of electricit}'-, which
then had the general vogue. He could not at first believe
that such a work came from America, and said it must have
been fabricated by his enemies at Paris, to decry his system.
Afterwards, having been assur'd that there really existed
such a person as Franklin at Philadelphia, which he had
doubted, he wrote and published a volume of Letters, chiefly
address'd to me, defending his theory, and denying the verity
of my experiments, and of t'he positions deduc'd from them.
I once purpos'd answering the abbe, and actually began
the answer; but, on consideration that my writings con-
tain'd a description of experiments which any one might
repeat and verif}'-, and if not to be verifi'd, could not be
defended; or of observations offer'd as conjectures, and not
delivered dogmatically, therefore not laying me under any
obligation to defend them; and reflecting that a dispute
between two persons, writing in different languages, might
be lengthened greatly by mistranslations, and thence miscon-
ceptions of one another's meaning, much of one of the
abbe's letters being founded on an error in the translation
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 155

I concluded to let my
papers shift for themselves, believing
it was what time I could spare from public
better to spend
business in making new experiments, than in disputing about
those already made". I therefore never answered M. Nollet,
and the event gave me no cause to repent my silence; for
m.y friend M. le Roy, of the Royal Academy of Sciences,
took up my cause and refuted him my book was translated
;

into the ItaHan, German, and Latin languages; and the


doctrine it contain'd was by degrees universally adopted by
the philosophers of Europe, in preference to that of the
abbe; so that he lived to see himself the last of his sect,
except Monsieur B , of Paris, his eleve and immediate
disciple.
What gave my book the more sudden and general celebrity,
was the success of one of proposed experiments, made by
its

Messrs. Dalibard and De Lor at Marly, for drawing light-


ning from the clouds. This engaged the public attention
every where, M. de Lor, who had an apparatus tor experi-
mental philosophy, and lectur'd in that branch of science,
undertook to repeat what he called the Philadelphia Experi-
ments; and, after they were performed before the king and
court, all the curious of Paris flocked to see them. I will
not swell this narrative with an account of that capital
experiment, nor of the infinite pleasure I receiv'd in the
success of a similar one I made soon after with a kite at
Philadelphia, as both are to be found in the histories of
electricity.
Dr. Wright, an English physician, v/hen at Paris, wrote
to a friend, who was of the Royal Society, an account of the
high esteem my experiments were in among the learned
abroad, and of their wonder that my writings had been so
little noticed in England. The society, on this, resum'd the
consideration of the letters that had been read to them and
;

the celebrated Dr. Watson drew up a sumimary account of


them, and of all I had afterwards sent to England on the
subject, which he accompanied with som.e praise of the
writer. This summary was then printed in their Transac-
tions ; and some micmbers of the society in London, particu-
larly the very ingenious Mr. Canton, having verified the
experiment of procuring lightning from the clouds by a
156 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
pointed rod, and acquainting them with the success, they
soon made me more than amends for the slight with which
they had before treated me. Without my having made any
application for that honor, they chose me a member, and
voted that I should be excus'd the customary payments,
which would have amounted to twenty-five guineas; and
ever since have given me their Transactions gratis. They
also presented me with the gold medal of Sir Godfrey Copley
for the year 1753, the delivery of which was accompanied by
a very handsome speech of the president. Lord Macclesfield,
wherein I was highly honoured.
Our new governor. Captain Denny, brought over for me
the before-micntioned medal from the Royal Society, which
he presented to me at an entertainment given him by the
city. He accompanied it with very polite expressions of his
esteem for me, having, as he said, been long acquainted with
my character. After dinner, when the company, as was
customary at that time, were engag'd in drinking, he took
me aside into another room, and acquainted me that he had
been advis'd by his friends in England to cultivate a friend-
ship with me, as one who was capable of giving him the
best advice, and of contributing most effectually to the
making his administration easy; that he therefore desired
of all things to have a good understanding with me, and he
begg'd me to be assur'd of his readiness on all occasions to
render me every service that might be in his power. He
said much to me, also, of the proprietor's good disposition
towards the province, and of the advantage it might be to
us all, and to me in particular, if the opposition that had
been so long continu'd to his measures was dropt, and har-
mony restor'd between him and the people; in effecting
which, it was thought no one could be more serviceable than
myself; and I might depend on adequate acknowledgments
and recompenses, etc., etc. The drinkers, finding we did not
return immediately to the table, sent us a decanter of
Madeira, which the governor made liberal use of, and in
proportion became more profuse of his solicitations and
promises.
My answers were to this purpose that my circumstances,
:

thanks to God, were such as to make proprietary favours


I

HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 157

unnecessary to me and that, being a member of the Assem-


;

bly, I could not possibly accept of any that, however, I had


;

no personal enmity to the proprietary, and that, whenever


the public measures he propos'd should appear to be for the
good of the people, no one should espouse and forward them
more zealously than myself my past opposition having been
;

founded on this, that the measures which had been urged


were evidently intended to serve the proprietary interest,
with great prejudice to that of the people; that I was much
obliged to him (the governor) for his professions of regard
to me, and that he might rely on every thing in my power
to make his administration as easy as possible, hoping at
the same time that he had not brought with him the same
unfortunate instruction his predecessor had been hamper'd
with.
On this he did not then explain himself; but when he
afterwards came to do business with the Assembly, they
appear'd again, the disputes were renewed, and I was as
active as ever in the opposition, being the penman, first, of
the request to have a communication of the instructions, and
then of the remarks upon them, which may be found in the
votes of the time, and in the Historical Review I afterward
publish'd. But between us personally no enmity arose; we
were often together; he was a man of letters, had seen
much of the world, and was very entertaining and pleasing
in conversation. He gave me the first information that my
old friend Jas. Ralph was still alive; that he was, esteem'd
one of the best political writers in England; had been em-
ploy'd in the dispute between Prince Frederic and the king,
and had obtain'd a pension of three hundred a year; that
his reputation was indeed small as a poet. Pope having
damned his poetry in the Dunciad; but his prose was
thought as good as any man's.
^'The Assembly finally finding the proprietary obstinately
persisted in manacling their deputies with instructions in-
consistent not only with the privileges of the people, but
with the service of the crown, resolv'd to petition the king
against them, and appointed me their agent to go over to

^The many unanimous resolves of the Assembly what date?


{Marg. note.
1S8 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
England, to present and support the petition. The House
had sent up a bill to the governor, granting a sum of sixty
thousand pounds for the king's use (ten thousand pounds of
which was subjected to the orders of the then general, Lord
Loudoun), which the governor absolutely refus'd to pass, in
compliance with his instructions.
I had agreed with Captain Morris, of the paquet at New
York, for my passage, and my stores were put on board,
when Lord Loudoun arriv'd at Philadelphia, expressly, as
he told me, to endeavor an accommodation between the
governor and Assembly, that his majesty's service might not
be obstructed by their dissensions. Accordingly, he desir'd
the governor and myself to meet him, that he might hear
what was to be said on both sides. We met and discuss'd
the business. In behalf of the Assembly, I urg'd all the
various arguments that may be found in the public papers of
that time, which were of my writing, and are printed with
the minutes of the Assembly; and the governor pleaded his
instructions; the bond he had given to observe them, and
his ruin if he disobey'd, yet seemed not unwilling to hazard
himself if Lord Loudoun would advise it. This his lordship
did not chuse to do, though I once thought I had nearly
prevail'd with him to do it; but finally he rather chose to
urge the compliance of the Assembly; and he entreated me
to use my endeavours with them for that purpose, declaring
that he would spare none of the king's troops for the defense
of our frontiers, and that, if we did not continue to provide
for that defense ourselves, they must remain expos'd to the
enemy.
I acquainted the House with what had pass'd, and, pre-
senting them with a set of resolutions I had drawn up,
declaring our rights, and that we did not relinquish our
claim to those rights, but only suspended the exercise of
them on this occasion thro' force, against which we protested,
they at length agreed to drop that bill, and frame another
conformable to the proprietary instructions. This of course
the governor pass'd, and I was then at liberty to proceed on
my voyage. But, in the meantime, the paquet had sailed
with my sea-stores, which was some loss to me, and m.y
only recompense was his lordship's thanks for my service.
;

HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 159

all the credit of obtaining the accommodation falling to his


share.
He set out for New York before me; and, as the time
for dispatching the paquet-boats was at his disposition, and
there were two then remaining there, one of which, he said,
,was to sail very soon, I requested to know the precise time,
that I miight not miss her by any delay of mine. His answer
was, " I have given out that she is to sail on Saturday next
but I m.ay let you know, entre nous, that if you are there by
Monday morning, you will be in time, but do not delay
longer." By some accidental hinderance at a ferry, it was
Monday noon before I arrived, and I was much afraid she
might have sailed, as the wind was fair; but I was soon
made easy by the information that she was still in the har-
bor, and would not move till the next day. One would
imagine that I was now on the very point of departing for
Europe. I thought so but I was not then so well acquainted
;

with his lordship's character, of which indecision was one of


the strongest features. I shall give some instances. It was
about the beginning of April that I came to New York, and I
think it was near the end of June before we sail'd. There
were then two of the paquet-boats, which had been long in
port, but were detained for the general's letters, which were
always to be ready to-morrow. Another paquet arriv'd;
she too was detain'd; and, before we sail'd, a fourth was
expected. Ours was the first to be dispatch'd, as having been
there longest. Passengers were engag'd in all, and some
extremely impatient to be gone, and the merchants uneasy
about their letters, and the orders the}^ had given for in-
surance (it being war time) for fall goods but their anxiety
!

avail'd nothing; his lordship's letters were not ready; and


yet whoever waited on him found him always at his desk,
pen in hand, and concluded he must needs write abundantly.
Going myself one morning to pay my respects, I found in
his antechamber one Innis, a messenger of Philadelphia,
who had come from thence express with a paquet from Gov-
ernor Denny for the General. He delivered to me some
letters from, my friends there, which occasion'd my inquiring
when he was to return, and where he lodg'd, that I might
send some letters by him. He told me he was order'd to
160 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
call to-morrow at nine for the general's answer to the gov-
ernor, and should set off immediately. I put my letters into
his hands the same day. A fortnight after I met him again
in the same place. " So, you are soon return'd, Innis ?'*
" Return' d! no, I am not gone yet." "How so?" "I have
called here by order every m.orning these two weeks past fof
his lordship's letter, and it is not yet ready." " Is it possible,
when he is so great a writer ? for I see him constantly at his
escritoire." " Yes," says Innis, " but he is like St. George
on the signs, always on horseback, and never rides on."
This observation of the messenger was, it seems, well
founded; for, when in England, I understood that Mr. Pitt
gave it as one reason for removing this general, and sending
Generals Amherst and Wolfe, that the minister never heard
from him, and could not know what he was doing.
This daily expectation of sailing, and all the three paquets
going down to Sandy Hook, to join the fleet there, the pas-
sengers thought it best to be on board, lest by a sudden
order the ships should sail, and they be left behind. There,
if I remember right, we Vv^ere about six weeks, consuming
our sea-stores, and oblig'd to procure more. At length the
fleet sail'd, the General and all his army on board, bound to
Louisburg, with intent to besiege and take that fortress all ;

the paquet-boats in company ordered to attend the General's


ship, ready to receive his dispatches when they should be
ready. We were out five days before we got a letter with
leave to part, and then our ship quitted the fleet and steered
for England. The other two paquets he still detained, car-
ried them v/ith him to Halifax, where he stayed some time
to exercise the men in sham attacks upon sham forts, then
alter'd his mind as to besieging Louisburg, and return'd to
New York, with all his troops, together with the two paquets
above mentioned, and all their passengers ! During his
absence the French and savages had taken Fort George, on
the frontier of that province, and the savages had massacred
many of the garrison after capitulation.
I saw afterwards in London Captain Bonnell, who com-
manded one of those paquets. He told me that, when he
had been detain'd a month, he acquainted his lordship that
his ship was grown foul, to a degree that must necessarily
. HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 161

hinder her fast sailing, a point of consequence for a paquet-


boat, and requested an allowance of time to heave her down
and clean her bottom. He was asked how long time that would
require. He answer'd, three days. The general replied, " If
you can do it in one day, I give leave; otherwise not; for
you must certainly sail the day after to-morrow." So he
never obtained leave, though detained afterwards from day
to day during full three months.
I saw also in London one of BonnelFs passengers, who
was so enrag'd against his lordship for deceiving and de-
taining him so long at New York, and then carrying him to
Halifax and back again, that he swore he would sue for
damages. Whether he did or not, I never heard but, as he
;

represented the injury to his affairs, it was very considerable.


On the whole, I wonder'd much how such a man came to
be intrusted with so important a business as the conduct of
a great army; but, having since seen more of the great
world, and the means of obtaining, and motives for giving
places, my wonder is diminished. General Shirley, on whom
the command of the army devolved upon the death of Brad-
dock, would, in my opinion, if continued in place, have made
a much better campaign than that of Loudoun in 1757, which
was frivolous, expensive, and disgraceful to our nation be-
yond conception; for, tho'' Shirley was not a bred soldier,
he was sensible and sagacious in himself, and attentive to
good advice from others, capable of forming judicious plans,
and quick and active in carrying them into execution. Lou-
doun, instead of defending the colonies with his great arm}?-,
left them totally expos'd while he paraded idly at Halifax,
by which means Fort George was lost, besides, he derang'd
all our mercantile operations, and distress'd our trade, by a
long embargo on the exportation of provisions, on pretence
of keeping supplies from being obtain'd by the enemy, but
in reality for beating down their price in favor of the con-
tractors, in whose profits, it was said, perhaps from suspicion
only, he had a share. And, when at length the embargo was
taken off, by neglecting to send notice of it to Charlestown,
the Carolina fleet was detain'd near three months longer,
whereby their bottoms were so much damaged by the worm
that a great part of them foundered in their passage home.
6 HCVol. 1
^^ 'Benjamin franiclin
Shirley waSy I believe, sincerely glad of being- relieves
frcm so byrdensome a charge as the conduct of an army
must be to a man unacquainted with military business. I
was at the entertainment given by the city o New York to
Lord Loudoun, on his taking upon him the comm_and. Shir-
ley, tho' thereby superseded, was present also. There was a
great company of officers, citizens, and strangers, and, some
chairs having been borrowed in the neighborhood, there was
one among them very low, which fell to the lot of Mr.
Shirley, Perceiving it as I sat by him, I said, " They have
given you, sir, too low a seat'' " No matter/' says he, " Mr.
Franklin, I find a low seat the easiest."
While I was, as afore mention'd^ detain'd at New York, I
receiv'd all the accounts of the provisions, etc., that I had
furnish'd to Braddock, some of which accounts could not
sooner be obtain'd from the different persons I had employed
to assist in the business. I presented them to Lord Loudoun,
desiring to be paid the ballance. He caus'd them to be reg-
ularly examined by the proper officer, who, after comparing
every article with its voucher, certified them to be right and ;

the balance due for which his lordship promis'd to give me


an order oa the paymaster. This was, however, put off
from time to time and, tho' I call'd often for it by appoint-
;

ment, I did not get it. At length, just before my departure,


he told me he had, on better consideration, concluded not to
mix his accounts with those of his predecessors. " And you,"
says he, " when in England, have only to exhibit your
accounts at the treasury, and you will be paid immediately."
I mention'd, but without effect, the great and unexpected
expense I had been put to by being detain'd so long at'New
York, as a reason for my desiring to be presently paid ; and
on my observing that it was not right I should be put to
any further trouble or delay in obtaining the money I had
advanc'd, as I charged no commission for my service, " O,
sir," says he, *' you must not think of persuading us that you
are no gainer ; we understand better those affairs, and know
that every one concerned in supplying the army finds means,
in the doing it, to fill his own pockets." I assur'd him that
was not my case, and that I had not pocketed a farthing;
but he appeared clearly not to believe me; and, indeed, I
;

HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 163

have since learnt that immense fortunes are often made in


such employments. As to my ballance, I am not paid it to
this day, of which more hereafter.
Our captain of the paquet had boasted much, before we
sailed, of the swiftness of his ship unfortunately, Vv^hen we
;

came to sea, she proved the dullest of ninety-six sail, to his


no small mortification. After many conjectures respecting
the cause, vv'hen we were near another ship almost as dull
as ours, which, however, gain'd upon us, the captain ordered
all hands to come aft, and stand as near the ensign staff as
possible. We were, passengers included, about forty per-
sons. While we stood there, the ship mended her pace, and
soon left her neighbour far behind, v/hich prov'd clearly
what our captain suspected, that she was loaded too much
by the head. The casks of water, it seems, had been all
plac'd forv\^ard; these he therefore order'd to be mov'd
further aft, on which the ship recover'd her character, and
proved the sailer in the fleet.
The captain said she had once gone at the rate of thirteen
knots, which is accounted thirteen miles per hour. We had
on board, as a passenger, Captain Kennedy, of the Navy,
who contended that it was impossible, and that no ship ever
sailed so fast, and that there must have been some error in
the division of the log-line, or some mistake in heaving the
log. A w^ager ensu'd betv/een the two captains, to be decided
when there should be sufficient wind. Kennedy thereupon
examin'd rigorously the log-line, and, being satisfi'd with
that, he determin'd to throw the log himself. Accordingly
some days after, when the wind blew very fair and fresh,
and the captain of the paquet, Lutwidge, said he believ'd
she then went at the rate of thirteen knots, Kennedy made
the experiment, and own'd his wager lost.
The above fact I give for the sake of the following ob-
servation. It has been remark'd, as an imperfection in the
art of ship-building, that it can never be known, till she

is tried, whether a new ship will or will not be a good sailer

for that the model of a good-sailing ship has been exactly


follow'd in a new one, which has prov'd, on the contrary,
remarkably dull. I apprehend that this rnay partly be oc-
casion'd by the different opinions of seamen respecting the
164 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
modes o lading', rigging, and sailing of a ship^ each has
his system; and the same vessel;, laden by the judgment
and orders of one captain^, shall sail better or worse than
when by the orders of another. Besides, it scarce ever ha|)-
pens that a ship is form'd, fitted for the sea, and sail'd by
the same person. One man builds the hull, another rigs her,
a third lades and sails her. No one of these has the ad-
vantage of knowing all the ideas and experience of the
others, and, therefore, can not draw just conclusions from
a combination of the whole.
Even in the simple operation of sailing when at sea, I
have often observ'd different judgments in the officers who
commanded the successive watches, the wind being the same.
One would have the sails trimm'd sharper or flatter than
another, so that they seem'd to have no certain rule to
govern by. Yet I think a set of experiments might be
instituted, first, to determine the most proper form of the
hull for swift sailing; next, the best dimensions and prop-
erest place for the masts: then the form and quantity of
iiails, and their position, as the wind may be ; and, lastly, the

disposition of the lading. This is an age of experiments, and


I think a set accurately made and combin'd would be of great
use. I am persuaded, therefore, that ere long some ingenious
philosopher will undertake it, to whom I wish success.
We were several times chas'd in our passage, but outsail'd
every thing, and in thirty days had soundings. We had a
good observation, and the captain judg'd himself so near
our port, Falmouth, that, if we made a good run in the
night, we might be off the mouth of that harbor in the
morning, and by running in the night might escape the
notice of the enemy's privateers, who often crus'd near the
entrance of the channel. Accordingly, all the sail was set
that we could possibly make, and the wind being very fresh
and fair, we went right before it, and made great way.
The captain, after his observation, shap'd his course, as he
thought, so as to pass wide of the Scilly Isles ; but it seems
there is sometimes a strong indraught setting up St. George's
Channel, which deceives seamen and caused the loss of Sir
Cloudesley Shovel's squadron. This indraught v/as prol
the cause of what happened to us.
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 165

We liad a watchman bow, to whom they


plac'd in the
often called, ''Look well out before there" and he as often
ansv/ered, "Ay ay;" but perhaps had his eyes shut, and was
half asleep at the time, they sometimes answering, as is
said, mechanically; for he did not see a light just before
us, which had been hid by the studdingsails from the man at
the helrn, and from the rest of the watch, but by an accidental
yaw of the ship was discover'd, and occasion'd a great
alarm, we being very near it, the light appearing to me as
big as a cart-wheel. It was midnight, and our captain fast
asleep; but Captain Kennedy, jumping upon deck, and see-
ing the danger, ordered the ship to wear round, all sails
standing; an operation dangerous to the masts, but it
carried us clear, and we escaped shipwreck, for we were
running right upon the rocks on which the light-house
was erected. This deliverance im-pressed me strongly with
the utility of light-houses, and made me resolve to encourage
the building more of them in America, if I should live to
return there.
In the morning it was found by the soundings, etc., that
V7e were near our port, but a thick fog hid the land from
our sight. About nine o'clock the fog began to rise, and
seem'd to be lifted up from the water like the curtain at a
play-house, discovering underneath, the town of Falmouth,
the vessels in its harbor, and the fields that surrounded it.
This was a most pleasing spectacle to those who had been
so long without any other prospects than the uniform view
of a vacant ocean, and it gave us the more pleasure as we
were now free from the anxieties which the state of war
occasion'd.
with my son, for London, and we
I set out imm.ediately,
only stopt a by the way to view Stonehenge on Salis-
little

bury Plain, and Lord Pembroke's house and gardens, with


his very curious antiquities at Wilton. We arrived in
London the 27th of July, 1757.^*

^s Here terminates tlie Autobiograpliy, as published by Wm. Temple


Franklin and his successors. What follows was written in the last year
of Dr. Franklin's life, and was first printed (in English) in Mr. Bigelow's
edition of i868.T=rED.
S SOON as I was settled in a lodging Mr. Charles had
provided for me, I vv^ent to visit Dr. Fotliergill, to
whom I was strongly recommended, and whose coun-
sel respecting my proceedings I was advis'd to obtain. He
was against an immediate complaint to government, and
thought the proprietaries should first be personally appli'd
to, who might possibly be induc'd by the interposition and
persuasion of some private friends, to accommodate matters
amicably. I then waited on my old friend and correspondent,
Mr. Peter CoUinson, who told me that John H^nbury, the
great Virginia merchant, had requested to be informed when
I should arrive, that he might carry me to Lord Granville's,
who was then President of the Council and wished to see
me as soon as possible. I agreed to go with him the next
morning. Accordingly Mr. Hanbury called for me and took
me in his carriage to that nobleman's, who receiv'd me with
great civility; and after some questions respecting the pres-
ent state of affairs in America and discourse thereupon, he
said to me :
" You Americans have wrong ideas of the nature

of your constitution; you contend that the king's instruc-


tions to his governors are not laws, and think yourselves at
liberty to regard or disregard them at your own discretion.
But those instructions are not like the pocket instructions
given to a minister going abroad, for regulating his conduct
in some trifling point of ceremony. They are first drawn up
by judges learned in the laws; they are then considered,
debated, and perhaps am.ended in Council, after which they
are signed by the king. They are then, so far as they relate
to you, the law of the land, for the king is the Legislator
OF THE Colonies.'"' I told his lordship this was new doc-
trine to me. I had always understood from our charters
that our laws were to be miade by our Assemblies, to be pre-
sented indeed to the king for his royal assent, but that being
168
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 167

once given the king could not repeal or alter them. And as
the Assemblies cculd not make permanent laws without
his assent, so neither could he make a law for them without
theirs. He assur'd me I was totally mnstaken. I did not
think however, and his lordship's conversation having
so,
a little alarm'd me as to w'hat might be the sentiments of
the court concerning us, I wrote it down as soon as I
return'd to m.y lodgings. I recollected that about 20 years
before, a clause in a bill brought into Parliament by the
ministry had propos'd to make the king's instructions laws
in the colonies, but the clause v/as thrown out by the Com-
mons, for which we adored themi as our friends and friends
of liberty, till by their conduct towards us in 1765 it seem'd
that they had refus'd that point of sovereignty to the king
only that they might reserve it for them.selves.
After some days, Dr. Fothergill having spoken to the
proprietaries, they agreed to a meeting with m.e at Mr. T.
Penn's house in Spring Garden. The conversation at first
consisted of mutual declarations of disposition to reasonable
accommodations, but I suppose each party had its own ideas
of what should be m.eant by reasonable. We then went into
consideration of our several points of complaint, which I
enumerated. The proprietaries justify'd their conduct as
well as they could, and I the Assembly's. We now appeared
very wide, and so far from each other in our opinions as to
discourage ail hope of agreement. However, it was con-
cluded that I should give them the heads of our complaints
in writing, and they promis'd then to consider them. I did
so soon after, but they put the paper into the hands of their
solicitor, Ferdinand John Paris, Vv^ho managed for them all
their law business in their great suit with the neighbouring
proprietary of Maryland, Lord BaltimiOre, which had subsisted
70 years, and wrote for them all their papers and messages
in their dispute with the A^ssem.bly. He was a proud, angry
man, and as I had occasionally in the answers of the As-
sembly treated his papers with some severity^, they being
really weak in point of argument and haughty in expression,
he had conceived a mortal enmity to m.e, which discovering
itself whenever \yq met, I declin'd the proprietary's pro-
posal that he and I should discuss the heads of complaint
168 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
between our two selves, and refus'd treating with any one
but them. They then by his advice put the paper into the
hands of the Attorney and Solicitor-General for their opinion
and counsel upon it, where it lay unanswered a year wanting
eight days, during which time I made frequent demands
of an answer from the proprietaries, but without obtain-
ing any otlier than that they had not yet received the opinion
of the Attorney and Solicitor-General. What it was when
they dki receive never learnt, for they did not communi-
it I

cate it to me, but sent a long message to the Assembly


drawn and signed by Paris, reciting my paper, complaining
of its want of formality, as a rudeness on my part, and
giving a flimsy justification of their conduct, adding that
they should be willing to accommodate matters if the As-
sembly would send out some person of candour to treat with
them for that purpose, intimating thereby that I was not
such.
The want of formality or rudeness was, probably, my not
having addressed the paper to them with their assum'd titles
of True and Absolute Proprietaries of the Province of Penn-
sylvania, which omitted as not thinking it necessary in a
I
paper, the intention of which was only to reduce to a cer-
tainty by writing, what in conversation I had delivered
viva voce.
But during this delay, the Assembly having prevailed with
Gov'r Denny to pass an act taxing the proprietary estate
in common with the estates of the people, which was the
grand point in dispute, they omitted answering the message.
When this act however came over, the proprietaries, coun-
selled by Paris, determined to oppose its receiving the royal
assent. Accordingly they petition'd the king in Council, and
a hearing was appointed In which two lawyers were em-
ploy'd by them against the act, and two by me in support of
'

it. They alledg'd that the act was intended to load the
proprietary estate in order to spare those of the people, and
that if it were suffer'd to continue in force, and the pro-
prietaries who were in odium with the people, left to their
mercy in proportioning the taxes, they would inevitably be
ruined. We reply'd that the act had no such intention, and
would have no su^ch effect. That the assessors were honest
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 169

and discreet men under an oath to assess fairly and equitably,


and that any advantage each of them might expect in
lessening his own tax by augmenting that of the proprie-
taries was too trifling to induce them to perjure themselves.
This Is the purport of what I remember as urged by both
sides, except that we insisted strongly on the mischievous
consequences that must attend a repeal, for that the money,
100,000, being printed and given to the king's use, expended
in his service, and now spread among the people, the repeal
would strike it dead in their hands to the ruin of many, and
the total discouragement of future grants, and the selfish-
ness of the proprietors in soliciting such a general catas-
trophe, merely from a groundless fear of their estate being
taxed too highly, was insisted on in the strongest terms.
On this. Lord Mansfield, one of the counsel rose, and beck-
oning me took me into the clerk's chamber, while the law-
yers v/ere pleading, and asked me if I was really of opinion
that no injury would be done the proprietary estate in the
execution of the act, I said certainly. " Then," says he,
" you can have little objection to enter into an engagement
to assure that point." T answer'd, " None at all." He
then and after some discourse, his lordship's
call'd in Paris,
proposition was accepted on both sides; a paper to the
purpose w^as drawn up by the Clerk of the Council, which
I sign'd with Mr. Charles, who was also an Agent of the
Province for their ordinary affairs, when Lord Mansfield
returned to the Council Chamber, where finally the law
was allowed to pass. Som.e changes were however recom-
mended and we also engaged they should be made by a
subsequent law, but the Assembly did not think them nec-
essary; for one year's tax having been levied by the act
before the order of Council arrived, they appointed a com-
mittee to examine the proceedings of the assessors, and on
this committee they put several particular friends of the
proprietaries.After a full enquiry, they unanimously sign'd
a report that they fotmd the tax had been asse^'d with
perfect equity.
The Assembly looked into my entering into the first part
of the engagement, as an essential service to the Province,
since it secured th^e credit of the paper money then spread
170 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
over all the cotintry. They gave me their thanks in form
when I return'd. But the proprietaries were enraged at
Governor Denny for having pass'd the act, and turn'd him
out with threats of suing him for breach of instructions
which he had given bond to observe. He, however, having
done it at the instance of the General, and for His Majesty's
service,and having some powerful interest at court, despis'd
the threats and they were never put in execution. . , .

lUnfinishedJ*
CHIEF EVENTS IN FRANKLIN'S LIFE
[Ending, as it does, idUJi the year 1757, the autohiogra'pliy
leaves imiiortant facts unrecorded. It has seemed advisable,
therefore, to detail the chief events in Franklin's life, from the
beginning, in the folloicing list:

1706 He is born, in Boston, and baptized in the Old South


Church.
1714 -^t the age of eight, enters the GrammMr School.

1716 Becomes his fathefs assistant in the toAlotD-chandlery


business.

1718 Apprenticed to his brother James, printer.


1721 Writes ballads and peddles them, in printed form, in the
streets; contributes, anonymously, to the "New England
Courant," and temporarily edits that paper; becomes a
free-thinker, and a vegetarian.

1723 Breaks his indenture and removes to Philadelphia; obtains


employment in Keimer's printing-office; abandons vege-
tarianism,.

172'f. Is persuaded by Governor Keith to establish himself inde-


pendently, and goes to London to buy type; tvorks at Ms
trade there, and publishes ''Dissertation on Liberty and
Necessity, Pleasure and Pain."

1726 Returns to Philadelphia; after serving as clerk in a dry-


goods store, becomes manager of Keimer's printing-house.
1727 Founds the Junto, or "Leathern Apron" Club.
1728 With Hugh Meredith, opens a printing-office.
1729 Becomes proprietor and editor of the "Pennsylvania Ga-
zette"; prints, anonymously "Nature and Necessity of a
,

Paper Currency" ; opens a stationer's shop.


1730 Marries Deborah Plead.
1731 Founds the Philadelphia Library,
171
172 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
1732 PuUisJies thefirst numler of "Poor Richard's Almanaxf
under the pseudonym of "Richard SaundersJ' The
Almanac, which continued for twenty-five years to con-
tain his witty, worldly'wise sayings, played a very large
part in 'bringing together and molding the American
character which was at that time made up of so many
diverse and scattered types.

17SS Begins to study French^ Italian, Spanish, and Latin.

1786 Chosen clerk of the General Assembly; forms the Union


Fire Company of Philadelphia.

1737 Elected to the Assembly; appointed Deputy Postmaster'


General; plans a city police.

1742 Invents the open, or "Franklin," stove.

1743 Proposes a plan for an Academy, which is adopted 17.^9


and develops into the University of Pennsylvania.

1744 Estahlishes the American Philosophical Society.

1746 Publishes a pamphlet, "Plain Truth,'' on the necessity for


disciplined defense, and forms a military company; he-
gins electrical experiments.

1748 Sells out his printing "business; is appointed on the Com-


mission of the Peace, chosen to the Common Council, and
to the Assembly.

1749 Appointed a Commissioner to trade toith the Indians,

1751 Aids in founding a hospital.

1752 Essperiments with a kite and discovers that lightning is aft


electrical discharge.

1753 Awarded the Copley medal for this discovery, and elected
a member of the Royal Society; receives the degree of
M.A. from Yale and Harvard. Appointed joint Post-
master-General.

1754 Appointed one of the Commissioners from Pennsylvania to


the Colonial Congress at Albany; proposes a plan for the
union of the colonies.

1755 Pledges his personal property in order that supplies ma'^


"be raised for Braddock's army ; obtains a grant from the
Assembly in aid of the Crown Point expedition ; carries
through a bill establishing a voluntary militia; is ap-
pointed Colonel, and takes the field.
;

HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 173

nSl Introduces a till in the Assembly for paving the streets of


Philadelphia; publishes his famous "Way to WealtW
goes to England to plead the cause of the Assembly
against the Proprietaries ; remains as agent for Pennsyl-
vania; enjoys the friendship of the scientific and literar'if
men of the kingdom.

[HERE THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY BREAKS OFF]

11Q0 Secures from the Privy Council, by a compromise, a deci'


sion obliging the Proprietary estates to contribute to the
public revenue.

1762 Receives the degree of D. C. L. from Oxford; returns to


America.

1163 MaJces a five months' tour of the northern colonies for the
purpose of inspecting the post-offices.

116J^ Defeated by the Penn faction for reelection to the Assem'


bly; sent to England as agent for Pennsylvania.

1165 Endeavors to prevent the passage of the Stamp Ad.


1166 Examined before the House of Commons relative to the pas-
sage of the Stamp Act; appointed agent of Massachusetts,
New Jersey, and Georgia; visits Oottingen University.
1161 Travels in France a/nd is presented at court.

1169 Procures a telescope for Harvard College.

1112 Elected Associi Etranger of the French Academy.

mil. Dismissed from the office of Postmaster-Oeneral; influences


Thomas Paine to emigrate to America.
1115 Returns America; chosen a delegate to the Second Con-
to
tinental Congress; placed on the comm.ittee of secret
correspondence; appointed one of the commissioners to
secure the cooperation of Canada.

1116 Placed on the committee to draft a Declaration of Inde-


pendence; chosen president of the Cotistitutional Com-
mittee of Pennsylvania; sent to France as agent of the
colonies.

2118 Concludes treaties of defensive alliance, and of amity and


commerce; is. received at court.

1719 Appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to France.

1180 Appoints Paul Jones commander of the "Alliance."


174 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
1782 Signs the 'preliminary articles of peace.

1788 Signs the definite treaty of peace.


1785 Returns to America; is chosen President of Pennsylvania;
reelected 1786.

1787 Reelected President; sent as delegate to the convention for


framing a Federal Cons tit'iU ion.
1788 Retires frora public life.

1790 April 17, dies. His grave is in the churchyard at Fifth


and Arch streets, Philadelphia. Editor.]
THE JOURNAL OF
INTRODUCTORY NOTE \

John Woolman isjas horn at Northampton, N. J., in 1720,


and died at York, England, in 1772. He was Quaker
the child of
parents, and from kis youth was a zealous member of the So-
ciety of Friends. His ''Journal," pvJhllshed posthumously in 1774,
sufEciently describes his way of life and the spirit in which he
did his work; but his extreme hufnility prevents him from mak-
ing clear the importance of the part he played in the movement
against slaveholding among the Quakers.
During the earlier years of their settlement in America, the
Friends took part in the traffic in slaves with apparently a^s little
hesitation as their fellow colonists; hut in 1671 George Fox, visits
ing the Barbados, zvas struck hy the inconsistency of slave-
holding with the religious principles of his Society. His protests,
along with those of others, led to the growth of an agitation^
which spread from section to section. In 1742, Woolman, then
a young clerk in the employment of a storekeeper in New JeYsey,
was asked to make out a hill of sale for a negro woman; and the
scruples which then occurred to him were the beginning of a life-
long activity against the traffic. Shortly afterward he began his
laborious foot-journeys, pleading everywhere with his co-religion-
ist'S, and inspiring others to take up the crusade. The result of
the agitation was that the various Yearly Meetings one by one
decided that emancipation was a religious duty; and within
twenty years after Woolman^s death the practise of slavery had
ceased in the Society of Friends. But Ms influence did not stop
there, for no small pa^t of the enthtisiasm of the general emanci-
pationmovement is traceable to Ms labors.
His own words an extraordinary simpUcity
in this "Jounml,'' of
and charm, are the best expression of a personality which in its
ardor, purity of motive, hreadih of sympathy, and dear spiritual
insight, gives Woolman a place among the uncanonised smnts of
America.
THE
JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
(172O-I772)

CHAPTER I

1720- 1742


His Birth and Parentage- Some Account of the Operations of

Divine Grace on hi-s Mind in his Youth His first Appearance

in the Ministry And his Considerations, while Young, on the
Keeping of Slaves.

