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THE HARVARD CLASSICS 



The Five-Foot Shelf of Books 



Printing Press at which Franklin worked in Watts's 
Printing Office, London, in 1725 

—Page ^4 



THE HARVARD CLASSICS 
EDITED BY CHARLES W. ELIOT, LL.D. 



The Autobiography of 
Benjamin Franklin 

The Journal o/' John Woolman 

Fruits of Solitude 
William Penn 

W//A Introductions and f^otes 
Volume I 




P. F. Collier & Son Corporation 

NEW YORK 



Copyright, 1909 
By p. F. Collier & Son 

hanutacturbd in u. s. a. 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Benjamin Franklin, His Autobiography 5 

The Journal of John Woolman 

Chapter I 169 

Chapter II 179 

Chapter III 187 

Chapter IV 200 

Chapter V 217 

Chapter VI 226 

Chapter VII 239 

Chapter VIII 250 

Chapter IX 271 

Chapter X 283 

Chapter XI 289 

Chapter XII 302 

The Death of John Woolman 313 

Some Fruits of Solitude, in Reflections and Maxims. Part I. 

William Penn 315 

More Fruits of Solitude, Being the Second Part of Reflections 
AND Maxims 369 



INTRODUCTORY NOTE 

Benjamin Franklin was born 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 schooling ended at ten, and at twelve he was 
bound apprentice to his brother James, a printer, who published the New 
England Courant. To this journal he became a contributor, and later 
was for a time its nominal editor. But the brothers quarreled, and Ben- 
jamin ran away, going first to New York, and thence to Philadelphia, 
where he arrived in October, 1723. He soon obtained work as a printer, 
but after a few months he was induced by Governor Keith to go to Lon- 
don, where, finding Keith's promises empty, he again worked as a com- 
positor till he was brought back to Philadelphia 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 set up a printing house of 
his own from which he published The Pennsylvania Gazette, to which 
he contributed 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 borrowed or com- 
posed 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 Almanac, 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 University of Pennsylvania; and 
he founded an "American Philosophical Society" for the purf>ose of 
enabling scientific men to communicate their discoveries to one another. 
He himself had already begun his electrical researches, which, with other 
scientific 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 comparative wealth; and in a few 
years he had made discoveries that gave him a reputation with the learned 
throughout Europe. In politics he proved very able both as an admin- 
istrator and as a controversialist; but his record as an office-holder is 
stained by the use he made of his p)osition to advance his relatives. His 
most notable service in home politics was his reform of the p)ostal system; 



4 INTRODUCTORY NOTE 

but his fame as 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 sent 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 as 
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 the office of stamp agent in America. Even his 
effective work in 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 received with honor; but before his 
return home in 1775 he lost his position as fxjstmaster through his share 
in divulging to Massachusetts the famous letter of Hutchinson and 
Oliver. On his arrival in Philadelphia he was chosen a member of the 
Continental Congress, and in 1777 he was despatched to France as com- 
missioner 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 Eng- 
land 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 adven- 
tures, the original form of the manuscript was finally printed by Mr. 
John Bigelow, and is here reproduced in recognition of its value as a pic- 
ture of one of the most notable personalities of Colonial times, and of its 
acknowledged rank as one of the great autobiographies of the world. 



BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 
HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

I 706-1 757 

TwYFORD, at the Bishop of St. Asaph's,^ 1771. 

DEAR SON: I have ever had pleasure in obtaining any little 
anecdotes of my ancestors. You may remember the in- 
quiries I made among the remains of my relations 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 un- 
interrupted leisure in my present country retirement, I sit down to 
write them for you. To which I have besides some other induce- 
ments. Having emerged from the poverty and obscurity in which 
I was born and bred, to a state of affluence 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 succeeded, 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 induced me sometimes 
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, 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 

■ The country-scat 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 and after- 
ward efTaccd. — B. 

5 



6 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

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 men, 
to be talking of themselves and their own past actions; 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 will be believed by nobody), 
perhaps I shall a good 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 speak of thanking God, I desire with all humility 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 same goodness will still be exercised 
toward me, in continuing that happiness, or enabling me to bear a 
fatal reverse, which I may experience as others have done: the com- 
plexion of my future fortune being known 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 three hundred years, and how much 
longer he knew not (perhaps from the time when the name of 
Franklin, that before 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, 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 7 

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 apprenticeship. There my grandfather 
died and lies buried. We saw 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 
Wellingborough, 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 patronized by the then Lord HaHfax. 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 mine. "Had he 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 in- 
genious 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 FrankUn, 
now lives in Boston. He left behind him two quarto volumes, MS., 



8 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

of his own poetry, consisting of little occasional pieces addressed to 
his friends and relations, of which the following, sent to me, is a 
specimen.' 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 affection between 
him and my father. He was very pious, a great 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 also much of a 
politician; too much, perhaps, 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 buying 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 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 England 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 Northamp- 
tonshire, Benjamin and Josiah adhered to them, and so continued 

' 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 Mrs. Emmons, of Boston, great-grand- 
daughter of their author. 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 9 

all their lives: the rest of the family remained with the Episcopal 
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 accompany 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 sit- 
ting at one time at his table, who all grew up to be men and women, 
and married; I was the youngest son, and the youngest child but 
two, and was born in Boston, New England. 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, en- 
titled Magnalia Christi Americana, as "a godly, learned English- 
man," if I remember the words rightly. I have heard that he wrote 
sundry small occasional pieces, but only one 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 favor 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 persecu- 
tion, as so many judgments of God to punish so heinous an offense, 
and exhorting a repeal of those uncharitable laws. The whole ap- 
peared to me as written with a good deal of 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 irom good-will, and, therefore, he 
would be known to be the author. 

"Because to be a libeller (says he) 

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." 



10 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

My elder brothers were all put apprentices to different trades. 
I was put to the grammar-school at eight years 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, encouraged 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 removed into the next class above it, in order to go with 
that into the third at the 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 methods. Under him I acquired fair writing 
pretty soon, but I failed in the 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 was not bred to, but had assumed on his arrival in New 
England, and on finding his dying trade would not maintain 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 com- 
monly allowed to govern, esp)ecially 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 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY II 

instance, as it shows an early projecting public spirit, the' 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 min- 
nows. By much trampling, we had made it a mere quagmire. My 
proposal was to build a wharfl there fit 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 would very well suit 
our purpose. Accordingly, in the evening, when the workmen were 
gone, I assembled a number of my play-fellows, and working with 
them diligently like so many emmets, sometimes two or three to 
a stone, we brought them all away and built our little wharff. The 
next morning the workmen were surprised 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 usefiJ which 
was not honest. 

I think you may like to know something of his person and char- 
acter. He had an excellent constitution of body, was of middle 
stature, but well 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 did in 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 under- 
standing and solid judgment in prudential matters, 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 frequently 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 frequendy chosen an arbitrator 
between contending parties. 



12 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

At his table he Uked 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 discourse, 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 up 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 travelHng, where my 
companions have been sometimes very unhappy for want of a suit- 
able gratification of their more delicate, because better instructed, 
tastes and appetites. 

My mother 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 grave, with this inscription: 

JosiAH Franklin, 

and 

Abiah his wife, 

lie here interred. 

They lived lovingly together in wedlock 

fifty-five years. 

Without an estate, or any gainful employment, 

By constant labor and industry, 

with God's blessing. 
They maintained a large family 

comfortably, 

and brought up thirteen children 

and seven grandchildren 

reputably. 

From this 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. 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY I3 

Their youngest son, 

In filial regard 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 to write more methodically. But one does not dress for private 
company as for a publick ball. 'Tis perhaps 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<handler. 
But my dislike to the trade continuing, my father was under appre- 
hensions 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 me to see good 
workmen handle their tools; and it has been useful to me, having 
learnt so much by it as to be able to do little jobs myself in my house 
when a workman could not readily be got, and to construct little 
machines for my experiments, while the intention of making the 
experiment was fresh and warm in my mind. My father at last 
fixed upon the cutler's trade, and my uncle Benjamin's son Samuel, 
who was bred to that business in London, being about that time 
established in Boston, I was sent to be with him some time on 
liking. But his expectations of a fee with me displeasing my father, 
I was taken home again. 

From a child I was fond of reading, and all the litde money that 
came into my hands was ever laid out in books. Pleased with the 
Pilgrim's Progress, my first collection was of John Bunyan's works 
in separate little volumes. I afterward sold them to enable me to 
buy R. Burton's Historical Collections; they were small chapmen's 
books, and cheap, 40 or 50 in all. My father's little library consisted 
chiefly of books in polemic divinity, most of which I read, and have 



14 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

since often regretted that, at a time when I had such a thirst for 
knowledge, more proper books had not fallen in my way, since it 
was now resolved I should not be a clergyman. Plutarch's Lives 
there was in which I read abundantly, and I still think that time 
spent to great advantage. 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 pro- 
fession. In 1717 my brother James returned from England with a 
press and letters to set up his business in Boston. I liked it much 
better than that of my father, but still had a hankering for the sea. 
To prevent the apprehended effect of such an inclination, my father 
was impatient to have me bound to my brother. I stood out some 
time, but at last was persuaded, and signed the indentures when I 
was yet but twelve years old. I was to serve as an apprentice till I 
was twenty-one years of age, only I was to be allowed journeyman's 
wages during the last year. In a little time I made great proficiency 
in the business, and became a useful hand to my brother. I now had 
access to better books. An acquaintance with the apprentices of 
booksellers enabled me sometimes to borrow a small one, which I 
was careful to return soon and clean. Often I sat up in my room 
reading the greatest part of the night, when the book was borrowed 
in the evening and to be returned early in the morning, lest it 
should be missed or wanted. 

And after some time an ingenious tradesman, Mr. Matthew 
Adams, who had a pretty collection of books, and who frequented 
our printing-house, took notice of me, invited me to his library, 
and very kindly lent me such books as I chose to read. I now took 
a fancy to poetry, and made some little pieces; my brother, thinking 
it might turn to account, encouraged me, and put me on composing 
occasional ballads. One was called The Lighthouse Tragedy, and 
contained an account of the drowning of Captain Worthilake, with 
his two daughters: the other was a sailor's song, on the taking of 
Teach (or Blackbeard) the pirate. They were wretched stuff, in 
the Grub-street-ballad style; and when they were printed he sent 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY I5 

me about the town to sell them. The first sold wonderfully, the 
event being recent, having made a great noise. This flattered my 
vanity; but my father discouraged me by ridicuUng my perform- 
ances, and telling me verse-makers were generally beggars. So I 
escafjed 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 Uttle 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 confut- 
ing one another, which disputatious turn, by the way, is apt to 
become a very bad habit, making people often extremely disagree- 
able in company by the contradiction that is necessary to bring it 
into practice; and thence, besides souring and spoihng the conversa- 
tion, is productive of disgusts and, perhaps enmities where you may 
have occasion for friendship. I had caught it by reading my father's 
books of dispute about religion. Persons of good sense, I have since 
observed, seldom fall into it, except lawyers, university men, and 
men of all sorts that have been bred at Edinborough. 

A question was once, somehow or other, started between Collins 
and me, of the propriety of educating the female sex in learning, 
and their abiUties for study. He was of opinion that it was im- 
proper, and that they were naturally unequal to it. I took the con- 
trary 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 rea- 
sons. As we parted without settling the point, and were not to see 
one another again for some time, 1 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 an- 
tagonist 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. 



l6 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

I saw the justice of his remark, and thence grew more attentive 
to the manner in writing, and determined to endeavor at improve- 
ment. 

At)out 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 deUghted with it. I thought 
the writing excellent, and wished, if possible, to imitate it. With 
this view I took some of the papers, and, making short hints of the 
sentiment in each sentence, laid them by a few days, and then, 
without looking at the book, try'd to compleat the papers again, 
by expressing each hinted sentiment at length, and as fully as it 
had been expressed before, in any suitable words that should come 
to hand. Then I compared my Spectator with the original, discov- 
ered some of my faults, and corrected them. But I found I wanted 
a stock of words, or a readiness in recollecting and using them, 
which I thought I should have acquired before that time if I had 
gone on making verses; since the continual occasion for words of 
the same import, but of different length, to suit the measure, or of 
different sound for the rhyme, would have laid me under a con- 
stant necessity of searching for variety, and also have tended to 
fix that variety in my mind, and make me master of it. Therefore 
I took some of the tales and turned them into verse; and, after a 
time, when I had pretty well forgotten the prose, turned them back 
again. I also sometimes jumbled my collections of hints into con- 
fusion, and after some weeks endeavored to reduce them into the 
best order, before I began to form the full sentences and compleat 
the paper. This was to teach me method in the arrangement of 
thoughts. By comparing my work afterwards with the original, 
I discovered many faults and amended them; but I sometimes had 
the pleasure of fancying that, in certain particulars of small import, 
I had been lucky enough to improve the method 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 con- 
trived to be in the printing-house alone, evading as much as I could 
the common attendance on pubUc worship which my father used 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 1 7 

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 16 years of age I happened to meet with a book, 
written by one Tryon, recommending a vegetable diet. I determined 
to go into it. My brother, being yet unmarried, did not keep house, 
but boarded himself and his apprentices in another family. My 
refusing to eat flesh occasioned an inconveniency, and I was fre- 
quently chid for my singularity. I made myself acquainted with 
Tryon's manner of preparing some of his dishes, such as boiling 
potatoes or rice, making hasty pudding, and a few others, and then 
proposed to my brother, that if he would give me, weekly, half the 
money he paid for my board, I would board myself. He instantly 
agreed to it, and I presently found that I could save half what he 
paid me. This was an additional fund for buying books. But I 
had another advantage in it. My brother and the rest going from 
the printing-house to their meals, I remained there alone, and, 
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<ook's, and a glass of water, had the rest of the time till 
their return for study, in which I made the greater progress, from 
that greater clearness of head and quicker apprehension which 
usually attend temperance in eating and drinking. 

And now it was that, being on some occasion made asham'd of 
my ignorance in figures, which I had twice failed in learning when 
at school, I took Cocker's book of Arithmetick, and went through 
the whole by myself with great ease. I also read Seller's and Shermy's 
books of Navigation, and became acquainted with the little geom- 
etry they contain; but never proceeded far in that science. And I 
read about this time Locke On Human Understanding, and the 
Art of Thinl{ing, 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 specimen of a dispute in the Socratic 
method; and soon after I procur'd Xenophon's Memorable Things 
of Socrates, wherein there are many instances of the same method. 



l8 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

I was charm'd with it, adopted it, dropt my abrupt contradiction 
and positive argumentation, and put on the humble inquirer and 
doubter. And being then, from reading Shaftesbury and Collins, 
become a real doubter in many points of our religious doctrine, I 
found this method safest for myself and very embarrassing to those 
against whom I used it; therefore I took a delight in it, practis'd it 
continually, and grew very artful and expert in drawing people, 
even of superior knowledge, into concessions, the consequences of 
which they did not foresee, entangling them in difficulties out of 
which they could not extricate themselves, and so obtaining vic- 
tories 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 that may possibly be dis- 
puted, the words certainly, undoubtedly, or any others that give the 
air of positiveness to an opinion; but rather say, I conceive or appre- 
hend a thing to be so and so; it appears to me, or / should thinl^^ it 
so or so, for such and such reasons; or / imagine it to be so; or ;'/ is 
so, if I am not mista/^en. This habit, I believe, has been of great 
advantage to me when I have had occasion to inculcate my opin- 
ions, 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 men would not lessen their power of doing 
good by a positive, assuming manner, that seldom fails to disgust, 
tends to create opposition, and to defeat every one of those purposes 
for which speech was given to us, to wit, giving or receiving in- 
formation or pleasure. For, if you would inform, a positive and 
dogmatical manner in advancing your sentiments may provoke con- 
tradiction and prevent a candid attention. If you wish information 
and improvement from the knowledge of others, and yet at the 
same time express yourself as firmly fix'd in your present opinions, 
modest, sensible men, who do not love disputation, will probably 
leave you undisturbed in the possession of your error. And by such 
a manner, you can seldom hope to recommend yourself in pleasing 
your hearers, or to persuade those whose concurrence you desire. 
Pope says, judiciously: 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY I9 

"Men should be taught as if you taught them not. 
And things unl{nou>n propos'd as things forgot;" 

farther recommending to us 

"To speak, the' sure, with seeming diffidence." 

And he might have coupled with this Une 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, is not tvant of sense (where a man is so unfortunate as to 
want it) some apology for his tvant of modesty? and would not 
the Unes stand more justly thus.' 

"Immodest words admit but this defense. 
That want of modesty is want of sense." 

This, however, I should submit to better judgments. 

My brother had, in 1720 or 1721, begun to print a newspaper. It 
was the second that appeared in America, and was called the New 
England Courant. The only one before it was the Boston News- 
Letter. I remember his being dissuaded by some of his friends from 
the undertaking, as not hkely 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 pap)er, which gain'd it 
credit and made it more in demand, and these gentlemen often 
visited us. Hearing their conversations, and their accounts of the 
approbation their papers were received with, I was excited to try 
my hand among them; but, being still a boy, and suspecting that 
my brother would object to printing anything of mine in his paper 
if he knew it to be mine, I contrived to disguise my hand, and. 



20 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

writing an anonymous paper, I put it in at night under the door 
of the printing-house. It was found in the morning, and com- 
municated 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 perform- 
ances was pretty well exhausted, and then I discovered it, when I 
began to be considered a little more by my brother's acquaintance, 
and in a manner that did not quite please him, as he thought, 
probably with reason, that it tended to make me too vain. And, 
perhaps, this might be one occasion of the differences that we began 
to have about this time. Though a brother, he considered himself 
as my master, and me as his apprentice, and accordingly, expected 
the same services from me as he would from another, while I thought 
he demean'd me too much in some he requir'd of me, who from a 
brother expected more indulgence. Our disputes were often brought 
before our father, and I fancy I was either generally in the right, or 
else a better pleader, because the judgment was generally in my 
favor. But my brother was passionate, and had often beaten me, 
which I took extreamly amiss; and, thinking my apprenticeship 
very tedious, I was continually wishing for some opportunity of 
shortening it, which at length offered in a manner unexpected.* 

One of the pieces in our newspaper on some political point, which 
I have now forgotten, gave offense to the Assembly. He was taken 
up, censur'd, and imprison'd for a month, by the speaker's warrant, 
I suppose, because he would not discover his author. I too was 
taken up and examin'd before the council; but, tho' I did not give 
them any satisfaction, they content'd themselves with admonishing 

* I fancy his harsh and t>rannical treatment of mc might be a means of impressing 
me with that aversion to arbitrary power that has stuck to me through my whole 
li£e. 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 21 

me, and dismissed me, considering me, perhaps, as an apprentice, 
who was bound to keep his master's secrets. 

During my brother's confinement, which I resented a good deal, 
notwithstanding our private differences, I had the management of 
the paper; and I made bold to give our rulers some rubs in it, which 
my brother took very kindly, while others began to consider me 
in an unfavorable light, as a young genius that had a turn for 
Ubelling and satyr. My brother's discharge was accompany'd with 
an order of the House (a very odd one), that "James Franl(lin 
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, see- 
ing inconveniences in that, it was finally concluded on as a better 
way, to let it be printed for the future under the name of Benjamin 
Franklin; and to avoid the censure of the Assembly, that might 
fall on him as still printing it by his apprentice, the contrivance was 
that my old indenture should be return'd to me, with a full dis- 
charge on the back of it, to be shown on occasion, but to secure to 
him the benefit of my service, I was to sign new indentures for 
the remainder of the term, which were to be kept private. A very 
flimsy scheme it was; however, it was immediately executed, and 
the paper went on accordingly, under my name for several months. 

At length, a fresh difference arising between my brother and me, 
I took upon me to assert my freedom, presuming that he would 
not venture to produce the new indentures. It was not fair in me 
to take this advantage, and this I therefore reckon one of the first 
errata of my life; but the unfairness of it weighed little with me, 
when under the impressions of resentment for the blows his passion 
too often urged him to bestow upon me, though he was otherwise 
not an ill-natur'd man: perhaps I was too saucy and provoking. 

When he found 1 would leave him, he took care to prevent my 
getting employment in any other printing-house of the town, by 
going round and speaking to every master, who accordingly refus'd 
to give me work. I then thought of going to New York, as the 
nearest place where there was a printer; and I was rather indin'd 
to leave Boston when I reflected that I had already made myself a 



22 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

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 by good people as an infidel or atheist. I determin'd 
on the point, but my father now siding with my brother, I was 
sensible that, if I attempted to go openly, means would be used to 
prevent me. My friend Collins, therefore, undertook to manage a 
litde for me. He agreed with the captain of a New York sloop for 
my passage, under the notion of my being a young acquaintance 
of his, that had got a naughty girl with child, whose friends would 
comp)el me to marry her, and therefore I could not apjjear 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 recommendation 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. But, having a trade, and supposing 
myself a pretty good workman, I ofler'd my service to the printer 
in the place, old Mr. William Bradford, who had been the first 
printer in Pennsylvania, but removed from thence upon the quarrel 
of George Keith. He could give me no employment, having little 
to do, and help enough already; but says he, "My son at Philadelphia 
has lately lost his principal hand, Aquila Rose, by death; if you go 
thither, I believe he may employ you." Philadelphia was a hundred 
miles further; 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 litde, 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. 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 23 

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 1 know of who mix'd narration and dialogue; 
a method of writing very engaging to the reader, who in the most 
interesting parts finds himself, as it were, brought into the company 
and present at the discourse. De Foe in his Cruso, his Moll Flanders, 
Religious Courtship, Family Instructor, and other pieces, has im- 
itated 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 mean- 
time, the boatman and I concluded to sleep, if we could; and so 
crowded into the scutde, 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 by 
all night, with very litde rest; but, the wind abating the next day, 
we made a shift to reach Amboy before night, having been thirty 
hours on the water, without victuals, or any drink but a botde 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 foUow'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 on foot, having fifty miles to 
Burlington, where I was told I should find boats that would carry 
me the rest of the way to Philadelphia. 

It rained very hard all the day; I was thoroughly soak'd, and by 



24 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

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 Bur- 
lington, kept by one Dr. Brown. He entered into conversation with 
me while I took some refreshment, and, finding I had read a little, 
became very sociable and friendly. Our acquaintance continu'd as 
long as he liv'd. He had been, I imagine, an itinerant doctor, for 
there was no town in England, or country in Europe, of which he 
could not give a very particular account. He had some letters, and 
was ingenious, but much of an unbeliever, and wickedly undertook, 
some years after, to 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 pubUshed; but it never was. 

At his house 1 lay that night, and the next morning reach'd 
Burlington, but had the mortification to find that the regular boats 
were gone a little before my coming, and no other expected to go 
before Tuesday, this being Saturday; wherefore I returned to an 
old woman in the town, of whom 1 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 understanding I was 
a printer, would have had me stay at that town and follow my 
business, being ignorant of the stock necessary to begin with. She 
was very hospitable, gave me a dinner of ox<heek 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 mid- 
night, not having yet seen the city, some of the company were con- 
fident we must have passed it, and would row no farther; the others 
knew not where we were; so we put toward the shore, got into a 
creek, landed near an old fence, with the rails of which we made 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 25 

a fire, the night being cold, in October, and there we remained till 
daylight. Then one of the company knew the place to be Cooper's 
Creek, a little above Philadelphia, which we saw as soon as we got 
out of the creek, and arriv'd there about eight or nine o'clock on 
the Sunday morning, and landed at the Market-street wharf. 

I have been the more particular in this description of my journey, 
and shall be so of my first entry into that city, that you may in your 
mind compare such unlikely beginnings with the figure I have 
since made there. I was in my working dress, my best cloaths being 
to come round by sea. I was dirty from my journey; my fKxkets 
were stufJ'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 
latter 1 gave the people of the boat for my passage, who at first 
refus'd it, on account of my rowing; but 1 insisted on their taking 
it. A man being sometimes more generous when he has but a 
little money than when he has plenty, perhaps thro' fear of being 
thought to have but little. 

Then I walked up the street, gazing about till near the market- 
house I met a boy with bread. I had made many a meal on bread, 
and, inquiring where he got it, I went immediately to the baker's 
he directed me to, in Second-street, and ask'd for bisket, intending 
such as we had in Boston; but they, it seems, were not made in 
Philadelphia. Then I asked for a three-penny loaf, and was told 
they had none such. So not considering or knowing the difference 
of money, and the greater cheapness nor the names of his bread, 
I 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 with a 
roll under each arm, and eating the other. Thus I went up Market- 
street as far as Fourth-street, passing by the door of Mr. Read, my 
future wife's father; when she, standing at the door, saw me, and 
thought I made, as I certainly did, a most awkward, ridiculous 
appearance. Then I turned and went down Chestnut-street and 
part of Walnut-street, eating my roll all the way, and, coming round, 
found myself again at Market-street wharf, near the boat I came 



26 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

in, to which I went for a draught of the river water; and, being 
filled with one of my rolls, gave the other two to a woman and her 
child that came down the river in the boat with us, and were wait- 
ing to go farther. 

Thus refreshed, I walked again up the street, which by this time 
had many clean-dressed f)eople in it, who were all walking the 
same way. I joined them, and thereby was led into the great meeting- 
house of the Quakers near the market. I sat down among them, 
and, after looking round awhile and hearing nothing said, being 
very drowsy thro' 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 toward the river, and, looking in the faces 
of people, I met a young Quaker man, whose countenance I lik'd, 
and, accosting him, requested he would tell me where a stranger 
could get lodging. We were then near the sign of the Three 
Mariners. "Here," says he, "is one place that entertains strangers, 
but it is not a reputable house; if thee wilt walk with me, 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 were asked me, as it seemed to be suspected from my 
youth and appearance, that I might be some runaway. 

After dinner, my sleepiness return'd, and being shown to a bed, 
I lay down without undressing, and slept till six in the evening, 
was call'd to supper, went to bed again very early, and slept soundly 
till next morning. Then I made myself as tidy as I could, and went 
to Andrew Bradford the printer's. I found in the shop the old man 
his father, whom I had seen at New York, and who, travelling on 
horseback, had got to Philadelphia before me. He introduc'd me 
to his son, who receiv'd me civilly, gave me a breakfast, but told 
me he did not at present want a hand, being lately suppli'd with 
one; but there was another printer in town, lately set up, one Keimer, 
who, perhaps, might employ me; if not, I should be welcome to 
lodge at his house, and he would give me a little work to do now 
and then till fuller business should offer. 

The old gentleman said he vrould go with me to the new printer; 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY T] 

and when we found him, "Neighbor," says Bradford, "I have 
brought to see you a young man of your business; f)erhaps you may 
want such a one." He ask'd me a few questions, put a composing 
stick in my hand to see how I work'd, and then said he would 
employ me soon, though he had just then nothing for me to do; 
and, taking old Bradford, whom he had 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 saying he expected soon to get the greatest part of the 
business into his own hands, drew him on by artful questions, and 
starting little doubts, to 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 surpris'd when I told him who the old 
man was. 

Keimer's printing-house, I found, consisted of an old shatter'd 
press, and one small, worn-out font of English which he was then 
using himself, composing an Elegy on Aquila Rose, before men- 
tioned, an ingenious young man, of excellent character, much re- 
spected 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 endeavor'd to put his press (which he had not yet us'd, 
and of which he understood nothing) into order fit to be work'd 
with; and, promising to come and print off his Elegy as soon as he 
should have got it ready, I return'd to Bradford's, who gave me a 
little job to do for the present, and there I lodged and dieted. A few 
days after, Keimer sent for me to print off the Elegy. And now he 
had got another pair of cases, and a pamphlet to reprint, on which 
he set me to work. 

These two printers I found poorly qualified for their business. 
Bradford had not been bred to it, and was very illiterate; and 
Keimer, tho' something of a scholar, was a mere compositor, know- 



28 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

ing nothing of presswork. He had been one of the French prophets, 
and could act their enthusiastic agitations. At this time he did not 
profess any particular religion, but something of all on occasion; 
was very ignorant of the world, and had, as I afterward found, a 
good deal of the knave in his composition. He did not like my 
lodging at Bradford's while I work'd with him. He had a house, 
indeed, but without furniture, so he could not lodge me; but he got 
me a lodging at Mr. Read's, before mentioned, who was the owner 
of his house; and, my chest and clothes being come by this time, I 
made rather a more respectable appearance in the eyes of Miss Read 
than I had done when she first happen'd to see me eating my roll 
in the street. 

I began now to have some acquaintance among the young people 
of the town, that were lovers of reading, with whom I spent my 
evenings very pleasantly; and gaining money by my industry and 
frugality, I lived very agreeably, forgetting Boston as much as I 
could, and not desiring that any there should know where I resided, 
except my friend Collins, who was in my secret, and kept it when 
I wrote to him. At length, an incident happened that sent me back 
again much sooner than I had intended. I had a brother-in-law, 
Robert Holmes, master of a sloop that traded between Boston and 
Delaware. He being at Newcastle, forty miles below Philadelphia, 
heard there of me, and wrote me a letter mentioning the concern of 
my friends in Boston at my abrupt departure, assuring me of their 
good will to me, and that every thing would be accommodated to 
my mind if I would return, to which he exhorted me very earnesdy. 
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 New- 
castle, and Captain Holmes, happening to be in company 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 appear'd a young man of promising parts, 
and therefore should be encouraged; the printers at Philadelphia 
were wretched ones; and, if I would set up there, he made no doubt 
I should succeed; for his part, he would procure me the public 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 29 

business, and do me every other service in his power. This my 
brother-in-law afterwards told me in Boston, but I knew as yet 
nothing of it; when, one day, Keimer and I being at work together 
near the window, we saw the governor and another gentleman 
(which proved to be Colonel French, of Newcastle), finely dress'd, 
come directly across the street to our house, and heard them at the 
door. 

Keimer ran down immediately, thinking it a visit to him; but 
the governor inquir'd for me, came up, and with a condescension 
of politeness I had been quite unus'd to, made me many compli- 
ments, desired to be acquainted with me, blam'd me kindly for not 
having made myself known to him when I first came to the place, 
and would have me away with him to the tavern, where he was 
going with Colonel French to taste, as he said, some excellent 
Madeira. I was not a little surprised, and Keimer star'd like a pig 
poison'd. I went, however, with the governor and Colonel 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 
governments. 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 me 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 flattering things of me to 
my father, and strongly recommending the project of my setting 
up at Philadelphia as a thing that must make my fortune. We 
struck on a shoal in going down the bay, and sprung a leak; we 
had a blustering time at sea, and were oblig'd to pump almost con- 



30 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

tinually, at which I took my turn. We arriv'd safe, however, at 
Boston in about a fortnight. 1 had been absent seven months, and 
my friends had heard nothing of me; for my br. Holmes was not 
yet return'd, |and had not written about me. My unexpected ap- 
pearance surpriz'd the family; all were, however, very glad to see 
me, and made me welcome, except my brother. I went to see him 
at his printing-house. I was better dress'd than ever while in his 
service, having a genteel new suit from head to foot, a watch, and 
my pockets lin'd with near five pounds sterling in silver. He 
receiv'd me not very frankly, look'd me all over, and turn'd to his 
work again. 

The journeymen were inquisitive where I had been, what sort 
of a country it was, and how I Uk'd it. I prais'd it much, the happy 
life I led in it, expressing strongly my intention of returning to it; 
and, one of them asking what kind of money we had there, I 
produc'd a handful of silver, and spread it before them, which was 
a kind of raree-show they had not been us'd to, paper being the 
money of Boston. Then I took an opportunity of letting them see 
my watch; and, lastly (my brother still grum and sullen), 1 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 sur- 
prise, but said little of it to me for some days, when Capt. Holmes 
returning he showed it to him, ask'd him if he knew Keith, and 
what kind of man he was; adding his opinion that he must be of 
small discretion to think of setting a boy up in business who wanted 
yet three years of being at man's estate. Holmes said what he could 
in favor of the project, but my father was clear in the impropriety 
of it, and at last gave a flat denial to it. Then he wrote a civil letter 
to Sir William, thanking him for the patronage he had so kindly 
offered me, but declining to assist me as yet in setting up, I being, 
in his opinion, too young to be trusted with the management of a 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 3 1 

business so important, and for which the preparation must be so 
expensive. 

My friend and companion Collins, who was a clerk in the post- 
office, pleas'd with the account I gave him of my new country, 
determined to go thither also; and, while I waited for my father's 
determination, he set out before me by land to Rhode Island, leav- 
ing his books, which were a pretty collection of mathematicks and 
natural philosophy, to come with mine and me to New York, where 
he propos'd to wait for me. 

My father, tho' he did not approve Sir William's proposition, 
was yet pleas'd that I had been able to obtain so advantageous a 
character from a person of such note where I had resided, and that 
I had been so industrious and careful as to equip myself so hand- 
somely in so short a time; therefore, seeing no prospect of an ac- 
commodation between my brother and me, he gave his consent to 
my returning again to Philadelphia, advis'd me to behave respect- 
fully to the fjeople 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 was one- 
and-twenty to set me up; and that, if I came near the matter, he 
would help me out with the rest. This was all I could obtain, 
except some small gifts as tokens of his and my mother's love, 
when I embark'd again for New York, now with their approbation 
and their blessing. 

The sloop putting in at Newport, Rhode Island, I visited my 
brother John, who had been married and settled there some years. 
He received me very affectionately, for he always lov'd me. A friend 
of his, one Vernon, having some money due to him in 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. Accord- 
ingly, he gave me an order. This afterwards occasion'd me a good 
deal of uneasiness. 

At Newport we took in a number of passengers for New York, 
among which were two young women, companions, and a grave, 
sensible, matron-like Quaker woman, with her attendants. 1 had 
shown an obliging readiness to do her some little services, which 



32 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

impress'd her I suppose with a degree of good will toward me; 
therefore, when she saw a daily growing familiarity between me 
and the two young women, which they appear'd to encourage, she 
took me aside, and said: "Young man, I am concern'd for thee as 
thou 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 some 
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 where they liv'd, and invited me to come and see them; 
but I avoided it, and it was well I did; for the next day the captain 
miss'd a silver spoon and some other things, that had been taken 
out of his 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 importance to me. 

At New York 1 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 Hv'd 
in Boston most of my hours of leisure for conversation were spent 
with him, and he continu'd a sober as well as an industrious lad; 
was much respected for his learning by several of the clergy and 
other gentlemen, and seemed to promise making a good figure in 
life. But, during my absence, he had acquir'd a habit of sotting 
with brandy; and I found by his own account, and what I heard 
from others, that he had been drunk every day since his arrival at 
New York, and behav'd very oddly. He had gam'd, too, and lost 
his money, so that I was oblig'd to discharge his lodgings, and 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 33 

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. 1 
waited ujxin 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 recommendations, he met with no success in any 
application, and continu'd lodging and boarding at the same house 
with me, and at my expense. Knowing I had that money of Ver- 
non'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 continu'd, about which we sometimes quarrell'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 over- 
board; and coming along, stepping on the thwarts, toward me, 
when he came up and struck at me, I clapped my hand under his 
crutch, and, rising, pitched him head-foremost into the river. I 
knew he was a good swimmer, and so was under little concern 
about him; but before he could' get round to lay hold of the boat, 
we had with a few strokes puU'd her out of his reach; and ever 



34 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

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 obsdnately would not promise to row. However, 
seeing him at last beginning to tire, we lifted him in and brought 
him home dripping wet in the evening. We hardly exchang'd a 
civil word afterwards, and a West India captain, who had a com- 
mission 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 me too young 
to manage business of importance. But Sir William, on reading 
his letter, said he was too prudent. There was great difference in 
persons; and discretion did not always accompany years, nor was 
youth always without it. "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 Uberal of 
promises which he never meant to keep. Yet, unsolicited as he was 
by me, how could I think his generous offers insincere.' I believ'd 
him one of the best men in the world. 

I presented him an inventory of a little print'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 good of the kind, might 
not be of some advantage. "Then," says he, "when there, you may 
make acquaintances, and establish correspondences in the book- 
selling and stationery way." I agreed that this might be advanta- 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 35 

geous. "Then," says he, "get yourself ready to go with Annis;" 
which was the annual ship, and the only one at that time usually 
passing 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 Vernon, which, however, 
did not happen for some years after. 

I believe I have omitted mentioning that, in my first voyage 
from Boston, being becalm'd off Block Island, our people set about 
catching cod, and hauled up a great many. Hitherto I had stuck 
to my resolution of not eating animal food, and on this occasion 
consider'd, with my master Tryon, the taking every fish as a kind 
of unprovoked murder, since none of them had, or ever could do 
us any injury that might justify the slaughter. All this seemed 
very reasonable. But I had formerly been a great lover of fish, 
and, when this came hot out of the frying-pan, it smelt admirably 
well. I balanc'd some time between principle and inclination, till 
I recollected that, when the fish were opened, I saw smaller fish 
taken out of their stomachs; then thought I, "If you eat one 
another, I don't see why we mayn't eat you." So 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 reasonable 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, and agreed 
tolerably well, for he suspected nothing of my setting up. He re- 
tained a great deal of his old enthusiasms and lov'd argumentation. 
We therefore had many disputations. I used to work him so with 
my Socratic method, and had trepann'd him so often by questions 
apparently so distant from any pKjint we had in hand, and yet by 
degrees lead to the point, and brought him into difficulties and 
contradictions, that at last he grew ridiculously cautious, and would 
hardly answer me the most common question, without asking first, 
"What do you intend to infer from that?" However, it gave him 
so high an opinion of my abilities in 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 



36 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

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 litde too, and introduce some of 
mine. 

Keimer wore his beard at full length, because somewhere in the 
Mosaic law it is said, "Thou shall not mar the corners of thy beard." 
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 adopting 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 pre- 
par'd for us at different times, in all which there was neither fish, 
flesh, nor fowl, and the whim suited me the better at this time from 
the cheapness of it, not costing us above eighteenpence sterling each 
per week. I have since kept several Lents most strictly, leaving the 
common diet for that, and that for the common, abruptly, without 
the least inconvenience, so that I think there is little in the advice of 
making those changes by easy gradations. I went on pleasantly, but 
poor Keimer suffered grievously, tired of the project, long'd for the 
flesh-pots of Egypt, and order'd a roast pig. He invited me and two 
women friends to dine with him; but, it being brought too soon 
upon table, he could not resist the temptation, and ate the whole 
before we came. 

I had made some courtship during this time to Miss Read. I had a 
great respect and affection for her, and had some reason to believe 
she had the same for me; but, as I was about to take a long voyage, 
and we were both very young, only a litde above eighteen, it was 
thought most prudent by her mother to prevent our going too far at 
present, as a marriage, if it was to take place, would be more con- 
venient after my return, when I should be, as I expected, set up in my 
business. Perhaps, too, she thought my expectations not so well 
founded as I imagined them to be. 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 37 

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 conveyancer 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 Col- 
lins, had been unsettled by me, for which they both made me suffer. 
Osborne was sensible, candid, frank; sincere and affectionate to his 
friends; but, in literary matters, too fond of 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, recommend 
himself to employment as a factor, and in time acquire wherewith to 
trade on his own account. I approv'd the amusing one's self with 
poetry now and then, so far as to improve one's language, but no 
farther. 

On this it was propos'd that we should each of us, at our next 
meeting, produce a piece of our own composing, in order to im- 
prove by our mutual observations, criticisms, and corrections. As 
language and expression were what we had in view, we excluded all 
considerations of invention by agreeing that the task should be a ver- 
sion of the eighteenth Psalm, which describes the descent of a Deity. 
When the time of our meeting drew nigh, Ralph called on me first, 
and let me know his piece was ready. I told him I had been busy, 
and, having little inclination, had done nothing. He then show'd 
me his piece for my opinion, and I much approv'd it, as it appear'd 
to me to have great merit. "Now," says he, "Osborne never will 
allow the least merit in any thing of mine, but makes looo criticisms 



38 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

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 beau- 
ties in it, but many defects. Osborne's was read; it was much better; 
Ralph did it justice; remarked some faults, but applauded the beau- 
ties. 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 criticisms, and propos'd some 
amendments; but I defended my text. Osborne was against Ralph, 
and told him he was no better a critic than poet, so he dropt the ar- 
gument. As they two went home together, Osborne expressed him- 
self 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 imagin'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 con- 
versation 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 continued scribbUng 
verses till Pope cured him. He became, however, a pretty good prose 
writer. More of him hereafter. But, as I may not have occasion 
again to mention the other two, I shall just remark here, that Wat- 
son 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 agreement, that the one who happen'd first to die 
should, if p>ossible, make a friendly visit to the other, and acquaint 
him how he found things in that separate state. But he never ful- 
fill'd his promise. 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 39 

The governor, seeming to like my company, had me frequently to 
his house, and his setting me 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 1 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 post- 
poned, was on the point of sailing. Then, when I call'd 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, but would be 
down at Newcastle before the ship, and there the letters would be 
delivered to me. 

Ralph, though married, and having one child, had determined to 
accompany me in this voyage. It was thought he intended to es- 
tablish 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 an- 
chor'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 importance, but should send the letters to 
me on board, wish'd 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, mas- 
ters 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 steer- 
age, and none on board knowing us, were considered as ordinary 
(jersons. But Mr. Hamilton and his son (it was James, since gov- 
ernor) return'd from Newcastle to Philadelphia, the father being re- 
call'd by a great fee to plead for a seized ship; and, just before we 
sail'd, Colonel French coming on board, and showing me great re- 
spect, I was more taken notice of, and, with my friend Ralph, 



40 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

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 satis- 
fied 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 con- 
tinued 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 gover- 
nor'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 letters, especially as one of them was 
directed to 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 person," says he; but, open- 
ing the letter, "O! this is from 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 sin- 
cerity. 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 employ- 
ment in the way of my business. "Among the printers here," said 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 4 1 

he, "you will improve yourself, and when you return to America, 
you will set up to greater advantage." 

We both of us happen'd to know, as well as the stationer, that Rid- 
dlesden, 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); and that 
Keith was concerned 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 re- 
sentment and ill-will to Keith and Riddlesden, and pardy from 
good-will to him, I waited on him, and gave him the letter. He 
thank'd me cordially, the information being of importance to him; 
and from that time he became my friend, gready 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 a 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 constituents, the proprietaries, whose instructions he 
sometimes disregarded. Several of our best laws were of his plan- 
ning and passed during his administration. 

Ralph and I were inseparable companions. We took lodgings 
together in Little Britain at three shillings and sixpence 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 in- 
tentions 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, beHeving himself qualify'd for an actor; but Wilkes, to 
whom he apply'd, advis'd him candidly not to think of that employ- 
ment, 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 



42 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

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 
was pretty diligent, but spent with Ralph a good deal of my earn- 
ings in going to plays and other places of amusement. We had to- 
gether consimied 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 was 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 WoUaston'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, Pleasure and Pain." I inscribed it to my 
friend Ralph; I printed a small number. It occasion'd my being 
more consider'd 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. Circulating 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 made 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 Infallibility of Human 
Judgment," it occasioned an acquaintance 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 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 43 

Bees," who 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 promis'd to give me 
an opportunity, some time or other, of seeing Sir Isaac Newton, of 
which I was extreamely desirous; but this never hapjjened. 

I had brought over a few curiosities, among which the 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 f)er- 
suaded 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 conversation. 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 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 a 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 sixp)ence 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 specimens of 
an epic poem which he was then composing, and desiring my re- 
marks 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 published. 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 



44 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

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 im- 
portance 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 re- 
turned again to London, he let me know he thought I had cancell'd 
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 advanc'd 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 before- 
hand, and, expecting better work, I left Palmer's to work at Watts's, 
near Lincoln's Inn Fields, a still greater printing-house. Here I 
continued all the rest of my stay in London. 

At my first admission into this printing-house I took to working 
at press, imagining I felt a want of the bodily exercise 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 instances, 
that the Water-American, as they called me, was stronger than 
themselves, who drank strong beer! We had an alehouse boy who 
attended always in the house to supply the workmen. My com- 
panion 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 de- 
testable custom; but it was necessary, he suppos'd, 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 would eat that with a pint of water, it would 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 45 

give him more strength than a quart of beer. He drank on, how- 
ever, and had four or five shiUings to pay out of his wages every 
Saturday night for that muddUng Uquor; an expense I was free 
from. And thus these poor devils keep themselves always under. 

Watts, after some weeks, desiring to have me in the composing- 
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 ac- 
cordingly 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 said 
ever haunted those not regularly admitted, that, notwithstanding 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 con- 
siderable influence. I propos'd some reasonable alterations 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, finding 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 alehouse, and us'd to make interest 
with me to get beer; their light, 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 

' "A printinK-house is always called a chapel by the workmen, the origin 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 bien venu among the printers answers to the terms entrance and footing among 
mechanics; thus a journeyman, on entering 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. 



46 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

week on their account. This, and my being esteem'd a pretty good 
riggite, that is, a jocular verbal satirist, supported my consequence 
in the society. My constant attendance (I never making a St. Mon- 
day) recommended me to the master; and my uncommon quickness 
at composing occasioned my being put upon ail work 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 warehouse, 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, 3s. 6d. per week; cheaper, as she 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 re- 
ligion 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 
lame 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 when- 
ever she desired it. Our supp)er was only half an anchovy each, on a 
very little strip of bread and butter, and half a pint of ale between 
us; but the entertainment was in her conversation. My always keep- 
ing 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, in- 
tent 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 ac- 
count: 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, 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 47 

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 permit- 
ted to remain there gratis by successive Catholic tenants of the house 
below, as they deemed it a blessing to have her there. A priest vis- 
ited her to confess her every day. "I have ask'd her," says my land- 
lady, "how she, as she liv'd, could possibly find so much employment 
for a confessor?" "Oh," said she, "it is impossible to avoid vain 
thoughts." I was permitted once to visit 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 supjX)rted. 

