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^r::-E^V^ 



Printing Press at which F?^anklin worked in 
Watt's Printing-Office, London, in 1725- 

—See p. 46 



THE HARVARD CLASSICS 

EDITED BY CHARLES W ELIOT LL D 



THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF 
BEXJAMIN FRANKLIN 

THE JOURNAL OF 
JOHN WOOLMAN 

FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 
WILLIAM PENN 

WITH INTRODUCTIONS AND NOTES 

VOLUME 1 




P F COLLIER & SON COMPANY 
NEW YORK 



Copyright, 1909 
By p. F. Collier & Son 

manufactured in u. s. a. 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Benjamin Franklin, His Autobiography .... 5 

The Journal of John Woolman 

Chapter I I77 

Chapter II 187 

Chapter III i95 

Chapter IV 208 

Chapter V 225 

Chapter VI 235 

Chapter VII 248 

Chapter VIII 260 

Chapter IX 282 

Chapter X 295 

Chapter XI Z^'^ 

Chapter XII 316 

The Death of John Woolman 327 

Some Fruits of Solitude, in Reflections and Maxims 

Part I. William Penn 329 

More Fruits of Solitude, Being the Second Part of 
Reflections and Maxims 385 



HC— Vol. 1 



Planned and Designea 
at The Collier Press 
' By William Patten 



INTRODUCTORY NOTE 

Benjamin Franklin was horn in Milk Street, Boston, on 
January 6 {January 17, new style), 1706. His father, Josiah 
Franklin, was a tallow chandler who married twice, and of his 
seventeen children Benjamin was the youngest son. His school- 
ing ended at ten, and at twelve he was bound apprentice to hi^- 
brother James, a printer, who published the "New England Cour^ 
ant.'' To this journal he became a contributor, and later was for 
a time its nominal editor. But the brothers quarreled, and Ben- 
jamin ran away, going first to New York, and thence to Philadel- 
phia, where he arrived in October, 1723. He soon obtained work 
as a printer, but after a few months he zvas induced by Governor 
Keith to go to London, where, finding Keith's promises empty, he 
again worked as a compositor till he was brought back to Phila- 
delphia by a merchant named Denman, who gave him a position 
in his business. On Denman's death he returned to his former 
trade, and shortly set up a printing house of his own from which 
he published "The Pennsylvania Gazette," to which he contrib- 
uted many essays, and which he made a medium for agitating a 
variety of local reforms. In 1732 he began to issue his famous 
"Poor Richard's Almanac" for the enrichment of which he bor- 
rowed or composed those pithy utterances of worldly wisdom 
which are the basis of a large part of his popular reputation. In 
1758, the year in which he ceased writing for the Alm,anac, he 
printed in it "Father Abraham's Sermon," now regarded as the 
most famous piece of literature produced in Colonial America. 

Meantime Franklin was concerning himself more and more 
with public affairs. He set forth a scheme for an Academy, 
'which was taken up later and finally developed into the Uni- 
versity of Pennsylvania; and he founded an "American Philo- 
sophical Society" for the purpose of enabling scientific men to 
communicate their discoveries to one another. He himself had 
already begun his electrical researches, which, imth other scien- 
tific inquiries, he carried on in the intervals of money-making 
and politics to the end of his life. In 1748 he sold' his business 
in order to get leisure for study, having now acquired compara- 
tive wealth; and in a few years he had made discove-ries that 
gave hhn a reputation with the learned throughout Europe. In 

3 



^ O <J ^ 



4 INTRODUCTORY NOTE 

politics he praved very able botk as an administrator and as a 
controversialist ; hut his rei:ord as an oiHce-holder fs stained by 
the use he made of his position to advance his relatives. His 
most notable service in home politics was his reform of the 
postal system; but his fame a^ a statesman rests chiefly on his 
services in connection with the relations of the Colonies with 
Great Britain, and later with France. In 1757 he was ^ent to 
England to protest against the influence of the Penns in the 
government of the colony, and for five years he remained there, 
striving to enlighten the people and the ministry of England d^s 
to Colonial conditions. On his return to America he played an 
honorable part in the Paxton affair, through which he lost his 
seat in the Assembly; but in 1764 he was again despatched to 
England as agent for the colony, this time to petition the King to 
resume the government from the hands of the proprietors. In 
London he actively opposed the proposed Stamp Act, but lost the 
credit for this and much of his popularity through his securing 
for a friend the office of >stamp agent in America. Even his effect- 
ive 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 re- 
ceived with honor; but before his return home in 1775 he lost his 
position as postmaster through his share in divulging to Massa- 
chusetts the famous letter of Hutchinson and Oliver. On his ar- 
rival in Philadelphia he was chosen a member of the Continental 
Congress, and in 1777 he was despatched to France as commissioner 
for the United States. Here he remained till 1785, the favorite of 
French society ; and with such success did he conduct the affairs 
of his country that when he finally returned he received a place 
only second to that of Washington as the champion of American 
independence. He died on April 17, 1790. 

The first five chapters of the Autobiography were composed in 
England in 1771, continued in 1784-5, and again in 1788, at which 
date he brought it down to 1757. After a most extraordinary 
series of adventures, the original form of the manuscript was 
finally printed by Mr. John Bigelow, and is here reproduced in 
recognition of its value as a picture of one of the most notable 
personalities of Colonial times, and of its acknowledged rank oj? 
one of the great autobiographies of the world. 



BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 

1706-1757 

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

DEAR SON : I have ever had pleasure in obtainmg any 
little anecdotes of my ancestors. You may remember 
the inquiries I made among the remains of my rela- 
tions when you were with me in England, and the journey 
I undertook for that purpose. Imagining it may be equally 
agreeable to* you to know the circumstances of my life, 
many of which you are yet unacquainted with, and expecting 
the enjoyment of a week's uninterrupted leisure in my present 
country retirement, I sit down to write them for you. To 
which I have besides some other inducements. Having 
emerged from the poverty and obscurity in which I was 
born and bred;, to a state of afHuence and some degree of 
reputation in the world, and having gone so far through life 
with a considerable share of felicity, the conducing means I 
made use of, which with the blessing of God so well suc- 
ceeded, my posterity may like to know, as they may find 
some of them suitable to their own situations, and therefore 
fit to be imitated. 

That felicity, when I reflected on it, has indnced me some- 
times to say, that were it offered to my choice, I should 
have no objection to a repetition of the same life from its 
beginning, only asking the advantages authors have in a 
second edition to correct some faults of the first. So I might, 

^ The country-seat of Bishop Shipley, the good bishop, as Dr. Franklin 
used to style him. — B. 

' After the words " agreeable to " the words " some of " Were interlined 
aad afterward effaced. — B. 



6 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

besides correcting the faults, change some sinister accidents 
and events of it for others more favorable. But though 
this were denied, I should still accept the offer. Since such a 
repetition is not to be expected^ the next thing most like 
living one's life over again seems to be a recollection of that 
life, and to make that recollection as durable as possible by 
putting it down in writing. 