HAVE often felt a motion of love to leave some hints


my experience of the goodness of God,
I in v/riting of
and now, in the thirty-sixth year of my age, I begin
this work.
I was born in Northampton, in Burlington County, West
Jersey, in the year 1720. Before I was seven years old I
began to be acquainted with the operations of Divine love.
Through the care of my parent:s, I was taught to read nearly
as soon as I was capable of it and as I went from school one
;

day, I remember tliat while my companions were playing by


the way, I went forward out of sight, and, sittitig down, I
read the twenty-second cha,pter of Revelation : " He showed
me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding
out of the throne of God and of th Lamb, &c." In reading it,
my mind was drawn to seek after th&t pure habitation which
t then believed God had prepared for his servants. The
place where I sat, and the sweetness that attended my mind,
remain fresh in my memory. This, and the like gracious
visitations, had suh an effect upon me that when boys used
Ul language it troubled me; and, through the continued
mercies of God, I was preserved from that evil.
177
178 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
The pious instructions of my parents were often fresh ifl
my mind, when I happened to be among wicked childre^,
and were of use to me. Having a large family of childreji,
they used frequently, on first-days, after meeting, to set ns
one after another to read the Holy Scriptures, or some
religious books, the rest sitting by without much conversa-
tion; I have since often thought it was a good practice,
From what I had read and heard, I believed there had been,
in past ages, people who walked in uprightness before God
in a degree exceeding any that I knew or heard of now
living: and the apprehension of there being less steadiness
and firmness amongst people in, the present age often
troubled me while I was a child.
I may here mention a remarkable circumstance that
occurred in my childhood. On going to a neighbor's house,
I saw on the v^^ay a robin sitting on her nest, and as I came
near she went off; but having young ones, she fiew about^
and with many cries expressed her concern for them. I
stood and threw stones at her, and one striking her she fell
down dead. At first I was pleased with the exploit, but
after a few minutes was seized with horror, at having, in a
sportive ^vay, killed an innocent creature while she was
careful for her young. I beheld her lying dead, and thought
those young ones, for which she was so careful, must now
perish for v/ant of their dam to nourish them. After some
painful considerations on the subject, I climbed up the tree,
took all the young birds, and killed them, supposing that
better than to leave them to pine away and die miserably.
In this case I believed that Scripture proverb was fulfilled,
" The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel." I then went
on my errand, and for some hours could think of little else
but the cruelties I had committed, and was much troubled.
Thus He whose tender mercies are over all his works hath
placed a principle in the human mind, which incites to exer-
cise goodness towards every living creature; and this being
singly attended to, people become tender-hearted and sym-
pathizing; but when frequently and totally rejected, the
mind becomes shut up in a contrary disposition.
About the twelfth year of my age, my father being abroad,
my mother reproved me for som.e misconduct, to which I
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMA!^ 179

made an undutiful reply. The next first-day, as I was with


my father returning from meeting, he told m.e that he under-
stood I had behaved amiss to my mother, and advised me
to be more careful in future. I knew myself blamable, and
in shame and confusion remained silent. Being thus awak*
ened to a sense of my wickedness, I felt remorse in my
mind, and on getting home I retired and prayed to the Lord
to forgive me, and I do not remember that I ever after*
wards spoke unhandsomely to either of my parents, however
foolish in some other things.
Having attained the age of sixteen years, I began to love
wanton company and though I was preserved from profane
language or scandalous conduct, yet I perceived a plant in
me which produced much wild grapes; my merciful Father
did not, however, forsake me utterly, but at times, through
his grace, I was brought seriously to consider my ways and
;

the sight of my backslidings affected me with sorrow, yet


for want of rightly attending to the reproofs of instruction,
vanity was added to vanity, and repentance to repentance.
Upon the whole, my mind became more and more alienated
from the truth, and I hastened toward destruction. While I
meditate on the gulf towards which I travelled, and reflect
on my youthful disobedience, for these things I weep, mine
eye runneth down with water.
^Advancing in age, the number of my acquaintance in-
creased, and thereby my way grew more difficult. Though
I had found comifort in reading the Holy Scriptures and

thinking on heavenly things, I was now estranged therefrom.


I knew I was going from the flock of Christ and had no reso-
lution to return, hence serious reflections were uneasy to me,
and youthful vanities and diversions were my greatest pleas-
ure. In this road I found many like myself, and we associ-
ated in that which is adverse to true friendship.
In this swift race it pleased God to visit me with sickness,
so that I doubted of recovery then did darkness, horror, and
;

amazement with full force seize me, even when my pain and
distress of body were very great. I thought it would have
been better for me never to have had being, than to see the
day which I now saw. I was filled with confusion, and in
great affliction, both of mind and body, I lay and bewailed
ISO THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
myself. I had not confidence to lift up my cries to God/
whom had thus offended j but in a deep sense of my greaf
I
folly I was humbled before him. At length that word whic|i
is as a fire and a hammer broke and dissolved my rebellious
heart my cries were put up in contrition
; ; and in the multi-
tude of his mercies I found inward relief, and a close
engagem.ent that if he was pleased to restore my health I
might walk humbly before him.
A^fter my recovery this exercise remained with me a
considerable time, but by degrees giving way to youthful
vanities, and associating with wanton young people, I lost
ground. The Lord had been very gracious, and spoke peace
to me in the time of my distress, and I now most ungrate-
fully turned again to folly; at times I felt sharp reproof,
but I did not get low enough to cry for help. I was not so
hardy as to commit things scandalous, but to exceed in
vanity and to promote mirth was my chief study. Still I
retained a love and esteem for pious people, and their com-
pany brought an awe upon m.e. My dear parents several
times admonished me in the fear of the Lord, and their
admonition entered into my heart and had a good effect for
a season; but not getting deep enough to pray rightly, the
tempter, when he came, found entrance. Once having spent
a part of the day in wantonness, when I went to bed at
night there lay in a window near my bed a Bible, which I
opened, and first cast my eye on the text, " We lie down in
our shame, and our confusion cover eth us." This I knew to
be my case, and meeting with so unexpected a reproof I was
somewhat affected with it, and went to bed under remorse
of conscience, which I soon cast off again.
Thus time passed on; my heart was replenished with
mirth and wantonness, while pleasing scenes of vanity were
presented to my imagination, till I attained the age of
eighteen years^ near which time I felt the judgments of God
in my soul, like a consuming fire, and looking over my past
life the prospect was moving. I was often sad, and longed
to be delrvered from those vanities; then again my heart
was strongly inclined to them, and there was in me a sore
eonffict. At times I turned to folly, and then again sorrow
and confusion took hold of me. In a while I resolved totally
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 181

to leave off some of my vanities, but there was a secret


reserve in my heart of the more refined part of them, and I
v/as not low enough to find true peace. Thus for some
iHonths I had great troubles; my will was unsubjected, which
rendered my labors fruitlesSo At length, through the mer-
ciful continuance of heavenly ^visitations, I was made to bow
down in spirit before the Lord. One evening I had spent
some time in reading a pious author, and walking out alone
I humbly prayed to the Lord for his help, that I might be
delivered from all those vanities which so ensnared me.
Thus being brought low, he helped me, and as I learned to
kar the cross I felt refreshment to come from his presence,
but not keeping in that strength which gave victory I lost
ground again, the sense of which greatly affected me. I
sought deserts and lonely places, and there with tears did
confess my sins to God and humbly craved his help. And
I may say with reverence, he was near to me in my troubles,
and in those times of humiliation opened my ear to discipline.
I was now led to look seriously at the means by which I
was drawn. from the pure truth, and learned that if I would
live such a life as the faithful servants of God lived, I must
not go into company as heretofore in my own will, but all
the cravings of sense must be governed by a Divine prin-
ciple. In times of sorrow and abasement these instructions
w^ere sealed upon me, and I felt the power of Christ prevail
over selfish desires, so that I was preserved in a good degree
of steadiness, and being young, and believing at that time
that a single life was best for me, I was strengthened to
keep from such company as had often been a snare to me.
I kept steadily to m.eetings, spent first-day afternoons
chiefly in reading the Scriptures and other good books, and
was early convinced in my mind that true religion consisted
in an inward
life, wherein th^ heart does love and reverence

God the Creator, and learns to exercise true justice and


goodness, not only toward all meai, but also toward the brute
creatures; that, as the m.ind was moved by an inward prin-
cipk to love God as an invisible, incomprehensible Being, so,
by the same pTineipk, it w-as moved to love him in all his
manifestations in the visible world; that, as by his breath
the flame of life was kindled in all animal sensible creatures,
182 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
to say we love God as unseen, and at the same time exercise
cruelty tov/ard the least creature moving by his life, or by
life derived from him, wsls a contradiction in itself. I found
no narrowness respecting- sects and opinions, but believed
that sincere, upright-hearted people, in every society, who
truly love God, v/ere accepted of him.
As I lived under the cross, and simply followed the open-
ing of truth, my mind, from day to day, v/as more enlight-
ened, my former acquaintance were left to judge of me as
they would, for I found it safest for me to live in private,
and keep these things sealed up in my own breast. "While I
silently ponder on that change wrought in me, I find no
language equal to convey to another a clear idea of it. I
looked upon the works of God in this visible creation, and
an av/fulness covered me. My heart was tender and often
contrite, and universal love to my fellow-creatures increased
in me. This wall be understood by such as have trodden in
the same path. Some glances of real beauty may be seen in
their faces who dwell in true meekness. There is a harmony
in the sound of that voice to which Divine love gives
utterance, and some appearance of right order in their
temper and conduct whose passions are regulated; yet these
do not fully show forth that inward life to those who have
not felt it; this white stone and new name is only known
rightly by such as receive it.
Now, though I had been thus strengthened to bear the
cross, I still found myself in great danger, having many
weaknesses attending me, and strong temptations to wrestle
with; in the feeling whereof I frequently withdrew into
private places, and often with tears besought the Lord to
help me, and his gracious ear was open to my cry.
All this time I lived with my parents, and wrought on the
plantation; and having had schooling pretty well for a
planter, I used to improve m.yself in winter evenings, and
other leisure times. Being now in the twenty-first year of
my age, with my father's consent I engaged with a man, in
much business as a shop-keeper and baker, to tend shop and
keep books. At home I had lived retired and now having
;

a prospect of being much in the way of company, I felt


frequent and fervent cries in my heart to God, the Father
THE JOURNx^L OF JOHN WOOLMAN 183

of Mercies, that he would preserve me from all taint and


corruption; that, in this more public employment, I might
serve him, my gracious Redeemer, in that humiility and self-
denial which I had in a small degree exercised in a more
private life*
The man who employed me furnished a shop in Mount
Holly, about five miles from my father's house, and six from
his own, and there I lived alone and tended his shop.
Shortly after my settlement here I v/as visited by several
young people, my form.er acquaintance, who supposed that
vanities v/ould be as agreeable to me now as ever. At these
times I cried to the Lord in secret for v/isdom and strength;
for I felt myself encompassed with difficulties, and had fresh
occasion to bewail the follies of times past, in contracting a
familiarity with libertine people; and as I had now left my
father's house outwardly, I found my Heavenly Father to
be merciful to me beyond what I can express.
By day I was much amongst people, and had many trials
to go through; but in the evenings I was mostly alone, and
I may with thankfulness acknowledge, that in those times
the spirit of supplication was often poured upon me; under
which I was frequently exercised, and felt my strength
renewed.
After a while, my former acquaintance gave over expect-
ing me as one of their company, and I began to be known to
some whose conversation was helpful to me. And now, as I
had experienced the love of God, through Jesus Christ, to
redeem me from many pollutions, and to be a succor to me
through a sea of conflicts, with which no person was fully
acquainted, and as my heart was often enlarged in this
heavenly principle, I felt a tender compassion for the youth
who remained entangled in snares like those which had
entangled me. This love and tenderness increased, and my
mind was strongly engaged for the good of my fellow-
creatures. I went to meetings in an awful fram^e of mind,
and endeavored to be inwardly acquainted with the language
of the true Shepherd. One day, being under a strong exer-
cise of spirit, I stood up and said some words in a meeting;
but not keeping closre to the Divine opening, I said more
than was required of me. Being soon sensible of my error,
184 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
I was mind some weeks, without any light Of
afflicted in
comfort, even to that degree that I could not take satisfac-
tion in anything. I remembered God, and was troubled, and
in the depth of my distress he had pity upon me, and sent
the Comforter. I then felt forgiveness for my offence; my
mind became calm and quiet, and I was truly thankful to my
gracious Redeemer for his mercies. About six weeks after
this, feeling the spring of Divine love opened, and a concern
to speak, I said a few words in a mieeting, in which I found
peace. Being thus humbled and disciplined under the cross,
my understanding became more strengthened to distinguish
the pure spirit which inwardly moves upon the heart, and
which taught me to wait in silence sometimes many weeks
together, until I felt that rise which prepares the creature
to stand like a trumpet, through which the Lord speaks to
his flock.
From an inward purifying, and steadfast abiding under it
springs a lively operative desire for the good of others. All
the faithful are not called to the public ministry; but who-
ever afe, are called to minister of that which they have
tasted and handled spiritually. The outivard modes of wor-
ship are various; but whenever any are true ministers of
Jesus Christ, it from the operation of his Spirit upon
is

their hearts, first purifying them, and thus giving them a just
sense of the conditions of others. This truth was early fixed
in m^y mind, and I was taught to watch the pure opening,
and to take heed lest, while I was standing to speak, my own
v/ill should get uppermost, and cause me to utter words from

worldly wisdom, and depart from the channel of the true


gospel ministry.
In the management of my outward affairs, I may say
wife thankfulness, I found truth to be my support; and I
was respected in my master's family, who cam^ to live in
Mount Holly withia two years after my going there.
In a few months after I came here, my master bought
several Scotchmen servants, from on board a vessel, and
brotight them to Mount Holly to sell, one of whom was
taken sick and died. In the latter part of his sickness, being
delirious, he ttsed to curse and swear most sorrowfully ; and
the next night after his burial I was left to sleep aloine in^
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 185

the cliamber where he died. I perceived in me a timorons-


ness; I knew, however, I had not injured the man, but
assisted in taking care of him according to my capacity. I
was not free to ask any one on that occasion to sleep with
me. Nature was feeble; but every trial was a fresh incite-
ment to give myself up wholly to the service of God, for I
found no helper like him in times of trouble.
About the twenty- third year of my age, I had many fresh
and heavenly openings, in respect to the care and provi-
dence of the Almighty over his creatures in general, and
over man as the most noble amongst those which
are visible. And being clearly convinced in my judgment
that to place my whole trust in God was best for me, I
felt renewed engagements that in all things I might act on
an inward principle of virtue, and pursue worldly business
no further than as truth opened my way.
About the time called Christmas I observed many people,
both in town and from the country, resorting to public-
houses, and spending their time in drinking and vain sports,
tending to corrupt one another; on which account I was
much troubled. At one house in particular there was much
disorder; and I believed it was a duty incumbent on me
to speak to the master of that house. I considered I was
young, and that several elderly friends in town had oppor-
tunity to see these things; but though I would gladly have
been excused, yet I could not feel my mind clear.
The exercise was heavy; and as I was reading what
the Almighty said to Ezekid, respecting his duty as a
watchman, the matter was set home more clearly. With
prayers and tears I besought the Lord for his assistance,
and He, in loving-kindness, gave me a resigned heart. At
a suitable opportunity I went to the public-house and seeing
;

the man amongst much company, I called him aside, and in


the fear and dread of the Almighty expressed to him what
rested on my mind. He took it kindly, and afterwards
showed more regard to me than before. In a few years after-
wards he died, middle-aged; and I often thought that had I
neglected my duty in that case it would hav"" given me
great trouble; and I was humbly thankful to my gracious
Father, who had supported me herein.
186 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
My employer, having a negro woman/ sold her, and de-
siredme to write a bill of sale, the man being waiting who
bought her. The thing was sudden; and though I felt
aneasy at the thoughts of writing an instrument of slavery
for one of my fellow-creatures, yet I remembered that I
was hired by the year, that it was my m.aster who directed
me to do it, and that it was an elderly man, a mem.ber of our
Society, who bought
her; so through weakness I gave way,
and wrote but at the executing of it I was so afflicted
it;
in my mind, that I said before my master and the Friend
that I believed slave-keeping to be a practice inconsistent
with the Christian religion. This, in some degree, abated
my uneasiness; yet as often as I reflected seriously upon
it I thought I should have been clearer if I had desired to

be excused from it, as a thing against my conscience; for


such it w^as. Some time after this a young man of our
Society spoke to me to write a conveyance of a slave to
him, he having lately taken a negro into his house. I told
him I was not easy to write it; for, though many of our
meeting and in other places kept slaves, I still believed the
practice was not right, and desired to be excused from the
writing. I spoke to him in goodwill; and he told me that
keeping slaves was not altogether agreeable to his mind;
but that the slave being a gift miade to his wife he had
accepted her.
^ The mimber of slaves in New Jersey at this time must have been considerable,

for even as late as ISOO tJiere were over 12,000 of them. The newly imported Afri-
cans were deposited at Perth Ajuboy. In 1734 there were enottgh of them to niaks
a formidable though unsuccessful insurrection.
CHAPTER II

1743-1748

His
first Journey, on a Religious Visit, in East Jersey Thoughts

on Merchandising, and Learning a Trade Second Journey into

Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina Third

Journey through part of West and East Jersey Fourth Journey

through New York and Long Island, to New England And his
fifth journey to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and the Lower
Counties on Delaware.

Yesteemed friend Abraham Farrington being about


tomake a visit to Friends on the eastern side of
this province, and having no companion, he proposed
to me to go v^ith him and after a conference with some
;

elderly Friends I agreed to go. We set out on the 5th of


ninth month, 1743; had an evening meeting at a tavern
in Brunswick, a town in which none of our Society dwelt;
the room was full, and the people quiet. Thence to Amboy,
and had an evening meeting in the court-house, to which
came many people, amongst whom were several members
of Assembly, they being in town on the public affairs of
the province. In both these meetings my ancient companion
was engaged to preach largely in the love of the gospel.
Thence we went to Woodbridge, Rahway, and Plainfield,
and had six or seven meetings in places where Friends'
meetings are not usually held, chiefly attended by Presby-
terians, and my beloved companion was frequently strength-
ened to publish the word of life amongst them. As for me,
I was often silent through the m.eetings, and when I spake
it was with much care, that I might speak only what truth

opened. My mind was often tender, and I learned some


profitable lessons. We were out about two weeks.
Near this time, being on some outward business in whicH
188 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
several families were concerned, and which was attended
with difficulties, some things relating not being
thereto
clearly stated, nor rightly understood by all, there arose
some heat in the minds of the parties, and one valuable
friend got off his watch. I had a great regard for him,
and felt a strong inclination, after matters were settled, to
speak to him concerning his conduct in that case; but being
a youth, and he far advanced in age and experience, my
way appeared after some days' deliberation, and
difficult;
inward seeking Lord for assistance, I was made subject,
to the
so that I expressed what lay upon me in a way which be-
came my youth and his years; and though it was a hard
task to me it was well taken, and I believe was useful to
lis both.
Having now been several years with my
employer, and
he doing less in merchandise than heretofore, I was thought-
ful about some other way of business, perceiving merchandise
to be attended with much cumber in the way of trading in
these parts.
My mind, through the power of truth, was in a good
degree weaned from the desire of outward greatness, and
I was learning to be content with real conveniences, that were
not costly, so that a way of life free from much entangle-
ment appeared best for me, though the income might be small.
I had several offers of business that appeared profitable,
but I did not see my way clear to accept of them, believing
they would be attended with more outward care and cumber
than was required of me to engage in. I saw that an hum^ble
man, with the blessing of the Lord, might live on a little,
and that where the heart was set on greatness, success in
business did not satisfy the craving; but that commonly
with an increase of wealth the desire of wealth increased.
There was a care on my mind so to pass my time that nothing
might hinder me from the most steady attention to the voice
of the true Shepherd.
My employer, though now a retailer of goods, VN^as by
trade a tailor, and kept a servant-man at that business;
and I began to think about learning the trade, expecting
that if I should settle I might by this trade and a little
retailing of goods get a living in a plain way, without the
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 189

load of great business. I mentioned it to my employer,


and we soon agreed on terms, and when I had leisure from
the affairs of merchandise I worked with his man. I be-
lieved the hand of Providence pointed out this business for
me, and I was taught to be content with it, though I felt
at times a disposition that would have sought for something
greater; but through the revelation of Jesus Christ I had
seen the happiness of humJIity, and there was an earnest
desire in m.e to enter deeply into it; at times this desire
arose to a degree of fervent supplication, wherein my soul
was so environed with heavenly light and consolation that
things were made easy to me which had been otherwise.
After some time my employer's wife died; she was a
virtuous woman, and generally beloved of her neighbors.
Soon after this he left shop-keeping, and we parted. I then
wrought at my trade as a tailor ; carefully attended meetings
for worship and discipline; and found an enlargement of
gospel love in my mind, and therein a concern to visit
Friends in some of the back settlements of Pennsylvania
and Virginia. Being thoughtful about a companion, I ex-
pressed it to my beloved friend, Isaac Andrews, who told
me that he had drawings to the same places, and also to
go through Maryland, Virginia, and Carolina. After a
considerable time, and several conferences with him, I felt
easy to accompany him throughout^ if way opened for it.
I opened the case in our Monthly Meeting, and, Friends
expressing their unity therewith, we obtained certificates
to travel as companions, he from Haddonfield, and I from
Burlington.
We left our province on the 12th of third month, 1746,
and had several meetings in the upper part of Chester
County, and near Lancaster; in some of which the love
of Christ prevailed, uniting us together in his service. We
then crossed the river Susquehanna, and had several meet-
ings in a new settlement, called the Red Lands. It is the
poorer sort of people that commonly begin to improve remote
deserts with a small stock they have houses to build, lands
;

to clear and fence, corn to raise, clothes to provide, and


children to educate, so that Friends who visit such may
well sympathize with them in their hardships in the wilder-
190 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAx^
ness; and though the best entertainment that they can
give may seem coarse to some who are used to cities or
old settled places, it becomes the disciples of Christ to be
therewith content. Our hearts were sometimes enlarged
in the love of our Heavenly Father amongst these people,
and the sv/eet influence of his Spirit supported us through
some difficulties to him be the praise.
:

We passed on to Manoquacy, Fairfax, Hopewell, and


Shanando, and had meetings, some of wt|,ich were comfort-
able From Shanando, we set off in the after-
and edifying.
noon for the settlements of Friends in Virginia; the
first night we, with our guide, lodged in the woods, our
horses feeding near us; but he being poorly provided wath
a horse, and we young, and having good horses, were free
the next day to part wdth him. In two days after we
reached our friend John Cheagle's, in Virginia. We took
the meetings in our way through Virginia were in some
;

degree baptized into a feeling sense of the conditions of the


people, and our exercise in general was more painful in
these old settlements than it had been amongst the back in-
habitants yet through the goodness of our Heavenly Father
;

the well of living w^aters was at times opened to our


encouragement, and the refreshment of the sincere-hearted.
We went on to Perquimians, in North Carolina; had several
large meetings, and found some openness in those parts,
and a hopeful appearance amongst the young people. After-
wards we turned again to Virginia, and attended most of
the meetings which we had not been at before, laboring
amongst Friends in the love of Jesus Christ, as ability was
given; thence went to the mountains, up James River to
a new settlement, and had several meetings amongst the
people, some of whom had lately joined in membership with
our Society, In our journeying to and fro, we found some
honest-hearted Friends, who appeared to be concerned for
the cause of truth among a backsliding people.
From Virginia we crossed over the river Potomac, at
Hoe's Ferry, and m.ade a general visit to the meetings of
Friends on the western shore of Maryland, and were at
their Quarterly Meeting. We had some hard labor amongst
them, endeavoring to discharge our duty honestly as vv^ay
rHE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 191

opened, in the love of truth. Thence, taking sundry meet-


ings in our way, v/e passed towards home, which, through
the favor of Divine Providence, v/e reached the l6th of
sixth month, 1746; and I may say, that through the assist-
ance of the Holy Spirit, which mortifies selfish desires, my
companion and I travelled in harmony, and parted in the
nearness of true brotherly love.
Two things were remarkable to me in this journey: first,
in regard to my entertainment. When I ate, drank, and
lodged free-cost with people who lived in ease on the hard
labor of their slaves I felt uneasy; and as my mind was
inward to the Lord, I found this uneasiness return upon
me, at times, through the whole visit. Where the masters
bore a good share of the burden, and lived frugally, so that
their servants were well provided for, and their labor mod-
erate, I felt more easy; but v/here they lived in a costly
way, and laid heavy burdens on their slaves, my exercise
Vv'as often great, and I frequently had conversation with them

in private concerning it. Secondly, this trade of importing


slaves from their native country being much encouraged
amongst them, and the white people and their children so
generally living without much labor, was frequently the
subject of my serious thoughts. I saw in these southern
provinces so many vices and corruptions, increased by this
trade and this way of life, that it appeared to me as a dark
gloominess hanging over the land; and though now many
willingly run into it, yet in future the consequence will be
grievous to posterity. I express it as it hath appeared to
me, not once, nor twice, but as a matter- fixed on my mind.
Soon after my return home I felt an increasing concern
for Friends on our seacoast and on the 8th of eighth month,
;

1746, I left home with the unity of Friends, and in com-


pany with my beloved friend and neighbor Peter Andrews,
brother to my com.panion before mentioned, and visited them
in their m.eetings generally about Salem, Cape May, Great
and Little Egg Harbor; we had m.eetings also at Barnagat,
Manahockin, and Mane Squan, and so to the Yearly Meet-
ing at Shrewsbury, Through the goodness of the Lord
way was opened, and the strength of Divine love was some-
times felt in cur assemblies, to the comfort and help of
192 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WGOLMAN
those who were rightly concerned before him. We wefe
out twenty-two days, and rode, by computation, three hun-
dred and forty miles. At Shrewsbury Yearly Meeting we
met with our dear friends Michael Lightfoot and Abraham
Farrington, who had good service there.
The winter follov/ing died my eldest sister Elizabeth
Woolman, of the small-pox, aged thirty-one years.
Of late I found drawings in my mind to visit Friends in
New England, and having an opportunity of joining in com-
pany with my beloved friend Peter Andrews, we obtained
certificates from our Monthly Meeting, and set forward on
the i6th of third month, 1747. We reached the Yearly
Meeting at Long Island, at which were our friends, Samuel
Nottingham from England, John Griffith, Jane Hoskins, and
Elizabeth Hudson from Pennsylvania, and Jacob Andrews
from Chesterfield, several of whom were favored in their
public exercise; and, through the goodness of the Lord, we
had some edifying meetings. After this my companion and
I visited Friends on Long Island; and through the mercies
of God we were helped in the work.
Besides going to the settled meetings of Friends, we were
at a general meeting at Setawket, chiefly made up of other
societies; we had also a meeting at Oyster Bay in a dwell-
ing-house, at which were many people. At the former there
was not much said by way of testimony, but it was, I be-
lieve, a good meeting; at the latter, through the springing
up of living waters, it was a day to be thankfully remem-
bered. Having visited the island, we went over to the main,
taking meetings in our way, to Oblong, Nine-partners, and
New Milford. In these back settlements we met with sev-
eral people who, through the immediate -vorkings of the
Spirit of Christ on their minds, were drawn from the vanities
of the world to an inward acquaintance with him. They
were educated in the way of the Presbyterians. A consid-
erable number of the youth, members of that society, used
often to spend their time together in merriment, but some
of the principal young men of the company, bemg visited
by the powerful workings of the Spirit of Christ, and thereby
led humbly to take up his cross, could no longer join in
those vanities. As these stood steadfast to tiiat inward con-
;

THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 193

vincement, they were made a blessing to some of their former


companions; so that through the power of truth several
were brought into a close exercise concerning the eternal
well-being of their souls. These young people continued for
a time to frequent their public worship; and, besides that,
had meetings of their own, which meetings were awhile
allowed by their preacher, who sometimes met with them;
but in time their judgment in matters of religion disagreeing
with some of the articles of the Presbyterians their meetings
were disapproved by that society; and such of them as
stood firm to their dutj, as it was inwardly manifested, had
many difficulties to go through. In a while their meetings
were dropped; some of them returned to the Presbyterians,
and others joined to our religious society.
I had conversation with some of the latter to my help and
edification, and believe several of them are acquainted with
the nature of that worship which is performed in spirit and
in truth. Amos Powel, a friend from Long Island, accom-
panied me through Connecticut, which is chiefly inhabited
by Presbyterians, who were generally civil to us. After three
days' riding, we came amongst Friends in the colony of
Rhode Island, and visited them in and about Newport, Dart-
mouth, and generally in those parts; we then went to
Boston, and proceeded eastward as far as Dover. Not far
from thence we met our friend Thomas Gawthrop, from
England, who was then on a visit to these provinces. From
Newport we sailed to Nantucket were there nearly a week
;

and from thence came over to Dartmouth. Having finished


our visit in these parts, we crossed the Sound from New
London to Long Island, and taking some meetings on the
island proceeded towards home, which we reached the 13th
of seventh month, 1747, having rode about fifteen hun-
dred miles, and sailed about one hundred and fifty.
In this journey, I may say in general, we were sometimes
in much weakness, and labored under discouragements, and
at other times, through the renewed manifestations of Divine
love, we had seasons of refreshment wherein the power of
truth prevailed. We were taught by renewed experience to
labor for an inward stillness; at no time to seek for words,
but to live in the spirit of truth, and utter that to the people
? HCVol. 1
194 THE JOURNAI. OF JOHN WOOLMAN
which truth opened in us. My beloved companion and I
belonged both to one meeting, came forth in the ministry-
near the same tim.e, and were inwardly united in the work.
He was about thirteen years older than I, bore the heaviest
burden, and was an instrument of the greatest use.
Finding a concern to visit Friends in the lower counties
of Delaware, and on the eastern shore of Maryland, and
having an opportunity to join with my well-beloved ancient
friend, John Sykes, we obtained certificates, and set off the
7th of eighth month, 1748, were at the meetings of Friends
in the lower counties, attended the Yearly Meeting at Little
Creek, and made a visit to most of the meetings on the
eastern shore, and so home by the way of Nottingham. We
were abroad about six weeks, and rode, by computation,
about five hundred and fifty miles.
Our exercise at times was heavy, but through the good-
ness of the Lord we were often refreshed, and I may say
by experience "he is a stronghold in the day of trouble."
Though our Society in these parts appeared to me to be in
a declining condition, yet I believe the Lord hath a people
amongst them who labor to serve him uprightly, but they
have many difficulties to encounter.
CHAPTER III

1749-1756

His Marriage The Death of


Father His Journeys into the
his

tipper part of New and afterwards into Pennsylvania
Jersey,
Considerations on keeping Slaves, and Visits to the Families of

Friends at several times and places An Epistle from the Gen-
eral Meeting
His journey to Long Island Considerations on
Trading and on the Use of Spirituous Liquors and Costly Apparel
Letter to a Friend.

k BOUT believing it good for me to settle,


this time,
l\ and thinking seriously about a companion, my heart
-^-^ was turned to the Lord with desires that he would
give me wisdom to proceed therein agreeably to his will,
and he was pleased to give me a well-inclined damsel,
Sarah Ellis, to whom I was married the i8th of eighth
month, 1749.
In the fall of the year 1750 died my father, Samuel Wool-
m_an, of a fever, aged about sixty years. In his lifetime he
manifested much care for us his children, that in our youth
v/e might learn to fear the Lord; and often endeavored to
imprint in our minds the true principles of virtue, and par-
ticularly to cherish in us a spirit of tenderness, not only
towards poor people, but also towards all creatures of which

we had command.
the
After my return from Carolina in 1746, I made some
observations on keeping slaves, which some time before his
decease I showed to him; he perused the manuscript, pro-
posed a few alterations, and appeared well satisfied that I
found a concern on that account. In his last sickness, as I
was watching with him one night, he being so far spent that
there was no expectation of his recovery, though he had the
perfect use of his understanding, he asked me concerning
the manuscript, and whether I expected soon to proceed to
195
;

195 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN


taj^e the advice of friends in publishing it? After some
further conversation thereon, he said, " I have all along been
deeply affected with the oppression of the poor negroes;
and now, at last, my concern for them is as great as ever."
By his direction I had written his will in a time of health,
and that night he desired me to read it to him.^ which I did
and he said it was agreeable to his mind. He then made
mention of his end, which he believed was near; and signi-
fied that though he was sensible of many imperfections in
the course of his life, yet his experience of the power of
truth, and of the love and goodness of God from time to
time, even till now, was such that he had no doubt that on
leaving this life he should enter into one more happy.
The next day his sister Elizabeth came to see him, and
told him of the decease of their sisier Anne, who died a few
days before he then said, " I reckon Sister Anne was free
;

to leave this world?" Elizabeth said she was. He then


said, " I also am free to leave it " and being in great weak-
;

ness of body said, " I hope I shall shortly go to rest." He


continued in a weighty frame of mind, and was sensible till
near the last.

Second of ninth month, 175 1. Feeling drawings in my
mind to visit Friends at the Great Meadows, in the upper
part of West Jersey, with the unity of our Monthly Meeting,
I went there, and had some searching laborious exercise
amongst Friends in those parts, and found inward peace
therein.

Ninth month, 1753. In company with miy well-esteemed
friend, John Sykes, and with the unity of Friends, I travelled
about two weeks, visiting Friends in Buck's County. We
labored in the love of the gospel, according to the measure
received; and through the mercies of Him who is strength
to the poor who trust in him, we found satisfaction in our
visit. In the next winter, way opening to visit Friends'
families within the compass of our Monthly Meeting, partly
by the labors of two Friends from Pennsylvania, I joined in
some part of the work, having had a desire some time that
it might go forward amongst us.
About this time, a person at som.e distance lying sick, his
brother came to me to write his will. I knew he had slaves.
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 197

and, asking his brother, was told he intended to leave them


as slaves to his children. As writing is a profitable employ,
and as offending sober people was disagreeable to my inclina-
tion, I was straitened in my mind; but as I looked to the
Lord, he inclinedmy heart to his testimony. I told the man
that I believed the practice of continuing slavery to this
people was not right, and that I had a scruple in my mind
against doing writings of that kind; that though many in
our Society kept them as slaves, still I was not easy to be
concerned in it, and desired to be excused from going to
write the will. I spake to him in the fear of the Lord, and
he made no reply to what I said, but went away; he also
had some concerns in the practice, and I thought he was
displeased with me. In this case I had fresh confirmation
that acting contrary to present outward interest, from a
motive of Divine love and in regard to truth and righteous-
ness, and thereby incurring the resentments of people, opens
the way to a treasure better than silver, and to a friendship
exceeding the friendship of men.
The manuscript before mentioned having laid by me
several years, the publication of it rested weightily upon me,
and this year I offered it to the revisal of my friends, who,
having examined and made som.e small alterations in it,
directed a number of copies thereof to be published and dis-
persed amongst members of our Society.^
In the year 1754 I found my mind drawn to join in a
visit to Friends' families belonging to Chesterfield Monthly
Meeting, and having the approbation of our own, I went to
their Monthly meeting in order to confer with Friends, and
see if way opened for it. I had conference with some of
their members, the proposal having been opened before in
their meeting, and one Friend agreed to join with me as a
companion for a beginning; but when meeting was ended,
I felt great distress of mind, and doubted what way to take,
or whether to go home and wait for greater clearness. I
kept my distress secret, and going with a friend to his house,
my desires were to the great Shepherd for his heavenly
instruction. In the morning I felt easy to proceed on the
visit, though very low in my mind. As mine eye was turned
^Thts pamphlet was published by Benjamin Franklin, 1754,

198 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN


to the Lord, waiting in families in deep reverence before
him, he was pleased graciously to afford help, so that we
had many comfortable opportunities, and it appeared as a
fresh visitation to some young people. I spent several weeks
this winter in the service, part of which time was employed
near home. And again in the following winter I was several
weeks in the same service some part of the time at Shrews-
;

bury, in company with my beloved friend, John Sykes; and


I have cause humbly to acknowledge that through the good-
ness of the Lord our hearts were at times enlarged in his
love, and strength was given to go through the trials which,
in the course of our visit, attended us.
From a disagreement between the powers of England and
France, it was now a time of trouble on this continent, and
an epistle to Friends went forth from our general spring
meeting, which I thought good to give a place in this
Journal.

An Epistle front our general Spring Meeting of ministers and elders


for Pennsylvania and New Jersey, held at Philadelphia, from
the 2gth of the third month to the ist of the fourth monthf
inclusive, 1755.

To Friends on the Continent of America :


Dear Friends, In an humbl-e sense of Divine goodness,
and the gracious continuation of God's love to his people,
we tenderly salute you, and are at this time therein engaged
in mind, that all of us who
profess the truth, as held forth
and published by our worthy predecessors in this latter age
of the world, may keep near to that Life which is the light
of men, and be strengthened to hold fast the profession of
our faith without wavering, that our trust may not be in
man, but in the Lord alone, who ruleth in the army of
heaven and in the kingdoms of men, before whom the earth
is " as the dust of the balance, and her inhabitants as grass-

hoppers." (Isa. xl. 22.)


Being convinced that the gracious design of the 'Almighty
in sending his Son into the world was to repair the breach
made by disobedience, to finish sin and transgression, that
his kingdom might come, and his will be done on earth as it
is in heaven, we have found it to be our duty to cease from
!

THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 199

those national contests which are productive of misery and


bloodshed, and submit our cause to him, the Most High,
whose tender love to his children exceeds the most warm
affections of natural parents, and who hath promised to his
seed throughout the earth, as to one individual, " I will
never leave thee, nor forsake thee." (Heb. xiii. 5.) And
we, through the gracious dealings of the Lord our God, have
had experience of that work which is carried on, not by-
earthly might, " nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the
Lord of Hosts." (Zech. iv. 6.) By which operation that
spiritual kingdom is set up, which is to subdue and break in
pieces all kingdoms that oppose it, and shall stand forever.
In a deep sense thereof, and of the safety, stability, and
peace that are in it, we are desirous that all who profess the
truth may be inwardly acquainted with it, and thereby be
qualified to conduct ourselves in all parts of our life as be-
comes our peaceable profession; and v/e trust as there is a
faithful continuance to depend wholly upon the almighty
arm, from one generation to another, the peaceable kingdom
will gradually be extended " from sea to sea, and from the
river to the ends of the earth" (Zech. ix. 10), to the com-
pletion of those prophecies already begun, that " nation shall
not lift up a sword against nation, nor learn war any
more." (Isa. ii. 4. Micah iv. 3.)
And, dearly beloved friends, seeing that we have these
promises, and believe that Go<i is beginning to fulfil them,
let us constantly endeavor to have our minds sufficiently
disentangled from the surfeiting cares of this life, and
redeemed from the love of the world, that no earthly pos-
sessions nor enjoyments may bias our judgments, or turn us
from that resignation and entire trust in God to which his
blessing is most surely annexed then m^ay we say, " Our
;

Redeemer is mighty, he will plead our cause for us." (Jer.