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 Latin- 
ist, 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 coun- 
try, who went to Chelsea by water to see the College and Don Sal- 
tero's curiosities. 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 surpris'd 
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 positions, added 
some of my own, aiming at the graceful and easy as well as the use- 
ful. All these I took this occasion of exhibiting to the company, and 
was much flatter'd by their admiration; and Wygate, who was 



48 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

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 profxased to me travelling all over Europe together, support- 
ing ourselves 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 had for- 
merly been in business at Bristol, but failed in debt to a number of 
people, compounded and went to America. There, by a close appli- 
cation to business as a merchant, 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 un- 
paid 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 mer- 
cantile business, he would promote me by sending me with a cargo 
of flour and bread, etc., to the West Indies, and procure me commis- 
sions from others which would be profitable; and, if I manag'd well, 
would establish me handsomely. The thing pleas'd me; 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 daily 
employed in my new business, going about with Mr. Denham 
among the tradesmen to purchase various articles, and seeing them 
pack'd up, doing errands, calling upxjn workmen to dispatch, etc.; 
and, when all was on board, I had a few days' leisure. On one of 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 49 

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 Chel- 
sea 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 remain in England and open a swimming-school, 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 Wynd- 
ham, become Earl of Egremont, which 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 my- 
self 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, notwithstanding, for he had many amiable qualities. I 
had by no means improv'd my fortune; but I had picked up some 
very ingenious acquaintance, whose conversation was of great ad- 
vantage to me; and I had read considerably. 

We sail'd from Gravesend on the 23d of July, 1726. For the inci- 
dents of the voyage, I refer you to my Journal, where you will find 
them all minutely related. Perhaps the most important part of that 
journal is the plan^ to be found in it, which I formed at sea, for reg- 
ulating 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 him walking the streets as a common citi- 
zen. He seem'd a little asham'd at seeing me, but pass'd without 

'The "Journal" was printed by Sparks, from a copy made at Reading in 1787. 
But it does not contain the Plan. — £d. 



50 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

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 to her friends. He got into debt, ran away in 
1727 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 seem'd to have 
a great deal of business. 

Mr. Denham took a store in Water-street, where we open'd 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 re- 
spected 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 carried 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 wide 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 readily 
meeting with any, I clos'd again with Keimer. I found in his house 
these hands: Hugh Meredith, a Welsh Pensilvanian, thirty years 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 5 1 

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 litde 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 im- 
proving in their business; and the expectation of these high wages, 
to come on hereafter, was what he had drawn them in with. Mere- 
dith was to work at press. Potts at book-binding, which he, by agree- 
ment, was to teach them, though he knew neither one nor t'other. 
John , a wild Irishman, brought up to no business, whose serv- 
ice, for four years, Keimer had purchased from the captain of a ship; 
he, too, was to be made a pressman. 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; belong'd to the Witty Club there, and 
had written some pieces in prose and verse, which were printed in 
the Gloucester newspap)ers; thence he was sent to Oxford; where he 
continued about a year, but not well satisfi'd, wishing of all things to 
see London, and become a player. 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 intro- 



52 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

duc'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, offer- 
ing immediate entertainment and encouragement to such as would 
bind themselves to serve in America. He went directly, sign'd the 
indentures, was put into 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 Uve 
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 the town 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 printing-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; however, 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 de- 
ficiencies. 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 be- 
came every day of less importance, as the other hands improv'd in 
the business; and, when Keimer paid my 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 more of 
the master, frequently found fault, was captious, and seem'd ready 
for an outbreaking. I went on, nevertheless, with a good deal of 
patience, thinking that his encumber'd circumstances were partly the 
cause. At length a trifle snapt our connections; for, a great noise 
happening near the court-house, I put my head out of the window to 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 53 

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 more 
for their publicity, all the neighbors who were looking out on the 
same occasion being witnesses how I was treated. He came up im- 
mediately into the printing-house, continu'd the quarrel, high words 
pass'd on both sides, he gave me the quarter's warning we had stip- 
ulated, 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 possess'd; that his creditors began to be uneasy; that he kept his 
shop miserably, 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 busine.s 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-drink- 
ing, and he hop'd might 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 was to be kept till they should arrive, and in the mean 
time I was to get work, if I coiJd, at the other printing-house. But 



54 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

I found no vacancy there, and so remain'd idle a few days, when 
Keimer, on a prospect of being employ 'd to print 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 ornaments and checks for the bills. We went together 
to Burlington, where I executed the whole to satisfaction; and he 
received so large a sum for the work as to be enabled thereby to keep 
his head much longer above water. 

At Burlington I made an acquaintance with many principal peo- 
ple of the province. Several of them had been appointed by the As- 
sembly a committee 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 oppos- 
ing receiv'd opinions, slovenly to extreme dirtiness, enthusiastic in 
some points of religion, and a Uttle 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 Assembly, 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 brickmakers, 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 he, "I foresee that you 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 55 

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 some 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 my 
principles and morals, that you may see how far those influenc'd 
the future events of my life. My parents had early given me re- 
ligious impressions, and brought me through my childhood piously 
in the Dissenting way. But I was scarce fifteen, when, after doubt- 
ing by turns of several points, as I found them disputed in the dif- 
ferent 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 happened that 
they wrought an eflect 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, particularly Collins and Ralph; but, each of them having 
afterwards wrong'd me greatly without the least compunction, and 
recollecting Keith's conduct towards me (who was another free- 
thinker), 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 performance as I once thought 
it; and I doubted whether some error had not insinuated itself un- 
perceiv'd into my argument, so as to infect all that follow'd, as is 
common in metaphysical reasonings. 



56 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

I grew convinc'd that truth, sincerity and integrity in dealings 
between 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 me, as such; but I entertain'd an opinion that, 
though certain actions might not be bad because they were for- 
bidden by it, or good because it commanded them, yet probably 
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 considered. And this persuasion, with 
the kind hand of Providence, or some guardian angel, or accidental 
favorable circumstances and situations, or all together, preserved me, 
thro' this dangerous time of youth, and the hazardous situations I 
was sometimes in among strangers, remote from the eye and ad- 
vice 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 was 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 country- 
man to us, whom he had met in the street inquiring for a printer. 
All our cash was now expended in the variety of particulars we had 
been obliged to procure, and this countryman's five shillings, being 
our first-fruits, 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 other- 
wise have been to assist young beginners. 

There are croakers in every country, always boding its ruin. Such 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 57 

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 
misfortunes now existing, or that were soon to exist, that he left me 
half melancholy. Had I known him before I engaged in this busi- 
ness, probably I never should have done it. This man continued to 
live in this decaying place, and to declaim in the same strain, re- 
fusing 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 pre- 
ceding 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 company; 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 pos- 
itiveness in opinions, or direct contradiction, were after some time 
made contraband, 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. 



58 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

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 compan- 
ion; as, like most great mathematicians I have met with, he expected 
universal precision in everything said, or was for ever denying or 
distinguishing 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 ac- 
quir'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 man. 

Hugh Meredith, Stephen Potts, and George Webb I have cliar- 
acteriz'd before. 

Robert Grace, a young gentleman of some fortune, generous, 
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 preceding their 
discussion, put us upon reading with attention upon the several 
subjects, that we might speak more to the purpose; and here, too, 
we acquired better habits of 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 recommend- 
ing business to us. Breintnal particularly procur'd us from the 
Quakers the printing forty sheets of their history, the rest being to 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 59 

be done by Keimer; and upon this we work'd exceedingly 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 re- 
duced to pi, I immediately distributed and compos'd it over again 
before I went to bed; and this industry, visible to our neighbors, 
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 it must fail, there 
being already two printers in the 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 indus- 
try 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 neighbors are out of bed." This struck 
the rest, and we soon after had offers from one of them to supply us 
with stationery; but as yet we did not chuse to engage in shop busi- 
ness. 

I mention this industry the more particularly and the more freely, 
tho' it seems to be talking in my own praise, that those of my pos- 
terity, who shall read it, may know the use of that virtue, when they 
see its effects in my favour throughout this relation. 

George Webb, who had found a female friend that lent him 
wherewith to purchase his time of Keimer, now came to offer him- 
self 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 hojjes of suc- 
cess, as I told him, were founded on this, that the then only news- 
paper, 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 encouragement. 
I requested Webb not to mention it; but he told it to Keimer, who 



6o BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

immediately, to be beforehand with me, published proposals for 
printing one himself, on which Webb was to be employ'd. I re- 
sented this; and, to counteract 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 burlesqu'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 I, having been ready some time 
to go on with 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 pajjers made a quite different apf)earance from any be- 
fore in the province; a better type, and better printed; but some 
spirited remarks of my writing, on the dispute then going on be- 
tween Governor Burnet and the Massachusetts 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 sub- 
scribers. 

Their example was foUow'd by many, and our number went on 
growing continually. This was one of the first 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 convenient 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, blun- 
dering manner, we reprinted it elegantly and correctly, and sent one 
to every member. They were sensible of the difference: it strength- 
ened 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 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 6l 

seat in it. He interested himself for me strongly in that instance, as 
he did in many others afterward, 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, 1 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 exp)ect. 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 im- 
patient, 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 busi- 
ness upon myself, if that should be practicable; but they did not like 
my continuing the partnership with Meredith, who, as they said, was 
often seen drunk in the streets, and playing at low games in ale- 
houses, much to our discredit. These two friends were William 
Coleman and Robert Grace. 1 told them I could not propose a sep- 
aration 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 part- 
nership 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, 
'I got his son once /Cjoo. — [Marg. note.] 



62 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

"Perhaps your father is dissatisfied at the part you have undertaken 
in this aflair of ours, and is unwiUing 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 you, 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 employment. 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 thirty pounds and a new 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 imme- 
diately. I gave him what he demanded, and he went soon after to 
Carolina, from whence he sent me next year two long letters, con- 
taining the best account that had been given of that country, the cli- 
mate, the soil, husbandry, etc., for in those matters he was very 
judicious. I printed them in the papers, and they gave great satis- 
faction to the publick. 

As soon as he was gone, I recurr'd to my two friends; and because 
I would not give an unkind preference to either, I took half of what 
each had offered and I wanted of one, and half of 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 addi- 
tion, 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 I now 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 63 

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 made 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 pamphlet 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 serv- 
ice, thought fit to reward me my 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 write. 

The utility of this currency became by time and experience so 
evident as never afterwards to be much disputed; so that it grew 
soon to fifty-five thousand pounds, and in 1739 to eighty thousand 
pounds, since which it arose during war to upwards of three hun- 
dred and fifty thousand pounds 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 printing of 
the Newcastle paper money, another profitable jobb as I then 
thought it; small things appearing great to those in small circum- 
stances; and these, to me, were really great advantages, as they were 
great encouragements. He procured for me, also, the printing of the 
laws and votes of that government, which continu'd in my hands as 
long as I follow'd the business. 

I now open'd a little stationer's shop. I had in it blanks of all 
sorts, the correctest that ever appear'd among us, being assisted in 
that by my friend Breintnal. I had also paper, parchment, chap- 
men's books, etc. One Whitemash, a compositor I had known in 
London, an excellent workman, now came to me, and work'd with 



64 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

me constantly and diligently; 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 fru- 
gal, but to avoid all appearances to the contrary. I drest plainly; I 
was seen at no places of idle diversion. I never went out a fishing or 
shooting; a book, indeed, sometimes debauch'd me 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 
purchas'd 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 merchants who imported stationery solicited 
my custom; others proposed supplying me with books, and I went 
on swimmingly. In the mean time, Keimer's credit and business 
declining daily, he was at last forc'd to sell his printing-house to sat- 
isfy 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 of a powerful rival in 
Harry, as his friends were very able, and had a good deal of interest. 
I therefore propos'd a partnership to him, which he, fortunately for 
me, rejected with scorn. He was very proud, dress'd like a gentle- 
man, liv'd expensively, took much diversion and pleasure abroad, 
ran in debt, and neglected his business; upon which, all business 
left him; and, finding nothing to do, he followed Keimer to Barba- 
does, 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 Philadelphia 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 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 65 

had better opportunities 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 pubUck opinion was otherwise, for what I did send was by brib- 
ing 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 continu'd 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 little, 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 a serious courtship on my part ensu'd, the girl 
being in herself very deserving. The old folks encourag'd me by 
continual invitations 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 1 expected as much money with their 
daughter as would pay off my remaining debt for the printing- 
house, which I believe was not then above a hundred pounds. She 
brought me word they had no such sum to spare; I said they might 
mortgage their house in the loan-office. The answer to this, after 
some days, was, that they did not approve the match; that, on in- 
quiry 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 sus- 
pected the latter, resented it, and went no more. Mrs. Godfrey 
brought me afterward some more favorable accounts of their dis- 
position, and would have drawn me on again; but I declared abso- 
lutely my resolution to have nothing more to do with that family. 



66 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

This was resented by the Godfreys; we differ 'd, 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 made 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, besides a con- 
tinual risque to my health by a distemper which of all things I 
dreaded, though by great good luck I escaped it. A friendly corre- 
spondence as neighbors and old acquaintances had continued be- 
tween me and Mrs. Read's family, who all had a regard for me from 
the time of my first lodging in their house. I was often invited there 
and consulted in their affairs, wherein I sometimes was of service. 
I piti'd poor Miss Read's unfortunate situation, who was generally 
dejected, seldom cheerful, and avoided company. 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 more her own than mine, as she had prevented our marry- 
ing 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, which 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 in- 
conveniences 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 dis- 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 67 

quisitions up)on the queries, it might be convenient to us to have 
them altogether where we met, that upwn 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, was 
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, Brockden, and, by the help of my 
friends in the Junto, procured fifty subscribers of forty shillings each 
to begin with, and ten shillings a year for fifty years, the term our 
company was to continue. We afterwards obtain'd a charter, the 
company 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 conversation 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 made 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 many years after 
in compliance with the advice contain'd in these letters, and accord- 
ingly intended for the public. The affairs of the Revolution occa- 
sion'd the interruption. 



Letter from Mr. Abel James, with Notes of my Life 
(received in Paris). 

"1^ ^Y Dear and Honored Friend: I have often been desirous 

l%/l of writing to thee, but could not be reconciled to the 

XT-*, thought that the letter might fall into the hands of the 

British, lest somj printer or busy-body should publish some part of 

the contents, and give our friend pain, and myself censure. 

"Some time since there fell into my hands, to my great joy, about 
twenty-three sheets in thy own 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 means, if thou con- 
tinued 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 profit- 
able 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 ap- 
peared to me so plain, as in our public friend's journals. It almost 
insensibly leads the youth into the resolution of endeavoring to be- 
come as good and eminent as the journalist. Should thine, for in- 
stance, 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 power as thyself to promote a greater spirit of industry and early 
attention to business, frugality, and temperance with the American 
youth. Not that I think the work would have no other merit and use 
in the world, far from it; but the first is of such vast importance 
that I know nothing that can equal it." 

68 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 69 

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 of minutes 
of the principal incidents of your life, recovered for you by your 
Quaker acquaintance, I told you I would send you a letter express- 
ing 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 know whether it was 
worth any expectation; happening to be at leisure, however, at pres- 
ent, 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 man- 
ners, 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 mo- 
tives: Your history is so remarkable, that if you do not give it, some- 
body 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 your reputation, I 
do not know of a more efficacious advertisement than your biogra- 
phy would give. All that has happened 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 Caesar and Tacitus 
can be more interesting to a true judge of human nature and 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 de- 
sign to publish) of improving the features of private character, and 
consequently of aiding all happiness, both public and domestic. The 
two works 1 allude to, sir, will in particular give a noble rule and 
example of self-education. School and other education constandy 



70 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

proceed upon false principles, and show a clumsy apparatus pwinted 
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 pri- 
vate 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 matri- 
mony. 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 extending but from 
youth to age, life ought to begin well from youth, and more espe- 
cially 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 we 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 human race, and 
how absurd distinguished men can be to their acquaintance, it will 
be instructive to observe the instances multiply of pacific, acquies- 
cing manners; and to find how compatible it is to be great and 
domestic, enviable and yet good-humored. 

"The little private incidents which you will also have to relate, 
will have 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 p)en; our affairs and management will have an 
air of simplicity or importance that will not fail to strike; and I am 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 7I 

convinced you have conducted them with as much originaUty 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 speculated 
fantastically, and others have been shrewd to bad purpxjses; but you, 
sir, I am sure, will give under your hand, nothing but what is at the 
same moment, wise, practical 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 important, 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 yourself framed a plan by which you became 
considerable; but at the same time we may see that though the event 
is flattering, 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 attribution 
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 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 resembhng Dr. Franklin), 
praised your frugality, diligence and temperance, which he con- 
sidered as a pattern for all youth; but it is singular that he should 
have forgotten your modesty and your disinterestedness, without 
which you never could have waited for your advancement, or found 
your situation in the mean time comfortable; which is a strong 
lesson to show the poverty of glory and the importance of regulat- 
ing our minds. If this correspondent had known the nature of your 
reputation as well as I do, he would have said. Your former writ- 



72 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

ings and measures would secure attention to your Biography, and 
Art of Virtue; and your Biography 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 may be particularly serviceable, as it will make a subject of com- 
parison with the lives of various public cutthroats and intriguers, 
and with absurd monastic self-tormentors or vain literary triflers. 
If it encourages more 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 my- 
self a character of which every feature suits only one man in the 
world, without giving him the praise of it, I shall end my letter, my 
dear Dr. Franklin, with a personal application 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 caution of your character, and your pecuUar style of thinking, 
it is not likely that any one besides yourself can be sufficiently master 
of the facts of your life, or the intentions of your mind. Besides all 
this, the immense revolution of the present period, will necessarily 
turn our attention towards the author of it, and when virtuous prin- 
ciples have been pretended in it, it will be highly important to shew 
that such have really influenced; and, as your own character will be 
the principal one to receive a scrutiny, it is proper (even for its ef- 
fects 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 char- 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 73 

acters existing among the individuals of the race; for the moment 
that all men, 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 yourself good as you are good; 
temperate as you are temperate; and above all things, prove your- 
self 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 coun- 
try, they will go nearer to thinking well of your country; and when 
your countrymen see themselves well thought of by Englishmen, 
they will 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 only the character that lived it, I write 
somewhat at hazard. I am sure, however, that the life and the trea- 
tise 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 framed pieces to interest the 
human mind; and whoever gives a feeling of pleasure that is inno- 
cent 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 con- 



74 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

tain. It might, too, be much better done 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 endeavor 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 were indeed station- 
ers; they sold only paper, etc., almanacs, ballads, and a few common 
school-books. Those who lov'd reading were oblig'd to send for 
their 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 con- 
sult 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 commencing 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 Philadel- 
phia, and the majority of us so poor, that I was not able, with great 
industry, to find more than fifty persons, mostly young tradesmen, 
wiUing to pay down for this purpose forty shillings each, and ten 
shillings per annum. On this Httle fund we began. The books were 
imported; the library was opened one day in the week for lending to 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 75 

the subscribers, on their promissory notes to pay double the value if 
not duly returned. The institution soon manifested 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 intelli- 
gent than people of the same rank generally are in other countries. 

When we were about to sign the above-mentioned articles, 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 
living; but the instrument was after a few years rendered null by 
a charter that incorporated and gave perpetuity to the company. 

The objections and reluctances I met with in soliciting the sub- 
scriptions, made me soon feel the impropriety of presenting one's 
self as the propwser of any useful project, that might be suppxDs'd 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 therefore 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 read- 
ing. 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 re- 
pair'd in some degree the loss of the learned education my father 
once intended for me. Reading was the 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 



76 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

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 were established in the place before me. 
My circumstances, however, grew daily easier. My original habits 
of frugality continuing, and my father having, among his instruc- 
tions 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 in- 
dustry as a means of obtaining wealth and distinction, which en- 
courag'd me, tho' I did not think that I should ever literally stand 
before /{ings, which, however, has since happened; for I have stood 
before five, and even had the honor of sitting down with one, the 
King of Denmark, to dinner. 

We have an English proverb that says, "He that would thrive, 
must as/^ his tvije." It was lucky for me that I had one as much dis- 
pos'd to industry and frugality as myself. She assisted me cheerfully 
in my business, folding and stitching pamphlets, tending shop, pur- 
chasing 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 call'd one morning to 
breakfast, I found it in a China bowl, with a spoon of silver! They 
had been bought for me without 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 my studying day, I never was without some 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 77 

religious principles. I never doubted, for instance, the existence of 
the Deity; that he made the world, and govern'd it by his Provi- 
dence; that the most acceptable service of God was the doing good 
to man; that our souls are immortal; and that all crime will be pun- 
ished, and virtue rewarded, either here or hereafter. These I es- 
teem '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 1 found them more or less mix'd with 
other articles, which, without any tendency to inspire, promote, or 
confirm morality, serv'd principally to divide us, and make us un- 
friendly to one another. This respect to all, with 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 contributions, my mite for such purpose, whatever 
might be the sect, was never refused. 

Tho' I seldom attended any public worship, I had still an opinion 
of its propriety, and of its utility when rightly conducted, 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 ad- 
ministrations, 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 arguments, or explications of 
the peculiar doctrines of our sect, and were all to me very dry, unin- 
teresting, and unedifying, since not a single moral principle was in- 
culcated or enforc'd, their aim seeming to be rather to make us Pres- 
byterians than good citizens. 

At length 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 be any virtue, or any 
praise, thinly 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 



78 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

holy the Sabbath day. 2. Being diligent in reading the holy Scrip- 
tures. 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 litde Liturgy, or form of prayer, 
for my own private use (viz., in 1728), entitled. Articles of Belief and 
Acts of Religion. I return'd to the use of this, and went no more to 
the public assemblies. My conduct might be blameable, but I leave 
it, without attempting further to excuse it; my present purpose being 
to relate facts, and not to make apwlogies for them. 

It was about this time I conceiv'd the bold and arduous project of 
arriving at moral perfection. I wish'd to Uve without committing 
any fault at any time; I would conquer all that either natural in- 
clination, custom, or company might lead me into. As I knew, or 
thought I knew, what 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 inattenuon; 
inclination was sometimes too strong for reason. I concluded, at 
length, that the mere speculative conviction that it was our interest 
to be completely 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 conduct. For this purpose I therefore contrived 
the following 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 dif- 
ferent writers included more or fewer ideas under the same name. 
Temperance, for example, was by some confined to eating and drink- 
ing, while by others it was extended to mean the moderating every 
other pleasure, appetite, 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 more names, with fewer ideas annex'd 
to each, than a few names with more ideas; and I included under 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 79 

thirteen names of virtues all that at that 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, were: 

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 what you ought; perform without fail what 
you resolve. 

5. Frugality. 

Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; »". e., waste 
nothing. 

6. Industry. 

Lose no time; be always employ'd 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. 



8o BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

10. Cleanliness. 
Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation. 

n. Tranquillity. 
Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable. 

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 it would be well not to distract my attention 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 acquisi- 
tion of some might facilitate the acquisition of certain others, I ar- 
rang'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 estab- 
lish'd. Silence would be more easy; and my desire being to gain 
knowledge at the same time that I improv'd in virtue, and con- 
sidering 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 subsequent virtues; Frugality and Industry freeing me from 
my remaining debt, and producing aflSuence and independence, 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 8 1 

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 conducting 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 with thirteen red lines, mark- 
ing the beginning of each line with the first letter of one of the vir- 
tues, on which line, and in its proper column, I might mark, by a 
litde black spot, every fault I found upon examination to have been 
committed respecting that virtue upon that day. 

Form of the pages. 



TEMPERANCE. 


KAT HOT TO DULNESS; 
DRINK NOT TO ELKVATION. 




S. 


M. 


T. 


W. 


T. 


F. 


S. 


T. 
















S. 


• 


• 




• 




• 




o. 


• • 


• 


• 




• 


• 


• 


R. 






• 






• 




F. 




• 






• 






I. 






• 










s. 
















J. 
















M. 
















c. 
















T. 
















C. 
















H. 

















I determined to give a week's strict attention to each of the virtues 
successively. Thus, in the first week, my great guard was to avoid 
every the least offence against Temperance, leaving the other vir- 
tues to their ordinary chance, only marking every evening the faults 



82 BENJAMIN FHANKLIN 

o£ the day. Thus, if in the first week I could keep my first Une, 
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 ex- 
tending my attention to include the next, and for the following week 
keep both Unes clear of spots. Proceeding thus to the last, I could go 
thro' a course compleat in thirteen 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, 1 
hoped, the encouraging pleasure of seeing on my pages the progress 
I made in virtue, by clearing successively my lines of their spots, till 
in the end, by a number 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 vitae Philosophia dux! O virtutum indagatrix expultrixque viti- 
orum! Unus dies, bene et ex przccptis tuis actus, pcccanti immortalitati 
est antcponendus." 

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

"O powerful Goodness! bountiful Father! merciful Guide! Increase in 
me that wisdom which discovers my truest interest. Strengthen my reso- 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 83 

lutions to perform what that tvisdom dictates. Accept my l{ind 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 f)eace, and virtue pure; 
Sacred, substantial, never-fading 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-foiu: hours of 
a natural day: 



The Mo:tNiNG. 



Question, 
tiui day? 



What good shall I do' 



Noon. 



Rise, wash, and address Powerjul 
Goodness! Contrive day's business, 
and lake the resolution of the day; 
prosecute the present study, and 
breakfast. 



- Work. 



Read, or overlook my accounts, and 
dine. 



• Work. 



Question. 
to-day ? 



Evening. 



What good have I done 



Night. 



Put things in their places. Supper. 
" Music or diversion, or conversation. 
Examination of the day. 



Sleep. 



I enter 'd upon the execution of this plan for self-examination, and 
continu'd it with occasional intermissions for some time. I was sur- 
pris'd to find myself so much fuller of faults than I had imagined; 



84 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

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 voy- 
ages 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 business was such as to 
leave him the disposition of his time, that of a journeyman printer, 
for instance, it was not possible 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, with regard to places for things, 
papers, etc., I found extreamly difficult to acquire. I had 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 
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 tfiin{ I li^tr a spec\led 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 diffi- 



HIS AUTOBICXJRAPHY 85 

culty 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 char- 
acter might be attended with the inconvenience of being envied and 
hated; and that a benevolent man should allow a few faults in him- 
self, 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 jjer- 
fect 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 ow'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 Provi- 
dence; but, if they arrive, the reflection on past happiness enjoy 'd 
ought to help his bearing them with more resignation. To Temper- 
ance he ascribes his long<ontinued 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 ob- 
tained for him some degree of reputation among the learned; to 
Sincerity and Justice, the confidence of his country, and the honor- 
able 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, therefore, 
that some of my descendants may follow the example and reap the 
benefit. 



86 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

It will be remark'd that, tho' my scheme 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 mischiefs attending its opposite 
vice; and I should have called my book The Art of Virtue,' be- 
cause it would have shown the means and manner of obtaining 
virtue, which would have distinguished it from the mere exhorta- 
tion to be good, that does not instruct and indicate the means, but is 
like the apostle's man of verbal charity, who only without showing 
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 vras 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 pubUc 
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 hitherto remain'd un- 
finish'd. 

In this piece it was my design to explain and enforce this doc- 
trine, that vicious actions are not hurtful because they are forbidden, 
but forbidden because they are hurtful, the nature of man alone con- 
sidered; that it was, therefore, every one's interest to be virtuous who 
wish'd to be happy even in this world; and I should, from this cir- 
cumstance (there being always in the world a number of rich mer- 
chants, nobility, states, and princes, who have need of honest in- 
struments for the management of their affairs, and such being so 
rare), have endeavored to convince young persons that no qualities 
* Nothing so likely to make a man's fortune as virtue. — [Marg. note.] 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 87 

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 generally 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 could, of this vice or folly among the rest, and I added 
Humility to my list, giving an extensive meaning to the word. 

I cannot boast of much success in acquiring the reality of this vir- 
tue, but I had a good deal with regard to the appearance of it. I 
made it a rule to forbear all direct contradiction to the sentiments of 
others, and all positive assertion of my own. I even forbid myself, 
agreeably to the old laws of our Junto, the use of every word or ex- 
pression in the language that imported a fix'd opinion, such as cer- 
tainly, 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 something 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 circum- 
stances his opinion would be right, but in the present case there 
appear'd or seem'd to me some difference, etc. I soon found the ad- 
vantage of this change in my manner; the conversations I engag'd in 
went on more pleasandy. The modest way in which I propos'd my 
opinions procur'd them a readier reception 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 dog- 
matical expression escape me. And to this habit (after my character 
of integrity) I think it principally owing that I had early so much 
weight with my fellow<itizens when I proposed new institutions. 



88 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

or alterations in the old, and so much influence in public councils 
when I became a member; for I was but a bad speaker, never elo- 
quent, subject to much hesitation in my choice o£ words, hardly cor- 
rect in language, and yet I generally carried my points. 

In reality, there is, perhaps, no orfe 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 compleady 
overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility. 

[Thus far written at Passy, 1784.] 



["/ am now about to write at home, August, ijSS, but can not have 
the help expected from my papers, many of them being lost in 
the war. I have, however, found the following.''^ 

HAVING 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 difTerent parties occasion 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, tho' their actings 
bring real good to their country, yet men 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 to the good of 
mankind. 

"There seems to me at present to be great occasion for raising a 

United Party for Virtue, by forming the virtuous and good men of 

all nations into a regular body, to be govern'd by suitable good and 

wise rules, which good and wise men may probably be more 

•This is a marginal memorandum. — B. 

89 



90 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

unanimous in their obedience to, than common people are to com- 
mon laws. 

"I at present think that whoever attempts this aright, and is well 
qualified, cap 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 time 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 thanks- 
giving. 

"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 weeks' 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 considerable, 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 gradually com- 
municated; 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, 

"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 9I 

we should be call'd The Society of the Free and Easy: free, as being, 
by the general practice 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 communicated 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 occupations, pubUc and private, induc'd me to con- 
tinue postponing, 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 might have 
been very useful, by forming a great number of good citizens; and 
I was not discourag'd by the seeming 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 
execution 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 considerable profit from it, vending 
annually near ten thousand. And observing that it was generally 
read, scarce any neighborhood in the province being without it, 
I consider'd it as a proper vehicle for conveying instruction among 
the common 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 in- 
culcated industry and frugahty, as the means of procuring wealth, 
and thereby securing virtue; it being more difficult for a man in 
want, to act always honestly, as, to use here one of those proverbs, 
it is hard for an empty sacl(^ to stand upright. 

These proverbs, which contained the wisdom of many ages and 



92 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

nations, I assembled 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 universally approved, was copied in all the news- 
papers of the Continent; 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 Pennsylvania, 
as it discouraged useless expense in foreign suf)erfluities, some 
thought it had its share of influence in producing that growing 
plenty of money which was observable for several years after its 
publication. 

I considered my newspaper, also, as another means of com- 
municating instruction, and in that view frequently reprinted in 
it extracts from the Spectator, and other moral writers; and some- 
times 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, whatever might be his parts and abilities, 
a vicious man could not properly be called a man of sense; and a 
discourse on self-denial, showing that virtue was not secure till its 
practice became 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 newspaper was like a stage<oach, 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 
might have as many copies as he pleased to distribute himself, 
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 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 93 

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 
neighboring states, and even on the conduct of our best national 
allies, which may be attended with the most pernicious consequences. 
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 practices, but refuse steadily, as 
they may see by my example that such a course of conduct will 
not, on the whole, be injurious to their interests. 

In 1733 I sent one of my journeymen to Charleston, South 
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 
partnership 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 female 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 exactness every quarter afterwards, and 
managed 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 reconmiending that 
branch of education for our young females, as likely to be of more 
use to them and their children, in case of widowhood, than either 
music or dancing, by preserving them from losses by imposition 
of crafty men, and enabling them to continue, pwrhaps, a profitable 
mercantile house, with establish'd 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 



94 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

Presbyterian preacher, named Hemphill, who delivered with a 
good voice, and apparendy extempore, most excellent discourses, 
which drew together considerable numbers 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 ortho- 
dox 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 p)oor 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. 

During the contest an unlucky occurrence hurt his cause exceed- 
ingly. 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 occasion'd our more speedy 
discomfiture in the synod. I stuck by him, however, as I rather 
approv'd his giving us good sermons compos'd by others, than bad 
ones of his own manufacture, tho' the latter was the practice of 
our common teachers. He afterward acknowledg'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. 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 95 

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 translations, 
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 instruction 
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 languages. 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 without using the steps, 
you will more easily gain them in descending; but certainly, if you 
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 



96 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

time, they should quit the study of languages 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 New- 
port to see my brother, then settled there with his printing-house. 
Our former differences were forgotten, and our meeting was very 
cordial and affectionate. 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 typ)es, 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 still regret that I had not given it 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 useful, and afforded such 
satisfaction to the members, that several were desirous of introduc- 
ing their friends, which could not well be done without exceeding 
what we had settled as a convenient number, viz., twelve. We had 
from the beginning made it a rule to keep our institution a secret, 
which was pretty well observ'd; the intention was to avoid appli- 
cations, of improper persons for admittance, some of whom, perhaps, 
we might find it difficult to refuse. I was one of those who were 
against any addition to our number, but, instead of it, made in 
writing a proposal, that every member separately should endeavor 
to form a subordinate club, with the same rules respecting queries, 



HIS AUTOBICXJRAPHY 97 

etc^ and without informing them of the connection with the Junto. 
The advantages propxjsed were, the improvement of so many more 
young citizens by the use of our institutions; our better acquaint- 
ance with the general sentiments of the inhabitants on any occasion, 
as the Junto member might propose what queries we should desire, 
and was to report to the Junto what pass'd in his separate club; 
the promotion of our particular interests in business by more ex- 
tensive recommendation, and the increase of our influence in public 
affairs, and our power of doing good by spreading thro' the several 
clubs the sentiments of the Junto. 

The project was approv'd, and every member undertook to form 
his club, but they did not all succeed. Five or six only were com- 
pleated, which were called by different names, as the Vine, the 
Union, the Band, etc. They were useful to themselves, and afforded 
us a good deal of amusement, information, and instruction, besides 
answering, in some considerable degree, our views of influencing 
the public opinion on particular occasions, of which I shall give 
some instances in course of time as they happened. 

My first promotion was my being chosen, in 1736, clerk of the 
General Assembly. The choice was made that year without opposi- 
tion; but the year following, when I was again propos'd (the choice, 
like that of the members, being annual), a new member made a 
long speech against me, in order to favour some other candidate. 
I was, however, chosen, which was the more agreeable to me, as, 
besides the pay for the immediate service as clerk, the place gave 
me a better opportunity of keeping up an interest among the mem- 
bers, which secur'd to me the business of printing the votes, laws, 
paper money, and other occasional jobbs for the public, that, on 
the whole, were very profitable. 

I therefore did not like the opposition of this new member, who 
was a gendeman of fortune and education, with talents that were 
likely to give him, in time, great influence in the House, which, 
indeed, afterwards happened. I did not, however, aim at gaining 
his favour by paying any servile respect to him, but, after some 
time, took this other method. Having heard that he had in his 
library a certain very scarce and curious book, I wrote a note to 
him, expressing my desire of perusing that book, and requesting he 



^8 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

would do me the favour of lending it to me for a few days. He 
sent it immediately, and I return'd it in about a week with another 
note, expressing strongly my sense of the favour. When we next 
met in the House, he spoke to me (which he had never done 
before), and with great civility; and he ever after manifested a 
readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that we became great 
friends, and our friendship continued to his death. This is another 
instance of the truth of an old maxim I had learned, which says, 
"He that has once done you a /(indness will be more ready to \do 
you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged." And it 
shows how much more profitable it is prudently to remove, than 
to resent, return, and continue inimical proceedings. 

In 1737, Colonel Spotswood, late governor of Virginia, and then 
postmaster-general, being dissatisfied with the conduct of his deputy 
at Philadelphia, respecting some negligence in rendering, and in- 
exactitude of his accounts, took from him the commission and 
offered it to me. I accepted it readily, and found it of great ad- 
vantage; for, tho' the salary was small, it facilitated the correspond- 
ence that improv'd my newspaper, increas'd the number demanded, 
as well as the advertisements to be inserted, so that it came to afford 
me a considerable income. My old competitor's newspaper declin'd 
proportionably, and I was satisfy 'd without retaliating his refusal, 
while postmaster, to permit my papers being carried by the riders. 
Thus he suffer 'd gready from his neglect in due accounting; and 
I mention it as a lesson to those young men who may be employ'd 
in managing affairs for others, that they should always render 
accounts, and make remittances, with great clearness and punctual- 
ity. The charaaer of observing such a conduct is the most powerful 
of all recommendations to new employments and increase of busi- 
ness. 

I began now to turn my thoughts a Utde to pubhc affairs, begin- 
ning, however, with small matters. The city watch was one of the 
first things that I conceiv'd to want regulation. It was managed by 
the constables of the respective wards in turn; the constable warned 
a number of housekeepers to attend him for the night. Those who 
chose never to attend paid him six shillings a year to be excus'd, 
^rfiich was suppos'd to be for hiring substitutes, but was, in reahty. 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 99 

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 of the nights spent in tippling, i 
thereupon wrote a paper to be read in Junto, representing these 
irregularities, but insisting 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, when 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 accidents and careless- 
nesses by which houses were set on fire, with cautions against them, 
and means proposed of avoiding them. This was much spwken of as 
a useful piece, and gave rise to a 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 transport- 
ing of goods), which were to be brought to every fire; and we 
agreed to meet once a month and sf)end a social evening together, 
in discoursing and communicating such ideas as occurred to u» 
up)on the subject of fires, as might be useful in our conduct on such 
occasions. 



lOO BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

The utility of this institution soon appeared, and many more 
desiring to be admitted than we thought convenient for one com- 
pany, they were 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 the Union Fire Company, still 
subsists and flourishes, tho' the first members 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 meet- 
ings 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 conflagrations; 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. White- 
field, 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 pulpits, and he was oblig'd to preach in the fields. The multi- 
' tudes of all sects and denominations that attended his sermons were 
enormous, and it was matter of speculation to me, who was one 
of the number, to observe the extraordinary influence of his oratory 
on his hearers, and how much they admir'd and resjDected 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 manners of our inhabitants. 
From being thoughtless or indifferent 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 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 1 01 

no sooner propos'd, and persons appxjinted 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 car- 
ried 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 clear- 
ing 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 
House there, in which they might be supported and educated. Re- 
turning 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 proposed 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 sermons, 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 
coppei money, three or four silver dollars, and five pistoles in gold. 



102 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

As he proceeded I began to soften, and concluded to give the cop- 
pers. Another stroke of his oratory made me asham'd of that, and 
determin'd me to give the silver; and he finish'd 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 suspecting 
a collection might be intended, had, by precaution, emptied his 
pockets before he came from home. Towards the conclusion of 
the discourse, however, 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 application was unfortunately [made] to per- 
haps the only man in the company who had the firmness not to 
be affected by the preacher. His answer was, "At any other time. 
Friend Hop/^inson, I would lend to thee freely; but not now, for 
thee seems to be out of thy right senses." 

Some of Mr. Whitefield's enemies affected to suppose that he 
would apply these collections to his own private emolument; but 
1 who was intimately acquainted with him (being employed in 
printing his Sermons and Journals, etc.), never had the least suspi- 
cion of his integrity, but am to this day decidedly of opinion that 
he was in all his conduct a perfectly honest man; and methinks 
my testimony in his favour ought to have the more weight, as we 
had no religious connection. He us'd, indeed, sometimes to pray 
for my conversion, but never had the satisfaction of believing that 
his prayers were heard. Ours was a mere civil friendship, sincere 
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 accommodations, 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 be mista/^en; »> 
was not for Christ's sake, but for your sal^e." One of our common 
acquaintance jocosely remark'd, that, knowing it to be the custom 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY IO3 

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 contriv'd to fix it on earth. 

The last time I saw Mr. Whitefield was in London, when 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, ob- 
serv'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 fill'd with his hearers to a consid- 
erable distance. 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 semicircle, of which my div 
tance 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 more than thirty thousand. This reconcil'd me 
to the newspaper 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, I came to distinguish easily between ser- 
mons 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 emphasis, every 
modulation of voice, was so perfectly well turn'd and well plac'd, 
that, without being interested 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 stationary, 
as the latter can not well improve their delivery of a sermon by so 
many rehearsals. 

His writing and printing from time to time gave great advantage 



104 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

to his enemies; unguarded expressions, and even erroneous opin- 
ions, delivered in preaching, might have been afterwards explain'd 
or quaUfi'd by supposing others that might have accompani'd them, 
or they might have been deny'd; but litera 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 
encrease; so that I am of opinion if he had never written any thing, 
he would have left behind him a much more numerous and im- 
portant 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 circum- 
stances growing daily easier, my newspaper having become very 
profitable, as being for a time almost the only one in this and the 
neighbouring provinces. I experienced, too, the truth of the ob- 
servation, "that after getting the first hundred pound, it is more 
easy to get the second," money itself being of a prolific nature. 

The partnership at Carolina having succeeded, I was encourag'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 precaution 
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 law- 
suits and other disagreeable consequences. 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY IO5 

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 there- 
fore, 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 com- 
municated the project to him; but he, having more profitable views 
in the service of the proprietaries, which succeeded, declin'd the 
undertaking; and, not knowing another at that time suitable for 
such a trust, I let the scheme lie a while dormant. I succeeded 
better the next year, 1744, in proposing and establishing a Philosoph- 
ical 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 join'd by France, which 
brought us into great danger; and the laboured and long<ontinued 
endeavour of our governor, Thomas, to prevail with our Quaker 
Assembly to pass a militia law, and make other provisions for the 
security of the province, having proved abortive, I determined to 
try what might be done by a voluntary association of the people. 
To promote this, I first wrote and published a pamphlet, entided 
Plain Truth, in which I stated our defenceless 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 gen- 
erally signed for that purpose. The pamphlet had a sudden and 
surprising effect. I was call'd upon for the instrument of associa- 
tion, and having setded the draft of it with a few friends, I ap- 
pointed 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 collected, we 
found about twelve hundred hands; and, other copies being dis- 
persed in the country, the subscribers amounted at length to upward 
of ten thousand. These all furnished themselves as soon as they 



I06 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

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 regi- 
ment, being met, chose me for their colonel; but, conceiving myself 
unlit, I declin'd that station, and recommended Mr. Lawrence, a 
fine person, and man of influence, who was accordingly appointed. 
I then propos'd a lottery to defray the expense of building a bat- 
tery below the town, and furnishing it with cannon. It filled ex- 
peditiously, and the battery was soon erected, the merlons being 
fram'd of logs and fill'd with earth. We bought some old cannon 
from Boston, but, these not being sufficient, we wrote to England 
for more, soliciting, at the same time, our proprietaries for some 
assistance, tho' without much expectation of obtaining it. 

Meanwhile, Colonel Lawrence, William Allen, Abram Taylor, 
Esqr., and myself were sent to New York by the associators, com- 
mission'd to borrow some cannon of Governor 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 advanc'd 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 governor 
and council; they took me into confidence, and I was consulted by 
them in every measure wherein their concurrence was thought 
useful to the association. Calling in the aid of religion, I propos'd 
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 proclama- 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY IO7 

tion. My education in New England, where a fast is proclaimed 
every year, was here of some advantage: I drew it in the accustomed 
stile, it was translated into German, 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 ma- 
jority. A young gentleman who had likewise some friends in the 
House, and wished 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 heard of some public man who made it a rule 
never to ask 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 asl(^, never refuse, nor ever resign an 
office. If they will have my office of clerk to dispose 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 members 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. 



I08 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

A transaction in our fire company gave me some insight into 
their prevaiUng sentiments. It had been propos'd 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 till the next meeting 
after the proposal. The company consisted of thirty members, of 
which twenty-two were Quakers, and eight only of other persua- 
sions. We eight punctually attended the meeting; but, tho' we 
thought that some of the Quakers would join us, we were by no 
means 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 propos'd, 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 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 
allow'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 pur- 
pose of opposing it, it would be but candid to allow a litde 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 
tktermin'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 seeming hesitation, agreed to a delay of another hour. This 
Mr. Morris allow'd to be extreamly fair. Not one of his opposing 
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, manifested that they were not indin'd 
to oppose the measure, I afterward estimated the proportion of 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY IO9 

Quakers sincerely against defense as one to twenty-one only; for 
these were all regular members of that society, and in good reputa- 
tion 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 arguments. 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, William Penn, respecting 
defense. He came over from England, when a young man, with 
that proprietary, and as his secretary. It was war-time, and their 
ship was chas'd by an armed vessel, suppws'd to be an enemy. Their 
captain prepar'd for defense; but told William Penn, and his com- 
pany 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 for 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 captain. This reproof, 
being before all the company, piqu'd the secretary, who answer'd, 
"/ 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 opportunities 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 purposes. 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 complying, 
and modes of disguising the compliance when it became unavoid- 
able. The common mode at last was, to grant money under the 



no BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

phrase of its being "for the kjng's use," and never to inquire how 
it was appHed. 

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 was 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, 
flour, wheat, or other grain. Some of the council, desirous of giving 
the House still further embarrassment, advis'd 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 in allusion to this fact that, when in our fire company 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 committee for that purpose, we will buy a great 
gun, which is certainly a fire-engine." "I see," says he, "you have 
improv'd by being so long in the Assembly; your equivocal project 
would be just a match for their wheat or other grain." 

These embarrassments that the Quakers sufler'd from having 
establish'd and published it as one of their principles that no kind 
of war was lawful, and which, being once published, they could 
not afterwards, however they might change their minds, easily get 
rid of, reminds me of what I think a more prudent conduct in 
another sect among us, that of the Dunkers. I was 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 prin- 
ciples and practices, to which they were utter strangers. I told him 
•' See the votes. — \Mttrg. note.\ 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY III 

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 esteemed truths, were errors; and 
that others, which we had esteemed 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 progres- 
sion, and at the perfection of spiritual 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 his- 
tory 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 As- 
sembly 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 warming 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 pamphlet, entitled "An Account of the new-invented 
Pennsylvania Fireplaces; wherein their Construction and Manner 



112 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

o/ 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 ansu/ered and ob- 
viated," 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 1 declin'd it from a principle which has ever 
weighed with me on such occasions, viz., That, as ive enjoy great 
advantages from the inventions of others, tve should be glad of an 
opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours; and this tve 
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 ojjeration, 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 my in- 
ventions 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 therefore at 
an end, I turn'd my thoughts again to the affair of establishing an 
academy. The first step I took was to associate in the design a 
number of active friends, of whom the Junto furnished a good 
part; the next was to write and publish a pamphlet, entitled Pro- 
posals 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 publication, 
not as an act of mine, but of some publick^-spirited gentlemen, avoid- 
ing as much as I could, according to my usual rule, the presenting 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY II3 

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 myself to draw up constitutions 
for the government of the academy; which being done and signed, 
a house was hired, masters engag'd, and the schools opened, I think, 
in the same year, 1749. 