Hereby, too, I shall indulge the inclination so natural in 
old m.en, to be talking of themselves and their own past ac- 
tions ; and I shall indulge it without being tiresome to others, 
who, through respect to age, might conceive themselves 
obliged to give me a hearing, since this may be read or not 
as any one pleases. And, lastly (I may as well confess it, 
since my denial of it 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 humil- 
ity to acknowledge that I owe the mentioned happiness of 
my past life to His kind providence, which lead me to the 
means I used and gave them success. My belief of this 
induces me to hope, though I must not presume, that the 
sam.e goodness will still be exercised toward me, in con- 
tinuing that happiness, or enabling me to bear a fatal 
reverse, which I may experience as others have done: 
the complexion of my future fortune being knov/n to 
Him only in whose power it is to bless to us even our 
afflictions. 

The notes one of my uncles (who had the same kind of 
curiosity in collecting family anecdotes) once put into my 
hands, furnished me with several particulars relating to our 
ancestors. From these notes I learned that the family had 
lived in the same village, Ecton, in Northamptonshire, for 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 7 

three hundred years, and how much longer he knew not 
(perhaps from the time when the name of Franklin, that be- 
fore was the name of an order of people, was assumed 
by them as a surname when others took surnames all over 
the kingdom), on a freehold of about thirty acres, aided by 
the smith's business, which had continued in the family till 
his time, the eldest son being always bred to that business; 
a custom which he and my father followed as to their eldest 
sons. When I searched the registers at Ecton, I found an 
account of their births, marriages and burials from the 
year 1555 only, there being no registers kept in that parish 
at any time preceding. By that register I perceived that I 
was the youngest son of the youngest son for five generations 
back. My grandfather Thomas, who was born in 1598, lived 
at Ecton till he grew too old to follow business longer, when 
he went to live with his son John, a dyer at Banbury, in 
Oxfordshire, with whom my father served an apprentice- 
ship. There my grandfather died and lies buried. 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 Welling- 
borough, sold it to Mr. Isted, now lord of the manor there. 
My grandfather had four sons that grew up, viz. : Thomas, 
John, Benjamin and Josiah. I will give you what account 
I can of them, at this distance from my papers, and if these 
are not lost in my absence, you will among them find many 
more particulars. 

Thomas was bred a smith under his father; but, being 
ingenious, and encouraged in learning (as all my brothers 
were) by an Esquire Palmer, then the principal gentleman in 
that parish, he qualified himself for the business of scrivener; 
became a considerable man in the county ; was a chief mover 
of all public-spirited undertakings for the county or town of 
Northampton, and his own village, of which many instances 
were related of him; and much taken notice of and patron- 
ized by the then Lord Halifax. He died in 1702, January 6, 
old style, just four years to a day before I was born. The 
account we received of his life and character from some 
old people at Ecton, I remember, struck you as something 
extraordinary, from its similarity to what you knew of minCo 



8 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

" 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 ingenious man. I remember him well, for when 
I was a boy he came over to my father in Boston, and lived 
in the house with us some years. He lived to a great age. 
His grandson, Samuel Franklin, now lives in Boston. He 
left behind him two quarto volumes, MS., of his own poetry, 
consisting of little occasional pieces addressed to his friends 
and relations, of which the following, sent to me, is a speci- 
men.^ He had formed a short-hand of his own, which he 
taught me, but, never practising it, I have now forgot it. 
I was named after this uncle, there being a particular affect 
tion between him and my 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 buy- 
ing of him, he brought them to me. It seems my uncle 
must have left them here, when he went to America, which 
was about fifty years since. There are many of his notes 
in the margins. 

This obscure family of ours was early in the Reformation, 
and continued Protestants through the reign of Queen Mary, 
when they were sometimes in danger of trouble on account 
of their zeal against popery. They had got an English 
Bible, and to conceal and secure it, it was fastened open 
with tapes under and within the cover of a joint-stool. When 
my great-great-grandfather read It to his family, he turned 
up the joint-stool upon his knees, turning over the leaves then 

^ Here follow in the margin the words, in brackets, "here insert it," but 
the poetry is not given. Mr. Sparks informs us (Life of Franklin, p. 6) 
that these volumes had been preserved, and were in possession of MtS4 
Emmons, of Boston> greatrgranddaughter of their author. 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 9 

under the tapes. One of the children stood at the door to 
give notice if he saw the apparitor coming, who was an 
officer of the spiritual court. In that case the stool was turned 
down again upon its feet, when the Bible remained concealed 
under it as before. This anecdote I had from my uncle 
Benjamin. The family continued all of the Church of Eng- 
land till about the end of Charles the Second's reign, 
when some of the ministers that had been outed for non- 
conformity holding conventicles in Northamptonshire, Ben- 
jamin and Josiah adhered to them, and so continued all 
their lives : the rest of the family remained with the Episco- 
pal Church. 

Josiah, my father, married young, and carried his wife 
with three children into New England, about 1682. The 
conventicles having been forbidden by law, and frequently 
disturbed, induced some considerable men of his acquaintance 
to remove to that country, and he was prevailed with to ac- 
company them thither, where they expected to enjoy their 
mode of religion with freedom. By the same wife he had 
four children more born there, and by a second wife ten 
more, in all seventeen ; of which I remember thirteen sitting 
at one time at his table, who all grew up to be men and 
women, and married ; I was the youngest son, and the young- 
est child but two, and was born in Boston, New Eng- 
land. My mother, the second wife, was Abiah Folger, 
daughter of Peter Folger, one of the first settlers of New 
England, of whom honorable mention is made by Cotton 
Mather, in his church history of that country, entitled 
Magnalia Christi Americana;, as '"o godly, learned English- 
man, " if I remember the words rightly, I have heard 
that he wrote sundry small occasional pieces, but - only 
pne of them was printed, which I saw now many years since. 
It was written in 1675, in the home-spun verse of that time 
and people, and addressed to those then concerned in the 
government there. It was in f a-vor of liberty of conscience, and 
in behalf of the Baptists, Quakers, and other sectaries that 
had been under persecution, ascribing the Indian wars, and 
other distresses that had befallen the country, to that perse- 
cution, as so many judgments of God to punish so heinous 
an offense, and exhorting a repeal of those uncharitable laws. 



10 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

The whole appeared to me as written with a good deal o£ 
decent plainness and manly freedom. The six concluding 
lines I remember, though I have forgotten the two first of 
the stanza; but the purport of them was, that his censures 
proceeded from good-will, and, therefore, he would be known 
to be the author. 

" Because to be a libeller (says lie) 

I hate it with my heart; 
From Sherburne town, where now I dwell 

My name I do put here ; 
Without offense your real friend. 

It is Peter Folgier." 

My elder brothers were all put apprentices to different 
trades. I was put to the grammar-school at eight 5^ears of 
age, my father intending to devote me, as the tithe of his 
sons, to the service of the Church. My early readiness in 
learning to read (which must have been very early, as I do not 
remember when I could not read), and the opinion of all his 
friends, that I should certainly make a good scholar, encour- 
aged him in this purpose of his^ My uncle Benjamin, too, 
approved of it, and proposed to give me all his short-hand 
volumes of sermons, I suppose as a stock to set up with, if I 
would learn his character. I continued, however, at the 
grammar-school not quite one year, though in that time I 
had risen gradually from the middle of the class of that year 
to be the head of it, and farther was rem.oved into the next 
class above it, 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 miethods. 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 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 11 

was not bred to, but had assumed on his arrival in New 
England, and on finding his dying trade would not main- 
tain his family, being in little request. Accordingly, I was 
employed in cutting wick for the candles, filling the dipping 
mold and the molds for cast candles, attending the shop, 
going of errands, etc. 