1. 34.) And if, for the further promoting of his most gra-
cious purposes in the earth, he should give us to taste of
that bitter cup of which his faithful ones have often par-
taken, O that we might
be rightly prepared to receive it
And novv^, dear friends, with respect to the commotions
and stirrings of the powers of the earth at this time near
us, we are desirous that none of us may be moved thereat,
200 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
but repose ourselves in the munition of that rock whicfi
all these shakings shall not move, even in the knov/ledge and
feeling of the eternal power of God, keeping us subjectly
given up to his heavenly will, and feeling it daily to mortify
that which remains in any of us which is of this world;

for the worldly part in any is the changeable part, and that
is up and down, and empty, joyful and sorrowful, as
full
things go well or ill For as the truth is but
in this world.
one, and many are made partakers of its spirit, so the world
is but one, and many are made partakers of the spirit of it;
and so many as do partake of it, so many will be straitened
and perplexed with it. But they who are single to the truth,
waiting daily to feel the life and virtue of it in their hearts,
shall rejoice in the midst of adversity, and have to ex-
perience with the prophet, that, "although the fig-tree shall
not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor
of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat;
the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be
no herd in the stalls; yet will they rejoice in the Lord,
and joy in the God of their salvation." (Hab. iii. 17, 18.)
If, contrary to this, we profess the truth, and, not living
under the power and influence of it, are producing fruits
disagreeable to the purity thereof, and trust to the strength
of man our confidence therein will be
to support ourselves,
vain. For he who removed the hedge from his vineyard,
and gave it to be trodden under foot by reason of the wild
grapes it produced (Isa. v. 6), remains unchangeable; and
if; for the chastisement of wickedness and the further pro-

moting of his own glory, he doth arise, even to shake terribly


the earth, who then may oppose him, and prosper?
We remain, in the love of the gospel, your friends and
brethren.
(Signed by fourteen Friends.)

Scrupling to do wTitings relative to keeping slaves has


been a means of sundry small trials to me, in vv^hich I have
so evidently felt my own will set aside that I think it good
to mention a few of them. Tradesmen and retailers of goods,
who depend on their business for a living, are naturally in-
clined to keep the good-will of their customers; nor is it
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 201

a pleasant thing for young men to be under any necessity to


question the judgment or honesty of elderly men, and more
especially of such as have a fair reputation. Deep-rooted
customs, though wrong, are not easily altered; but it is the
duty of all to be firm in that which they certainly know is
right for them. A charitable, benevolent man, well ac-
quainted with a negro, may, I believe, under some circum-
stances, keep him in his family as a servant, on no other
motives than the negro's good; but man, as man, knows
not what shall be after him, nor hath he any assurance that
his children will attain to that perfection in wisdom and
goodness necessary rightly to exercise such power; hence
it is clear to me, that I ought not to be the scribe where wills

are drawn in which some children are made ales masters


over others during life.
About this time an ancient man of good esteem in the
neighborhood came to my house to get his will written. He
had young negroes, and I asked him privately how he pur-
posed to dispose of them. He told me ; I then said, " I
cannot write thy will without breaking my own peace," and
respectfully gave him my reasons for it. He signified that
he had a choice that I should have written it, but as I could
not, consistently with my conscience, he did not desire it,
and so he got it written by some other person. A few years
after, there being great alterations in his family, he came
again to get me to write his will. His negroes were yet
young, and his son, to whom he intended to give them, was,
since he first spoke to me, from a libertine become a sober
young man, and he supposed that I would have been free on
that account to write it. We had much friendly talk on the
subject, and then deferred it. A few days after he came
again and directed their freedom, and I then wrote his will.
Near the time that the last-mentioned Friend first spoke
to me, a neighbor received a bad bruise in his body and sent
for me to bleed him, which having done, he desired me to
write his will. I took notes, and amongst other things he
told me to which of his children he gave his young negro.
I considered the pain and distress he was in, and knew not
how it would end, so I wrote his will, save only that part
concerning his slave, and carrying it to his bedside read it
202 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
to him. I then told him in a friendly way that I could no?
write any instruments by which my fellow-creatures were
made slaves, without bringing trouble on my own mind. I
let him know that I charged nothing for what I had done,
and desired to be excused from doing the other part in the
way he proposed. We
then had a serious conference on the
subject; at length, he agreeing to set her free, I finished
his will.
Having found drawings in my mind to visit Friends on
Long Island, after obtaining a certificate from our Monthly
Meeting, I set off 12th of fifth month, 1756. When I reached
the island, I lodged the first night at the house of my dear

friend, Richard Hallett. The next day being the first of


the week, I was at the meeting in New Town, in which we
experienced the renewed manifestations of the love of Jesus
Christ to the comfort of the honest-hearted. I went that
night to Flushing, and the next day I and my beloved friend,
Matthew Franklin, crossed the ferry at White Stone; were
at three meetings on the main, and then returned to the
island, where I spent the remainder of the week in visiting
meetings. The Lord, I believe, hath a people in those parts
who are honestly inclined to serve him; but many I fear,
are too much clogged with the things of this life, and do
not come forward bearing the cross in such faithfulness as
he calls for.
My mind was deeply engaged in this visit, both in public
and private, and at several places where I was, on observ-
ing that they had slaves, I found myself under a necessity,
in a friendly way, to labor with them on that subject; ex-
pressing, as way opened, the inconsistency of that practice
with the purity of the Christian religion, and the ill effects
of it manifested amongst us.
latter end of the week their Yearly Meeting began;
The
at which were our friends, John Scarborough, Jane Hoskins,
and Susannah Brown, from Pennsylvania. The public meet-
ings were large, and m.easurably favored with Divine good-
ness. The exercise of my mind at this meeting was chiefly
on account of those who were considered as the foremost
rank in the Society; and in a meeting of ministers and
elders way opened for me to express in some measure what
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 203

lay upon me; and when Friends were met for transacting
the affairs of the church, having sat awhile silent, I felt a
weight on my mind, and stood up and through the gracious
;

regard of our Heavenly Father, strength was given fully to


clear myself of a burden which for some days had been in-
creasing upon me.
Through the humbling dispensations of Divine Provi-
dence, men are sometimes fitted for his service. The mes-
sages of the prophet Jeremiah were so disagreeable to the
people, and so adverse to the spirit they lived in, that he
became the object of their reproach, and in the weak-
ness of nature he thought of desisting from his prophetic
office but saith he, " His word was in my heart as a burn-
;

ing fire shut up in my


bones; and I was weary with for-
bearing, and could not stay." I saw at this time that if I
was honest in declaring that which truth opened in me, I
could not please all men; and I labored to be content in the
way of my duty, however disagreeable to my own inclination.
After this I went homeward, taking Woodbridge and Plain-
field in my way, in both which meetings the pure influence of
Divine love was manifested, in an humbling sense whereof I
went home. I had been out about twenty-four days, and
rode about three hundred and sixteen miles.
While I was out on this journey my heart was mucfi
affected with a sense of the state of the churches in our
southern provinces; and believing the Lord was calling me
to some further labor amongst them, I was bowed in rev*
erence before him, with fervent desires that I might find'
strength to resign myself to his heavenly will.
Until this year, 1756, I continued to retail goods, besides
following my trade as a tailor; about which time I grew
uneasy on account of my business growing too cumbersome.
I had begun with selling trimmings for garments, and from
thence proceeded to sell cloths and linens; and at length,
having got a considerable shop of goods, my trade Increased
every year, and the way to large business appeared open,
but I felt a stop in my mind.
Through the mercies of the Almighty, I had, in a good
degree, learned to be content with a plain way of living, i
had but a small family; and, on serious consideration, be-
204 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
lieved truth did not require me
engage much in cumbering
to
affairs. It had been my general practice to buy and sell
things really useful. Things that served chiefly to please
the vain mind in people, I was not easy to trade in; seldom
did it; and whenever I did I found it weaken me as a
Christian.
The increase of business became my burden; for though
my was toward merchandise, yet I be-
natural inclination
lieved truth required me to live more free from outward
cumbers; and there was now a strife in my mind between
the two. In this exercise my
prayers were put up to the
Lord, who me a heart resigned
graciously heard me, and gave
to his holy will. Then I lessened my outward business,
and, as I had opportunity, told my customers of my inten-
tions, that they might consider what shop to turn to; and
in a while I wholly laid down merchandise, and followed
my trade as a tailor by myself, having no apprentice. I also
had a nursery of apple-trees, in which I employed some of
my time in hoeing, grafting, trimming, and inoculating. ^ In
merchandise it is the custom where I lived to sell chiefly on
credit, and poor people often get in debt when payment is;

expected, not having wherewith to pay, their creditors often


sue for it at law. Having frequently observed occurrences
of this kind, I found it good for me to advise poor people
to take such goods as were most useful, and not costly.
In the time of trading I had an opportunity of seeing that
the too liberal use of spirituous liquors and the custom of
wearing too costly apparel led some people into great incon-
veniences; and that these two things appear to be often
2 He seems to have regarded agriculture as the business rhost conducive
to moral and physical health. He thought " if the leadings of the Spirit
were more attended to, more people would be engaged in the sweet employ-
ment of husbandry, where_ labor is agreeable and healthful." He does not
condemn the honest acquisition of wealth in other business free from oppres-
sion ;_ even " merchandising," he thought, might be carried on innocently
and in pure reason. Christ does not forbid the laying up of a needful
support for family and friends; the command is, " Lay not up for your-
selves treasures on earth." From his little farm on the Rancocas he
looked out with a mingled feeling of wonder and sorrow upon the hurry
and unrest of the world; and especially was he pained to see luxury and
extravagance overgrowing the early plainness and simplicity of his own
religious society. He regarded the merely rich man with unfeigned pity.
With nothing of his scorn, he had all of Thoreau's commiseration, for peo-
ple who went about bowed down with the weight of broad acres and great
houses on their hacks. Note in edition published by Messrs. Houghton
Mifflin <if Co.
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 205

connected with each other. By not attending to that use of


things which is consistent with universal righteousness,
there is an increase of labor which extends beyond what our
Heavenly Father intends for us. And by great labor, and
often of much sweating, there is even among such as
are not drunkards a craving of liquors to revive the
spirits; that partly by the luxurious drinking of some, and
partly by the drinking of others (led to it through immod-
erate labor), very great quantities of rum are every year ex-
pended in our colonies; the greater part of which we should
have no need we steadily attend to pure wisdom.
of, did
When men take pleasure in feeling their minds elevated
with strong drink, and so indulge their appetite as to dis-
order their understandings, neglect their duty as members
of a family or civil society, and cast off all regard to religion,
their case is much to be pitied. And where those whose
lives are for the most part regular, and whose examples have
a strong influence on the minds of others, adhere to some
customs which powerfully draw to the use of more strong
liquor than pure wisdom allows^ it hinders the spreading of
the spirit of meekness, and strengthens the hands of the
more excessive drinkers. This is a case to be lamented.
Every degree of luxury hath some connection with evil;
and if those who profess to be disciples of Christ, and are
looked upon as leaders of the people, have that mind in them
which was also in Christ, and so stand separate from every
wrong way, it is a means of help to the weaker. As I have
sometimes been much spent in the heat and have taken
spirits to revive me, I have found by experience, that in such
circumstances the mind is not so calm, nor so fitly disposed
for Divine meditation, as when all such extremes are avoided.
I have felt an increasing care to attend to that Holy Spirit
which sets right bounds to our desires, and leads those who
faithfully follow it to apply all the gifts of Divine Provi-
dence to the purposes for which they were intended. Did
those who have the care of great estates attend with single-
ness of heart to this heavenly Instructor, which so opens and
enlarges the mind as to cause men to love their neighbors
as themselves, they would have wisdom given them to manage
their concerns, without employing some people in providing
;

206 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN


luxuries of life, or others i^ laboring too hard ; but for want
of steadily regarding this principle of Divine love, a selfish
spirit takes place in the minds of people, which is attended
with darkness and manifold confusions in the world.
Though trading in things useful is an honest employ, yet
through the great number of superfluities which are bought
and sold, and through the corruption of the times, they who
apply to merchandise for a living have great need to be well
experienced in that precept which the Prophet Jeremiah laid
down for his scribe: "Seekest thou great things for thy-
self? seek them not."
In the winter this year I was engaged with friends in visit-
ing families, and through the goodness of the Lord we often-
times experienced his heart-tendering presence amongst us.

A Copy of a Letter written to a Friend

"In this, affliction, I have found a deep fellow-


thy late
feeling with thee, and have had a secret hope throughout
that it might please the Father of Mercies to raise thee up
and sanctify thy troubles to thee that thou being more fully
;

acquainted with that way which the world esteems foolish,


mayst feel the clothing of Divine fortitude, and be strength-
ened to resist that spirit which leads from the simplicity of
the everlasting truth.
"We may see ourselves crippled and halting, and from, a
strong bias to things pleasant and easy find an impossibility
to advance forward; but things impossible with men are
possible with God; and our wills being made subject to his,
all temptations are surmountable.
"This work of subjecting the will is compared to the min-
eral in the furnace, which, through fervent heat, is reduced
from its first principle :
'
He refines them as silver is refined
he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.' By these com-
parisons weare instructed in the necessity of the melting
operation of the hand of God upon us, to prepare our hearts
truly to adore him, and manifest that adoration by inwardly
turning away from that spirit, in all its workings, which is
not of him. To forward this v7ork the all-wise God is some-
times pleased, through outward distress, to bring us near the
9-ates of death; that life being painful and afflicting, and
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 207

tlieprospect of eternity opened before us, all earthly bonds


may be loosened, and the mind prepared for that deep and
sacred instruction which otherwise would not be received.
If kind parents love their children and delight in their hap-
piness, then he who perfect goodness in sending abroad
is

m_ortal contagions doth assuredly direct their use. Are the


righteous removed by it? their change is happy. Are the
wicked taken away in their wickedness? the Almighty is
clear. Do we pass through with anguish and great bitter-
ness, and yet recover ? He intends that we should be purged
from dross, and our ear opened to discipline.
" And now, as thou art again restored, after thy sore
affliction and doubts of recovery, forget not Him who hath
helped thee, but in hum.ble gratitude hold fast his instruc-
tions, and thereby shun those by-paths which lead from the
firm foundation. I am sensible of that variety of company
to which one in thy business must be exposed; I have pain-
fully felt the force of conversation proceeding from men
deeply rooted in an earthly mind, and can sympathize with
others in such conflicts, because much weakness still attends
me.
" I find that to be a fool as to worldly wisdom, and to
commit my cause to God, not fearing to offend men, who
take offence at the simplicity of truth, is the only way to
remain unmoved at the sentiments of others.
" The fear of man brings a snare. By halting in our duty,
and giving back in the time of trial, our hands grow weaker,
our spirits get mingled with the people, our ears grow dull
as to hearing the language of the true Shepherd, so that when
we look at the way of the righteous, it seems as though it
was not for us to follow them.
"A love clothes my miind while I write, which is superior
to all expression ; and I find m}^ heart open to encourage to
a holy em-ulation, to advance forward in Christian firmness.
Deep hum-ility is a strong bulwark, and as we enter into it
we find safety and true exaltation. The foolishness of God
is wiser than man, and the weakness of God is stronger
than man. Being unclothed of our own wisdom, and know-
ing the abasement of the creature, we find that power to
arise which gives health and vigor to us."
CHAPTER IV
1757, 1758


Visit to the Families of Friends at Burlington -Journey to Penn-

sylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina Considera-
tions on the State of Friends there, and the Exercise he was
tmder in Travelling among those so generally concerned in keep-

ing Slaves, with some Observations on this Subject Epistle to

Friends at New Garden and Crane Creek Thoughts on the
Neglect of a Religious Care in the Education of the Negroes.

[HIRTEENTH fifth month, 1757. Being in good


and abroad with Friends visiting families, I
health,
lodged at a Friend's house in Burlington. Going to
bed about the time usual with me, I awoke in the night, and
my meditations, as I lay, were on the goodness and mercy
of the Lord, in a sense whereof my heart was contrited.
After this I went to sleep again; in a short time I awoke;
it was yet dark, and no appearance of day or moonshine,

and as I opened mine eyes I saw a light in my chamber, at


the apparent distance of five feet, about nine inches in
diameter, of a clear, easy brightness, and near its centre the
most radiant. As I lay still looking upon it without any sur-
prise,words were spoken to my inward ear, which filled my
whole inward man. They were not the effect of thought,
nor any conclusion in relation to the appearance, but as the
language of the Holy One spoken in my mind. The words
were. Certain Evidence of Divine Truth. They were
again repeated exactly in the same manner, and then the
light disappeared.
Feeling the exercise In relation to a visit to the Southern
Provinces to increase upon me, I acquainted our Monthly
Meeting therewith, and obtained their certificate. Expecting
to go alone, one of my brothers who lived in Philadelphia,
having some business in North Carolina, proposed going
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 209

:with me part of theway; but as he had a view of some


outward affairs, to him as a companion was some
accept of
difficulty with me, whereupon I had conversation with him
at sundry times. At length feeling easy in my mind, I had
conversation with several elderly Friends of Philadelphia on
the subject, and he obtaining a certificate suitable to the
occasion, we set off in the fifth month, 1757. Coming to Not-
tingham week-day meeting, we lodged at John Churchman's,
where I met with our friend, Benjamin Buffington, from New
England, who was returning from a visit to the Southern
Provinces. Thence we crossed the river Susquehanna, and
lodged at William Cox's in Maryland.
Soon after I entered this province a deep and painful exer-
cise came upon me, which I often had som.e feeling of, since
my mind was drawn toward these parts, and with which I
had acquainted my brother before we agreed to join as com-
panions. As the people in this and the Southern Provinces
live much on many of whom are used
the labor of slaves,
hardly, my concern was that might attend with singleness
I
of heart to the voice of the true Shepherd and be so sup-
ported as to remain unmoved at the faces of men.
As it is common for Friends on such a visit to have enter-
tainment free of cost, a difficulty arose in my mind with
respect to saving my money by kindness received from what
appeared to me to be the gain of oppression. Receiving a
gift, considered as a gift, brings the receiver under obliga-
tions to the benefactor, and has a natural tendency to draw
the obliged into a party with the giver. To prevent difficul-
ties of this kind, and to preserve the minds of judges from
any bias, was that Divine prohibition : "Thou shalt not
receive any gift; for a gift bindeth the wise, and perverteth
the words of the righteous." (Exod. xxiii. 8.) As the dis-
ciples w^ere sent forth without any provision for their jour-
ney, and our Lord said the workman is worthy of his meat,
their labor in the gospel was considered as a reward for their
entertainment, and therefore not received as a gift; yet, in
regard to mypresent journey, I could not see my way clear
in that respect. The difference appeared thus : the entertain-
ment the disciples met with was from them whose hearts God
had opened to receive them, from a love to them and the
210 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
truth they published; but we, considered as members of the
same religious society, look upon it as a piece of civility to
receive each other in such visits; and such receptions, at
times, is partly in regard to reputation, and not from an
inward unity of heart and spirit. Conduct is more convinc-
ing than language, and where people, by their actions, mani-
fest that the slave-trade is not so disagreeable to their prin-
ciples but that it m.ay be encouraged, there is not a sound
uniting with some Friends who visit them.
The prospect of so weighty a work, and of being so distin-
guished from many whom I esteemed before myself, brought
me very low, and such were the conflicts of my soul that I
had a near sympathy with the Prophet, in the time of his
weakness, when he said " If thou deal thus with me, kill
:

me, I pray thee, if I have found favor in thy sight." (Num.


xi. 15.) But I soon saw that this proceeded from the want
of a full resignation to the Divine will. Many were the
which attended me, and in great abasem.ent, with
afflictions
many tears, my cries were to the Almighty for his gracious
and fatherly assistance, and after a time of deep trial I was
favored to understand the state mentioned by the Psalmist
more clearly than ever I had done before to wit: " My soul ;

is even as a weaned child." (Psalm cxxxi. 2.) Being thus


helped to sink down into resignation, I felt a deliverance
from that tempest in which I had been sorely exercised, and
in calmness of mind went forward, trusting that the Lord
Jesus Christ, as I faithfully attended to him, would be a
counsellor to me in all difficulties, and that by His strength I
should be enabled even to leave money with the members
of society where I had entertainment, when I found that
omitting it would obstruct that work to which I believed He
had called me. As I copy this after my return, I may here
add, that oftentimes I did so under a sense of duty. The way
in which I did it was thus when I expected soon to leave a
:

Friend's house where I had entertainment, if I believed that


I should not keep clear from the gain of oppression without
leaving money, I spoke to one of the heads of the family
privately, and desired them to accept of those pieces of
silver, and give them to such of their negroes as they be-
lieved v/ould make the best use of them and at other times ;
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 211

I gave them to the negroes myself, as the way looked


clearest to me. Before I came out, I had provided a large
number of small pieces for this purpose and thus offering
them to some who appeared to be wealthy people was a trial
both to me and them. But the fear of the Lord so covered
m_e at times that my way was made easier than I expected;
and few, if any, manifested any resentm.ent at the offer, and
most of them, after some conversation, accepted of them.

Ninth of fifth month. A Friend at whose house we break-
fasted setting us a little on our way, I had conversation v/ith
him, in the fear of the Lord, concerning his slaves, in v/hich
my heart was tender; I used much plainness of speech with
him, and he appeared to take it kindly. We pursued our
journey without appointing meetings, being pressed In my
mind to be at the Yearly Meeting in Virginia. In my trav-
elling on the road, I often felt a cry rise from, the centre of
my mind, thus " O Lord, I am a stranger on the earth, hide
:

not thy face from me." On the nth, we crossed the rivers
Patowmack and Rapahannock, and lodged at Port Royal. On
the way we had the company of a colonel of the militia, who
appeared to be a thoughtful man. I took occasion to remark
on the difference in general betwixt a people used to labor
moderately for their living, training up their children in
frugality and business, and those who live on the labor of
slaves; the former, in my view, being the most happy life.
He concurred in the remark, and mentioned the trouble
arising from the tmtoward, slothful disposition of the ne-
groes, adding that one of our laborers would do as m.uch in
a day as two of their slaves. I replied, that free m.en, whose
minds were properly on their business, found a satisfaction
in improving, cultivating, and providing for their families;
but negroes, laboring to support others who claim them as
their property, and expecting nothing but slavery during life,
had not the like inducement to be industrious.
After some further conversation I said, that men having
power too often misapplied it; that though we m.ade slaves
of the negroes, and the Turks made slaves of the Christians,
I believed that liberty was the natural right of all men
equally. This he did not deny, but said the lives of the
negroes were so wretched in their own country that many
212 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
of them lived better here than there. I replied, " There is
great odds in regard to us on what principle we act " ; and
so the conversation on that subject ended. I may here add
that another person, some time afterwards, mentioned the
wretchedness of the negroes, occasioned by their intestine
wars, as an argument in favor of our fetching them away
for slaves. To which I replied, if compassion for the Afri-
cans, on account of their domestic troubles, was the real
motive of our purchasing them, that spirit of tenderness being
attended to, would incite us to use them kindly that, as
strangers brought out of affliction, their lives might be happy
among us. And as they are human creatures, whose souls
are as precious as ours, and who may receive the same help
and comfort from the Holy Scriptures as we do, we could
not omit suitable endeavors to instruct them therein; but
that while we manifest by our conduct that our views in
purchasing them are to advance ourselves, and while our
buying captives taken in war animates those parties to push
on the war, and increase desolation amongst them, to say
they live unhappily in Africa is far from being an argument
in our favor. I further said, the present circumstances of
these provinces to me appear difficult; the slaves look like a
burdensome stone to such as burden themselves with them;
and that if the white people retain a resolution to prefer their
outward prospects of gain to all other considerations, and
do not act conscientiously toward them as fellow-creatures^
I believe that burden will grow heavier and heavier, until
times change in a way disagreeable to us. The person ap-
peared very serious, and owned that in considering their
condition and the manner of their treatment in these prov-
inces he had sometimes thought it might be just in the
Almighty so to order it.
Having travelled through Maryland, we came amongst
Friends at Cedar Creek in Virginia, on the 12th; and the
next day rode, in company with several of them, a day's
journey to Camp Creek. As I was riding along in the
morning, my mind was deeply affected in a sense I had of
the need of Divine aid to support me in the various difficul-
ties which attended m.e, and in uncommon distress of mind I
" O Lord be merciful, I
cried in secret to the Most High,
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 213

beseech thee, to thy poor afflicted creature!" After some


time, I felt inward relief, and, soon after, a Friend in com-
pany began to talk in support of the slave-trade, and said
the negroes were understood to be the offspring of Cain,
their blackness being the mark which God set upon him
after he murdered Abel his brother that it was the design of
;

Providence they should be slaves, as a condition proper to the


race of so wicked a man as Cain was. Then another spake in
support of what had been said. To all which I replied in
substance as follows :that Noah and his family were all
who survived the flood, according to Scripture and as Noah
;

was of Seth's race, the family of Cain was wholly destroyed.


One of them said that after the flood Ham went to the land
of Nod and took a wife; that Nod was a land far distant,
inhabited by Cain's race, and that the flood did not reach it;
and as Ham was sentenced to be a servant of servants to
his brethren, these two families, being thus joined, were
undoubtedly fit only for slaves. I replied, the flood was a
judgment upon the world for their abominations, and it was
granted that Cain's stock was the most wicked, and there-
fore unreasonable to suppose that they were spared. As to
Ham's going to the land of Nod for a wife, no time being
fixed. Nod might be inhabited by some of Noah's family
before Ham married a second time; moreover the text saith
"That all flesh died that moved upon the earth." (Gen. vii.
21.) I further reminded them how the prophets repeatedly
declare " that the son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the
father, but every one be answerable for his own sins." I
was troubled to perceive the darkness of their imaginations,
and in some pressure of spirit said, "
The love of ease and
gain are the motives in general of keeping slaves, and men
are wont to take hold of weak arguments to support a cause
fvhich is unreasonable. I have no interest on either side,
save only the interest which I desire to have in the truth.
I believe liberty is their right, and as I see they are not
only deprived of it, but treated in other respects with inhu-
manity in many places, I believe He who is a refuge for
the oppressed will, in his own time, plead their cause, and
happy will it be for such as walk in uprightness before him."
And thus our conversation ended.
214 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN

Fourteenth of fifth month. I was this day at Camp Creek
Monthly Meeting, and then rode to the mountains up James
!River, and had a meeting at a Friend's house, in both which
I felt sorrow of heart, and my tears were poured out before
the Lord, who was pleased to afford a degree of strength
by which way was opened to clear my mind amongst Friends
in those places. Fromthence I went to Fork Creek, and so
to Cedar Creek again, at which place I now had a meeting.
Here I found a tender seed, and as I was preserved in the
ministry to keep low with the truth, the same truth in their
hearts answered it, that it was a time of mutual refreshment
from the presence of the Lord. I lodged at James Stand-
ley's, father of William Standley, one of theyoung men who
suffered imprisonment at Winchester last summer on account
of their testimony against fighting, and I had some satisfac-
tory conversation with him concerning it. Hence I went to
the Swamp Meeting, and to Wayanoke Meeting, and then
crossed James River, and lodged near Burleigh. From the
tim^e of m.y entering Maryland I have been much under sor-
row, which of late so increased upon me that my mind was
almost overwhelmed, and I may say with the Psalmist, " In
my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God,"
who, in infinite goodness, looked upon my affliction, and in
my private retirement sent the Comforter for my relief,
for which I humbly bless His holy name.
The sense I had of the state of the churches brought a
weight of distress upon me. The gold to me appeared dim,
and the fine gold changed, and though this is the case too'
j^enerally, yet the sense of it in these parts hath in a par-
ticular manner borne heavy upon m.e. It appeared to me that
through the prevailing of the spirit of this world the minds
of many were brought to an inward desolation, and instead
of the spirit of meekness, gentleness, and heavenly wisdom,
which are the necessary companions of the true sheep of
Christ, a spirit of fierceness and the love of dominion too
generally prevailed. From small beginnings in error great
buildings by degrees are raised, and from one age to another
are more and more strengthened by the general concurrence
of the people and as men obtain reputation by their profes-
;

sion of the truth, their virtues are mentioned as arguments


THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 215

in favor of general error; and those of less note, to justify


themselves, say, such and such good men did the like. By
vv^hat other steps could the people of Judah arise to that
height in wickedness as to give just ground for the Prophet
Isaiah to declare, in the nam.e of the Lord, *' that none calleth
for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth" (Isa. lix. 4), or for
the Almighty to call upon the great city of Jerusalem just
before the Babylonish captivity, " If ye can find a man, if
there be any who executeth judgment, that seeketh the
truth, and
I will pardon it"? (Jer. v. i.)
The prospect of a way being open to the same degeneracy,
in some parts of this newly settled land of America, in respect
to our conduct towards the negroes, hath deeply bowed my
mind in this journey, and though briefly to relate how these
people are treated is no agreeable work yet, after often
reading over the notes I made as I travelled, I find my mind
engaged to preserve them. Many of the white people in
those provinces take little or no care of negro marriages and
;

when negroes marry after their own way, some make so


little account of those marriages that with views of outward

interest they often part men from their wives by selling them
far asunder, which is common when estates are sold by
executors at vendue. Many whose labor is heavy being fol-
lowed at their business in the field by a m.an with a whip,
hired for that purpose, have in common little else allowed
but one peck of Indian corn and some salt, for one week,
with a few potatoes; the potatoes they commonly raise by
their labor on the first day of the week. The correction
ensuing on their disobedience to overseers, or slothfulness
in business, is often very severe, and sometimes desperate.
Men and women have many times scarcely clothes suffi-
cient to hide their nakedness, and boys and girls ten and
twelve years old are often quite naked amongst their master's
children. Some of our Society, and some of the society
called Newlights, use some endeavors to instruct those they
have in reading; but in common this is not only neglected,
but disapproved. These are the people by whose labor the
other inhabitants are in a great measure supported, and many
of them in the luxuries of life. These are the people who
have made no agreement to serve us, and who have not for-
216 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
feited their liberty that we know These are the souls
of.
for whom Christ died, and for our conduct towards them
we must answer before Him who is no respecter of persons.
They who know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom
he hath sent, and are thus acquainted with the merciful,
benevolent, gospel spirit, will therein perceive that the
indignation of God is kindled against oppression and cruelty,
and in beholding the great distress of so numerous a people
will find cause for mourning.
From my lodgings I went to Burleigh Meeting, where I
felt my mind drawn in a quiet, resigned state. After a long
silence I felt an engagement to stand up, and through the
powerful operation of Divine love we were favored with an
edifying meeting. The next meeting we had was at Black-
Water, and from thence went to the Yearly Meeting at the
Western Branch. When business began, some queries were
introduced by some of their members for consideration, and,
if approved, they were to be answered hereafter by their
respective Monthly Meetings. They were the Pennsylvania
queries, which had been examined by a committee of Vir-
ginia Yearly Meeting appointed the last year, who made
some alterations in them, one of which alterations was made
in favor of a custom which troubled me. The query was,
" Are there any concerned in the importation of negroes, or
in buying them after imported ? " which was thus altered,
*'Are there any concerned in the importation of negroes, or
buying them to trade in?" As one query admitted with
unanimity was, " Are any concerned in buying or vending
goods unlawfully imported, or prize goods?" I found my
mind engaged to say that as we profess the truth, and were
there assembled to support the testimony of it, it was neces-
sary for us to dwell deep and act in that wisdom which is
pure, or otherwise we could not prosper. I then mentioned
their alteration, and referring to the last-mentioned query,
added, that as purchasing any merchandise taken by the
sword was always allowed to be inconsistent with our prin-
ciples, so negroes being captives of war, or taken by stealth,
it was inconsistent with our testimony to buy them; and
their being our fellow-creatures, and sold as slaves, added
greatly to the iniquity. Friends appeared attentive to what
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 217

was said; some expressed a care and concern about theii?


negroes; none made any objection, by way of reply to what
I said, but the query was admitted as they had altered it.
As som.e of their members have heretofore traded in
negroes, as in other merchandise, this query being admitted
will be one step further than they have hitherto gone, and I
did not see it my duty to press for an alteration, but felt
easy to leave it all to Him who alone is able to turn the
hearts of the mighty, and make way for the spreading of
truth on the earth, by means agreeable to his infinite wisdom.
In regard to those they already had, I felt my mind engaged
to labor with them, and said that as we believe the Scriptures
were given forth by holy men, as they were moved by the
Holy Ghost, and many of us know by experience that they
are often helpful and comfortable, and believe ourselves
bound in duty to teach our children to read them I believed
;

that if we were divested of all selfish views, the same good


spirit that gave them forth would engage us to teach the
negroes to read, that they might have the benefit of them.
Some present manifested a concern to take more care in the
education of their negroes.

Twenty-ninth fifth month. At the house where I lodged
was a meeting of ministers and elders. I found an engage-
ment to speak freely and plainly to them concerning their
slaves ; mentioning how they as the first rank in the society,
whose conduct in that case was much noticed by others, were
under the stronger obligations to look carefully to them-
selves. Expressing how needful it was for them in that sit-
uation to be thoroughly divested of all selfish views; that,
living in the pure truth, and acting conscientiously towards
those people in their education and otherwise, they might be
instrumental in helping forward a work so exceedingly neces-
sary, and so much neglected amongst them. At the tvv^elftH
hour the meeting of worship began, which was a solid
meeting.
The next day, about the tenth hour. Friends met to finish
their business, and then the meeting for worship ensued,
which to me was a laborious time but through the goodness
;

of the Lord, truth, I believed, gained some ground, and it


was a strengthening opportunity to the honest-hearted.
;

218 THE JOUKNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN


About this time I wrote an epistle to Friends in the back
settlements of North Carolina, as follows:

To Friends at their Monthly Meeting at New Garden and Cane


Creek, in North Carolina:
Dear Friends,
having pleased the Lord to drav/ me
It
forth on a visit to some parts of Virginia and Carolina, you
have often been in my mind; and though my way is not
clear to come in person to visit you, yet I feel it in my heart
to communicate a few things, as they arise in the love of
truthc First, my
dear friends, dwell in humility; and take
heed that no views of outward gain get too deep hold of you,
that so your eyes being single to the Lord, you may be pre-
served in the way of safety. Where people let loose their
minds outward things, and are more engaged
after the love of
in pursuing the profits and seeking the friendships of this
world than to be inv\^ardly acquainted with the way of true
peace, they walk in a vain shadow, while the true comfort of
life is VN^anting. Their examples are often hurtful to others
and their treasures thus collected do many timxcs prove dan-
gerous snares to their children.
But where people are sincerely devoted to follow Christ,
and dwell under the influence of his Holy Spirit, their sta-
bility and firmness, through a Divine blessing, is at times
like dew on the tender plants round about them, and the
weightiness of their spirits secretly works on the minds of
others. In this condition, through the spreading influence
of Divine love, they feel a care over the flock, and way is
opened for maintaining good order in the Society. And
though we may meet with opposition from another spirit,
yet, as there is a dwelling in meekness, feeling our spirits

subject, and moving only in the gentle, peaceable wisdom,


the inward reward of quietness will be greater than all our
difficulties. Where the pure life is kept to, and meetings of
discipline are held in the authority of it, we find by experi-
ence that they are comfortable, and tend to the health of
the body.
While I write, the youth come fresh in my way. Dear
young people, choose God for your portion; love his truth,
and be not ashamed of it; choose for your company such as
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 219

serve him in uprightness; and shun as most dangerous the


conversation of those whose lives are of an ill savor; for by
frequenting such company some hopeful young people have
come to great loss, and been drawn from less evils to greater,
to their utter ruin. In the bloom of youth no ornament is
so lovely as that of virtue, nor any enjoyments equal to
those which v\^e partake of in fully resigning ourselves to the
Divine will. These enjoyments add sweetness to all other
comforts, and give true satisfaction in company and con-
versation, w^here people are mutually acquainted with it ; and
as your minds are thus seasoned with the truth, you will find
strength to abide steadfast to the testimony of it, and be
prepared for services in the church.
And now, dear friends and brethren, as you are improving
a wilderness^ and may be numbered amongst the first planters
in one part of a province^ I beseech you, in the love of Jesus
Christ, wisely to consider the force of your examples, and
think how much your successors may be thereby affected.
It is a help in a country, yea, and a great favor and blessing,
when customs first settled are agreeable to sound wisdom;
but when they are otherwise the effect of them is grievous;
and children feel them.selves encompassed with difficulties
prepared for them by their predecessors.
As moderate care and exercise, under the direction of true
wisdom, are useful both to mind and body, so by these means
in general the real wants of life are easily supplied, our
gracious Father having so proportioned one to the other
that keeping in the medium we may pass on quietly. Where
slaves are purchased to do our labor numerous difficulties
attend it. To rational creatures bondage is uneasy, and
frequently occasions sourness and discontent In them; which
affects the family and such as claim the mastery over them.
Thus people and their children are many times encompassed
with vexations, which arise from their applying to >vrong
methods to get a living.
I have been informed that there is a large number of
Friends in 5':our parts who have no slaves; and in tender
and most affectionate love I beseech you to keep clear from
purchasing any. Look, my dear friends, to Divine Provi-
dence, and follow in simplicity that exercise of body, that
;

220 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN


plainness and frugality, which true wisdom leads to; so
may you be preserved from those dangers which attend such
as are aiming at outward ease and greatness.
Treasures, though small, attained on a true principle of
virtue, are sweet; and while we walk in the light of the
Lord there is true comfort and satisfaction in the possession
neither the murmurs of an oppressed people, nor a throbbing,
uneasy conscience, nor anxious thoughts about the events of
things, hinder the enjoyment of them.
When we look towards the end of life, and think on the
division of our substance among our successors, if we know
that it was collected in the fear of the Lord, in honesty, in
equity, and in uprightness of heart before him, we may con-
sider it as his gift to us, and with a single eye to his bless-
ing, bestow it on those we leave behind us. Such is the
happiness of the plain ways of true virtue. " The work of
righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteous-
ness, quietness and assurance forever." (Isa. xxxii. 17.)
Dwell here, my dear friends; and then in remote and
solitary deserts you may find true peace and satisfaction. If
the Lord be our God, in truth and reality, there is safety for
us for he is a stronghold in the day of trouble, and knoweth
:

them that trust in him.