The scholars increasing fast, the house was soon found 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 pre- 
dominancy 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 contribu- 
tors. 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 mention'd 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 embarrass'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, 



114 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

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, ac- 
cording to the original intention, and maintain a freeschool for the 
instruction of poor children. Writings were accordingly drawn, 
and on paying the debts the trustees of the academy were put in pos- 
session of the premises; and by dividing the great and lofty hall into 
stories, and different 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 workmen, purchasing ma- 
terials, 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, industri- 
ous, 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 punctually 
my share of the profits. This partnership continued eighteen years, 
successfully for us both. 

The trustees of the academy, after a while, were incorporated by 
a charter from the governor; their funds were increas'd by contri- 
butions 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 con- 
tinued 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 receiv'd 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 for- 
tune I had acquir'd, I had secured leisure during the rest of my life 
for philosophical studies and amusements. I purchased all Dr. 
Spence's apparatus, who had come from England to lecture here, 
and I proceeded in my electrical experiments 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 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY II 5 

almost at the same time, imposing some duty upon me. The gover- 
nor put me into the commission of the peace; the corporation of the 
city chose me 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 station was the more agreeable to me, as I was 
at length tired with sitting there to hear debates, in which, as clerk, 
I could take no part, and which were often so unentertaining that 
1 was induc'd to amuse myself with making magic squares or cir- 
cles, 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 ambition was not flatter'd by all these 
promotions; it certainly 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, 
am! by me entirely unsolicited. 

The office of justice of the peace I try'd a little, by attending 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 
Minifying, 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 commissioners for that purpose." The House 
named the speaker (Mr. Norris) and myself; and, being commis- 
sjoii'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 stricdy forbad the selling 
any liquor to them; and when they complain'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 

" Sec the votes to have this more correctly. — [Marg. «o/f.] 



Il6 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

no liquor, and the treaty was conducted very orderly, and concluded 
to mutual satisfaction. They then daim'd and receiv'd the rum; this 
was in the afternoon; they were near one hundred men, women, 
and children, and were lodg'd in temporary cabins, built 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 made a great bonfire in the middle 
of the square; they were all drunk, men and women, quarreling and 
fighting. Their dark<olour'd bodies, half naked, seen only by the 
gloomy light of the bonfire, running after and beating one another 
with firebrands, accompanied by their horrid yellings, form'd a 
scene the most resembling our ideas of hell that could well be im- 
agin'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 dis- 
turbance, they sent three of their old counselors to make their apol- 
ogy. The orator acknowledg'd the fault, but laid it upon the rum; 
and then endeavored to excuse the rum by saying, "The Great Spirit, 
who made all things, made every thing for some use, and whatever 
use he design'd any thing for, that use it should always be put to. 
Now, when he made rum, he said 'Let this be for the Indians to get 
drun\ with,' and it must be so." And, indeed, if it be the design of 
Providence to extirpate these savages in order to make room for 
cidtivators of the earth, it seems not improbable that rum may be the 
appointed means. It has already annihilated all the tribes who for- 
merly inhabited the sea-coast. 

In 1751, 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 subscriptions 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 with- 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY II7 

out my being concern'd in it. "For," says he, "I am often ask'd by 
those to whom I propose subscribing, Have you consulted FrankUn 
upon this business? 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 nature and probable utility of his scheme, and receiving from 
him a very satisfactory explanation, I not only subscrib'd to it my- 
self, 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 
newspapers, which was my usual custom in such cases, but which he 
had omitted. 

The subscriptions afterwards were more free and generous; but, 
beginning to flag, I saw they would be insufficient without some 
assistance from the Assembly, and therefore propos'd to petition for 
it, which was done. The country 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 appro- 
bation as to leave no doubt of our being able to raise two thousand 
pounds by voluntary donations, they considered as a most extrava- 
gant supposition, and utterly impossible. 

On this I form'd my plan; and asking leave to bring in a bill for 
incorporating the contributors according to the prayer of their peti- 
tion, and granting them a blank sum of money, which leave was ob- 
tained chiefly on the consideration 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 conditional 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 contri- 
butions a capital stoc/{ of value (the yearly interest of which 

is to be applied to the accommodating of the sick poor in the said 
hospital, free of charge for diet, attendance, advice, and medicines), 
and shall ma/^e the same appear to the satisfaction of the speal^er of 
the Assembly for the time being, that then it shall and may be law- 
fiJ for the said speaker, and he is hereby required, to sign an order 



Il8 BENJAMIN FRANKUN 

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 exf)ence, agreed to its (tassage; and 
then, in soliciting subscriptions among the people, we urg'd the con- 
ditional promise of the law as an additional motive to give, since 
every man's donation 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 remem- 
ber 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 pro- 
curing a subscription for erecting a new meeting-house. It was to 
be for the use of a congregation he had gathered among the Presby- 
terians, who were originally disciples of Mr. Whitefield. Unwilling 
to make myself disagreeable to my fellow<itizens by too frequendy 
soliciting their contributions, I absolutely refus'd. He then desired 
I would furnish him with a list of the names of persons I knew by 
exfjerience to be generous and public-spirited. I thought it would be 
unbecoming in me, after their kind compliance with my solicita- 
tions, to mark them out to be worried by other beggars, and there- 
fore 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, lasdy, do not neglect those who you are sure will 
give nothing, for in some of them you may be mistaken." He 
laugh'd and thank'd me, and said he would take my advice. He did 
so, for he ask'd of everybody, and he obtained a much larger sum 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY II 9 

than he expected, with which he erected the capacious and very ele- 
gant 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 offen- 
sive. 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 with stone between the market and the 
brick'd foot-pavement, 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 obuin'd by this small expense; the 
greater ease in keeping 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 an agreement to pay these six- 
pences; it was unanimously sign'd, and for a time well executed. All 
the inhabitants of the city were delighted with the cleanliness of the 
pavement 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. 



120 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

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 jjeople were first impress'd with the idea of 
enlighting all the city. The honour 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; 
giving, besides, the daily trouble of wiping them clean; and an acci- 
dental stroke on one of them would demolish it, and render it totally 
useless. I therefore suggested the composing them of four flat panes, 
with a long funnel above to draw up the smoke, and crevices ad- 
mitting 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 acci- 
dental 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 holes in their street lamps. 
But, these holes being made for another purpose, viz., to communi- 
cate flame more suddenly 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 of these improvements puts me in mind of one I 
propos'd, when in London, to Dr. Fothergill, who was among the 
best men I have known, and a great promoter of useful projects. I 
had observ'd that the streets, when dry, were never swept, and the 

'*See votes 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 121 

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, 
sometimes to the annoyance 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, "No- 
body, but I am very pxxjr and in distress, and I sweeps before gentle- 
folkses doors, and hop)cs 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 slow- 
ness I saw at first in her working, I could scarce believe that the work 
was done so soon, and sent my 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 were 
perfectly clean. 

I then judg'd that, if that feeble woman could sweep 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 more fluid, 
so that the wheels of carriages and feet of horses throw and dash it 
upon the foot-pavement, which is thereby rendered foul and slippery, 
and sometimes splash it upon those who are walking. My proposal, 
communicated to the good doctor, was as follows: 



T22 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

"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 in- 
struments for these purposes, to be kept at their respective stands, 
ready to furnish the poor f)eople they may employ in the service. 

"That in the dry summer months the dust be all swept up into 
heaps at proper distances, before the shops and windows of houses 
are usually opened, when the scavengers, with close<overed 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, whereby 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 where 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 streets, and the diffi- 
culty 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 practicable 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 Lon- 
don 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 re- 
lating; 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 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 1 23 

city, and its frequent repetitions 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 feUcity 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 or- 
der, you may contribute more to the happiness of his life than in 
giving him a thousand guineas. The money may be soon sf)ent, 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 which 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 ofl5ces, and bring- 
ing the officers to account, I was, upon his death in 1753, appointed, 
jointly with Mr. William Hunter, 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, if we could make that sum out 
of the profits of the office. To do this, a variety of improvements 
were necessary; some of these 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 be- 
fore I was displac'd by a freak of the ministers, of which I shall sfieak 
hereafter, we had brought it to yield three times as much clear rev- 
enue 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 Col- 
lege, in Connecticut, had before made me a similar compliment. 
Thus, without studying in any college, I came to partake of their 



124 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

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 
commissioners 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 concerning the means 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 Pennsyl- 
vania. The House approv'd the nomination, and provided the goods 
for the present, and tho' they did not much 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 purposes. As we pass'd 
thro' New York, I had there shown my project to Mr. James Alex- 
ander and Mr. Kennedy, two gentlemen of great knowledge in pub- 
lic 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. A previous question 
was first taken, whether a union should be established, which pass'd 
in the affirmative unanimously. A committee was then appointed, 
one member from each colony, to consider the several plans and re- 
port. Mine happen'd to be preferr'd, and, with 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 representatives of the people 
of the several colonies, met in their respective assemblies. The de- 
bates upon it in Congress went on daily, hand in hand with the In- 
dian business. Many objections and difficulties were started, but at 
length they were all overcome, and the plan was unanimously 
agreed to, and copies ordered to be transmitted to the Board of 
Trade and to the assemblies of the several provinces. Its fate was 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 1 25 

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 recom- 
mend 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 members 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 ex- 
pense, which was afterwards to be refunded by an act of Parliament 
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 much conversation 
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 of 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 tax- 
ing America, and the bloody contest it occasioned, 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 sel- 
dom adopted from previous wisdom, but forc'd by the occasion. 

The Governor of Pennsylvania, in sending it down to the Assem- 
bly, express'd his approbation of the plan, "as appearing to him to be 
drawn up with great clearness and strength of judgment, and there- 
fore 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 



126 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

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 met 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 com- 
mission 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 adminiv 
tration. I said, "No; you may, on the contrary, have a very comfort- 
able 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; however, 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, therefore, generally successful in argumentative conversation. 
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 diver- 
sion, while sitting at table after dinner; but I think the practice was 
not wise; for, in the course of my observation, these disputing, con- 
tradicting, 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 Phil- 
adelphia, 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 contention; 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 mes- 
sages, and by the committees always desired to make the drafts. Our 
answers, as well as his messages, were often tart, and sometimes in- 
decently abusive; and, as he knew I wrote for the Assembly, 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. 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 1 27 

One afternoon, in the height of this public quarrel, we met in the 
street "Franklin," says he, "you must go home with me and spend 
the evening; I am to have some company that you will like;" and, 
taking me by the arm, he led me to his house. In gay conversation 
over our wine, after supper, he told us, jokingly, that he much ad- 
mir'd the idea of Sancho Panza, who, when it was proposed to give 
him a government, requested it might be a government of blacl^s. 
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 proprietor would give you a good price." "The 
governor," says I, "has not yet blact^ed them enough." He, indeed, 
had labored hard to blacken the Assembly in all his messages, but 
they wip'd off his coloring as fast as he laid it on, and plac'd it, in 
return, thick upon his own face; so that, finding he was hkely to be 
negrofied himself, he, as well as Mr. Hamilton, grew tir'd of the con- 
test, and quitted the government. 

"These public quarrels were all at bottom owing to the proprie- 
taries, 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, ventured to disobey 
those instructions; how that was brought about I shall show here- 
after. 

But I am got forward too fast with my story: there are still some 
transactions to be mention'd that happened during the administra- 
tion of Governor Morris. 

War being in a manner commenced with France, the government 
of Massachusetts Bay projected an attack upon Crown Point, and 
sent Mr. Quincy to Pennsylvania, and Mr. Pownall, afterward Gov- 
ernor Pownall, to New York, to solicit assistance. As I was in the 
Assembly, knew its temper, and was Mr. Quincy's countryman, he 
"My acts in Morris's time, inilitar>'< etc. — [\targ. note.} 



128 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

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 gov- 
ernor, by orders on the trustees of the Loan Office, which, by law, 
the Assembly had the right of drawing. There was, indeed, little 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 was 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, together 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 pro- 
visions, 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 Assem- 
bly in a handsome memorial, went home highly pleas'd with the 
success of his embassy, 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 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 1 29 

English troops for that purpose. He landed at Alexandria, in Vir- 
ginia, and thence march'd to Frederictown, in Maryland, where he 
halted for carriages. Our Assembly apprehending, from some infor- 
mation, that he had conceived 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 they propos'd to pay the expense. My son accompanied me 
on this journey. 

We found the general at Frederictown, waiting impatiently 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 prej- 
udices, by the information of what the Assembly had before his ar- 
rival actually done, and were still willing to do, to facilitate his oper- 
ations. When I was about to depart, the returns of waggons to be 
obtained were brought in, by which it appear'd that they amounted 
only to twenty-five, and not all of those were in serviceable condi- 
tion. The general and all the officers were surpris'd, declar'd the ex- 
pedition 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 pro- 
cure 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 de- 
sir'd to put on paper the terms that appeared to me necessary. This 
I did, and they were agreed to, and a commission and instructions 
accordingly prepar'd immediately. What those terms were will ap- 
pear in the advertisement I publish'd as soon as I arriv'd at Lan- 
caster, which being, from the great and sudden effect it produc'd, a 
piece of some curiosity, I shall insert it at length, as follows: 



130 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

"Advertisement. 

"Lancaster, April 26, 1755. 
"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 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 Thursday 
morning till Friday evening, where I shall be ready to agree for 
waggons and teams, or single horses, on the following terms, viz.: 

1. 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 travelling 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 Braddock, 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 conducting or taking care of their car- 
riages or horses. 6. All oats, Indian corn, or other forage that wag- 
gons or horses bring to the camp, more than is necessary for the sub- 
sistence of the horses, is to be taken for the use of the army, and a 
reasonable price paid for the same. 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY I3I 

"Note. — My son, William Franklin, is empowered to enter into 
like contracts with any person in Cumberland county. 

"B. Franklin." 

"To the inhabitants of the Counties of Lancaster, 
Yorl{ 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 carriages, 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. 

"I apprehended that the progress of British soldiers through these 
counties on such an occasion, especially considering the temp)er 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 waggons 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 wel- 
fare 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. 



132 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

"If you are really, as I believe you are, good and loyal subjects to 
his majesty, you may now do a most acceptable service, and make 
it easy to yourselves; for three or four of such as can not separately 
spare from the business of their plantations a waggon 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 reason- 
able 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 satisfac- 
tion 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 four- 
teen 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 dis- 
bursed 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 carrying horses, were on their march for the 
camp. The advertisement promised payment according to the valua- 
tion, in case any waggon or horse should be lost. The owners, how- 
ever, 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 officers 
of Colonel Dunbar's regiment, he represented to me his concern for 
the subalterns, who, he said, were generally not in affluence, and 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 1 33 

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 purchas'd. I commiserated their case, and resolved to en- 
deavor procuring them some relief. I said nothing, however, to him 
of my intention, but wrote the next morning to the committee of the 
Assembly, who had the disposition of some public money, warmly 
recommending the case of these officers to their consideration, and 
proposing that a present should be sent them of necessaries and re- 
freshments. My son, who had some experience of a camp life, and of 
its wants, drew up a list for me, which I endos'd in my letter. The 
committee approv'd, and used such diligence that, conducted by my 
son, the stores arrived at the camp as soon as the waggons. They 
consisted of twenty parcels, each containing 

6 lbs. loaf sugar. i Gloucester cheese. 

6 lbs. good Muscovado do. i kegg containing 20 lbs. good but- 

I lb. good green tea. ter. 

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 offi- 
cer. They were very thankfully receiv'd, and the kindness acknowl- 
edge by letters to me from the colonels of both regiments, in the 
most grateful terms. The general, too, was highly satisfied with my 
conduct in procuring 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 undertook 
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 thou- 
sand pounds sterling, of which I sent him an account. It came to his 
hands, luckily for me, 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. 



134 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

I consider this payment as good luck, having never been able to ob- 
tain that remainder, of which more hereafter. 

This general was, I think, a brave man, and might probably 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 reg- 
ular 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 fjeople, 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 was 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 com- 
pleatly 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 must 
make, may expose it to be attack'd by surprise in its flanks, and to 
be cut like a thread into several pieces, which, from their distance, 
can not come up in time to support each other." 

He smil'd at my ignorance, and reply'd, "These savages may, in- 
deed, 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 was conscious of an impro- 
priety in my disputing with a military man in matters of his pro- 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY I35 

fessioa, and said no more. The enemy, however, did not take the ad- 
vantage of his army which I apprehended its long Une of march ex- 
pos'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, at- 
tack'd its advanced guard by a heavy fire from behind trees and 
bushes, which was the first intelligence the general had of an ene- 
my'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 precipi- 
tation. 

The waggoners took each a horse out of his team and scamper'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 off 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 
fourteen men killed out of eleven hundred. These eleven hundred 
had been picked men from the whole army; the rest had been left 
behind with Colonel Dunbar, who was to follow with 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, ammunition, etc., to be destroy'd, 
that he might have more horses to assist his flight towards the settle- 
ments, and less lumber to remove. He was there met with requests 
from the governors of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, that 
he would post his troops on the frontiers, so as to aHord some pro- 



136 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

tection 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 protect 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 insulting, 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 differ- 
ent was the conduct 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 the 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 off 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 l(now how to deal with 
them another time;" and dy'd in a few minutes after. 

The secretary's papers, with all the general's orders, instructions, 
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 intentions of the British court before 
the declaration of war. Among these I saw some letters of the gen- 
eral 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 General Conway, when 
secretary of state, told me he had seen among the papers in that office, 
letters from Braddock highly recommending me. But, the expedi- 
tion having been unfortunate, my service, it seems, was not thought 
of much value, for those recommendations were 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 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 1 37 

servants, and that he would discharge such as had been already en- 
listed. This he readily granted, and several were accordingly re- 
turn'd to their masters, on my application. Dunbar, when the com- 
mand devolv'd on him, was not so generous. He being at Philadel- 
phia, on his retreat, or rather flight, I apply'd to him for the discharge 
of the servants of three p)oor 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 accordingly were at 
the expense and trouble of going to Trenton, and there he refus'd to 
f)erform his promise, to their great loss and disappointment. 

As soon as the loss of the waggons and horses was generally 
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 Gen- 
eral Shirley, and my assuring them that I had apply'd to that gen- 
eral 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. General Shirley at length re- 
lieved me from this terrible situation 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 ex- 
pense of a grand firework, which it was intended to exhibit at a re- 
joicing 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 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 sup- 
pose that the fort will not be taken?" "I don't know that it will not 
be taken, but 1 know that the events of war are subject to great un- 
certainty." I gave them the reasons of my doubting; the subscrip- 
tion was dropt, and the projectors thereby missed the mortification 
they would have undergone if the firework had been prepared. Dr. 



138 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

Bond, on some other occasion afterward, said that he did not like 
Franklin's forebodings. 

Governor Morris, who had continually worried the Assembly 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 prov- 
ince, without taxing, among others, the proprietary estates, and had 
rejected all 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, continu'd firm, be- 
lieving 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 estates, real and personal, were to be 
taxed, those of the proprietaries not excepted." His amendment 
was, for not read only: a small, but very material alteration. How- 
ever, when the news of this disaster reached England, our friends 
there, whom we had taken care to furnish with all the Assembly's 
answers to the governor's messages, rais'd a clamor against the pro- 
prietaries for their meanness and injustice in giving their governor 
such instructions; 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, with an exempting 
clause, which passed accordingly. By this act I was appointed one 
of the commissioners for disposing 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 association necessary to form the 
militia, I wrote a dialogue," stating and answering all the objections 

"ThU dialogue and the militia act are in the "Gcndeman's Magazine" for f<^ 
roiry and March, 1756. — iMarg. note.} 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 139 

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 governor prevail'd with me to take 
charge of our North-western frontier, which was infested by the ene- 
my, 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 conceive myself well qualified for it. He gave me a com- 
mission with full powers, and a parcel of blank commissions for offi- 
cers, to be given to whom I thought fit. I had but little difficulty in 
raising men, having soon five hundred and sixty under my com- 
mand. 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 Bethle- 
hem, the chief establishment of those f)eople. 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 de- 
fended 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 upwn the heads of any Indians that 
should attempt to force into them. The armed brethren, too, kept 
watch, and reliev'd as methodically as in any garrison town. In con- 
versation with the bishop, Spangenberg, I mention'd this my sur- 
prise; for, knowing they had obtained an act of Parliament exempt- 
ing them from military duties in the colonies, I had suppos'd they 
were conscientiously 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, however, they, to their sur- 
prise, found it adopted by but a few. It seems they were either de- 
ceiv'd in themselves, or deceiv'd the Parliament; but common sense, 
aided by present danger, will sometimes be too strong for whimsical 
opinions. 



140 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

It was the beginning of January when we set out upon this busi- 
ness 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 Gnaden- 
hut, where a fort was tho't more immediately necessary. The Mo- 
ravians 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 cat- 
tle. I gave them each a gun with suitable ammunition. We had not 
march'd many miles before it began to rain, and it continued rain- 
ing 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 farmers 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 near, round which 
were left several piles of boards, with which we soon hutted our- 
selves; 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 cir- 
cumference measuring four hundred and fifty-five feet, which would 
require as many palisades to be made of trees, one with another, of 
a foot diameter each. Our axes, of which we had seventy, were im- 
mediately set to work to cut down trees, and, our men being dex- 
trous 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 upon the ground, 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY I4I 

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 were 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 were mutinous 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 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 ourselves now posted 
securely, and having a place to retreat to on occasion, we ventur'd 
out in parties to scour the adjacent country. We met with no In- 
dians, 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 dis- 
tance. They had therefore dug holes in the ground about three feet 
diameter, and somewhat deeper; we saw where they had with their 
hatchets cut off the charcoal from the sides of burnt logs lying in 



142 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

the woods. With these coals they had made small fires in the bot- 
tom o£ the holes, and we observ'd 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 prom- 
ised, 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 attend- 
ing to receive it; upon which 1 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, exe- 
cuted it to satisfaction, and never were prayers more generally and 
more punctually attended; so that I thought this method preferable 
to the punishment inflicted by some miUtary 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 re- 
maining there was no longer necessary. My friends, too, of the As- 
sembly, pressing me by their letters to be, if possible, at the meeting, 
and my three intended forts being now compleated, and the inhabi- 
tants contented to remain on their farms under that protection, I re- 
solved to return; the more willingly, as a New England officer. Col- 
onel Clapham, experienced in Indian war, being on a visit to our 
establishment, consented to accept the command. I gave him a com- 
mission, and, parading the garrison, had it read before them, and irj- 
troduc'd him to them as an officer who, from his skill in military af- 
fairs, was much more fit to command them than myself; and, giving 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY I43 

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 com- 
mon tables, and slept in common dormitories, great numbers to- 
gether. In the dormitories I observed 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 entertain'd with 
good musick, the organ being accompanied with violins, hautboys, 
flutes, clarinets, etc. I understood that their sermons were not usually 
preached to mixed congregations of men, women, and children, as 
is our common practice, but that they assembled sometimes the mar- 
ried men, at other times their wives, then the young men, the young 
women, 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 under 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 deliver'd 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 sus- 
pect they were kept too much within doors, or not allow'd sufficient 
exercise. 

I inquir'd concerning the Moravian marriages, whether the re- 
port was true that they were by lot. I was told that lots were us'd 
only in particular cases; that generally, when a young man found 
himself dispos'd to marry, he inform'd the elders 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 ac- 
quiesc'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 made 



144 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

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 hundred well-looking men, with a 
company of artillery, who had been furnished with six brass field- 
pieces, which they had become so expert in the use of as to fire 
twelve times in a minute. The first time I reviewed my regiment 
they 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 commissions 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 assuming 
of state on any occasion; and I was a good deal chagrin'd at their ap- 
pearance, 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 proprietor, and it gave him great offense. No 
such honor had been paid him when in the province, nor to any of 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY I45 

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 re- 
flections on his meanness and injustice of contending for it. He ac- 
cused 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. 

Notwithstanding the continual wrangle between the governor 
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 difference. 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 pro- 
fessional habit, and that, being bred a lawyer, he might consider us 
both as merely advocates for contending clients in a suit, he for the 
proprietaries and I for the Assembly. He would, therefore, some- 
times 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 provisions; 
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 protec- 
tion, till, by re-enforcements from the colonies, he might be able to 
proceed on the expedition. And, after my return from the frontier, 
he would have had me undertake the conduct of such an expedition 
with provincial troops, for the reduction of Fort Duquesne, Dunbar 



146 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

and his men being otherwise employed; and he proposed to com- 
mission 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 in- 
fluence in Assembly, the grant of money to pay them, and that, per- 
haps, without taxing the proprietary estate. Finding me not so for- 
ward 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, who was 
lately arrived from Scotland, and show'd me some electric experi- 
ments. 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 com- 
pany receiv'd from Mr. P. CoUinson, 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 opportunity of re- 
peating 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 prac- 
tice, for my house was continually full, for some time, with people 
who came to see these new wonders. 

To divide a little 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 perform- 
ers. Among these, the principal was Mr. Kinnersley, an ingenious 
neighbor, who, being out of business, I encouraged to undertake 
showing the experiments for money, and drew up for him two lec- 
tures, in which the experiments were rang'd in such order, and ac- 
companied 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 instru- 
ment-makers. His lectures were well attended, and gave great satis- 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 1 47 

faction; 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 coidd be 
made, from the general moisture of the air. 

Oblig'd as we were to Mr. CoUinson 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 experi- 
ments. 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 Trans- 
actions. One paper, which I wrote for Mr. Kinnersley, on the same- 
ness of Hghtning with electricity, I sent to Dr. Mitchel, an acquaint- 
ance 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 connois- 
seurs. The papers, however, being shown to Dr. Fothergill, he 
thought them of too much value to be stifled, and advis'd the print- 
ing of them. Mr. CoUinson then gave them to Cave for pubUcation 
in his Gendeman's Magazine; but he chose to print them separately 
in a pamphlet, and Dr. Fothergill wrote the preface. Cave, it seems, 
judged rightly for his profit, for by the additions that arrived after- 
ward they swell'd to a quarto volume, which has had five edidons, 
and cost him nothing for copy-money. 

It was, however, some time before those papers were much taken 
nouce of in England. A copy of them happening to fall into the 
hands of the Count de Buffon, a philosopher deservedly of great 
reputadon 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 Nollet, preceptor in Nat- 
ural Philosophy to the royal family, and an able experimenter, who 
had form'd and publish 'd a theory of electricity, 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 the positions deduc'd from them. 

I once purpos'd answering the abbe, and actually began the 



148 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

answer; but, on consideration that my writings contain'd a descrip- 
tion of experiments which any one might repeat and verify, and if not 
to be verifi'd, could not be defended; or of observations ofler'd as con- 
jectures, and not deUvered 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 misconceptions 
of one another's meaning, much of one of the abbe's letters being 
founded on an error in the translation, I concluded to let my papers 
shift for themselves, believing it was better to spend what time I 
could spare from public 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 
my friend M. le Roy, of the Royal Academy of Sciences, took up my 
cause and refuted him; my book was translated into the Italian, Ger- 
man, and Latin languages; and the doctrine it contain'd was by de- 
grees universally adopted by the philosophers of Europe, in prefer- 
ence 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 its proposed experiments, made by Messrs. Dali- 
bard and De Lor at Marly, for drawing lightning from the clouds. 
This engag'd the public attention every where. M. de Lor, who had 
an apparatus for experimental philosophy, and lectur'd in that 
branch of science, undertook to repeat what he called the Philadel- 
phia Experiments; 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, when 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 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 1 49 

to them; and the celebrated Dr. Watson drew up a summary ac- 
count of them, and of all I had afterwards sent to England on the 
subject, which he accompanied with some praise of the writer. This 
summary was then printed in their Transactions; and some mem- 
bers of the society in London, particularly the very ingenious Mr. 
Canton, having verified the experiment of procuring lightning from 
the clouds by a 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 applica- 
tion 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-mentioned medal from the Royal Society, which he pre- 
sented to me at an entertainment given him by the city. He accom- 
panied 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 friendship 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 harmony 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 drink- 
ers, finding we did not return immediately to the table, sent us a 



150 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

decanter o£ 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 unnecessary to 
me; and that, being a member of the Assembly, I could not pos- 
sibly 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 hamf)er'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 employ'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 per- 
sisted in manacling their deputies with instructions inconsistent not 
only with the privileges of the people, but with the service of the 

'•The many unanimous resolves of the Assembly — what date? — [Marg. nole.'i 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY I5I 

crown, resolv'd to petition the king against them, and appointed 
me their agent to go over to England, to present and support the 
petition. The House had sent up a bill to the governor, granting a 
sura 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 en- 
deavor 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 dis- 
cuss'd the business. In behalf of the Assembly, I urg'd all the various 
arguments that may be found in the pubUc 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 en- 
treated 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 pro- 
vide for that defense ourselves, they must remain expos'd to the 
enemy. 

I acquainted the House with what had pass'd, and, presenting 
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 my only recompense 



152 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

was his lordship's thanks for my service, all the credit of obtaining 
the accommodation falling to his share. 

He set out for New York before me; and, as the time for dis- 
patching 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 might 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 may 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 harbor, 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 de- 
tain'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 they had given 
for insurance (it being war time) for fall goods! but their anxiety 
avail'd nothing; his lordship's letters were not ready; and yet who- 
ever 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 Governor 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 call to-morrow at nine for the general's answer to 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 1 53 

the governor, and should set of? 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 
morning these two weeks past for 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 horsebacl^, 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 l^noiv 
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 passengers 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 were 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, carried them with 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 commanded 
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 hinder her fast sailing, a point of 
consequence for a paquet-boat, and requested an allowance of time 



154 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

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 
obtain'd leave, though detained afterwards from day to day during 
full three months. 

I saw also in London one of Bonnell's passengers, who was so 
enrag'd against his lordship for deceiving and detaining 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 Braddock, 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 beyond 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. Loudoun, instead 
of defending the colonies with his great army, left them totally 
expws'd while he paraded idly at Halifax, by which means Fort 
George was lost, besides, he derang'd all our mercantile of)erations, 
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 contractors, 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. 

Shirley was, I believe, sincerely glad of being relieved from so 
burdensome a charge as the conduct of an army must be to a man 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY I55 

unacquainted with military business. I was at the entertainment 
given by the city of New York to Lord Loudoun, on his taking upon 
him the command. Shirley, 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. Frankhn, I find a low seat 
the easiest." 

While I was, as afore mention'd, detain'd at New York, I receiv'd 
all the accoimts of the provisions, etc., that I had furnish'd to Brad- 
dock, some of which accounts could not sooner be obtain'd from the 
different persons I had employ'd to assist in the business. I pre- 
sented them to Lord Loudoun, desiring to be paid the ballance. 
He caus'd them to be regularly 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 on the paymaster. This was, however, put off from 
time to time; and, tho' I call'd often for it by appointment, 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 appear'd 
clearly not to believe me; and, indeed, I 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 



156 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

the swiftness of his ship; unfortunately, when we came to sea, she 
proved the dullest of ninety-six sail, to his no small mortification. 
After many conjectures respecting the cause, when 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 
persons. While we stood there, the ship mended her pace, and soon 
left her neighbour far behind, which prov'd clearly what our cap- 
tain suspected, that she was loaded too much by the head. The casks 
of water, it seems, had been all plac'd forward; 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 wager ensu'd between the two cap- 
tains, 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 observation. 
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 may partly be 
occasion'd by the different opinions of seamen respecting the modes 
of 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. Be- 
sides, it scarce ever happens that a ship is form'd, fitted for the sea, 
and sail'd by the same person. One man builds the hull, another 



HIS AUTOBICXJRAPHY 1 57 

rigs her, a third lades and sails her. No one of these has the advan- 
tage 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 properest place 
for the masts: then the form and quantity of sails, 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 observa- 
tion, 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 was 
probably the cause of what happened to us. 

We had a watchman plac'd in the bow, to whom they often called, 
"Loo\ well out before there," and he as often answered, "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 helm, and from the rest of the watch, but by an 



158 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

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 Cap- 
tain Kennedy, jumping upon deck, and seeing 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 deUverance impressed 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 we 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. 

I set out immediately, with my son, for London, and we only 
stopt a little by the way to view Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain, and 
Lord Pembroke's house and gardens, with his very curious antiqui- 
ties at Wilton. We arrived in London the 27th of July, 1757." 

" Here terminates the Autobiography, 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 1868. — Ed. 



AS SOON as I was settled in a lodging Mr. Charles had pro- 
JL\ vided for me, I went to visit Dr. Fothergill, to whom I was 
X .A. Strongly recommended, and whose counsel respecting my 
proceedings I was advis'd to obtain. He was against an immediate 
complaint to government, and thought the proprietaries should first 
be fjersonally appH'd to, who might possibly be induc'd by the inter- 
position and {jersuasion of some private friends, to accommodate 
matters amicably. I then waited on my old friend and correspondent, 
Mr. Peter Collinson, who told me that John Hanbury, 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 GDuncil and wished to see me as soon as possible. 
I agreed to go with him the next morning. Accordingly Mr. Han- 
bury 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 present state of affairs in America and discourse there- 
upon, he said to me: "You Americans have wrong ideas of the 
nature of your constitution; you contend that the king's instructions 
to his governors are not laws, and think yourselves at liberty to 
regard or disregard them at your own discretion. But those instruc- 
tions are not like the pocket instructions given to a minister going 
abroad, for regulating his conduct in some trifling point of cere- 
mony. They are first drawn up by judges learned in the laws; they 
are then considered, debated, and perhaps amended 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 doctrine to me. 
I had always understood from our charters that our laws were to 
be made by our Assemblies, to be presented indeed to the king for 
his royal assent, but that being once given the king could not repeal 
or alter them. And as the Assemblies could 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 mistaken. I did not 

>59 



l6o BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

think so, however, and his lordship's conversation having a Httle 
alarm'd me as to what might be the sentiments of the court con- 
cerning us, I wrote it down as soon as I return'd to my 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 was thrown out by 
the Commons, for which we adored them 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 themselves. 

After some days. Dr. Fothergill having spoken to the proprietaries, 
they agreed to a meeting with me 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 meant 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 
all hop)e of agreement. However, it was concluded 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, who managed 
for them all their law business in their great suit with the neigh- 
bouring proprietary of Maryland, Lord Baltimore, which had sub- 
sisted 70 years, and wrote for them all their papers and messages 
in their dispute with the Assembly. He was a proud, angry man, 
and as I had occasionally in the answers of the Assembly 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 me, which discovering itself whenever we met, I declin'd 
the proprietary's proposal that he and I should discuss the heads of 
complaint 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 pro- 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY l6l 

prietaries, but without obtaining any other than that they had not 
yet received the opinion of the Attorney and Solicitor-General. What 
it was when they did receive it I never learnt, for they did not 
communicate 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 Assembly 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 
address'd the paper to them with their assum'd titles of True and 
Absolute Proprietaries of the Province of Pennsylvania, which I 
omitted as not thinking it necessary in a paper, the intention of 
which was only to reduce to a certainty by writing, what in con- 
versation 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, counselled 
by Paris, determined to oppose its receiving the royal assent. Ac- 
cordingly they petition'd the king in Council, and a hearing was 
appointed in which two lawyers were employ '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 proprietaries 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 such effect. That the assessors were honest 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 proprietaries 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 



1 62 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

money, ;f 100,000, being printed and given to the king's use, ex- 
pended 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 selfishness of the 
proprietors in soliciting such a general catastrophe, 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 beckoning me took me into the clerk's chamber, 
while the lawyers were 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." 
I answer'd, "None at all." He then call'd in Paris, and after some 
discourse, his lordship's proposition was accepted on both sides; 
a paper to the purpose was 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. 
Some changes were however recommended and we also engaged 
they should be made by a subsequent law, but the Assembly did not 
think them necessary; for one year's tax having been levied by the 
act before the order of Council arrived, they appointed a committee 
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 found the tax 
had been assess'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 
the credit of the pap)er money then spread over all the country. 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. . . . [Unfinished.] 



CHIEF EVENTS IN FRANKLIN'S LIFE 

[Ending, as it does, with the year 1757, the autobiography leaves im- 
portant facts unrecorded. It has seemed advisable, therefore, to detail the 
chief events in Franklin's life, from the beginning, in the following list: 

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

1714 At the age of eight, enters the Grammar School. 

1716 Becomes his father's assistant in the tallow-chandlery business. 

171 8 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 f>aper; becomes a free-thinker, and a 
vegetarian. 

1723 Breaks his indenture and removes to Philadelphia; obtains employ- 

ment in Keimer's printing-office; abandons vegetarianism. 

1724 Is persuaded by Governor Keith to establish himself independently, 

and goes to London to buy type; works at his 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 Gazette"; 

prints, anonymously, "Nature and Necessity of a Paper Cur- 
rency"; opens a stationer's shop. 

1730 Marries Deborah Read. 

1731 Founds the Philadelphia Library. 

1732 FHiblishes the first number of "Poor Richard's Almanac" under the 

pseudonym of "Richard Saunders." The Almanac, which con- 
tinued for twenty-five years to contain his witty, worldly-wise 
sayings, played a very large part in bringing together and mold- 
ing the American character which was at that time made up of 
so many diverse and scattered types. 
163 



164 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

1733 Begins to study French, Italian, Spanish, and Latin. 

1736 Chosen clerk of the General Assembly; forms the Union Fire Com- 

pany 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 1749 and devel- 

ops into the University of Pennsylvania. 

1744 Establishes the American Philosophical Society. 

1746 Publishes a pamphlet, "Plain Truth," on the necessity for dis- 
ciplined defense, and forms a military company; begins elec- 
trical experiments. 

1748 Sells out his printing business; is apfwinted on the Commission of 

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

1749 Appointed a Commissioner to trade with the Indians. 

1751 Aids in founding a hospital. 

1752 Experiments with a kite and discovers that lightning is an elec- 

trical discharge. 

1753 Awarded the Copley medal for this discovery, and elected a mem- 

ber of the Royal Society; receives the degree of MA. from Yale 
and Harvard. Appointed joint Postmaster-General. 

1754 Appointed one of the Commissioners from Pennsylvania to the 

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

'755 Pledges his personal property in order that supplies may 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 appointed Colonel, and takes the Beld. 

1757 Introduces a bill in the Assembly for paving the streets of Phila- 
delphia; publishes his famous "Way to Wealth"; goes to Eng- 
land to plead the cause of the Assembly against the Proprietaries; 
remains as agent for Pennsylvania; enjoys the friendship of the 
scientific and literary men of the kingdom. 

[here the autobiography breaks off] 

1760 Secures from the Privy Council, by a compromise, a decision oblig- 
ing the Proprietary estates to contribute to the public revenue. 

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



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 1 65 

1763 Makes a five months' tour of the northern colonies for the purpose 

of inspecting the post-offices. 

1764 Defeated by the Penn faction for reelection to the Assembly; sent 

to England as agent for Pennsylvania. 

1765 Endeavors to prevent the passage of the Stamp Act. 

1766 Examined before the House of Commons relative to the passage of 

the Stamp Act; appointed agent of Massachusetts, New Jersey, 
and Georgia; visits Gottingen University. 

1767 Travels in France and is presented at court. 
1769 Procures a telescope for Harvard College. 

1772 Elected Associ^ Etranger of the French Academy. 

1774 Dismissed from the office of Postmaster-General; influences Thomas 

Paine to emigrate to America. 

1775 Returns to America; chosen a delegate to the Second Continental 

Congress; placed on the committee of secret correspondence; 
appointed one of the commissioners to secure the cooperation 
of Canada. 

1776 Placed on the committee to draft a E)eclaration of Independence; 

chosen president of the Constitutional Committee of Pennsyl- 
vania; sent to France as agent of the colonies. 

1778 Concludes treaties of defensive alliance, and of amity and com- 

merce; is received at court. 

1779 Appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to France. 

1780 Appoints Paul Jones commander of the "Alliance." 

1782 Signs the preliminary articles of peace. 

1783 Signs the definite treaty of peace. 

1785 Returns to America; is chosen President of Pennsylvania; re- 
elected 1786. 

1787 Reelected President; sent as delegate to the convention for framing 

a Federal Constitution. 

1788 Retires from public life. 

1790 April 17, dies. His grave is in the churchyard at Fifth and Arch 
streets, Philadelphia. Editor.] 



THE JOURNAL OF 
JOHN WOOLMAN 



INTRODUCTORY NOTE 

John Wcxjlman was born at Northampton, N. J., in 1720, and died 
at York, England, in 1772. He was the child of Quaker parents, and from 
his youth was a zealous member of the Society of Friends. His "Journal," 
published posthumously in 1774, sufficiently describes his way of life 
and the spirit in which he did his work; but his extreme humility pre- 
vents him from making clear the importance of the part he played in the 
movement against slaveholding among the Quakers. 

During the earlier years of their setdement in America, the Friends 
took part in the traffic in slaves with apparently as little hesitation as their 
fellow colonists; but in 1671 George Fox, visiting the Barbados, was 
struck by the inconsistency of slaveholding 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 Jersey, 
was asked to make out a bill 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. Shordy afterward he began his laborious foot-journeys, 
pleading everywhere with his co-religionists, 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 his influence did not stop there, 
for no small part of the enthusiasm of the general emancipation move- 
ment is traceable to his labors. 

His own words in this "Journal," of an extraordinary simplicity and 
charm, are the best expression of a p)ersonality which in its ardor, purity 
of motive, breadth of sympathy, and clear spiritual insight, gives Wool- 
man a place among the uncanonized saints of America. 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

(1720-1772) 

CHAPTER I 

I 720-1 742 

His Birth and Parentage — Some Account of the Operations of Divine 
Grace on his Mind in his Youth — His first Appearance in the 
Ministry — And his Considerations, while Young, on the Keeping of 
Slaves. 

I HAVE often felt a motion of love to leave some hints in writ- 
ing of my experience of the goodness of God, and now, in the 
thirty-sixth year of my age, 1 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 ac- 
quainted with the operations of Divine love. Through the care of 
my parents, I was taught to read nearly as soon as I was capable of 
it; and as I went from school one day, I remember that while my 
companions were playing by the way, I went forward out of sight, 
and, sitting down, I read the twenty-second chapter of Revelation: 
"He showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, pro- 
ceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb, &c." In reading 
it, my mind was drawn to seek after that pure habitation which I 
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 such an effect 
upon me that when boys used ill language it troubled me; and, 
through the continued mercies of God, I was preserved from that 
evil. 

The pious instructions of my parents were often fresh in my 
mind, when I happened to be among wicked children, and were 
of use to me. Having a large family of children, they used fre- 

169 



170 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

quently, on first-days, after meeting, to set us one after another to 
read the Holy Scriptures, or some religious books, the rest sitting 
by without much conversation; 1 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 way 
a robin sitting on her nest, and as I came near she went off; but 
having young ones, she flew 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 way, 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 want 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 exercise goodness towards every 
living creature; and this being singly attended to, people become 
tender-hearted and sympathizing; 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 some misconduct, to which I made an 
undutiful reply. The next first-day, as I was with my father return- 
ing from meeting, he told me that he understood 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 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN I7I 

silent. Being thus awakened 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 repent- 
ance. 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 increased, 
and thereby my way grew more difficult. Though I had found 
comfort 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 resolution to return, hence serious 
reflections were uneasy to me, and youthful vanities and diversions 
were my greatest pleasure. In this road I found many like myself, 
and we associated 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 myself. I had not confidence to lift up my cries 
to God, whom I had thus offended; but in a deep sense of my great 
folly I was humbled before him. At length that word which is as 
a fire and a hammer broke and dissolved my rebellious heart; my 
cries were put up in contrition; and in the multitude of his mercies 



172 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

I found inward relief, and a close engagement that if he was pleased 
to restore my health I might walk humbly before him. 

After 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 ungratefully 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 company brought an awe upon 
me. 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 ojjened, and first 
cast my eye on the text, "We lie down in our shame, and our con- 
fusion covereth 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 delivered from those vanities; then again my 
heart was strongly inclined to them, and there was in me a sore 
conflict. At times I turned to folly, and then again sorrow and 
confusion took hold of me. In a while I resolved totally 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 was not low enough to find 
true peace. Thus for some months I had great troubles; my will 
was unsubjected, which rendered my labors fruitless. At length, 
through the merciful 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 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 173 

I humbly prayed to the Lord for his help, that I might be deUvered 
from all those vanities which so ensnared me. Thus being brought 
low, he helped me, and as I learned to bear the cross I felt refresh- 
ment 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 principle. In times of sorrow and abasement these instruc- 
tions were 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 
hfe was best for me, I was strengthened to keep from such company 
as had often been a snare to me. 

I kept steadily to meetings, spent first-day afternoons chiefly in 
reading the Scriptures and other good books, and was early con- 
vinced in my mind that true religion consisted in an inward Ufe, 
wherein the heart does love and reverence God the Creator, and 
learns to exercise true justice and goodness, not only toward all 
men, but also toward the brute creatures; that, as the mind was 
moved by an inward principle to love God as an invisible, incom- 
prehensible Being, so, by the same principle, it was 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, 
to say we love God as unseen, and at the same time exercise cruelty 
toward the least creature moving by his life, or by life derived from 
him, was a contradiction in itself. I found no narrowness resp)ecting 
sects and opinions, but believed that sincere, upright-hearted people, 
in every society, who truly love God, were accepted of him. 

As I lived under the cross, and simply followed the opening of 
truth, my mind, from day to day, was more enlightened, my former 
acquaintance were left to judge of me as they would, for I found it 



174 'r**^ JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

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 
awfulness covered me. My heart was tender and often contrite, and 
universal love to my fellow<reatures increased in me. This will 
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 righdy 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 attend- 
ing 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 \vith my parents, and wrought on the planta- 
tion; and having had schooling pretty well for a planter, I used to 
improve myself 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 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 humility 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 was visited by several young people, my former acquaintance, 
who supposed that vanities would be as agreeable to me now as 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 1 75 

ever. At these times I cried to the Lord in secret for wisdom 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 sup- 
phcation was often poured upon me; under which I was frequendy 
exercised, and felt my strength renewed. 