I disliked the trade, and had a strong inclination for the 
sea, but my father declared against it; however, living near 
the water, I was much in and about it, learnt early to swim 
well, and to manage boats; and when in a boat or canoe 
with other boys, I was commonly allowed to govern, 
especially in any case of difficulty; and upon other occasions 
I was generally a leader among the boys, and sometimes 
led them into scrapes, of which I will mention one instance, 
as it shows an early projecting public spirit, tho' not then 
justly conducted. 

There was a salt-marsh that bounded part of the mill-pond, 
on the edge of which, at high water, we used to stand to 
fish for minnows. By much trampling, we had made it a 
mere quagmire. My proposal was to build a wharff there 
fi.t for us to stand upon, and I showed my comrades a large 
heap of stones, which were intended for a new house near 
the marsh, and which v/ould very well suit our purpose. 
Accordingly, in the evening, v/hen the workmen were gone, 
I assembled a number of my play-fellows, and working with 
them diligently like so many emmets, sometimes two of 
three to a stone, we brought them all away and built our 
little wharfi. The next morning the workmen were sur- 
prised at missing the stones, which were found in our 
wharff. Inquiry was made after the removers; we were 
discovered and complained of; several of us were corrected 
by our fathers; and though I pleaded the usefulness of the 
work, mine convinced me that nothing was useful which 
was not honest. 

I think you may like to know som.ething of his person and 
character. He had an excellent constitution of body, was 
of middle stature, but v/ell set, and very strong; he was 
ingenious, could draw prettily, was skilled a little in music, 
and had a clear pleasing voice, so that when he played 
psalm tunes on his violin and sung withal, as he sometimes 



12 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

did m an evening after the business of the day was over, 
it was extremely agreeable to hear. He had a mechanical 
genius too, and, on occasion, was very handy in the use of 
other tradesmen's tools; but his great excellence lay in a 
sound understanding and solid judgment in prudential mat- 
ters, both in private and publick affairs. In the latter, 
indeed, he was never employed, the numerous family he had 
to educate and the straitness of his circumstances keeping 
him close to his trade; but I remember well his being fre- 
quently visited by leading people, who consulted him for 
his opinion in affairs of the town or of the church he 
belonged to, and showed a good deal of respect for his 
judgment and advice: he was also much consulted by 
private persons about their affairs [when any difficulty 
occurred, and frequently chosen an arbitrator between 
contending parties. 

At his table he liked to have, as often as he could, some 
sensible friend or neighbor to converse with, and always 
took care to start some ingenious or useful topic for dis- 
course, which might tend to improve the minds of his 
children. By this means he turned our attention to what 
was good, just, and prudent in the conduct of life; and 
little or no notice was ever taken of what related to the 
victuals on the table, whether it was well or ill dressed, in 
or out of season, of good or bad flavor, preferable or inferior 
to this or that other thing of the kind, so that I was bro't 
lUp in such a perfect inattention to those matters as to be 
quite indifferent what kind of food was set before me, and 
so unobservant of it, that to this day if I am asked I can 
scarce tell a few hours after dinner what I dined upon. This 
has been a convenience to me in travelling, where my 
companions have been sometimes very unhappy for want 
of a suitable gratification of their more delicate, because 
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 gr^ive, with this inscription: 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 13 

JosiAH Franklin, 

and 

Abiah his wife, 

lie here interred. 

\ They lived lovingly together in wedlock 

fifty-five years. 

Without an estate, or any gainful emploj^nenfj 

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. 

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 per* 
haps only negligence. 

To return: I continued thus employed in my father's 
business for two years, that is, till I was twelve years old; 
and my brother John, who was bred to that business, having 
left my father, married, and set up for himself at Rhode 
Island, there was all appearance that I was destined to supply 
his place, and become a tallow-chandler. But my dislike to 
the trade continuing, my father was under apprehensions 
that if he did not find one for me more agreeable, I should 
break away and get to sea, as his son Josiah had done, to ' 
his great vexation. He therefore sometimes took me to 
walk with him, and see joiners, bricklayers, turners, braziers, 
etc., at their work, that he might observe my inclination, 
and endeavor to fix it on some trade or other on land. It 
has ever since been a pleasure to m.e to see good workmen 
handle their tools; and it has been useful to me, having 
learnt so much by it as to be able to do little jobs myseli 



14 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN ' 

in 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 little 
money that came into my hands was ever laid out in books. 
Pleased with the Pilgrim's Progress, my first collection was 
of John Bunyan's works in separate little volumes. I after- 
ward sold them to enable me to buy R. Burton's Historical 
Collections; they were small chapmen's books, and cheap, 
40 or 50 in all. My father's little library consisted chiefly 
of books in polemic divinity, most of which I read, and 
have since often regretted that, at a time when I had such 
a thirst for knowledge, more proper books had not fallen 
in my way, since it was now resolved I should not be a 
clergyman. Plutarch's Lives there was in which I read 
abundantly, and I still think that time spent to great advan- 
tage. There was also a book of De Foe's, called an Essay 
on Projects, and another of Dr. Mather's, called Essays to 
do Good, which perhaps gave me a turn of thinking that 
had an influence on some of the principal future events of 
my life. 

This bookish inclination at length determined my father 
to make me a printer, though he had already one son 
(James) of that profession. In 1717 my brother James 
returned from England with a press and letters to set up 
his business in Boston. I liked it m.uch better than that of 
my father, but still had a hankering for the sea. To prevent 
the apprehended effect of such an inclination, my father 
was impatient to have me bound to my brother. I stood 
out some time, but at last was persuaded, and signed the 
indentures when I was yet but twelve years old. I was to 
serve as an apprentice till I was twenty-one years of age, 
only I was to be allmved journeyman's wages during the 
last year. In a little trnie I mad^ great proficiency in the 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 15 

business, and became a useftil hand to my brother. I now 
had access to better books. An acquaintance with the 
apprentices of booksellers enabled me sometimes to borrow 
a small one, which I was careful to return soon and clean. 
Often i sat up in my room reading the greatest part of the 
night, when the book v/as borrowed irt the evening and to 
be returned early in the morning, lest it should be missed 
or wanted. 

And after some time an ingenious tradesman,. Mr. Matthew 
Adams, who had a pretty collection of books, and who fre- 
quented our printing-house, took notice of me, invited me 
to his library, and very kindly lent me such books as I chose 
to read. I now took a fancy to poetry, and m.ade some little 
pieces; m.y brother, thinking it might turn to account, 
encouraged me, and put me on composing occasional bal- 
lads. One was called The Lighthouse Tragedy, and con- 
tained an account of the drowning of Captain Worthilake, 
with his two daughters: the other was a sailor's song, on 
the taking of Teach (or Blackbeard) the pirate. They were 
wretched stuff, in the Grub-street-ballad style; and when 
they were printed he sent m.e about the town to sell them. 
The first sold wonderfully, the event being recent, having 
made a great noise. This flattered my vanity ; but m.y father 
discouraged me by ridiculing my perform.ances, and telling 
me verse-makers were generally beggars. So I escaped 
being a poet, most probably a very bad one; but as prose 
writing had been of great use to me in the course of my 
life, and was a principal means of my advancement, I shall 
tell you how, in such a situation, I acquired what little 
ability I have in that way. 