Isle of Wight County, in Virginia,


20th of the 5th month, 1757.

From the Yearly Meeting in Virginia I went to Carolina,


and on the first of sixth month was at Wells Monthly Meet-
ing,where the spring of the gospel ministry was opened, and
the love of Jesus Christ experienced among us ; to his name
be the praise.
Here my brother joined with some Friends from New
Garden who Vv^ere going homeward; and I went next to
Simons Creek Monthly Meeting, where I was silent during
the meeting for worship. When business came on, my mind
was exercised concerning the poor slaves, but I did not feel
my way clear to speak. In this condition I was bowed in
spirit before the Lord, and with tears and inward supplica-
tion besought him so to open my understanding that I might
know his v/ill concerning me ; and, at length, my mind was
;

THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 221

settled in silence. Near the end of their business a member


of their meeting expressed a concern that had some time
lain upon him, on account of Friends so much neglecting
their duty in the education of their slaves, and proposed
having meetings sometimes appointed for them on a week-
day, to be attended only by some Friends to be named in
their Monthly Meetings. Many present appeared to unite
with the proposal. One said he had often wondered that they,
being our fellow-creatures, and capable of religious under-
standing, had been so exceedingly neglected; another ex-
pressed the like concern, and appeared zealous that in future
it might be more closely considered. At length a m-inute was
made, and the further consideration of it referred to their
next Monthly Meeting. The Friend who made this proposal
hath negroes he told me that he was at New Garden, about
;

two hundred and fifty miles from home, and came back alone
that in this solitary journey this exercise, in regard to the
education of their negroes, was from time to time renewed
in his mind. A Friend of some note in Virginia, who hath
slaves, told me that he being far from home on a lonesome
journey had m.any serious thoughts about them.; and his
mind was so impressed therewith that he believed he saw a
time coming when Divine Providence v/ould alter the circum-
stance of these people, respecting their condition as slaves.
From hence I went to a meeting at Nev^^begun Creek,
and sat a considerable time in much weakness; then I felt
truth open the way much plainness and
to speak a little in
simplicity, till through the increase of Divine love
at length,
amongst us, we had This was also
a seasoning opportunity.
the case at the head of Little River, where we had a crowded
meeting on a first-day. I went thence to the Old Neck,
where I was led into a careful searching out of the secret
workings of the mystery of iniquity, which, under a cover
of religion exalts itself against that pure spirit which leads
in the way of meekness and self-denial. Pineywoods was
the last meeting I was at in Carolina; it was large, and my
heart being deeply engaged, I was drawn forth into a fervent
labor amongst them.
When I was at Newbegun Creek a Friend was there
who labored for his living, having no negroes, and who had
222 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
been a minister many years. He came to me the next day,
and as we rode together, he signified that he wanted to
talk with me concerning a difficulty he had been under,
which he related nearly as follows: That as moneys had of
late years been raised by a tax to carry on the wars, he had
a scruple in his mind in regard to paying it, and chose rather
to suffer restraint of his goods; but as he was the only
person who refused it in those parts, and knew not that any
one else was in the like circumstances, he signified that it
had been a heavy trial to him, especially as some of his
brethren had been uneasy with his conduct in that case.
He added, that from a sympathy he felt with me yesterday
in meeting, he found freedom thus to open the matter in the
way of querying concerning Friends in our parts; I told
him the state of Friends amongst us as well as I was able,
and had for some time been under the like scru-
also that I
ple. Ibelieved him to be one who v/as concerned to walk
uprightly before the Lord, and esteemed it my duty to pre-
serve this note concerning him, Samuel Newby.
From hence I went back and had a meeting
into Virginia,
near James Cowpland's; it was a time of inward suffering,
but through the goodness of the Lord I was made content;
at another meeting, through the renewings of pure love, we
had a very comfortable season.
Travelling up and down of late, I have had renewed evi-
dences that to be faithful to the Lord, and content with his
will concerning me, is a most necessary and useful lesson
for me looking less at the effects of my labor
to be learning ;

than at the pure motion and reality of the concern, as it


arises from heavenly love. In the Lord Jehovah is ever-
lasting strength; and as the mind, by humble resignation,
is united to Him, and we utter words from an inward
knowledge that they arise from the heavenly spring, though
our Vv'ay may be difficult, and it may require close attention
to keep in it, and though the matter in which we may be
led maytend to our own abasement; yet, if we continue
in patience and meekness, heavenly peace will be the reward
of our labors.
I attended Curies Meeting, which, though small, was re-
viving to the honest-hearted. Afterwards I went to Black
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 223

Creek and Caroline Meetings, from whence, accompanied


by William Standiey before mentioned, I rode to Goose
Creek, being much through the woods, and about one hun-
dred miles. We lodged the first night at a public-house;
the second in the woods; and the next day we reached a
Friend's house at Goose Creek. In the wcJods we were
under some disadvantage, having no fire-works nor bells for
our horses, but we stopped a little before night and let them
feed on the wild grass, which was plentiful, in the mean
time cutting with our knives a store against night. We then
secured our horses, and gathering some bushes under an oak
we lay down; but the mosquitoes being numerous and the
ground damp I slept but little. Thus lying in the wilderness,
and looking at the stars, I was led to contemplate on the
condition of our first parents when they were sent forth
from the garden; how the Almighty, though they had been
disobedient, continued to be a father to them, and showed
them what tended to their felicity as intelligent creatures,
and was acceptable to him. To provide things relative to our
outward living, in the way of true wisdom, is good, and the
gift of improving in things useful is a good gift, and comes
from the Father of Lights. Many have had this gift; and
from age to age there have been improvements of this kind
made in the world. But some, not keeping to the pure gift,
have in the creaturely cunning and self-exaltation sought out
many inventions. As the first motive to these inventions of
men, as distinct from that uprightness in which man was
created, was evil, so the effects have been and are evil. It
IS, therefore, as necessary for us at this day constantly to

attend on the heavenly gift, to be qualified to use rightly the


good things in this life, amidst great improvements, as it was
for our first parents when they were without any improve-
ments, without any friend or father but God only.
I was at a meeting at Goose Creek, and next at a Monthly
Meeting at Fairfax, where, through the gracious dealing of
the Almighty with us, his power prevailed over many hearts.
From thence I went to Monoquacy and Pipe Creek in Mary-
land; at both places I had cause humbly to adore Him who
had supported me through many exercises, and by whose
help I was enabled to reach the true witness in the hearts of
224 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
others. There were some hopeful young people in those
parts. had meetings afterwards at John Everit's, in Mona-
I
len, and at Huntingdon, and I was made humbly thankful
to the Lord, who opened my heart amongst the people in
these new settlements, so that it was a time of encourage*-
ment to the honest-minded.
At Monalen a Friend gave me some account of a religious
societyamong the Dutch called Mennonists, and amongst
other things related a passage in substance as follows One :

oi- the having acquaintance with a man of


Mennonists
another society at a considerable distance, and being with his
wagon on business near the house of his said acquaintance,
and night coming on, he had thoughts of putting up with
him, but passing by his fields, and observing the distressed
appearance of his slaves, he kindled a fire in the woods hard
by, and lay there that night. His said acquaintance hearing
where he lodged, and afterward meeting the Mennonist, told
him of it, adding he should have been heartily welcome at
his house, and from their acquaintance in former time won-
dered at his conduct in that case. The Mennonist replied,
" Ever since I lodged by thy field I have wanted an oppor-
tunity to speak with thee. I had intended to come to thy
house for entertainment, but seeing thy slaves at their work,
and observing the manner of their dress, I had no liking to
come to partake with thee." He then admonished him to
use them with more humanity, and added, " As I lay by the
fire that night, I thought that as I was a man of substance
thou wouldst have received me freely; but if I had been as
poor as one of thy slaves, and had no power to help myself,
I should have received from thy hand no kinder usage than
they."
In this journey I was out about two months, and travelled
about eleven hundred and fifty miles. I returned home
under an humbling sense of the gracious dealings of the
Lord with me, in preserving me through many trials and
afflictions.
CHAPTER V
1757. 1758

Considerations on tlie Payment of a Tax laid for Carrying on the



War against the Indians Meetings of the Committee of the

Yearly Meeting at Philadelphia Som.e Notes on Thomas a

Kempis and John Huss The present Circumstances of Friends
in Pennsylvania and New Jersey very Different from those of

our Predecessors The Drafting of the Militia in New Jersey
to serve in the Army, with some Observations on the State of

the Members of our Society at that time Visit to Friends in

Pennsylvania, accompanied by Benjamin Jones Proceedings at
the Monthly, Quarterly, and Yearly Meetings in Philadelphia,
respecting those who keep Slaves

FEW years past, money being made current in our


province for carrying on wars, and to be called in
again by taxes laid on the inhabitants, my mind was
often affected with the thoughts of paying such taxes; and
I believe it right for me to preserve a memorandum con-
cerning it. I was told that Friends in England frequently
paid taxes, when the money was applied to such purposes.
I had conversation with several noted Friends on the sub-
ject, who all favored the payment of such taxes; some of
them I preferred before myself, and this made me easier for
a time; yet there was in the depth of my mind a scruple
which I never could get over; and at certain times I was
greatly distressed on that account.
I believed that there v/ere some upright-hearted men whO'
paid such taxes, yet could not see that their example was a
sufficient reason for me to do so, while I believe that the
spirit of truth required of me, as an individual, to suffer
patiently the distress of goods, rather than pay actively.

To refuse the active payment of a tax v/hich our Societj


generally paid was exceedingly disagreeable; but to do g
8 225 HCVol. 1
226 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAH
thing contrary to my conscience appeared yet more dreadful
When this exercise came upon me, I knew of none under
the Hke difficulty; and in my distress I besought the Lord
to enable me to give up all that so I might follow him
wheresoever he was pleased to lead me. Under this exer-
cise I went to our Yearly Meeting at Philadelphia in the
year 1755; at which a committee was appointed of some
from each Quarterly Meeting, to correspond with the meet-
ing for sufferers in London; and another to visit our
Monthly and Quarterly Meetings. After their appointment,
before the last adjournment of the meeting, it was agreed
that these tvv^o committees should meet together in Friends'
school-house in the city, to consider some things in which
the cause of truth was concerned. They accordingly had a
weighty conference in the fear of the Lord; at which time
I perceived there were many Friends under a scruple like
that before mentioned.^
As scrupling to pay a tax on account of the application
hath seldorn been heard of heretofore, even amongst men of
integrity, who have steadily borne their testimony against
outward wars in their time, I may therefore note some
tilings which have occurred to my mind, as I have been
inwardly exercised on that account. From the steady opposi-
tion which faithful Friends in early times made to wrong
things then approved, they were hated and persecuted by
men living in the spirit of this world, and suffering with
firmness, they were made a blessing to the church, and the
work prospered. It equally concerns men in every age to
take heed to their own spirits; and in comparing their sit-
uation with ours, to me it appears that there was less danger
of their being infected with the spirit of this world, in pay-
ing such taxes, than is the case with us now. They had
little or no share in civil government, and many of them

declared that they were, through the power of God, sepa-


rated from the spirit in which wars were, and being afflicted
by the rulers on accoimt of their testimony, there was less
likelihood of their uniting in spirit with them in things
inconsistent with the purity of truth. We, from the first
^ Christians refused to pay taxes to support heathen temples. See Cave's
Primitive Christianity, Part III., p. 327,
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 227

settlement of this land, have known little or no troubles of


that sort. The profession of our predecessors was for a
time accounted reproachful, but at length their uprightness
being understood by the rulers, and their innocent sufferings
moving them, our way of worship was tolerated, and many
of our members in these colonies became active in civil
government. Being thus tried with favor and prosperity,
this world appeared inviting; our minds have been turned
to the improvement of our country, to merchandise and the
sciences, amongst which are many things useful, if followed
in pure wisdom; but in our present condition I believe it
will not be denied that a carnal mind is gaining upon us.
Some of our members, who are officers in civil government,
are in one case or other, called upon in their respective sta-
tions to assist in things relative to the wars; but being in
doubt whether to act or to crave to be excused from their
office, if they see their brethren united in the payment of a
tax to carry on the said wars, may think their case not
much different, and so might quench the tender movings of
the Holy Spirit in their minds. Thus, by small degrees, we
might approach so near to fighting that the distinction would
be little else than the name of a peaceable people.
It requires great self-denial and resignation of ourselves
to God, to attain that state wherein we can freely cease
from fighting when wrongfully invaded, if, by our fighting,
there were a probability of overcoming the invaders. Who-
ever rightly attains to it does in some degree feel that spirit
in which our Redeemer gave his life for us; and through
Divine goodness many of our predecessors, and many now
living, have learned this blessed lesson; but many others,
having their religion chiefly by education, and not being
enough acquainted with that cross which crucifies to the
world, do manifest a temper distinguishable from that of an
entire trust in God. In calmly considering these things, it
hath not appeared strange to me that an exercise hath now
fallen upon some, which, with respect to the outward
means, is different from what was known to many of those
who went before us.
Some time after the Yearly Meeting, the said committees
met at Philadelphia, and, by adjournments, continued sitting
228 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
several days. The calamities of war were now increasing;
the frontier inhabitants of Pennsylvania were frequently
surprised; some were slain, and many taken captive by the
Indians; and while these committees sat, the corpse of one
so slain was brought in a wagon, and taken through the
streets of the city in his bloody garments, to alarm the
people and rouse them to war.
Friends thus met were not all of one mind in relation to
the tax, which, to those who scrupled it, made the way more
difficult. To refuse an active payment at such a time might
be construed into an act of disloyalty, and appeared likely
to displease the rulers, not only here but in England; still
there was a scruple so fixed on the minds of many Friends
that nothing moved it. It was a conference the most weighty
that ever I was at, and the hearts of many were bowed in
reverence before the Most High. Some Friends of the said
committees who appeared easy to pay the tax, after several
adjournments, withdrew; others of them continued till the
last. At length an epistle of tender love and caution to
Friends in Pennsylvania was drawn up, and being read
several times and corrected, was signed by such as were
free to sign it, and afterward sent to the Monthly and Quar-
terly Meetings.

Ninth of eight month, 1757. Orders came at night to the
military officers in our county (Burlington), directing them
to draft the militia, and prepare a number of men to go off
as soldiers, to the relief of the English at Fort William
Henry, in New York governmient; a few days after which,
there was a general review of the militia at Mount Holly,
and a number of men were chosen and sent off under some
officers. Shortly after, there came orders to draft three
times as many, who were to hold themselves in readiness to
march when fresh orders came. On the 17th there was a
meeting of the military officers at Mount Holly, who agreed
on draft; orders were sent to the men so chosen to meet
their respective captains at set times and places, those in our
township to meet at Mount HoUy^ amongst whom were a
considerable number of our Societyo My mind being affected
herewith, I had fresh opportunity to see and consider the
advantage of living in the real substance of religion, where
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 229

practice doth harmonize with Amongst the


principle.
officers are men of understanding, who have some regard to
sincerity where they see it; and when such in the execu-
tion of their office have men to deal with whom
they believe
to be upright-hearted, it a painful task to put them to
is

trouble on account of scruples of conscience, and they will


be likely to avoid it as much as easily may be. But where
men profess to be so meek and heavenly-minded, and to have
their trust so firmly settled in God that they cannot join in
wars, and yet by their spirit and conduct in common life
manifest a contrary disposition, their difficulties are great at
such a time.
When officers who are anxiously endeavoring to get troops
to answer the dem.ands of their superiors see men who are
insincere pretend scruple of conscience in hopes of being
excused from a dangerous employment, it is likely they will
be roughly handled. In this time of commotion some of our
young men left these parts and tarried abroad till it was
over; som_e came, and proposed to go as soldiers; others
appeared to have a real tender scruple in their minds against
joining in wars, and were much humbled under the appre-
hension of a trial so near. I had conversation with several
of them to my satisfaction. When the captain came to town,
some of the last-mentioned went and told him in substance
as follows: That they could not bear arms for conscience'
sake; nor could they hire any to go in their places, being
resigned as to the event. At length the captain acquainted
them all that they might return home for the present, but he
required them to provide themselves as soldiers, and be in
readiness to march when called upon. This was such a
time as I had not seen before; and yet I may say, with
thankfulness to the Lord, that I believed the trial was in-
tended for our good; and I was favored with resignation to
him. The French army having taken the fort they were
besieging, destroyed it and went away the company of men
;

who were first drafted, after some days' march, had orders
to return home, and those on the second draft were no more
called upon on that occasion.

Fourth of fourth mionth, ly^S. Orders came to some offi-
cers in Mount Holly to prepare quarters for a short time for
230 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
about one hundred soldiers. An officer and two other men, all
inhabitants of our town came to my house. The officer told
me that he came to desire me to provide lodging and enter-
tainment for two soldiers, and that six shillings a week per
man would be allowed as pay for it. The case being new and
unexpected I made no answer suddenly, but sat a time silent,
my mind being inward. I was fully convinced that the pro-
ceedings in wars are inconsistent with the purity of the
Christian religion; and to be hired to entertain men, who
were then under pay as soldiers, was a difficulty with me.
I expected they had legal authority for what they did; and
after a short time I said to the officer, if the men are sent
here for entertainment I believe I shall not refuse to admit
them into my house, but the nature of the case is such that
I expect I cannot keep them on hire; one of the men in-
tim.ated that he thought I might do it consistently with my
religious principles. To whichmade no reply, believing
I
silence at that time best for me.Though they spake of two,
there came only one, who tarried at my house about two
weeks, and behaved himself civilly. When the officer came
to pay me, I told him. I could not take pay, having admitted
him into my house in a passive obedience to authority. I
was on horseback when he spake to me, and as I turned from
him, he said he was obliged to me; to v/hich I said nothing;
but, thinking on the expression, I grew uneasy; and after-
wards, being ndar where he lived, I went and told him on
what grounds I refused taking pay for keeping the soldier.
I have been informed that Thomas a Kempis lived and
died in the profession of the Roman Catholic religion; and,
in reading his writings, I have believed him to be a man of
a true Christian spirit, as fully so as many who died martyrs
because they could not join with some superstitions in that
church. All true Christians are of the same spirit, but
their gifts are diverse, Jesiis Christ appointing to each one
wisdom.
his peculiar office, agreeably to his infinite
John Huss contended against the errors which had crept
into the church, in opposition to the Council of Constance,
which the historian reports have consisted of some thou-
to
sand persons. He modestly vindicated the cause which he
believed was right; and though his language and conduct
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 231

towards his judges appear to have been respectful, yet he


never could be moved from the principles settled in his
mind. To use his own words " This I most humbly require
:

and desire of you all, even for his sake who is the God of
us all, that I be not compelled to the thing which my con-
science doth repugn or strive against." And again, in his
answer to the Emperor " I refuse nothing, most noble Em-
:

peror, whatsoever the council shall decree or determine upon


me, only this one thing I except, that I do not offend God
and my conscience."^ At length, rather than act contrary
to that which he believed the Lord required of him, he chose
to suffer death by fire. Thomas a Kempis, without disputing
against the articles then generally agreed to, appears to
have labored, by a pious example as well as by preaching
and writing, to promote virtue and the inward spiritual re-
ligion ; and I believe they were both sincere-hearted followers
of Christ. True charity
an excellent virtue; and sincerely
is

to labor for their good, whose belief in all points doth not
agree with ours, is a happy state.
Near the beginning of the year 1758, I went one evening,
in company with a friend, to visit a sick person and before ;

our return we were told of a woman living near, who had


for several days heen disconsolate, occasioned by a dream,
wherein death, and the judgments of the Almighty after
death, were represented to her mind in a moving manner.
Her sadness on that account being worn off, the friend with
whom I was in company went to see her, and had some re-
ligious conversation with her and her husband. With this
visit they Vv^ere somewhat affected, and the man, with many
tears, expressed his satisfaction. In a short time after the
poor man, being on the river in a storm of wind, was with
one more drowned.

Eighth month, 1758. Having had drawings in my mind
to be at the Quarterly Meeting in Chester County, and at
some meetings in the county of Philadelphia, I went first
to said Quarterly Meeting, which was large. Several
weighty matters came under consideration and debate, and
the Lord was pleased to qualify some of his servants with
strength and firmness to bear the burden of the day. Though
2 Fox's Acts and Monuments, p. 233.
232 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
I said but little, my mind was deeply exercised; and, under
a sense of God's love, in the anointing and fitting of some
young men for his work, I was comforted, and my heart was
tendered before him. From hence I went to the Youth's
Meeting at Darby, where my beloved friend and brother
Benjamin Jones met me by appointment before I left home,
to join in the visit. We were at Radnor, Merion, Richland,
North Wales, Plymouth, and Abington meetings, and had
cause to bow in reverence before the Lord, our gracious
God, by whose help way was opened for us fromi day to day.
I was out about two weeks, and rode about two hun-
dred miles.
The Monthly Meeting of Philadelphia having been under
a concern on account of some Friends who this summer
(1758) had bought negro slaves, proposed to their Quarterly
Meeting to have the minute reconsidered in the Yearly
Meeting, which was made last on that subject, and the said
Quarterly Meeting appointed a committee to consider it,
and to report to their next. This committee having met
once and adjourned, and I, going to Philadelphia to meet
a committee of the Yearly Meeting, was in town the evening
on which the Quarterly Meeting's committee met the second
time, and finding an inclination to sit with them, I, with
some others, was admitted, and Friends had a weighty con-
ference on the subject. Soon after their next Quarterly
meeting I heard that the case was coming to our Yearly
Meeting. This brought a weighty exercise upon me, and
under a sense of my own infirmities, and the great danger
I felt of turning aside from perfect purity, my mind was often
drawn to retire alone, and put up my prayers to the Lord that
he would be graciously pleased to strengthen me that setting
;

aside all views of self-interest and the friendship of this


world, I might stand fully resigned to his holy will.
In this Yearly Meeting several weighty matters were con-
sidered, and toward the last that in relation to dealing with
persons who purchase slaves. During the several sittings
of the said meeting, my mind was frequently covered with
inward prayer, and I could say with David, "that tears
were my meat day and night." The case of slave-keeping
lay heavy upon me, nor did I find any engagement to speak

THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 233

directly to any other matter before the meeting. Now when


this case was opened several faithful Friends spake weightily
thereto, with which I was comforted; and feeling a concern
to cast in my mite, I said in substance as follows :

" In the difficulties attending us in this life nothing is


more precious than the mind of truth inwardly manifested;
and it is my earnest desire that in this weighty matter we
may be so truly humbled as to be favored with a clear un-
derstanding of the mind of truth, and follow it; this would
be of more advantage to the Society than any medium not
in the clearness of Divine wisdom. The case is difficult
to some who have slaves, but if such set aside all self-interest,
and come to be weaned from the desire of getting estates,
or even from holding them together, when truth requires
the contrary, I believe way will so open that they will know
how to steer through those difficulties."
Many Friends appeared to be deeply bowed under the
weight of the work, and manifested much firmness in their
love to the cause of truth and universal righteousness on the
earth. And though none did openly justify the practice of
slave-keeping in general, yet some appeared concerned lest
the meeting should go into such measures as might give un-
easiness to many brethren, alleging that if Friends patiently
continued under the exercise the Lord in his time might open
a way for the deliverance of these people. Finding an en-
gagement to speak, I said, " My mind is often led to con-
sider the purity of the Divine Being, and the justice of
his judgments; and herein my soul is covered with awful-
ness. I cannot omit to hint of some cases where people have
not been treated with the purity of justice, and the event
hath been lamentable. Many slaves on this continent are
oppressed, and their cries have reached the ears of the Most
High. Such are the purity and certainty of his judgments,
that he cannot be partial in our favor. In infinite love and
goodness he hath opened our understanding from one time
to another concerning our duty towards this people, and it
is not a time for delay. Should we now be sensible of what
he requires of us, and through a respect to the private in-
terest of some persons, or through a regard to some friend-
ships which do not stand on an immutable foundation, neglect
234 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
to do our duty in firmness and constancy, still waiting for
some extraordinary means to bring about their deliverance,
God may by terrible things in righteousness answer us in
this matter."
Many faithful brethren labored with great firmness, and
the love of truth in a good degree prevailed. Several who
had negroes expressed their desire that a rule might be
made to deal with such Friends as offenders who bought
slaves in future. To this it was answered that the root of
would never be effectually struck at until a thorough
this evil
search was made in the circumstances of such Friends as
kept negroes, with respect to the righteousness of their
motives in keeping them, that impartial justice might be ad-
ministered throughout. Several Friends expressed their de-
sire that a visit might be made to such Friends as kept slaves,
and many others said that they believed liberty was the
negro's right; to which, at length, no opposition was pub-
liclymade. A minute vv^as made more full on that subject
than any heretofore; and the names of several Friends en-
tered who were free to join in a visit to such as kept slaves.
CHAPTER VI
1758, 1759


Visit to the Quarterly Meetings in Chester County Joins Daniel
Stanton and John Scarborough in a Visit to such as kept Slaves
there
Some Observations on the Conduct which those should

maintain v/ho speak in Meetings for Discipline More Visits to

such as kept Slaves, and to Friends near Salem Account of the
Yearly Meeting in the Year 1759, and of the increasing Con-
cern in Divers Provinces to Labor against Bujdng and Keeping

Slaves The Yearly Meeting Epistle Thoughts on the Small-
pox spreading, and on Inoculation.

LEVENTH 1758.This day I set


of eleventh month,
I
out for Concord; the Quarterly Meeting heretofore
.

"^ held there was now, b}^ reason of a great increase of

members, divided into two by the agreement of Friends at


our last Yearly Meeting. Here I met with our beloved
friends Samuel Spavold and Mary Kirby from England, and
with Joseph White from Buck's County the latter had taken
;

leave of his family in order to go on a religious visit to


Friends in England, and, through Divine goodness, we were
favored with a strengthening opportunity together.
After this meeting I joined with my friends, Daniel Stan-
ton and John Scarborough, in visiting Friends who had
slaves. At night we had a family meeting at William Trim-
ble's, many young people being there and it was a precious,
;

reviving opportunity. Next morning we had a comfortable


sitting with a sick neighbor, and thence to the burial of the
corpse of a Friend at Uwchland Meeting, at which were
many people, and it was a time of Divine favor, after which
we visited som.e M^ho had slaves. In the evening we had a
family meeting at a Friend's house, where the channel of
the gospel love was opened, and my mind was com-forted
after a hard day's labor. The next day we were at Goshen
235
236 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
Monthly Meeting, and on the i8th attended the Quarterly
Meeting at London Grove, it being first held at that place.
Here we met again with all the before-mentioned Friends,
and had some edifying meetings. Near the conclusion of the
meeting for business, Friends were incited to constancy in
supporting the testimony of truth, and reminded of the ne-
cessity which the disciples of Christ are under to attend
principally to his business as he is pleased to open it to us,

and to be particularly careful to have our minds redeemicd


from the love of wealth, and our outward affairs in as little
room as may be, that no temporal concerns may entangle
our affections or hinder us from diligently following the dic-
tates of truth in laboring to promote the pure spirit of meek-
ness and heavenly-mindedness amongst the children of men
in these days of calamity and distress, wherein God is visit-
ing our land with his just judgments.
Each of these Quarterly Meetings was large and sat near
eight hours. I had occasion to consider that it is a weighty
thing to speak much in large meetings for business, for
except our minds are rightly prepared, and we clearly under-
stand the case we speak to, instead of forwarding, we hinder
business, and make more labor for those on whom the burden
of the work is laid. If selfish views or a partial spirit have
any room in our minds, we are unfit for the Lord's work; if
we have a clear prospect of the business, and proper weight
on our mJnds to speak, we should avoid useless apologies and
repetitions. Where people are gathered from far, and ad-
journing a meeting of business is attended with great diffi-
culty, it behoves all to be cautious how they detain a meeting,
especially when they have sat six or seven hours, and have a
great distance to ride home. After this meeting I rode home.
In the beginning of the twelfth month I joined, in company
with my friends John Sykes and Daniel Stanton, in visiting
such as had slaves. Some whose hearts were rightly exer-
cised about them appeared to be glad of our visit, but in
some places our v/ay was more difficult. I often saw the
necessity of keeping down to that root from our
vv^hence
concern proceeded, and have cause, in reverent thankfulness,
humbly to bow down before the Lord, who was near to me,
and preserved my mind in calmness under some sharp con-
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 237

flicts, and begat a spirit of sympathy and tenderness in me

towards some who were grievously entangled by the spirit


of this world.
First month, 1759. Having found my mind drawn to visit
some of the more active members in our Society at Philadel-
phia, who had slaves, I met my friend John Churchman there
by agreement, and we continued about a week in the city.
We visited some that were sick, and some widows and their
fam.ilies, and the other part of our time was mostly em-
plo3^ed in visiting such as had slaves. It was a time of deep
exercise, but looking often to the Lord for his assistance,
he in unspeakable kindness favored us with the influence of
that spirit which crucifies to the greatness and splendor of
this world, and enabling us to go through some heavy labors,
in which we found peace.

Twenty-fourth of third month, 1759. After attending our
general Spring Meeting at Philadelphia I again joined with
John Churchman on a visit to some who had slaves in Phila-
delphia, and with thankfulness to our Heavenly Father I
m.ay say that Divine love and a true sympathizing tenderness
of heart prevailed at times in this service.
Having at times perceived a shyness in some Friends of
considerable note towards me, I found an engagement in
gospel love to pay a visit to one of them ; and as I dwelt under
the exercise, I felt a resignedness in my mind to go and tell
him privately that I had a desire to have an opportunity with
him alone; to this proposal he readily agreed, and then, in
the fear of the Lord, things relating to that shyness w^ere
searched to the bottom, and we had a large conference,
which, I believe was of use to both of us, and I am thankful
that way was opened for it.

Fourteenth of sixth month. Having felt drawings in my
mind to visit Friends about Salem, and having the appro-
bation of our Monthly Meeting, I attended their Quarterly
Meeting, and was out seven days, and attended seven meet-
ings in some of them I was chiefly silent in others, through
; ;

the baptizing power of truth, my heart was enlarged in


heavenly love, and I found a near fellowship with the breth-
ren and sisters, in the manifold trials attending their Chris-
tian progress through this world.
238 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
Seventh month. have found an increasing concert! fm
I

my mind to visit some active members in our Society who


have slaves, and having no opportunity of the company of
such as were named in the minutes of the Yearly Meeting,
I went alone to their houses, and, in the fear of the Lord,
acquainted them with the exercise I was under; and, thus,
sometimes by a few words, I found myself discharged from
a heavy burden. After this, our friend John Churchman
coming into our province with a view to be at some meetings,
and to join again in the visit to those who had slaves, I bore
him company in the said visit to some active members,
and found inward satisfaction.
At our Yearly Meeting this year, we had some weighty
seasons, in which the power of truth was largely extended,
to the strengthening of the honest-minded. As the epistles
which were to be sent to the Yearly Meetings on this con-
tinent were read, I observed that in most of them, both this
year and the last, it was recom.mended to Friends to labor
against buying and keeping slaves, and in some of them
the subject was closely treated upon. As this practice hatH
long been a heavy exercise to me, and I have often waded
through mortifying labors on that account, and at times in
some meetings have been almost alone therein, I was humbly
bowed in thankfulness in observing the increasing concern
in our religious society, and seeing how the Lord was raising
up and qualifying servants for his work, not only in this
respect, but for promoting the cause of truth in general.
This meeting continued near a week. For several days,
in the fore part of it, my mind was drawn into a deep inward
stillness, and being at times covered with the spirit of sup-
plication, my heart was secretly poured out before the Lord.
Near the conclusion of the meeting for business, way opened
in the pure Sowings of Divine love for me to express what
lay upon me, which, as it then arose in my mind, was first
to show how deep answers to deep in the hearts of the sincere
and upright; though, in their different growths, they may
not all have attained to the same clearness in some points
relating to our testimony. And I was then led to mention
the integrity and constancy of many martyrs who gave their
lives for the testimony of Jesus, and yet, in some points, they
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 239

held doctrines distinguishable from some which we hold, that,


in all ages, where people were faithful to the light and,
understanding which the Most High afforded them, they
found acceptance with Him, and though there may be differ-
ent ways of thinking amongst us in some particulars, yet, if
we mutually keep to that spirit and power which crucifies
to the world, which teaches us to be content with things!
really needful, and to avoid all superfluities, and give up
our hearts to fear and serve the Lord, true unity may still
be preserved amongst us; that if those who were at times
under sufferings on account of some scruples of conscience
kept low and humble, and in their conduct in life manifested
a spirit of true charity, it would be more likely to reach the
witness in others, and be of more service in the church, than
if their sufferings were attended with a contrary spirit and
conduct. In this exercise I was drawn into a sympathizing
tenderness with the sheep of Christ, however distinguished
one from another in this world, and the like disposition ap-
peared to spread over others in the meeting. Great is the
goodness of the Lord towards his poor creatures.
An epistle went forth from this Yearly Meeting which I
think good to give a place in this Journal. It is as follows.

From the Yearly Meeting held at Philadelphia^ for Pennsylvania and


New Jersey^ from the twenty-secojtd day of the ninth month to
the twenty-eighth of the same, inclusive., 1759.