After a while, my former acquaintance gave over expecting 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 pollu- 
tions, 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<reatures. I went to meetings 
in an awful frame of mind, and endeavored to be inwardly ac- 
quainted with the language of the true Shepherd. One day, being 
under a strong exercise of spirit, I stood up and said some words in 
a meeting; but not keeping close to the Divine opening, I said more 
than was required of me. Being soon sensible of my error, I was 
afflicted in mind some weeks, without any light or comfort, even 
to that degree that I could not take satisfaction 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 forgive- 
ness 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 meeting, in which I 
found p)eace. 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 



176 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

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 whoever are, are called to 
minister of that which they have tasted and handled spiritually. 
The outward modes of worship are various; but whenever any are 
true ministers of Jesus Christ, it is from the operation of his Spirit 
upon their hearts, first purifying them, and thus giving them a just 
sense of the conditions of others. This truth was early fixed in my 
mind, and I was taught to watch the pure opening, and to take heed 
lest, while I was standing to speak, my own will should get upper- 
most, 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 with thank- 
fulness, I found truth to be my supfxjrt; and I was resfjected in my 
master's family, who came to live in Mount Holly within 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 brought them to 
Mount Holly to sell, one of whom was taken sick and died. In the 
latter part of his sickness, being delirious, he used to curse and 
swear most sorrowfully; and the next night after his burial I was 
left to sleep alone in the chamber where he died. I perceived in me 
a timorousness; 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 incitement 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 providence of the 
Almighty over his creatures in general, and over man as the most 
noble amongst those which are visible. And being clearly con- 
vinced 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 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 1 77 

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 Ezekiel, 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 afterwards he died, middle-aged; 
and I often thought that had I neglected my duty in that case it 
would have given me great trouble; and I was humbly thankful to 
my gracious Father, who had supported me herein. 

My employer, having a negro woman,' sold her, and desired me 
to write a bill of sale, the man being waiting who bought her. The 
thing was sudden; and though I felt uneasy at the thoughts of 
writing an instrument of slavery for one of my fellow<reatures, 
yet I remembered that I was hired by the year, that it was my master 
who directed me to do it, and that it was an elderly man, a member 
of our Society, who bought her; so through weakness I gave way, 
and wrote it; but at the executing of it I was so afflicted 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 reli- 
gion. This, in some degree, abated my uneasiness; yet as often as I 

'The number of slaves in New Jersey at this time must have been considerable, 
for even as late as 1800 there were over 12,000 of them. The newly imported Afri- 
cans were deposited at Perth Amboy. In 1734 there were enough of them to make 
a formidable though unsuccessful insurrection. 



178 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

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 was. 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 1 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 keep- 
ing slaves was not altogether agreeable to his mind; but that the 
slave being a gift made to his wife he had accepted her. 



CHAPTER II 

1743-1748 

His first Journey, on a Religious Visit, in East Jersey — Thoughts on Mer- 
chandising, and Learning a Trade — Second Journey into Pennsyl- 
vania, . 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. 

MY esteemed friend Abraham Farrington being about to 
make a visit to Friends on the eastern side of this province, 
and having no companion, he proposed to me to go with 
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 Assem- 
bly, 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 
Presbyterians, and my beloved companion was frequendy strength- 
ened to publish the word of life amongst them. As for me, I was 
often silent through the meetings, 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 several 
families were concerned, and which was attended with difficulties, 
some things relating thereto not being clearly stated, nor rightly 
understood by all, there arose some heat in the minds of the parties, 

179 



l8o THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

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 diffi- 
cult; after some days' deliberation, and inward seeking to the Lord 
for assistance, I was made subject, so that I expressed what lay upon 
me in a way which became my youth and his years; and though it 
was a hard task to me it was well taken, and I beUeve was useful 
to us both. 

Having now been several years with my employer, and he doing 
less in merchandise than heretofore, I was thoughtful 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 entanglement appeared best for me, 
though the income might be small. I had several offers of business 
that app)eared 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 
humble 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, was 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 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 believed 
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 revela- 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN l8l 

tion of Jesus Christ I had seen the happiness of humiUty, and there 
was an earnest desire in me 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 gosp)el love in my mind, and therein a 
concern to visit Friends in some of the back settlements of Penn- 
sylvania 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 Mary- 
land, 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 Bur- 
lington. 

We left our province on the I2th 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 meetings 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 wilderness; and though the best entertain- 
ment 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 sweet influ- 
ence of his Spirit supported us through some difficulties: to him be 
the praise. 

We passed on to Manoquacy, Fairfax, Hopewell, and Shanando, 



1 82 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

and had meetings, some of which were comfortable and edifying. 
From Shanando, we set off in the afternoon 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 
with a horse, and we young, and having good horses, were free the 
next day to part with 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 
inhabitants; yet through the goodness of our Heavenly Father the 
well of living waters was at times opened to our encouragement, 
and the refreshment of the sincere-hearted. We went on to Per- 
quimans, in North Carolina; had several large meetings, and found 
some openness in those parts, and a hopeful appearance amongst the 
young people. Afterwards 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 made 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 way of)ened, in the love of truth. Thence, taking sundry 
meetings in our way, we passed towards home, which, through the 
favor of Divine Providence, we reached the i6th of sixth month, 
1746; and I may say, that through the assistance 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<ost 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 un- 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 1 83 

easiness return upon me, at times, through the whole visit. Where 
the masters bore a good share of the burden, and Uved frugally, so 
that their servants were well provided for, and their labor moderate, 
I felt more easy; but where they lived in a costly way, and laid heavy 
burdens on their slaves, my exercise was often great, and I frequently 
had conversation with them in private concerning it. Secondly, this 
trade of impwrting 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 con- 
sequence 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 company with my beloved friend 
and neighbor Peter Andrews, brother to my companion before 
mentioned, and visited them in their meetings generally about 
Salem, Cape May, Great and Little Egg Harbor; we had meetings 
also at Barnagat, Manahockin, and Mane Squan, and so to the 
Yearly Meeting at Shrewsbury. Through the goodness of the Lord 
way was opened, and the strength of Divine love was sometimes 
felt in our assemblies, to the comfort and help of those who were 
rightly concerned before him. We were out twenty-two days, and 
rode, by computation, three hundred and forty miles. At Shrews- 
bury Yearly Meeting we met with our dear friends Michael Light- 
foot and Abraham Farrington, who had good service there. 

The winter following 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 company 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 



184 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

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 dwelling-house, at which 
were many people. At the former there was not much said by way 
of testimony, but it was, I believe, a good meeting; at the latter, 
through the springing up of living waters, it was a day to be thank- 
fully remembered. 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 several people 
who, through the immediate workings 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 considerable 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, being 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 that inward convincement, 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 con- 
cerning 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 duty, as it was in- 
wardly manifested, had many difficulties to go through. In a while 
their meetings were dropped; some of them returned to the Pres- 
byterians, and others joined to our religious society. 

I had conversation with some of the latter to my help and edifica- 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 1 85 

tion, 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, accompanied me through Con- 
necticut, 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, Dartmouth, 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 
hundred 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 exf)erience 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 p)eople which truth opened in us. My beloved companion 
and I belonged both to one meeting, came forth in the ministry 
near the same time, 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 Dela- 
ware, and on the eastern shore of Maryland, and having an oppor- 
tunity 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 goodness of the 



1 86 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

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 his Father — His Journeys into the upper 
part of New Jersey, and afterwards into Pennsylvania — Considera- 
tions on keeping Slaves, and Visits to the Families of Friends at sev- 
eral times and places — An Epistle from the General Meeting — His 
journey to Long Island — Considerations on Trading and on the Use 
of Spirituous Liquors and Costly Apparel — Letter to a Friend. 

A BOUT this time, believing it good for me to settle, and think- 

ZJm ing seriously about a companion, my heart was turned to 
X .A. 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 
1 8th of eighth month, 1749. 

In the fall of the year 1750 died my father, Samuel Woolman, of 
a fever, aged about sixty years. In his lifetime he manifested much 
care for us his children, that in our youth we might learn to fear the 
Lord; and often endeavored to imprint in our minds the true prin- 
ciples of virtue, and particularly to cherish in us a spirit of tender- 
ness, not only towards poor people, but also towards all creatures 
of which we had the command. 

After my return from Carolina in 1746, 1 made some observations 
on keeping slaves, which some time before his decease I showed to 
him; he perused the manuscript, proposed 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 take 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." 

187 



1 88 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

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 signified 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 leav- 
ing 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 sister 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 weakness 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, 1751. — 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 my 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 some distance lying sick, his brother 
came to me to write his will. I knew he had slaves, 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 inclination, I was straitened in my mind; but as 
I looked to the Lord, he inclined my heart to his testimony. I told 
the man that I believed the practice of continuing slavery to this 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 189 

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 righteousness, 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 some small alterations in it, directed a number of copies thereof 
to be published and dispersed 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 ojjened 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 to the Lord, waiting in families in deep rever- 
ence 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 jxjople. 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 Shrewsbury, in company with my 
beloved friend, John Sykes; and I have cause humbly to acknowl- 
*TA«> pamphlet was published by Benjamin Franklin, 17 54. 



190 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

edge that through the goodness 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 from 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 month, inclusive, 175$, 

To Friends on the Continent of America: — 

Dear Friends, — In an humble 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 grasshoppers." (Isa. xl. 22.) 

Being convinced that the gracious design of the Almighty in send- 
ing his Son into the world was to repair the breach made by dis- 
obedience, 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 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. 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 19I 

In a deep sense thereof, and of the safety, stabiUty, and peace that 
are in it, we are desirous that all who profess the uuth may be 
inwardly acquainted with it, and thereby be qualified to conduct 
ourselves in all parts of our life as becomes our peaceable profession; 
and we trust as there is a faithful continuance to depend wholly 
ufxjn the almighty arm, from one generation to another, the peace- 
able kingdom will gradually be extended "from sea to sea, and from 
the river to the ends of the earth" (Zech. ix. 10), to the completion 
of those prophecies already begun, that "nation shall not lift up a 
sword against nation, nor learn war any more." (Isa. ii. 4. Micah 

>v. 3-) 

And, dearly beloved friends, seeing that we have these promises, 
and believe that God is beginning to fulfil them, let us constantly 
endeavor to have our minds sufficiently disentangled from the sur- 
feiting cares of this life, and redeemed from the love of the world, 
that no earthly possessions 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 may we say, "Our Re- 
deemer is mighty, he will plead our cause for us." (Jer. 1. 34.) And 
if, for the further promoting of his most gracious purposes in the 
earth, he should give us to taste of that bitter cup of which his 
faithful ones have often partaken, O that we might be rightly pre- 
pared to receive it! 

And now, dear friends, with respect to the commotions and stir- 
rings of the fxjwers of the earth at this time near us, we are desirous 
that none of us may be moved thereat, but repose ourselves in the 
munition of that rock which all these shakings shall not move, even 
in the knowledge 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, full and empty, joyful and sorrowful, as things go well or ill 
in this world. For as the truth is but one, and many are made par- 
takers 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 



192 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

hearts, shall rejoice in the midst of adversity, and have to experience 
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 to support ourselves, 
our confidence therein will be 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 promoting 
of his own glory, he doth arise, even to shake terribly the earth, who 
then may oppose him, and prosf^r ? 

We remain, in the love of the gospel, your friends and brethren. 

(Signed by fourteen Friends.) 

Scrupling to do writings relative to keeping slaves has been a 
means of sundry small trials to me, in which 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 busi- 
ness for a living, are naturally inclined to keep the good-will of their 
customers; nor is it 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 cus- 
toms, 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 acquainted with a negro, may, I 
believe, under some circumstances, keep him in his family as a ser- 
vant, 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. 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 193 

About this time an ancient man of good esteem in the neighbor- 
hood came to my house to get his will written. He had young ne- 
groes, and I asked him privately how he purposed 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-mentiond 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 
to him. I then told him in a friendly way that I could not write any 
instruments by which my fellow<reatures were made slaves, with- 
out 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 Is- 
land, after obtaining a certificate from our Monthly Meeting, I set 
off i2th 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 



194 '^■'H^ JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

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 faith- 
fulness 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 observing that they had 
slaves, I found myself under a necessity, in a friendly way, to labor 
with them on that subject; expressing, as way opened, the incon- 
sistency of that practice with the purity of the Christian religion, and 
the ill effects of it manifested amongst us. 

The latter end of the week their Yearly Meeting began; at which 
were our friends, John Scarborough, Jane Hoskins, and Susannah 
Brown, from Pennsylvania. The public meetings were large, and 
measurably favored with Divine goodness. The exercise of my 
mind at this meeting was chiefly on account of those who were con- 
sidered as the foremost rank in the Society; and in a meeting of min- 
isters and elders way opened for me to express in some measure 
what 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 Heaven- 
ly Father, strength was given fully to clear myself of a burden which 
for some days had been increasing upon me. 

Through the humbling dispensations of Divine Providence, men 
are sometimes fitted for his service. The messages of the prophet 
Jeremiah were so disagreeable to the people, and so adverse to the 
spirit they Hved in, that he became the object of their reproach, and 
in the weakness of nature he thought of desisting from his prophetic 
office; but saith he, "His word was in my heart as a burning fire shut 
up in my bones; and I was weary with forbearing, 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 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 1 95 

inclination. After this I went homeward, taking Woodbridge and 
Plainfield 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 much 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 reverence before him, with fervent desires that 
I might find strength to resign myself to his heavenly will. 

Until this year, 1756, 1 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 Unens; and at length, having got a considerable shop of goods, 
my trade increased every year, and the way to large business 
apjjeared 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 hving. I had but a small 
family; and, on serious consideration, believed truth did not require 
me to engage much in cumbering affairs. It had been my general 
practice to buy and sell things really useful. Things that served 
chiefly to please the vain mind in f)eople, I was not easy to trade in; 
seldom did it; and whenever I did I found it weaken me as a Chris- 
tian. 

The increase of business became my burden; for though my 
natural inclination was toward merchandise, yet I believed 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 pray- 
ers were put up to the Lord, who graciously heard me, and gave 
me a heart resigned 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. 



196 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

and inoculating.^ In merchandise it is the custom where I lived to 
sell chiefly on credit, and poor f)eople often get in debt; when pay- 
ment 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 inconveniences; and that these 
two things appear to be often 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 drunk- 
ards a craving of liquors to revive the spirits; that partly by the lux- 
urious drinking of some, and partly by the drinking of others (led 
to it through immoderate labor), very great quantities of rum are 
every year expended in our colonies; the greater part of which we 
should have no need of, did we steadily attend to pure wisdom. 

When men take pleasure in feeling their minds elevated with 
strong drink, and so indulge their appetite as to disorder their under- 
standings, 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 

' He seems to have regarded agriculture as the business most 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 employment of husbandry, where 
labor is agreeable and healthful." He does not condemn the honest acquisition of 
wealth in other business free from oppression; 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 YOURSELVES tteasurcs 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 overgrow- 
ing 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 people who went about bowed down with the weight 
of broad acres and great houses on their baclu. — Note in edition published by Mettri. 
Houghton, Mifflin & Co. 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 1 97 

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 dis- 
posed 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 Providence to the purposes for which 
they were intended. Did those who have the care of great estates at- 
tend with singleness 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 luxuries of 
life, or others in laboring too hard; but for want of steadily regard- 
ing this principle of Divine love, a selfish spirit takes place in the 
minds of people, which is attended with darkness and manifold con- 
fusions 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 thyself? seek them not." 

In the winter this year I was engaged with friends in visiting fam- 
ilies, and through the goodness of the Lord we oftentimes expe- 
rienced his heart-tendering presence amongst us. 

A Copy of a Letter written to a Friend 

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



198 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

that thou being more fully acquainted with that way which the 
world esteems foolish, mayst feel the clothing of Divine fortitude, 
and be strengthened to resist that spirit which leads from the sim- 
plicity 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 for- 
ward; but things impossible with men are possible with God; 
and our wills being made subject to his, all temptations are sur- 
mountable. 

"This work of subjecting the will is compared to the mineral 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 re- 
finer and purifier of silver.' By these comparisons we are 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 adora- 
tion by inwardly turning away from that spirit, in all its workings, 
which is not of him. To forward this work the all-wise God is some- 
times pleased, through outward distress, to bring us near the gates 
of death; that life being painful and afflicting, and the prospect of 
eternity opened before us, all earthly bonds may be loosened, and 
the mind prepared for that deep and sacred instruction which other- 
wise would not be received. If kind parents love their children and 
delight in their happiness, then he who is perfect goodness in send- 
ing abroad mortal 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 bitterness, and yet recover? He in- 
tends 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 
humble gratitude hold fast his instructions, 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 painfully 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. 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 1 99 

"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 sim- 
plicity 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 mind while I write, which is superior to all 
expression; and I find my heart open to encourage to a holy emula- 
tion, to advance forward in Christian firmness. Deep humility is a 
strong bulwark, and as we enter into it we find safety and true exal- 
tation. The foolishness of God is wiser than man, and the weakness 
of God is stronger than man. Being unclothed of our own wisdom, 
and knowing the abasement of the creature, we find that power to 
arise which gives health and vigor to us." 



CHAPTER IV 

1757. '758 

Visit to the Families of Friends at Burlington — Journey to Pennsylvania, 
Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina — Considerations on the 
State of Friends there, and the Exercise he was under in Travelling 
among those so generally concerned in keeping 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. 

THIRTEENTH fifth month, 1757.— Being in good health, 
and abroad with Friends visiting families, I 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 ap- 
parent 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 surprise, words were spoken to my in- 
ward 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 re- 
peated 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 with me part of the way; but as he had a 
view of some outward affairs, to accept of him as a companion was 
some difficulty with me, whereupon I had conversation with him at 
sundry times. At length feeling easy in my mind, I had conversation 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 201 

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 Nottingham week-day meeting, we lodged 
at John Churchman's, where I met with our friend, Benjamin Buf- 
fington, 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 exercise 
came upon me, which I often had some feeling of, since my mind 
was drawn toward these parts, and with which I had acquainted my 
brother before we agreed to join as companions. As the people in 
this and the Southern Provinces live much on the labor of slaves, 
many of whom are used hardly, my concern was that I might attend 
with singleness of heart to the voice of the true Shepherd and be so 
supported as to remain unmoved at the faces of men. 

As it is common for Friends on such a visit to have entertainment 
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 obligations to the benefactor, and has a natural tend- 
ency to draw the obliged into a party with the giver. To prevent 
difficulties 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 disciples were sent forth with- 
out any provision for their journey, 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 my present journey, I could not see my way clear 
in that respect. The difference appeared thus: the entertainment the 
disciples met with was from them whose hearts God had opened to 
receive them, from a love to them and the truth they published; but 
we, considered as members of the same religious society, look ujxjn 
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 convincing than 
language, and where people, by their actions, manifest that the slave- 



202 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

trade is not so disagreeable to their principles but that it may be en- 
couraged, there is not a sound uniting with some Friends who visit 
them. 

The prospect of so weighty a work, and of being so distinguished 
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 afflictions which attended me, and in great abasement, with 
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 ex- 
ercised, and in calmness of mind went forward, trusting that the 
Lord Jesus Christ, as I faithfully attended to him, would be a coun- 
sellor 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 de- 
sired them to accept of those pieces of silver, and give them to such 
of their negroes as they believed would make the best use of them; 
and at other times 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 me at times that my way 
was made easier than I expected; and few, if any, manifested any 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 203 

resentment at the offer, and most of them, after some conversation, 
accepted of them. 

Ninth of fifth month. — A Friend at whose house we breakfasted 
setting us a httle on our way, I had conversation with him, in the 
fear of the Lord, concerning his slaves, in which my heart was ten- 
der; I used much plainness of speech with him, and he apf)eared to 
take it kindly. We pursued our journey without appointing meet- 
ings, being pressed in my mind to be at the Yearly Meeting in Vir- 
ginia. In my travelling 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 Patow- 
mack 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 gen- 
eral betwixt a people used to labor moderately for their living, train- 
ing 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 untoward, slothful disposition of the negroes, adding that 
one of our laborers would do as much in a day as two of their slaves. 
I rephed, that free men, whose minds were properly on their busi- 
ness, 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 made 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 of them lived better here than there. I repUed, "There is 
great odds in regard to us on what principle we act"; and so the con- 
versation 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 argiunent in favor of our 
fetching them away for slaves. To which I repUed, if compassion for 



204 "^^^ JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

the Africans, on account of their domestic troubles, was the real 
motive of our purchasing them, that spirit of tenderness being at- 
tended 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 unhap- 
pily in Africa is far from being an argument in our favor. I further 
said, the present circumstances of these provinces to me appear diffi- 
cult; the slaves look like a burdensome stone to such as burden them- 
selves 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<reatures, I 
believe that burden will grow heavier and heavier, until times 
change in a way disagreeable to us. The person appeared very 
serious, and owned that in considering their condition and the man- 
ner of their treatment in these provinces 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 
difficulties which attended me, and in uncommon distress of mind I 
cried in secret to the Most High, "O Lord be merciful, I beseech thee, 
to thy poor afflicted creature!" After some time, I felt inward relief, 
and, soon after, a Friend in company began to talk in suppwrt 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 Provi- 
dence 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 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 205 

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 abomina- 
tions, and it was granted that Cain's stock was the most wicked, and 
therefore 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 mar- 
ried 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 which 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 of>- 
pressed will, in his own time, plead their cause, and happy will it be 
for such as walk in uprightness before him." And thus our conver- 
sation ended. 

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. From thence 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 pres- 



206 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

ence o£ the Lord. I lodged at James Standley's, father of William 
Standley, one of the young men who suffered imprisonment at Win- 
chester last summer on account of their testimony against fighting, 
and I had some satisfactory 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 
time of my entering Maryland I have been much under sorrow, 
which of late so increased upon me that my mind was almost over- 
whelmed, 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 generally, yet the sense of 
it in these parts hath in a particular manner borne heavy uf)on me. 
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 wis- 
dom, 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 profession of the truth, their virtues are mentioned as argu- 
ments in favor of general error; and those of less note, to justify 
themselves, say, such and such good men did the like. By what 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 name 
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. 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 207 

and though briefly to relate how these people are treated is no agree- 
able work yet, after often reading over the notes I made as I trav- 
elled, 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 followed at their business in the field by 
a man with a whip, hired for that purpKJse, 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 disobe- 
dience to overseers, or slothfulness in business, is often very severe, 
and sometimes desf)erate. 

Men and women have many times scarcely clothes sufficient 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 endeav- 
ors 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 forfeited their 
liberty that we know of. These are the souls 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 in- 
dignation 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 



208 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

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 re- 
spective Monthly Meetings. They were the Pennsylvania queries, 
which had been examined by a committee of Virginia Yearly Meet- 
ing 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 al- 
tered, "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 testi- 
mony of it, it was necessary for us to dwell deep and act in that wis- 
dom which is pure, or otherwise we could not prosper. I then men- 
tioned 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 principles, so negroes 
being captives of war, or taken by stealth, it was inconsistent with 
our testimony to buy them; and their being our fellow<reatures, 
and sold as slaves, added greatly to the iniquity. Friends appeared 
attentive to what was said; some expressed a care and concern about 
their negroes; none made any objection, by way of reply to what 
I said, but the query was admitted as they had altered it. 

As some of their members have heretofore traded in negroes, as in 
other merchandise, this query being admitted will be one step fur- 
ther 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 spread- 
ing 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 la- 
bor 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 com- 
fortable, 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 JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 209 

the same gcxxi 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 engagement 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 themselves. Expressing how needful it was for them in 
that situation 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 necessary, and so much 
neglected amongst them. At the twelfth hour the meeting of wor- 
ship 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 be- 
lieved, gained some ground, and it was a strengthening opportunity 
to the honest-hearted. 

About this time I wrote an epistle to Friends in the back settle- 
ments of North CaroUna, as follows: — 

To Friends at their Monthly Meeting at New Garden and Cane 
Creek, in North Carolina: — 

Dear Friends, — It having pleased the Lord to draw me 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 truth. First, my dear friends, dwell in hu- 
miUty; 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 
preserved in the way of safety. Where people let loose their minds 
after the love of outward things, and are more engaged in pursuing 
the profits and seeking the friendships of this world than to be in- 
wardly acquainted with the way of true peace, they walk in a vain 



210 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

shadow, while the true comfort of life is wanting. Their examples 
are often hurtful to others; and their treasures thus collected do 
many times prove dangerous snares to their children. 

But where pjeople are sincerely devoted to follow Christ, and 
dwell under the influence of his Holy Spirit, their stabiUty and firm- 
ness, 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 spread- 
ing 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, feeUng 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 
experience that they are comfortable, and tend to the health of the 
body. 

While I write, the youth come fresh in my way. Dear young peo- 
ple, choose God for your portion; love his truth, and be not ashamed 
of it; choose for your company such as 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 
we partake of in fully resigning ourselves to the Divine will. These 
enjoyments add sweetness to all other comforts, and give true satis- 
faction in company and conversation, where 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 wil- 
derness, 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 suc- 
cessors 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 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 211 

sound wisdom; but when they are otherwise the effect of them is 
grievous; and children feel themselves 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 nu- 
merous difficulties attend it. To rational creatures bondage is un- 
easy, 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 wrong methods to get 
a living. 

I have been informed that there is a large number of Friends in 
your 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 Providence, and follow in simplicity that exercise 
of body, that 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 com- 
fort 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 col- 
lected in the fear of the Lord, in honesty, in equity, and in upright- 
ness of heart before him, we may consider it as his gift to us, and 
with a single eye to his blessing, 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 righteousness, 
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 



212 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

God, in truth and reality, there is safety for us: for he is a strong- 
hold 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 Meeting, 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 were going homeward; and I went next to Simons Creek 
Monthly Meeting, where I was silent during the meeting for wor- 
ship. When business came on, my mind was exercised concerning 
the fxxjr 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 supplication besought him so to open my understanding that 
I might know his will concerning me; and, at length, my mind was 
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 weekday, 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 understanding, had 
been so exceedingly neglected; another expressed the like concern, 
and appeared zealous that in future it might be more closely con- 
sidered. At length a minute 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 many serious 
thoughts about them; and his mind was so impressed therewith that 
he believed he saw a time coming when Divine Providence would 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 213 

alter the circumstance of these people, respecting their condition as 
slaves. 

From hence I went to a meeting at Newbegun Creek, and sat a 
considerable time in much weakness; then I felt truth open the way 
to speak a little in much plainness and simplicity, till at length, 
through the increase of Divine love amongst us, we had a seasoning 
opportunity. This was also 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 meek- 
ness 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 been a minister many 
years. He came to me the next day, and as we rode together, he sig- 
nified 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 scru- 
ple in his mind in regard to paying it, and chose rather to suffer re- 
straint 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 cir- 
cumstances, he signified that it had been a heavy trial to him, espe- 
cially 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 also that I had for 
some time been under the like scruple. I believed him to be one who 
was concerned to walk uprightly before the Lord, and esteemed it 
my duty to preserve this note concerning him, Samuel Newby. 

From hence I went back into Virginia, and had a meeting 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. 



214 "^^^ JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

Travelling up and down of late, I have had renewed evidences that 
to be faithful to the Lord, and content with his will concerning me, 
is a most necessary and useful lesson for me to be learning; looking 
less at the effects of my labor than at the pure motion and reality of 
the concern, as it arises from heavenly love. In the Lord Jehovah is 
everlasting 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 way may be difficult, 
and it may require close attention to keep in it, and though the mat- 
ter in which we may be led may tend to our own abasement; yet, if 
we continue in patience and meekness, heavenly peace will be the re- 
ward of our labors. 

I attended Curies Meeting, which, though small, was reviving to 
the honest-hearted. Afterwards I went to Black Creek and Caroline 
Meetings, from whence, accompanied by William Standley before 
mentioned, I rode to Goose Creek, being much through the woods, 
and about one hundred 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 woods we were under some 
disadvantage, having no fire-works nor bells for our horses, but we 
stopped a Uttle 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, con- 
tinued to be a father to them, and showed them what tended to their 
felicity as intelligent creatures, and was acceptable to him. To pro- 
vide things relative to our outward living, in the way of true wis- 
dom, 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 inven- 
tions. As the first motive to these inventions of men, as distinct from 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 215 

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 improvements, 
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 Maryland; at both places I had cause 
humbly to adore Him who had supported me through many exer- 
cises, and by whose help I was enabled to reach the true witness in 
the hearts of others. There were some hof)eful young people in those 
parts. I had meetings afterwards at John Event's, in Monalen, 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 encouragement to the honest-minded. 

At Monalen a Friend gave me some account of a religious society 
among the Dutch called Mennonists, and amongst other things re- 
lated a passage in substance as follows: One of the Mennonists hav- 
ing acquaintance with a man of 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 ac- 
quaintance in former time wondered at his conduct in that case. The 
Mennonist replied, "Ever since I lodged by thy field I have wanted 
an opportunity to speak with thee. I had intended to come to thy 
house for entertainment, but seeing thy slaves at their work, and ob- 
serving the manner of their dress, I had no liking to come to partake 
with thee." He then admonished him to use them with more hu- 
manity, 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 



2l6 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

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 humbHng 
sense of the gracious dealings of the Lord with me, in preserving me 
through many trials and afflictions. 



CHAPTER V 

1757. 1758 

Considerations on the Payment of a Tax laid for Carrying on the War 
against the Indians — Meetings of the Committee of the Yearly 
Meeting at Philadelphia — Some 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 Ben- 
jamin Jones — Proceedings at the Monthly, Quarterly, and Yearly 
Meetings in Philadelphia, respecting those who keep Slaves. 

A FEW years past, money being made current in our province 
for carrying on wars, and to be called in again by taxes laid 
L on the inhabitants, my mind was often aflected with the 
thoughts of paying such taxes; and I believe it right for me to pre- 
serve a memorandum concerning 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 were some upright-hearted men who paid 
such taxes, yet could not see that their example was a sufHcient rea- 
son for me to do so, while I believe that the spirit of truth required 
of me, as an individual, to sufler patiendy the distress of goods, 
rather than pay actively. 

To refuse the active payment of a tax which our Society generally 
paid was exceedingly disagreeable; but to do a thing contrary to my 
conscience appeared yet more dreadful. When this exercise came 
upon me, I knew of none under the Uke difficulty; and in my dis- 

ai7 



2l8 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

tress 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 meeting for sufferers in I>ondon; 
and another to visit our Monthly and Quarterly Meetings. After 
their appointment, before the last adjournment of the meeting, it 
was agreed that these two 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 sel- 
dom 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 things which have occurred to my 
mind, as I have been inwardly exercised on that account. From the 
steady opposition 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 situation with ours, to me it appears that 
there was less danger of their being infected with the spirit of this 
world, in paying 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, separated from the spirit 
in which wars were, and being afflicted by the rulers on account 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 settlement of this land, have known little or no troubles of 
that sort. The profession of our predecessors was for a time ac- 
counted reproachful, but at length their uprightness being under- 
stood by the rulers, and their innocent sufferings moving them, our 
way of worship was tolerated, and many of our members in these 

' Christians refused to pay taxes to support heathen templet. See Cave's PrimitiTe 
Christianity, Pan III., p. 327. 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 219 

colonies became active in civil government. Being thus tried witli 
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 de- 
nied 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 stations 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 differ- 
ent, 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. Whoever 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 con- 
sidering these things, it hath not appeared strange to me that an 
exercise hath now fallen upon some, which, with respect to the out- 
ward 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 several days. 
The calamities of war were now increasing; the frontier inhabit- 
ants 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. 



220 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

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 re- 
fuse 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 commit- 
tees who appeared easy to pay the tax, after several adjournments, 
withdrew; others of them continued till the last. At length an episde 
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 (Burhngton), directing them to draft the mili- 
tia, and prepare a number of men to go off as soldiers, to the relief 
of the English at Fort William Henry, in New York government; 
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. Shordy 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 Holly, amongst 
whom were a considerable number of our Society. My mind being 
affected herewith, I had fresh opportunity to see and consider the 
advantage of living in the real substance of religion, where practice 
doth harmonize with principle. Amongst the officers are men of un- 
derstanding, who have some regard to sincerity where they see it; 
and when such in the execution of their office have men to deal with 
whom they believe to be upright-hearted, it is a painful task to put 
them to trouble on account of scruples of conscience, and they will 
be hkely to avoid it as much as easily may be. But where men pro- 
fess to be so meek and heavenly-minded, and to have their trust so 
firmly setded in God that they cannot join in wars, and yet by their 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 221 

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 an- 
swer the demands of their suf)eriors see men who are insincere pre- 
tend scruple of conscience in hopes of being excused from a danger- 
ous 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; some 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 cap- 
tain acquainted them all that they might return home for the pres- 
ent, 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 intended 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 month, 1758. — Orders came to some officers in 
Mount Holly to prepare quarters for a short time for 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 de- 
sire me to provide lodging and entertainment 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 proceedings in wars are inconsistent with the purity of the Chris- 
tian 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 offi- 



222 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

cer, 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- 
timated that he thought I might do it consistently with my religious 
principles. To which I made no reply, believing 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 1 could not take pay, 
having admitted him into my house in a passive obedience to author- 
ity. I was on horseback when he spake to me, and as I turned from 
him, he said he was obliged to me; to which I said nothing; but, 
thinking on the expression, I grew uneasy; and afterwards, being 
near 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 i 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, Jesus Christ appointing to each 
one his peculiar office, agreeably to his infinite wisdom. 

John Huss contended against the errors which had crept into the 
church, in opposition to the Council of Constance, which the his- 
torian rejjorts to have consisted of some thousand persons. He mod- 
estly vindicated the cause which he believed was right; and though 
his language and conduct 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 conscience doth repugn or 
strive against." And again, in his answer to the Emperor: "I refuse 
nothing, most noble Emperor, whatsoever the council shall decree 
or determine upon me, only this one thing I except, that I do not of- 
fend God and my conscience."- At length, rather than act contrary 
to that which he believed the Lord required of him, he chose to suf- 
fer death by fire. Thomas a Kempis, without disputing against the 
* Fox's Acts and Monuments, p. 2ii. 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 223 

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 religion; and 1 believe they were both sincere- 
hearted followers of Christ. True charity is an excellent virtue; and 
sincerely to labor for their good, whose beUef in all points doth not 
agree with ours, is a happy state. 

Near the beginning of the year 1758, 1 went one evening, in com- 
pany 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 been 
disconsolate, occasioned by a dream, wherein death, and the judg- 
ments 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 
religious conversation with her and her husband. With this visit 
they were somewhat affected, and the man, with many tears, ex- 
pressed 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, 1 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 
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 be- 
loved 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 op)ened for us from day to day. I was out about 
two weeks, and rode about two hundred miles. 

The Monthly Meeting of Philadephia having been under a con- 
cern 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 



224 "^"E JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

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 commit- 
tee 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 conference 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 considered, 
and toward the last that in relation to dealing with persons who pur- 
chase 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 directly to any other matter before the meeting. Now when 
this case was opened several faithful Friends spake weightily there- 
to, 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 pre- 
cious than the mind of truth inwardly manifested; and it is my 
earnest desire that in this weighty matter we may be so truly hum- 
bled as to be favored with a clear understanding 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-in- 
terest, 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 JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 225 

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 uneasiness to many brethren, alleging that if Friends pa- 
tiently continued under the exercise the Lord in his time might open 
a way for the deliverance of these people. Finding an engagement 
to speak, I said, "My mind is often led to consider the purity of the 
Divine Being, and the justice of his judgments; and herein my soul 
is covered with awfulness. 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 under- 
standing 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 interest 
of some persons, or through a regard to some friendships which do 
not stand on an immutable foundation, neglect 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 ex- 
pressed 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 this evil would never be effectually struck 
at until a thorough 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 adminis- 
tered throughout. Several Friends expressed their desire 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 publicly made. A minute was made more full on 
that subject than any heretofore; and the names of several Friends 
entered who were free to join in a visit to such as kept slaves. 



CHAPTER VI 

i758> 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 who 
speak in Meetings for Discipline — More Visits to such as kejJt 
Slaves, and to Friends near Salem — Account of the Yearly Meeting 
in the Year 1759, and of the increasing Concern in Divers Provinces 
to Labor against Buying and Keeping Slaves — ^The Yearly Meeting 
Episde — Thoughts on the Small-pox spreading, and on Inoculation. 

ELEVENTH o£ eleventh month, 1758. — This day I set out for 
Concord; the Quarterly Meeting heretofore held there was 
now, by 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 Stanton and 
John Scarborough, in visiting Friends who had slaves. At night we 
had a family meeting at William Trimble's, many young people 
being there; and it was a precious, reviving opportunity. Next morn- 
ing 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 some who 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 comforted after a hard day's labor. The 
next day we were at Goshen Monthly Meeting, and on the i8th at- 
tended the Quarterly Meeting at London Grove, it being first held 
at that pbce. Here we met again with all the before-mentioned 
Friends, and had some edifying meetings. Near the conclusion of the 

226 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 227 

meeting for business. Friends were incited to constancy in support- 
ing the testimony of truth, and reminded of the necessity 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 redeemed from the love of wealth, and our outward af- 
fairs in as litde room as may be, that no temporal concerns may en- 
tangle our affections or hinder us from diligendy following the 
dictates of truth in laboring to promote the pure spirit of meekness 
and heavenly-mindedness amongst the children of men in these days 
of calamity and distress, wherein God is visiting 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 understand 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 minds to speak, we should avoid useless apologies and repeti- 
tions. Where people are gathered from far, and adjourning a meet- 
ing of business is attended with great difficulty, 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 exercised about them ap- 
peared to be glad of our visit, but in some places our way was more 
difficult. I often saw the necessity of keeping down to that root 
from whence our 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- 
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 Philadelphia, who had 



228 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

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 famiUes, and the other part of our 
time was mostly employed in visiting such as had slaves. It was 
a time of deep exercise, but looking often to the Lord for his assist- 
ance, 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 Church- 
man on a visit to some who had slaves in Philadelphia, and with 
thankfulness to our Heavenly Father I may 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 con- 
siderable 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 pro- 
posal he readily agreed, and then, in the fear of the Lord, things 
relating to that shyness were 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 approbation of our 
Monthly Meeting, I attended their Quarterly Meeting, and was 
out seven days, and attended seven meetings; 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 brethren and sisters, in the manifold trials attending their 
Christian progress through this world. 

Seventh month. — I have found an increasing concern on 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 vwth the exercise I 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 229 

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 strength- 
ening of the honest-minded. As the epistles which were to be sent 
to the Yearly Meetings on this continent were read, I observed that 
in most of them, both this year and the last, it was recommended 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 thankful- 
ness in observing the increasing concern in our reUgious 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 supplication, 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 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 different ways of thinking amongst us in some 
particulars, yet, if we mutually keep to that spirit and power which 



230 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

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 1 was drawn into a sympathizing 
tenderness with the sheep of Christ, however distinguished one 
from another in this world, and the like disposition appeared 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-second day of the ninth month to the 
twenty-eighth of the same, inclusive, 7759. 

To THB Quarterly and Monthly Meetings of Friends belonging to 
THE SAID Yearly Meeting: — 

Dearly beloved Friends and Brethren, — In an awful sense of 
the wisdom and goodness of the Lord our God, whose tender 
mercies have been continued to us in this land, we affectionately 
salute you, with sincere and fervent desires that we may reverendy 
regard the dispensations of his providence, and improve under them. 

The empires and kingdoms of the earth are subject to his almighty 
power. He is the God of the spirits of all flesh, and deals with his 
people agreeable to that wisdom, the depth whereof is to us un- 
searchable. We in these provinces may say. He hath, as a gracious 
and tender parent, dealt bountifully with us, even from the days of 
our fathers. It was he who strengthened them to labor through the 
difficulties 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 in- 
fluences of his Holy Spirit that they were disposed to work righteous- 
ness, and walk uprightly towards each other, and towards the 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 23 1 

natives; in life and conversation to manifest the excellency of the 
principles and doctrines of the Christian religion whereby they re- 
tain their esteem and friendship. Whilst they were laboring for the 
necessaries of life, many of them were fervently engaged to pro- 
mote 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 desolations 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 tranquillity and plenty, and in which the 
glad tidings of the gospel of Christ are so freely published that we 
may 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 meas- 
ure depends on the part we act, and it nearly concerns 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 becoming a free, intelligent creature. We shall thus 
clearly see and consider that the dealings of God with mankind, 
in a national capacity, as recorded in Holy Writ, do sufficiendy 
evidence the truth of that saying, "It is righteousness 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 in- 
stances 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 
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 degenerated Jews, saith, "Thine 
own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backsliding shall re- 
prove thee; know, therefore, that it is an evil thing and bitter that 
thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that my fear is not in 
thee, saith the Lord God of Hosu." (Jeremiah ii. 19.) 



232 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

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 nations, 
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 chil- 
dren, who have been carried captives among the Indians. We have 
seen men and women who have been witnesses of 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 spirituaHty 
of that religion which we profess, and found 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 in that time of trial were 
led to consider that their care to get outward treasure for them had 
been greater than their care for their setdement in that religion 
which crucifieth to the world, and enableth to bear testimony 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, 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 233 

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 necessary! 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 backslidings, 
— let us then awfully regard these beginnings of his sore judgments, 
and with abasement and humiliation turn to him whom we have 
offended. 

Contending with one equal in strength is an uneasy exercise; but 
if the Lord is become our enemy, if we persist in contending with 
him who is omnipotent, our overthrow will be unavoidable. 

Do we feel an affectionate regard to posterity? and are we em- 
ployed to promote their happiness? Do our minds, in things out- 
ward, 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 inward 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 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 
that Almighty Being who inhabits eternity and preserves and sup- 
ports 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 exaltation which stands in opposition 
to real peace and happiness, and renders those who submit to the 
influence of it enemies to the cross of Christ. 



234 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

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 there- 
fore diligently "seek one that is to come, whose builder and maker 
is God." 

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever 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 Quar- 
terly 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 to some Friends 
in that county who had negroes, and as I had felt a drawing in my 
mind to the said work, I came home and put things in order. On 
nth of twelfth month I went over the river, 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 selfishness, that I might be strength- 
ened to discharge my duty faithfully, how hard soever to the natural 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 235 

part. We proceeded 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. Build- 
ing houses suitable to dwell in, for ourselves and our creatures; 
preparing clothing 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 venture 
health and life, as necessity may require. 

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 perfect 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 some evidence of duty, I have found by experience 
that it tends to weakness. 



236 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

I£ 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 thinking 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 man has no share in it. 

Do affairs relating to civil society call me near this infection? If 
I go, it is at the hazard of my health and life, and it becomes me to 
think seriously whether love to truth and righteousness is the motive 
of my attending; whether the manner of proceeding is altogether 
equitable, or whether aught of narrowness, party interest, respect to 
outward dignities, 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 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 237 

hath the command of all the powers and operations in nature, and 
"doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men." Chas- 
tisement is intended for instruction, and instruction being received 
by gentle chastisement, greater calamities are prevented. By an 
earthquake hundreds of houses are sometimes shaken down in a 
few minutes, multitudes of people p)erish suddenly, and many more, 
being crushed and bruised in the ruins of the buildings, pine away 
and die in great misery. 

By the breaking in of enraged merciless armies, flourishing coun- 
tries 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 gende 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 conformable to 
human 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-mi ndedness which was amongst 
the primitive followers of Jesus Christ, it is time for us to attend 
diligently to the 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 goodness, and that to afflict 
his creatures to no purpose would be utterly averse to his nature, 
we shall hear and understand his language both in his gentle and 
more heavy chastisements, 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 



238 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

mortal, such a discovery might be considered as the period of chas- 
tisement 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 VII 

1760 

Visit, in Company with Samuel Eastburn, to Long Island, Rhode Island, 
Boston, etc. — Remarks on the Slave-Trade at Newport, also on Lot- 
teries — Some Observations on the Island of Nantucket. 

FOURTH 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 
testimony 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 sub- 
jecting 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 
meetings and in families where we tarried; sometimes we found 
strength to labor earnestly with the unfaithful, especially 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 soundness of the blessed truth. 
At Jericho, on Long Island, I wrote home as follows: — 

239 



240 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

24th of the fourth month, 1760. 
Dearly beloved Wife! 

We are favored with health; have been at sundry meetings in East 
Jersey and on this island. My mind hath been much in an inward, 
watchful frame since 1 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 moving 
in them. Of this I may speak a little, for though since I left you I 
have often an engaging love and affection towards 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 towards my fellow-creatures. I recom- 
mend you to the Almighty, who I trust, cares for you, and under 
a sense of his heavenly love remain, 

Thy loving husband, 
J.W. 

We crossed from the east end of Long Island to New London, 
about thirty miles, in a large of)en 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 governs the deep, and my life was resigned to him; 
as he was mercifully pleased to preserve us 1 had fresh occasion to 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 24I 

consider every day as a day lent to me, and felt a renewed engage- 
ment to devote my time, and all I had, to him who gave it. 

We had five meetings in Narraganset, and went thence to New- 
port on Rhode Island. Our gracious Father preserved us in an 
humble dependence on him through deep exercises that were morti- 
fying to the creaturely will. In several families 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 forenoon 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 cries 
were often put up to my Heavenly Father in secret, that he would 
enable me to discharge my duty faithfully 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 Lxjrd. 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 dis- 
obedient, by laying 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. We returned to Boston and had another com- 



242 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

fortable 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 which he consented, and we resp)ectfully 
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 measurably bap- 
tized 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 condi- 
tion of Habakkuk, as thus expressed, "When I heard, my belly 
trembled, my lips quivered, I trembled in myself, that I might rest 
in the day of trouble." I had many cogitations, and was sorely dis- 
tressed. 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 perceived 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 Assembly, then sitting in town. 

This exercise came upon me in the afternoon on the 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 Ukely 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 Assembly was likely to separate before the business was over, 
after considerable exercise, humbly seeking to the Lord for instruc- 
tion, my mind settled to attend on the business of the meeting; on 
the last day of which I had prepared a short essay of a petition to 
be presented to the Legislature, if way opened. And being informed 



THE JOXJRNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 243 

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 afterwards I opened the case in the meeting for business, 
in substance as follows: — 

"I have been under a concern for some time on account of the 
great number 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 without 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 meeting, 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 subjects of the petition enlarged upon, and signed out of 
meeting 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 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 mentioned 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 lot- 
teries as were agreeable to law. And now, on moving it again, it 
was opposed as before; but the hearts of some sohd Friends appeared 



244 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

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 length a minute was made, 
a copy of which was to be sent to their several Quarterly 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 sj'w^aking 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, acquainted Friends that though I durst not go from what 
I had said as to the matter, yet I was uneasy with the manner of 
my speaking, believing milder language would have been better. 
As this was uttered in some degree of creaturely abasement after a 
warm debate, it appeared to have a good savor amongst us. 