There was another bookish lad in the town, John Collins 
by name, with whom I was intimately acquainted. We 
sometimes disputed, and very fond we were of argument, 
and very desirous of confuting one another, which disputa- 
tious turn, by the way, is apt to become a very bad habit, 
making people often extremely disagreeable in company by 
the contradiction that is necessary to bring it into practice; 
and thence, besides souring and spoiling the conversation, 
is productive of disgusts and, perhaps enmities where you 
may have occasion for friendship. I had caught it by read- 



16 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

ing my father's books of dispute about religion. Persons of 
good sense^ I have since observed, seldom fall into it, except 
lawyers, university men, and men of all sorts thac 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 abilities for study. He was of opinion 
that it was improper, and that they were naturally unequal 
to it. I took the contrary side^ perhaps a little for dispute's 
sake. He was naturally more eloquent, had a ready plenty 
of words; and sometimes, as I thought, bore me down 
more by his fluency than by the strength of his reasons. 
As we parted without settling the point, and were not to 
see one another again for some time, I sat down to put my 
arguments in writing, which I copied fair and sent to him. 
He answered, and I replied. Three or four letters of a side 
had passed, when my father happened to find my papers 
and read them. Without entering into the discussion, he 
took occasion to talk to me about the manner of my writing ; 
observed that, though I had the advantage of my antagonist 
in correct spelling and pointing (which I ow'd to the 
printing-house), I fell far short in elegance of expression, 
in method and in perspicuity, of which he convinced me 
by several instances. I saw the justice of his remark, and 
thence grew more attentive to the manner in writing, and 
determined to endeavor at improvement. 

About this time I met with an odd volume of the Spectator. 
It was the third. I had never before seen any of them. I 
bought it, read it over and over, and was much delighted 
with it. I thought the writing excellent, and wished, if 
possible, to imitate it. With this view I took some of the 
papers, and, making short hints of the sentiment in each 
sentence, laid them by a few days, and then, without looking 
at the book, tr/d to compleat the papers again, by express- 
ing each hinted sentiment at length, and as fully as it had 
been expressed before, in any suitable words that should 
come to hand. Then I compared my Spectator with the 
original, discovered some of my faults, and corrected them. 
But I found I wanted a stock of words, or a readiness in 
recollecting and using them, which I thought I should have 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 17 

acquired before that time if I had gone on making verses; 
since the continual occasion for words of the same import, 
but of ditterent length, to suit the measure, or of different 
sound for the rhyme, would have laid me under a constant 
necessity of searching for variety, and also have tended to 
fix that variety in my mind, and make me master of it. 
Therefore I took some of the tales and turned them into 
verse; and, after a time, when I had pretty well forgotten 
the prose, turned them back again. I also sometimes 
jumbled m.y collections of hints into confusion, and after 
some weeks endeavored to reduce them into the best order, 
before 1 began to form the full sentences and compleat the 
paper. This was to teach me method in the arrangement 
of thoughts. By comparing my work afterwards with the 
original, I discovered many faults and amended them; but 
I sometimes had the pleasure of fancying that, in certain 
particulars of small import, I had been lucky enough to 
improve the method or the language, and this encouraged 
me to think I might possibly in time come to be a tolerable 
English writer, of which I was extremely ambitious. My 
time for these exercises and for reading was at night, after 
work or before it began in the morning, or on Sundays, 
when I contrived to be in the printing-house alone, evading 
as much as I could the common attendance on public worship 
which my father used to exact on me when I was under 
his care, and which indeed I still thought a duty, though I 
could not, as it seemed to me, afford time to practise it. 

When about i6 years of age I happened to meet v/ith a 
book, written by one Tryon, recommending a vegetable diet. 
I determined to go into it. My brother, being yet unmarried, 
did not keep house, but boarded himself and his apprentices 
in another family. My refusing to eat flesh occasioned an 
inconveniency, and I was frequently chid for my singularity. 
I made myself acquainted with Tryon's manner of preparing 
some of his dishes, such as boiling potatoes or rice, making 
hasty pudding, and a few others, and then proposed to my 
brother, that if he would give me, weekly, half the money 
he paid for my board, I would board myself. He instantly 
agreed to it, and I presently found that I could save half 
what he paid me» This vvras an additional fund for buying 



18 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

books. But I had another advantage in it. My brother and 
the rest going from the printing-house to their meals, I 
remained there alone, and, despatching presently my light 
repast, which often was no more than a bisket or a slice 
of bread, a handful of raisins or a tart from the pastry- 
cook's, and a glass of water, had the rest of the time till 
their return for study, in which I made the greater progress, 
from that greater clearness of head and quicker apprehen- 
sion which usually attend temperance in eating and drinking. 

And now it was that, being on some occasion made asham'd 
of my ignorance in figures, w^hich I had twice failed in 
learning when at school, I took Cocker's book of Arith- 
metick, and went through the whole by myself with great 
ease. I also read Seller's and Shermy's books of Navigation, 
and became acquainted with the little geometry they contain ; 
but never proceeded far in that science. And I read about 
this time Locke On Htmmn Understanding, and the Art of 
Thinking, by Messrs. du Port Royal. 

While I was intent on improving my language, I met with 
an English grammar (I think it was Greenwood's), at the 
end of which there were two little sketches of the arts of 
rhetoric and logic, the latter finishing with a specim.en of a 
dispute in the Socratic method; and soon after I procur'd 
Xenophon's Memorable Things of Socrates, wherein there 
are many instances of the same method. I was charm'd Vvdth 
it, adopted it, dropt my abrupt contradiction and positive 
argumentation, and put en the humble inquirer and doubter. 
And being then, from reading Shaftesbury and Collins, 
become a real doubter in many points of our religious doc- 
trine, I found this method safest for myself and very embar- 
rassing to those against whom I used it; therefore I took a 
delight in it, practis'd it continually, and grew very artful 
and expert in drawing people, even of superior knowledge, 
into concessions, the consequences of which they did not 
foresee, entangling them in difiiculties out of which they 
could not extricate themselves, and so obtaining victories 
that neither myself nor my cause always deserved. I con- 
tinu'd this method some few years, but gradually left it, 
retaining only the habit of expressing myself in terms of 
modest diffidence; never using, when I advanced any thing 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 19 

that may possibly be disputed, the words certainly, undoubt- 
edly, or any others that give the air of positiveness to an 
opinion ; but rather say, I conceive or apprehend a thing to 
be so and so ; it appears to me, or / shoiild think it so or so, 
for such and such reasons; or / imagine it to he so; or it is 
so, if I am not mistaken. This habit, I believe, has been of 
great advantage to me when I have had occasion to incul- 
cate my opinions, and persuade men into measures that I 
have been from time to time engag'd in promoting; and, as 
the chief ends of conversation are to inform or to be 
informed, to please or to persuade, I wish well-meaning, 
sensible m.en would not lessen their power of doing good by 
a positive, assuming manner, that seldom fails to disgust, 
tends to create opposition, and to defeat every one of those 
purposes for which speech was given to us, to wit, giving 
or receiving information or pleasure. For, if you would 
inform, a positive and dogmatical manner in advancing your 
sentim.ents may provoke contradiction and prevent a candid 
attention. If you wish information and im.provement from 
the knowledge of others, and yet at the same time express 
yourself as firmly fix'd in your present opinions, m.odest, 
sensible men, who do not love disputation, will probably 
leave you undisturbed in the possession of your error. And 
by such a manner, you can seldom hope to recommend your- 
self in pleasing your hearers, or to persuade those whose 
concurrence you desire. Pope says, judiciously: 

"Men should he taught as if you taught them not. 
And things unknown propos'd as things forgot; " 

farther recommending to us 

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

And he might have coupled with this line that which he has 
coupled with another, I think, less properly, 

" For want of modesty is want of sense." 
If you ask, Why less properly? I must repeat the lines, 

" Immodest words admit of no defense, 
For want of modesty is want of sense." 