To THE Quarterly and Monthly Meetings of Friends belonging


TO the said Yearly Meeting:
Dearly beloved Friends and Brethren^ In an awful
wisdom and goodness of the Lord our God,
'sense of the
whose tender mercies have been continued to us in this land,
we affectionately salute you, with sincere and fervent desires
that we may reverently regard the dispensations of his provi-
dence, and improve under them.
The empires and kingdoms of the earth are subject to
He is the God of the spirits of all flesh,
his almighty power.
and deals with his people agreeable to that wisdom, the
depth whereof is to us unsearchable. We in these provinces
may say, He hath, as a gracious and tender parent, dealt
bguntifully with us, even from the days of our fathers. It
240 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
was he who strengthened them to labor through the difHcul
ties attending the improvement of a wilderness, and made
way for them in the hearts of the natives, so that by them
they were comforted in times of want and distress. It was
by the gracious influences of his Holy Spirit that they were
disposed to work righteousness, and walk uprightly towards
each other, and towards the natives; in life and conver-
sation to manifest the excellency of the principles and doc-
trines of the Christian religion whereby they retain their
esteem and friendship. Whilst they were laboring for the
necessaries of life, many of them were fervently engaged to
promote piety and virtue in the earth, and to educate their
children in the fear of the Lord.
If we carefully consider the peaceable measures pursued in
the first settlement of land, and that freedom from the deso-
lations of wars which for a long time we enjoyed, we shall
find ourselves under strong obligations to the Almighty, who,
when the earth is so generally polluted with wickedness,
gives us a being in a part so signally favored with tran-
quillityand plenty, and in which the glad tidings of the gospel
of Christ are so freely published that we m.ay justly say
with the Psalmist, " What shall we render unto the Lord
"
for all his benefits ?
Our own real good, and the good of our posterity, in some
measure depends on the part v^e act, and it nearly con-
cerns us to try our foundations impartially. Such are the
different rewards of the just and unjust in a future state^
that to attend diligently to the dictates of the spirit of Christ
to devote ourselves to his service, and to engage fervently in
his cause, during our short stay in this world, is a choice
well becom.ing a free, intelligent creature. We
shall thus
clearly see and consider that the dealings of God with man-
kind, in a national capacity, as recorded in Holy Writ, do
sufficiently evidence the truth of that saying, * It is right-
eousness which exalteth a nation " and though he doth not
;

at all times suddenly execute his judgments on a sinful


people in this life, yet we see in many instances that when
"men follow lying vanities they forsake their own mercies";
and as a proud, selfish spirit prevails and spreads among a
people, so partial judgment, oppression, discord, envy, and
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 241

confusions increase, and provinces and kingdoms are made


to drink the cup of adversity as a reward of their own
doings. Thus the inspired prophet, reasoning with the de-
generated Jews, saith, " Thine own wickedness shall correct
thee, and thy backsliding shall reprove thee know, therefore,
;

that it is an thing and bitter that thou hast forsaken


evil
the Lord thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the
Lord God of Hosts." (Jeremiah ii. 19.)
The God of our fathers, who hath bestowed on us many;
benefits, furnished a table for us in the wilderness, and made
the deserts and solitary places to rejoice. He doth now
mercifully call upon us to serve him more faithfully. We
may truly say with the Prophet, " It is his voice which
crieth to the city, and men of wisdom see his name. They
regard the rod, and Him who hath appointed it." People
who look chiefly at things outward too little consider the
original cause of the present troubles; but they who fear
the Lord and think often upon his name, see and feel that
a wrong spirit is spreading amongst the inhabitants of our
country; that the hearts of many are waxed fat, and their
ears dull of hearing; that the Most High, in his visitations
to us, instead of calling, lifteth up his voice and crieth: he
crieth to our country, and his voice waxeth louder and
louder. In former wars between the English and other na-
tions, since the settlement of our provinces, the calamities
attending them have fallen chiefly on other places, but now;
of late they have reached to our borders; many of our
fellow-subjects have suffered on and near our frontiers, some
have been slain in battle, some killed in their houses, and
some in their fields, some wounded and left in great misery,
and others separated from their wives and little children,
who have been carried captives among the Indians. We
have seen men and women who have been witnesses o
these scenes of sorrow, and, being reduced to want^
have come to our houses asking relief. It is not long
since that many young men in one of these provinces
were drafted, in order to be taken as soldiers; some were
at that time in great distress, and had occasion to consider
that their lives had been too little conformable to the purity
and spirituality of that religion which we profess, and found
242 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
themselves too little acquainted with that inward humility, in
which true fortitude to endure hardness for the truth's sake
is experienced. Many
parents were concerned for their
children, and were led to consider that
in that time of trial
their care to get outward treasure for them had been greater
than their care for their settlement in that religion whicK
erucifieth to the world, and enableth to bear testim.ony to
the peaceable government of the Messiah. These troubles
are removed, and for a time we are released from them.
Let us not forget that " The Most High hath his way in
the deep, in clouds, and in thick darkness " ; that it is his
voice which crieth to the city and to the country, and O that !

these loud and awakening cries may have a proper effect


upon us, that heavier chastisement may not become neces-
sary! For though things, as to the outward, may for a
short time afford a pleasing prospect, yet, while a selfish
spirit, that is not subject to the cross of Christ, continueth
to spread and prevail, there can be no long continuance in
outward peace and tranquillity. If we desire an inheritance
incorruptible, and to be at rest in that state of peace and
happiness which ever continues; if we desire in this life
to dwell under the favor and protection of that Almighty
Being whose habitation is in holiness, whose ways are all
equal, and whose anger is now kindled because of our back-
slidings, ^let us then awfully regard these beginnings of his

sore judgm.ents, and with abasement and humiliation turn


to him v\^hom we have offended.
Contending with one equal in strength is an uneasy ex-
ercise; but if the Lord is become our enemy, if we persist
in contending with him who is om.nipotent, our overthrow
will be unavoidable.
Do we an affectionate regard to posterity? and are we
feel
employed to promote their happiness? Do our minds, in
things outward, look beyond our own dissolution? and are
we contriving for the prosperity of our children after us?
Let us then, like wise builders, lay the foundation deep,
and by our constant uniform regard to an inv/ard piety
and virtue let them see that we really value it. Let us labor
in the fear of the Lord, that their innocent minds, while
young and tender, may be preserved from corruptions; that
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 243

as they advance in age they may rightly understand their


true interest, may consider the uncertainty of temporal
things, and, above all, have their hope and confidence firmly
settled in the blessing of thatAlmighty Being who inhabits
eternity and preserves and supports the world.
In all our cares about worldly treasures, let us steadily
bear in mind that riches possessed by children who do not
truly serve God are likely to prove snares that may more
grievously entangle them in that spirit of selfishness and ex-
altation which stands in opposition to real peace and hap-
piness, and renders those who submit to the influence of it
enemies to the cross of Christ.
To keep a watchful eye towards real objects of charity,
to visit the poor in their lonesome dwelling-places, to comfort
those who, through the dispensations of Divine Providence,
are in strait and painful circumstances in this life, and
steadily to endeavor to honor God with our substance, from
a real sense of the love of Christ influencing our minds, is
more likely to bring a blessing to our children, and will
afford more satisfaction to a Christian favored with plenty,
than an earnest desire to collect much wealth to leave behind
us for, "here we have no continuing city" may we therefore
; ;

diligently "seek one that is to come, whose builder and


maker is God."
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatso-
ever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever
things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if
there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these
things, and do them, and the God of peace shall be with you."
(Signed by appointment, and on behalf of said meeting.)'


Twenty-eighth eleventh month. This day I attended the
Quarterly Meeting in Bucks County. In the meeting of
ministers and elders my heart was enlarged in the love of
Jesus Christ, and the favor of the Most High was extended
to us in that and the ensuing meeting.
I had conversation at my lodging with my beloved friend
Samuel Eastburn, who expressed a concern to join in a visit
tosome Friends in that county who .had negroes, and as I
had felt a drawing in my mind to the said work, I came

244 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN


home and put things in order. On nth of twelfth
month I went over theriver, and on the next day was at
Buckingham Meeting, where, through the descendings of
heavenly dew, my mind was comforted and drawn into a
near unity with the flock of Jesus Christ.
Entering upon this business appeared weighty, and before
I left home my mind was often sad, under which exercise
I felt at times the Holy Spirit which helps our infirmities, and
through which my prayers were at times put up to God in
private that he would be pleased to purge me from all selfish-
ness, that I might be strengthened to discharge my duty
faithfully, how hard soever to the natural part. We pro-
ceeded on the visit in a weighty frame of spirit, and went
to the houses of the most active members who had negroes
throughout the county. Through the goodness of the Lord
my mind was preserved in resignation in times of trial, and
though the work was hard to nature, yet through the strength
of that love which is stronger than death, tenderness of heart
was often felt amongst us in our visits, and we parted from
several families with greater satisfaction than we expected.
We visited Joseph White's family, he being in England;
we had also a family-sitting at the house of an elder who
bore us company, and were at Makefield on a first day: at
all which times my
heart was truly thankful to the Lord
who was graciously pleased to renew his loving-kindness to
us, his poor servants, uniting us together in his work.
In the winter of this year, the small-pox being in our
town, and many being inoculated, of whom a few died, some
things were opened in my mind, which I wrote as follows :

The more fully our lives are conformable to the will of


God, the better it is for us; I have looked on the small-
pox as a messenger from the Almighty, to be an assistant in
the cause of virtue, and to incite us to consider whether we
employ our time only in such things as are consistent with
perfect wisdom and goodness. Building houses suitable to
dwell in, for ourselves and our creatures; preparing cloth-
ing suitable for the climate and season, and food convenient^
are all duties incumbent on us. And under these general
heads are many branches of business in which we may ven-
ture health and life, as necessity may require.
THE JOURNAL OF JOFIN WOOLMAN 245

This disease being in a house, and my business calling me


to go near it, incites me to consider whether this is a real
indispensable duty; whether it is not in conformity to some
custom which would be better laid aside, or, whether it does
not proceed from too eager a pursuit after some outward
treasure. If the business before me springs not from a clear
understanding and a regard to that use of things which per-
fect wisdom approves, to be brought to a sense of it and
stopped in my pursuit is a kindness, for when I proceed to
business without somx evidence of duty, I have found by
experience that it tends to weakness.
If I am so situated that there appears no probability of
missing the infection, it tends to make me think whether my
manner of life in things outward has nothing in it which may
unfit my body to receive this messenger in a way the most
favorable to me. Do I use food and drink in no other sort
and in no other degree than was designed by Him who gave
these creatures for our sustenance? Do I never abuse my
body by inordinate labor, striving to accomplish some end
which I have unwisely proposed? Do I use action enough
in some useful employ, or do I sit too much idle while some
persons who labor to support me have too great a share of
it? If in any of these things I am deficient, to be incited to
consider it is a favor to me. Employment is necessary in
social life, and this infection, which often proves mortal,
incites me to think whether these social acts of mine are real
duties. If I go on a visit to the widows and fatherless, do I
go purely on a principle of charity, free from any selfish
views? If I go to a religious meeting it puts me on think-
ing whether I go in sincerity and in a clear sense of duty,
or whether it is not partly in conformity to custom, or
partly from a sensible delight which my animal spirits feel
in the company of other people, and whether to support my
reputation as a religious m.an has no share in it.
Do affairs relating to civil society call me near this infec-
tion? If I go, it is at the hazard of my health and life, and
itbecomes me to think seriously whether love to truth and
righteousness is the motive of my attending; whether the
mannner of proceeding is altogether equitable, or v/hether
aught of narrowness, party interest, respect to outward dig-
246 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
nities, names, or distinctions among men, do not stain the
beauty of those assemblies, and render it doubtful; in point
of duty, whether a disciple of Christ ought to attend as a
member united to the body or not. Whenever there are
blemishes which for a series of time remain such, that which
is a means of stirring us up to look attentively on these
blemishes, and to labor according to our capacities, to have
health and soundness restored in our country, we may justly
account a kindness from our gracious Father, who appointed
that means.
The care of a wise and good man for his only son is
inferior to the regard of the great Parent of the universe
for his creatures. He hath the command of all the powers
and operations in nature, and " doth not afflict willingly, nor
grieve the children of men." Chastisement is intended for
instruction, and instruction being received by gentle chastise-
ment, greater calamities are prevented. By an earthquake
hundreds of houses are sometimes shaken down in a few
minutes, multitudes of people perish suddenly, and many
more, being crushed and bruised in the rdins of the build-
ings, pine away and die in great misery.
By the breaking in of enraged merciless armies, flourish-
ing countries have been laid waste, great numbers of people
have perished in a short time, and many more have been
pressed with poverty and grief. By the pestilence, people
have died so fast in a city, that, through fear, grief, and
confusion, those in health have found great difficulty in
burying the dead, even without coffins. By famine, great
numbers of people in some places have been brought to the
utmost distress, and have pined away from want of the
necessaries of life. Thus, when the kind invitations and
gentle chastisements of a gracious God have not been
attended to, his sore judgments have at times been poured
out upon people.
While some rules approved in civil society and conform-
able to humxan policy, so called, are distinguishable from the

purity of truth and righteousness, while many professing
the truth are declining from that ardent love and heavenly-
mindedness which was amongst the primitive followers of
Jesus Christ, it is time for us to attend diligently to the
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 247

intent of every chastisement, and to consider the most deep


and inward design of them.
The Most High doth not often speak with, an outward
voice to our outward ears, but if we humbly meditate on his
perfections, consider that he is perfect wisdom and good-
ness, and that to afflict his creatures to no purpose would
be utterly averse to his nature, we shall hear and under-
stand his language both in his gentle and more heavy chas-
tisements, and shall take heed that we do not, in the wisdom;
of this world, endeavor to escape his hand by means too
powerful for us.
Had he endowed men with understanding to prevent this
disease (the small-pox) by means which had never proved
hurtful nor mortal, such a discovery might be considered as
the period of chastisement by this distemper, where that
knowledge extended. But as life and health are his gifts,
and are not to be disposed of in our own wills, to take upon
us by inoculation when in health a disorder of which some
die, requires great clearness of knowledge that it is our
duty to do so^
CHAPTER Vir

1760

Visit, in Company with Samuel Eastburn, to Long Island, Rhode



Island, Boston, etc. Remarks on the Slave-Trade at New-
port
;
also on Lotteries Some Observations on the Island of
Nantucket.

lOURTH
month, 1760. Having for some time past felt
a sympathy in my mind with Friends eastward, I
opened my concern in our Monthly Meeting, and,
obtaining a certificate, set forward on the 17th of this
month, in company with my beloved friend Samuel Eastburn.
We had meetings at Woodbridge, Rahway, and Plainfield,
and were at their Monthly Meeting of ministers and elders
in Rahway. We labored under some discouragement, but
through the invisible power of truth our visit was made
reviving to the lowly-minded, with whom I felt a near unity
of spirit, being much reduced in my mind. We passed on
and visited most of the meetings on Long Island. It was
my concern from day to day to say neither more nor less
than what the spirit of truth opened in me, being jealous
over myself lest I should say anything to make my testi-
mony look agreeable to that mind in people which is not in
pure obedience to the cross of Christ.
The spring of the ministry was often low, and through
the subjecting power of truth we were kept low with it;
from place to place they whose hearts were truly concerned
for the cause of Christ appeared to be comforted in our
labors, and though it was in general a time of abasement of
the creature, yet through his goodness who is a helper of
the poor we had some truly edifying seasons both in meet-
ings and in families where we tarried sometimes we found
;

strength to labor earnestly with the unfaithful, especially


248

;

THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 249

with those whose station in families or in the Society was


such that their example had a powerful tendency to open
the way for others to go aside from the purity and sound-
ness of the blessed truth.
At Jericho, on Long Island, I wrote home as follows:

24th of the fourth month, 1760.

Dearly beloved Wife!


We are favored with health; have been at sundry meet-
ings in East Jersey and on this island. My mind hath been
m-uch in an inward, watchful frame since I left thee, greatly
desiring that our proceedings may be singly in the will of
our Heavenly Father.
As the present appearance of things is not joyous, I have
been much shut up from outward cheerfulness, remembering
that promise, " Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord "
as this from day to day has been revived in my memory, I
have considered that his internal presence in our minds is a
delight of all others the most pure, and that the honest-
hearted not only delight in this, but in the effect of it upon
them. He regards the helpless and distressed, and reveals
his love to his children under affliction, who delight in
beholding his benevolence, and in feeling Divine charity mov-
ing in them. Of this I may speak a little, for though since
I left you have often an engaging love and affection to-
I
wards thee and my daughter, and friends about home, and
going out at this time, when sickness is so great amongst
you, is a trial upon me; yet I often remember there are
many widows and fatherless, many who have poor tutors,
many who have evil examples before them, and many whose
minds are in captivity for whose sake my heart is at times
;

moved with compassion, so that I feel my mind resigned to


leave you for a season, to exercise that gift which the Lord
hath bestowed on me, which though small compared with
some, yet in this I rejoice, that I feel love unfeigned to-
wards my fellow-creatures. I recommend you to the Al-
mighty, who I trust, cares for you, and under a sense of his
heavenly love remain. Thy loving husband,
J. W.
;

250 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN


We crossed from the east end of Long Island to New
London, about thirty miles, in a large open boat; while we
were out, the wind rising high, the waves several times
beat over us, so that to me it appeared dangerous, but my
mind was at that time turned to Him who made and gov-
erns the deep, and my life v/as resigned to him; as he was
mercifully pleased to preserve us I had fresh occasion to
consider every day as a day lent to me, and felt a renewed
engagement to devote my time, and all I had, to him who
gave it.
We had five meetings in Narraganset, and went thence to
Newport on Rhode Island. Our gracious Father preserved
us in an humble dependence on him through deep exercises
that were mortifying to the creaturely will. In several fami-
lies in the. country where we lodged, I felt an engagement
on my mind to have a conference with them in private,
concerning their slaves; and through Divine aid I was
favored to give up thereto. Though in this concern I differ
from many whose service in travelling is, I believe, greater
than mine, yet I do not think hardly of them for omitting it
I do not repine at having so unpleasant a task assigned me,
but look with awfulness to him who appoints to his servants
their respective employments, and is good to all who serve
him sincerely.
We got to Newport in the evening, and on the next day
visited two sick persons, with whom we had comfortable
sittings, and in the afternoon attended the burial of a Friend.
The next day we were at meetings at Newport, in the fore-
noon and afternoon the spring of the ministry was opened,
;

and strength was given to declare the Word of Life to the


people.
The day following we went on our journey, but the great
number of slaves in these parts, and the continuance of that
trade from thence to Guinea, made a deep impression on me,
and my were often put up to my Heavenly Father in
cries
secret, that he would enable me to discharge my duty faith-
fully in such way as he might be pleased to point out to me.
We took Swansea, Freetown, and Taunton in our way to
Boston, where also we had a meeting; our exercise was
deep, and the love of truth prevailed, for which I bless the
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 251

tor'd. We went eastward about eighty miles beyond Boston,


taking meetings, and were in a good degree preserved in an
humble dependence on that arm which drew us out; and
though we had some hard labor with the disobedient, by lay-
ing things home and close to such as were stout against the
truth, yet through the goodness of God we had at times to
partake of heavenly comfort with those who were meek, and
were often favored to part with Friends in the nearness of
true gospel fellowship. Wereturned to Boston and had
another comfortable opportunity with Friends there, and
thence rode back a day's journey eastward of Boston. Our
guide being a heavy man, and the weather hot, my companion
and I expressed our freedom to go on without him, to whicfi
he consented, and we respectfully took our leave of him;
this we did as believing the journey would have been hard
to him and his horse.
In visiting the meetings in those parts we were meas-
urably baptized into a feeling of the state of the Society,
and in bowedness of spirit went to the Yearly Meeting at
Newport, where we met with John Storer from England,
Elizabeth Shipley, Ann Gaunt, Hannah Foster, and Mercy
Redman, from our parts, all ministers of the gospel, of
whose company I was glad. Understanding that a large
number of slaves had been imported from Africa into that
town and were then on sale by a member of our Society,
my appetite failed, and I grew outwardly weak, and had a
feeling of the condition of Habakkuk, as thus expressed,
" When I heard, my belly trembled, my lips quivered, I trem-
bled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble." I
had many cogitations, and was sorely distressed. I was
desirous that Friends might petition the Legislature to use
their endeavors to discourage the future importation of
slaves, for I saw that this trade was a great evil, and tended
to multiply troubles, and to bring distresses on the people for
whose welfare my heart was deeply concerned. But I per-
ceived several difficulties in regard to petitioning, and such
was the exercise of my mind that I thought of endeavoring
to get an opportunity to speak a few words in the House
of Ai.ssembly, then sitting in town.
This exercise came upon me in the afternoon on the

252 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN


second day of the Yearly Meeting, and on going to bed I
got no sleep till my mind was wholly resigned thereto. In
the morning I inquired of a Friend how long the Assembly
was likely to continue sitting, who told me it was expected
to be prorogued that day or the next. As I was desirous to
attend the business of the meeting, and perceived the Assem-
bly was likely to separate before the business was over, after
considerable exercise, humbly seeking to the Lord for in-
struction, my mind settled to attend on the business of the
meeting; on the last day of which Ihad prepared a short
essay of a petition to be presented to the Legislature, if way
opened. And being informed that there were some appointed
by that Yearly Meeting to speak with those in authority on
cases relating to the Society, I opened my mind to several
of them, and showed them the essay I had made, and after-
wards I opened the case in the meeting for business, in sub-
stance as follows:
" I have been under a concern for some time on account
of the greatnumber of slaves which are imported into this
colony. I am aware that it is a tender point to speak to,
but apprehend I am not clear in the sight of Heaven with-
out doing so. I have prepared an essay of a petition tO' be
presented to the Legislature, if way open; and what I have
to propose to this meeting is that some Friends may be
named to withdraw and look over it, and report whether they
believe it suitable to be read in the meeting. If they should
think well of reading it, it will remain for the meeting to
consider whether to take any further notice of it, as a meet-
ing, or not." After a short conference some Friends went
out, and, looking over it, expressed their willingness to
have it read, which being done, many expressed their unity
with the proposal, and some signified that to have the sub-
jects of the petition enlarged upon, and signed out of meet-
ing by such as were free, would be more suitable than to
do it there. Though I expected at first that if it was done it
would be in that way, yet such was the exercise of my mind
that to move it in the hearing of Friends when assembled
appeared to me as a duty, for my heart yearned towards the
inhabitants of these parts, believing that by this trade there
had been an increase of inquietude amongst them, and way
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 253

had been made for the spreading of a spirit opposite to that


meekness and humility which is a sure resting-place for the
soul; and that the continuance of this trade would not only-
render their healing more difficult, but would increase their
malady.
Having proceeded thus far, I felt easy to leave the essay
amongst Friends, for them to proceed in it as they believed
best. And now an exercise revived in my mind in relation
to lotteries, which were common in those parts. I had men-
tioned the subject in a former sitting of this meeting, when
arguments were used in favor of Friends being held excused
who were only concerned in such lotteries as were agreeable
to law. And now, on moving it again, it was opposed as
before but the hearts of some solid Friends appeared to be
;

united to discourage the practice amongst their members,


and the matter was zealously handled by some on both sides.
In this debate it appeared very clear to me that the spirit of
lotteries was a spirit of selfishness, which tended to confuse
and darken the understanding, and that pleading for it in
our meetings, which were set apart for the Lord's work,
was not right. In the heat of zeal, I made reply to what
an ancient Friend said, and when I sat down I saw that my
words were not enough seasoned with charity. After this I
spoke no more on the subject. At l,ength a minute was
made, a copy of which was to be sent to their several Quar-
terly Meetings, inciting Friends to labor to discourage the
practice amongst all professing with us.
Some time after this minute was made I remained uneasy
with the manner of my speaking to the ancient Friend, and
could not see my way clear to conceal my uneasiness, though
I was concerned that I might say nothing to weaken the
cause in which I had labored. After some close exercise
and hearty repentence for not having attended closely to
the safe guide, I stood up, and, reciting the passage, ac-
quainted Friends that though I durst not go from what I
had said as to the matter, yet I was uneasy with the man-
ner of my speaking, believing milder language would have
been better. As this was uttered in some degree of crea-
turely abasement after a warm debate, it appeared to have a
good savor amongst us.
254 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
The Yearly Meeting being now over, there yet remained
on my mind a secret though heavy exercise, in regard to
some leading active miembers about Newport, who were in
the practice of keeping slaves. This I mentioned to two
ancient Friends who came out of the country, and proposed
to them, if way opened, to have some conversation with
those members. One of them and I, having consulted one
of the most noted elders who had slaves, he, in a respectful
manner, encouraged me to proceed to clear myself of what
lay upon me. Near the beginning of the Yearly Meeting, I
had had a private conference with this said elder and his
wife, concerning their slaves, so that the way seemed clear
to me to advise with him about the m.anner of proceeding.
I told him I was free to have a conference with them all
together in a private house; or if he thought they would
take it unkind to be asked to come together, and to be spoken
with in the hearing of one another, I was free to spend soms
time amongst them, and to visit them all in their own houses.
He expressed his liking to the first proposal, not doubting
their willingness to come together; and, as I proposed a
visit toonly ministers, elders, and overseers, he named some
others whom
he desired might also be present. A careful
messenger being wanted to acquaint them in a proper man-
ner, he offered to go to all their houses, to open the matter

to them, and did so. About the eighth hour the next
morning we met in the meeting-house chamber, the last-
mentioned country Friend, my companion, and John Storer
being with us. After a short time of retirement, I acquainted
them with the steps I had taken in procuring that meeting,
and opened the concern I was under, and we then proceeded'
to a free conference upon the subject. My exercise was
heavy, and I was deeply bowed in spirit before the Lord, who
was pleased to favor with the seasoning virtue of truth, which
wrought a tenderness amongst us; and the subject was
mutually handled in a calm and peaceable spirit. At length,
feeling my mind released from the burden which I had been
under, I took my leave of them in a good degree of satis-
faction; and by the tenderness they manifested in regard
to the practice, and the concern several of them expressed in
relation to the manner of disposing of their negroes after
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 255

tJieir decease, I believed that a good exercise was spreading


amongst them and I am humbly thankful to God, who sup-
;

ported my mind and preserved me in a good degree of


resignation through these trials.
Thou who sometimes travellest in the work of the minis-
try, and art made very welcome by thy friends, seest many
tokens of their satisfaction in having thee for their guest.
It is good for thee to dwell deep, that thou mayest feel and
understand the spirits of people. If we believe truth points
towards a conference on some subjects in a private way, it is
needful for us to take heed that their kindness, their free-
dom, and affability do not hinder us from the Lord's work,
I have experienced that, in the midst of kindness and smooth
conduct, to speak close and home to them who entertain us,
on points that relate to outward interest, is hard labor.
Sometimes, when I have felt truth lead towards it, I have
found myself disqualified by a superficial friendship and as
;

the sense thereof hath abased me, and my cries have been to
the Lord, so I have been humbled and made content to appear
weak, or as a fool for his sake; and thus a door hath been
opened to enter upon it. To attempt to do. the Lord's work
in our own way, and to speak of that which is the burden
of the Word, in a way easy to the natural part, doth not
reach the bottom of the disorder. To see the failings of
our friends, and think hard of them, without opening that
which we ought to open, and still carry a face of friendship,
tends to undermine the foundation of true unity. The office
of a minister of Christ is weighty. And they who now go
forth as watchmen have need to be steadily on their guard
against the snares of prosperity and an outside friendship.
After the Yearly Meeting we were at meetings at New-
town, Cushnet, Long Plain, Rochester, and Dartmouth.
From thence we sailed for Nantucket, in company with Ann
Gaunt, Mercy Redman, and several other Friends. The
wind being slack we only reached Tarpawling Cove the first
day; where, going on shore, we found room in a public-

house, and beds for a few of us, the rest slept on the floor.
We went on board again about break of day, and though
the wind was small, we were favored to come within about
four miles of Nantucket; and then about ten of us got into
256 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
our toat and rowed to the harbor before dark; a large boat
went off and brought in the rest of the passengers about
midnight. The next day but one was their Yearly Meeting,
which held four days, the last of which was their Monthly
Meeting for business. We had a laborious time amongst
them; our minds were closely exercised, and I believe it
was a time of great searching of heart. The longer I was
on the Island the more I became sensible that there was a
considerable number of valuable Friends there, though an
evil spirit, tending to strife, had been at work amongst them.
I was cautious of making any visits except as my mind was
particularly drawn to them; and in that way we had some
sittings in Friends' houses, where the heavenly wing was -at
times spread over us, to our mutual comfort. My beloved
companion had very acceptable service on this island.
When meeting was over we all agreed to sail the next
day if the weather was suitable and we were well and being
;

called up the latter part of the night, about fifty of us went


on board a vessel; but, the wind changing, the seamen
thought best to stay in the harbor till it altered, so we
returned on shore. Feeling clear as to any further visits,
I spent time in my chamber, chiefly alone; and after
my
some hours, my heart being filled with the spirit of supplica-
tion, miy prayers and tears were poured out before my Heav-
enly Father for his help and instruction in the manifold
difficulties which attended me in life. While I was waiting
upon the Lord, there came a m.essenger from the women
Friends who lodged at another house, desiring to confer with
us about appointing a meeting, which to me appeared weighty,
as we had been at so many before; but after a short con-
ference, and advising with some elderly Friends, a meeting
was appointed, in which the Friend who first moved it, and
who had been much shut up before, was largely opened in
the love of the gospel. The next morning about break of
day going again on board the vessel, we reached Falmouth
on the Main before night, where our horses being brought,
we proceeded towards Sandwich Quarterly Meeting.
Being two days in going to Nantucket, and having been
there once before, I observed many shoals in their bay, which
make sailing more dangerous, especially in stormy nights;
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 257

also, that a great shoal, which encloses their harbor, prevents


the entrance of sloops except when the tide is up. Waiting
without for the rising of the tide is sometimes hazardous
in storms, and by waiting within they sometimes miss a fair
wind. I took notice that there was on that small island a
great number of inhabitants, and the soil not very fertile, the
timber being so gone that for vessels, fences, and firewood,
they depend chiefly on buying from the Main, for the cost
whereof, with most of their other expenses, they depend
principally upon the whale fishery. I considered that as
towns grew larger, and lands near navigable waters were
more cleared, it would require more labor to get timber and
wood. I understood that the whales, being much hunted and
sometimes wounded and not killed, grow more shy and
difficult to come at. I considered that the formation of the
earth, the seas, the islands, bays, and rivers, the motions
of the winds, and great waters, which cause bars and shoals
in particular places, were all the works of Him who is per-
fect wisdom and goodness; and as people attend to his
heavenly instruction, and put their trust in him, he provides
for them in all parts where he gives them a being; and
as in this visit to these people I felt a strong desire for
their firm establishment on the sure foundation, besides
what was said more publicly, I was concerned to speak with
the women Friends in their Monthly Meeting of business,
many being present, and in the fresh spring of pure love to
open before them the advantage, both inwardly and out-
wardly, of attending singly to the pure guidance of the Holy
Spirit, and therein to educate their children in true humility
and the disuse of all superfluities. I reminded them of the
difficulties their husbands and sons were frequently exposed
to at sea, and that the more plain and simple their way of
living was the less need there would be of running great
hazards to support them. I also encouraged the young
women to continue their neat, decent way of attending them-
selves on the affairs of the house; showing, as the way
opened, that where people were truly humble, used themselves
to business, and were content with a plain way of life, they
had ever had more true peace and calmness of mind than they
who, aspiring to greatness and outward show, have grasped
9 HCVol. 1
258 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
hard for an income to support themselves therein. And as I
observed they had so few or no slaves, I had to encourage
them to be content without them, making mention of the
numerous troubles and vexations which frequently attended
the minds of the people who depend on slaves to do
their labor.
We attended the Quarterly Meeting at Sandwich, in com-
pany with Ann Gaunt and Mercy Redman, which was pre-
ceded by a Monthly Meeting, and in the whole held three
days. We were in various ways exercised amongst them,
in gospel love, according to the several gifts bestowed on
us, and were at times overshadowed with the virtue of truth,
to the comfort of the sincere and stirring up of the negligent.
Here we parted with Ann and Mercy, and went to Rhode
Island, taking one meeting in our way, which was a satis-
factory time. Reaching Newport the evening before their
Quarterly Meeting, we attended it, and after that had a
meeting with our young people, separated from those of
other societies. We went through much labor in this town;
and now, in taking leave of it, though I felt close inward ex-
ercise to the last, I found inward peace, and was in some
degree comforted in a belief that a good number remiain in
that place who retain a sense of truth, and that there are
some young people attentive to the voice of the Heavenly
Shepherd. The last meeting, in which Friends from the
several parts of the quarter came together, was a select
meeting, and through the renewed manifestation of the
Father's love the hearts of the sincere were united together.
The poverty of spirit and inward weakness, with which
I was much tried the fore part of this journey, has of late
appeared to me a dispensation of kindness. Appointing
meetings never appeared more weighty to me, and I was led
in-to a deep search, whether in all things my mind was re-
signed to the will of God; often querying with myself what
should be the cause of such inward poverty, and greatly
desiring that no secret reserve in my heart might hinder
my access to the Divine fountain. In these humbling times
I was made watchful, and excited to attend to the secret
movings of the heavenly principle in my mind, which pre-
pared the way to some duties that in more easy and pros-
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 259

perous times as to the outward, I believe I should have been


in danger of omitting.
From Newport we went to Greenwich, Shanticut, and
Warwick, and were helped to labor amongst Friends in the
love of our gracious Redeemer. Afterwards, accompanied by
our friend John Casey from Newport, we rode through Con-
necticut to Oblong, visited the meetings in those parts, and
thence proceeded to the Quarterly Meeting at Ryewoods.
Through the gracious extendings of Divine help, we had
some seasoning opportunities in those places. We also
visited Friends at New York and Flushing, and thence to
Rahway. Here our roads parting, I took leave of my be-
loved companion and true yokemate Samuel Eastburn, and
reached home the loth of eighth month, where I found my
family well. For the favors and protection of the Lord,
both inward and outward, extended to me in this journey,
my heart is humbled in grateful acknowledgments, and I
find renewed desires to dwell and walk in resignedness be-
fore him.
CHAPTER VIII

1761, 1762

Visits Pennsylvania, Shrewsbury, and Squan Publishes the Second



Part of his Considerations on keeping Negroes The Grounds

of his appearing in some Respects singular in his Dress Visit
to the Families of Friends of Ancocas and Mount Holly Meet-

ings Visits to the Indians at Wehaloosing on the River
Susquehanna.

"AVING felt my mind drawn towards a visit to a few


meetings in Pennsylvania, I was very desirous to
be rightly instructed as to the time of setting off. On
the loth of the fifth month, 1761, being the first day of the
week, I went to Haddonfield Meeting, concluding to seek for
heavenly instruction, and come home, or go on as I might
then believe best for me, and there through the springing
up of pure love I felt encouragement, and so crossed the
river. In this visit I was at two quarterly and three monthly
meetings, and in the love of truth I felt my way open to
labor with some noted Friends who kept negroes. As I was
favored to keep to the root, and endeavor to discharge what
I believed was required of me, I found inward peace therein,
from time to time, and thankfulness of heart to the Lord,
who was graciously pleased to be a guide to me.