The Yearly Meeting being now over, there yet remained on my 
mind a secret though heavy exercise, in regard to some leading 
active members 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 con- 
sulted one of the most noted elders who had slaves, he, in a respect- 
ful 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 manner of proceeding. I told him I was free to have a confer- 
ence 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 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 245 

spoken with in the hearing of one another, I was free to spend some 
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 to only 
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 manner, 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 confer- 
ence 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 satisfac- 
tion; and by the tenderness they manifested in regard to the prac- 
tice, and the concern several of them expressed in relation to the 
manner of disposing of their negroes after their decease, I believed 
that a good exercise was spreading amongst them; and I am humbly 
thankful to God, who supported my mind and preserved me in a 
good degree of resignation through these trials. 

Thou who sometimes travellest in the work of the ministry, 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 peo- 
ple. 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 freedom, and affability do not hinder us from the Lord's work. 
I have experienced that, in the midst of kindness and smooth con- 
duct, 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 



246 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

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 Newtown, 
Cushnet, Long Plain, Rochester, and Dartmouth. From thence 
we sailed for Nantucket, in company with Ann Gaunt, Mercy Red- 
man, 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 our 
boat 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 1 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; 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 247 

but, the wind changing, the seamen thought best to stay in the 
harbor till it altered, so we returned on shore. FeeUng clear as to 
any further visits, I spent my time in my chamber, chiefly alone; 
and after some hours, my heart being filled with the spirit of sup- 
plication, my 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 messenger from the women Friends who lodged at 
another house, desiring to confer with us about appointing a meet- 
ing, which to me appeared weighty, as we had been at so many 
before; but after a short conference, 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; 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 prin- 
cipally 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 for- 
mation 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 (jerfect 
wisdom and goodness; and as people attend to his heavenly instruc- 



248 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

tion, 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 founda- 
tion, 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 outwardly, of attend- 
ing singly to the pure guidance of the Holy Spirit, and therein to 
educate their children in true humility and the disuse of all super- 
fluities. 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 themselves 
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 out- 
ward show, have grasped 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 company 
with Ann Gaunt and Mercy Redman, which was preceded 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 satisfactory 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 exercise to the last, I found 
inward peace, and was in some degree comforted in a belief that 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 249 

a good number remain 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 into a deep search, whether in 
all things my mind was resigned to the will of God; often query- 
ing 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 prepared the way to some 
duties that in more easy and prosperous 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 Connecticut 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 beloved com- 
panion 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, ex- 
tended to me in this journey, my heart is humbled in grateful 
acknowledgments, and I find renewed desires to dwell and walk 
in resignedness before 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 Meetings — Visits 
to the Indians at Wehaloosing on the River Susquehanna. 

HAVING felt my mind drawn towards a visit to a few meet- 
ings in Pennsylvania, I was very desirous to be righdy 
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 Haddon- 
field 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. 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; 

250 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 25 1 

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 religious 
society in general, among whom are some who keep negroes, and, 
being inclined to continue them in slavery, are not Ukely 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 believed it best to sell them, expecting by that means they 
would more generally be read with attention. Advertisements 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 Meet- 
ing, 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 oiu' parts; some I sent to Virginia, some to New York, some 
to my acquaintance at Newport, and some I kept, intending 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 middling 
healthy, yet my nature was not fitted to endure so much as many 
others. Being often weary, I was prepared 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 Redeemer, the account of the sufferings of martyrs, 
and the history of the first rise of our Society, a belief was grad- 
ually settled in my mind, that if such as had great estates 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 employed in things useful, that labor 



252 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

both for men and other creatures would need to be no more than an 
agreeable employ, 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 wealth which some gather, 
might, in this way of pure wisdom, be discontinued. 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 righteousness? And then there hath some degree of 
sadness at times come 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 mourn- 
ing 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 impres- 
sion 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 entangled many, and that 
the desire of gain to support these customs 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 me wholly under his direction, and show me the way in which 
I ought to walk, it hath revived with strength of conviction 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 religious people. 

As he is the perfection of power, of wisdom, and of goodness, 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 253 

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 sup)erfluities, or grasp after wealth in a way contrary to his 
wisdom, without having connection with some degree of oppres- 
sion, and with that spirit which leads to self-exaltation and strife, 
and which frequently brings calamities on countries by parties con- 
tending about their claims. 

Being thus fully convinced, and feeling an increasing desire to live 
in the spirit of peace, I have often been sorrowfully affected with 
thinking on the unquiet spirit in which wars are generally carried 
on, and with the miseries of many of my fellow<reatures engaged 
therein; some suddenly destroyed; some wouided, and after much 
pain remaining cripples; some deprived of all their outward sub- 
stance and reduced to want; and some carried into captivity. Think- 
ing often on these things, the use of hats and garments dyed with 
a dye hurtful to them, and wearing more clothes in summer than 
are useful, grew more uneasy to me, believing them to be customs 
which have not their foundation in pure wisdom. The apprehen- 
sion of being singular from my beloved 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 improve 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 
by his chastisements. Feeling the necessity of further purifying, 
there was now no desire in me for health until the design of my 
correction was answered. Thus I lay in abasement 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 



254 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

felt easy to wear my garments heretofore made, and continued to 
do so about nine months. Then 1 thought of getting a hat the 
natural color of the fur, but the apprehension 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 supjxjrt me in the trials that might 
attend singularity, 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 wilUng to submit to what I apprehended 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 appre- 
hensive that my wearing such a hat savored of an affected singu- 
larity; 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 times been sensible that a superficial friend- 
ship 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 dispen- 
sation 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 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 255 

in leading about and instructing 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 some 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 company 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 laborers 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 awful- 
ness, wherein strong desires were raised for the everlasting welfare 
of my fellow<reatures, and through the kindness of our Heavenly 
Father our hearts were at times enlarged, and Friends were invited, 
in the Sowings of Divine love, to attend to that which would settle 
them on the sure foundation. 

Having for many years felt love in my heart towards the 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 consideration assigned their inheritance 
to us, and being at Philadelphia in the 8th month, 1761, on a visit 
to some Friends who had slaves, I fell in company with some of 
those natives who lived on the east branch of the river Susque- 
hanna, at an Indian town called Wehaloosing, two hundred miles 
from Philadelphia. In conversation with them by an interpreter, 
as also by observations on their countenances and conduct, I believed 
some of them were measurably acquainted with that Divine power 
which subjects the rough and froward will of the creature. At times 
I felt inward drawings towards a visit to that place, which I men- 
tioned 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 
Meeting; and having the unity of Friends, and being thoughtful 
about an Indian pilot, there came a man and three women from a 
htde beyond that town to Philadelphia on business. Being informed 
thereof by letter, I met them in town in the 5th month, 1763; and 



256 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

after some conversation, finding they were sober people, I, with the 
concurrence of Friends in that place, agreed to join them as com- 
panions 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 visit felt weighty, and was performed at a time when 
travelling appeared perilous, so the disp)ensations 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 with unusual sadness; at which times my heart was 
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: "1 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 know 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 be- 
falls men while they live in pure obedience to God certainly works 
for their good, and may not be considered an evil as it relates to 
them. As I spake on this subject my heart was much tendered, and 
great awfulness came over me. On the first day 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 
disappointed; 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 ray 
door, and inviting me to meet some Friends at a public-house in 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 257 

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 p>eople near the said Pittsburg, 
and in divers places. Some elderly Friends in Philadelphia, know- 
ing 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 consider 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 humbhng 
time to me. When 1 told my dear wife, she appeared 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 disposed 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 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 perilous, I thought if he went chiefly to bear me 
company, and we should be taken captive, my having been the 
means 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 to go alone; but after all, if he really believed it to be 
his duty to go on, I believed his company would be very comfortable 
to me. It was, indeed, a time of deep exercise, and Benjamin ap- 



258 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

peared to be so fastened to the visit that he could not be easy to 
leave me; so we went on, accompanied by our friends John Pem- 
berton and William Lightfoot of Pikeland. We lodged at Bethle- 
hem, and there parting with John, William and we went forward 
on the 9th of the sixth month, 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 intoxicated; 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 wickedness; 
but for the sake of gain to sell that which we know does people 
harm, and which often works their ruin, manifests a hardened and 
corrupt heart, and is an evil which demands 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 renewedly 
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 JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 259 

the Indians, or of applying to that wicked practice 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 conversation 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 dwelUng at Wyoming, and were 
going to settle at another place. We made them some small pres- 
ents, and, as some of them understood EngUsh, 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 roughness 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 
my heart was turned during this day's travel. 

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 here- 
tofore 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 pro- 
duceth in the world, also on the toils and fatigues of warriors in 
travelUng over mountains and deserts; on their miseries and dis- 
tresses 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. 



26o THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

This was the first night that we lodged in the woods, and being wet 
with traveUing in the rain, as were also our blankets, the ground, 
our tent, and the bushes under which we purposed to lay, all looked 
discouraging; 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 over- 
taken by one of the Moravian brethren going to Wehaloosing, 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 some time with the Indians, 
that I might feel and understand their life and the spirit they live 
in, if haply I might receive some instruction from them, or they 
might be in any degree helped forward by my following the lead- 
ings of truth among them; and as it pleased the Lord to make way 
for my 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 it as a more favor- 
able 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 companion went off in 
the rain, and after about seven hours returned with him. Here we 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 261 

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 forward, 
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. The natives have in some places, for 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 
settlements, and partly by the increase of English hunters, the wild 
beasts on which the natives chiefly depend for subsistence are not so 
plentiful as they were, and people too often, for the sake of gain, 
induce them to waste their skins and furs in purchasing a liquor 
which tends to the ruin of them and their families. 

My own will and desires were now very much broken, and 
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 engagement 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 inhabitants of this continent. Here 
I was led into a close and laborious inquiry whether I, as an indi- 
vidual, 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 



262 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

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 prosper- 
ous, convenient situation of the English would require a constant 
attention in us to Divine love and wisdom, in order to their being 
guided and supported in a way answerable to the will of that good, 
gracious, and Almighty Being, who hath an equal regard to all 
mankind. 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 set forth the longing I 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 faith- 
ful 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 told 
that an Indian runner had been at that place a day or two before us, 
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 from 
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<oat 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 understood 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, talking 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 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 263 

a disagreeable appearance, I believe he had no other intent than to 
be in readiness 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 Wyo- 
niing expected in a few days to move to some larger towns, I 
thought, to all outward appearance, it would be dangerous travel- 
ling 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 disobedience. 
Believing I had, under a sense of duty, come thus far, I was now 
earnest in spirit, beseeching the Lord to show me 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, 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 conflicts of my soul, 
was pleased to give quietness. Then I was again strengthened to 
commit my life, and all things relating thereto, into his heavenly 
hands, and got a little sleep towards day. 

Fourteenth of sixth month. — We sought out and visited all the 
Indians hereabouts that we could meet with, in number 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 sjieak 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 making 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 we had a good 
deal of friendly conversation with the family; and, eating dinner 
with them, we made them some small presents. Then putting our 



264 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

baggage into the canoe, some of them pushed slowly up the stream, 
and the rest of us rode our horses. We swam 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, sus- 
taining me under trials, and inclining my heart to trust in him, I 
lay down in an humble, bowed frame of mind, and had a com- 
fortable night's lodging. 

Fifteenth of sixth month. — ^We proceeded forward till the after- 
noon, 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 hindered by the trees which had fallen 
across our path, and in some swamps our way was so stopped that 
we 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 ac- 
quainted with several people in and about Philadelphia, met 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 
yesterday 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 
way of living from which I had been used to, I grew sick. The 
news of these warriors being on their march so near us, and not 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 265 

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 to the town to tell the people we were come. My com- 
panion 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 manifested to our pxxjr 
souls. After a while we heard a conch-shell blow several times, and 
then came 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 interpreted to the others, and there 
appeared gladness among them. I then showed them my certificate, 
which was explained 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 beHeve, 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 settled meetings, which are commonly held in the morning 
and near evening. So finding liberty in my heart to speak to the 



266 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

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 difficulty, as none of them were 
quite perfect in the English and Delaware tongues, so they helped 
one another, and we labored along, Divine love attending. After- 
wards, feeling my mind covered with the spirit of prayer, I told the 
interpreters that I found it in my heart to pray to God, and be- 
Ueved, if I prayed aright, he would hear me; and I expressed my 
willingness for them to omit interpreting; so our meeting ended 
with a degree of Divine love. Before the people went 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 afterwards told that he said in sub- 
stance as follows: "I love to feel where words come from." 

Nineteenth of sixth month and first of the week. — This morning 
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 afternoon, 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 feel- 
ing the current of love run strong, told the interpreters that I be- 
lieved some of the people would understand me, and so I proceeded 
without them; and I believe the Holy Ghost wrought on some 
hearts to edification where all the words were not understood. 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 meditate on 
the manifold difficulties of these Indians who, by the permission 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 267 

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 
mercies 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 weakness, 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 of me beyond what I could well bear. 
But the Lord alone 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 wilder- 
ness 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 last-mentioned meeting was ended, it being night, 
Papunehang went to bed; and hearing him speak with an har- 
monious voice, I suppose for a minute or two, I asked the inter- 
preter, 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 acknowledge the loving-kindness of the Lord towards 
us; and then I believed that a door remained open for the faithful 
disciples of Jesus Christ to labor among these people. And now, 
feeling my mind at liberty to return, I took my leave of them in 



268 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

general at the conclusion o£ what I said in meeting, 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 his Indian interpreter appeared 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 thirty feet long and eighteen 
wide, — some bigger, some less. They are built mostly 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 under- 
stand 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 Bethle- 
hem with skins and furs, and chose to go in company with us. So 
they loaded two 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, therefore, 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 litde 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 Tid, 
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 forward, 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 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 269 

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 moun- 
tain, the waters being 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 fron- 
tier, was, I apprehend, one reason why so many came, exf)ecting 
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 
inhabitants were often alarmed at the report of the EngHsh being 
killed by Indians westward. Among our company were some whom 
I did not remember to have seen at meeting, and some of these at 
first were very reserved; but we being 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 endeavored to 
settle all affairs with the Indians relative to our journey, we took 
leave of them, and I thought they generally parted from us affec- 
tionately. We went forward to Richland 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, accompanied by my friend Samuel Foulk, we rode to John 
Cadwallader's, from whence I reached home the next day, and found 
my family tolerably well. They and my friends appeared 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 



270 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

Striving for perfect resignation, 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 im- 
prove by those trials in such a manner as my gracious Father and 
Protector designed. Between the English settlements and Weha- 
loosing we had only a narrow path, which in many places is much 
grown up with bushes, and interrupted by abundance of trees 
lying across it. These, together with the mountain swamps and 
rough stones, make it a difficult road to travel, and the more so 
because rattlesnakes abound here, of which we killed four. People 
who have never been in such places have but an imperfect idea of 
them; and I was not only taught patience, but also made thankful 
to God, who thus led about and instructed me, that I might have a 
quick and lively feeling of the afflictions of my fellow<reatures, 
whose situation in Ufe is difficult. 



CHAPTER IX 

I 763-1 769 

Religious Conversation with a Company met to see the Tricks of a Jug- 
gler — Account of John Smith's Advice and of the Proceedings of a 
Committee at the Yearly Meeting in 1764 — Contemplations 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 Set- 
ders in Pennsylvania who dejxinded on their own Labor, compared 
with those of the Southern Provinces who kept Negroes — Visit to 
the Northern Parts of New Jersey and the Western Parts of Mary- 
land and Pennsylvania; also to the Families of Friends at Mount 
Holly and several Parts of Maryland — Further Considerations on 
keeping Slaves, and his Concern for having been a Party to the Sale 
of One — ^Thoughts on Friends exercising Offices in Civil Govern- 
ment. 

THE latter part of the summer, 1763, there came a man to 
Mount Holly who had previously published a printed ad- 
vertisement that at a certain public-house he would show 
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 repeated 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 incHnation 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 assembling to see these sleight-of-hand tricks, and 
bestowing their money to support men who, in that capacity, were 
of no use to the world, was contrary to the nature of the Christian 

a.71 



272 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

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

Twenty-fifth* of ninth month, 1764. — At our Yearly Meeting 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, informed 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 con- 
forming to the fashions of the world, true humility was less ap- 
parent, and their meetings in general 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 daugh- 
ters. 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 Society 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 servants 
must go through great and heavy exercises. 

Twentieth! of ninth month. — The committee appointed by the 
Yearly Meeting to visit the Quarterly and Monthly Meetings gave 

'{Twentieth?— Ed.] HTwentyfifth?—Ed.'i 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 273 

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 mem- 
bers in our meetings for discipline, had been one means of weakness 
prevailing in some places. After this report was read, an exercise 
revived 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 required of me, and, 
standing up, I spoke in substance as follows: "I have felt a tender- 
ness in my mind towards persons in two circumstances mentioned 
in that report; namely, 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 afTectioned one towards 
another. Many Friends who keep slaves are under some exercise 
on that account; and at times think about trying them with free- 
dom, but find many things in their way. The way of living and 
the annual expenses of some of them are such that it seems imprac- 
ticable 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 per- 
sons in these circumstances for entertainment 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 con- 
sider 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 narra- 
tive of his captivity among the Indians, that he saw two of his 
fellow<aptives tortured to death in a very cruel manner. This 
relation affected me 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 pros- 
pect of the nature of that wisdom from above which leads to a right 



274 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

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 un- 
known to brute creatures given me a capacity superior 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, when ripe, become malice? Does 
maUce, 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 proceed- 
ings feel after it. 

"Doth he condescend to bless thee with his presence? To move 
and influence thee to action? To dwell and to walk in thee? Re- 
member then 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, gen- 
dering 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 my whole life may be 
conformable 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!" 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 275 

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 same winter I joined my friend Wil- 
liam Jones in a visit to Friends' families in Mansfield, in which labor 
I had cause to admire the goodness of the Lord toward us. 

My mind being drawn towards Friends along the seacoast from 
Cape May to near Squan, and also to visit some people in those parts, 
among whom there is no setded worship, 1 joined with my beloved 
friend Benjamin Jones in a visit to them, having Friends' unity there- 
in. We set 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 return I joined my 
friends John Sleeper and Elizabeth Smith in a visit to Friends' fam- 
ihes 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 Maryland, and to travel on 
foot among them, that by so travelling I might have a more lively 
feehng 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 beheved it my duty to lay my concern before our 
Monthly Meeting, I perceived, in conversation with my beloved 
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 



276 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

Creek, Little Creek, and Motherkill. My heart was often tendered 
under the Divine influence, and enlarged in love towards the f)eople 
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 under- 
stand, 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 which 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 much 
faster than I expected before we came out, I saw 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 gra- 
cious Father for this manifestation of his love, and in humble sub- 
mission to his will my trust in him was renewed. 

In this part of our journey I had many thoughts on the different 
circumstances of Friends who inhabit Pennsylvania and Jersey from 
those who dwell in Maryland, Virginia, 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 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 277 

considerable convincemcnt 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 engage- 
ments with the natives in which much blood was shed even in the 
infancy 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 fel- 
lowship 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 ob- 
servable that the progress was gradual from age to age. The up- 
rightness of the first reformers in attending to the light and under- 
standing 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 righteousness appointed for him in his day 
findeth acceptance with Him. Through the darkness of the times 
and the corruption of manners and customs, some upright men may 
have had little more for their day's work than to attend to the right- 
eous principle in their minds as it related to their own conduct in 
life without {X)inting out to others the whole extent of that into which 
the same principle would lead succeeding ages. Thus, for instance, 
among an imperious, warlike people, supported by oppressed slaves, 
some of these masters, I suppose, are awakened to feel and to see 
their error, and through sincere rep)entance 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 oppressing neighbors; these, 
without carrying the reformation further, have, I believe, found ac- 
ceptance 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 govern- 
ing 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 



278 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

them into such an humble, lowly way 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 dispensation, and I had a very Uvely 
feeling of the state of the oppressed; 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 several 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 way for a considerable 
time. We travelled as far as Hardwick, and I had inward peace in 
my labors of love among them. Through the humbling dispensations 
of Divine Providence my mind hath been further brought into a feel- 
ing of the difficulties of Friends and their servants southwestward; 
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-tender- 
ing operation 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 weight of distress had at times attended 
me in this lonesome walk, but through these afflictions I was mer- 
cifully preserved. Sitting down with Friends, my mind was turned 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 279 

towards the Lord to wait for his holy leadings; and in infinite love 
he was pleased to soften my heart into humble contrition, and re- 
newedly to strengthen me to go forward, so that to me it was a time 
of heavenly refreshment in a silent meeting. The next day I came to 
New 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 meeting 
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 Susquehanna, 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, hum- 
bly 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 by 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 at- 
tended the Quarterly Meeting 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 martyrdom of the Apostles and prim- 
itive Christians in laboring for the conversion of the Gentiles, were 
livingly revived in me, and according to the measure of strength af- 
forded I labored in some tenderness of spirit, being deeply affected 



28o THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

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 concluded 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 mercifully helped to labor honestly and 
fervendy among them, in which I found inward peace, and the sin- 
cere were comforted. 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 ten- 
dering visitation in most places. 

I passed on to the Western Quarterly Meeting in Pennsylvania. 
During the several days of this meeting I was 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 Quar- 
terly Meeting for worship ended, I felt drawings to go to the 
women's meeting for business, which was very full; here the humil- 
ity 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, Middle- 
town, 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 
ofi on a visit to Friends in the upper part of Berks and Philadelphia 
counties; was at eleven meetings in about two weeks, and have re- 
newed cause to bow in reverence before the Lord, who, by the power- 
ful extendings of his humbling goodness, opened my way among 
Friends, and I trust made the meetings profitable to us. The follow- 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 28 1 

ing 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 humbHng hand 
of the Lord, with a certificate to visit some meetings in Maryland, 
and to proceed without a horse seemed clearest to me. I was at the 
Quarterly Meetings at Philadelphia and Concord, whence I pro- 
ceeded 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 sev- 
eral times opened to my humbling admiration when things appeared 
very difficult. 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 in many minds was reached. 

Eleventh of sixth month, 1769. — There have been sundry cases of 
late years within the limits of our Monthly Meeting, 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 very grievous to me. As persons setting negroes free in our prov- 
ince 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 of 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 1 have attended to this exercise and fervently sought the Lord, 



282 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

it hath appeared to me that I should make some restitution; but in 
what way 1 saw not till lately, when being under some concern 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 transaction came heavily upon me, and my mind 
for a time was covered with darkness and sorrow. Under this sore 
affliction 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 now of?er part of my substance to redeem the 
last half of the nine years; but as the time was not yet come, I exe- 
cuted a bond, binding myself and my executors to pay to the man 
to whom he was sold what to candid men might apf)ear equitable 
for the last four and a half years of his time, in case the said youth 
should be living, and in a condition likely to provide comfortably 
for himself. 

Ninth of tenth month. — My heart hath often been deeply afflicted 
under a feeling that the standard of pure righteousness 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 opxining of universal love, that where a 
people who are convinced of the truth of the inward teachings of 
Christ are active in putting laws in execution which are not consistent 
with pure wisdom, it hath a necessary tendency to bring dimness 
over their minds. My heart having been thus exercised for several 
years with a tender sympathy towards my fellow-members, I have 
within a few months past expressed my concern on this subject in 
several meetings for discipHne. 



CHAPTER X 

1769, 1770 

Bodily Indisposition — Exercise of his Mind for the Good of the People 
in the West Indies — Communicates to Friends his Concern 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 — Sickness, and Exercise of his Mind 
therein. 

TWELFTH 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, be- 
fore whom are all my ways, who alone hath the power of life and 
death, and to feel thankfulness raised in me for this fatherly chastise- 
ment, believing 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 Indies, and I grew 
jealous over myself lest the disagreeableness of the prospect should 
hinder me from obediently attending thereto; for, though I knew not 
that the Lord required me to go there, yet I believed that resignation 
was now called for in that 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 cov- 
ered 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 of late hath 
been more weighty upon me, which is, that 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 General Spring Meetings I found no clearness 
to express anything further than that I believed resignation herein 

283 



284 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

was required of me. Having obtained certificates from all the said 
meetings, I felt like a sojourner at my outward habitation, and kept 
free from worldly encumbrances, and I was often bowed in spirit be- 
fore the Lord, with inward breathings to him that I might be righdy 
directed. I may here note that the circumstance before related of 
my having, when young, joined with another executor 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 relat- 
ing to this youth, I provided a sea-store and bed, and things for the 
voyage. Hearing of a vessel likely to sail from Philadelphia for Bar- 
badoes, 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 sf)eak 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 the 25th of eleventh month, 1769, as an exercise with respect 
to a visit to Barbadoes hath been weighty on my mind, I may express 
some of the trials which have attended 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 moderation; nor was this con- 
cern so weightily attended to as I now believe it ought to have been. 
Having of late years been further informed respecting the oppres- 
sions 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. 11), I have felt an increasing concern 
to be wholly given up to the leadings of the Holy Spirit, and it hath 
seemed right that my small gain from this branch of trade should be 
applied in promoting righteousness on the earth. This was the first 
motion towards a visit to Barbadoes. I believed also that part of my 
outward substance should be applied in paying my passage, if I went, 
and providing things in a lowly way for my subsistence; 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 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 285 

some months past, under which I have, with abasement of mind from 
day to day, sought the Lord for instruction, having often had a feel- 
ing of the condition of one formerly, who bewailed himself because 
the Lord hid his face from him. During these exercises my heart 
hath often been contrite, and I have had a tender feeling of the temp- 
tations of my fellow<reatures, laboring under expensive customs 
not agreeable to the simplicity that 'there is in Christ' (2 Cor. ii. 3), 
and sometimes in the renewings of gospel love I have been helped to 
minister 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 warn- 
ing 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 freely with oppressors without laboring to 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 would be if the cause of universal righteousness was hum- 
bly and firmly attended to by those in general with whom they have 
commerce; and that complaint of the Lord by his prophet, "They 
have strengthened the hands of the wicked," hath very often revived 
in my mind. I may here add some circumstances which occurred to 
me before I had any prospect of a visit there. David longed for some 
water in a well beyond an army of Philistines who were at war with 
Israel, and some of his men, to please him, ventured their lives in 
passing through this army, and brought that water. 

"It doth not appear that the Israelites were then scarce of water, 
but rather that David gave way to delicacy of taste; and having re- 
flected on the danger to which these men had been exposed, he con- 
sidered this water as their blood, and his heart smote him that he 
could not drink it, but he poured 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 cause of offence to my fellow-creatures having from 



286 THE JOURNAL OP JOHN WOOLMAN 

time 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 believe the 
Father of Mercies, to whom all mankind by creation are equally re- 
lated, hath heard the groans of this oppressed people and that he is 
preparing some to have a tender feeUng 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, with 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 continent 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 of trying to hire a vessel to 
go under ballast have arisen in my mind, I have beUeved 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 would 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 time." 

The first-mentioned owner, having read the paper, went with me 
to the other owner, who also read over the paper, and we had some 
solid conversation, under which I felt myself bowed in reverence be- 
fore 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 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 287 

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 beUeve 
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 time as one who knew not what to do and was tossed 
as in a tempest; under which affliction the doctrine of Christ, "Take 
no thought for the morrow," 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 was comforted, and I felt what I esteemed a 
fresh confirmation that it was the Lord's will that I should pass 
through some further exercises near home; so I went thither, and 
still felt like a sojourner with my family. In the fresh spring of pure 
love I had some labors in a private way among Friends on a subject 
relating to truth's testimony, under which I had frequently been ex- 
ercised in heart for some years. I remember, as I walked on the road 
under this exercise, that passage in Ezekiel came fresh upon me, 
"Whithersoever their faces were turned thither they went." And 1 
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 



288 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

attended, yet the disorder was at times so heavy that I had no expec- 
tation of recovery. One night in particular my bodily distress was 
great; my feet grew cold, and the cold increased up my legs towards 
my body; at that time I had no inclination to ask my nurse to apply 
anything warm to my feet, exp)ecting my end was near. After I had 
lain near ten hours in this condition, I closed my eyes, thinking 
whether I might now be delivered out of the body; but in these aw- 
ful moments my mind was Uvingly 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 morning. — I 
have seen in the Light of the Lord that the day is approaching when 
the man that is most wise in human policy 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 oppressed; 
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, with Samuel Emlen, in a Ship bound for London — 
Exercise of Mind respecting the Hardships of the Sailors — Consid- 
erations on the Dangers of training Youth to a Seafaring Life- 
Thoughts during a Storm at Sea — Arrival in London. 

HAVING been some time under a religious concern to prepare 
for crossing the seas, in order to visit Friends in the north- 
ern 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 concur- 
rence. 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 certificate, 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 con- 
cern was principally towards the northern parts of England, it seemed 
most proper to go in a vessel bound to Liverpool or Whitehaven. 
While I was at Philadelphia deliberating on this subject I was in- 
formed that my 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 own- 
ers; and feeling a draught in my mind towards the steerage of the 
same ship, I went first and opened to Samuel the feeling I had con- 
cerning it. 

My beloved friend wept when I spake to him, and appeared glad 
that I had thoughts of going in the vessel with him, though my pros- 

289 



290 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

pect was toward the steerage: and he ofTering to go with me, we went 
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 Counsellor, and 
feehng at this time my own will subjected, my heart was contrite be- 
fore 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 1 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 known in 
town, a Friend laid before me the great inconvenience 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 manifested 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 exer- 
cise 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 work and imagery; that in the cabin 
I observed some superfluity of workmanship 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 calculated to defray the 
cost of these superfluities, as well as the other expenses of their pas- 
sage. I therefore felt a scruple with regard to paying my money to be 
applied to such purposes." 

As my mind was now opened, I told the owner that I had, at sev- 
eral times, in my travels, seen great oppressions on this continent, at 
which my heart had been much ai?ected and brought into a feeling 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 29I 

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 op- 
pressed 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 exer- 
cise 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 sev- 
eral 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 expressed their desire that I might have 
a more convenient place than the steerage, did not urge it, but 
appeared disposed to leave me to the Lord. 

Having stayed two 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 afterwards 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 proceed- 
ings were not in my own will, but under the power of the cross of 
Christ. 

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 apf)eared an op)enness 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, 



292 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

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 thank- 
ful. 

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 at- 
tended me in regard to placing our children and youth where they 
may be likely to be 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 toward 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 im- 
pure are the channels through which trade is conducted! How great 
is the danger to which poor lads are exposed when placed on ship- 
board 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 So- 
ciety, and the other, by name James Naylor, is a member, to whose 
father James Naylor, mentioned in Sewel'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 my children accord- 
ing to the flesh. 

O that all may take heed and beware of covetousness! O that all 
may learn of Christ, who was meek and lowly of heart. Then in faith- 
fully following him he will teach us to 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<reatures, 
and a desire that those in the lowest stations may be assisted and en- 
couraged, 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 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 293 

commonly pleasant in any case, but in dark rainy nights it is very dis- 
agreeable, even though each man were furnished with all conven- 
iences. 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 thrown in heaps, 
and sometimes, through much crowding, are trodden under foot in 
going to their lodgings and getting out of them, and it is dilBcult 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 care- 
fully to their ways they may earnestly labor to remove all cause of 
provocation from the poor seamen, so that they may 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 reformation 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 gathered, the 
wind blew strong from the southeast, and before noon so increased 
that sailing appeared dangerous. The seamen then bound up some 
of their sails and took down others, and the storm increasing they 
put the dead-lights, so called, into the cabin windows and lighted a 
lamp as at night. The wind now blew vehement'y, 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 crowded 
steerage. They now ceased from saiUng and put the vessel in the 
posture called lying to. 

My mind during this tempest, through the gracious assistance of 
the Lord, was preserved in a good degree of resignation; and at 
times I expressed a few words in his love to my shipmates in regard 
to the all-sufficiency of Him who formed the great deep, and whose 
care is so extensive that a sparrow falls not without his notice; and 



294 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

thus in a tender frame of mind I spoke to them of the necessity of our 
yielding in true obedience to the instructions of our Heavenly Father, 
who sometimes through adversities intendeth our refinement. 

About eleven 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 saw 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 readiness in case of 
any emergency. Soon after this the vehemency 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 steerage I feel an openness this morning 
to express something further of the state of my mind in resp)ect to 
poor lads bound apprentice to learn the art of sailing. As I beUeve 
sailing is of use in the world, a labor of soul attends me that the pure 
counsel of truth may be humbly waited for in this case by all con- 
cerned in the business of the seas. A pious father whose mind is 
exercised for the everlasting welfare of his child may not with a 
peaceable mind place him out to an employment among a people 
whose common course of life is manifesdy 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 be- 
ing 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 1 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 JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 295 

the employment of sailors, I have sometimes had weighty conversa- 
tion 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 Uttle before the cap- 
tivity, as repeated by Jeremiah the prophet, "There is no hope." 

Now under this exercise a sense of the desire of outward gain pre- 
vailing 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 neg- 
lect 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 ap- 
peared necessary. He alone is able to strengthen us to dig deep, to 
remove all which lies between us and the safe foundation, and so to 
direct us in our outward employments that pure universal love may 
shine forth in our proceedings. Desires arising from the spirit of 
truth are pure desires; and 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, how 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, 
what 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 waves 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 Creator 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 

'[Fifth?— Ed.] 



296 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

hardships and difficulties of my fellow<reatures, and to labor in his 
love for the spreading of pure righteousness on the earth. Oppor- 
tunities 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 frequently 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 meet- 
ing in the cabin, to which the seamen generally came. My spirit was 
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 de- 
sires that they may walk in that humble obedience wherein the ever- 
lasting Father may be their guide and support through all their diffi- 
culties in this world; and a sense of that gracious assistance, through 
which my mind hath been strengthened to take up the cross and leave 
them to travel in the love of 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 ac- 
knowledge that in my present weak state my mind hath been sup- 
ported to bear this affliction with patience; and 1 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<reatures 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. 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 297 

whose inward help hath supplied at times the want of outward con- 
venience; and strong desires have attended me that his family, who 
are acquainted with the movings of his Holy Spirit, may be so re- 
deemed 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 kingdom on earth 
as it is in Heaven, and, by faithfully following 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 
of 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. Foggy weather this 
morning. Through the kindness of the great Preserver of men my 
mind remains quiet; and a degree of exercise from day to day at- 
tends 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, hum- 
bly waiting for the heavenly Counsellor, may example them in the 
truth as it is in Jesus, hath for several days 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 main- 
tained 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 sta- 
bihty; 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 forward, and the mind 
cannot in this state discern the good and perfect will of God concern- 
ing 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, 



298 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

"I must needs go on; and in going on I hope to keep as near the pur- 
ity of truth as the business before me will admit of," the mind re- 
mains entangled and the shining of the light of Ufe 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 diffi- 
culties 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 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 flesh, and all pertaining to her, was to be burnt without the 
camp, and of her ashes the water was prepared. Thus, the crucifying 
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 they 
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 hum- 
bly 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 purify- 
ing love of Christ we are washed in the water of separation; we are 
brought off from that business, from that gain and from that fellow- 
ship 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 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 299 

have free course in their hearts and direct them in all their proceed- 
ings. 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 the Al- 
mighty to Moses the prophet and opened by our blessed Redeemer. 
As death comes 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 righteous- 
ness, or the righteousness of the kingdom of God. "No man hath 
seen the Father save he that is of God, he hath seen the Father." 

The natural mind is active about the things of this life, and in this 
natural activity business is proposed and a will is formed in us to go 
forward in it. And so long as this natural will remains unsubjected, 
so long there remains an obstruction to the clearness of Divine light 
operating in us; but when we love God with all our heart and with 
all our strength, 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 circumstances, may be to us as the 
Jews were to the Samaritans. "Who is my neighbor?" See this ques- 
tion 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 sub- 
jected. 

When employment is honestly followed in the light of truth, and 
people become diligent in business, "fervent in spirit, serving the 
Lord" (Rom. xii. 11), 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 Redeemer; 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 employ- 
ments 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 meet- 



300 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

ing 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 in my native land 
being, in some degree, opened before me, I felt like a little child; and 
my cries were put up to my Heavenly Father for preservation, that in 
an humble dependence on him my soul might be strengthened in 
his love and kept inwardly waiting for his counsel. This afternoon 
we 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 num- 
ber with sickness at different times. I observed the cocks crew as we 
came down the Delaware, and while we were near the land, but after- 
wards 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 remembered the Fountain of goodness, who gave be- 
ing to all creatures, and whose love extends to caring for the spar- 
rows. I believe where the love of God is verily perfected, and the 
true spirit of government watchfully attended to, a tenderness 
towards 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 ani- 
mal 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 ap- 
prehensive of the danger of missing the channel, which I understood 
was narrow. In a while 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. 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 3OI 

About noon a pilot came off from Dover, where my 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 company, in which my heart was enlarged in a fervent concern 
for them, that they may come to experience salvation through Christ. 
Had a head-wind up the Thames; lay sometimes at anchor; saw 
many ships passing, and some at anchor near; and I had large op- 
portunity of feeling the spirit in which the poor bewildered sailors 
too generally live. That lamentable degeneracy which so much pre- 
vails in the people employed on the seas so affected my heart that I 
cannot easily convey the feeling I had to another. 

The present state of the seafaring life in general appears so op- 
posite to that of a pious education, so full of corruption and extreme 
alienation from God, so full of the most dangerous 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 may lay this case to heart, may remember the 
lamentable 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, delicate, and luxurious 
life, we may learn contentment with a little, and promote the sea- 
faring life no further than that spirit which leads into all truth attends 
us in our proceedings. 



CHAPTER XII 

1772 

Attends the Yearly Meeting in London — ^Then proceeds towards York- 
shire — Visits Quarterly and other Meetings in the Counties of Hert- 
ford, Warwick, Oxford, Nottingham, York, and Westmoreland — 
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. 

ON 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 en- 

' There is a story told of his first appearance in England which I have from my 
friend, William J. Allinson, 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 certificate 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 Woolman sat 
silent for a space, seeking the unerring counsel of Divine Wisdom. He was pro- 
foundly 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 easy to be 
of any cost to them. He could not go back as had been suggested; but he was 
acquainted with a mechanical trade, and while the impediment to his services 
continued he hoped Friends would be kindly willing to employ him in such busi- 
ness as he was capable of, that he might not be chargeable to any. 

A deep silence prevailed over the assembly, many of whom were touched 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. 

302 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 303 

larged in the meetings 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. 

First of seventh month. — I have been at Quarterly Meetings 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 to many, in particular to the youth. 

Seventeenth. — I was this day at Birmingham; I have been at meet- 
ings 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. Was this day at Nottingham; the forenoon meeting was 
especially, through Divine love, a heart-tendering season. Next day 
I had a meeting in a Friend's family, which, through the strength- 
ening 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 suppxjrt 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 com- 
forted under a sense of that Divine visitation which I feel extended 
towards many young people. 

The spirit o£ his Master bore witness to them in the hearts of his hearers. When 
he closed, the Friend who had advised against his further service rose up and humbly 
confessed his error, and avowed his full unity with the stranger. All doubt was 
removed; there was a general expression of unity and sympathy, and John Woolman, 
owned by his brethren, passed on to his work. 

There is no portrait of John Woolman; and had photography been 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 superfluity and expensive luxury, 
he was scrupulously neat in his dress and person may be inferred from his general 
character and from the fact that one of his serious objections to dyed clothing was 
that it served to conceal uncleanness, and was, therefore, detrimental to real purity. 
It is, however, quite probable that his outer man, on the occasion referred to, was 
suggestive of a hasty toilet in the crowded steerage. — Note from the edition puhtished 
by Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin b Co. 



304 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

Sixteenth of eighth month and the first of the week, I was at Set- 
tle. 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 shil- 
lings; wheat, eight shillings per bushel; oatmeal, twelve shillings for 
a hundred and twenty pounds; mutton from threepence to fivepence 
per pound; bacon from sevenpence to ninepence; cheese from four- 
pence to sixf)ence; butter from eightjjence 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 employer finds small beer 
and the laborer finds his own food; but in harvest and hay time 
wages are about one shilling f)er 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 fac- 
tories 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<oaches frequently go upwards of one hundred miles in 
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 busi- 
ness, 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 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. 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 305 

As my journey hath been without a horse, I have had several of- 
fers of being assisted on my way in these stage<oaches, 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 winter nights the poor boys suffer much. I heard in Amer- 
ica 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 Lxindon, 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 members of our Society being mixed with the world 
in various sorts of traffic, carried on in impure 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 
principle 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 Society 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, which hath spread from 
less to more, till superfluity of some kinds is common among 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 founda- 
tion, and there hearken to that Divine voice which gives a clear and 
certain sound; and I have felt in that which doth not receive, that if 
Friends 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 be patterns of deep self- 
denial in things relating to trade and handicraft labor; and others 
who have plenty of the treasures of this world will be examples of a 



306 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

plain frugal life, and pay wages to such as they may hire more lib- 
erally 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 outward greatness, and as I have kept inward, way 
hath opened for conversation with such in private, in which Divine 
goodness 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 know who I was, I saw a mass of matter of 
a dull gloomy color between the south and the east, and was 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 melodious 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 aUve 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 oppressed peo- 
ple 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 was then informed that these heathens 
were 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." 

All 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 lightheaded, for I told them not what the 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 307 

angel said, nor was I disposed to talk much to any one, but was very 
desirous to get so deep that I might understand this mystery. 

My tongue was often so dry that I could not speak till I had moved 
it about and gathered some moisture, 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 crucified 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, who loved me and gave him- 
self for me." Then the mystery was opened and I perceived there 
was joy in heaven over a sinner who had repented, 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. Go- 
ing 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 several Friends' houses 
in America, as well as in England, and I have cause to acknowledge 
with humble reverence the loving-kindness of my Heavenly Father, 
who hath preserved me in such a tender frame of mind, that none, 
I beheve, 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 in company with the 
oppressed slaves as I sat in meetings; and though under his dispen- 
sation I was shut up from speaking, yet the spring of the gospel min- 
istry was many times 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 dispensation, 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 sub- 
stance as follows: — 



308 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

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 
ministry in this nation hath often raised thankfulness in my heart to 
him. I often remember the conflicts of the faithful under persecu- 
tion, 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 most careful attention. I feel a tender concern 
that the work of reformation so prosperously carried on in this land 
within a few ages past may go forward and spread among the na- 
tions, and may not go backward through dust gathering on our gar- 
ments, 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 little of the feeling 
I had there. 

I have heard that you in these parts have at certain seasons Meet- 
ings of Conference in relation to Friends living up to our principles, 
in which several meetings unite in one. With this I feel unity, having 
in some measure felt truth lead that way among Friends in America, 
and I have found, my 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 awfulness before 
Him who gave it, and feel a desire that we may 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 Cros- 
field, 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 graciously 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. 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 309 

Sixth of ninth month and first of the week. — I was this day at 
Counterside, a large meeting-house, and very full. Through the 
opening of pure love, it was a strengthening time to me, and I be- 
lieve to many more. 

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 was a profitable meeting. 
At this place I heard that my kinsman, William Hunt, from North 
Carolina, who was on a religious visit to Friends in England, de- 
parted this life on the 9th of this month, of the small-pox, at New- 
castle. He appeared in the ministry when a youth, and his labors 
therein were of good savor. He travelled much in that work in 
America. 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 himself, 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 from that filth which more or less infects the air of all thickly 
setded towns 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 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 themselves, and 
yet real cleanliness is not generally promoted. Dyes being invented 
partly to please the eye and partly to hide dirt, I have 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 
which is disagreeable is strengthened. Real cleanliness becometh a 



310 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

holy people; but hiding that which is not clean by coloring our gar- 
ments seems contrary 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, how 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 min- 
isters, it is necessary for us not only to feel a concern 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<ourse 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 ne- 
cessity 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. 

I have frequently found a necessity to stand up when the spring of 
the ministry was low, and to speak from the necessity in that which 
subjecteth the will of the creature; and herein I was united with the 
suffering seed, and found inward sweetness in these mortifying la- 
bors. 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 America 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 meet- 
ings, not wholly, but in part: and I do not feel liberty to appoint 
t^em so quickly, one after another, as I have done heretofore. The 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 3II 

work of the ministry being a work of Divine love, I feel that the 
openings thereof are to be waited for in all our appointments. 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 remembered 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 down, 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 appear- 
ing weak and foolish to that wisdom which is of the world; and in 
these lowly labors, they who stand in a low place and are rightly 
exercised under the cross will find nourishment. The gift is pure; 
and while the eye is single in attending thereto the understanding 
is preserved clear; self is kept out. We rejoice in filling up that 
which remains of the afflictions of 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 appearing weak, may kindle a fire, com- 
pass themselves about with sparks, and walk in the light, not of 
Christ, who is under suffering, but of that fire which they in de- 
parting from the gift have kindled, in order that those hearers who 
have left the meek, suffering state for worldly wisdom 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 owned 
by the world. 



312 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

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 may have no desire but to follow Christ and to be with him, that 
when he is under suffering, we may suffer with him, and never 
desire to rise up in dominion, but as he, by the virtue of his own 
spirit, may raise us. 



THE DEATH OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

JOHN WOOLMAN died at York, England, October 7, 1772. His last 
days are memorialized in the following extract from "The testimony 
of Friends in Yorkshire at their Quarterly Meeting, held at York the 
24th and 25th of the third month, 1773, concerning John Woolman, 
of Mount Holly, in the Province of New Jersey, North America, who 
departed this life at the house of our Friend Thomas Priestman, in 
the suburbs of this city, the 7th of the tenth month, 1772, and was 
interred in the burial-ground of Friends the 9th of the same, aged 
about fifty-two years: 

"This our valuable friend having been under a religious engagement 
for some time to visit Friends in this nation, and more especially us in 
the northern parts, undertook the same in full concurrence and near 
sympathy with his friends and brethren at home, as apf)eared by cer- 
tificates from the Monthly and Quarterly Meetings to which he belonged, 
and from the Spring Meeting of ministers and elders held at Philadelphia 
for Pennsylvania and New Jersey. 

"He arrived in the city of London the beginning of the last Yearly 
Meeting, and, after attending that meeting, traveled northward, visit- 
ing the Quarterly Meetings of Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Nor- 
thamptonshire, Oxfordshire, and Worcestershire, and divers particular 
meetings in his way. 

"He 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 attend all the sittings of that meeting except the last. 

"His disorder, which proved the small-pox, increased speedily upon 
him, and was very afflicting, under which he was supported in much 
meekness, patience, and Christian fortitude. To those who attended 
him in his illness, his mind appeared to be centred in Divine love, under 
the precious influence whereof we believe he finished his course, and 
entered into the mansions of everlasting rest. 