Now, is not want of sense (where a man is so unfortunate 
as to want it) some apology for his want of modesty? and 
would not the lines stand more justly thus? 



20 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

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

This, however, I should submit to better judgments. 

My brother had, in 1720 or 1721, begun to print a news- 
paper. It was the second that appeared in America, and 
was called the New England Courant The only one before 
it was the Boston News-Letter. I remember his being dis- 
suaded by some of his friends from the undertaking, as not 
likely to succeed, one newspaper being, in their judgment, 
enough for America. At this time (1771) there are not less 
than five-and-twenty. He went on, however, with the 
undertaking, and after having worked in composing the 
types and printing off the sheets, I was employed to carry 
the papers thro' the streets to the customers. 

He had some ingenious men among his friends, who 
amus'd themselves by writing little pieces for this paper, 
which gain'd it credit and made it more in demand, and 
these gentlemen often visited us. Hearing their conversa- 
tions, and their accounts of the approbation their papers 
were received with, I was excited to try my hand among 
them ; but, being still a boy, and suspecting that my brother 
would object to printing anything of mine in his paper if 
he knew it to be mine, I contrived to disguise my hand, 
and, writing an anonymous paper, I put it in at night under 
the door of the printing-house. It was found in the morn- 
ing, and communicated to his writing friends when they 
call'd in as usual, They read it, commented on it in my 
hearing, and I had the exquisite pleasure of finding it met 
with their approbation, and that, in their different guesses 
at the author, none were named but men of some character 
among us for learning and ingenuity. I suppose now that 
I was rather lucky in my judges, and that perhaps they were 
not really so very good ones as I then esteem'd them. 

Encourag'd, however, by this, I wrote and convey'd in 
the same way to the press several more papers which were 
equally approv'd; and I kept my secret till my small fund 
of sense for such performances was pretty well exhausted, 
and then I discovered it, when I began to be considered a 
little m.ore by my brother's acquaintance, and in a manner 
that did not quite please him, as he thought, probabl}r 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 21 

with reason, that it tended to make me too vain. And, 
perhaps, this might be one occasion of the differences that 
we began to have about this time. Though a brother, he 
considered himself as my master, and me as his appren- 
tice, and accordingly, expected the same services from me 
as he would from another, while I thought he demean'd 
me too much in some he requir'd of me, who from a brother 
expected more indulgence. Our disputes were often 
brought before our father, and I fancy I was either gen- 
erally in the right, or else a better pleader, because the 
judgmxcnt was generally in my favor. But my brother 
was passionate, and had often beaten me, which I took ex- 
treamly amiss ; and, thinking my apprenticeship very tedious, 
I was continually wishing for some opportunity of shorten- 
ing it, which at length offered in a manner unexpected.^ 

One of the pieces in our newspaper on some political point, 
which I have now forgotten, gave offense to the Assembly. 
He was taken up, censur'd, and imprison'd for a month, by 
the speaker's warrant, I suppose, because he would not dis- 
cover his author. I too was taken up and examin'd before 
the council; but, tho' I did not give them any satisfaction, 
they content'd themselves with admonishing me, and dis- 
missed me, considering me, perhaps, as an apprentice, who 
was bound to keep his master's secrets. 

During my brother's confinement, which I resented a 
good deal, notwithstanding our private differences, I had 
the management of the paper; and I made bold to give our 
rulers some rubs in it, which my brother took very kindly, 
while others began to consider me in an unfavorable light, 
as a young genius that had a turn for libelling and satyr. 
My brother's discharge was accompany'd with an order o£ 
the House (a very odd one), that ''James Franklin should 
no longer print the paper called the New England Courant" 

There was a consultation held in our printing-house 
among his friends, what he should do in this case. Some 
proposed to evade the order by changing the name of the 
paper; but my brother, seeing inconveniences in that, it was 
finally concluded on as a better way, to let it be printed 

3 I fancy his harsh and tyrannical treatment of me might be a means of 
impressing me with that aversion to arbitrary power that has stuck to me 
through my whole life. 



22 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

for the future under the name of Benjamii^ Franklin; 
and to avoid the censure of the Assembly, that might fall 
on him as still printing it by his apprentice, the contrivance 
was that my old indenture should be return'd to me, with 
a full discharge on the back of it, to be shown on occasion, 
but to secure to him the benefit of my service, I was to 
sign new indentures for the remainder of the term^, which 
were to be kept private. A very flimsy scheme it v/as; 
however, it was immediately executed, and the paper went 
on accordingly, under my name for several months. 

At 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 oi resentment for the blows his passion 
too often urged him to bestow upon me, though he was 
otherwise not an ill-natur'd man: perhaps I was too saucy 
and provoking. 

AVhen he found I would leave him, he took care to pre- 
vent my getting employment in any other printing-house of 
the town, by going round and speaking to every master, 
who accordingly refus'd to give me work, I then thought 
of going to New York, as the nearest place where there 
was a printer; and I was rather inclin'd to leave Boston 
when I reflected that I had already m.ade myself a little 
obnoxious to the governing party, and, from the arbitrary 
proceedings of the Assembly in my brother's case, it was 
likely I might, if I stay'd, soon bring myself into scrapes; 
and farther, that my indiscrete disputations about religion 
began to make me pointed at with horror hy good people 
as an infidel or atheist. I determin'd on the point, but my 
father now siding with my brother, I was sensible that, if 
I attempted to go openly, means would be used to prevent 
me. My friend Collins, therefore, undertook to manage 
a little for me. He agreed v/ith the captain of a New 
York sloop for my passage, under the notion of may being 
a young acquaintance of his, that had got a naughty girl 
with child, whose friends would compel me to marry her, 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 23 

and therefore I could not appear or come away publicly. 
So I sold some of my books to raise a little money, was 
taken on board privately^ and as we had a fair wind, in 
three days I found myself in New York, near 300 miles 
from home> a boy of but 17, without the least recommenda- 
tion to, or knowledge of any person in the place, and with 
very little money in my pocket. 

My inclinations for the sea were by this time worne 
out, or I might now have gratify'd them. Butj having a 
trade, and supposing myself a pretty good workman, I 
offer'd my service to the printer in the place, old Mr. 
William Bradford, who had been the first printer in Penn- 
sylvania, but removed from thence upon the quarrel of 
George Keith. He could give me no em.ployment, having 
little to do, and help enough already ; but says he, " My son 
at Philadelphia has lately lost his principal hand, Aquila 
Rose, by death; if you go thither, I believe he may employ 
you." Philadelphia was a hundred miles ftirther; I set 
out, however, in a boat for Amboy, leaving my chest and 
things to follow me round by sea. 