Eighth month, 1761. Having felt drawings in my mind
to visit Friends in and about Shrewsbury, I went there, and
was at their Monthly Meeting, and their first-day meeting;
I had also a meeting at Squan, and another at Squanquam,
and, as way opened, had conversation with some noted
Friends concerning their slaves. I returned home in a
thankful sense of the goodness of the Lord.
From the concern I felt growing in me for some years,
I wrote part the second of a work entitled " Considerations
on keeping Negroes," which was printed this year, 1762.
260
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 261

When the overseers of the press had done with it, they
offered to get a number printed, to be paid for out of the
Yearly Meeting's stock, to be given away but I being most
;

easy to publish it at my own expense, and offering my


reasons, they appeared satisfied.
This stock is the contribution of the members of our re-
ligious society in general, among whom are some who keep
negroes, and, being inclined to continue them in slavery, are
not likely to be satisfied with such books being spread among
a people, especially at their own expense, many of whose
slaves are taught to read, and such, receiving them as a
gift, often conceal them. But as they who make a purchase
generally buy that which they have a mind for, I be-
lieved it best to sell them, expecting by that means they
would more generally be read with attention. Adver-
tisements were signed by order of the overseers of the
press, and directed to be read in the Monthly Meetings of
business within our own Yearly Meeting, informing where
the books were, and that the price was no more than the
cost of printing and binding them. Many were taken off
in our parts; some I sent to Virginia, some to New York,
some to my
acquaintance at Newport, and some I kept, in-
tending to give part of them away, where there appeared a
prospect of service.
In my youth I was used to hard labor, and though I was
m.iddling healthy, yet my nature was not fitted to endure
so much as many others. Being often weary, I was pre-
pared to sympathize with those whose circumstances in life,
as free men, required constant labor to answer the demands
of their creditors, as well as with others under oppression.
In the uneasiness of body which I have many times felt by
too much labor, not as a forced but a voluntary oppression,
I have often been excited to think on the original cause of
that oppression which is imposed on many in the world. The
latter part of the time wherein I labored on our plantation,
my heart, through the fresh visitations of heavenly love,
being often tender, and my leisure time being frequently
spent in reading the life and doctrines of our blessed Re-
deemer, the account of the sufferings of martyrs, and the
history of the first rise of our Society, a belief was grad-
262 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
ualiy settled in my mind, that such as had great estates
if

generally lived in that humility and plainness which belong


to a Christian life, and laid much easier rents and interests
on their lands and moneys, and thus led the way to a right
use of things, so great a number of people might be em-
ployed in things useful, that labor both for men and other
creatures would need to be no more than an agreeable em-
ploy, and divers branches of business, which serve chiefly
to please the natural inclinations of our minds, and which
at present seem necessary to circulate that v/ealth which
some gather, might, in this way of pure wisdom, be dis-
continued. As I have thus considered these things, a query
at times hath arisen: Do I, in all my proceedings, keep to
that use of things which is agreeable to universal righteous-
ness ? And then there hath some degree of sadness at times
eome over me, because I accustomed myself to some things
which have occasioned more labor than I believe Divine
wisdom intended for us.
From my early acquaintance with truth I have often felt
an inward distress, occasioned by the striving of a spirit in
me against the operation of the heavenly principle; and in
this state I have been affected with a sense of my own
wretchedness, and in a mourning condition have felt earnest
longings for that Divine help which brings the soul into true
liberty. Sometimes, on retiring into private places, the spirit
of supplication hath been given me, and under a heavenly
covering I have asked my gracious Father to give me a
heart in all things resigned to the direction of his wisdom;
in uttering language like this, the thought of my wearing
hats and garments dyed with a dye hurtful to them, has
made lasting impression on me.
In visiting people of note in the Society who had slaves,
and laboring with them in brotherly love on that account,
I have seen, and the sight has affected me, that a conformity
to some customs distinguishable from pure wisdom has en-
tangled many, and that the desire of gain to support these
ustoms has greatly opposed the work of truth. Sometimes
when the prospect of the work before me has been such that
in bowedness of spirit I have been drawn into retired places,
and have besought the Lord with tears that he would take
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 263

me wholly under his direction, and show me the way in


which I ought to walk, it hath revived with strength of con-
viction that if I would be his faithful servant I must in all
things attend to his wisdom, and be teachable, and so cease
from all customs contrary thereto, however used among re-
ligious people.
As he is the perfection of power, of wisdom,
and of good-
ness, so I believe he hath provided that so much labor shall
be necessary for men's support in this world as would, being
rightly divided, be a suitable employment of their time; and
that we cannot go into superfluities, or grasp after wealth
in a way contrary to his wisdom, without having connection
with some degree of oppression, and with that spirit which
leads to self-exaltation and strife, and which frequently
brings calamities on countries by parties contending about
their claims.
Being thus and feeling an increasing de-
fully convinced,
have often been sorrow-
sire to live in the spirit of peace, I
fully affected with thinking on the unquiet spirit in which
wars are generally carried on, and with the miseries of many
of my fellow-creatures engaged therein; some suddenly de-
stroyed some wounded, and after much pain remaining crip-
;

ples; some deprived of all their outward substance and re-


duced to want; and some carried into captivity. Thinking
often on these things, the use of hats and garments dyed
with a dye hurtful to them, and wearing more clothes in
summ.er than are useful, grew more uneasy to m^e, believing
them to be customs which have not their foundation in pure
wisdom. The apprehension of being singular from my be-
loved friends was a strait upon me, and thus I continued
in the use of some things contrary to my judgment.
On the 31st of fifth month, 1761, I was taken ill of a
fever, and after it had continued near a week I was in great
distress of body. One day there was a cry raised in me that
I might understand the cause of my affliction, and im-
prove under it, and my conformity to some customs which
I believed were not right was brought to my remembrance.
In the continuance of this exercise I felt all the powers in
me yield themselves up into the hands of Him who gave me
being, and was made thankful that he had taken hold of me
264 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
by his chastisements. Feeling the necessity of fttftH^ puri-
fying, there was now no desire in me for health until the
de:sign of my correction was answered. Thus I lay in abase-
ment and brokenness of spirit, and as I felt a sinking down
into a calm resignation, so I felt, as in an instant, an inward
healing in my nature, and from that time forward 1
grew better.
Though my mind was thus settled in relation to hurtful
dyes, I felt easy to wear m.y garments heretofore made, and
continued to do so about nine months. Then I thought of
getting a hat the natural color of the fur, but the apprehen-
sion of being looked upon as one affecting singularity felt
uneasy to me. Here I had occasion to consider that things,
though small in themselves, being clearly enjoined by Divine
authority, become great things to us; and I trusted that the
Lord would support me in the trials that might attend singu-
larity, so long as singularity was only for his sake. On
this account I was under close exercise of mind in the time
of our General Spring Meeting, 1762, greatly desiring to be
rightly directed; when, being deeply bowed in spirit before
the Lord, I was made willing to submit to what I appre-
hended was required of me, and when I returned home got
a hat of the natural color of the fur.
In attending meetings this singularity was a trial to me,
and more especially at this time, as white hats were used
by some who were fond of following the changeable modes
of dress, and as some Friends who knew not from what
motives I wore it grew shy of me, I felt my way for a time
shut up in the exercise of the ministry. In this condition,
my mind being turned toward my Heavenly Father with
fervent cries that I might be preserved to walk before him
in the meekness of wisdom, my heart was often tender
in meetings, and I felt an inward consolation which to me
was very precious under these difficulties.
I had several dyed garments fit for use which I believed
it best to wear till I had occasion for new ones. Some
Friends were apprehensive that my wearing such a hat
savored of an affected singularity; those who spoke with me
in a friendly way I generally informed, in a few words, that
I believed my wearing it was not in my own will. I had at
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 26S

times been sensible that a superficial friendship had been


dangerous to me; and many Friends being now uneasy with
me, I had an inclination to acquaint some with the manner
of my being led into these things ; yet upon a deeper thought
I was for a time most easy to omit it, believing the present
dispensation was profitable, and trusting that if I kept my
place the Lord in his own time would open the hearts of
Friends towards me. I have since had cause to admire his
goodness and loving-kindness in leading about and instruct-
ing me, and in opening and enlarging my heart in some of
our meetings.
In the eleventh month this year, feeling an engagement of
mind to visit som.e families in Mansfield, I joined my beloved
friend Benjamin Jones, and we spent a few days together in
that service. In the second month, 1763, I joined, in com-
pany with Elizabeth Smith and Mary Noble, in a visit to
the families of Friends at Ancocas. In both these visits,
through the baptizing power of truth, the sincere laboreris
were often comforted, and the hearts of Friends opened to
receive us. In the fourth month following, I accompanied
some Friends in a visit to the families of Friends in Mount
Holly; during this visit my mind was often drawn into an
inward awfulness, wherein strong desires were raised for
the everlasting welfare of my fellow-creatures, and through
the kindness of our Heavenly Father our hearts were at
times enlarged, and Friends were invited, in the flowings
of Divine love, to attend to that which would settle them on
the sure foundation.
Having for years felt love in my heart towards the
many
natives of this land who dwell far back in the wilderness,
whose ancestors were formerly the owners and possessors
of the land where we dwell, and who for a small considera-
tion assigned their inheritance to us, and being at Phila-
delphia in the 8th month, 1761, on a visit to som^ Friends
who had slaves, I fell in company with some of those natives
who lived on the east branch of the river Susquehanna, at
an Indian town called Wehaloosing, two hundred miles from
Philadelphia. In conversation with them by an interpr^er,
as also by observations on their countenances and coisiuGt,
I believed some of them were measurably acquainted with
266 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
that Divine power which subjects the rough and f reward will
of the creature. At times I felt inward drawings towards
a visit to that place, which I mentioned to none except my
dear wife until it came to some ripeness. In the winter of
1762 I laid my prospects before my friends at our Monthly
and Quarterly, and afterwards at our General Spring Meet-
ing; and having the unity of Friends, and being thoughtful
about an Indian pilot, there came a man and three women
from a little beyond that town to Philadelphia on business.
Being informed thereof by letter, I met them in town in the
5th month, 1763; and after some conversation, finding they
were sober people, I, with the concurrence of Friends in that
place, agreed to join them as companions in their return,
and we appointed to meet at Samuel Foulk's, at Richland, in
Bucks County, on the 7th of sixth month. Now, as this
/isit felt weighty, and was performed at a time when travel-
ling appeared perilous, so the dispensations of Divine Prov-
idence in preparing my mind for it have been memorable,
and I believe it good for me to give some account thereof.
After I had given up to go, the thoughts of the journey
were often attended unusual sadness; at which times
v/ith
my heart v/as frequently turned to the Lord with inward
breathings for his heavenly support, that I might not fail
to follow him wheresoever he might lead me. Being at our
youth's meeting at Chesterfield, about a week before the
time I expected to set off, I was there led to speak on that
prayer of our Redeemer to the Father: "I pray not that
thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou
shouldest keep them from the evil." And in attending to the
pure openings of truth, I had to mention what he elsewhere
said to his Father " I knov/ that thou hearest me at all
:

times " so, as some of his followers kept their places, and
;

as his prayer was granted, it followed necessarily that they


were kept from evil; and as some of those met with great
hardships and afflictions in this world, and at last suffered
death by cruel men, so it appears- that whatsoever befalls
men while they live in pure obedience to God certainly works
for their good, and may not be considered an evil as it re-
lates to them. As I spake on this subject my heart was
much tendered, and great awfulness came over me. On the
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 267

firstday of the week, being at our own afternoon meeting,


and my
heart being enlarged in love> I was led to speak on
the care and protection of the Lord over his people, and to
make mention of that passage where a band of Syrians^ who
were endeavoring to take captive the prophet> were disap-
pointed; and how the Psalmist said, "The angel of the Lord
encampeth round about them that fear him." Thus, in true
love and tenderness, I parted from Friends, expecting the
next morning to proceed on my journey. Being weary I
went early to bed. After I had been asleep a short time
I was awoke by a man calling at my door, and inviting
me to meet some Friends at a public-house in our town, who
came from Philadelphia so late that Friends were generally
gone to bed. These Friends informed me that an express
had arrived the last morning from Pittsburg, and brought
news that the Indians had taken a fort from the English
westward, and had slain and scalped some English people
near the said Pittsburg, and in divers places. Some elderly
Friends in Philadelphia, knowing the time of my intending
to set off, had conferred together, and thought good to inform
me of these things before I left home, that I might con-
sider them and proceed as I believed best. Going to bed
again, I told not my wife till morning. My heart was turned
to the Lord for his heavenly instruction; and it was an
humbling time to me. When I told my dear wife, she ap-
peared to be deeply concerned about it; but in a few hours'
time my mind became settled in a belief that it was my duty
to proceed on my journey, and she bore it with a good
degree of resignation. In this conflict of spirit there were
great searchings of heart and strong cries to the Lord, that
no motion might in the least degree be attended to but that
of the pure spirit of truth.
The subjects before mentioned, on which I had so lately
spoken in public, were now fresh before me, and I was
brought inwardly to commit myself to the Lord, to be dis-
posed of as he saw best. I took leave of my family and
neighbors in much bowedness of spirit, and went to our
Monthly Meeting at Burlington. After taking leave of
Friends there, I crossed the river, accompanied by my friends
Israel and John Pemberton; and parting the next morning
268 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
with Israel, John bore me company to Samuel Foulk's, where
I met the before-mentioned Indians; and we were glad to
see each other. Here my friend Benjamin Parvin met me,

and proposed joining me as a companion, we had before

exchanged some letters on the subject, and now I had a
sharp trial on his account for, as the journey appeared per-
;

ilous, I thought if he went chiefly to bear me company, and


we should be taken captive, my having been the m.eans of
drawing him into these difficulties would add to my own
afflictions; so I told him my mind freely, and let him know
that I was resigned go alone but after all, if he really be-
to ;

lieved it go on, I believed his company would


to be his duty to
be very comfortable to me. It was, indeed, a time of deep
exercise, and Benjamin appeared to be so fastened to the visit
that he could not be easy to leave me; so we went on, ac-
companied by our friends John Pemberton and William
Lightfoot of Pikeland. We lodged at Bethlehem, and there
parting with John, William and we went forward on the
9th of the sixth months and got lodging on the floor of a
house, about five miles from Fort Allen. Here we parted
with William., and at this place we met with an Indian trader
lately come from Wyoming. In conversation with him, I
perceived that many white people often sell rum to the
Indians, which I believe is a great evil. In the first place,
they are thereby deprived of the use of reason, and their
spirits being violently agitated, quarrels often arise which
end in mischief, and the bitterness and resentment occasioned
hereby are frequently of long continuance. Again, their skins
and furs, gotten through much fatigue and hard travels in
hunting, with which they intended to buy clothing, they often
sell at a low rate for more rum, when they become intoxi-
cated; and afterward, when they suffer for want of the
necessaries of life, are angry with those who, for the sake
of gain, took advantage of their weakness. Their chiefs have
often complained of this in their treaties with the English.
Where cunning people pass counterfeits and impose on others
that which is good for nothing, it is considered as wicked-
ness; but for the sake of gain to sell that which we know
does people harm, and which often works their ruin, mani-
fests a hardened and corrupt hearty and is an evil which de*
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 269

mands the care of all true lovers of virtue to suppress. While


my mind this evening was thus employed, I also remembered
that the people on the frontiers, among whom this evil is too
common, are often poor and that they venture to the outside
;

of a colony in order to live more independently of the


wealthy, who often set high rents on their land. I was re-
newedly confirmed in a belief, that if all our inhabitants lived
according to sound wisdom, laboring to promote universal
love and righteousness, and ceased from every inordinate
desire after wealth, and from all customs which are tinctured
with luxury, the way would be easy for our inhabitants,
though they might be much more numerous than at present,
to live comfortably on honest employments, without the
temptation they are so often under of being drawn into
schemes to make settlements on lands which have not been
purchased of the Indians, or of applying to that wicked prac-
tice of selling rum to them.

Tenth of sixth month. We set out early this morning and
crossed the western branch of Delaware, called the Great
Lehie, near Fort Allen. The water being high, we went over
in a canoe. Here we met an Indian, had friendly conver-
sation with him, and gave him some biscuit; and he, having
killed a deer, gave some of it to the Indians with us. After
travelling some miles, we met several Indian men and women
with a cow and horse, and some household goods, who were
lately come from their dwelling at Wyoming, and were going
to settle at another place. We made them some small pres-
ents, and, as some of them understood English, I told them
my motive for coming into their country, with which they
appeared satisfied. One of our guides talking awhile with
an ancient woman concerning us, the poor old woman came
to my companion and me and took her leave of us with an
appearance of sincere affection. We pitched our tent near
the banks of the same river, having labored hard in crossing
some of those mountains called the Blue Ridge. The rough-
ness of the stones and the cavities between them, with the
steepness of the hills, made it appear dangerous. But we
were preserved in safety, through the kindness of Him whose
works in these mountainous deserts appeared awful, and
towards whom m-y heart was turned during this day's travel
;

270 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN


Near our tent, on the sides of large trees peeled for that
purpose, were various representations of men going to and
returning from the wars, and of some being killed in battle.
This was a path heretofore used by warriors, and as I walked
about viewing those Indian histories, which were painted
mostly in red or black, and thinking on the innumerable
afflictions which the proud, fierce spirit produceth in the
world, also on the toils and fatigues of warriors in travelling
over mountains and deserts; on their miseries and distresses
when far from home and wounded by their enemies of their
;

bruises and great weariness in chasing one another over the


rocks and mountains; of the restless, unquiet state of mind
of those who live in this spirit, and of the hatred which

mutually grows up in the minds of their children, ^the desire
to cherish the spirit of love and peace among these people
arose very fresh in me. This was the first night that we
lodged in the woods, and being wet with travelling in the
rain, as were also our blankets, the ground, our tent, and the
bushes under which we purposed to lay, all looked discour-
aging; but I believed that it was the Lord who had thus far
brought me forward, and that he would dispose of me as
he saw good, and so I felt easy. We kindled a fire, with
our tent open to it, then laid some bushes next the ground,
and put our blankets upon them for our bed, and, lying down,
got some sleep. In the morning, feeling a little unwell, I
went into the river; the water was cold, but soon after I
felt fresh and well. About eight o'clock we set forward and
crossed a high mountain supposed to be upward of four miles
over, the north side being the steepest. About noon we were
overtaken by one of the Moravian brethren going to Weha-
loosing, and an Indian man with him who could talk English
and we being together while our horses ate grass had some
friendly conversation; but they, travelling faster than we,
soon left us. This Moravian, I understood, has this spring
'Spent some time at Wehaloosing, and was invited by some
of the Indians to come again.
Twelfth of sixth month being the first of the week and a
rainy day, we continued in our tent, and I was led to think
on the nature of the exercise which hath attended me. Love
was the first motion, and thence a concern arose to spend
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 271

some time with the Indians, that I might feel and understand
and the spirit they live in, if haply I might receive
their life
some instruction from them, or they might be in any degree
helped forward by my following the leadings of truth among
them and as it pleased the Lord to make way for m.y going
;

at a time when the troubles of war were increasing, and


when, by reason of much wet weather, travelling was
more difficult than usual at that season, I looked upon
is as a more favorable opportunity to season my mind,

and to bring me into a nearer sympathy with them. As


mine eye was to the great Father of Mercies, humbly
desiring to learn his will concerning me, I was made quiet
and content.
Our guide's horse strayed, though hoppled, in the night,
and after searching some time for him his footsteps were
discovered in the path going back, whereupon my kind com-
panion went off in the rain, and after about seven hours
returned with him. Here we lodged again, tying up our
horses before we went to bed, and loosing them to feed
about break of day.

Thirteenth of sixth month. The sun appearing, we set for-
ward, and as I rode over the barren hills my meditations
were on the alterations in the circumstances of the natives
of this land since the coming in of the English. The lands
near the sea are conveniently situated for fishing; the lands
near the rivers, where the tides flow, and some above, are
in many places fertile, and not mountainous, while the
changing of the tides makes passing up and down easy with
any kind of traffic. natives have In some places, for
The
trifling considerations, sold their inheritance so favorably
situated, and In other places have been driven back by
superior force; their way of clothing themselves is also
altered from what it was, and they being far removed from
us have to pass over mountains, swamps, and barren deserts,
so that travelling Is very troublesome in bringing their skins
and furs to trade with us. By the extension of English set-
tlements, and partly by the increase of English hunters, the
wild beasts on which the natives chiefly depend for subsis-
tence are not so plentiful as they were, and people too often,
for the sake of gain, induce them to waste their skins and
272 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
furs in purchasing a liquor which tends to the ruin of them
and their families.
My own and desires were now very much broken, and
will
my heart was with much earnestness turned to the Lord, to
whom alone I looked for help in the dangers before me. I
had a prospect of the English along the coast for upwards
of nine hundred miles, where I travelled, and their favorable
situation and the difficulties attending the natives as well as
the negroes in many places were open before me. A weighty
and heavenly care came over my mind, and love filled my
heart towards all mankind, in which I felt a strong engage-
ment that we might be obedient to the Lord while in tender
mercy he is yet calling to us, and that we might so attend
to pure universal righteousness as to give no just cause of
offence to the gentiles, who do not profess Christianity,
whether they be the blacks from Africa, or the native inhabi-
tants of this continent. Here I was led into a close and
laborious inquiry whether I, as an individual, kept clear
from all things which tended to stir up or were connected
with wars, either in this land or in Africa; my heart was
deeply concerned that in future I might in all things keep
steadily to the pure truth, and live and walk in the plainness
and simplicity of a sincere follower of Christ. In this lonely
journey I did greatly bewail the spreading of a wrong spirit,
believing that the prosperous, convenient situation of the
English would require a constant attention in us to Divine
love and wisdom, in order to their being guided and sup-
ported in a way answerable to the will of that good, gracious,
and Almighty Being, who hath an equal regard to all man-
kind. And here luxury and covetousness, with the numerous
oppressions and other evils attending them, appeared very
afflicting to me, and I felt in that which is immutable that
the seeds of great calamity and desolation are sown and
growing fast on this continent. Nor have I words sufficient
to forth the longing I
s<^t then felt, that we who are placed
along the coast, and have tasted the love and goodness of
God, might arise in the strength thereof, and like faithful
messengers labor to check the growth of these seeds, that
they may not ripen to the ruin of our posterity.
On reaching the Indian settlement at Wyoming, we were
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 273

told that an Indian runner had been at that place a day or


two before tis, and brought news of the Indians having taken
an English fort westward, and destroyed the people, and that
they were endeavoring to take another; also that another
Indian runner came there about the middle of the previous
night from a town about ten miles fram Wehaloosing, and
brought the news that some Indian warriors from distant
parts came to that town with two English scalps, and told
the people that it was war with the English.
Our guides took us to the house of a very ancient man.
Soon after we had put in our baggage there came a man
from another Indian house some distance off. Perceiving
there was a man near the door I went out; the man had a
tomahawk wrapped under his match-coat out of sight. As
I approached him he took it in his hand; I went forward,
and, speaking to him in a friendly way, perceived he under-
stood some English. My companion joining me, we had
some talk with him concerning the nature of our visit in
these parts; he then went Into the house with us, and, talk-
ing with our guides, soon appeared friendly, sat down and
smoked his pipe. Though taking his hatchet in his hand at
the instant I drew near to him had a disagreeable appear-
ance, I believe he had no other intent than to be in readi-
ness in case any violence were offered to him.
On hearing the news brought by these Indian runners,
and being told by the Indians where we lodged, that the
Indians about Wyoming expected in a few days to move to
some larger towns, I thought, to all outward appearance, it
would be dangerous travelling at this time. After a hard
'day's journey I was brought into a painful exercise at night,
in which I had to trace back and view the steps I had taken
from my first moving in the visit; and though I had to
bewail some weakness which at times had attended me, yet
I could not find that I had ever given way to wilful dis-
obedience. Believing I had, under a sense of duty, come
thus far, I was now earnest in spirit, beseeching the Lord
to show m.e what I ought to do. In this great distress I grew
jealous of myself, lest the desire of reputation as a man
firmly settled to persevere through dangers, or the fear of
disgrace from my returning without performing the visit.
274 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
might have some place in me. Full of these thoughts, I lay
great part of the night, while my beloved companion slept
by me, till the Lord, my gracious Father, who saw the con-
flicts of my soul, was pleased to give quietness. Then I was
again strengthened to commit my life, and all things relat-
ing thereto, into his heavenly hands, and got a little sleep
towards day.

Fourteenth of sixth m^onth. ^We sought out and visited
all the Indians hereabouts that we could m^eet with, in num-
ber about twenty. They were chiefly in one place, about a
mile from where we lodged. I expressed to them the care
I had on my mind for their good, and told them that true
love had made me willing thus to leave my family to come
and see the Indians and speak with them in their houses.
Some of them appeared kind and friendly. After taking
leave of them, we went up the river Susquehanna about three
miles, to the house of an Indian called Jacob January. He
had killed his hog, and the women were m.aking store of
bread and preparing to move up the river. Here our pilots
had left their canoe when they came down in the spring,
and lying dry it had become leaky. This detained us some
hours, so that v/e had a good deal of friendly conversation
with the family; and, eating dinner with them, we made
them some small presents. Then putting our baggage into
the canoe, some of them pushed slowly up the stream, and
the rest of us rode our horses. We sv/am them over a creek
called Lahawahamunk, and pitched our tent above it in the
evening. In a sense of God's goodness in helping me in my
distress, sustaining me under trials, and inclining my heart
to trust in him, I lay down in an humble, bowed frame of
mind, and had a comfortable night's lodging.

Fifteenth of sixth month. We proceeded forward till the
afternoon, when, a storm appearing, we met our canoe at
an appointed place and stayed all night, the rain continuing
so heavy that it beat through our tent and wet both us and
our baggage. The next day we found abundance of trees
blown down by the storm yesterday, and had occasion
reverently to consider the kind dealings of the Lord who
provided a safe place for us in a valley while this storm
continued. We were much hinde^red by the trees which had
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 275

fallen across our path, and in some swamps our way was so
stopped that v/e got through with extreme difficulty. I had
this day often to consider myself as a sojourner in this
world. A belief in the all-sufficiency of God to support his
people in their pilgrimage felt comfortable to me, and I
was industriously employed to get to a state of perfect
resignation.
We seldom saw our canoe but at appointed places, by
reason of the path going off from the river. This afternoon
Job Chilaway, an Indian from Wehaloosing, who talks good
English and is acquainted with several people in and about
Philadelphia, m.et our people on the river. Understanding
where we expected to lodge, he pushed back about six
miles, and came to us after night; and in a while our own
canoe arrived, it being hard work pushing up the stream.
Job told us that an Indian came in haste to their town yes-
terday and told them that three warriors from a distance
lodged in a town above Wehaloosing a few nights past, and
that these three men were going against the English at
Juniata. Job was going down the river to the province-
store at Shamokin. Though I was so far favored with
health as to continue travelling, yet, through the various
difficulties in our journey, and the different v/ay of living
from which I had been used to, I grew sick. The nev/s of
these warriors being on their march so near us, and not
knowing whether we might not fall in with them, was a
fresh trial of my faith; and though, through the strength
of Divine love, I had several times been enabled to commit
myself to the Divine disposal, I still found the want of a
renewal of my strength, that I might be able to persevere
therein; and my cries for help were put up to the Lord,
who, in great mercy, gave me a resigned heart, in which I
found quietness.
Parting from Job Chilaway on the 17th, we went on and
reached Wehaloosing about the middle of the afternoon.
The first Indian that we saw was a woman of a modest
countenance, with a Bible, who spake first to our guide, and
then with an harmonious voice expressed her gladness at
seeing us, having before heard of our coming. By the
direction of our guide we sat down on a log while he went
276 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
to the town to tell the people come. My companion
we were
and I, sitting thus together in a deep inward stillness, the
poor woman came and sat near us; and, great awfulness
coming over us, we rejoiced in a sense of God's love mani-
fested to our poor souls. After a while we heard a conch-
shell blow several times, and then cam.e John Curtis and
another Indian man, who kindly invited us into a house near
the town, where we found about sixty people sitting in
silence. After sitting with them a short time I stood up,
and in some tenderness of spirit acquainted them, in a few
short sentences, with the nature of my visit, and that a
concern for their good had made me willing to come thus
far to see them; which some of them understanding inter-
preted to the others, and there appeared gladness among
them. I then showed them my certificate, which was ex-
plained to them; and the Moravian who overtook us on the
way, being now here, bade me welcome. But the Indians
knowing that this Moravian and I were of different religious
societies, and as some of their people had encouraged him
to come and stay awhile with them, they were, I believe,
concerned that there might be no jarring or discord in their
meetings; and having, I suppose, conferred together, they
acquainted me that the people, at my request, would at any
time come together and hold meetings. They also told me
that they expected the Moravian would speak in their set-
tled meetings, which are commonly held in the morning and
near evening. So finding liberty in my heart to speak to the
Moravian, I told him of the care I felt on my mind for the
good of these people, and my belief that no ill effects would
follow if I sometimes spake in their meetings when love
engaged me thereto, without calling them together at times
when they did not meet of course. He expressed his good-
will towards my speaking at any time all that I found in my
heart to say.
On the evening of the i8th I was at their meeting, where
pure gospel love was felt, to the tendering of some of our
hearts. The interpreters endeavored to acquaint the people
with what I said, in short sentences, but found some diffi-
culty, as none of them were quite perfect in the English and
Delaware tongues, so they helped one another, and we
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 277

labored along, Divine love attending. Afterwards, feeling


my mind covered with the spirit of prayer, I told the inter-
preters that I found it in my heart to pray to God, and
believed, if I prayed aright, he would hear me; and I ex-
pressed my willingness for them to omit interpreting; so
our meeting ended with a degree of Divine love. Before
the people v/ent out, I observed Papunehang (the man who
had been zealous in laboring for a reformation in that town,
being then very tender) speaking to one of the interpreters,
and I was aftervvrards told that he said in substance as fol-
lows :
" I love to feel where v/ords come from."
Nineteenth of sixth month and first of the week. This
m.orning the Indian who came with the Moravian, being also
a member of that society, prayed in the meeting, and then
the Moravian spake a short time to the people. In the after-
noon, my heart being filled with a heavenly care for their
good, I spake to them awhile by interpreters; but none of
them being perfect in the work, and I feeling the current
of love run strong, told the interpreters that I believed some
of the people would understand me, and so I proceeded with-
out them; and I believe the Holy Ghost wrought on som.e
hearts to edification where all the words were not under-
stood. I looked upon it as a time of Divine favor, and my
heart was tendered and truly thankful before the Lord.
After I sat down, one of the interpreters seemed spirited to
give the Indians the substance of what I said.
Before our first meeting this morning, I was led to medi-
tate on the manifold difficulties of these Indians who, by the
permission of the Six Nations, dwell in these parts. A near
sympathy with them was raised in me, and, my heart being
enlarged in the love of Christ, I thought that the affectionate
care of a good man for his only brother in affliction does
not exceed what I then felt for that people. I came to this
place through much trouble; and though through the mer-
cies of God I believed that if I died in the journey it would
be well with me, yet the thoughts of falling into the hands
of Indian warriors were, in times of v/eakness, afflicting to
me and being of a tender constitution of body, the thoughts
;

of captivity among them were also grievous ; supposing that


as they were strong and hardy they might demand service
278 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
of me beyond what But the Lord alone
I could well bear.
was my keeper, and I believed that if I went into captivity

it would be for some good end. Thus, from time to time, my


mind was centred in resignation, in which I always found
quietness. And this day, though I had the same dangerous
wilderness between me and home, I was inwardly joyful
that the Lord had strengthened me to come on this visit, and
had manifested a fatherly care over me in my poor lowly
condition, when, in mine own eyes, I appeared inferior to
many among the Indians.
When the meeting was ended, it being
last-mentioned
night, Papunehang went to bed and hearing him speak with
;

an harmonious voice, I suppose for a minute or two, I asked


the interpreter, who told me that he was expressing his
thankfulness to God for the favors he had received that day,
and prayed that he would continue to favor him with the
same, which he had experienced in that meeting. Though
Papunehang had before agreed to receive the Moravian and
join with them, he still appeared kind and loving to us.
I was at two meetings on the 20th, and silent in them.
The following morning, in meeting, my heart was enlarged
in pure love among them, and in short plain sentences I
expressed several things that rested upon me, which one of
the interpreters gave the people pretty readily. The meeting
ended in supplication, and I had cause humbly to acknowl-
edge the loving-kindness of the Lord towards us and then
;

I believed that a door remained open for the faithful dis-


ciples of Jesus Christ to labor among these people. And
now, feeling my mind at liberty to return, I took my leave
of them in general at the conclusion of what I said in meet-
ing, and we then prepared to go homeward. But some of
their most active men told us that when we were ready to
move the people would choose to come and shake hands
with us. Those who usually came to meeting did so; and
from a secret draught in my mind I went among some who
did not usually go to meeting, and took my leave of them
also. The Moravian and Indian interpreter appeared
his
respectful to us at parting. This town, Wehaloosing, stands
on the bank of the Susquehanna, and consists, I believe, of
about forty houses, mostly compact together, some about
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 279

thirty feet long and eighteen wide, some bigger, some less.
They are built m.ostly of split plank, one end being set in
the ground, and the other pinned to a plate on which rafters
are laid, and then covered with bark. I understand a great
flood last winter overflowed the greater part of the ground
where the town stands, and some were now about moving
their houses to higher ground.
We expected only two Indians to be of our company, but
when we were ready to go we found many of them were
going to Bethlehem with skins and furs, and chose to go in
company with us. So they loaded tv/o canoes in which they
desired us to go, telling us that the waters were so raised
with the rains that the horses should be taken by such as
were better acquainted with the fording-places. We, there-
fore, with several Indians, went in the canoes, and others
went on horses, there being seven besides ours. We met
with the horsemen once on the way by appointment, and at
night we lodged a little below a branch called Tankhannah,
and some of the young men, going out a little before dusk
with their guns, brought in a deer.
Through diligence we reached Wyoming before night, the
22d, and understood that the Indians were mostly gone from
this place. We went up a small creek into the woods with
our canoes, and, pitching our tent, carried out our baggage,
and before dark our horses came to us. Next morning, the
horses being loaded and our baggage prepared, we set for-
ward, being in all fourteen, and with diligent travelling were
favored to get near half-way to Fort Allen. The land on
this road from Wyoming to our frontier being mostly poor,
and good grass being scarce, the Indians chose a piece of
low ground to lodge on, as the best for grazing. I had
sweat much in travelling, and, being weary, slept soundly.
In the night I perceived that I had taken cold, of which I
was favored soon to get better.

Twenty-fourth of sixth month. This day we passed Fort
Allen and lodged near it in the woods. We forded the
westerly branch of the Delaware three times, which was a
shorter way than going over the top of the Blue Mountains
called the Second Ridge. In the second time of fording
where the river cuts through the mountain, the waters being
280 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
rapid and pretty deep, my companion's mare, being a tall,
tractable animal, was sundry times driven back through the
river, being laden with the burdens of some small horses
which were thought unable to come through with their loads.
The troubles westward, and the difficulty for Indians to
pass through our frontier, was, I apprehend, one reason why
so many came, expecting that our being in company would
prevent the outside inhabitants being surprised. We
reached
Bethlehem on the 25th, taking care to keep foremost, and
to acquaint people on and near the road who these Indians
were. This we found very needful, for the frontier in-
habitants were often alarmed at the report of the English
being killed by Indians westward. Among our company were
some whom I did not remember to have seen at meeting,
and some of these were very reserved; but we being
at first
several days together, and behaving in a friendly manner
towards them, and making them suitable return for the
services they did us, they became more free and sociable.

Twenty-sixth of sixth month. Having carefully endeav-
ored to settle all affairs with the Indians relative to our
journey, we took leave of them, and I thought they generally
parted from us affectionately. We went forward to Rich-
land and had a very comfortable meeting among our friends,
it being the first day of the week. Here I parted with my
kind friend and companion Benjamin Parvin, and, accom-
panied by my friend Samuel Foulk, we rode to John Cad-
wallader's, from whence I reached home the next day, and
found my family tolerably well. They and my friends ap-
peared glad to see me return from a journey which they
apprehended would be dangerous; but my mind, while I
was out, had been so employed in striving for perfect resig-
nation, and had so often been confirmed in a belief, that,
whatever the Lord might be pleased to allot for me, it would
work for good, that I was careful lest I should admit any
degree of selfishness in being glad overmuch, and labored
to improve by those trials in such a manner as my gracious
Father and Protector designed. Between the English set-
tlements and Wehaloosing only a narrow path, which
we had
in many places is much grown up with bushes, and inter-
rupted by abundance of trees lying across it. These, to-
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 281 1

gether with the mountain swamps and rough stones, make i

it a difficult road to travel, and the more so because rattle- j

snakes abound here, of which we killed four. People yrho i

have never been in such places have but an imperfect idea ,

of them; and I was not only taught patience, but also made I

thankful to God, who thus led about and instructed me, |

that I might have a quick and lively feeling of the afflictions i

of my fellow-creatures, whose situation in life is difiScult.


j

CHAPTER IX
1753-1769

Religious Conversation with a Company met to see the Tricks of a



Juggler Account of John Smith's Advice and of the Proceed-

ings of a Committee at the Yearly Meeting in 1764 Contempla-

tions on the Nature of True Wisdom Visit to the Families of
Friends at Mount Holly, Mansfield, and Burlington, and to the
Meetings on the Sea-Coast from Cape May towards Squan

Some Account of Joseph Nichols and his Followers On the
different State of the First Settlers in Pennsylvania who de-
pended on their own Labor, compared with those of the South-

ern Provinces who kept Negroes Visit to the Northern Parts
of New Jersey and the Western Parts of Maryland and Penn-
sylvania also to the Families of Friends at Mount Holly and
;


several Parts of Maryland Further Considerations on keep-
ing Slaves, and his Concern for having been a Party to the

Sale of One Thoughts on Friends exercising Offices in Civil
Government.

I
HE latter part of the summer,
1763, there came a man
to Mount Holly who had previously published a
printed advertisement that at a certain public-house
he vi^ouldshow many wonderful operations, which were
therein enumerated. At the appointed time he did, by sleight
of hand, perform sundry things which appeared strange to
the spectators. Understanding that the show was to be re-
peated the next night, and that the people were to meet
about sunset, I felt an exercise on that account. So I went
to the public-house in the evening, and told the man of the
house that I had an inclination to spend a part of the
evening there; with which he signified that he was content.
Then, sitting down by the door, I spoke to the people in the
fear of the Lord, as they came together, concerning this
show, and labored to convince them that their thus assem-
bling to see these sleight-of-hand tricks, and bestowing their
money to support men who, in that capacity, were of no
282
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 283

use to the world, was contrary to the nature of the Christian


religion. One of the company endeavored to show by argu-
ments the reasonableness of their proceedings herein; but
after considering some texts of Scripture and calmly debat-
ing the matter he gave up the point. After spending about
an hour among them, and feeling ray mind easy, I departed.

Twenty-fifth* of ninth month, 1764. At our Yearly Meet-
ing at Philadelphia this day, John Smith, of Marlborough,
aged upwards of eighty years, a faithful minister, though
not eloquent, stood up in our meeting of ministers and elders,
and, appearing to be under a great exercise of spirit, in-
formed Friends in substance as follows " That he had been
:

a member of our Society upwards of sixty years, and he


well remembered, that, in those early times, Friends were
a plain, lowly-minded people, and that there was much
tenderness and contrition in their meetings. That, at twenty
years from that time, the Society increasing in wealth and
in some degree conforming to the fashions of the world,
true humility was less apparent, and their meetings in gen-
eral were not so lively and edifying. That at the end
of forty years many of them were grown very rich, and
many of the Society made a specious appearance in the
world; that wearing fine costly garments, and using
silver and other watches, became customary with them, their
sons, and their daughters. These marks of outward wealth
and greatness appeared on some in our meetings of ministers
and elders; and, as such things became more prevalent, so
the powerful overshadowings of the Holy Ghost were less
manifest in the Society. That there Had been a continued
increase of such ways of life, even until the present time;
and that the weakness which hath now overspread the So-
ciety and the barrenness manifest among us is matter of
much sorrow." He then mentioned the uncertainty of his
attending these meetings in future, expecting his dissolution
was near; and, having tenderly expressed his concern for
us, signified that he had seen in the true light that the
Lord would bring back his people from these things, into
which they were thus degenerated, but that his faithful ser-
vants must go through great and heavy exercises.
*[ TwenttethfEd.\
284 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN

Twentieth* of ninth month. The committee appointed by
the Yearly Meeting to visit the Quarterly and Monthly
Meetings gave an account in writing of their proceedings in
that service. They signified that in the course of the visit
they had been apprehensive that some persons holding offices
in government inconsistent with our principles, and others
who kept slaves, remaining active members in our meetings
for discipline, had been one means of weakness prevailing
in some places. After this report was read, an exercise re-
vived in my mind which had attended me for several years,
and inward cries to the Lord were raised in me that the
fear of man might not prevent me from doing what he re-
quired of me, and, standing up, I spoke in substance as fol-
lows " I have felt a tenderness in my mind towards persons
:

in two circumstances mentioned in that report; nam.ely,


towards such active members as keep slaves and such as
hold offices in civil government; and I have desired that
Friends, in all their conduct, may be kindly affectioned one
towards another. Many Friends who keep slaves are under
some exercise on that account; and at times think about
trying them with freedom, but find many things in their
way. The way of living and the annual expenses of some
of them are such that it seems impracticable for them to
set their slaves free without changing their own way of life.
It has been my lot to be often abroad; and I have observed
in some places, at Quarterly and Yearly Meetings, and at
some houses where travelling Friends and their horses are
often entertained, that the yearly expense of individuals
therein is very considerable. And Friends in some places
crowding much on persons in these circumstances for en-
tertainment hath rested as a burden on my mind for some
years past. I now express it in the fear of the Lord, greatly
desiring that Friends here present may duly consider it."
In the fall of this year, having hired a man to work, I
perceived in conversation with him that he had been a
soldier in the late war on this continent; and he informed
me in the evening, in a narrative of his captivity among
the Indians, that he saw two of his fellow-captives tortured
to death in a very cruel manner. This relation affected me
[ Twmty-HUh?-Ed.\

THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 285

with sadness, under which I went to bed; and the next


morning, soon after I awoke, a fresh and living sense of
Divine love overspread my mind, in which I had a renewed
prospect of the nature of that wisdom from above which
leads to a right use of all gifts, both spiritual and temporal,
and gives content therein. Under a feeling thereof, I wrote
as follows:
" Hath He who gave me a being attended with many
wants unknown to brute creatures given me a capacity supe-
rior to theirs, and shown me that a moderate application to
business is suitable to my present condition; and that this,
attended with his blessing, may supply all my outward
wants while they remain within the bounds he hath fixed,
and while no imaginary wants proceeding from an evil spirit
have any place in me ? Attend then, O my soul to this
!

pure wisdom as thy sure conductor through the manifold


dangers of this world.
" Doth pride lead to vanity ? Doth vanity form imaginary
wants? Do these wants prompt men to exert their power
in requiring more from others than they would be willing
to perform themselves, were the same required of them?
Do these proceedings beget hard thoughts? Do hard"
thoughts, w^hen ripe, become malice? Does malice, when
ripe, become revengeful, and in the end inflict terrible pains
on our fellow-creatures and spread desolations in the world?
" Do mankind, walking in uprightness, delight in each
other's happiness? And do those who are capable of this
attainment, by giving way to an evil spirit, employ their skill
and strength to afflict and destroy one another? Remember
then, O my soul ! the quietude of those in whom Christ
governs, and in all thy proceedings feel after
it.