"In the early part of his illness he requested a Friend to write, and he 
broke forth thus: 

"'O Lord my God! the amazing horrors of darkness were gathered 

3'3 



314 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

around me and covered me all over, and I saw no way to go forth; I felt 
the misery of my fellow<reatures separated from the Divine harmony, 
and it was heavier than I could bear, and I was crushed down under it; 
I lifted up my hand and stretched out my arm, but there was none to 
help me; I looked round about and was amazed. In the depth of misery, 

Lord! I remembered that thou art omnipotent, that I had called thee 
Father, and I felt that I loved thee, and 1 was made quiet in thy will, and 

1 waited for deliverance from thee; thou hadst pity upon me when no 
man could help me; I saw that meekness under suffering was showed to 
us in the most affecting example of thy Son, and thou taught me to follow 
him, and I said. Thy will, O Father, be done.' 

"Many more of his weighty expressions might have been inserted here, 
but it was deemed unnecessary, they being already published in print." 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 



BY 

WILUAM PENN 



INTRODUCTORY NOTE 

William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, was the son of Sir 
William Penn, a distinguished English Admiral. He was born in 1644. 
His boyhood was marked by a combination of pietism with a strong in- 
terest in athletics, and he was expelled from Oxford for nonconformity. 
After leaving the University he traveled on the Continent, served in the 
navy, and studied law. In 1667 he became a Quaker, and in the next 
year he was committed to the Tower for an attack on the orthodoxy of 
the day. During his imprisonment he wrote his well-known treatise on 
self-sacrifice, "No Cross, No Crown"; and after his release he suffered 
from time to time renewed imprisonments, till he finally turned his atten- 
tion to America as a possible refuge for the persecuted Friends. In 1682 
he obtained a charter creating him proprietor and governor of East New 
Jersey and Pennsylvania, and, after drawing up a constitution for the 
colony on the basis of religious toleration, he sailed for his new prov- 
ince. After two years, during which the population of the colony grew 
rapidly through emigration from Germany, Holland, and Scandinavia, 
as well as Great Britain, he returned to England, where his consultations 
with James II, whom he believed to be sincere in his professions of 
toleration, led to much misunderstanding of his motives and character. 
At the Revolution of 1688 he was treated as a Jacobite, but finally ob- 
tained the good-will of William III, and resumed his preaching and 
writing. In 1699 he again came to America, this time with the intention 
of remaining; but two years later he went home to oppose the proposal 
to convert his province into a crown colony. Queen Anne received him 
favorably, and he remained in England till his death in 1718. 

Penn's voluminous writings are largely controversial, and often con- 
cerned with issues no longer vital. But his interpretation and defense of 
Quaker doctrine remain important; and the "Fruits of Solitude," here 
printed, is a mine of pithy comment upon human life, which combines 
with the acute common sense of Franklin the spiritual elevation of 
Woolman. 



CONTENTS 

PARTI 

FAGB 

Ignorance 3^^ 

Education 3^^ 

Pride 3*3 

Luxury ... 3*5 

Inconsideration 3*5 

Disappointment and Resignation 325 

Murmuring 3*^ 

Censoriousness 326 

Bounds of Charity 327 

Frugality or Bounty . 3*7 

Discipline 3*^ 

Industry 3*^ 

Temperance 3*^ 

Apparel 33° 

Right Marriage 330 

Avarice 33' 

Friendship 333 

Qualities of a Friend 334 

Caution and Conduct 334 

Reparation 334 

Rules of Conversation 335 

Eloquence 33^ 

Temper 33^ 

Truth 33^ 

Justice 337 

Secrecy 337 

Complacency 337 

Shifts 337 

Interest 337 

Inquiry 33^ 

Right-timing 33^ 

Knowledge 33^ 

Wit 338 

Obedience to Parents 339 

Bearing 339 

3*7 



3i8 



co>nrENTS 



Promising 34° 

Fidelity 34° 

Master 34° 

Servant 34' 

Jealousy 34' 

Posterity 34^ 

A Country Life 34* 

Art and Project 343 

Industry 343 

Temporal Happiness 343 

Respect 345 

Hazard 345 

Detraction 345 

Moderation 34^ 

Trick 34^ 

Passion 34^ 

Personal Cautions 347 

Ballance 34* 

Popularity 349 

Privacy 349 

Government 35° 

A Private Life 353 

A PuBLicK Life 353 

Qualifications 354 

Capacity 354 

Clean Hands 354 

Dispatch 354 

Patience 355 

Impartiality 355 

Indifferency 357 

Neutrality 357 



A Party 
Ostentation 
CoMPLEAT Virtue 
Religion 



357 
358 
358 
359 



THE PREFACE 

Readek, — This Enchiridion, I present thee with, is the Fruit of Soli- 
tude: A School few care to learn in, tho' None instructs us better. Some 
Parts of it are the Result of serious Reflection: Others the Flashings of 
Lucid Intervals: Writ for private Satisfaction, and now publish'd for an 
Help to Human Conduct. 

The Author blesseth God for his Retirement, and kisses that Gentle 
Hand which led him into it: For though it should prove Barren to the 
World, it can never do so to him. 

He has now had some Time he could call his own; a Property he was 
never so much Master of before: In which he has taken a View of him- 
self and the World; and observed wherein he hath hit and mist the 
Mark; What might have been done, what mended, and what avoided in 
his Human Conduct: Together with the Omissions and Excesses of 
others, as well Societies and Governments, as private Families, and Per- 
sons. And he verily thinks, were he to live over his Life again, he could 
not only, with God's Grace, serve Him, but his Neighbor and himself, 
better than he hath done, and have Seven Years of his Time to spare. 
And yet perhaps he hath not been the Worst or the Idlest Man in the 
World; nor is he the Oldest. And this is the rather said, that it might 
quicken. Thee, Reader, to lose none of the Time that is yet thine. 

There is nothing of which we are apt to be so lavish as of Time, and 
about which we ought to be more solicitous; since without it we can do 
nothing in this World. Time is what we want most, but what, alas! we 
use worst; and for which God will certairJy most stricdy reckon with us, 
when Time shall be no more. 

It is of that Moment to us in Reference to both Worlds, that I can 
hardly wish any Man better, than that he would seriously consider what 
he does with his Time: How and to What Ends he Employs it; and what 
Returns he makes to God, his Neighbor and Himself for it. Will he 
ne'er have a Leidger for this? This, the greatest Wisdom and Work of 
Life. 

To come but once into the World, and Trifle away our true Enjoy- 
ment of it, and of our selves in it, is lamentable indeed. This one Reflec- 
tion would yield a thinking Person great Instruction. And since nothing 
below Man can so Think; Man, in being Thoughdess, must needs fall 
below himself. And that, to be sure, such do, as are unconcern'd in the 
Use of their most Precious Time. 

319 



320 THE PREFACE 

This is but too evident, if we will allow our selves to consider, that 
there's hardly any Thing we uke by the Right End, or improve to its 
just Advantage. 

We understand little of the Works of God, either in Nature or Grace. 
We pursue False Knowledge, and Mistake Education extreamly. We are 
violent in our Affections, Confused and Immethodical in our whole 
Life; making That a Burthen, which was given for a Blessing; and so 
of iitde Comfort to our selves or others; Misapprehending the true 
Notion of Happiness, and so missing of the Right Use of Life, and Way 
of happy Living. 

And till we are perswaded to stop, and step a Iitde aside, out of the 
noisy Crowd and Incumbering Hurry of the World, and Calmly take a 
Prospect of Things, it will be impossible we should be able to make a 
right Judgment of our Selves or know our own Misery. But after we 
have made the just Reckonings which Retirement will help us to, we 
shall begin to think the World in great measure Mad, and that we have 
been in a sort of Bedlam all this while. 

Reader, whether Young or Old, think it not too soon or too late to 
turn over the Leaves of thy past Life: And be sure to fold down where 
any Passage of it may affect thee; And bestow thy Remainder of Time, to 
correct those Faults in thy future Conduct; Be it in Relation to this or 
the next life. What thou wouldst do, if what thou hast done were to do 
again, be sure to do as long as thou livest, upon the like Occasions. 

Our Resolutions seem to be Vigorous, as often as we reflect upon our 
past Errors; But, Alas! they are apt to flat again upon fresh Temptations 
to the same Things. 

The Author does not pretend to deliver thee an Exact Piece; his Busi- 
ness not being Ostentation, but Charity. 'T is Miscellaneous in the 
Matter of it, and by no means Artificial in the Composure. But it con- 
tains Hints, that it may serve thee for Texts to Preach to thy Self upon, 
and which comprehend Much of the Course of Human Life: Since 
whether thou art Parent or Child, Prince or Subject, Master or Servant, 
Single or Married, Publick or Private, Mean or Honorable, Rich or 
Poor, Prosperous or Improsperous, in Peace or Controversy, in Business 
or Solitude; Whatever be thy Inclination or Aversion, Practice or Duty, 
thou wilt find something not unsuitably said for thy Direction and 
Advantage. Accept and Improve what deserves thy Notice; The rest 
excuse, and place to account of good Will to Thee and the whole Creation 
of God. 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 
IN REFLECTIONS AND MAXIMS 

PART I 

IGNORANCE 

IT IS admirable to consider how many Millions of People come 
into, and go out of the World, Ignorant of themselves, and 
of the World they have lived in. 

2. If one went to see Windsor-Castle, or Hampton-Court, it would 
be strange not to observe and remember the Situation, the Building, 
the Gardens, Fountains, &c. that make up the Beauty and Pleasure 
of such a Seat? And yet few People know themselves; No, not their 
own Bodies, the Houses of their Minds, the most curious Structure 
of the World; a Hving walking Tabernacle: Nor the World of which 
it was made, and out of which it is fed; which would be so much 
our Benefit, as well as our Pleasure, to know. We cannot doubt of 
this when we are told that the Invisible Things of God are brought 
to light by the Things that are seen; and consequently we read our 
Duty in them as often as we look upon them, to him that is the 
Great and Wise Author of them, if we look as we should do. 

3. The World is certainly a great and stately Volume of natural 
Things; and may be not improperly styled the Hieroglyphicks of 
a better: But, alas! how very few Leaves of it do we seriously turn 
over! This ought to be the Subject of the Education of our Youth, 
who, at Twenty, when they should be fit for Business, know little 
or nothing of it. 

EDUCATION 

4. We are in Pain to make them Scholars, but not Men! To talk, 
rather than to know, which is true Canting. 

31" 



322 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

5. The first Thing obvious to Children is what 'is sensible; and 
that we make no Part of their rudiments. 

6. We press their Memory too soon, and puzzle, strain, and load 
them with Words and Rules; to know Grammer and Rhetorick, 
and a strange Tongue or two, that it is ten to one may never be 
useful to them; Leaving their natural Genius to Mechanical and 
Physical, or natural Knowledge uncultivated and neglected; which 
would be of exceeding Use and Pleasure to them through the whole 
Course of their Life. 

7. To be sure. Languages are not to be despised or neglected. But 
Things are still to be preferred. 

8. Children had rather be making of Tools and Instruments of 
Play; Shaping, Drawing, Framing, and Building, &c. than getting 
some Rules of Propriety of Speech by Heart: And those also would 
follow with more Judgment, and less Trouble and Time. 

9. It were Happy if we studied Nature more in natural Things; 
and acted according to Nature; whose rules are few, plain and 
most reasonable. 

10. Let us begin where she begins, go her Pace, and close always 
where she ends, and we cannot miss of being good Naturalists. 

11. The Creation would not be longer a Riddle to us: The Heav- 
ens, Earth, and Waters, with their respective, various and numerous 
Inhabitants: Their Productions, Natures, Seasons, Sympathies and 
Antipathies; their Use, Benefit and Pleasure, would be better under- 
stood by us: And an eternal Wisdom, Power, Majesty, and Good- 
ness, very conspicuous to us, thro* those sensible and passing Forms: 
The World wearing the Mark of its Maker, whose Stamp is every- 
where visible, and the Characters very legible to the Children of 
Wisdom. 

12. And it would go a great way to caution and direct People in 
their Use of the World, that they were better studied and known 
in the Creation of it. 

13. For how could Man find the Confidence to abuse it, while they 
should see the Great Creator stare them in the Face, in all and 
every part thereof? 

14. Their Ignorance makes them insensible, and that Insensibil- 
ity hardy in misusing this noble Creation, that has the Stamp 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 323 

and Voice of a Deity every where, and in every Thing to the Ob- 
serving. 

15. It is pity therefore that Books have not been composed for 
Youth, by some curious and careful Naturahsts, and also Mechan- 
icks, in the Latin Tongue, to be used in Schools, that they might 
learn Things with Words: Things obvious and familiar to them, 
and which would make the Tongue easier to be obtained by them. 

16. Many able Gardiners and Husbandmen are yet Ignorant of 
the Reason of their Calling; as most Artificers are of the Reason of 
their own Rules that govern their excellent Workmanship. But a 
Naturalist and Mechanick of this sort is Master of the Reason 
of both, and might be of the Practice too, if his Industry kept 
pace with his Speculation; which were very commendable; and 
without which he cannot be said to be a complete Naturalist or 
Mechanick. 

17. Finally, if Man be the Index or Epitomy of the World, as 
Philosophers tell us, we have only to read our selves well to be 
learned in it. But because there is nothing we less regard than the 
Characters of the Power that made us, which are so clearly written 
upon us and the World he has given us, and can best tell us what 
we are and should be, we are even Strangers to our own Genius: 
The Glass in which we should see that true instructing and agree- 
able Variety, which is to be observed in Nature, to the Admiration 
of that Wisdom and Adoration of that Power which made us all. 

PRIDE 

18. And yet we are very apt to be full of our selves, instead of 
Him that made what we so much value; and, but for whom we can 
have no Reason to value our selves. For we have nothing that we 
can call our own; no, not our selves: For we are all but Tenants, 
and at Will too, of the great Lord of our selves, and the rest of 
this great Farm, the World that we live upon. 

19. But methinks we cannot answer it to our Selves as well as our 
Maker, that we should live and die ignorant of our Selves, and 
thereby of Him and the Obligations we are under to Him for our 
Selves. 

20. If the worth of a Gift sets the Obligation, and directs the 



324 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

return of the Party that receives it; he that is ignorant of it, will be 
at a loss to value it and the Giver, for it. 

21. Here is Man in his Ignorance of himself. He knows not how 
to estimate his Creator, because he knows not how to value his 
Creation. If we consider his Make, and lovely Compositure; the 
several Stories of his lovely Structure. His divers Members, their 
Order, Function and Dependency: The Instruments of Food, the 
Vessels of Digestion, the several Transmutations it passes. And 
how Nourishment is carried and diffused throughout the whole 
Body, by most innate and imperceptible Passages. How the Animal 
Spirit is thereby refreshed, and with an unspeakable Dexterity and 
Motion sets all Parts at work to feed themselves. And last of all, 
how the Rational Soul is seated in the Animal, as its proper House, 
as is the Animal in the Body: I say if this rare Fabrick alone were 
but considered by us, with all the rest by which it is fed and com- 
forted, surely Man would have a more reverent Sense of the Power, 
Wisdom and Goodness of God, and of that Duty he owes to Him 
for it. But if he would be acquainted with his own Soul, its noble 
Faculties, its Union with the Body, its Nature and End, and the 
Providences by which the whole Frame of Humanity is preserved, 
he would Admire and Adore his Good and Great God. But Man 
is become a strange Contradiction to himself; but it is of himself; 
Not being by Constitution, but Corruption, such. 

22. He would have others obey him, even his own kind; but he 
will not obey God, that is so much above him, and who made him. 

23. He will lose none of his Authority; no, not bate an Ace of 
it: He is humorous' to his Wife, he beats his Children, is angry 
with his Servants, strict with his Neighbors, revenges all Affronts 
to Extremity; but, alas, forgets all the while that he is the Man; and 
is more in Arrear to God, that is so very patient with him, than 
they are to him with whom he is so strict and impatient. 

24. He is curious to wash, dress, and perfume his Body, but care- 
less of his Soul. The one shall have many Hours, the other not so 
many Minutes. This shall have three or four new Suits in a Year, 
but that must wear its old Cloaths still. 

25. If he be to receive or see a great Man, how nice and anxious 

' Capricious. 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 325 

is he that all things be in order? And with what Respect and 
Address does he approach and make his Court? But to God, how 
dry and formal and constrained in his Devotion? 

26. In his Prayers he says. Thy Will be done: But means his own: 
At least acts so. 

27. It is too frequent to begin with God and end with the World. 
But He is the good Man's Beginning and End; his Alpha and 
Omega. 

LUXURY 

28. Such is now become our Delicacy, that we will not eat ordinary 
Meat, nor drink small, pall'd^ Liquor; we must have the best, and 
the best cook'd for our Bodies, while our Souls feed on empty or 
corrupted Things. 

29. In short, Man is spending all upon a bare House, and hath little 
or no Furniture within to recommend it; which is preferring the 
Cabinet before the Jewel, a Lease of seven Years before an inheri- 
tance. So absurd a thing is Man, after all his proud Pretences to 
Wit and Understanding. 

INCONSIDERATION 

30. The want of due Consideration is the Cause of all the Un- 
happiness Man brings upon himself. For his second Thoughts rarely 
agree with his first, which pass not without a considerable Retrench- 
ment or Correction. And yet that sensible Warning is, too fre- 
quently, not Precaution enough for his future Conduct. 

31. Well may we say our Infelicity is of our selves; since there is 
nothing we do that we should not do, but we know it, and yet do it. 

DISAPPOINTMENT AND RESIGNATION 

32. For Disappointments, that come not by our own Folly, they 
are the Tryals or Corrections of Heaven: And it is our own Fault, 
if they prove not our Advantage. 

33. To repine at them does not mend the Matter: It is only to 
grumble at our Creator. But to see the Hand of God in them, 

'Stale. 



326 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

with an humble submission to his Will, is the Way to turn our 
Water into Wine^ and engage the greatest Love and Mercy on 
our side. 

34. We must needs disorder our selves, if we only look at our 
Losses. But if we consider how little we deserve what is left, our 
Passion will cool, and our Murmurs will turn into Thankfulness. 

35. If our Hairs fall not to the Ground, less do we or our Sub- 
stance without God's Providence. 

36. Nor can we fall below the Arms of God, how low soever it 
be we fall. 

37. For though our Saviour's Passion is over, his Compassion is 
not. That never fails his humble, sincere Disciples: In him, they 
find more than all that they lose in the World. 

MURMURING 

38. Is it reasonable to take it ill, that any Body desires of us that 
which is their own? All we have is the Almighty's: And shall not 
God have his own when he calls for it? 

39. Discontentedness is not only in such a Case Ingratitude, but 
Injustice. For we are both unthankful for the time we had it, and 
not honest enough to restore it, if we could keep it. 

40. But it is hard for us to look on things in such a Glass, and at 
such a Distance from this low World; and yet it is our Duty, and 
would be our Wisdom and our Glory to do so, 

CENSORIOUSNESS 

41. We are apt to be very pert at censuring others, where we will 
not endure advice our selves. And nothing shews our Weakness 
more than to be so sharp-sighted at spying other Men's Faults; and 
so purblind about our own. 

42. When the Actions of a Neighbor are upon the Stage, we can 
have all our Wits about us, are so quick and critical we can split 
an Hair, and find out ever Failure and Infirmity: But are without 
feeling, or have but very little Sense of our own. 

43. Much of this comes from 111 Nature, as well as from an in- 
ordinate Value of our selves: For we love Rambling better than 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 327 

home, and blaming the unhappy, rather than covering and relieving 
them. 

44. In such Occasions some shew their Malice, and are witty upon 
Misfortunes; others their Justice, they can reflect a pace: But few or 
none their Charity; especially if it be about Money Matters. 

45. You shall see an old Miser come forth with a set Gravity, 
and so much Severity against the distressed, to excuse his Purse, 
that he will, e'er he has done, put it out of all Question, That Riches 
is Righteousness with him. This, says he, is the Fruit of your Prodi- 
gality (as if, poor Man, Covetousness were no Fault) Or, of your 
Projects, or grasping after a great Trade: While he himself would 
have done the same thing, but that he had not the Courage to ven- 
ture so much ready Money out of his own trusty Hands, though it 
had been to have brought him back the Indies in return. But the 
Proverb is just, Vice should not correct Sin. 

46. They have a Right to censure, that have a Heart to help: 
The rest is Cruelty, not Justice. 

BOUNDS OF CHARITY 

47. Lend not beyond thy Ability, nor refuse to lend out of thy 
Ability; especially when it will help others more than it can hurt 
thee. 

48. If thy Debtor be honest and capable, thou hast thy Mony again, 
if not with Encrease, with Praise: If he prove insolvent, don't ruin 
him to get that, which it will not ruin thee to lose: For thou art but 
a Steward, and another is thy Owner, Master and Judge. 

49. The more merciful Acts thou dost, the more Mercy thou wilt 
receive; and if with a charitable Imployment of thy Temporal Riches, 
thou gainest eternal Treasure, thy Purchase is infinite: Thou wilt 
have found the Art of Multiplying* indeed. 

FRUGALITY OR BOUNTY 

50. Frugality is good if Liberality be Join'd with it. The first is 
leaving off superfluous Expences; the last bestowing them to the 
Benefit of others that need. The first without the last begins Covet- 
ousness; the last without the first begins Prodigality: Both together 

'The term used by the alchemists for increasing the precious metals. 



328 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

make an excellent Temper. Happy the Place where ever that is 
found. 

51. Were it universal, we should be Cur'd of two Extreams, 
Want and Excess: and the one would supply the other, and so bring 
both nearer to a Mean; the just Degree of earthly Happiness. 

52. It is a Reproach to Religion and Government to suffer so 
much Poverty and Excess. 

53. Were the Superfluities of a Nation valued, and made a per- 
petual Tax or Benevolence, there would be more Almshouses than 
Poor; Schools than Scholars; and enough to spare for Government 
besides. 

54. Hospitality is good, if the poorer sort are the subjects of our 
Bounty; else too near a Superfluity. 

DISCIPLINE 

55. If thou wouldst be happy and easie in thy Family, above all 
things observe Discipline. 

56. Every one in it should know their Duty; and there should be 
a Time and Place for every thing; and whatever else is done or 
omitted, be sure to begin and end with God. 

INDUSTRY 

57. Love Labor: For if thou dost not want it for Food, thou 
mayest for Physick. It is wholesom for thy Body, and good for 
thy Mind. It prevents the Fruits of Idleness, which many times 
comes of nothing to do, and leads too many to do what is worse 
than nothing. 

58. A Garden, an Elaboratory, a Work-house, Improvements and 
Breeding, are pleasant and Profitable Diversions to the Idle and 
Ingenious: For here they miss 111 Company, and converse with 
Nature and Art; whose Variety are equally grateful and instructing; 
and preserve a good Constitution of Body and Mind. 

TEMPERANCE 

59. To this a spare Diet contributes much. Eat therefore to live, 
and do not live to eat. That's like a Man, but this below a Beast. 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 329 

60. Have wholesome, but not costly Food, and be rather cleanly 
than dainty in ordering it. 

61. The Receipts of Cookery are swell'd to a Volume, but a good 
Stomach excels them all; to which nothing contributes more than 
Industry and Temperance. 

62. It is a cruel Folly to offer up to Ostentation so many Lives 
of Creatures, as make up the State of our Treats; as it is a prodigal 
one to spend more in Sawce than in Meat. 

63. The Proverb says. That enough is as good as a Feast : But it is 
certainly better, if Sujierfluity be a Fault, which never fails to be 
at Festivals. 

64. If thou rise with an Appetite, thou art sure never to sit down 
without one. 

65. Rarely drink but when thou art dry; nor then, between Meals, 
if it can be avoided. 

66. The smaller* the Drink, the clearer the Head, and the cooler 
the Blood; which are great Benefits in Temper and Business. 

67. Strong Liquors are good at some Times, and in small Pro- 
portions; being better for Physick than Food, for Cordials than 
common Use. 

68. The most common things are the most useful; which shews 
both the Wisdom and Goodness of the great Lord of the Family 
of the World. 

69. What therefore he has made rare, don't thou use too com- 
monly: Lest thou shouldest invert the Use and Order of things; 
become Wanton and Voluptuous; and thy Blessings prove a Curse. 

70. Let nothing be lost, said our Saviour. But that is lost that is 
misused. 

71. Neither urge another to that thou wouldst be unwilling to do 
thy self, nor do thy self what looks to thee unseemly, and intemperate 
in another. 

72. All Excess is ill: But Drunkenness is of the worst Sort. It 
spoils Health, dismounts the Mind, and unmans Men: It reveals 
Secrets, is Quarrelsome, Lascivious, Impudent, Dangerous and Mad. 
In fine, he that is drunk is not a Man: Because he is so long void 
of Reason, that distinguishes a Man from a Beast. 

< Weaker. 



330 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITLJDE 

APPAREL 

73. Excess in Apparel is another costly Folly. The very Trimming 
of the vain World would cloath all the naked one. 

74. Chuse thy Cloaths by thine own Eyes, not another's. The 
more plain and simple they are, the better. Neither unshapely, nor 
fantastical; and for Use and Decency, and not for Pride. 

75. If thou art clean and warm, it is suflRcient; tor more doth but 
rob the Poor, and please the Wanton. 

76. It is said of the true Church, the King's Daughter is all 
glorious within. Let our Care therefore be of our Minds more than 
of our Bodies, if we would be of her Communion. 

77. We are told with Truth, that Meekness and Modesty are the 
Rich and Charming Attire of the Soul: And the plainer the Dress, 
the more Distinctly, and with greater Lustre, their Beauty shines. 

78. It is great Pity such Beauties are so rare, and those of Jezebel's 
Forehead are so common: Whose Dresses are Incentives to Lust; 
but Bars instead of Motives, to Love or Vertue. 

RIGHT MARRIAGE 

79. Never Marry but for Love; but see that thou lov'st what is 
lovely, 

80. If Love be not thy chiefest Motive, thou wilt soon grow weary 
of a Married State, and stray from thy Promise, to search out thy 
Pleasures in forbidden Places. 

81. Let not Enjoyment lessen, but augment Affection; it being 
the basest of Passions to like when we have not, what we slight 
when we possess. 

82. It is the difference betwixt Lust and Love, that this is fixt, that 
volatile. Love grows. Lust wastes by Enjoyment: And the Reason 
is, that one springs from an Union of Souls, and the other from an 
Union of Sense. 

83. They have Divers Originals, and so are of different FamiHes: 
That inward and deep, this superficial; this transient, and that 
parmanent. 

84. They that Marry for Money cannot have the true Satisfaction 
of Marriage; the requisite Means being wanting. 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 33 1 

85. Men are generally more careful of the Breed of their Horses 
and Dogs than of their Children. 

86. Those must be of the best Sort, for Shape, Strength, Courage 
and good Conditions: But as for these, their own Posterity, Money 
shall answer all Things. With such, it makes the Crooked Streight, 
sets Squint-Eyes Right, cures Madness, covers Folly, changes ill 
Conditions, mends the Skin, gives a sweet Breath, repairs Honors, 
makes Young, works Wonders. 

87. O how sordid is Man grown! Man, the noblest Creature in 
the World, as a God on Earth, and the Image of him that made it; 
thus to mistake Earth for Heaven, and worship Gold for God! 

AVARICE 

88. Covetousness is the greatest of Monsters, as well as the Root 
of all Evil. I have once seen the Man that dyed to save Charges. 
What! Give Ten ShiUings to a Doctor, and have an Apothecary's 
Bill besides, that may come to I know not what! No, not he: 
Valuing Life less than Twenty Shillings. But indeed such a Man 
could not well set too low a Price upon himself; who, though he 
liv'd up to the Chin in Bags, had rather die than find in his Heart 
to open one of them, to help to save his Life. 

89. Such a Man is felo de sei" and deserves not Christian Burial. 

90. He is a common Nusance, a Weyer' cross the Stream, that 
stops the Current: An Obstruction, to be remov'd by a Purge of 
the Law. The only Gratification he gives his Neighbors, is to let 
them see that he himself is as little the better for what he has, as 
they are. For he always looks like Lent; a Sort of Lay Minim.^ 
In some Sense he may be compar'd to Pharoah's lean Kine, for all 
that he has does him no good. He commonly wears his Cloaths till 
they leave him, or that no Body else can wear them. He affects 
to be thought poor, to escape Robbery and Taxes: And by looking 
as if he wanted an Alms, excusing himself from giving any. He 
ever goes late to Markets, to cover buying the worst: But does it 
because that is cheapest. He lives of the Offal. His Life were an 
insupportable Punishment to any Temper but his own: And no 

^ A suicide. ' Dam. ^ One of an order of monks pledged to the observance 
of perpetual Lent. 



332 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

greater Torment to him on Earth, than to Uve as other Men do. 
But the Misery of his Pleasure is, that he is never satisfied with 
getting, and always in Fear of losing what he cannot use. 

91. How vilely has he lost himself, that becomes a Slave to his 
Servant, and exalts him to the Dignity of his Maker! Gold is the 
God, the Wife, the Friend of the Money-Monger of the World. 

92. But in Marriage do thou be wise; prefer the Person before 
Money; Vertue before Beauty, the Mind before the Body: Then 
thou hast a Wife, a Friend, a Companion, a Second Self; one that 
bears an equal Share with thee in all thy Toy Is and Troubles. 

93. Chuse one that Measures her satisfaction, Safety and Danger, 
by thine; and of whom thou art sure, as of thy secretest Thoughts: 
A Friend as well as a Wife, which indeed a Wife implies: For she 
is but half a Wife that is not, or is not capable of being such a 
Friend. 

94. Sexes make no Difference; since in Souls there is none: And 
they are the Subjects of Friendship. 

95. He that minds a Body and not a Soul, has not the better Part 
of that Relation; and will consequently want the Noblest Comfort 
of a Married Life. 

96. The Satisfaction of our Senses is low, short, and transient: 
But the Mind gives a more raised and extended Pleasure, and is 
capable of an Happiness founded upon Reason; not bounded and 
limited by the Circumstances that Bodies are confin'd to. 

97. Here it is we ought to search out our Pleasure, where the 
Field is large and full of Variety, and of an induring Nature: Sick- 
ness, Poverty, or Disgrace, being not able to shake it, because it is 
not under the moving Influences of Worldly Contingencies. 

98. The Satisfaction of those that do so is in well-doing, and 
in the Assurance they have of a future Reward: That they are 
best loved of those they love most, and that they enjoy and value 
the Liberty of their Minds above that of their Bodies; having the 
whole Creation for their Prospect, the most Noble and Wonderful 
Works and Providences of God, the Histories of the Antients, and 
in them the Actions and Examples of the Vertuous; and lastly, 
themselves, their Affairs and Family, to exercise their Minds and 
Friendship upon. 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITIJDE 333 

99. Nothing can be more entire and without Reserve; nothing 
more zealous, affectionate and sincere; nothing more contented and 
constant than such a Couple; nor no greater temporal Felicity than 
to be one of them. 

100. Between a Man and his Wife nothing ought to rule but 
Love. Authority is for Children and Servants; yet not without 
Sweetness. 

loi. As Love ought to bring them together, so it is the best Way 
to keep them well together. 

102. Wherefore use her not as a Servant, whom thou would'st, 
perhaps, have serv'd Seven Years to have obtained. 

103. An Husband and Wife that love and value one another, 
shew their Children and Servants, That they should do so too. 
Others visibly lose their Authority in their Families by their Con- 
tempt of one another; and teach their Children to be unnatural by 
their own Example. 

104. It is a general Fault, not to be more careful to preserve 
Nature in Children; who, at least in the second Descent, hardly 
have the Feeling of their Relation; which must be an unpleasant 
Reflection to affectionate Parents. 

105. Frequent Visits, Presents, intimate Correspondence and Inter- 
marriages within allowed Bounds, are Means of keeping up the Con- 
cern and Affection that Nature requires from Relations. 

FRIENDSHIP 

106. Friendship is the next Pleasure we may hope for: And 
where we find it not at home, or have no home to find it in, we 
may seek it abroad. It is an Union of Spirits, a Marriage of Hearts, 
and the Bond thereof Vertue. 

107. There can be no Friendship where there is no Freedom. 
Friendship loves a free Air, and will not be penned up in streight 
and narrow Enclosures. It will speak freely, and act so too; and 
take nothing ill where no ill is meant; nay, where it is, 'twill easily 
forgive, and forget too, upon small Acknowledgments. 

108. Friends are true Twins in Soul; they Sympathize in every 
thing, and have the Love and Aversion. 

109. One is not happy without the other, nor can either of them 



334 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

be miserable alone. As if they could change Bodies, they take their 
turns in Pain as well as in Pleasure; relieving one another in their 
most adverse Conditions. 

no. What one enjoys, the other cannot Want. Like the Primitive 
Christians, they have all things in common, and no Property but in 
one another. 

QUALITIES OF A FRIEND 

111. A true Friend unbosoms freely, advises justly, assists readily, 
adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously, and 
continues a Friend unchangeably. 

112. These being the Qualities of a Friend, we are to find them 
before we chuse one. 

113. The Covetous, the Angry, the Proud, the Jealous, the Talka- 
tive, cannot but make ill Friends, as well as the False. 

114. In short, chuse a Friend as thou dost a Wife, till Death 
seperate you. 

115. Yet be not a Friend beyond the Altar: but let Virtue bound 
thy Friendship: Else it is not Friendship, but an Evil Confederacy. 

116. If my Brother or Kinsman will be my Friend, I ought to 
prefer him before a Stranger, or I shew little Duty or Nature to 
my Parents. 

117. And as we ought to prefer our Kindred in Point of Affection, 
«) too in Point of Charity, if equally needing and deserving. 

CAUTION AND CONDUCT 

118. Be not easily acquainted, lest finding Reason to cool, thou 
makest an Enemy instead of a good Neighbor. 

119. Be Reserved, but not Sour; Grave, but not Formal; Bold, 
but not Rash; Humble, but not Servile; Patient, not Insensible; 
Constant, not Obstinate; Chearful, not Light; Rather Sweet than 
Familiar; Familiar, than Intimate; and Intimate with very few, 
and upon very good Grounds. 

120. Return the Civilities thou receivest, and be grateful for 
Favors. 

REPARATION 

121. If thou hast done an Injury to another, rather own it than 
defend it. One way thou gainest Forgiveness, the other, thou 
doubl'st the Wrong and Reckoning. 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 335 

122. Some oppose Honor to Submission : But it can be no Honor 
to maintain, what it is dishonorable to do. 

123. To confess a Fault, that is none, out of Fear, is indeed mean: 
But not to be afraid of standing in one, is Brutish. 

124. We should make more Haste to Right our Neighbor, than 
we do to wrong him, and instead of being Vindicative, we should 
leave him to be Judge of his own Satisfaction. 

125. True Honor will pay treble Damages, rather than justifie 
one wrong with another. 

126. In such Controversies, it is but too common for some to say, 
Both are to blame, to excuse their own Unconcernedness, which is 
a base Neutrality. Others will cry. They are both alike; thereby 
involving the Injured with the Guilty, to mince the Matter for the 
Faulty, or cover their own Injustice to the wronged Party. 

127. Fear and Gain are great Perverters of Mankind, and where 
either prevail, the Judgment is violated. 



RULES OF CONVERSATION 



128. Avoid Company where it is not profitable or necessary; and 
in those Occasions speak little, and last. 

129. Silence is Wisdom, where Speaking is Folly; and always 
safe. 

130. Some are so Foolish as to interrupt and anticipate those that 
speak, instead of hearing and thinking before they answer; which 
is uncivil as well as silly. 

131. If thou thinkest twice, before thou speakest once, thou wilt 
speak twice the better for it. 

132. Better say nothing than not to the Purpose. And to speak 
pertinently, consider both what is fit, and when it is fit to speak. 

133. In all Debates, let Truth be thy Aim, not Victory, or an 
unjust Interest: And endeavor to gain, rather than to expose thy 
Antagonist. 

134. Give no Advantage in Argument, nor lose any that is offered. 
This is a Benefit which arises from Temper. 

135. Don't use thy self to dispute against thine own Judgment, 
to shew Wit, lest it prepare thee to be too indifferent about what 
is Right: Nor against another Man, to vex him, or for mere Trial 



336 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

of Skill; since to inform, or to be informed, ought to be the End 
of all Conferences. 

136. Men are too apt to be concerned for their Credit, more than 
for the Cause. 

ELOQUENCE 

137. There is a Truth and Beauty in Rhetorick; but it oftener 
serves ill Turns than good ones. 

138. Elegancy is a good Meen and Address given to Matter, be it 
by proper or figurative Speech: Where the Words are apt, and 
allusions very natural. Certainly it has a moving Grace: But it is 
too artificial for Simplicity, and oftentimes for Truth. The Danger 
is, lest it delude the Weak, who in such Cases may mistake the 
Handmaid for the Mistress, if not Error for Truth. 

139. 'T is certain Truth is least indebted to it, because she has 
least need of it, and least uses it. 

140. But it is a reprovable Delicacy in them, that despise Truth in 
plain Cloths. 

141. Such Luxuriants have but false Appetites; like those Gluttons, 
that by Sawces force them, where they have no Stomach, and Sacri- 
fice to their Pallate, not their Health: Which cannot be without 
great Vanity, nor That without some Sin. 

TEMPER 

142. Nothing does Reason more Right, than the Coolness of those 
that offer it: For Truth often suffers more by the Heat of its 
Defenders, than from the Arguments of its Opposers. 

143. Zeal ever follows an Appearance of Truth, and the Assured 
are too apt to be warm; but 't is their weak side in Argument; 
Zeal being better shewn against Sin, than Persons or their Mistakes. 

TRUTH 

144. Where thou art Obliged to speak, be sure speak the Truth: 
For Equivocation is half way to Lying, as Lying, the whole way 
to Hell. 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 337 

JUSTICE 

145. Believe nothing against another but upon good Authority: 
Nor report what may hurt another, unless it be a greater hurt to 
others to conceal it. 

SECRECY 

146. It is wise not to seek a Secret, and honest not to reveal one. 

147. Only trust thy self, and another shall not betray thee. 

148. Openness has the Mischief, though not the Malice of 
Treachery. 

COMPLACENCY 

149. Never assent merely to please others. For that is, besides 
Flattery, oftentimes Untruth; and discovers a Mind liable to be 
servile and base: Nor contradict to vex others, for that shows an ill 
Temper, and provokes, but profits no Body. 

SHIFTS 

150. Do not accuse others to excuse thy self; for that is neither 
Generous nor Just. But let Sincerity and Ingenuity be thy Refuge, 
rather than Craft and Falsehood: for Cunning borders very near 
upon Knavery. 

151. Wisdom never uses nor wants it. Cunning to Wise, is as an 
Ape to a Man. 

INTEREST 

152. Interest has the Security, tho' not the Virtue of a Principle. 
As the World goes 't is the surer side; For Men daily leave both 
Relations and Religion to follow it. 

153. 'T is an odd Sight, but very evident. That Families and 
Nations, of cross Religions and Humors unite against those of 
their own, where they find an Interest to do it. 

154. We are tied down by our Senses to this World; and where 
that is in Question, it can be none with Worldly Men, whether they 
should not forsake all other Considerations for it. 



338 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

INQUIRY 

155. Have a care of Vulgar Errors. Dislike, as well as Allow 
Reasonably. 

156. Inquiry is Human; Blind Obedience Brutal. Truth never 
loses by the one, but often suffers by the other. 

157. The usefulest Truths are plainest: And while we keep to 
them, our Differences cannot rise high. 

158. There may be a Wantonness in Search, as well as a Stu- 
pidity in Trusting. It is great Wisdom equally to avoid the 
Extreams. 

RIGHT-TIMING 

159. Do nothing improperly. Some are Witty, Kind, Cold, Angry, 
Easie, Stiff, Jealous, Careless, Cautious, Confident, Close, Open, but 
all in the wrong Place. 

160. It is all mistaking where the Matter is of Importance. 

161. It is not enough that a thing be Right, if it be not fit to be 
done. If not Imprudent, tho' Just, it is not advisable. He that loses 
by getting, had better lose than get. 

KNOWLEDGE 

162. Knowledge is the Treasure, but Judgment the Treasurer of 
a Wise Man. 

163. He that has more Knowledge than Judgment, is made for 
another Man's use more than his own. 

164. It cannot be a good Constitution, where the Appetite is great 
and the Digestion is weak. 

165. There are some Men like Dictionaries; to be lookt into upon 
occasions, but have no Connection, and are little entertaining. 

166. Less Knowledge than Judgment will always have the advan- 
tage u{X)n the Injudicious knowing Man. 

167. A Wise Man makes what he learns his own, 'tother shows 
he's but a Copy, or a Collection at most. 

WIT 

168. Wit is an happy and striking way of expressing a Thought. 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 339 

169. 'Tis not often tho' it be lively and mantling, that it carries 
a great Body with it. 

170. Wit therefore is fitter for Diversion than Business, being 
more grateful to Fancy than Judgment. 

171. Less Judgment than Wit, is more Sale than Ballast. 

172. Yet it must be confessed, that Wit gives an Edge to Sense, 
and recommends it extreamly. 

173. Where Judgment has Wit to express it, there's the best 
Orator. 

OBEDIENCE TO PARENTS 

174. If thou wouldest be obeyed, being a Father; being a Son, 
be Obedient. 

175. He that begets thee, owes thee; and has a natural Right over 
thee. 

176. Next to God, thy Parents; next them, the Magistrate. 

177. Remember that thou are not more indebted to thy Parents 
for thy Nature, than for thy Love and Care. 

178. Rebellion therefore in Children, was made Death by God's 
Law, and the next Sin to Idolatry, in the People; which is renounc- 
ing of God, the Parent of all. 

179. Obedience to Parents is not only our Duty, but our Interest. 
If we received our Life from them, We prolong it by obeying them: 
For Obedience is the first Commandment with Promise. 

180. The Obligation is as indissolvable as the Relation. 

181. If we must not disobey God to obey them; at least we must 
let them see, that there is nothing else in our refusal. For some 
unjust Commands cannot excuse the general Neglect of our Duty. 
They will be our Parents and we must be their Children still: And 
if we cannot act for them against God, neither can we act against 
them for ourselves or anything else. 

BEARING 

182. A Man in Business must put up many Affronts, if he loves 
his own Quiet. 

183. We must not pretend to see all that we see, if we would be 
easie. 



340 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

184. It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disput- 
able. 

185. A vindictive Temper is not only uneasie to others, but to 
them that have it. 

PROMISING 

186. Rarely Promise: But, i£ Lawful, constantly perform. 

187. Hasty Resolutions are of the Nature of Vows; and to be 
equally avoided. 

188. I will never do this, says one, yet does it: I am resolved to 
do this, says another; but flags upon second Thoughts: Or does it, 
tho' awkwardly, for his Word's sake: As if it were worse to break 
his Word, than to do amiss in keeping it. 

189. Wear none of thine own Chains; but keep free, whilst thou 
art free. 

190. It is an Effect of Passion that Wisdom corrects, to lay thy 
self under Resolutions that cannot be well made, and must be worse 
f)erformed. 

FIDELITY 

191. Avoid all thou canst to be Entrusted: But do thy utmost to 
discharge the Trust thou undertakest: For Carelessness is Injurious, 
if not Unjust. 

192. The Glory of a Servant is Fidelity; which cannot be without 
Diligence, as well as Truth. 

193. Fidelity has Enfranchised Slaves, and Adopted Servants to 
be Sons. 

194. Reward a good Servant well: And rather quit than Disquiet 
thy self with an ill one. 

MASTER 

195. Mix Kindness with Authority; and rule more by Discretion 
than Rigor. 

196. If thy Servant be faulty, strive rather to convince him of 
his Error, than discover thy Passion: And when he is sensible, 
forgive him. 

197. Remember he is thy Fellow-Creature, and that God's Good- 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITtTOE 34 1 

ness, not thy Merit, has made the Difference betwixt Thee and 
Him. 

198. Let not thy Children Domineer over thy Servants: Nor 
suffer them to slight thy Children. 

199. Suppress Tales in the general: But where a Matter requires 
notice, encourage the Complaint, and right the Aggrieved. 

200. If a Child, he ought to Entreat, and not to Command; and 
if a Servant, to comply where he does not obey. 

201. Tho' there should be but one Master and Mistress in a 
Family, yet Servants should know that Children have the Reversion. 

SERVANT 

202. Indulge not unseemly Things in thy Master's Children, nor 
refuse them what is fitting: For one is the highest Unfaithfulness, 
and the other. Indiscretion as well as Disrespect. 

203. Do thine own Work honestly and chearfully: And when 
that is done, help thy Fellow; that so another time he may help 
thee. 

204. If thou wilt be a Good Servant, thou must be True; and 
thou canst not be True if thou Defraud'st thy Master. 

205. A Master may be Defrauded many ways by a servant: As in 
Time, Care, Pains, Money, Trust. 

206. But, a True Servant is the Contrary: He's Diligent, Careful, 
Trusty. He Tells no Tales, Reveals no Secrets, Refuses no Pains: 
Not to be Tempted by Gain, nor aw'd by Fear, to Unfaithfulness. 

207. Such a Servant, serves God in serving his Master; and has 
double Wages for his Work, to wit. Here and Hereafter. 

JEALOUSY 

208. Be not fancifully Jealous: For that is Foolish; as, to be 
reasonably so, is Wise. 

209. He that superfines up another Man's Actions, cozens himself, 
as well as injures them. 

210. To be very subtil and scrupulous in Business, is as hurtful, 
as being over-confident and secure. 

211. In difficult Cases, such a Temper is Timorous; and in dis- 
patch Irresolute. 



342 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

212. Experience is a safe Guide: And a Practical Head, is a great 
Happiness in Business. 

POSTERITY 

213. We are too careless of Posterity; not considering that as they 
are, so the next Generation will be. 

214. If we would amend the World, we should mend Our selves; 
and teach our Children to be, not what we are, but what they 
should be. 

215. We are too apt to awaken and turn up their Passions by 
the Examples of our own; and to teach them to be pleased, not with 
what is best, but with what pleases best. 

216. It is our Duty, and ought to be our Care, to ward against 
that Passion in them, which is more especially our Own Weakness 
and Affliction: For we are in great measure accountable for them, 
as well as for our selves. 

217. We are in this also true Turners of the World upside down; 
For Money is first, and Virtue last, and least in our care. 