In crossing the bay, we met with a squall that tore our 
rotten sails to pieces, prevented our getting into the Kill, 
and drove us upon Long Island. In our way, a drunken 
Dutchman, who was a passenger too, fell overboard; when 
he was sinking, I reached through the water to his shock 
pate, and drew him up, so that we got him in again. His , 
ducking sobered him a little, and he went to sleep, taking 
first out of his pocket a book, which he desir'd I would 
dry for him. It proved to be my old favorite author, Bun- 
yan's Pilgrim's Progress, in Dutch, finely printed on good 
paper, with copper cuts, a dress better than I had ever 
seen it wear in its own language. I have since found that 
it has been translated into most of the languages of Europe, 
and suppose it has been more generally read than any 
other book, except perhaps the Bible. Honest John was 
the first that I know of who mix'd narration and dialogue; 
a method of waiting very engaging to the reader, who in 
the most interesting parts finds himself, as it were, brought 
into the company and present at the discourse. De Foe in 
his Cruso, his Moll Flanders, Religious Courtship, Family 



24 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

Instructor, and other pieces, has imitated it with success; 
and Richardson has done the same in his Pamela, etc. 

When we drew near the island, we found it was at a 
place where there could be no landing, there being a great 
surff on the stony beach. So we dropt anchor, and swung 
round towards the shore. Some people came down to the 
water edge and hallow'd to us, as we did to them; but the 
wind was so high, and the surff so loud, that we could not 
hear so as to understand each other. There were canoes 
on the shore, and we made signs^ and hallow'd that they 
should fetch us; but they either did not understand us, or 
thought it impracticable^ so they went away, and night 
coming on, we had no remedy but to wait till the wind 
should abate; and, in the meantime, the boatman and I con- 
cluded to sleep, if we could ; and so crowded into the scuttle, 
with the Dutchman, who was still wet, and the spray 
beating over the head of our boat, leak'd thro' to us, so that 
we were soon almost as wet as he. In this manner we 
lay all night, with very little rest; but, the wind abating 
the next day, we made a shift to reach Amboy before 
night, having been thirty hours on the water, without vic- 
tuals, or any drink but a bottle of filthy rum, and the water we 
sail'd on being salt. 

In the evening I found myself very feverish, and went 
in to bed ; but, having read somewhere that cold water drank 
plentifully was good for a fever, I follow'd the prescription, 
sweat plentiful most of the night, my fever left me, and in 
the morning, crossing the ferry, I proceeded on my journey 
©n foot, having fifty miles to Burlington, where I was told 
I should find boats that would carry me the rest of the way 
to Philadelphia. 

It rained very hard all the day; I was thoroughly soak'd, 
and by noon a good deal tired; so I stopt at a poor inn, 
where I staid all night, beginning now to wish that I had 
never left home. I cut so miserable a figure, too, that I 
found, by the questions ask'd me, I was suspected to be 
some runaway servant, and in danger of being taken up 
on that suspicion. However, I proceeded the next day, 
and got in the evening to an inn, within eight or ten miles 
of Burlington, kept by one Dr. Brown. He entered into 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 25 

conversation with me while I took some refreshment, and, 
finding I had read a little, became \^ery sociable and friendly. 
Our acquaintance continu'd as long as he liv'd. He had 
been, I imagine, an itinerant dootor,' for there was no town 
in England, or country in Europe, of which he could not give 
a very particular account. He had some letters, and was in- 
genious, but much of an unbeliever, and wickedly undertook, 
some years after, to travestie the Bible in doggrel verse, as 
Cotton had done Virgil. By this means he set many of the 
facts in a very ridiculous light, and might have hurt weak 
minds if his work had been published; but it never was. 

At his house I lay that night, and the next morning 
reach'd Burlington, but had the mortification to find that 
the regular boats were gone a little before my coming, and 
no other expected to go before Tuesday, this being Satur- 
day; wherefore I returned to an old woman in the town, 
of whom I had bought gingerbread to eat on the water, and 
ask'd her advice. She invited me to lodge at her house 
till a passage by water should offer; and being tired with 
my foot travelling, I accepted the invitation. She under- 
standing I was a printer, would have had me stay at that 
town and follow my business, being ignorant of the stock 
necessary to begin with. She was very hospitable, gave 
me a dinner of ox-cheek with great good will, accepting 
only a pot of ale in return; and I thought myself fixed till 
Tuesday should come. However, walking in the evening by 
the side of the river, a boat came by, which I found was 
going towards Philadelphia, with several people in her. 
They took me in, and, as there was no wind, we row'd all 
the way; and about midnight, not having yet seen the city, 
some of the company were confident we must have passed 
it, and would row no farther; the others knew not where 
we were; so we put toward the shore, got into a cred^, 
landed near an old fence, with the rails of which we made. 
a fire, the night being cold, in October, and there we 
remained till daylight. Then one of the company knew 
the place to be Cooper's Creek, a little above Philadelphia, 
which we saw as soon as we got out of the creek, and 
arriv'd there about eight or nine o'clock on the Sunday 
morning, and landed at the Market-street wharf. 



26 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

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 pockets were stuff 'd 
out with shirts and stockings, and I knew no soul nor where 
to look for lodging. I was fatigued with travelling, rowing, 
and want of rest, I was very hungry; and my whole stock 
of cash consisted of a Dutch dollar, and about a shilling in 
copper. The latter I gave the people of the boat for my 
passage, who at first ref us'd it, on account of my rowing ; 
but I insisted on their taking it. A man being sometimes more 
generous when he has but a little money than when he has 
plenty, perhaps thro' fear of being thought to have but little. 
Then I walked up the street, gazing about till near the 
market-house I met a boy with bread. I had made many 
a meal on bread, and, inquiring where he got it, I went 
immediately to the baker's he directed me to, in Second- 
street, and ask'd for bisket, intending such as we had in 
Boston; but they, it seems, were not made in Philadelphia. 
Then I asked for a three-penny loaf, and was told they had 
none such. So not considering or knovv^ing the difference 
of money, and the greater cheapness nor the names of his 
bread, I made him give me three-penny worth of any sort. 
He gave me, accordingly, three great puffy rolls. I was 
surpriz'd at the quantity, but took it, and, having no room 
in my pockets, walk'd off v/ith a roll under each arm, 
and eating the other. Thus I went up Market-street as far 
as Fourth-street, passing by the door of Mr. Read, my 
future wife's father; when she, standing at the door, saw 
me, and thought I made, as I certainly did, a most awkward, 
ridiculous appearance. Then I turned and went down 
Chestnut-street and part of Walnut-street, eating my roll 
all the way, and^ coming round, found myself again at 
Market-street wharf, near the boat I came in, to which 
X went for a draught of the river w^ater; and, being filled 
iwith one of my rolls, gave the other two to a woman 
and her child that came down the river in the boat with 
us, and were waiting to go farther. 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 27 

Thus refreshed, I walked again tip the street, which by 
this time had many clean-dressed people in it, who were all 
walking the same way. I joined them, and thereby was 
led into the great meeting-house of the Quakers near the 
m.arket. I sat down among them, and, after looking round 
awhile and hearing nothing said, being very drowsy thro' labor 
and want of rest the preceding night, I fell fast asleep, and 
continued so till the meeting broke up, when one was kind 
enough to rouse me. This was^ therefore, the first house 
I was in, or slept in, in Philadelphia. 