" Doth he condescend to bless thee with his presence ? To


move and influence thes to action? To dwell and to walk
in thee? Remember tlien thy station as being sacred to
God. Accept of the strength freely offered to thee, and take
heed that no weakness in conforming to unwise, expensive,
and hard-hearted customs, gendering to discord and strife,
be given way to. Doth he claim my body as his temple, and
graciously require that I may be sacred to him? O that I
may prize this favor, and that ^y whole life may be con-
286 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
formable to this character Remember, O my soul that
! !

the Prince of Peace is thy Lord; that he communicates his


unmixed wisdom to his family, that they, living in perfect
simplicity, may give no just cause of offence to any creature,
but that they may walk as He walked !"
Having felt an openness in my heart towards visiting
families in our own meeting, and especially in the town of
Mount Holly, the place of my abode, I mentioned it at our
Monthly Meeting in the fore part of the winter of 1764,
which being agreed to, and several Friends of our meeting
being united in the exercise, we proceeded therein; and
through Divine favor we were helped in the work, so that
it appeared to me as a fresh reviving of godly care among

Friends. The latter part of the samxC winter I joined my


friend William Jones in a visit to Friends' families in Mans-
field, in which labor I had cause to admire the goodness of
the Lord toward us.
'\
My mind being drawn towards Friends along the sea-
coast from Cape May to near Squan, and also to visit some
people in those parts, among whom there is no settled wor-
ship, I joined with my beloved friend Benjamin Jones in a
visit to them, having Friends' unity therein. Weset off the
24th of tenth month, 1765, and had a prosperous and very
satisfactory journey, feeling at times, through the goodness
of the Heavenly Shepherd, the gospel to flow freely towards
a poor people scattered in these places. Soon after our re-
turn I joined my friends John Sleeper and Elizabeth Smith
in a visit to Friends' families at Burlington, there being at
this time about fifty families of our Society in that city;
and we had cause humbly to adore our Heavenly Father,
who baptized us into a feeling of the state of the people, and
strengthened us to labor in true gospel love among them.
Having had a concern at times for several years to pay
a religious visit to Friends on the Eastern Shore of Mary-
land, and to travel on foot among them, that by so travelling
I might have a more lively feeling of the condition of the
oppressed slaves, set an example of lowliness before the eyes
of their masters, and be more out of the way of temptation
to unprofitable converse; and the time drawing near in
which I believed it my duty to lay my concern before our
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 287

Monthly Meeting, I perceived, in conversation with my be-


loved friend John Sleeper, that he also was under a similar
concern to travel on foot in the form of a servant among
them, as he expressed it. This he told me before he knew
aught of my exercise. Being thus drawn the same way, we
laid our exercise and the nature of it before Friends; and,
obtaining certificates, we set off the 6th of fifth month,
1766, and were at meetings with Friends at Wilmington,
Duck Creek, Little Creek, and Motherkill. My heart was
often tendered under the Divine influence, and enlarged in
love towards the people among whom we travelled.
From Motherkill we crossed the country about thirty-five
miles to Tuckahoe, in Maryland, and had a meeting there,
and also at Marshy Creek. At the last three meetings there
were a considerable number of the followers of one Joseph
Nichols, a preacher, who, I understand, is not in outward
fellowship with any religious society, but professeth nearly
the same principles as those of our Society, and often travels
up and down, appointing meetings vv^hich many people
attend. I heard of some who had been irreligious people
that were now his followers, and were become sober, well-
behaved men and women. Some irregularities, I hear, have
been among the people at several of his meetings but from
;

what I have perceived I believe the man and some of his


followers are honestly disposed, but that skilful fathers are
wanting among them..
We then went to Choptank and Third Haven, and thence
to Queen Anne's. The weather for some days past having
been hot and dry, and we having travelled pretty steadily and
having hard labor in meetings, I grew weakly, at which
I was for a time discouraged; but looking over our journey
and considering how the Lord had supported our minds and
bodies, so that we had gone forward m^uch faster than I
expected before we came out, I sav7 that I had been in
danger of too strongly desiring to get quickly through the
journey, and that the bodily weakness now attending me
was a kindness; and then, in contrition of spirit, I became
very thankful to my gracious Father for this manifestation
of his love, and in humble submission to his will my trust in
him was renewed.
288 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
In our journey I had many thoughts on the
this part of
'different circumstances of Friends who inhabit Pennsyl-
vania and Jersey from those who dwell in Maryland, Vir-
ginia, and Carolina. Pennsylvania and New Jersey were
settled by Friends who were convinced of our principles in
England in times of suffering; these, coming over, bought
lands of the natives, and applied to husbandry in a peaceable
way, and many of their children were taught to labor for their
living. Few of these, I believe, settled in any of the southern
provinces; but by the faithful labors of travelling Friends
in early times there was considerable convincement among
the inhabitants of these parts. I also remembered having
read of the warlike disposition of many of the first settlers
in those provinces, and of their numerous engagements with
the natives in which much blood was shed even in the in-
fancy of the colonies. Some of the people inhabiting those
places, being grounded in customs contrary to the pure
truth, were affected with the powerful preaching of the
Word of Life and joined in fellowship with our Society,
and in so doing they had a great work to go through. In
the history of the reformation from Popery it is observable
that the progress was gradual from age to age. The up-
rightness of the first reformers in attending to the light and
understanding given to them opened the way for sincere-
hearted people to proceed further afterwards ; and thus each
one truly fearing God and laboring in the works of right-
eousness appointed for him in his day findeth acceptance
with Him. Through the darkness of the times and the cor-
ruption of manners and customs, some upright men may
have had little more for their day's work than to attend to
the righteous principle in their minds as it related to their
own conduct in life without pointing out to others the whole
extent of that into v/hich the same principle would lead suc-
ceeding ages. Thus, for instance, among an imperious, war-
like by oppressed slaves, some of these
people, supported
masters, I suppose, are awakened to feel and to see their
error, and through sincere repentance cease from oppression
and become like fathers to their servants, showing by their
example a pattern of humility in living, and moderation in
governing, for the instruction and admonition of their
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 289

Oppressing neighbors; these, without carrying the reforma-


tion further, have, I believe, found acceptance with the Lord.
Such was the beginning; and those who succeeded them,
and who faithfully attended to the nature and spirit of the
reformation, have seen the necessity of proceeding forward,
and have not only to instruct others by their own example
in governing well, but have also to use means to prevent their
successors from having so much power to oppress others.
Here I was renewedly confirmed in my mind that the
Lord {whose tender mercies are over all his works, and
whose ear is open to the cries and groans of the oppressed)
is graciously moving in the hearts of people to draw them

off from the desire of wealth and to bring them into such an
humble, lowly v/ay of living that they may see their way
clearly to repair to the standard of true righteousness, and
may not only break the yoke of oppression, but may know
him to be their strength and support in times of outward
affliction.
We crossed Chester River, had a meeting there, and also
at Cecil and Sassafras. My bodily weakness, joined with a
heavy exercise of mind, was to me an humbling dispensa-
tion, and I had a very lively feeling of t^e state of the op-
pressed; yet I often thought that what I suffered was little
compared with the sufferings of the blessed Jesus and many
of his faithful followers; and I may say with thankfulness
that I was made content. From Sassafras we went pretty
directly home, where we found our families well. For sev-
eral weeks after our return I had often to look over our
journey; and though to me it appeared as a small service,
and that some faithful messengers will yet have more bitter
cups to drink in those southern provinces for Christ's sake
than we have had, yet I found peace in that I had been
helped to walk in sincerity according to the understanding
and strength given to me.

Thirteenth of eleventh month. With the unity of Friends
at our monthly meeting, and in company with my beloved
friend Benjamin Jones, I set out on a visit to Friends in the
upper part of this province, having had drawings of love in
my heart that w^ay for a considerable time. We travelled
as far as Hardwick, and I had inward peace in my labo3r
10 HCVol. 1
290 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
of love among them. Through the humbling dispensations o
Divine Providence my mind hath been further brought into
a feeling of the difficulties of Friends and their servants
southv/estward ; and being often engaged in spirit on their
account I believed it my duty to walk into some parts of
the western shore of Maryland on a religious visit. Having
obtained a certificate from Friends of our Monthly Meeting,
I took leave of my family under the heart-tendering opera-
tion of truth, and on the 20th of fourth month, 1767, rode
to the ferry opposite to Philadelphia, and thence walked to
William Home's, at Derby, the same evening. Next day I
pursued my journey alone and reached Concord Week-Day
Meeting.
Discouragements and a v/eight of distress had at times
attended me in this lonesome walk, but through these afflic-
tions I was m.ercifully preserved. Sitting down with
Friends, m.y mind was turned towards the Lord to wait for
his holy leadings; and in infinite love he was pleased to
soften my heart into humble contrition, and renev/edly to
strengthen me to go forv^^ard, so that to me it was a time of
heavenly refreshment in a silent meeting. The next day I
came to Nev^ Garden Week-Day Meeting, in which I sat in
bowedness of spirit, and being baptized into a feeling of the
state of some present, the Lord gave us a heart-tendering
season; to his name be the praise. Passing on, I was at
Nottingham Monthly Meeting, and at a m.eeting at Little
Britain on first-day; in the afternoon several Friends came
to the house where I lodged and we had a little afternoon
meeting, and through the humbling power of truth I had to
admire the loving-kindness of the Lord manifested to us.

Twenty-sixth of fourth month. I crossed the Susque-
hanna, and coming among people in outward ease and
greatness, supported chiefly on the labor of slaves, my heart
was much affected, and in awful retiredness my mind was
gathered inward to the Lord^ humbly desiring that in true
resignation I might receive instruction from him respecting
my duty among this people. Though travelling on foot was
wearisome to my body, yet it was agreeable to the state of
my mind. Being weakly, I was covered with sorrow and
heaviness on account of the prevailing spirit of this world
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 291

hj which customs grievous and oppressive are introduced


on the one hand, and pride and wantonness on the other.
In this lonely walk and state of abasement and humiliation,
the condition of the church in these parts was opened before
me, and I may truly say with the Prophet, " I was bowed
down at the hearing of it; I was dismayed at the seeing
of it." Under this exercise I attended the Quarterly Meet-
ing at Gunpowder, and in bowedness of spirit I had to express
with much plainness my feelings respecting Friends living
in fulness on the labors of the poor oppressed negroes ; and
that promise of the Most High was now revived, " I will
gather all nations and tongues, and they shall come and see
my glory." Here the sufferings of Christ and his tasting
death for every man, and the travels, sufferings, and martyr-
dom of the Apostles and primitive Christians in laboring for
the conversion of the Gentiles, were livingly revived in me,
and according to the measure of strength afforded I labored
in some tenderness of spirit, being deeply affected among
them. The difference between the present treatment which
these gentiles, the negroes, receive at our hands, and the
labors of the primitive Christians for the conversion of the
Gentiles, were pressed home, and the power of truth came
over us, under a feeling of which my mind was united to
a tender-hearted people in these parts. The meeting con-
cluded in a sense of God's goodness towards his humble,
dependent children.
The next day was a general meeting for worship, much
crowded, in which I was deeply engaged in inward cries to
the Lord for help, that I might stand wholly resigned, and
move only as he might be pleased to lead me. I was merci-
fully helped to labor honestly and fervently among them, in
which I found inward peace, and the sincere were com-
forted. From this place I turned towards Pipe Creek and
the Red Lands, and had several meetings among Friends in
those parts. My heart was often tenderly affected under a
sense of the Lord's goodness in sanctifying my troubles and
exercises, turning them to my comfort, and I believe to the
benefit of many others, for I may say with thankfulness that
in this visit it appeared like a tendering visitation in most
places.
292 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
I passed on to the Western Quarterly Meeting in Penn-
sylvania. During the several days of this meeting I w^as
mercifully preserved in an inward feeling after the mind of
truth, and my public labors tended to my humiliation, with
which I was content. After the Quarterly Meeting for wor-
ship ended, I felt drawings to go to the women's meeting for
business, v/hich was very full; here the humility of Jesus
Christ as a pattern for us to walk by was livingly opened
before me, and in treating on it my heart was enlarged, and
it was a baptizing time. I was afterwards at meetings at
Concord, Middletown, Providence, and Haddonfield, whence
I returned home and found my family well. A sense of the
Lord's merciful preservation in this my journey excites
reverent thankfulness to him.

Second of ninth month, 1767. With the unity of Friends,
I set off on a visit to Friends in the upper part of Berks
and Philadelphia counties; was at eleven meetings in about
two weeks, and have renewed cause to bow in reverence
before the Lord, who, by the powerful extendings of his
humbling goodness, opened my way among Friends, and I
trust made the meetings profitable to us. The following
winter I joined some Friends in a family visit to some part
of our meeting, in which exercise the pure influence of
Divine love made our visits reviving.

Fifth of fifth month, 1768. I left home under the hum-
bling hand of the Lord, with a certificate to visit some meet-
ings in Maryland, and to proceed without a horse seemed
clearest to me. I was at the Quarterly Meetings at Phila-
delphia and Concord, whence I proceeded to Chester River,
and, crossing the bay, was at the Yearly Meeting at West
River; I then returned to Chester River, and, taking a few
meetings in my way, proceeded home. It was a journey of
much inward waiting, and as my eye was to the Lord, way
was several times opened to my humbling admiration when
things appeared very difiicult. On my return I felt a very
comfortable relief of mind, having through Divine help
labored in much plainness, both with Friends selected and in
the more public meetings, so that I trust the pure witness
m many minds was reached.
Eleventh of sixth month, 1769.-There have been sundry
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 293

cases of late years within the limits of our Monthly Meet-


ing, respecting the exercising of pure righteousness towards
the negroes, in which I have lived under a labor of heart
that equity might be steadily preserved. On this account
I have had some close exercises among Friends, in which,
I may thankfully say, I find peace. And as my meditations
have been on universal love, my own conduct in time past
became of late v^ry grievous to me. As persons setting
negroes free in our province are bound by law to
maintain them in case they have need of relief, some in
the time of my youth who scrupled to keep slaves for
term of life were wont to detain their young negroes in
their service without wages till they were thirty years ol
age. With this custom I so far agreed that being joined
with another Friend in executing the will of a deceased
Friend, I once sold a negro lad till he might attain the
age of thirty years, and applied the money to the use of
the estate.
With abasement of heart I may now say that sometimes
as I have sat in a meeting with my heart exercised towards
that awful Being who respecteth not persons nor colors, and
have thought upon this lad, I have felt that all was not
clear in my mind respecting him and as I have attended to
;

this exercise and fervently sought the Lord, it hath ap-


peared to me make some restitution; but in
that I should
what way I saw not tillwhen being under some con-
lately,
cern that I might be resigned to go on a visit to some part
of the West Indies, and under close engagement of spirit
seeking to the Lord for counsel herein, the aforesaid trans-
action came heavily upon me, and my mind for a time was
covered with darkness and sorrow. Under this sore afflic-
tion my heart was softened to receive instruction, and I now
first perceived that as I had been one of the two executors

who had sold this lad for nine years longer than is common
for our own
children to serve, so I should nov7 offer part
of my substance to redeem the last half of the nine years;
but as the time was not yet come, I executed a bond, bind-
ing myself and my executors to pay to the man to whom he
was sold what to candid men might appear equitable for the
last four and a half years of his time, in case the said youth
294 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
should be living, and in a condition likely to provide com-
fortably for himself.
Ninth of tenth month. My heart hath often been deeply
afHicted under a feeling that the standard of pure righteous-
ness is not lifted up to the people by us, as a society, in that
clearness which it might have been, had we been as faithful
as we ought to be to the teachings of Christ. And as my
mind hath been inward to the Lord, the purity of Christ's
government hath been made clear to my understanding, and
I have believed, in the opening of universal love, that where
a people v/ho are convinced of the truth of the inward teach-
ings of Christ are active in putting laws in execution which
are not consistent with pure v/isdom, it hath a necessary
tendency to bring dimness over their minds. My heart hav-
ing been thus exercised for several years with a tender sym-
pathy towards my fellow-members, I have v/ithin a few
months past expressed my concern on this subject in several
meetings for discipline.

CHAPTER X
1769, 1770


Bodily Indisposition Exercise of his Mind for the Good of the

People in the West Indies Communicates to Friends his Con-

cern to visit some of those Islands Preparations to embark

Considerations on the Trade to the West Indies Release from
his Concern and return Home
Religious Engagements
Sick-
ness, and Exercise of his Mind therein.

|WELFTH
of third month, 1769. Having for some
years past dieted myself on account of illness and
weakness of body, and not having ability to travel
by land as heretofore, I was at times favored to look with
awfulness towards the Lord, before whom are all my wa3''s,
Vv^ho alone hath the power of life and death, and to feel
thankfulness raised in me for this fatherly chastisement, be-
lieving that if I was truly humbled under it all would work

for good. While under this bodily weakness, my mind was


at times exercised for my fellow-creatures in the West In-
dies,and grew jealous over myself lest the disagreeableness
I
of the prospect should hinder me from obediently attending
thereto; for, though I knev/ not that the Lord required me
to go there, yet I believed that resignation was now called
for in th^:t respect. Feeling a danger of not being wholly
devoted to him, I was frequently engaged to watch unto
prayer that I might be preserved; and upwards of a year
having passed, as I one day walked in a solitary wood, my
mind being covered with awfulness, cries were raised in me
to my merciful Father, that he would graciously keep me in
faithfulness; and it then settled on my mind, as a duty, to
open my condition to Friends at our Monthly Meeting, which
I did soon after, as follows:
" An exercise hath attended me for some time past, and
29$

296 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN


of late hath been more weighty upon me, which is, tflat I
believe it is required of me to be resigned to go on a visit to
some parts of the West Indies." In the Quarterly and Gen-
eral Spring Meetings I found no clearness to express any-
thkig further than that I believed resignatioia herein
was required of me. Having obtained certificates from
all the said meetings, I felt sojourner at my
like a
outward habitation, and kept free from worldly encum-
brances, and I was often bowed in spirit before the Lord,
with inward breathings to him that I might be rightly
directed. I may here note that the circumstance before re-
lated of my having, when young, joined with another ex-
ecutor in selling a negro lad till he might attain the age of
thirty years, was now the cause of much sorrow to me and, ;

after having settled matters relating to this youth, I pro-


vided a sea-store and bed, and things for the voyage. Hear-
ing of a vessel likely to sail from Philadelphia for Barbadoes,
I spake with one of the owners at Burlington, and soon
after went to Philadelphia on purpose to speak to him again.
He told me there was a Friend in town who was part owner
of the said vessel. I felt no inclination to speak with the
latter, but returned home. Awhile after I took leave of
my family, and, going to Philadelphia, had some weighty
conversation with the first-mentioned owner, and showed him
a writing, as follows:
" On 1769, as an exercise
the 25th of eleventh month,
with respect to a visit to Barbadoes hath been weighty on
my mind, I may express some of the trials which have at-
tended me, under which I have at times rejoiced that I have
felt my own self-will subjected.
" Some
years ago I retailed rum, sugar, and molasses, the
fruits of the labor of slaves, but had not then much concern
about them save only that the rum might be used in modera-
tion; nor was this concern so weightily attended to as I now
believe it ought to have been. Having of late years been
further informed respecting the oppressions too generally
exercised in these islands, and thinking often on the dangers
there are in connections of interest and fellowship with the
works of darkness (Eph. v. ii), I have felt an increasing
concern to be wholly given up to the leadings o:i^ the Holy
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 297

Spirit, and it hath seemed right that my small gain from


this branch of trade shotild be applied in promoting right-
eousness on the earth. This was the first motion towards a
visit to Barbadoes. I believed also that part of my out-
ward substance should be applied in paying my passage, if
I went, and providing things in a lowly way for my sub-
sistence; but when the time drew near in which I believed
it required of me to be in readiness, a difficulty arose which
hath been a continual trial for some months past, tmder
which I have, with abasement of mind from day to day,
sought the Lord for instruction, having often had a feeling
of the condition of one formerly, who bewailed himself be-
cause the Lord hid his face from him. During these ex-
ercises my heart hath often been contrite, and I have had
a tender feeling of the temptations of my fellow-creatures,
laboring under expensive customs not agreeable to the sim-
plicity that 'there is in Christ' (2 Cor. ii. 3), and sometimes
in the renewings of gospel love I have been helped to min-
ister to others.
"That which hath so closely engaged my mind, in seeking
to the Lord for instruction, is, whether, after the full
information I have had of the oppression which the slaves
lie under who raise the West India produce, which I have
gained by reading a caution and warning to Great Britain and
her colonies, written by Anthony Benezet, it is right for me
to take passage in a vessel employed in the West India trade.
" To trade with oppressors without laboring to
freely
dissuade them from such unkind treatment, and to seek for
gain by such traffic, tends, I believe, to make them more
easy respecting their conduct than they v/ould be if the cause
of mniversal righteousness was humbly and firmly attended
to hy those in general with whom they have commerce;
and that complaint of the Lord by hi-s prophet, " They have
strengthened the hands of the wicked," hath very often re-
vived in my mind- I may here add some circumstances
which occurred to me before I had any pTospect of a visit
^here. David longsd for some water in a well beyond an
army of Philistines who were at war widi Is-rael, and some
of his men, to please him, ventured their lives in passing
through this army, and brought l^a-t water.
298 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
"It not appear that the Israelites were then scarce
(3otli

of water, but rather that David gave way to delicacy of


taste; and having reflected on the danger to which these
men had been exposed, he considered this water as their
blood, and his heart smote him that he could not drink it,
but he poureid it out to the Lord. The oppression of the
slaves which I have seen in several journeys southward on
this continent, and the report of their treatment in the West
Indies, have deeply affected me, and a care to live in the
spirit of peace and minister no just carse of offence to my
fellow-creatures having from tim.e to time livingly revived
in my mind, I have for some years past declined to gratify
my palate with those sugars.
"I do not censure my brethren in these things, but I be-
lieve the Father of Mercies, to whom all mankind by creation
are equally related, hath heard the groans of this oppressed
people and that he is preparing some to have a tender feeling
of their condition. Trading in or the frequent use of any
produce known to be raised by the labor of those who are
under such lamentable oppression hath appeared to be a
subject which may hereafter require the more serious con-
sideration of the humble followers of Christ, the Prince
of Peace.
"After long and mournful exercise I am now free to
mention how things have opened in my mind, v/ith desires
that if it may please the Lord further to open his will to
any of his children in this matter they may faithfully follow
him in such further manifestation.
" The number of those who decline the use of West India
produce, on account of the hard usage of the slaves who
raise it, appears small, even among people truly pious and
;

the labors in Christian love on that subject of those who do


are not very extensive. Were the trade from this continent
to the West Indies to be stopped at once, I believe many
there would suffer for want of bread. Did we on this con-
tinent and the inhabitants of the West Indies generally
dwell in pure righteousness, I believe a small trade between
us might be right. Under these considerations, when the
thoughts of wholly declining the use of trading-vessels and
ol trying to hire a vessel to go under ballast have arisen
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 299

in my mind, I have believed that the labors in gospel love


hitherto bestowed in the cause of universal righteousness
have not reached that height. If the trade to the West Indies
were no more than was consistent with pure wisdom, I be-
lieve the passage-money v/ould for good reasons be higher
than it is now; and therefore, under deep exercise of mind,
I have believed that I should not take advantage of this
great trade and small passage-money, but, as a testimony in
favor of less trading, should pay more than is common for
others to pay if I go at this tim.e."
The first-mentioned owner, having read the paper, went
with me to the other ov/ner, who also read over the paper,
and we had some solid conversation, under which I felt my-
selfbowed in reverence before the Most High. At length one
of them asked me if I would go and see the vessel. But
not having clearness in my mind to go, I went to my
lodging and retired in private under great exercise of mind;
and my tears were poured out before the Lord with inward
cries that he would graciously help me under these trials, I
believe my mind was resigned, but I did not feel clearness
to proceed; and my own weakness and the necessity of
Divine instruction were impressed upon me.
I was for a tim.e as one who knew not what to do and
was tossed as in a tempest; under which affliction the doc-
trine of Christ, " Take no thought for the m.orrow," arose
livingly before me, and I was favored to get into a good
degree of stillness. Having been near two days in town,
I believed my obedience to my Heavenly Father consisted
in returning homeward; I therefore went over among
Friends on the Jersey shore and tarried till the morning
on which the vessel was appointed to sail. As I lay in bed
the latter part of that night my mind v/as comforted, and
I felt what I esteemed a fresh confirmation that it v^^as the
Lord's will that I should pass through some further exer-
cises near home; so I went thither, and still felt like a so-
journer with my family. In the fresh spring of pure love
I had some labors in a private way zmong Friends on a
subject relating to truth's testimony, under v/hich I had
frequently been exercised in heart for some years. I re-
member, as I walked on the road under this exercise, that

300 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN


passage in Ezekiel came fresh upon me, " Whithersoever
their faces were turned thither they went." And I was
graciously helped to discharge my duty in the fear and
dread of the Almighty.
In the course of a few weeks it pleased the Lord to visit
me with a pleurisy; and after I had lain a few days and felt
the disorder very grievous, I was thoughtful how it might
end. I had of late, through various exercises, been much
weaned from the pleasant things of this life; and I now
thought if it were the Lord's will to put an end to my labors
and graciously to receive me into the arms of his mercy,
death would be acceptable to me; but if it were his will
further to refine me under affliction, and to make me in any
degree useful in his church, I desired not to die. I may with
thankfulness say that in this case I felt resignedness wrought
in me and had no inclination to send for a doctor, believing,
if it were the Lord's will through outward means to raise
me up, some sympathizing Friends would be sent to minister
to me; which accordingly was the case. But though I was
carefully attended, yet the disorder was at times so heavy
that I had no expectation of recovery. One night in par-
ticular my bodily distress my feet grew cold,
was great;
and the cold increased up my legs towards my body at that ;

time I had no inclination to ask my nurse to apply anything


v^rarm to my feet, expecting my end w^as near. After I had
Iain near ten hours in this condition, I closed my eyes, think-
ing whether might now be delivered out of the body; but
I
in these awful moments my mind was livingly opened to
behold the church; and strong engagements were begotten
in me for the everlasting well-being of my fellow-creatures.
I felt in the spring of pure love that I might remain some
time longer in the body, to fill up according to my measure
that which remains of the afflictions of Christ, and to labor
for the good of the church; after which I requested my
nurse to apply warmth to my feet, and I revived. The next
night, feeling a weighty exercise of spirit and having a
solid friend sitting up with me, I requested him to write
what I said, which he did as follows:
"Fourth day of the first month, 1770, about five in the
msming.I have seen in the Light of the Lord that the day

THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 301

Is approaching when the man that is most wise in human

poHcy shall be the greatest fool and the arm that is mighty
;

to support injustice shall be broken to pieces; the enemies


of righteousness shall make a terrible rattle, and shall
mightily torment one another; for He that is omnipotent is
rising up to judgment, and will plead the cause of the op-
pressed; and He commanded me to open the vision."
Near a week after this, feeling my mind livingly opened,
I sent for a neighbor, who, at my request, wrote as follows :

The place of prayer is a precious habitation*; for I now


*'

saw that the prayers of the saints were precious incense;


and a trumpet was given to me that I might sound forth
this language that the children might hear it and be invited
;

together to this precious habitation, where the prayers of the


saints, as sweet incense, arise before the throne of God and

the Lamb. I saw this habitation to be safe, to be inwardly
quiet when there were great stirrings and commotions in
the world.
" Prayer, at this day, in pure resignation, is a precious
place: the trumpet is sounded; the call goes forth to the
church that she gather to the place of pure inward prayer;
and her habitation is safe."
;

CHAPTER XI
1772

Embarks at Chester, witli Samtiel Emlen, in a Ship bound for Lon-


<Jon Exercise of Mind respecting the Hardships of the Sailors
Considerations on the Dangers of training Youth to a Seafaring

Life Thoughts during a Storm at Sea Arrival in London.

""RAVING been some time under a religious concern to


prepare for crossing the seas, in order to visit
Friends in the northern parts of England, and more
particularly in Yorkshire, after consideration I thought it
expedient to inform Friends of it at our Monthly Meeting
at Burlington, who, having unity with me therein, gave me
a certificate. I afterwards communicated the same to our
Quarterly Meeting, and they likewise certified their con-
currence. Some time after, at the General Spring Meeting
of ministers and elders, I thought it my duty to acquaint
them with the religious exercise which attended my mind;
and they likewise signified their unity therewith by a cer-
tificate, dated the 24th of third month, 1772, directed to
Friends in Great Britain.
In the fourth month following I thought the time was
come for me to make some inquiry for a suitable conveyance
and as my concern was principally towards the northern
parts of England, it seemed m.ost proper to go in a vessel
bound to Liverpool or Whitehaven. While I was at Phila-
delphia deliberating on this subject I was informed that
m.y beloved friend Samuel Emlen, junior, intended to
go to London, and had taken a passage for himself in
the cabin of the ship called the Mary and Elizabeth, of
which James Sparks was master, and John Head, of the
city of Philadelphia, one of the owners and feeling a
;

draught in my mind towards the steerage of the same


302
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 303

stip, I went first and opened to Samuel the feeling I had


concerning it.
My beloved friend wept when I spake to him, and ap-
peared glad that I had thoughts of going in the vessel with
him, though my prospect was toward the steerage: and he
offering to go with m.e, we v/ent on board, first into the
cabin,
a commodious room, and then into the steerage,
where we sat down on a chest, the sailors being busy about
us. The owner of the ship also came and sat down with us.
My mind was turned towards Christ, the Heavenly Coun-
sellor, and feeling at this timiC my own will subjected, my
heart was contrite before him. A
motion was made by the
owner to go and sit in the cabin, as a place more retired;
but I felt easy to leave the ship, and making no agreement
as to a passage in her, told the owner if I took a passage in
the ship I believed it would be in the steerage; but did not
say much as to my exercise in that case.
After I went to my lodgings, and the case was a little
knov/n in town, a Friend laid before me the great incon-
venience attending a passage in the steerage, which for a
time appeared very discouraging to me.
I soon after went to bed, and my mind was under a deep
exercise before the Lord, whose helping hand was mani-
fested to me as I slept that night, and his love strengthened
my heart. In the morning I went with two Friends on
board the vessel again, and after a short time spent therein,
I went with Samuel Emlen to the house of the owner, to
whom, in the hearing of Samuel only, I opened my exercise
in relation to a scruple I felt with regard to a passage in
the cabin, in substance as follows :
" That on the outside of that part of the ship where the
cabin was I observed sundry sorts of carved VN^ork and
imiagery; that in the cabin I observed some superfluity of
workmianship of several sorts; and that according to the
ways of men's reckoning, the sum of money to be paid for
a passage in that apartment has some relation to the expense
of furnishing it to please the minds of such as give way to
a conformity to this world; and that in this, as in other
cases, the moneys received from the passengers are calcu-
lated to defray the cost of these superfluities, as well as the
304 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN /

other expenses of their passage. I therefore felt a scruple


with regard to paying my money to be applied to such
purposes."
As my mind vv^as now opened, I told the owner that I had,
at several times, in my travels, seen great oppressions on
this continent, at which my heart had been much affected
and brought into a feeling of the state of the sufferers and
;

having many times been engaged in the fear and love of


God to labor with those under whom
the oppressed have
been borne down and afflicted, I have often perceived that
with a view to get riches and to provide estates for children,
that they may live conformably to the customs and honors
of this world, many are entangled in the spirit of oppression,
and the exercise of my soul had been such that I could not
find peace in joining in anything which I saw was against
that wisdom which is pure.
After this I agreed for a passage in the steerage; and
hearing that Joseph White had desired to see me, I went to
his house, and the next day home, where I tarried two
nights. Early the next morning I parted with my family
under a sense of the humbling hand of God upon me, and,
going to Philadelphia, had an opportunity with several of
my beloved friends, who appeared to be concerned for me
on account of the unpleasant situation of that part of the
vessel in which I was likely to lodge. In these opportunities
my mind, through the mercies of the Lord, was kept low in
an inward waiting for his help; and Friends having ex-
pressed their desire that I might have a more convenient
place than the steerage, did not urge it, but appeared dis-
posed to leave me to the Lord.
Having stayed tw^o nights at Philadelphia, I went the next
day to Derby Monthly Meeting, where through the strength
of Divine love my heart was enlarged towards the youth
there present, under which I was helped to labor in some
tenderness of spirit. I lodged at William Horn's and after-
wards went to Chester, where I met with Samuel Emlen,
and we went on board ist of fifth month, 1772. As I sat
alone on the deck I felt a satisfactory evidence that my pro-
ceedings were not in my own will, but under the power of
the cross of Christ
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 305

Seventh of fifth month. We have had rough weather


mostly since I came on board, and the passengers, James
Reynolds, John Till Adams, Sarah Logan and her hired
maid, and John Bispham, all sea-sick at times; from which
sickness, through the tender mercies of my Heavenly Father,
I have been preserved, my afflictions now being of another
kind. There appeared an openness in the minds of the
master of the ship and in the cabin passengers towards me.
We are often together on the deck, and sometimes in the
cabin. My mind, through the merciful help of the Lord,
hath been preserved in a good degree watchful and quiet,
for which I have great cause to be thankful.
As my lodging in the steerage, now near a week, hath
afforded me sundry opportunities of seeing, hearing, and
feeling with respect to the life and spirit of many poor
sailors, an exercise of soul hath attended me in regard to
placing our children and youth where they may be likely to
oe exampled and instructed in the pure fear of the Lord.
Being much among the seamen I have, from a motion of
love, taken sundry opportunities with one of them at a time,
and have in free conversation labored to turn their minds
tovv^ard the fear of the Lord. This day we had a meeting
in the cabin, where my heart was contrite under a feeling
of Divine love.
I believe a communication with different parts of the
world by sea is at times consistent with the will of our
Heavenly Father, and to educate some youth in the practice
of sailing, I believe may be right; but how lamentable is
the present corruption of the world ! How impure are the
channels through which trade is conducted ! How great is
the danger to which poor lads are exposed when placed on
shipboard to learn the art of sailing! Five lads training up
for the seas were on board this ship. Two of them were
brought up in our Society, and the other, by name James
Naylor, is a member, to whose father James Naylor, men-
tioned in Sev/el's history, appears to have been uncle. I
often feel a tenderness of heart towards these poor lads, and
at times look at them as though they were m.y children
according to the flesh.
O that all may take heed and beware of covetousness ! O
306 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
that all learn of Christ, who was meek and lowly oi
may
heart. in faithfully following him he will teach us to
Then
be content with food and raiment without respect to the
customs or honors of this world. Men thus redeemed will
feel a tender concern for their fellow-creatures, and a desire
that those in the lowest stations may be assisted and encour-
aged, and where owners of ships attain to the perfect law
of liberty and are doers of the Word, these will be blessed
in their deeds.
A ship at sea commonly sails all night, and the seamen
take their watches four hours at a time. Rising to work
in the night, it is not commonly pleasant in any case, but in
dark rainy nights it very disagreeable, even though each
is

man were furnished with all conveniences. If, after having


been on deck several hours in the night, they come down
into the steerage soaking wet, and are so closely stowed that
proper convenience for change of garments is not easily
come at, but for want of proper room their wet garments
are throv/n in heaps, and sometimes, through much crowd-
ing, are trodden under foot in going to their lodgings and
getting out of them, and it is difficult at times for each to
find his own. Here are trials for the poor sailors.
Now, as I have been with them in my lodge, my heart
hath often yearned for them, and tender desires have been
raised in me that all owners and masters of vessels may
dwell in the love of God and therein act uprightly, and by
seeking less for gain and looking carefully to their ways
they may earnestly labor to remove all cause of provocation
from the poor seamen, so that they m.ay neither fret nor
use excess of strong drink; for, indeed, the poor creatures,
in the wet and cold, seem to apply at times to strong drink
to supply the want of other convenience. Great reforma-
tion is wanting in the world, and the necessity of it among
those who do business on great waters hath at this time
been abundantly opened before me.
Eighth of fifth month. This morning the clouds gath-
ered, the v/ind blew strong from the southeast, and before
noon so increased that sailing appeared dangerous. The sea-
men then bound up some of their sails and took down others,
and the storm increasing they put the dead-lights, so called,
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 307

into the cabin windows and lighted a lamp as at night. The


wind now blew vehemently, and the sea wrought to that
degree that an awful seriousness prevailed in the cabin, in
which I spent, I believe, about seventeen hours, for the
cabin passengers had given me frequent invitations, and I
thought the poor wet toiling seamen had need of all the
room in the crov/ded steerage. They now ceased from sail-
ing and put the vessel in the posture called lying to.
My mind during this tempest, through the gracious assist-
ance of the Lord, was preserved in a good degree of resigna-
tion; and at times I expressed a few w^ords in his love to
my shipmates in regard to the all-sufficiency of Him who
form-ed the great deep, and whose care is so extensive that
a sparrow falls not without his notice and thus in a tender
;

frame of mind spoke to them of the necessity of our yield-


I
ing in true obedience to the instructions of our Heavenly
Father, who sometimes through adversities intendeth our
refinement.
About eleYcn at night I went out on the deck. The sea
.wrought exceedingly, and the high, foaming waves- round
about had in some sort the appearance of fire, but did not
give much if any light. The sailor at the helm said he
lately sav7 a corposant at the head of the mast. I observed
that the master of the ship ordered the carpenter to keep
on the deck; and, though he said little, I apprehended his
care was that the carpenter with his axe might be in readi-
ness in case of any em.ergency. Soon after this the ve-
hemency of the wind abated, and before morning they
again put the ship under sail.