218. It is not How we leave our Children, but What we leave 
them. 

219. To be sure Virtue is but a Supplement, and not a Principal 
in their Portion and Character: And therefore we see so little Wis- 
dom or Goodness among the Rich, in proportion to their Wealth. 

A COUNTRY LIFE 

220. The Country Life is to be preferr'd; for there we see the 
Works of God; but in Cities little else but the Works of Men: And 
the one makes a better Subject for our Contemplation than the other. 

221. As Puppets are to Men, and Babies' to Children, so is Man's 
Workmanship to God's: We are the Picture, he the Reality. 

222. God's Works declare his Power, Wisdom and Goodness; 
but Man's Works, for the most part, his Pride, Folly and Excess. 
The one is for use, the other, chiefly, for Ostentation and Lust. 

223. The Country is both the Philosopher's Garden and his Li- 
brary, in which he Reads and Contemplates the Power, Wisdom 
and Goodness of God. 

» Dolls. 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 343 

224. It is his Food as well as Study; and gives him Life, as well 
as Learning. 

225. A Sweet and Natural Retreat from Noise and Talk, 
and allows opportunity for Reflection, and gives the best Subjects 
for it. 

226. In short, 't is an Original, and the Knowledge and Improve- 
ment of it, Man's oldest Business and Trade, and the best he can 
be of. 

ART AND PROJECT 

227. Art, is Good, where it is beneficial. Socrates wisely bounded 
his Knowledge and Instruction by Practice. 

228. Have a care therefore of Projects: And yet despise nothing 
rashly, or in the Lump. 

229. Ingenuity, as well as Religion, sometimes suffers between 
two Thieves; Pretenders and Despisers. 

230. Though injudicious and dishonest Projectors often discredit 
Art, yet the most useful and extraordinary Inventions have not, at 
first, escap'd the Scorn of Ignorance; as their Authors, rarely, have 
cracking of their Heads, or breaking their backs. 

231. Undertake no Experiment, in Speculation, that appears not 
true in Art; nor then, at thine own Cost, if costly or hazardous in 
making. 

232. As many Hands make light Work, so several Purses make 
cheap Experiments. 

INDUSTRY 

233. Industry, is certainly very commendable, and supplies the 
want of Parts. 

234. Patience and Diligence, like Faith, remove Mountains. 

235. Never give out while there is Hope; but hope not beyond 
Reason, for that shews more Desire than Judgment. 

236. It is a profitable Wisdom to know when we have done 
enough: Much Time and Pains are spared, in not flattering our 
selves against Probabilities. 

TEMPORAL HAPPINESS 

237. Do Good with what thou hast, or it will do thee no good. 



344 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

238. Seek not to be Rich, but Happy. The one lies in Bags, the 
other in Content: which Wealth can never give. 

239. We are apt to call things by wrong Names. We will have 
Prosperity to be Happiness, and Adversity to be Misery; though 
that is the School of Wisdom, and oftentimes the way to Eternal 
Happiness. 

240. If thou wouldest be Happy, bring thy Mind to thy Condition, 
and have an Indifferency for more than what is sufficient. 

241. Have but little to do, and do it thy self: And do to others 
as thou wouldest have them do to thee: So, thou canst not fail of 
Temporal Felicity. 

242. The generality are the worse for their Plenty : The Voluptuous 
consumes it, the Miser hides it: 'T is the good Man that uses it, 
and to good Purposes. But such are hardly found among the 
Prosperous. 

243. Be rather Bountiful, than Expensive. 

244. Neither make nor go to Feasts, but let the laborious Poor 
bless thee at Home in their Solitary Cottages. 

245. Never voluntarily want what thou hast in Possession; nor 
so spend it as to involve thyself in want unavoidable. 

246. Be not tempted to presume by Success: For many that have 
got largely, have lost all, by coveting to get more. 

247. To hazard much to get much, has more of Avarice than 
Wisdom. 

248. It is great Prudence both to Bound and Use Prosperity. 

249. Too few know when they have Enough; and fewer know 
how to employ it. 

250. It is equally adviseable not to part lightly with what is hardly 
gotten, and not to shut up closely what flows in freely. 

251. Act not the Shark upon thy Neighbors; nor take Advantage 
of the Ignorance, Prodigality or Necessity of any one: For that is 
next door to Fraud, and, at best, makes but an Unblest Gain. 

252. It is oftentimes the Judgment of God upon Greedy Rich 
Men, that he suffers them to push on their Desires of Wealth to the 
Excess of over-reaching, grinding or oppression, which poisons all 
the rest they have gotten: So that it commonly runs away as fast, 
and by as bad ways as it was heap'd up together. 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 345 

RESPECT 

253. Never esteem any Man, or thy self, the more for Money; 
nor think the meaner of thy self or another for want of it: Vertue 
being the just Reason of respecting, and the want of it, of sUghting 
any one. 

254. A Man like a Watch, is to be valued for his Goings. 

255. He that prefers him upon other accounts, bows to an Idol. 

256. Unless Virtue guide us, our Choice must be wrong. 

257. An able bad Man, is an ill Instrument, and to be shunned 
as the Plague. 

258. Be not deceived with the first appearances of things, but 
give thy self Time to be in the right. 

259. Show, is not Substance: Realities Govern Wise Men. 

260. Have a Care therefore where there is more Sail than Ballast. 

HAZARD 

261. In all Business it is best to put nothing to hazard: But where 
it is unavoidable, be not rash, but firm and resign'd. 

262. We should not be troubled for what we cannot help: But if 
it was our Fault, let it be so no more. Amendment is Repentance, 
if not Reparation. 

263. As a Desperate Game needs an able Gamester, so Considera- 
tion often would prevent, what the best skill in the World Cannot 
Recover. 

264. Where the Probability of Advantage exceeds not that of Loss, 
Wisdom never Adventures. 

265. To Shoot well Flying is well; but to Chose it, has more of 
Vanity than Judgment. 

266. To be Dextrous in Danger is a Virtue; but to Court Danger 
to show it, is Weakness. 

DETRACTION 

267. Have a care of that base Evil Detraction. It is the Fruit of 
Envy, as that is of Pride; the immediate Offspring of the Devil: 
Who, of an Angel, a Lucifer, a Son of the Morning, made himself 



346 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

a Serpent, a Devil, a Beelzebub, and all that is obnoxious to the 
Eternal Goodness. 

268. Vertue is not secure against Envy. Men will Lessen what 
they won't Imitate. 

269. Dislike what deserves it, but never Hate: For that is of the 
Nature of Malice; which is almost ever to Persons, not Things, and 
is one of the blackest Qualities Sin begets in the Soul. 

MODERATION 

270. It were an happy Day if Men could bound and qualifie their 
Resentments with Charity to the Offender: For then our Anger 
would be without Sin, and better convict and edifie the Guilty; 
which alone can make it lawful. 

271. Not to be provok'd is best: But if mov'd, never correct till 
the Fume is spent; For every Stroke our Fury strikes, is sure to hit 
our selves at last. 

272. If we did but observe the Allowances our Reason makes 
upon Reflection, when our Passion is over, we could not want a 
Rule how to behave our selves again in the like Occasions. 

273. We are more prone to Complain than Redress, and to Cen- 
sure than Excuse. 

274. It is next to unpardonable, that we can so often Blame what 
we will not once mend. It shews, we know, but will not do our 
Master's Will. 

275. They that censure, should Practice: Or else let them have 
the first stone, and the last too. 

TRICK 

276. Nothing needs a Trick but a Trick; Sincerity loathes one. 

277. We must take care to do Right Things Righdy: For a just 
Sentence may be unjustly executed. 

278. Circumstances give great Light to true Judgment, if well 
weigh'd. 

PASSION 

279. Passion is a sort of Fever in the Mind, which ever leaves us 
weaker than it found us. 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 347 

280. But being, intermitting to be sure, 't is curable with care. 

281. It more than any thing deprives us of the use of our Judg- 
ment; for it raises a Dust very hard to see through. 

282. Like Wine, whose Lees fly by being jogg'd, it is too muddy 
to Drink. 

283. It may not unfitly be termed, the Mob of the Man, that com- 
mits a Riot upon his Reason. 

284. I have sometimes thought, that a Passionate Man is like a 
weak Spring that cannot stand long lock'd. 

285. And as true, that those things are unfit for use, that can't bear 
small Knocks, without breaking. 

286. He that won't hear can't Judge, and he that can't bear Con- 
tradiction, may, with all his Wit, miss the Mark. 

287. Objection and Debate Sift out Truth, which needs Temper 
as well as Judgment. 

288. But above all, observe it in Resentments, for their Passion 
is most Extravagant. 

289. Never chide for Anger, but Instruction. 

290. He that corrects out of Passion, raises Revenge sooner than 
Repentance. 

291. It has more of Wantonness than Wisdom, and resembles 
those that Eat to please their Pallale, rather than their Appetite. 

292. It is the difference between a Wise and a Weak Man; This 
Judges by the Lump, that by Parts and their Connection. 

293. The Greeks use to say, all Cases are governed by their Cir- 
cumstances. The same thing may be well and ill as they change or 
vary the Matter. 

294. A Man's Strength is shewn by his Bearing. Bonum Agere, 
ev Male Pati, Regis est!' 

PERSONAL CAirriONS 

295. Reflect without Malice but never without Need. 

296. Despise no Body, nor no Condition; lest it come to be thine 
own. 

297. Never Rail nor Taunt. The one is Rude, the other Scornful, 
and both Evil. 

* To do good and ill to endure U the part of a king. 



348 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

298. Be not provoked by Injuries, to commit them. 

299. Upbraid only Ingratitude. 

300. Haste makes Work which Caution prevents. 

301. Tempt no Man; lest thou fall for it. 

302. Have a care of presuming upon After-Games:" For if that 
miss, all is gone. 

303. Opportunities should never be lost, because they can hardly 
be regained. 

304. It is well to cure, but better to prevent a Distemper. The 
first shows more Skill, but the last more Wisdom. 

305. Never make a Tryal of Skill in difficult or hazardous Cases. 

306. Refuse not to be informed: For that shews Pride or Stupidity. 

307. Humility and Knowledge in poor Cloaths, excel Pride and 
Ignorance in costly attire. 

308. Neither despise, nor opfxjse, what thou dost not understand. 

BALLANCE 

309. We must not be concern'd above the Value of the thing that 
engages us; nor raised above Reason, in maintaining what we think 
reasonable. 

310. It is too common an Error, to invert the Order of Things; 
by making an End of that which is a Means, and a Means of that 
which is an End. 

311. Religion and Government escape not this Mischief: The first 
is too often made a Means instead of an End; the other an End 
instead of a Means. 

312. Thus Men seek Wealth rather than Subsistence; and the End 
of Cloaths is the least Reason of their Use. Nor is the satisfying of 
our Appetite our End in Eating, so much as the pleasing of our 
Pallate. The like may also be said of Building, Furniture, &c. where 
the Man rules not the Beast, and Appetite submits not to Reason. 

313. It is great Wisdom to proportion our Esteem to the Nature of 
the Thing: For as that way things will not be undervalued, so neither 
will they engage as above their intrinsick worth. 

314. If we suffer little Things to have great hold upon us, we 
shall be as much transported for them, as if they deserv'd it. 

'" A second game played to reverse the bsue of the first. 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 349 

315. It is an old Proverb, Maxima Mia ex leuissimis causts: The 
greatest Feuds have had the smallest Beginnings. 

316. No matter what the Subject of the Dispute be, but what 
place we give it in our Minds: For that governs our Concern and 
Resentment. 

317. It is one of the fatalest Errors of our Lives, when we spoil a 
good Cause by an ill Management: And it is not impossible but 
we may mean well in an ill Business; but that will not defend it. 

318. If we are but sure the End is Right, we are too apt to gallop 
over all Bounds to compass it; not considering that lawful Ends 
may be very unlawfully attained. 

319. Let us be careful to take just ways to compass just Things; 
that they may last in their Benefits to us. 

320. There is a troublesome Humor some Men have, that if they 
may not lead, they will not follow; but had rather a thing were 
never done, than not done their own way, tho' other ways very 
desirable. 

321. This comes of an over-fulness of our selves; and shows we 
are more concern'd for Praise, than the Success of what we think 
a good Thing. 

POPULARITY 

322. Affect not to be seen, and Men will less see thy Weakness. 

323. They that shew more than they are, raise an Expectation 
they cannot answer; and so lose their Credit, as soon as they are 
found out. 

324. Avoid Popularity. It has many Snares, and no real Benefit 
to thy self; and Uncertainty to others. 

PRIVACY 

325. Remember the Proverb, Bene qui latuit, bene vixit. They are 
happy that live Retiredly. 

326. If this be true. Princes and their Grandees, of all Men, are 
the unhappiest: For they live least alone: And they that must be 
enjoyed by every Body, can never enjoy themselves as they should. 

327. It is the Advantage little Men have upon them; they can 



350 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

be Private, and have leisure for Family Comforts, which are the 
greatest worldly Contents Men can enjoy. 

328. But they that place Pleasure in Greediness, seek it there: 
And we see Rule is as much the Ambition of some Natures, as 
Privacy is the Choice of others. 



GOVERNMENT 



329. Government has many Shapes: But 't is Sovereignty, the* 
not Freedom, in all of them. 

330. Rex C Tyrannus are very different Characters: One Rules 
his People by Laws, to which they consent; the other by his absolute 
Will and Power. That is call'd Freedom, This Tyranny. 

331. The first is endanger'd by the Ambition of the Popular, which 
shakes the Constitution : The other by an ill Administration, which 
hazards the Tyrant and his Family. 

332. It is great Wisdom in Princes of both sorts, not to strain 
Points too high with their People: For whether the People have a 
Right to oppose them or not, they are ever sure to attempt it, when 
things are carried too far; though the Remedy oftentimes proves 
worse than the Disease. 

333. Happy that King who is great by Justice, and that People 
who are free by Obedience. 

334. Where the Ruler is Just, he may be strict; else it is two to 
one it turns upon him: And tho' he should prevail, he can be no 
Gainer, where his People are the Losers. 

335. Princes must not have Passions in Government, nor Resent 
beyond Interest and Religion. 

336. Where Example keeps pace with Authority, Power hardly 
fails to be obey'd, and Magistrates to be honor'd. 

337. Let the People think they Govern and they will be Govern'd. 

338. This cannot fail, if Those they Trust, are Trusted. 

339. That Prince that is Just to them in great things, and Humors 
them sometimes in small ones, is sure to have and keep them from 
all the World. 

340. For the People is the Politick Wife of the Prince, that may 
be better managed by Wisdom, than ruled by Force. 

341. But where the Magistrate is partial and serves ill turns, he 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 35 1 

loses his Authority with the People; and gives the Populace oppor- 
tunity to gratifie their Ambition: And to lay a Stumbling-block for 
his People to fall. 

342. It is true, that where a Subject is more Popular than the 
Prince, the Prince is in Danger: But it is as true, that it is his own 
Fault: For no Body has the like Means, Interest or Reason, to be 
popular as He. 

343. It is an unaccountable thing, that some Princes incline rather 
to be fear'd than lov'd; when they see, that Fear does not oftener 
secure a Prince against the Dissatisfaction of his People, than Love 
makes a Subject too many for such a Prince. 

344. Certainly Service upon Inclination is like to go farther than 
Obedience ujx)n Compulsion. 

345. The Romans had a just Sense of this, when they plac'd Opti- 
mus before Maximus, to their most Illustrious Captains and Cesars. 

346. Besides, Experience tells us. That Goodness raises a nobler 
Passion in the Soul, and gives a better Sense of Duty than Severity. 

347. What did Pharaoh get by increasing the Israelites Task? 
Ruine to himself in the End. 

348. Kings, chiefly in this, should imitate God: Their Mercy 
should be above all their Works. 

349. The Difference between the Prince and the Peasant, is in this 
World: But a Temper ought to be observ'd by him that has the 
Advantage here, because of the Judgment in the next. 

350. The End of every thing should direct the Means: Now that 
of Government being the Good of the whole, nothing less should 
be the Aim of the Prince. 

351. As often as Rulers endeavor to attain just Ends by just 
Mediums, they are sure of a quiet and easy Government; and as 
sure of Convulsions, where the Nature of things are violated, and 
their Order overrul'd. 

352. It is certain. Princes ought to have great Allowances made 
them for Faults in Government; since they see by other People's 
Eyes, and hear by their Ears. But Ministers of State, their immediate 
Confidents and Instruments, have much to answer for, if to gratifie 
private Passions, they misguide the Prince to do publick Injury. 

353. Ministers of State should undertake their Posts at their 



352 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

Peril. If Princes overrule them, let them shew the Law, and humbly 
resign: If Fear, Gain or Flattery prevail, let them answer it to the 
Law. 

354. The Prince cannot be preserv'd, but where the Minister is 
punishable: For People, as well as Princes, will not endure Imperium 
in Imperio}^ 

355. If Ministers are weak or ill Men, and so spoil their Places, it 
is the Prince's Fault that chose them: But if their Places spoil them, 
it is their own Fault to be made worse by them. 

356. It is but just that those that reign by their Princes, should 
suffer for their Princes: For it is a safe and necessary Maxim, not 
to shift Heads in Government, while the Hands are in being that 
should answer for them. 

357. And yet it were intolerable to be a Minister of State, if every 
Body may be Accuser and Judge. 

358. Let therefore the false Accuser no more escape an exemplary 
Punishment, than the Guilty Minister. 

359. For it profanes Government to have the Credit of the leading 
Men in it, subject to vulgar Censure; which is often ill grounded. 

360. The Safety of a Prince, therefore consists in a well<hosen 
Council: And that only can be said to be so, where the Persons that 
compose it are qualified for the Business that comes before them. 

361. Who would send to a Taylor to make a Lock, or to a Smith 
to make a Suit of Cloaths? 

362. Let there be Merchants for Trade, Seamen for the Admiralty, 
Travellers for Foreign Affairs, some of the Leading Men of the 
Country for Home-Business, and Common and Civil Lawyers to 
advise of Legality and Right : Who should always keep to the strict 
Rules of Law. 

363. Three Things contribute much to ruin Governments; Loose- 
ness, Oppression and Envy. 

364. Where the Reins of Government are too slack, there the 
Manners of the People are corrupted: And that destroys Industry, 
begets Effeminacy, and provokes Heaven against it. 

365. Oppression makes a Poor Country, and a Desperate People, 
who always wait an Opportunity to change. 

" An empire within an empire. 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITTJDE 353 

366. He that ruleth over Men, must be just, ruling in the Fear 
of God, said an old and a wise King. 

367. Envy disturbs and distracts Government, clogs the Wheels, 
and perplexes the Administration: And nothing contributes more 
to the Disorder, than a partial distribution of Rewards, and Pun- 
ishments in the Sovereign. 

368. As it is not reasonable that Men should be compell'd to serve; 
so those that have Employments should not be endured to leave 
them humorously. 

369. Where the State intends a Man no Affront, he should not 
Affront the State. 

A PRIVATE LIFE 

370. Private Life is to be preferr'd; the Honor and Gain of pub- 
lick Posts, bearing no propwrtion with the Comfort of it. The one 
is free and quiet, the other servile and noisy. 

371. It was a great Answer of the Shunamite Woman, I dwell 
among my own People. 

372. They that live of their own, neither need, nor often list to 
wear the Livery of the Publick. 

373. Their Subsistance is not during Pleasure; nor have they 
patrons to please or present. 

374. If they are not advanced, neither can they be disgraced. 
And as they know not the Smiles of Majesty, so they feel not the 
Frowns of Greatness; or the Effects of Envy. 

375. If they want the Pleasures of a Court, they also escape the 
Temptations of it. 

376. Private Men, in fine, are so much their own, that paying 
common Dues, they are Sovereigns of all the rest. 

A PUBLICK LIFE 

377. Yet the Publick must and will be served; and they that do 
it well, deserve publick Marks of Honor and Profit. 

378. To do so, Men must have publick Minds, as well as Salaries; 
or they will serve private Ends at the Publick Cost. 

379. Governments can never be well administered, but where 
those entrusted make Conscience of well discharging their Place. 



354 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 



QUALIFICATIONS 

380. Five Things are requisite to a good Officer; Ability, Clean 
Hands, Dispatch, Patience and Impartiality. 

CAPACITY 

381. He that understands not his Employment, whatever else he 
knows, must be unfit for it, and the Publick suffers by his Inexpert- 
ness. 

382. They that are able, should be just too; or the Government 
may be the worse for their Capacity. 

CLEAN HANDS 

383. Covetousness in such Men prompts them to prostitute the 
PubUck for Gain. 

384. The taking of a Bribe or Gratuity, should be punished with 
as severe Penalties, as the defrauding of the State. 

385. Let Men have sufficient Salaries, and exceed them at their 
Peril. 

386. It is a Dishonor to Government, that its Officers should live 
of Benevolence; as it ought to be Infamous for Officers to dishonor 
the Publick, by being twice paid for the same Business. 

387. But to be paid, and not to do Business, is rank Oppressioiu 

DISPATCH 

388. Dispatch is a great and good Quality in an Officer; where 
Duty, not Gain, excites it. But of this, too many make their private 
Market and Over-plus to their Wages. Thus the Salary is for doing, 
and the Bribe, for dispatching the Business: As if Business could 
be done before it were dispatched : Or what ought to be done, ought 
not to be dispatch'd: Or they were to be paid apart, one by the Gov- 
ernment, t'other by the Party. 

389. Dispatch is as much the Duty of an Officer, as doing; and 
very much the Honor of the Government he serves. 

390. Delays have been more injurious than direct Injustice. 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 355 

391. They too often starve those they dare not deny. 

392. The very Winner is made a Loser, because he pays twice for 
his own; hke those that purchase Estates Mortgaged before to the 
full Value. 

393. Our Law says well, to delay Justice is Injustice. 

394. Not to have a Right, and not to come at it, differs little. 

395. Refuse or Dispatch is the Duty and Wisdom of a good 
Officer. 

PATIENCE 

396. Patience is a Virtue every where; but it shines with great 
Lustre in the Men of Government. 

397. Some are so Proud or Testy, they won't hear what they should 
redress. 

398. Others so weak, they sink or burst under the weight of their 
Office, though they can lightly run away with the Salary of it. 

399. Business can never be well done, that is not well understood : 
Which cannot be without Patience. 

400. It is Cruelty indeed not to give the Unhappy an Hearing, 
whom we ought to help: But it is the top of Oppression to Browbeat 
the humble and modest Miserable, when they seek Relief. 

401. Some, it is true, are unreasonable in their Desires and Hopes: 
But then we should inform, not rail at and reject them. 

402. It is therefore as great an Instance of Wisdom as a Man in 
Business can give, to be Patient under the Impertinencies and Con- 
tradictions that attend it. 

403. Method goes far to prevent Trouble in Business: For it makes 
the Task easy, hinders Confusion, saves abundance of Time, and 
instructs those that have Business depending, both what to do and 
what to hope. 

IMPARTIALITY 

404. Impartiality, though it be the last, is not the least Part of the 
Character of a good Magistrate. 

405. It is noted as a Fault, in Holy Writ, even to regard the Poor: 
How much more the Rich in Judgment.? 



356 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

406. If our Compassions must not sway us; less should our Fears, 
Profits or Prejudices. 

407. Justice is justly represented Blind, because she sees no Differ- 
ence in the Parties concerned. 

408. She has but one Scale and Weight, for Rich and Poor, Great 
and Small. 

409. Her Sentence is not guided by the Person, but the Cause. 

410. The Impartial Judge in Judgment, knows nothing but the 
Law: The Prince no more than the Peasant, his Kindred than a 
Stranger. Nay, his Enemy is sure to be upon equal Terms with his 
Friend, when he is upon the Bench. 

411. Impartiality is the Life of Justice, as that is of Government. 

412. Nor is it only a Benefit to the State, for private Families 
cannot subsist comfortably without it. 

413. Parents that are partial, are ill obeyed by their Children; and 
partial Masters not better served by their Servants. 

414. Partiality is always Indirect, if not Dishonest: For it shews 
a Byass where Reason would have none; if not an Injury, which 
Justice every where forbids. 

415. As it makes Favorites without Reason, so it uses no Reason 
in judging of Actions: Confirming the Proverb, The Crow thinks 
her own Bird the fairest. 

416. What some see to be no Fault in one, they will have Criminal 
in another. 

417. Nay, how ugly do our own Failings look to us in the Persons 
of others, which yet we see not in our selves. 

418. And but too common it is for some People, not to know 
their own Maxims and Principles in the Mouths of other Men, 
when they give occasion to use them. 

419. Partiality corrupts our Judgment of Persons and Things, of 
our selves and others. 

420. It contributes more than any thing to Factions in Govern- 
ment, and Fewds in Families. 

421. It is prodigal Passion, that seldom returns 'till it is Hunger- 
bit, and Disappointments bring it within bounds. 

422. And yet we may be indifferent, to a Fault. 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 357 



INDIFFERENCY 

423. Indifference is good in Judgment, but bad in Relation, and 
starlc nought in Religion. 

424. And even in Judgment, our Indifferency must be to the 
Persons, not Causes: For one, to be sure, is right. 

NEUTRALITY 

425. Neutrality is something else than Indifferency; and yet of kin 
to it too. 

426. A Judge ought to be Indifferent, and yet he cannot be said 
to be Neutral. 

427. The one being to be Even in Judgment, and the other not 
to meddle at all. 

428. And where it is Lawful, to be sure, it is best to be Neutral. 

429. He that espouses Parties, can hardly divorce himself from 
their Fate; and more fall with their Party than rise with it. 

430. A wise Neuter joins with neither; but uses both, as his honest 
Interest leads him. 

431. A Neuter only has room to be a Peace-maker: For being of 
neither side, he has the Means of mediating a ReconciUation of both. 

A PARTY 

432. And yet, where Right or Religion gives a Call, a Neuter 
must be a Coward or an Hypocrite. 

433. In such Cases we should never be backward : nor yet mistaken. 

434. When our Right or Religion is in question, then is the fittest 
time to assert it. 

435. Nor must we always be Neutral where our Neighbors are 
concerned: For tho' Medling is a Fault, Helping is a Duty. 

436. We have a Call to do good, as often as we have the Power 
and Occasion. 

437. If Heathens could say. We are not born for our selves; surely 
Christians should practise it. 

438. They are taught so by his Example, as well as I>octrine, from 
whom they have borrowed their Name. 



358 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

OSTENTATIOK 

439. Do what good thou canst unknown; and be not vain o£ 
what ought rather to be felt, than seen. 

440. The Humble, in the Parable of the Day of Judgment, forgot 
their good Works; Lord, when did we do so and so? 

441. He that does Good, for Good's sake, seeks neither Praise noi 
Reward; tho' sure of both at last. 

CON£ PLEAT VIRTUE 

442. Content not thy self that thou art Virtuous in the general: 
For one Link being wanting, the Chain is defective. 

443. Perhaps thou art rather Innocent than Virtuous, and owest 
more to thy Constitution, than thy ReHgion. 

444. Innocent, is not to be Guilty: But Virtuous is to overcome 
our evil Inclinations. 

445. If thou hast not conquer'd thy self in that which is thy own 
particular Weakness, thou hast no Title to Virtue, tho' thou art free 
of other Men's. 

446. For a Covetous Man to inveigh against Prodigality, an Atheist 
against Idolatry, a Tyrant against Rebellion, or a Lyer against 
Forgery, and a Drunkard against Intemperance, is for the Pot to 
call the Kettle black. 

447. Such Reproof would have but httle Success; because it would 
carry but little Authority with it. 

448. If thou wouldest conquer thy Weakness, thou must never 
gratify it. 

449. No Man is compelled to Evil; his Consent only makes it his. 

450. 'T is no Sin to be tempted, but to be overcome. 

451. What Man in his right Mind, would conspire his own hurt.? 
Men are beside themselves, when they transgress their Convictions. 

452. If thou would'st not Sin, don't Desire; and if thou would'st 
not Lust, don't Embrace the Temptation: No, not look at it, nor 
think of it. 

453. Thou would'st take much Pains to save thy Body: Take 
some, prithee, to save thy Soul. 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 359 



RELIGION 



454. Religion is the Fear of God, and its Demonstration on good 
Works; and Faith is the Root of both: For without Faith we cannot 
please God, nor can we fear what we do not believe. 

455. The Devils also believe and know abundance: But in this is 
the Difference, their Faith works not by Love, nor their Knowledge 
by Obedience; and therefore they are never the better for them. And 
if ours be such, we shall be of their Church, not of Christ's: For as 
the Head is, so must the Body be. 

456. He was Holy, Humble, Harmless, Meek, Merciful, Stc. when 
among us; to teach us what we should be, when he was gone. And 
yet he is among us still, and in us too, a living and perpetual Preacher 
of the same Grace, by his Spirit in our Consciences. 

457. A Minister of the Gospel ought to be one of Christ's making, 
if he would pass for one of Christ's Ministers. 

458. And if he be one of his making, he Knows and Does as well 
as Believes. 

459. That Minister whose Life is not the Model of his Doctrine, 
is a Babler rather than a Preacher; a Quack rather than a Physician 
of Value. 

460. Of old Time they were made Ministers by the Holy Ghost: 
And the more that is an Ingredient now, the fitter they are for that 
Work. 

461. Running Streams are not so apt to corrupt; nor Itinerant, as 
setded Preachers: But they are not to run before they are sent. 

462. As they freely receive from Christ, so they give. 

463. They will not make that a Trade, which they know ought 
not, in Conscience, to be one. 

464. Yet there is no fear of their Living that design not to live by 
it 

465. The humble and true Teacher meets with more than he ex- 
pects. 

466. He accounts Content with Godliness great Gain, and there- 
fore seeks not to make a Gain of Godliness. 

467. As the Ministers of Christ are made by him, and are like him, 
so they beget People into the same Likeness. 



360 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

468. To be like Christ then, is to be a Christian. And Regenera- 
tion is the only way to the Kingdom of God, which we pray for. 

469. Let us to Day, therefore, hear his Voice, and not harden our 
Hearts; who speaks to us many ways. In the Scriptures, in our 
Hearts, by his Servants and his Providences: And the Sum of all is 
Holiness and Charity. 

470. St. James gives a short Draught of this Matter, but very full 
and reaching. Pure Religion and undefiled before God the Father, 
is this, to visit the Fatherless and the Widows in their Affliction, 
and to keep our selves unspotted from the World. Which is com- 
priz'd in these Two Words, Charity and Piety, 

471. They that truly make these their Aim, will find them their 
Attainment; and with them, the Peace that follows so excellent a 
Condition. 

472. Amuse not thy self therefore with the numerous Opinions of 
the World, nor value thy self upon verbal Orthodoxy, Philosophy, 
or thy Skill in Tongues, or Knowledge of the Fathers: (too much 
the Business and Vanity of the World). But in this rejoyce. That 
thou knowest God, that is the Lord, who exerciseth loving Kindness, 
and Judgment, and Righteousness in the Earth. 

473. Publick Worship is very commendable, if well performed. 
We owe it to God and good Example. But we must know, that God 
is not tyed to Time or Place, who is every where at the same Time: 
And this we shall know, as far as we are capable, if where ever we 
are, our Desires are to be with him. 

474. Serving God, People generally confine to the Acts of Publick 
and Private Worship: And those, the more zealous do oftener re- 
peat, in hof)es of Acceptance. 

475. But if we consider that God is an Infinite Spirit, and, as such, 
every where; and that our Saviour has taught us, That he will be 
worshipped in Spirit and in Truth; we shall see the shortness of such 
a Notion. 

476. For serving God concerns the Frame of our Spirits, in the 
whole Course of our Lives; in every Occasion we have, in which we 
may shew our Love to his Law. 

477. For as Men in Battle are continually in the way of shot, so 
we, in this World, are ever within the Reach of Temptation. And 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 36 1 

herein do we serve God, if we avoid what we are forbid, as well as 
do what he commands. 

478. God is better served in resisting a Temptation to Evil, than 
in many formal Prayers. 

479. This is but Twice or Thrice a Day; but That every Hour and 
Moment of the Day. So much more is our continual Watch, than 
our Evening and Morning Devotion. 

480. Wouldst thou then serve God? Do not that alone, which 
thou wouldest not that another should see thee do. 

481. Don't take God's Name in vain, or disobey thy Parents, or 
wrong thy Neighbor, or commit Adultery even in thine Heart. 

482. Neither be vain. Lascivious, Proud, Drunken, Revengeful or 
Angry: Nor Lye, Detract, Backbite, Overreach, Oppress, Deceive or 
Betray: But watch vigorously against all Temptations to these 
Things; as knowing that God is present, the Overseer of all thy 
Ways and most inward Thoughts, and the Avenger of his own Law 
upon the Disobedient, and thou wilt acceptably serve God. 

483. Is it not reason, if we expect the Acknowledgments of those 
to whom we are bountiful, that we should reverently pay ours to 
God, our most magnificent and constant Benefactor? 

484. The World represents a Rare and Sumptuous Palace, Man- 
kind the great Family in it, and God the mighty Lord and Master 
of it. 

485. We are all sensible what a stately Seat it is: The Heavens 
adorned with so many glorious Luminaries; and the Earth with 
Groves, Plains, Valleys, Hills, Fountains, Ponds, Lakes and Rivers; 
and Variety of Fruits, and Creatures for Food, Pleasure and Profit. 
In short, how Noble an House he keeps, and the Plenty and Variety 
and Excellency of his Table; his Orders, Seasons and Suitableness 
of every Time and Thing. But we must be as sensible, or at least 
ought to be, what Careless and Idle Servants we are, and how short 
and disproportionable our Behavior is to his Bounty and Goodness: 
How long he bears, and often he reprieves and forgives us: Who, 
notwithstanding our Breach of Promises, and repeated Neglects, 
has not yet been provok'd to break up House, and send us to shift 
for our selves. Should not this great Goodness raise a due Sense in 
us of our Undutifulness, and a Resolution to alter our Course and 



362 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

mend our Manners; that we may be for the future more worthy 
Communicants at our Master's good and great Table? Especially 
since it is not more certain that we deserve his Displeasure than that 
we should feel it, if we continue to be unprofitable Servants. 

486. But tho' God has replenisht this World with abundance of 
good Things for Man's Life and Comfort, yet they are all but Im- 
perfect Goods. He only is the Perfect Good to whom they point. 
But alas! Men cannot see him for them; tho' they should always see 
him In them. 

487. I have often wondered at the unaccountableness of Man in 
this, among other things; that tho' he loves Changes so well, he 
should care so little to hear or think of his last, great, and best Change 
too, if he pleases. 

488. Being, as to our Bodies, composed of changeable Elements, 
we with the World, are made up of, and subsist by Revolution : But 
our Souls being of another and nobler Nature, we should seek our 
Rest in a more induring Habitation. 

489. The truest end of Life, is, to know the Life that never ends. 

490. He that makes this his Care, will find it his Crown at last. 

491. Life else, were a Misery rather than a Pleasure, a Judgment, 
not a Blessing. 

492. For to Know, Regret and Resent; to Desire, Hope and Fear, 
more than a Beast, and not live beyond him, is to make a Man less 
than a Beast. 

493. It is the Amends of a short and troublesome Life, that E)oing 
well, and Suffering ill. Entitles Man to One Longer and Better. 

494. This ever raises the Good Man's Hojje, and gives him Tastes 
beyond the other World. 

495. As *t is his Aim, so none else can hit the Mark. 

496. Many make it their Speculation, but 't is the Good Man's 
Practice. 

497. His Work keeps Pace with his Life, and so leaves nothing to 
be done when he Dies. 

498. And he that lives to live ever, never fears dying. 

499. Nor can the Means be terrible to him that heartily believes 
the End. 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 363 

500. For tho' Death be a Dark Passage, it leads to Immortality, 
and that 's Recompence enough for Suffering of it. 

501. And yet Faith Lights us, even through the Grave, being the 
Evidence of Things not seen. 

502. And this is the Comfort of the Good, that the Grave camiot 
hold them, and that they Uve as soon as they die. 

503. For Death is no more than a Turning of us over from Time 
to Eternity. 

504. Nor can there be a Revolution without it; for it supposes the 
Dissolution of one form, in order to the Succession of another. 

505. Death then, being the Way and Condition of Life, we cannot 
love to live, if we cannot bear to die. 

506. Let us then not cozen our selves with the Shells and Husks 
of things; nor prefer Form to Power, nor Shadows to Substance: 
Pictures of Bread will not satisfie Hunger, nor those of Devotion 
please God. 

507. This World is a Form; our Bodies are Forms; and no visible 
Acts of Devotion can be without Forms. But yet the less Form in 
Religion the better, since God is a Spirit: For the more mental our 
Worship, the more adequate to the Nature of God; the more silent, 
the more suitable to the Language of a Spirit. 

508. Words are for others, not for our selves: Nor for God, who 
hears not as Bodies do; but as Spirits should. 

509. If we would know this Dialect; we must learn of the Divine 
Principle in us. As we hear the Dictates of that, so God hears us. 

510. There we may see him too in all his Attributes; Tho' but in 
Httle, yet as much as we can apprehend or bear: for as he is in him- 
self, he is incomprehensible, and dwelleth in that Light which no 
Eye can approach. But in his Image we may behold his Glory; 
enough to exalt our Apprehensions of God, and to instruct us in 
that Worship which pleaseth him. 

511. Men may Tire themselves in a Labyrinth of Search, and talk 
of God: But if we would know him indeed, it must be from the Im- 
pressions we receive of him; and the softer our Hearts are, the deeper 
and livelier those will be upon us. 

512. If he has made us sensible of his Justice, by his Reproof; of 



364 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

his Patience, by his Forbearance; of his Mercy, by his Forgiveness; 
of his Holiness, by the Sanctification of our Hearts through his 
Spirit; we have a grounded Knowledge of God. This is Experience, 
that Speculation; This Enjoyment, that Report. In short, this is un- 
deniable Evidence, with the realities of Religion, and will stand all 
Winds and Weathers. 

513. As our Faith, so our Devotion should be lively. Cold Meat 
won't serve at those Repasts. 

514. It 's a Coal from God's Altar must kindle our Fire: And with- 
out Fire, true Fire, no acceptable Sacrifice. 

515. Open thou my Lips, and then, said the Royal Prophet, My 
Mouth shall praise God. But not 'till then. 

516. The Preparation of the Heart, as well as Answer of the 
Tongue, is of the Lord : And to have it, our Prayers must be power- 
ful, and our Worship grateful. 

517. Let us chuse, therefore, to commune where there is the warm- 
est Sense of Religion; where Devotion exceeds Formality, and Prac- 
tice most corresponds with Profession; and where there is at least as 
much Charity as Zeal : For where this Society is to be found, there 
shall we find the Church of God. 

518. As Good, so 111 Men are all of a Church; and every Body 
knows who must be Head of it. 

519. The Humble, Meek, Merciful, Just, Pious and Devout Souls, 
are everywhere of one Religion; and when Death has taken off the 
Mask, they will know one another, tho' the divers Liveries they wear 
here make them Strangers. 

520. Great Allowances are to be made of Education, and personal 
Weaknesses: But 't is a Rule with me, that Man is truly Religious, 
that loves the Persuasion he is of, for the Piety rather than Ceremony 
of it. 

521. They that have one End, can hardly disagree when they meet. 
At least their concern is in the Greater, moderates the value and dif- 
ference about the lesser things. 

522. It is a sad Reflection, that many Men hardly have any Re- 
ligion at all; and most Men have none of their own: For that which 
is the Religion of their Education, and not of their Judgment, is the 
Religion of Another, and not Theirs. 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 365 

523. To have Religion upon Authority, and not upon Conviction, 
IS Hke a Finger Watch, to be set forwards or backwards, as he pleases 
that has it in keeping. 

524. It is a Preposterous thing, that Men can venture their Souls 
where they will not venture their Money: For they will take their 
Religion upon trust, but not trust a Synod about the Goodness of 
Half a Crown. 

525. They will follow their own Judgment when their Money is 
concerned, whatever they do for their Souls. 

526. But to be sure, that Religion cannot be right, that a Man is 
the worse for having. 

527. No Religion is better than an Unnatural One. 

528. Grace perfects, but never sours or spoils Nature. 

529. To be Unnatural in Defence of Grace, is a Contradiction. 

530. Hardly any thing looks worse, than to defend Religion by 
ways that shew it has no Credit with us. 

531. A Devout Man is one thing, a Stickler is quite another. 

532. When our Minds exceed their just Bounds, we must needs 
discredit what we would recommend. 

533. To be Furious in Religion, is to be Irreligiously Religious. 

534. If he that is without Bowels, is not a Man; How then can he 
be a Christian ? 

535. It were better to be of no Church, than to be bitter for any. 

536. Bitterness comes very near to Enmity, and that is Beelzebub; 
because the Perfection of Wickedness. 

537. A good End cannot sanctifie evil Means; nor must we ever 
do Evil, that Good may come of it. 

538. Some Folks think they may Scold, Rail, Hate, Rob and Kill 
too; so it be but for God's sake. 

539. But nothing in us unlike him, can please him. 

540. It is as great Presumption to send our Passions upwn God's 
Errands, as it is to palliate them with God's Name. 

541. Zeal dropped in Charity, is good, without it good for noth- 
ing: For it devours all it comes near. 

542. They must first judge themselves, that presume to censure 
others: And such will not be apt to overshoot the Mark. 



366 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

543. We are too ready to retaliate, rather than forgive, or gain by 
Love and Information. 

544. And yet we could hurt no Man that we believe loves us. 

545. Let us then try what Love will do: For if Men did once see 
we Love them, we should soon find they would not harm us. 

546. Force may subdue, but Love gains: And he that forgives first, 
wins the Lawrel. 

547. If I am even with my Enemy, the Debt is paid; but if I for- 
give it, I oblige him for ever. 

548. Love is the hardest Lesson in Christianity; but, for that rea- 
son, it should be most our care to learn it. Difficilia qua Pulc/ira." 

549. It is a severe Rebuke upon us, that God makes us so many 
Allowances, and we make so few to our Neighbor: As if Charity 
had nothing to do with Religion; Or Love with Faith, that ought to 
work by it. 

550. I find all sorts of People agree, whatsoever were their Ani- 
mosities, when humbled by the Approaches of Death: Then they 
forgive, then they pray for, and love one another: Which shews us, 
that it is not our Reason, but our Passion, that makes and holds up 
the Feuds that reign among men in their Health and Fulness. They, 
therefore, that live nearest to that which they should die, must cer- 
tainly live best. 

551. Did we believe a final Reckoning and Judgment; or did we 
think enough of what we do believe, we would allow more Love in 
Religion than we do; since Religion it self is nothing else but Love 
to God and Man. 

552. He that lives in Love lives in God, says the Beloved Disciple: 
And to be sure a Man can hve no where better. 

553. It is most reasonable Men should value that Benefit, which is 
most durable. Now Tongues shall cease, and Prophecy fail, and 
Faith shall be consummated in Sight, and Hope in Enjoyment; but 
Love remains. 

554. Love is indeed Heaven upon Earth; since Heaven above 
would not be Heaven without it: For where there is not Love; there 
is Fear: But perfect Love casts out Fear. And yet we naturally fear 
most to offend what we most Love. 

" Those things are difficult which are beautiful. 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 367 

555. What we Love, we '11 Hear; what we Love, we '11 Trust; and 
what we Love, we '11 serve, ay, and suffer for too. If you love me 
(says our Blessed Redeemer) keep my Commandments. Why? Why 
then he '11 Love us; then we shall be his Friends; then he '11 send us 
the Comforter; then whatsoever we ask, we shall receive; and then 
where he is we shall be also, and that for ever. Behold the Fruits 
of Love; the Power, Vertue, Benefit and Beauty of Love! 

556. Love is above all; and when it prevails in us all, we shall all 
be Lovely, and in Love with God and one with another. 

Amen. 

END OF PART I 



MORE FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

BEING THE SECOND PART 

OF 

REFLECTIONS AND MAXIMS, RELATING 

TO THE CONDUCT OF HUMAN UFE 



CONTENTS 

PART II 

PACE 

The Right Moralist 373 

The World's Able Man 374 

The Wise Man 377 

Of the Government of Thoughts 378 

Of Envy 380 

Of Man's Life 381 

Of Ambition 381 

Of Praise or Applause 382 

Of Conduct in Speech 383 

Union of Friends 383 

Of Being Easy in Living 384 

Of Man's Inconsiderateness and Partiality 385 

Of the Rule of Judging 385 

Of Formality 386 

Of the Mean Notion we Have of God 387 

Op the Benefit of Justice 387 

Of Jealousy 388 

Of State 388 

Of a Good Servant 389 

Of an Immediate Pursuit of the World 389 

Of the Interest of the Publick in our Estates 390 

The Vain Man 39' 

The Conformist 392 

The Obligations of Great Men to Almighty God 393 

Of Refining upon Other Men's Actions or Interests . . 395 

Of Charity ■ 396 



THE INTRODUCTION TO THE READER 

The Title of this Treatise shows, there was a former of the same 
Nature; and the Author hope he runs no Hazard in recommending both 
to his Reader's Perusal. He is well aware of the low Reckoning the 
Labors of indifferent Authors are under, at a Time when hardly any 
Thing passes for current, that is not calculated to flatter the Sharpness 
of contending Parties. He is also sensible, that Books grow a very Drug, 
where they cannot raise and support their Credit, by their own Useful- 
ness; and how far this will be able to do it, he knows not; yet he thinks 
himself tollerably safe in making it publick, in tlirce Respects. 

First, That the Purchase is small, and the Time but little, that is 
requisite to read it. 

Next, Though some Men should not find it relish'd high enough for 
their finer Wits, or warmer Pallats, it will not perhaps be useless to those 
of lower Flights, and who are less engaged in publick Heats. 

Lasdy, The Author honesdy aims at as general a Benefit as the Thing 
will bear; to Youth especially, whether he hits the Mark or not: And 
that without the least Ostentation, or any private Regards. 

Let not Envy misinterpret his Intention, and he will be accountable 
for all other Faults. 

Vale. 



MORE FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

BEING THE SECOND PART OF 
REFLECTIONS & MAXIMS 

THE RIGHT MORALIST 

ARIGHT Moralist, is a Great and Good Man, but for that Rea- 
son he is rarely to be found. 
L 2. There are a Sort of People, that are fond of the Char- 
acter, who, in my Opinion, have but little Tide to it. 

3. They think it enough, not to defraud a Man of his Pay, or be- 
tray his Friend; but never consider. That the Law forbids the one at 
his Peril, and that Virtue is seldom the Reason of the other. 