Walking down again tov/ard the river, and, looking in 
the faces of people, I met a young Quaker man, whose 
countenance I lik'd, and, accosting him, requested he would 
tell me where a stranger could get lodging. We were then 
near the sign of the Three Mariners. " Here," says he, " is 
one place that entertains strangers, but it is not a reputable 
house; if thee wilt walk with ihe, I'll show thee a better." 
He brought me to the Crooked Billet in Water-street. Here 
I got a dinner; and, while I was eating it, several sly 
questions vv'^ere asked me^ as it seemed to be suspected from 
my youth and appearance, that I might be some runaway. 

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

The old gentleman said he v^^ould go with me to the new 
printer ; and when we found him, " Neighbor," says Brad- 
ford, " I have brought to see you a young man of your 
business; perhaps you may want such a one." He ask'd 



28 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

me a £@w qiiesdons, pui a composing stiGk in my hand to 
see how I woxk'd, and t-tmn said he would empl<?7 me soon, 
though he had just then nothing for me to do; and, taking 
old Bradford, whom he bati never seen before, to be one 
of the town's people that had a good will for him, enter'd 
into a conversation on his present undertaking and prospects ; 
while Bradford, not discovering that he was the other 
printer's father, on Keimer's salving he expected soon to get 
the greatest part of the business into his own hands, drew 
him on by 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 surprised when I told him 
who the old man was. 

Keimer's printing-house, I found, consisted of an old 
shatter'd press, and one small, worn-out font of English 
which he was then using himself, composing an Elegy on 
Aquila Rose, before mentioned, an ingenious young man, of 
excellent character, much respected in the town, clerk of 
the Assembly, and a pretty poet. Keimer made verses too, 
but very indifferently. He could not be said to write them, 
for his manner was to compose them in the types directly out 
of his head. So there being no copy, but one pair of cases, 
and the Elegy likely to require all the letter, no one could 
help him. I endeavored to put his press (which he had not 
yet us'd, and of which he understood nothing) into order fit 
to be work'd with ; and, promising to come and print off his 
Elegy as soon as he should have got it ready, I return'd to 
Bradford's, who gave me a little job to do for the present, 
and there I lodged and dieted. A few days after, Keimer 
sent for me to print oft' the Elegy. And now he had got 
another pair of cases, and a pamphlet to reprint, on which 
he set me to work. 

These two printers I found poorly qualified for their busi- 
ness. Bradford had not been bred to it, and was very 
illiterate; and Keimer, tho' som.ething of a scholar, was a 
"mere compositor, knov/ing nothing of presswork. He had 
been one of the French prophets, and could act their 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 29 

enthusiastic agitations. At this time he did not profess any 
particular religion, hut something of all on occasion; was 
very ignorant of the world, and had, as I afterward found, 
a good deal of the knave in his composition. He did not like 
my lodging at Bradford's while I work'd with him. He had 
a house, indeed, but without furniture, s.o he could not lodge 
me; but he got me a lodging at Mr. Read's, before men- 
tioned, who w^as the owner of his house; and, my chest and 
clothes being come by this time, I made rather a more 
respectable appearance in the eyes of Miss Read than I had 
done when she first happen'd to see me eating my roll in the 
street. 

I began now to have some acquaintance among the young 
people of the town, that were lovers of reading, with whom 
I spent my evenings very pleasantly; and gaining money 
by my industry and frugality, I lived very agreeably, for- 
getting Boston as much as I could, and not desiring that 
any there should know where I resided, except my friend 
Collins, who was in my secret, and kept it when I wrote to 
him. At length, an incident happened that sent me back 
again much sooner than I had intended. I had a brother- 
in-law, Robert Holmes, master of a sloop that traded between 
Boston and Delaware. He being at Newcastle, forty miles 
below Philadelphia, heard there of rne, and wrote me a letter 
mentioning the concern of my friends in Boston at my 
abrupt departure, assuring me of their good will to me, 
and that every thing would be accommodated to my mind 
if I would return, to which he exhorted me very earnestly. 
I wrote an answer to his letter, thank'd him for his advice, 
but stated my reasons for quitting Boston fully and in such 
a light as to convince him I was not so wrong as he had 
apprehended. 

Sir William Keith, governor of the province, was then at 
Newcastle, and Captain Holmes, happening to be in com- 
pany with him when my letter came to hand, spoke to him 
of me, and show'd him the letter. The governor read it, 
and seem'd surpris'd when he was told my age. He said 
I appeard a young man of promising parts, and therefore 
should be encouraged; the printers at Philadelphia wer^ 
•wretched ones; and, if I would set up thera^ he made no 



30 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

doubt I should succeed; for his part, he would procure me 
the public business, and do me every other service in his 
power. This my brother-in-lav/ afterwards told me in Bos- 
ton, but I knew as yet nothing of it ; vv^hen, one day, Keimer 
and I being at work together near the window, we saw the 
governor and another gentleman (which proved to be 
Colonel French, of Newcastle), finely dress'd, come directly 
across the street to our house, and heard them at the door. 

Keimer ran down immediately, thinking it a visit to him; 
but the governor inquir'd for me, came up, and with a 
condescension of politeness I had been quite imus'd to, made 
me many compliments, desired to be acquainted with me, 
blam'd me kindly for not having made myself known to 
him when I first cam.e to the place, and would have me 
away with him to the tavern, where he was going with 
Colonel French to taste, as he said, some excellent Madeira. 
I was not a little surprised, and Keimer star'd like a pig 
poison'd. I vv^ent, 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 govern- 
ments. On my doubting whether my father would assist 
me in it. Sir William said he would give me a letter to him, 
in which he would state the advantages, and he did not 
doubt of prevailing with him. So it was concluded I should 
return to Boston in the first vessel, with the governor's 
letter recommending m.e to my father. In the mean time 
the intention was to be kept a secret, and I went on working 
with Keimer as usual, the governor sending for me now 
and then to dine with him, a very great honor I thought it, 
and conversing with me in the most affable, familiar, and 
friendly manner imaginable. 

About the end of April, 1724, a little vessel offer'd for 
Boston. I took leave of Keimer as going to see my friends. 
The governor gave me an ample letter, saying many flatter- 
ing things of me to my father, and strongly recommending 
the project of my setting up at Philadelphia as a thing that 
must m.ake my fortune. We struck on a shoal in going 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 31 

down the bay, and sprung a leak ; we had a blustering time 
at sea, and were oblig'd to pump almost continually, at 
which I took my turn. We arriv'd safe, however, at Boston 
in about a fortnight. I had been absent seven months, and 
my friends had heard nothing of me; for my br. Holmes 
was not yd return'd^ and had not written about me. My 
unexpected appearance surpriz'd the family; all were, how- 
ever, very glad to see me, and made me welcome, except my 
brother. I went to see him at his printing-house. I was 
better dress'd than ever while in his service, having a gen- 
teel nev/ 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 lik'd it. I prais'4 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 mioney we had there, I produc'd a handful of silver, 
and spread it before them, which was a kind of raree-show 
they iad not been us'd to, paper being the money o£ Boston. 
Then 1 took an opportunity of letting them see my watch ; 
and, lastly (my brother still grum and sullen), I gave them 
a piece of eight to drink, and took my leave. This visit of 
mine offended him extreamly; for, when my mother some 
time after spoke to him, of a reconciliation, and of her wishes! 
to see us on good terms together, and that we might live 
for the future as brothers, he said I had insulted him in 
such a manner before his people that he could never forget 
or forgive it. In this, however, he was mistaken. 