Tenth of fifth month. It being the first day of the week
and fine weather, we had a meeting in the cabin, at which
most of the seamen were present; this meeting was to me

a strengthening time. 13th. As I continue to lodge in the
steerag:e I feel an openness this morning to express some-
thing further of the state of my mind in respect to poor
lads bound apprentice to learn the art of sailing. As I
believe sailing of use in the v/orld, a labor of soul attends
is

me that the pure counsel of truth may be humbly waited for


in this case by all concerned in the business of the seas.
A pious father whose mind is exercised for the CTerlasting
308 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN j

welfare of his child may not with a peaceable mind place


him out an employment among a people ^whose common
to
course of life is manifestly corrupt and profane. Great is
the present defect among seafaring men in regard to virtue
and piety; and, by reason of an abundant traffic and many
ships being used for war, so many people are employed on
the sea that the subject of placing lads to this employment
appears very weighty.
When I remember the saying of the Most High through
his prophet, " This people have I formed for myself they ;

shall show forth my praise," and think of placing children


among such to learn the practice of sailing, the consistency
of it with a pious education seems to me like that mentioned
by the prophet, "There is no answer from God."
Profane examples are very corrupting and very forcible.
"And as my mind day after day and night after night hath
been affected with a sympathizing tenderness towards poor
children who are put to the employment of sailors, I have
sometimes had weighty conversation with the sailors in the
steerage, who were mostly respectful to me and became
more so the longer I was with them. They mostly appeared
to take kindly what I said to them but their minds were so
;

deeply impressed with the almost universal depravity among


sailors that the poor creatures in their answers to me have
revived in my remembrance that of the degenerate Jews a
little before the captivity, as repeated by Jeremiah the
prophet, " There is no hope."
Now under this exercise a sense of the desire of outward
gain prevailing among us felt grievous; and a strong call
to the professed followers of Christ was raised in me that
all may take heed lest, through loving this present world,
they be found in a continued neglect of duty with respect
to a faithful labor for reformation.
To silence every motion proceeding from the love of money
and humbly to wait upon God to know his will concerning us
have appeared necessary. He alone is able to strengthen us to
dig deep, to remove all which lies between as aaad the safe
foundation, and so to Mr^t us m
cmr outward employments
that pure universal love may sbine fcfrth in tmr proceedings.
D^ires arising from the spirit of tru^ are pure desires ; and
"

THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 309

wHen a mind divinely opened towards a young generation is


made sensible of corrupting examples powerfully working
and extensively spreading among them, how moving is the
prospect !In a world of dangers and difficulties, like a
desolate, thorny wilderness, how precious, how comfortable,
hov/ safe, are the leadings of Christ the good Shepherd,
who said, "I know my sheep, and am known of mine !


Sixteenth of sixth^ month. Wind for several days past
often high, w^hat the sailors call squally, with a rough sea
and frequent rains. This last night has been a very trying
one to the poor seamen, the water the most part of the
night running over the main-deck, and sometimes breaking
twaves came on the quarter-deck. The latter part of the
night, as I lay in bed, my mind was humbled under the
power of Divine love; and resignedness to the great Crea-
tor of the earth and the seas was renewedly wrought in me,
and his fatherly care over his children felt precious to my
soul. I was now desirous to embrace every opportunity of
being inwardly acquainted with the hardships and difficulties
of my fellow-creatures, and to labor in his love for the
spreading of pure righteousness on the earth. Opportunities
were frequent of hearing conversation among the sailors
respecting the voyages to Africa and the manner of bringing
the deeply oppressed slaves into our islands. They are fre-
quently brought on board the vessels in chains and fetters,
with hearts loaded with grief under the apprehension of
miserable slavery; so that my mind was frequently engaged
to meditate on these things.
Seventeenth of fifth month and first of the week. We had
a meeting in the cabin, to which the seamen generally came.
My spirit v^^as contrite before the Lord, whose love at this
time affected my heart. In the afternoon I felt a tender
sympathy of soul with my poor wife and family left behind,
in which state my heart was enlarged in desires that they
may walk in that humble obedience wherein the everlasting
Father may be their guide and support through all their
difficulties in this world; and a sense of that gracious assist-
ance, through which my mind hath been strengthened to
take up the cross and leave them to tmvel in the love o
310 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
truth, hath begotten thankfulness in my heart to our great
Helper.
Twenty-fourth of fifth month. A clear, pleasant morning.
As I sat on deck I felt a reviving in my nature, which had
been weakened through much rainy weather and high winds
and being shut up in a close, unhealthy air. Several nights
of late I have felt my breathing difficult; and a little after
the rising of the second watch, which is about midnight, I
have got up and stood near an hour with my face near the
hatchway, to get the fresh air at the small vacancy under
the hatch door, which is commonly shut down, partly to
keep out rain and sometimes to keep the breaking waves
from, dashing into the steerage. I may with thankfulness to
the Father of Mercies acknowledge that in my present weak
state my mind hath been supported to bear this affliction with
patience; and I have looked at the present dispensation as
a kindness from the great Father of mankind, who, in this
my floating pilgrimage, is in some degree bringing me to
feel what many thousands of my fellow-creatures often suffer
in a greater degree.
My appetite failing, the trial hath been the heavier; and
I have felt tender breathings in my soul after God, the
fountain of comfort, whose inward help hath supplied at
times the want of outward convenience; and strong desires
have attended me that his family, who are acquainted with
the movings of his Holy Spirit, may be so redeemed from
the love of money and from that spirit in which men seek
honor one of another, that in all business, by sea or land,
they may constantly keep in view the coming of his king-
dom on earth as it is in Heaven, and, by faithfully follow-
ing this safe guide, may show forth examples tending to
lead out of that under which the creation groans. This day
we had a meeting in the cabin, in which I was favored in
some degree to experience the fulfilling of that saying o
the prophet, " The Lord hath been a strength to the poor, a
strength to the needy in their distress "
; for which my heart
is bowed in thankfulness before him.

Twenty-eighth of fifth month. Wet weather of late and
small winds, inclining to calms. Our seamen cast a lead, I
suppose about one hundred fathoms, but found no bottom.
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 311

Foggy weather this morning. Through the kindness of the


great Preserver of men my mind remains quiet; and a de-
gree of exercise from day to day attends me, that the pure
peaceable government of Christ may spread and prevail
among mankind.
The leading of a young generation in that pure way in
which the wisdom of this world hath no place, where parents
and tutors, humbly waiting for the heavenly Counsellor, may
example them in the truth as it is in Jesus, hath for several
daj^s been the exercise of my mind. O, how safe, how quiet,
is that state where the soul stands in pure obedience to the
voice of Christ and a watchful care is maintained not to
follow the voice of the stranger !Here Christ is felt to be
our Shepherd, and under his leading people are brought to
a stability; and where he doth not lead forward, we are
bound in the bonds of pure love to stand still and wait
upon him.
In the love of money and in the wisdom of this world,
business is proposed, then the urgency of affairs push for-
ward, and the mJnd cannot in this state discern the good
and perfect will of God concerning us. The love of God is
manifested in graciously calling us to come out of that
which stands in confusion; but if we bow not in the name
of Jesus, if we give not up those prospects of gain which in
the wisdom of this world are open before us, but say in our
hearts, " I must needs go on ; and in going on I hope to
keep as near the purity of truth as the business before me
will admit of," the mind remains entangled and the shining
of the light of life into the soul is obstructed.
Surely the Lord calls to mourning and deep humiliation
that in his fear we may be instructed and led safely through
the great difficulties and perplexities in this present age. In
an entire subjection of our wills the Lord graciously opens a
way for his people, where all their wants are bounded by
his wisdom; and here we experience the substance of what
Moses the prophet figured out in the water of separation as
a purification from sin,
Esau is mentioned as a child red all over like a hairy
garment. In Esau is represented the natural will of man.
In preparing the water of separation a red heifer without
312 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
blemish, on which there had been no yoke, was to be slain
and her blood sprinkled by the priest seven times towards
the tabernacle of the congregation then her skin, her flresh,
;

and all pertaining to her, was to be burnt without the camp,


and of her ashes the water was prepared. Thus, the crucify-
ing of the old man, or natural will, is represented; and
hence comes a separation from that carnal mind which is
death. "He who toucheth the dead body of a man and
purifieth not himself with the water of separation, defileth
the tabernacle of the Lord; he is unclean." (Num. xix. 13.)
If any through the love of gain engage in business wherein
tiiey dwell as among the tombs and touch the bodies of
those who are dead should through the infinite love of God
feel the power of the cross of Christ to crucify them to the
world, and therein learn humbly to follow the divine Leader,
here is the judgment of this world, here the prince of this
world is cast out. The water of separation is felt; and
though we have been among the slain, and through the de-
sire of gain have touched the dead body of a man, yet in
the purifying love of Christ we are washed in the water of
separation; we are brought off from that business, from
that gain and from that fellowship which is not agreeable
to his holy wilL I have felt a renewed confirmation in the
time of this voyage, that the Lord, in his infinite love, is
calling to his visited children, so to give up all outward pos-
sessions and means of getting treasures, that his Holy Spirit
may have free course in their hearts and direct them in all
their proceedings. To feel the substance pointed at in this
figure man must know death as to his own will.
*'No man can see God and live." This was spoken by
tiie Almighty to Moses the prophet and opened by our

blessed Redeemer. As death corner on our own wills, and


a new life is formed in us, the heart is purified and prepared
to understand clearly, " Blessed are the pure in heart, for
they shall see God." In purity of heart the mind is divinely
opened to behold the nature of universal righteoiisness, or
the righteousness of ikt kingdom of God. " No man bath
seen the Father save he that is of God, he hath seen ^e
Father."
The natural mind is active alxoui the things of thi* life.
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 313

and in this natural activity business is proposed and a will


is formed ia us to go forward in it. And so Long as this
natural will remains unsubjeeted, so long there remains an
obstruction to the clearness of Divine light operating in us;
but wh*^ we love God with all our heart and with all our
stroigth, in this love we love our neighbor as ourselves;
and a tenderness of heart is felt towards all people for
whom Christ died, even those who, as to outward circum-
stances, may be to us as the Jews were to the Samaritans.
" Who is my neighbor ? '* See this question answered by
our Saviour, Luke x. 30. In this love we can say that Jesus
is the Lord; and in this reformation in our souls, mani-
fested in a full reformation of our lives, wherein all things
are new, and all things are of God (2 Cor. v. 18), the desire
of gain is subjected.
When employment honestly followed in the light of
is

truth, and people become diligent in business, " fervent in


spirit, serving the Lord" (Rom. xii. li), the meaning of the
name is opened to us " This is the name by which he shall
:

be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS." (Jer.


xxiii. 6.) O, how precious is this name it is like ointment!

poured out. The chaste virgins are in love with the Re-
deemer; and for promoting his peaceable kingdom in the
world are content to endure hardness like good soldiers;
and are so separated in spirit from the desire of riches, that
in their employments they become extensively careful to
give no offence, either to Jew or Heathen, or to the church
of Christ.
Thirty-first of fifth month and first of the week.We had
a meeting in the cabin, with nearly all the ship's company,
the whole being near thirty. In this meeting the Lord in
mercy favored us with the extending of his love.

Second of sixth month. Last evening the seamen found
bottom at about seventy fathoms. This morning, a fair
wind and pleasant. I sat on deck; my heart was overcome
with the love of Christ, and melted into contrition before
him. In this state the prospect of that work to which I
found my mind drawn when my
native land being, in
in
some degree, opened before me, I felt like a little child and ;

my cries were put up to m^ Heavenljr Father for preserve-


314 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
tion, that in an humble dependence on him my soul mi^ht
be strengthened in his love and kept inwardly waiting for
his counsel. This afternoon ^ve saw that part of England
called the Lizard.
Some fowls yet remained of those the passengers took for
their sea-store. I believe about fourteen perished in the
storms at sea, by the waves breaking over the quarter-deck,
and a considerable number with sickness at different times.
I observed the cocks crew as we came down the Delaware,
and while we were near the land, but afterwards I think I
did not hear one of them crow till we came near the English
coast, when they again crowed a few times. In observing
their dull appearance at sea, and the pining sickness of some
of them, I often remem.bered the Fountain of goodness, v/ho
gave being to all creatures, and whose love extends to caring
for the sparrows. I believe where the love of God is verily
perfected, and the true spirit of government watchfully
attended to, a tenderness tow^ards all creatures made subject
to us will be experienced, and a care felt in us that we do
not lessen that sweetness of life in the animal creation
which the great Creator intends for them under our
government.

Fourth of sixth month. Wet weather, high winds, and
so dark that we could see but a little way. I perceived our
seamen were apprehensive of the danger of missing the
channel, which I understood was narrov\/. In a v/hile it
grew lighter, and they saw the land and knew where we
were. Thus the Father of Mercies was pleased to try us
with the sight of dangers, and then graciously, from time
to time, deliver us from them; thus sparing our lives, that
in humility and reverence we might walk before him and
put our trust in him. About noon a pilot came ofl from
Dover, where m.y beloved friend Samuel Emlen went on
shore and thence to London, about seventy-two miles by
land; but I felt easy in staying in the ship.

Seventh of sixth month and first of the week. A clear
morning; we lay at anchor for the tide, and had a parting
meeting with the ship's com.pany, in which my heart was
enlarged in a fervent concern for them, that they may
come to experience salvation through Christ. Had a head-
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 315

wind up the Thames; lay sometimes at anchor; saw many-


ships passing, and some at anchor near; and I had large
opportunity of feeling the spirit in which the poor bewild-
ered sailors too generally live. That lamentable degeneracy
which so much prevails in the people employed on the seas
so affected my heart that I cannot easily convey the feeling
I had to another.
Thepresent state of the seafaring life in general appears
so opposite to that of a pious education, so full ot corruption
and extreme alienation from God, so full of the most dan-
gerous examples to young people that in looking towards a
young generation I feel a care for them, that they may have
an education different from the present one of lads at sea,
and that all of us who are acquainted with the pure gospel
spirit lay this case to heart, may remember the lamenta-
may
ble corruptions which attend the conveyance of merchandise
across the seas, and so abide in the love of Christ that, being
delivered from the entangling expenses of a curious, deli-
cate, and luxurious life, we may learn contentment with a
little, and promote the seafaring life no further than that

spirit which leads into all truth attends us in our pro-


ceedings.
CHAPTER XII

1772


Attends the Yearly Meeting in London Then proceeds towards

Yorkshire Visits Quarterly and other Meetings in the Counties
of Hertford, Warwick, Oxford, Nottingham, York, and West-

moreland Returns to Yorkshire Instructive Observations and
Letters
Hears of the Decease of William Hunt Some Account

of him The Author's Last Illness and Death at York.

N the 8th of sixth month, 1772, we landed at London,


and I went straightway to the Yearly Meeting of
ministers and elders, which had been gathered, I
^
suppose, about half an hour.
In this meeting my mind was humbly contrite. In the
afternoon the meeting for business was opened, which by
adjournments held near a week. In these meetings I often
felt a living concern for the establishment of Friends in
the pure life of truth. My heart was enlarged in the meet-
ings of ministers, that for business, and in several meetings
for public worship, and I felt my mind united in true love
to the faithful laborers now gathered at this Yearly Meeting.
On the 15th I went to a Quarterly Meeting at Hertford.
1 There is a story told of his first appearance in England which I have
from my friend, William J. AUinson, editor of the Friends' Review, and
which he assures me is well authenticated. The vessel reached London on.
the morning of the fifth day of the week, and John Woolman, knowing that
the meeting was then in session, lost no time in reaching it. Coming in
late and unannounced, his peculiar dress and manner excited attention and
apprehension that he was an itinerant enthusiast. He presented his cer-
tificate from Friends in America, but the dissatisfaction still remained, and
some one remarked that perhaps the stranger Friend might feel that his
dedication of himself to this apprehended service was accepted, without
further labor, and that he might now feel free to return to his home. John
Wpolman sat silent for a space, seeking the unerring counsel of Divine
Wisdom. He was profoundly affected by the unfavorable reception he met
with, and his tears flowed freely. In the love of Christ and his fellow-men
he had, at a painful sacrifice, taken his life in his hands, and left behind
the peace and endearments of home. That love still flowed out toward the
people of England; must it henceforth be pent up in his own heart? He
rose at last, and stated that he could not feel himself released from his
prospect of labor in England. Yet he could not travel in the ministry with-
out the unity of Friends; and while that was withheld he could not feel

THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN ^7


First of seventh month.-^I have been at Quarterly Meet-
ings at Sherrington, Northampton, Banbury, and Shipton,
and have had sundry meetings between. My mind hath been
bowed under a sense of Divine goodness manifested among
us; my
heart hath been often enlarged in true love, both
among ministers and elders and in public meetings, and
through the Lord's goodness I believe it hath been a fresh
visitation tomany, in particular to the youth.

Seventeenth. I was this day at Birmingham; I have
been at meetings at Coventry, Warwick, in Oxfordshire, and
sundry other places, and have felt the humbling hand of
the Lord upon me; but through his tender mercies I find
peace in the labors I have gone through.

Twenty-sixth. I have continued travelling northward,
visiting meetings. W*as this day at Nottingham; the fore-
noon meeting was especially, through Divine love, a heart-
tendering season. Next day I had a meeting in a Friend's
family, which, through the strengthening arm of the Lord,
was a time to be thankfully remembered.
Second of eighth month and first of the week. ^I was
this day at Sheffield, a large inland town. I was at sundry
meetings last week, and feel inward thankfulness for that
Divine support which hath been graciously extended to me.
On the 9th I was at Rushworth. I have lately passed through
some painful labor, but have been comforted under a sense
easy to be of any cost to them. He could not go back as had been sug-
gested; but he was acquainted with a mechanical trade, and while the im-
pediment to his services continued he hoped Friends would be kindly willing
to employ him in such business as he was capable of, that he might not be
chargeable to any. , ,
A deep silence prevailed over the assembly, manyof whom were touclxed
by the wise simplicity of the stranger's words and manner. After a season
of waiting, John Woolman felt that words were given him to utter as a
minister of Christ. The spirit of his Master bore witness to them in tne
hearts of his hearers. When he closed, the Friend who had advised against
his further service rose up and humbly confessed his eror, and avowed
nis
full unity with the stranger. All doubt was removed; there AS'as a general
expression of unity and sympathy, and John Woolman, owned by nis Dretn-
ren, passed on to his work. . ,
There is no portrait of John Woolman; and had photography been
it-.
known in his day it is not at all probable that the sun-artist would have
been permitted to delineate his features. That, while eschewing all super-
fluity and expensive luxury, he was scrupulously neat in his dress and
person
one oi
may be inferred from his general character and from the fact thatunciean-
his serious objections to dyed clothing was that it served to conceal
ness, and was, therefore, detrimental to real purity. It is, however quite
ot
probable that his outer man, on the occasion referred to, was suggestive
a hasty toilet in the crowded steerage. Note from the edition pv-blisiiea by
Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co.
!

3X8 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN


of that Divine visitation which I feel extended towards many
young people.
Sixteenth of eighth month and the first of the week, I
was at Settle. It hath of late been a time of inward poverty,
under which my mind hath been preserved in a watchful,
tender state, feeling for the mind of the Holy Leader, and
I find peace in the labors I have passed through.
On inquiry in many places I find the price of rye about
five shillings; wheat, eight shillings per bushel; oatmeal,
twelve shillings for a hundred and twenty pounds; mutton
from threepence to fivepence per pound; bacon from seven-
pence to ninepence; cheese from fourpence to sixpence;
butter from eightpence to tenpence; house-rent for a poor
man from twenty-five shillings to forty shillings per year, to
be paid weekly; wood for fire very scarce and dear; coal
in some places two shillings and sixpence per hundredweight;
but near the pits not a quarter so much. O, may the wealthy
consider the poor!
The wages of laboring men in several counties toward
London at tenpence per day in common business, the em-
ployer finds small beer and the laborer finds his ovv^n food;
but in harvest and hay time wages are about one shilling
per day, and the laborer hath all his diet. In some parts of
the north of England poor laboring men have their food
where they work, and appear in common to do rather
better than nearer London. Industrious women who spin
in the factories get some fourpence, some fivepence, and so
on to six, seven, eight, nine, or ten pence per day, and find
their own house-room and diet. Great numbers of poor
people live chiefly on bread and water in the southern parts
of England, as well as in the northern parts; and there are
many poor children not even taught to read. May those who
have abundance lay these things to heart
Stage-coaches frequently go upwards of one hundred miles
ia twenty-four hours; and I have heard Friends say in
several places that it is common for horses to be killed with
hard driving, and that many others are driven till they grow
blind. Post-boys pursue their business, each one to his stage,
all night through the winter. Some boys who ride long
stages suffer greatly in winter nights, and at several places
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 319

I have heard of their being frozen to death. So great is


the hurry in the spirit of this world, that in aiming to do
business quickly and to gain wealth the creation at this day
doth loudly groan.
As my journey hath been without a horse, I have had
several offers of being assisted on my way in these stage-
coaches, but have not been in them ; nor have I had freedom
to send letters by these posts in the present way of riding,
the stages being so fixed, and one boy dependent on another
as to time, and going at great speed, that in long cold v/inter
nights the poor boys suffer much. I heard in America of
the way of these posts, and cautioned Friends in the General
Meeting of ministers and elders at Philadelphia, and in the
Yearly Meeting of ministers and elders in London, not to
send letters to me on any common occasion by post And
though on this account I may be likely not to hear so often
from my family left behind, yet for righteousness' sake I am,
through Divine favor, made content.
I have felt great distress of mind since I came on this
island, on account of the micmbers of our Society being mixed
with the world in various sorts of traffic, carried on in im-
pure channels. Great is the trade to Africa for slaves and
;

for the loading of these ships a great number of people are


employed in their factories, among whom are many of our
Society. Friends in early times refused on a religious prin-
ciple to make or trade in superfluities, of which we have
many testimonies on record; but for want of faithfulness,
some, whose examples were of note in our Society, gave way,
from which others took more liberty. Members of our So-
ciety worked in superfluities, and bought and sold them, and
thus dimness of sight came over many; at length Friends
got into the use of some superfluities in dress and in the
furniture of their houses, v/hich hath spread from less to
more, till superfluity of some kinds is common am.ong us.
In this declining state many look at the example of others
and too much neglect the pure feeling of truth. Of late
years a deep exercise hath attended my mind, that Friends
may dig deep, may carefully cast forth the loose matter and
get down to the rock, the sure foundation, and there hearken
to that Divine voice which gives a clear and certain sound;
320 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
and have felt in that which doth not receive, that if Friends
I
who have known the truth keep in that tenderness of heart
where all views of outward gain are given up, and their
trust is only in the Lord, he will graciously lead some to he
patterns of deep self-denial in things relating to trade and
handicraft labor; and others who have plenty of the treas-
ures of this world will be examples of a plain frugal life, and
pay wages to such as they may hire more liberally than is
now customary in some places.

Twenty-third of eighth month. I was this day at Preston
Patrick, and had a comfortable meeting. I have several
times been entertained at the houses of Friends, who had
sundry things about them that had the appearance of out-
ward greatness, and as I have kept inward, way hath opened
for conversation with such in private, in which Divine good-
ness hath favored us together with heart-tendering times.

Twenty-sixth of eighth month. Being now at George
Crosfield's, in the county of Westmoreland, I feel a concern
to commit to writing the following uncommon circumstance.
In a time of sickness, a little more than two years and a
half ago, I was brought so near the gates of death that I
forgot my name. Being then desirous to knovv^ who I was,
I saw a mass of matter of a dull gloomy color between the
south and the east, and v/as informed that this mass was
human beings in as great misery as they could be, and live,
and that I was mixed with them, and that henceforth I might
not consider myself as a distinct or separate being. In this
state I remained several hours. I then heard a soft melo-
dious voice, more pure and harmonious than any I had heard
with my ears before I believed it was the voice of an angel
;

who spake to the other angels; the words were, "John


Woolman is dead." I soon remembered that I was once John
Woolman, and being assured that I was alive in the body,
I greatly wondered what that heavenly voice could mean. I
believed beyond doubting that it was the voice of an holy
angel, but as yet it was a mystery to me.
I was then carried in spirit to the mines where poor op-
pressed people were digging rich treasures for those called
Christians, and heard them blaspheme the name of Christ,
at which I was grieved, for his name to me was precious, i
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 321

was then informed that these heathens v/ere told that those
who oppressed them were the followers of Christ, and they
said among themselves, " If Christ directed them to use us
in this sort, then Christ is a cruel tyrant."
AU this time the song of the angel remained a mystery;
and in the morning, my dear wife and some others coming
to my bedside, I asked them if they knew who I was, and
they telling me I was John Woolman, thought I was light-
headed, for I told them^ not what the angel said, nor was I
disposed to talk much to any one, but was very desirous to
get so deep that I miight understand this mystery.
My tongue was often so dry that I could not speak till I
had moved it about and gathered some mioisture, and as I
lay still for a time I at length felt a Divine power prepare
my mouth that I could speak, and I then said, " I am cruci-
fied with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ
liveth in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh I
live by the faith of the Son of God, v/ho loved me and gave
himiself for me." Then the mystery was opened and I per-
ceived there was joy in heaven over a sinner who had re-
pented, and that the language " John Woolman is dead,"
meant no more than the death of my own will.
My natural understanding now returned as before, and I
saw that people setting off their tables with silver vessels
at entertainments was often stained with worldly glory, and
that in the present state of things I should take heed how
I fed myself out of such vessels. Going to our Monthly
Meeting soon after my recovery, I dined at a Friend's house
where drink was brought in silver vessels, and not in any
other. Wanting something to drink, I told him my case with
weeping, and he ordered some drink for me in another
vessel. I afterwards went through the same exercise in sev-
eral Friends' houses in America, as v/ell as in England,
and I have cause to acknowledge with humble reverence
the loving-kindness of my Heavenly Father, who hath pre-
served me in such a tender frame of mind, that none, I be-
lieve, have ever been offended at what I have said on that
subject.
After this sickness I spake not in public meetings for
worship for nearly one year, but my mind was very often
11 HOVol. 1

322 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN


in company with the oppressed slaves as I sat in meetings;
and though under his dispensation I was shut up from
speaking, yet the spring of the gospel ministry v/as many
tim.es livingly opened in me, and the Divine gift operated
by abundance of weeping, in feeling the oppression of this
people. It being so long since I passed through this dis-
pensation, and the matter remaining fresh and lively in my
mind, I believe it safest for me to commit it to writing.
Thirtieth of eighth month. This morning I wrote a letter
in substance as follows:

Beloved Friend, My
mind is often affected as I pass
along under a sense of the state of many poor people who
sit under that sort of ministry which requires much outward

labor to support it and the loving-kindness of our Heavenly


;

Father in opening a pure gospel miinistry in this nation hath


often raised thankfulness in my heart to him. I often re-
member the conflicts of the faithful under persecution, and
now look at the free exercise of the pure gift uninterrupted
by outward laws, as a trust committed to us, which requires
our deepest gratitude and m.ost careful attention. I feel a
tender concern that the work of reformation so prosperously
carried on in this land within a ievv ages past may go for-
ward and spread among the nations, and may not go back-
ward through dust gathering on our garments, who have
been called to a work so great and so precious.
Last evening during thy absence I had a little opportunity
with some of thy family, in which I rejoiced, and feeling a
sweetness on my mind towards thee, I now endeavor to open
a of the feeling I had there.
little
I have heard that you in these parts have at certain seasons
Meetings of Conference in relation to Friends living up to
our principles, in which several meetings unite in one. With
this I having in some measure felt truth lead
feel unity,
that way among Friends in America, and I have found, m.y
dear friend, that in these labors all superfluities in our own
living are against us, I feel that pure love towards thee in
which there is freedom,
I look at that precious gift bestowed on thee with awful-
aess before Him who gave it, and feel a desire that we may
THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 323

be so separated to the gospel of Christ, that those things


which proceed from the spirit of this world may have no
place among us. Thy friend,
John Woolman.

I rested a few days in body and mind with our friend,


Jane Crosfield, who was once in America. On the sixth
day of the week I was at Kendal, in Westmoreland, and at
Greyrig Meeting the 30th day of the month, and first of the
week. I have known poverty of late, and have been gra-
ciously supported to keep in the patience, and am thankful
under a sense of the goodness of the Lord towards those
who are of a contrite spirit.

Sixth of ninth month and first of the week. I was this
day at Counterside, a large m.eeting-house, and very full.
Through the opening of pure love, it was a strengthening
time to m.e, and I believe to many m.ore.

Thirteenth of ninth month. This day I was at Leyburn,
a small meeting; but, the towns-people coming in, the house
was crowded. It was a time of heavy labor, and I believe
v/as a profitable meeting. A^t this place 1 heard that my
kinsman, William Hunt, from North Carolina, who was on
a religious visit to Friends in England, departed this life
on the 9th of this month, of the sm.all-pox, at Newcastle.
He appeared in the ministry vv^hen a youth, and his labors
therein were of good savor. He travelled much in that
work in Amierica. I once heard him say in public testimony,
that his concern in that visit was to be devoted to the service
of Christ so fully that he might not spend one minute in
pleasing him.self, which words, joined with his example, was
a means of stirring up the pure mind in me.
Having of late often travelled in wet weather through
narrow streets in towns and villages, where dirtiness under
foot and the scent arising fromi that filth v/hich more or less
infects the air of all thickly settled tov/ns were disagreeable;
and, being but weakly, I have felt distress both in body and
mind with that which is impure. In these journeys I have
been where much cloth hath been dyed, and have, at sundry
times, walked over ground where much of their dye-stuffs has
drained away. This hath produced a longing in my mind
324 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
that people might come into cleanness of spirit, cleanness of
person, and cleanness about their houses and garments.
Some of the great carry delicacy to a great height them-
selves, and yet real cleanliness is not generally promoted.
Dyes being invented partly to please the eye and partly to
hide dirt, Ihave felt in this weak state, when travelling in
dirtiness, and affected with unwholesome scents, a strong
desire that the nature of dyeing cloth to hide dirt may be
more fully considered.
Washing our garments to keep them sweet is cleanly, but
it is the opposite to real cleanliness to hide dirt in them.
Through giving way to hiding dirt in our garments a spirit
which would conceal that v/hich is disagreeable is strength-
ened. Real cleanliness becometh a holy people; but hiding
that which is not clean by coloring our garments seems con-
trary to the sweetness of sincerity. Through some sorts of
dyes cloth is rendered less useful. And if the value of dye-
stuffs, and expense of dyeing, and the damage done to cloth,
[were all added together, and that cost applied to keeping all
sweet and clean, hov7 much more would real cleanliness
prevail.
On this visit to England I have felt some instructions
sealed on my mind, which I am concerned to leave in writing
for the use of such as are called to the station of a minister
of Christ
Christ being the Prince of Peace, and we being no more
than ministers, it is necessary for us not only to feel a con-
cern in our first going forth, but to experience the renewing
thereof in the appointment of meetings. I felt a concern
in America to prepare for this voyage, and being through
the mercy of God brought safe hither, my heart was like a
vessel that wanted vent. For several weeks after my arrival,
when my mouth was opened in meetings, it was like the
raising of a gate in a water-course when a weight of water
lay upon it. In these labors there was a fresh visitation to
many, especially to the youth; but sometimes I felt poor
and empty, and yet there appeared a necessity to appoint
meetings. In this I was exercised to abide in the pure life
of truth, and in all my labors to watch diligently against the
motions of self in my own mind.
!

THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 325

I have frequently found a necessity to stand up when the


spring of the ministry was low, and to speak from the ne-
cessity in that which subjecteth the wall of the creature;
and herein I was united with the suffering seed, and found
inward sweetness in these mortifying labors. As I have
been preserved in a watchful attention to the divine Leader,
under these dispensations enlargement at times hath fol-
lowed, and the power of truth hath risen higher in some
meetings than I ever knew it before through me. Thus I
have been more and more instructed as to the necessity of
depending, not upon a concern which I felt in A.merica to
come on a visit to England, but upon the daily instructions
of Christ, the Prince of Peace.
Of late I have sometimes felt a stop in the appointment
of mxcetings, not v/holly, but in part: and I 'do not feel
liberty to appoint them so quickly, one after another, as I
have done heretofore. The work of the ministry being a
v/ork of Divine love, I feel that the openings thereof are
to be waited for in all our appointm.ents. O, how deep is
Divine wisdom ! Christ puts forth his ministers and goeth
before them; and O, how great is the danger of departing
from the pure feeling of that which leadeth safely ! Christ
knoweth the state of the people, and in the pure feeling of
the gospel ministry their states are opened to his servants.
Christ knoweth when the fruit-bearing branches themselves
have need of purging. O that these lessons may be re-
membered by me and that all who appoint meetings may
!

proceed in the pure feeling of duty


I have sometimes felt a necessity to stand up, but that
spirit which is of the world hath so much prevailed in many,
and the pure life of truth hath been so pressed dovm, that
I have gone forward, not as one travelling in a road cast up
and well prepared, but as a man walking through a miry
place in which are stones here and there safe to step on, but
so situated that one step being taken, time is necessary to
see where to step next. Now I find that in a state of pure
obedience the mind learns contentment in appearing weak
and foolish to that wisdom which is of the world; and ill
these lowly labors, they who stand in a low place and are
rightly exercised under the cross will find nourishment. The
S26 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
gift pure and while the eye is single in attending thereto
is ;

the understanding is preserved clear; self is kept out. We


rejoice in filling up that which remains of the afflictions o
Christ for his body's sake^ which is the church.
The natural man loveth eloquence, and many love to hear
eloquent orations, and if there be not a careful attention
to the gift, men who have once labored in the pure gospel
ministry, growing weary of suffering, and ashamed of ap-
pearing weak, may kindle a fire, compass themselves about
with sparks, and walk in the light, not of Christ, who is
under suffering, but of that fire which they in departing
from the gift have kindled, in order that those hearers who
have left the meek, suffering state for worldly v/isdom
may be warmed with this fire and speak highly of their
labors. That which is of- God gathers to God, and that
which is of the world is ov^7ned by the world.
In this journey a labor hath attended my mind, that the
ministers among us may be preserved in the meek, feeling
life of truth, where we m.ay have no desire but to follow
Christ and to be with him, that when he is under suffering,
we may suffer v/ith him, and never desire to rise up in
dominion, but as he, by the virtue of his own spirit, m3,y_
raise us.
THE DEATH OF JOHN WOOLMAK
JOHN JVOOLMA27 died at York, England, Octoler 7,His1772.
last days are memorialized in the foUoicing extract from "The
testimony of Friends in TorJcshire at their Quarterly Meeting,
held at YorJc the 2Jith and 25th of the third month, 1773, conr
cerning John Woohnan, of Mou7it Holly, in the Province of
New Jersey, North America, who departed this life at the
house of our Friend Thomas Priestman, in the suhurhs of this
city, the7th of the tenth month, 1772, and was interred in the
hurial-ground of Friends the 9th of the same, aged ahout fifty-
two years:

"This our valuable friend having heen under a religious engage^


ment for some time to visit Friends in this nation, and more
especially us in the northern parts, undertooh the same in full
concurrence and near sympathy ivith his friends and ibrethren at
home, as appeared hy certificates from the Monthly and Quarterly
Meetings to lohich he helonged, and from the Spring Meeting of
ministers atid elders held at Philadelphia for Pennsylvania and
New Jersey.
"Ee arrived in the city of London the heginning of the last
Yearly Meeting, and, after attending that meeting, traveled north-
ward, visiting the Quarterly Meetings of Hertfordshire, Bucking-
hamshire, Northamptonshire, Ooofordshirt,, and Worcestershire, and
divers particular meetings in his icay.
"Ee visited many meetings on the west side of this country,
also some in Lancashire and Westmoreland, from whence he came
to our Quarterly Meeting in the last ninth month, and though
much out of health, yet was enabled to attends all the sittings of
that meeting except the last.
"Eis disorder, which proved the small-pox, increased speedily
upon him, and was very afflicting, under which he U)as supported
in much meekness, patience, and Christian fortitude. To those
who attended him, in his illness, his mind appeared to he centred
327
'328 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN
in Divine love, under the precious influence whereof we "believe
he -finished his course, and entered into the mansions of ever-
lasting rest.
"In the early part of his illness he requested a Friend to vjrite,
and he hroTce forth thus:
" '0 Lord my God! amazing horrors
the