4. But certainly he that Covets, can no more be a Moral Man, 
than he that Steals; since he does so in his Mind. Nor can he be one 
that Robs his Neighbor of his Credit, or that craftily undermines 
him of his Trade or Office. 

5. If a Man pays his Taylor, but Debauches his Wife; Is he a 
current Moralist? 

6. But what shall we say of the Man that Rebels against his Father, 
is an 111 Husband, or an Abusive Neighbor; one that 's Lavish of his 
Time, of his Health, and of his Estate, in which his Family is so near- 
ly concerned ? Must he go for a Right Moralist, because he pays his 
Rent well? 

7. I would ask some of those Men of Morals, Whether he that 
Robs God and Himself too, tho' he should not defraud his Neigh- 
bor, be the Moral Man ? 

8. Do I owe my self Nothing ? And do I not owe All to God ? 
And if paying what we owe, makes the Moral Man, is it not fit we 
should begin to render our Dues, where we owe our very Beginning; 
ay, our All? 

9. The Compleat Moralist begins with God; he gives him his Due, 

i73 



374 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

his Heart, his Love, his Service; the Bountiful Giver of his Well- 
Being, as well as Being. 

ID. He that lives without a Sense of this Dependency and Obliga- 
tion, cannot be a Moral Man, because he does not make his Returns 
of Love and Obedience; as becomes an honest and a sensible Crea- 
ture: Which very Term Implies he is not his own; and it cannot be 
very honest to misimploy another's Goods. 

11. But can there be no Debt, but to a fellow Creature? Or, will 
our Exactness in paying those Dribling ones, while we neglect our 
weightier Obligations, Cancel the Bonds we lie under, and render us 
right and thorough Moralists? 

12. As Judgments are paid before Bonds, and Bonds before Bills 
or Book-Debts, so the Moralist considers his Obligations according 
to their several Dignities. 

In the first Place, Him to whom he owes himself. Next, himself, 
in his Health and Livelihood. Lastly, His other Obligations, whether 
Rational or Pecuniary; doing to others, to the Extent of his AbiUty, 
as he would have them do unto him. 

13. In short, The Moral Man is he that Loves God above All, and 
his Neighbor as himself, which fulfils both Tables at once. 

THE world's able MAN 

14. It is by some thought, the Character of an Able Man, to be 
Dark and not Understood. But I am sure that is not fair Play. 

15. If he be so by Silence, 't is better; but if by Disguises, 't is insin- 
cere and hateful. 

16. Secrecy is one Thing, false Lights is another. 

17. The honest Man, that is rather free, than open, is ever to be 
preferr'd; especially when Sense is at Helm. 

18. The Glorying of the other Humor is in a Vice: For it is not 
Humane to be Cold, Dark, and Unconversable. I was a going to say, 
they are like Pick-Pockets in a Crowd, where a Man must ever have 
his Hand on his Purse; or as Spies in a Garrison, that if not pre- 
vented betrays it. 

19. They are the Reverse of Human Nature, and yet this is the 
present World's Wise Man and Politician: Excellent Qualities for 



MORE FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 375 

Lapland, where, they say, Witches, though not many Conjurors, 
dwell. 

20. Like Highway-Men, that rarely Rob without Vizards, or in 
the same Wigs and Cloaths, but have a Dress for every Enterprize. 

21. At best, he may be a Cunning Man, which is a sort of Lurcher 
in the Politicks. 

22. He is never too hard for the Wise Man upon the Square, for 
that is out of his Element, and puts him quite by his Skill. 

Nor are Wise Men ever catch'd by him, but when they trust him. 

23. But as Cold and Close as he seems, he can and will please all, 
if he gets by it, though it should neither please God nor himself at 
bottom. 

24. He is for every Cause that brings him Gain, but Implacable 
if disappointed of Success. 

25. And what he cannot hinder, he will be sure to Spoil, by over- 
doing it. 

26. None so Zealous then as he, for that which he cannot abide. 

27. What is it he will not, or cannot do, to hide his true Senti- 
ments. 

28. For his Interest, he refuses no Side or Party; and will take the 
Wrong by the Hand, when t'other won't do, with as good a Grace as 
the Right. 

29. Nay, he commonly chooses the Worst, because that brings the 
best Bribe: His Cause being ever Money. 

30. He Sails with all Winds, and is never out of his Way, where 
any Thing is to be had. 

31. A Privateer indeed, and everywhere a very Bird of Prey. 

32. True to nothing but himself, and false to all Persons and Par- 
ties, to serve his own Turn. 

33. Talk with him as often as you please, he will never pay you in 
good Coin; for 't is either False or Clipt. 

34. But to give a False Reason for any Thing, let my Reader never 
learn of him, no more than to give a Brass Half-Crown for a good 
.one: Not only because it is not true, but because it Deceives the Per- 
son to whom it is given; which I take to be an Immorality. 

35. Silence is much more preferable, for it saves the Secret, as well 
as the Person's Honor. 



376 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

36. Such as give themselves the Latitude of saying what they do 
not mean, come to be errant Jockeys at more Things than one; but 
in Rehgion and PoHticks, 't is most pernicious. 

37. To hear two Men talk the Reverse of their own Sentiments, 
with all the good Breeding and Appearance of Friendship imagin- 
able, on purpose to Cozen or Pump each other, is to a Man of Virtue 
and Honor, one of the Melancholiest, as well as most Nauseous 
Thing in the World. 

38. But that it should be the Character of an Able Man, is to Dis- 
inherit Wisdom, and Paint out our Degeneracy to the Life, by setting 
up Fraud, an errant Impostor, in her Room. 

39. The Tryal of Skill between these two is, who shall believe least 
of what t'other says; and he that has the Weakness, or good Nature 
to give out first, (viz. to believe any Thing t'other says) is look'd 
upon to be Trick'd. 

40. I cannot see the Policy, any more than the Necessity, of a Man's 
Mind always giving the Lye to his Mouth, or his Mouth ever giving 
the false Alarms of his Mind: For no Man can be long believed, that 
teaches all Men to distrust him; and since the Ablest have sometimes 
need of Credit, where lies the Advantage of their Politick Cant or 
Banter upon Mankind? 

41. I remember a Passage of one of Queen Elizabeth's Great Men, 
as Advice to his Friend; The Advantage, says he, I had upon others 
at Court, was, that I always spoke as I thought, which being not be- 
lieved by them, I both preserv'd a good Conscience, and suffered no 
Damage from that Freedom: Which, as it shows the Vice to be 
Older than our Times, so that Gallant Man's Integrity, to be the best 
Way of avoiding it. 

42. To be sure it is wise as well as Honest, neither to flatter other 
Men's Sentiments, nor Dissemble and less Contradict our own. 

43. To hold ones Tongue, or speak Truth, or talk only of indif- 
ferent Things, is the Fairest Conversation. 

44. Women that rarely go Abroad without Vizard-Masks, have 
none of the best Reputation. But when we consider what all this 
Art and Disguise are for, it equally heightens the Wise Man's Won- 
der and Aversion: Perhaps it is to betray a Father, a Brother, a Mas- 
ter, a Friend, a Neighbor, or ones own Party. 



MORE FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 377 

45. A fine Conquest! what Noble Grecians and Romans abhorr'd: 
As if Government could not subsist without Knavery, and that 
Knaves were the Usefullest Props to it; tho' the basest, as well as 
greatest, Perversion of the Ends of it. 

46. But that it should become a Maxim, shows but too grossly the 
Corruption of the Times. 

47. I confess I have heard the Stile of a Useful Knave, but ever 
took it to be a silly or a knavish Saying; at least an Excuse for Knav- 
ery. 

48. It is as reasonable to think a Whore makes the best Wife, as a 
Knave the best Officer. 

49. Besides, Employing Knaves, Encourages Knavery instead of 
punishing it; and Alienates the Reward of Virtue. Or, at least, must 
make the World beUeve, the Country yields not honest Men enough, 
able to serve her. 

50. Art thou a Magistrate? Prefer such as have clean Characters 
where they live, and of Estates to secure a just Discharge of their 
Trusts; that are under no Temptation to strain Points for a Fortune: 
For sometimes such may be found, sooner than they are Employed. 

51. Art thou a Private Man? Contract thy Acquaintance in a 
narrow Compass, and chuse Those for the Subjects of it, that are 
Men of Principles; such as will make full Stops, where Honor will 
not lead them on; and that had rather bear the disgrace of not being 
thorow Paced Men, than forfeit their Peace and Reputation by a base 
Compliance. 

THE WISE MAN 

52. The Wise Man Governs himself by the Reason of his Case, 
and because what he does is Best: Best, in a Moral and Prudent, not 
a Sinister Sense. 

53. He proposes just Ends, and employs the fairest and probablest 
Means and Methods to attain them. 

54. Though you cannot always [jenetrate his Design, or his Rea- 
sons for it, yet you shall ever see his Actions of a Piece, and his Per- 
formances like a Workman: They will bear the Touch of Wisdom 
and Honor, as often as they are tryed. 

55. He scorns to serve himself by Indirect Means, or be an Inter- 



378 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

loper in Government, since just Enterprises never want any Just 
Ways to succeed them. 

56. To do Evil, that Good may come of it, is for Bunglers in Poli- 
ticks, as well as Morals. 

57. Like those Surgeons, that will cut off an Arm they can't cure, 
to hide their Ignorance and save their Credit. 

58. The Wise Man is Cautious, but not cunning; Judicious, but 
not Crafty; making Virtue the Measure of using his Excellent Un- 
derstanding in the Conduct of his Life. 

59. The Wise Man is equal, ready, but not officious; has in every 
Thing an Eye to Sure Footing: He offends no Body, nor easily is 
offended, and always willing to Compound for Wrongs, if not for- 
give them. 

60. He is never Captious, nor Critical; hates Banter and Jests: He 
may be Pleasant, but not Light; he never deals but in Substantial 
Ware, and leaves the rest for the Toy Pates (or Shops) of the World; 
which are so far from being his Business, that they are not so much 
as his Diversion. 

61. He is always for some solid Good, Civil or Moral; as, to make 
his Country more Virtuous, Preserve her Peace and Liberty, Imploy 
her Poor, Improve Land, Advance Trade, Suppress Vice, Incourage 
Industry, and all Mechanick Knowledge; and that they should be 
the Care of the Government, and the Blessing and Praise of the 
People. 

62. To conclude: He is Just, and fears God, hates Covetousness, 
and eschews Evil, and loves his Neighbor as himself. 



OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THOUGHTS 



63. Man being made a Reasonable, and so a Thinking Creature, 
there is nothing more Worthy of his Being, than the Right Direction 
and Employment of his Thoughts; since upon This, depends both 
his Usefulness to the Publick, and his own present and future Ben- 
efit in all Respects. 

64. The Consideration of this, has often obliged me to Lament the 
Unhappiness of Mankind, that through too great a Mixture and 
Confusion of Thoughts, have been hardly able to make a Right or 
Mature Judgment of Things. 



MORE FRUITS OF SOLITtTOE 379 

65. To this Is owing the various Uncertainty and Confusion we 
see in the World, and the Intemperate Zeal that occasions them. 

66. To this also is to be attributed the imperfect Knowledge we 
have of Things, and the slow Progress we make in attaining to a 
Better; like the Children of Israel that were forty Years upon their 
Journey, from Egypt to Canaan, which might have been performed 
in Less than One. 

67. In fine, 't is to this that we ought to ascribe, if not all, at least 
most of the Infelicities we Labor under. 

68. Clear therefore thy Head, and Rally and Manage thy Thoughts 
Rightly, and thou wilt Save Time, and See and Do thy Business 
Well; for thy Judgment will be Distinct, thy Mind Free, and the 
Faculties Strong and Regular. 

69. Always remember to bound thy Thoughts to the present Oc- 
casion. 

70. If it be thy Religious Duty, suffer nothing else to Share in them. 
And if any Civil or Temporal Affair, observe the same Caution, and 
thou wilt be a whole Man to every Thing, and do twice the Busi- 
ness in the same Time. 

71. If any Point over-Labors thy Mind, divert and relieve it, by 
some other Subject, of a more Sensible, or Manual Nature, rather 
than what may affect the Understanding; for this were to write one 
Thing upon another, which blots out our former Impressions, or 
renders them illegible. 

72. They that are least divided in their Care, always give the best 
Account of their Business. 

73. As therefore thou art always to pursue the present Subject, 
till thou hast master'd it, so if it fall out that thou hast more Affairs 
than one upon thy Hand, be sure to prefer that which is of most 
Moment, and will least wait thy Leisure. 

74. He that Judges not well of the Importance of his Affairs, 
though he may be always Busy, he must make but a small Progress. 

75. But make not more Business necessary than is so; and rather 
lessen than augment Work for thy self. 

76. Nor yet be over-eager in pursuit of any Thing; for the Mer- 
curial too often happen to leave Judgment behind them, and some- 
times make Work for Repentance. 



380 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

77. He that over-runs his Business, leaves it for him that follows 
more leisurely to take it up; which has often proved a profitable 
Harvest to them that never Sow'd. 

78. 'T is the Advantage that slower Tempers have upon the Men 
of lively Parts, that tho' they don't lead, they will Follow well, and 
Glean Clean. 

79. Upon the whole Matter, Employ thy Thoughts as thy Busi- 
ness requires, and let that have a Place according to Merit and Ur- 
gency; giving every Thing a Review and due Digestion, and thou 
wilt prevent many Errors and Vexations, as well as save much Time 
to thy self in the Course of thy Life. 

OF ENVY 

80. It is the Mark of an ill Nature, to lessen good Actions, and 
aggravate ill Ones. 

81. Some men do as much begrutch others a good Name, as they 
want one themselves; and perhaps that is the Reason of it. 

82. But certainly they are in the Wrong, that can think they are 
lessened, because others have their Due. 

83. Such People generally have less Merit than Ambition, that 
Covet the Reward of other Men's; and to be sure a very ill Nature, 
that will rather Rob others of their Due, than allow them their 
Praise. 

84. It is more an Error of our Will, than our Judgment: For we 
know it to be an Effect of our Passion, not our Reason; and therefore 
we are the more culpable in our Partial Estimates. 

85. It is as Envious as Unjust, to underrate another's Actions 
where their intrinsick Worth recommends them to disengaged 
Minds. 

86. Nothing shews more the Folly, as well as Fraud of Man, than 
Chpping of Merit and Reputation. 

87. And as some Men think it an Allay to themselves, that others 
have their Right; so they know no End of Pilfering to raise their 
own Credit. 

88. This Envy is the Child of Pride and Misgives, rather than Mis- 
takes. 

89. It will have Charity, to be Ostentation; Sobriety, Covetous- 



MORE FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 38 1 

ness; Humility, Craft; Bounty, Popularity: In short. Virtue must be 
Design, and Religion, only Interest. Nay, the best of Qualities must 
not pass without a But to allay their Merit and abate their Praise. 
Basest of Tempers! and they that have them, the Worst of Men! 

90. But Just and Noble Minds Rejoice in other Men's Success, 
and help to augment their Praise. 

91. And indeed they are not without a Love to Virtue, that take 
a Satisfaction in seeing her Rewarded, and such deserve to share her 
Character that do abhor to lessen it. 

OF man's life 

92. Why is Man less durable than the Works of his Hands, but 
because This is not the Place of his Rest.? 

93. And it is a Great and Just Reproach upon him, that he should 
fix his Mind where he cannot stay himself. 

94. Were it not more his Wisdom to be concerned about those 
Works that will go with him, and erect a Mansion for him where 
Time has Power neither over him nor it? 

95. 'T is a sad Thing for Man so often to miss his Way to his 
Best, as well as most Lasting Home. 

OF AMBITION 

96. They that soar too high, often fall hard; which makes a low 
and level Dwelling preferrable. 

97. The tallest Trees are most in the Power of the Winds, and 
Ambitious Men of the Blasts of Fortune. 

98. They are most seen and observed, and most envyed: Least 
Quiet, but most talk'd of, and not often to their Advantage. 

99. Those Buildings had need of a good Foundation, that lie so 
much exposed to Weather. 

100. Good Works are a Rock, that will support their Credit; but 
III Ones a Sandy Foundation that Yields to Calamities. 

loi. And truly they ought to expect no Pity in their Fall, that 
when in Power had no Bowels for the Unhappy. 

102. The worst of Distempers; always Craving and Thirsty, Rest- 
less and Hated: A perfect Delirium in the Mind: Insufferable in 
Success, and in Disappointments most Revengeful. 



3& 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 



OF PRAISE OR APPLAUSE 

103. We are too apt to love Praise, but not to Deserve it. 

104. But if we would Deserve it, we must love Virtue more than 
That. 

105. As there is no Passion in us sooner moved, or more deceiv- 
able, so for that Reason there is none over which we ought to be 
more Watchful, whether we give or receive it : For if we give it, we 
must be sure to mean it, and measure it too. 

106. If we are Penurious, it shows Emulation; if we exceed. Flat- 
tery. 

107. Good Measure belongs to Good Actions; more looks Nau- 
seous, as well as Insincere; besides, 't is a Persecuting of the Merito- 
rious, who are out of Countenance to hear, what they deserve. 

108. It is much easier for him to merit Applause, than hear of it: 
And he never doubts himself more, or the Person that gives it, than 
when he hears so much of it. 

109. But to say true, there needs not many Cautions on this Hand, 
since the World is rarely just enough to the Deserving. 

no. However, we cannot be too Circumspect how we receive 
Praise: For if we contemplate our selves in a false Glass, we are sure 
to be mistaken about our Dues; and because we are too apt to be- 
lieve what is Pleasing, rather than what is True, we may be too 
easily swell'd, beyond our just Proportion, by the Windy Compli- 
ments of Men. 

111. Make ever therefore Allowances for what is said on such 
Occasions, or thou Exposest, as well as Deceivest thy self. 

112. For an Over-value of our selves, gives us but a dangerous 
Security in many Respects. 

113. We expect more than belongs to us; take all that's given us 
though never meant us; and fall out with those that are not as full of 
us as we are of our selves. 

114. In short, 't is a Passion that abuses our Judgment, and makes 
us both Unsafe and Ridiculous. 

115. Be not fond therefore of Praise, but seek Virtue that leads 
to it. 

116. And yet no more lessen or dissemble thy Merit, than over- 
rate it: For tho' Humility be a Virtue, an affected one is none. 



MORE FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 383 

OF CONDUCT IN SPEECH 

117. Enquire often, but Judge rarely, and thou wilt not often be 
mistaken. 

118. It is safer to Learn, than teach; and who conceals his Opinion, 
has nothing to Answer for. 

119. Vanity or Resentment often engage us, and 't is two to one 
but we come ofl Losers; for one shews a Want of Judgment and 
Humility, as the other does of Temper and Discretion. 

120. Not that I admire the Reserved; for they are next to Unnatu- 
ral that are not Communicable. But if Reservedness be at any Time 
a Virtue, 't is in Throngs or ill Company. 

121. Beware also of Affectation in Speech; it often wrongs Matter, 
and ever shows a blind Side. 

122. Speak properly, and in as few Words as you can, but always 
plainly; for the End of Speech is not Ostentation, but to be under- 
stood. 

123. They that affect Words more than Matter, will dry up that 
little they have. 

124. Sense never fails to give them that have it. Words enough to 
make them understood. 

125. But it too often happens in some Conversations, as in Apothe- 
cary-Shops, that those Pots that are Empty, or have Things of Small 
Value in them, are as gaudily Dress'd and Flourish'd, as those that 
are full of precious Drugs. 

126. This Laboring of slight Matter with flourish'd Turns of Ex- 
pression, is fulsome, and worse than the Modern Imitation of Tap- 
estry, and East-India Goods, in Stuffs and Linnens. In short, 't is 
but Taudry Talk, and next to very Trash. 

UNION OF FRIENDS 

127. They that love beyond the World, cannot be separated by it. 

128. Death cannot kill, what never dies. 

129. Nor can Spirits ever be divided that love and live in the same 
Divine Principle; the Root and Record of their Friendship. 

130. If Absence be not death, neither is theirs. 

131. Death is but Crossing the World, as Friends do the Seas; 
They live in one another still. 



384 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

132. For they must needs be present, that love and live in that 
which is Omnipresent. 

133. In this Divine Glass, they see Face to Face; and their Con- 
verse is Free, as well as Pure. 

134. This is the Comfort of Friends, that though they may be 
said to Die, yet their Friendship and Society are, in the best Sense, 
ever present, because Immortal. 

OF BEING EASY IN LIVING 

135. 'T is a Happiness to be delivered from a Curious Mind, as 
well as from a Dainty Palate. 

136. For it is not only a Troublesome but Slavish Thing to be 
Nice. 

137. They narrow their own Freedom and Comforts, that make 
so much requisite to enjoy them. 

138. To be Easy in Living, is much of the Pleasure of Life: But 
Difficult Tempers will always want it. 

139. A Careless and Homely Breeding is therefore preferable to 
one Nice and Delicate. 

140. And he that is taught to live upon a little, owes more to his 
Father's Wisdom, than he that has a great deal left him, does to his 
Father's Care. 

141. Children can't well be too hardly Bred: For besides that it 
fits them to bear the Roughest Providences, it is more Masculine, 
Active and Healthy. 

142. Nay, 't is certain, that Liberty of the Mind is mightily pre- 
served by it : For so 't is served, instead of being a Servant, indeed a 
Slave to sensual Delicacies. 

143. As Nature is soon answered, so are such satisfied. 

144. The Memory of the Ancients is hardly in any Thing more 
to be celebrated, than in a Strict and Useful Institution of Youth. 

145. By Labor they prevented Luxury in their young People, till 
Wisdom and Philosophy had taught them to Resist and Despise it. 

146. It must be therefore a gross Fault to strive so hard for the 
Pleasure of our Bodies, and be so insensible and careless of the Free- 
dom of our Souls. 



MORE FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 385 

OF man's inconsiderateness and partiality 

147. 'T is very observable, if our Civil Rights are invaded or in- 
croach'd upon, we are mightily touch'd, and fill every Place with 
our Resentment and Complaint; while we suffer our selves, our 
Better and Nobler Selves, to be the Property and Vassals of Sin, the 
worst of Invaders. 

148. In vain do we expect to be delivered from such Troubles, till 
we are delivered from the Cause of them, our Disobedience to God. 

149. When he has his Dues from us, it will be time enough for 
Him to give us ours out of one another. 

150. 'T is our great Happiness, if we could understand it, that we 
meet with such Checks in the Career of our worldly Enjoyments, 
lest we should Forget the Giver, adore the Gift, and terminate our 
Felicity here, which is not Man's ultimate Bliss. 

151. Our Losses are often made Judgments by our Guilt, and 
Mercies by our Repentance. 

152. Besides, it argues great Folly in Men to let their Satisfaction 
exceed the true Value of any Temporal Matter: For Disappoint- 
ments are not always to be measured by the Loss of the Thing, but 
the Over-value we put upon it. 

15-. And thus Men improve their own Miseries, for want of an 
Equal and Just Estimate of what they Enjoy or Lose. 

154. There lies a Proviso upon every Thing in this World, and we 
must observe it at our own Peril, viz. To love God above all, and 
Act for Judgment, the Last I mean. 

OF THE RULE OF JUDGING 

155. In all Things Reason should prevail: 'T is quite another 
Thing to be stiff than steady in an Opinion. 

156. This May be Reasonable, but that is ever Wilful. 

157. In such Cases it always happens, that the clearer the Argu- 
ment, the greater the Obstinacy, where the Design is not to be con- 
vinced. 

158. This is to value Humor more than Truth, and prefer a sullen 
Pride to a reasonable Submission. 

159. 'T is the Glory of a Man to vail to Truth; as it is the Mark 
of a good Nature to be Easily entreated. 



386 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

160. Beasts Act by Sense, Man should by Reason; else he is a 
greater Beast than ever God made: And the Proverb is verified, The 
Corruption of the best Things is the worst and most offensive. 

161. A reasonable Opinion must ever be in Danger, where Reason 
is not Judge. 

162. Though there is a Regard due to Education, and the Tradi- 
tion of our Fathers, Truth will ever deserve, as well as claim the 
Preference. 

163. If like Theophilus and Timothy, we have been brought up in 
the Knowledge of the best Things, 't is our Advantage: But neither 
they nor we lose by trying their Truth; for so we learn their, as well 
as its intrinsick Worth. 

164. Truth never lost Ground by Enquiry, because she is most of 
all Reasonable. 

165. Nor can that need another Authority, that is Self-evident. 

166. If my own Reason be on the Side of a Principle, with what 
can I Dispute or withstand it.' 

167. And if Men would once consider one another reasonably, 
they would either reconcile their Differences, or more Amicably 
maintain them. 

168. Let That therefore be the Standard, that has most to say for 
itself; Tho' of that let every Man be Judge for himself. 

169. Reason, like the Sun, is Common to All; And 't is for want 
of examining all by the same Light and Measure, that we are not 
all of the same Mind: For all have it to that End, though all do not 
use it So. 

OF FORMALrrV 

170. Form is Good, but not Formality. 

171. In the Use of the best of Forms there is too much of that I 
fear. 

172. 'T is absolutely necessary, that this Distinction should go 
along with People in their Devotion; for too many are apter to rest 
upon What they do, than How they do their Duty. 

173. If it were considered, that it is the Frame of the Mind that 
gives our Performances Acceptance, we would lay more Stress on 
our Inward Preparation than our Outward Action. 



MORE FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 387 

OF THE MEAN NOTION WE HAVE OF COD 

174. Nothing more shews the low Condition Man is fallen into, 
than the unsuitable Notion we must have of God, by the Ways we 
take to please him. 

175. As if it availed any Thing to him that we performed so many 
Ceremonies and external Forms of Devotion, who never meant 
more by them, than to try our Obedience, and, through them, to 
shew us something more Excellent and Durable beyond them. 

176. Doing, while we are Undoing, is good for nothing. 

177. Of what Benefit is it to say our Prayers regularly, go to 
Church, receive the Sacraments, and may be go to Confessions too; 
ay. Feast the Priest, and give Alms to the Poor, and yet Lye, Swear, 
Curse, be Drunk, Covetous, Unclean, Proud, Revengeful, Vain and 
Idle at the same Time ? 

178. Can one excuse or ballance the other? Or will God think 
himself well served, where his Law is Violated? Or well used, 
where there is so much more Shew than Substance? 

179. 'T is a most dangerous Error for a Man to think to excuse 
himself in the Breach of a Moral Duty, by a Formal Performance of 
Positive Worship; and less when of Human Invention. 

180. Our Blessed Saviour most rightly and clearly distinguished 
and determined this Case, when he told the Jews, that they were his 
Mother, his Brethren and Sisters, who did the Will of his Father. 

OF THE BENEFIT OF JUSTICE 

181. Justice is a great Sup^wrt of Society, because an Insurance to 
all Men of their Property: This violated, there 's no Security, which 
throws all into Confusion to recover it. 

182. An Honest Man is a fast Pledge in Dealing. A Man is Sure 
to have it if it be to be had. 

183. Many are so, merely of Necessity: Others not so only for the 
same Reason: But such an honest Man is not to be thanked, and 
such a dishonest Man is to be pity'd. 

184. But he that is dishonest for Gain, is next to a Robber, and to 
be punish'd for Example. 

185. And indeed there are few Dealers, but what are Faulty, which 
makes Trade Difficult, and a great Temptation to Men of Virtue. 



388 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

186. 'T is not what they should, but what they can get: Faults or 
Decays must be concealed : Big Words given, where they are not de- 
served, and the Ignorance or Necessity of the Buyer imposed upon 
for unjust Profit. 

187. These are the Men that keep their Words for their own Ends, 
and are only Just for Fear of the Magistrate. 

1 88. A Politick rather than a Moral Honesty; a constrained, not a 
chosen Justice: According to the Proverb, Patience per Force, and 
thank you for nothing. 

189. But of all Justice, that is the greatest, that passes under the 
Name of Law. A Cut-Purse in Westminster-Hall exceeds; for that 
advances Injustice to Oppression, where Law is alledged for that 
which it should punish. 

OF JEALOUSY 

190. The Jealous are Troublesome to others, but a Torment to 
themselves. 

191. Jealousy is a kind of Civil War in the Soul, where Judgment 
and Imagination are at perpetual Jars. 

192. This Civil Dissension in the Mind, like that of the Body 
Politick, commits great Disorders, and lays all waste. 

193. Nothing stands safe in its Way: Nature, Interest, Religion, 
must Yield to its Fury. 

194. It violates Contracts, Dissolves Society, Breaks Wedlock, 
Betrays Friends and Neighbors. No Body is Good, and every one is 
either doing or designing them a Mischief. 

195. It has a Venome that more or less rankles wherever it bites: 
And as it reports Fancies for Facts, so it disturbs its own House as 
often as other Folks. 

196. Its Rise is Guilt or III Nature, and by Reflection thinks its 
own Faults to be other Men's; as he that 's overrun with the Jaun- 
dice takes others to be Yellow. 

197. A Jealous Man only sees his own Spectrum, when he looks 
upon other Men, and gives his Character in theirs. 

OF STATE 

198. I love Service, but not State; One is Useful, the other is 
Superfluous. 



MORE FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 389 

199. The Trouble of this, as well as Charge, is Real; but the 
Advantage only Imaginary. 

200. Besides, it helps to set us up above our selves, and Augments 
our Temptation to Disorder. 

201. The Least Thing out of Joint, or omitted, make us uneasy: 
and we are ready to think our selves ill served, about that which is 
of no real Service at all: Or so much better than other Men, as we 
have the Means of greater State. 

202. But this is all for want of Wisdom, which carries the truest 
and most forceable State along with it. 

203. He that makes not himself Cheap by indiscreet Conversa- 
tion, puts Value enough upon himself every where. 

204. The other is rather Pageantry than State. 

OF A GOOD SERVANT 

205. A True, and a Good Servant, are the same Thing. 

206. But no Servant is True to his Master, that Defrauds him. 

207. Now there are many Ways of Defrauding a Master, as, of 
Time, Care, Pains, Respect, and Reputation, as well as Money. 

208. He that Neglects his Work, Robs his Master, since he is Fed 
and Paid as if he did his Best; and he that is not as Diligent in the 
Absence, as in the Presence of his Master, cannot be a true Servant. 

209. Nor is he a true Servant, that buys dear to share in the Profit 
with the Seller. 

210. Nor yet he that tells Tales without Doors; or deals basely in 
his Master's Name with other People; or Connives at others Loyter- 
ings, Wasteings, or dishonorable Reflections. 

211. So that a true Servant is Diligent, Secret, and Respectful: 
More Tender of his Master's Honor and Interest, than of his own 
Profit. 

212. Such a Servant deserves well, and if Modest under his Merit, 
should liberally feel it at his Master's Hand. 

OF AN IMMEDIATE PURSUIT OF THE WORLD 

213. It shews a Depraved State of Mind, to Cark and Care for 
that which one does not need. 



390 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

214. Some are as eager to be Rich, as ever they were to Live: For 
Superfluity, as for Subsistance. 

215. But that Plenty should augment Covetousness, is a Perver- 
sion of Providence; and yet the Generality are the worse for their 
Riches. 

216. But it is strange, that Old Men should excel: For generally 
Money lies nearest them that are nearest their Graves; As if they 
would augment their Love in Proportion to the little Time they have 
left to enjoy it: And yet their Pleasure is without Enjoyment, since 
none enjoy what they do not use. 

217. So that instead of learning to leave their greath Wealth 
easily, they hold the Faster, because they must leave it: So Sordid is 
the Temper of some Men. 

218. Where Charity keeps Pace with Gain, Industry is blessed: But 
to slave to get, and keep it Sordidly, is a Sin against Providence, a 
Vice in Government, and an Injury to their Neighbors. 

219. Such are they as spend not one Fifth of their Income, and, 
it may be, give not one Tenth of what they spend to the Needy. 

220. This is the worst Sort of Idolatry, because there can be no 
Religion in it, nor Ignorance pleaded in Excuse of it; and that it 
wrongs other Folks that ought to have a Share therein. 

OF THE INTEREST OF THE PUBLICK IN OUR ESTATES 

221. Hardly any Thing is given us for our Selves, but the PubUck 
may claim a Share with us. But of all we call ours, we are most ac- 
countable to God and the Publick for our Estates: In this we are but 
Stewards, and to Hord up all to ourselves is great Injustice as well 
as Ingratitude. 

222. If all Men were so far Tenants to the Publick, that the Super- 
fluities of Gain and Expence were applied to the Exigencies thereof, 
it would put an End to Taxes, leave never a Beggar, and make the 
greatest Bank for National Trade in Europe. 

223. It is a Judgment upon us, as well as Weakness, tho' we wont't 
see it, to begin at the wrong End. 

224. If the Taxes we give are not to maintain Pride, I am sure there 
would be less, if Pride were made a Tax to the Government. 

225. I confess I have wondered that so many Lawful and Useful 



MORE FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 39 1 

Things are excised by Laws, and Pride left to Reign Free over them 
and the PubUck. 

226. But since People are more afraid of the Laws of Man than of 
God, because their Punishment seems to be nearest: I know not how 
magistrates can be excused in their suffering such Excess with 
Impunity. 

227. Our Noble English Patriarchs as well as Patriots, were so 
sensible of this Evil, that they made several excellent Laws, com- 
monly called Sumptuary, to Forbid, at least Limit the Pride of the 
People; which because the Execution of them would be our Interest 
and Honor, their Neglect must be our just Reproach and Loss. 

228. 'T is but Reasonable that the Punishment of Pride and Excess 
should help to support the Government, since it must otherwise 
inevitably be ruined by them. 

229. But some say. It ruins Trade, and will make the Poor Bur- 
thensome to the PubHck; But if such Trade in Consequence ruins 
the Kingdom, is it not Time to ruin that Trade? Is Moderation no 
Part of our Duty, and Temperance an Enemy to Government ? 

230. He is a Judas that will get Money by any Thing. 

231. To wink at a Trade that effeminates the People, and invades 
the Ancient Discipline of the Kingdom, is a Crime Capital, and to 
be severely punish'd instead of being excused by the Magistrate. 

232. Is there no better Employment for the Poor than Luxury.? 
Miserable Nation! 

233. What did they before they fell into these forbidden Methods.? 
Is there not Land enough in England to Cultivate, and more and 
better Manufactures to be Made ? 

234. Have we no Room for them in our Plantations, about Things 
that may augment Trade, without Luxury.? 

235. In short, let Pride pay, and Excess be well Excised: And if 
that will Cure the People, it will help to Keep the Kingdom. 

THE VAIN MAN 

236. But a Vain Man is a Nauseous Creature: He is so full of 
himself that he has no Room for any Thing else, be it never so 
Good or Deserving. 

237. 'T is I at every turn that does this, or can do that. And as he 



392 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

abounds in his Comparisons, so he is sure to give himself the better 
of every Body else; according to the Proverb, All his Geese are Swans. 

238. They are certainly to be pity'd that can be so much mistaken 
at Home. 

239. And yet I have sometimes thought that such People are in 
a sort Happy, that nothing can put out of Countenance with them- 
selves, though they neither have nor merit other Peoples. 

240. But at the same Time one would wonder they should not 
feel the Blows they give themselves, or get from others, for this in- 
tolerable and ridiculous Temper; nor shew any Concern at that which 
makes others blush for, as well as at them, (viz.) their unreasonable 
Assurance. 

241. To be a Man's own Fool is bad enough, but the Vain Man is 
Every Body's. 

242. This silly Disposition comes of a Mixture of Ignorance, Con- 
fidence, and Pride; and as there is more or less of the last, so it is more 
or less offensive or Entertaining. 

243. And yet perhaps the worst Part of this Vanity is it's Unteach- 
ableness. Tell it any Thing, and it has known it long ago; and out- 
runs Information and Instruction, or else proudly puffs at it. 

244. Whereas the greatest Understandings doubt most, are readiest 
to learn, and least pleas'd with themselves; this, with no Body else. 

245. For tho' they stand on higher Ground, and so see farther 
than their Neighbors, they are yet humbled by their Prospect, since 
it shews them something, so much higher and above their Reach. 

246. And truly then it is, that Sense shines with the greatest Beauty 
when it is set in Humility. 

247. An humble able Man is a Jewel worth a Kingdom: It is often 
saved by him, as Solomon's Poor Wise Man did the City. 

248. May we have more of them, or less Need of them. 



THE CONFORMIST 



249. It is reasonable to concur where Conscience does not forbid a 
Compliance; for Conformity is at least a Civil Virtue. 

250. But we should only press it in Necessaries, the rest may prove 
a Snare and Temptation to break Society. 

251. But above all, it is a Weakness in Religion and Government, 



MORE FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 393 

where it is carried to Things of an Indifferent Nature, since besides 
that it makes Way for Scruples, Liberty is always the Price of it. 

252. Such Conformists have little to boast of, and therefore the 
less Reason to Reproach others that have more Latitude. 

253. And yet the Latitudinarian that I love, is one that is only so 
in Charity; for the Freedom I recommend is no Scepticism in Judg- 
ment, and much less so in Practice. 

THE OBLIGATIONS OF GREAT MEN TO ALMIGHTY GOD 

254. It seems but reasonable, that those whom God has Distin- 
guish 'd from others; by his Goodness, should distinguish themselves 
to him by their Gratitude. 

255. For tho' he has made of One Blood all Nations, he has not 
rang'd or dignified them upon the Level, but in a sort of Subordina- 
tion and Dependency. 

256. If we look upwards, we find it in the Heavens, where the 
Planets have their several Degrees of Glory, and so the other Stars 
of Magnitude and Lustre. 

257. If we look upon the Earth, we see it among the Trees of the 
Wood, from the Cedar to the Bramble; in the Waters among the 
Fish, from the Leviathan to the Sprat; in the Air among the Birds, 
from the Eagle to the Sparrow; among the Beasts, from the Lyon to 
the Cat; and among Mankind it self, from the King to the Scav- 
enger. 

258. Our Great Men, doubtless, were designed by the Wise Framer 
of the World for our Religious, Moral and Politick Planets; for 
Lights and Directions to the lower Ranks of the numerous Com- 
pany of their own Kind, both in Precepts and Examples; and they 
are well paid for their Pains too, who have the Honor and Service 
of their fellow Creatures, and the Marrow and Fat of the Earth for 
their Share. 

259. But is it not a most unaccountable Folly, that Men should be 
Proud of the Providences that should Humble them? Or think the 
Better of themselves, instead of Him that raised them so much above 
the Level; or in being so in their Lives, in Return of his Extraordi- 
nary Favors. 

260. But it is but too near a-kin to us, to think no further than our 



394 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

selves, either in the Acquisition, or Use of our Weahh and Greatness; 
when, alas, they are the Preferments of Heaven, to try our Wisdom, 
Bounty and Gratitude. 

261. 'T is a dangerous Perversion of the End of Providence to Con- 
sume the Time, Power and Wealth he has given us above other 
Men, to gratify our Sordid Passions, instead of playing the good 
Stewards, to the Honor of our great Benefactor, and the Good of 
our Fellow-Creatures. 

262. But it is an Injustice too; since those Higher Ranks of Men 
are but the Trustees of Heaven for the Benefit of lesser Mortals, who, 
as Minors, are intituled to all their Care and Provision. 

263. For though God has dignified some Men above their Breth- 
ren, it never was to serve their Pleasures, but that they might take 
Pleasure to serve the Publick. 

264. For this Cause doubtless it was, that they were raised above 
Necessity or any Trouble to Live, that they might have more Time 
and Ability to Care for Others: And 't is certain, where that Use is 
not made of the Bounties of Providence, they are Imbezzell'd and 
Wasted. 

265. It has often struck me with a serious Reflection, when I have 
observed the great Inequality of the World; that one Man should 
have such Numbers of his fellow Creatures to Wait upon him, who 
have Souls to be saved as well as he; and this not for Business, but 
State. Certainly a poor Employment of his Money, and a worse of 
their Time. 

266. But that any one Man should make Work for so many; or 
rather keep them from Work, to make up a Train, has a Levity and 
Luxury in it very reprovable, both in Religion and Government. 

267. But even in allowable Services it has an humbling Considera- 
tion, and what should raise the Thankfulness of the Great Men to 
him that has so much better'd their Circumstances, and Moderated 
the Use of their Dominion over those of their own Kind. 

268. When the poor Indians hear us call any of our Family by the 
Name of Servants, they cry out. What, call Brethren Servants! We 
call our Dogs Servants, but never Men. The Moral certainly can do 
us no Harm, but may Instruct us to abate our Height, and narrow our 
State and Attendance. 



MORE FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 395 

269. And what has been said of their Excess, may in some meas- 
ure be apply 'd to other Branches of Luxury, that set ill Examples to 
the lesser World, and Rob the Needy of their Pensions. 

270. GOD Almighty Touch the Hearts of our Grandees with a 
Sense of his Distinguish'd Goodness, and that true End of it; that 
they may better distinguish themselves in their Conduct, to the 
Glory of Him that has thus liberally Preferr'd them, and the BeneEt 
of their fellow Creatures. 

OF REFINING UPON OTHER MEn's ACTIONS OR INTERESTS 

271. This seems to be the Master-Piece of our Politicians; But no 
Body shoots more at Random, than those Refiners. 

272. A perfect Lottery, and meer Hap-Hazard. Since the true 
Spring of the Actions of Men is as Invisible as their Hearts; and 
so are their Thoughts too of their several Interests. 

273. He that judges of other Men by himself, does not always 
hit the Mark, because all Men have not the same Capacity, nor 
Passions in Interest. 

274. If an able Man refines upon the Proceedings of an ordinary 
Capacity, according to his own, he must ever miss it : But much more 
the ordinary Man, when he shall pretend to speculate the Motives 
to the able Man's Actions: For the Able Man deceives himself by 
making t'other wiser than he is in the Reason of his Conduct; and 
the ordinary Man makes himself so, in presuming to judge of the 
Reasons of the Abler Man's Actions. 

275. 'T is in short a Wood, a Maze, and of nothing are we more 
uncertain, nor in anything do we oftener befool ourselves. 

276. The Mischiefs are many that follow this Humor, and danger- 
ous: For Men Misguide themselves, act upon false Measures, and 
meet frequently with mischievous Disappointments. 

277. It excludes all Confidence in Commerce; allows of no such 
Thing as a Principle in Practice; supposes every Man to act upon 
other Reasons than what app)ears, and that there is no such Thing 
as a Straightness or Sincerity among Mankind: A Trick instead of 
Truth. 

278. Neither, allowing Nature or Religion; but some Worldly 



396 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

Fetch or Advantage: The true, the hidden Motive to all Men to 
act or do. 

279. 'T is hard to express its Uncharitableness, as well as Uncer- 
tainty; and has more of Vanity than Benefit in it. 

280. This Foolish Quality gives a large Field, but let what I have 
said serve for this Time. 

OF CHARITY 

281. Charity has various Senses, but is Excellent in all of them. 

282. It imports; first, the Commiseration of the Poor, and Un- 
happy of Mankind, and extends an Helping-Hand to mend their 
Condition. 

283. They that feel nothing of this, are at best not above half of 
Kin to Human Race; since they must have no Bowels, which makes 
such an Essential Part thereof, who have no more Nature. 

284. A Man, and yet not have the Feeling of the Wants or Needs 
of his own Flesh and Blood! A Monster rather! And may he never 
be sufler'd to propagate such an unnatural Stock in the World. 

285. Such an Uncharitableness spoils the best Gains, and two to 
one but it entails a Curse upon the Possessors. 

286. Nor can we expect to be heard of God in our Prayers, that 
turn the deaf Ear to the Petitions of the Distressed amongst our 
fellow Creatures. 

287. God sends the Poor to try us, as well as he tries them by being 
such: And he that refuses them a little out of the great deal that 
God has given him, Lays up Poverty in Store for his own Posterity. 

288. I will not say these Works are Meritorious, but dare say they 
are Acceptable, and go not without their Reward: Tho' to Humble 
us in our Fulness and Liberality too, we only Give but what is given 
us to Give as well as use; for if we are not our own, less is that so 
which God has intrusted us with. 

289. Next, Charity makes the best Construction of Things and 
Persons, and is so far from being an evil Spy, a Backbiter, or a 
Detractor, that it excuses Weakness, extenuates Miscarriages, makes 
the best of every Thing; forgives every Body, serves All, and hopes 
to the End. 

290. It moderates Extreams, is always for Expediences, labors to 
accommodate Differences, and had rather suffer than Revenge: And 



MORE FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 397 

SO far from Exacting the utmost Farthing, that it had rather lose 
than seek her Own Violently. 

291. As it acts Freely, so, Zealously too; but 't is always to do Good, 
for it hurts no Body. 

292. An Universal Remedy against Discord, and an Holy Cement 
for Mankind. 

293. And lastly, 'T is Love to God and the Brethren, which raises 
the Soul above all worldly Considerations; and, as it gives a Taste 
of Heaven upon Earth, so 't is Heaven in the Fulness of it hereafter 
to the truly Charitable here. 

294. This is the Noblest Sense Charity has, after which all should 
press, as that more Excellent Way. 

295. Nay, most Excellent; for as Faith, Hope and Charity were 
the more Excellent Way that Great Apostle discovered to the 
Christians, (too apt to stick in Outward Gifts and Church Per- 
formances) so of that better Way he preferred Charity as the best 
Part, because it would out-last the rest, and abide for ever. 

296. Wherefore a Man can never be a true and good Christian 
without Charity, even in the lowest Sense of it: And yet he may 
have that Part thereof, and still be none of the Apostle's true Chris- 
tian, since he tells us. That tho' we should give all our Goods to the 
Poor, and want Charity (in her other and higher Senses) it would 
profit us nothing. 

297. Nay, tho' we had All Tongues, All Knowledge, and even 
Gifts of Prophesy, and were Preachers to others; ay, and had Zeal 
enough to give our Bodies to be burned, yet if we wanted Charity, 
it would not avail us for Salvation. 

298. It seems it was his (and indeed ought to be our) Unum 
Necessarium, or the One Thing Needful, which our Saviour attrib- 
uted to Mary in Preference to her Sister Martha, that seems not to 
have wanted the lesser Parts of Charity. 

299. Would God this Divine Virtue were more implanted and 
diffused among Mankind, the Pretenders to Christianity especially, 
and we should certainly mind Piety more than Controversy, and 
Exercise Love and Compassion instead of Censuring and Perse- 
cuting one another in any Manner whatsoever. 

END OF PART II