My father received the governor's letter with some 
apparent surprise, but said little of it to me for some days, 
vv^hen Capt. Holmes returning he showed it to him, ask'd' 
him if he knew Keith, and what kind of man he was ; add- 
ing his opinion that he must be of small discretion to think 
of setting a boy up in business who v/anted yet three years 
of being at man's estate. Holmes said what he could in 
favor of the project, but my father was clear in the impro- 
priety of it, and at last gave a flat denial to it. Then he 
wrote a civil letter to Sir Williamj thanking him for th^ 



32 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

patronage he had so kindly offered me, but declining to 
assist me as yet in setting up, I being, in his opinion, too 
young to be trusted with the management of a business so 
important, and < for which the preparation must 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, leaving his books, which were a pretty 
collection of mathematicks and natural philosophy, to come 
with mine and me to New York, where he prcpos'd to wait 
for me. 

My father, tho' he did not approve Sir William's proposi- 
tion, was yet pleas'd that I had been able to obtain so 
advantageous a character from a person of such note where 
I had resided, and that I had been so industrious and careful 
as to equip myself so handsom.ely in so short a time; there- 
fore, seeing no prospect of an accommodation between my 
brother and me, he gave his consent to my returning again 
to Philadelphia, advis'd me to behave respectfully to the 
people there, endeavor to obtain the general esteem, and 
avoid lampooning and libeling, to which he thought I had 
too much inclination; telling me, that by steady industry 
and a prudent parsimony I might save enough by the time 
I v/as one-and-twenty to set me up ; and that, if I came near 
the matter, he would help me out with the rest. This was 
all I could obtain, except some small gifts as tokens of his 
and 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 m.arried and settled there 
some years. He received me very affectionately, for he 
always lov'd me. A friend of his, one Vernon, having some 
money due to him in Pensilvania, about thirty-five pounds 
currency, desired I would receive it for him, and keep it 
till I had his directions what to remit it in. Accordingly, he 
gave me an order. This afterwards occasion'd me a good 
deal of uneasiness. 

At Newport we took in a number of passengers for New 

HC3— Vol 1 ^ 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 33 

York, among which were two young women, companions, 
and a grave, sensible, matron-like Quaker woman, with her 
attendants. I had shown an obliging readiness to do her 
some little services, which impress'd her I suppose with a 
degree of good w^ll toward me; therefore, when she saw a 
daily growing familiarity between me and the two young 
women, which they appear'd to encourage, she took me aside, 
and said : " Young man, I am concern'd for thee, as thou 
has no friend with thee, and seems not to know much of 
the world, or of the snares youth is expos'd to ; depend upon 
it, those are very bad women; I can see it in all their 
actions; and if thee art not upon thy guard, they will draw 
thee into some danger; they are strangers to thee, and I 
advise thee, in a friendly concern for thy welfare, to have 
no acquaintance with them." As I seem'd at first not to 
think so ill of them as she did, she mentioned som.e things 
she had observ'd and heard that had escap'd my notice, but 
now convinc'd me she was right. I thank'd her for her 
kind advice, and promis'd to follow it. When we arriv'd at 
New York, they told me vv^here they liv'd, and invited me 
to come and see them; but I avoided it, and it was v/ell I 
did; for the next day the captain miss'd a silver spoon and 
some other things, that had been taken out of his cabbin, 
and, knowing that these were a couple of strumpets, he got 
a warrant to search their lodgings, found the stolen goods, 
and had the thieves punish'd. So, tho' we had escap'd a 
sunken rock, which we scrap'd upon in the passage, I 
thought this escape of rather more im-portance to me. 

At New York I found my friend Collins, who had arriv'd 
there' some time before me. We had been intimate from 
children, and had read the same books together ; but he had 
the advantage of more time for reading and studying, and a 
wonderful genius for mathematical learning, in which he 
far outstript me. While I liv'd in Boston most of my hours 
of leisure for conversation were spent with him, and he 
continu'd a sober as well as an industrious lad; was much 
respected for his learning by several of the clergy and other 
gentlemen, and seemed to promise m.aking a good figure in 
life. But, during my absence, he had acquir'd a habit of 
sotting with brandy; and I found by his own account, and 

^ HC-— Vol. 1 



34 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

what I heard from others, that he had been "drunk every- 
day since his arrival at Nev/ York, and behav'd very oddly. 
He had gam'd, too, and lost his money, so that I was oblig'd 
to discharge his lodgings, and defray his expenses to and at 
Philadelphia, which prov'd extremely inconvenient to me. 

The then governor of New York, Burnet (son of Bishop 
Burnet), hearing from the captain that a young man, one of 
his passengers, had a great many books, desir'd he would 
bring me to see him. I waited upon him accordingly, and 
should have taken Collins with me but that he was not sober. 
The gov'r. treated me with great civility, show'd me his 
library, which was a very large one, and we had a good 
deal of conversation about books and authors. This was the 
second governor who had done me the honor to take notice 
of me; which, to a poor boy like me, was very pleasing. 

We proceeded to Philadelphia. I received on the way 
Vernon's money, without which we could hardly have 
finish'd our journey. Collins wished to be employ'd in some 
counting-house; but, whether they discover'd his dramming 
by his breath, or by his behaviour, tho' he had some recom- 
mendations, he met with no success in any application, and 
contlnu'd lodging and boarding at the same house with me, 
and at my expense, ICnowing I had that money of Vernon's, 
he was continually borrowing of me, still promising repay- 
ment as soon as he should be in business. At length he had 
got so much of it that I was distress'd to think what I should 
do in case of being call'd on to remit it. 

His drinking continued, about which we sometimes quar« 
rell'd; for, when a little intoxicated, he was very fractious. 
Once, in a boat on the Delaware with some other young 
men, he refused to row in his turn. " I will be row'd home," 
says he. " We will not row you," says I. *■ You must, or 
stay all night on the water," says he, "just as you please." 
The others said, "Let us row; what signifies it?" But, my 
mind being soured with his other conduct, I continu'd to 
refuse. So he swore he would make me row, or throw me 
overboard; and coming along, stepping on the thwarts, 
toward me, when he came up and struck at me, I clapped 
my hand under his crutch, and, rising, pitched him head- 
foremost into the river. I knew he was a good swimmer, 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 35 

and so was under little concern about him; but before he 
could get round to lay hold of the boat, we had with a few 
strokes puU'd her out of his reach; and ever when he drew 
near the boat, we ask'd if he would row, striking a few 
strokes to slide her away from him. He was ready to die 
with vexation, and obstinately would not promise to row. 
However, seeing him at last beginning to tire, we lifted him 
in and brought him home dripping wet in the evening. We 
hardly exchanged a civil word afterwards^ and a West India 
captain, who had a commission to procure a tutor for the 
sons of a gentleman at Barbadoes, happening to meet with 
him, agreed to carry him thither. He left me then, promising 
to remit me the first money he should receive in order to 
discharge the debt ; but I never heard of him after. 

The breaking into this money of Vernon's was one of the 
first great errata of my life ; and this affair show'd that my 
father was not much out in his judgment when he suppos'd 
m.e too young to manage business of importance. But Sir 
William, on reading his letter, said he was too prudent. 
There was great difference in persons; and discretion did 
not always accompany years, nor was youth always ;\vithout 
it. '' And since he will not set you up," says he, " I will 
do it myself. Give me an inventory of the things neces- 
sary to be had from England, and I will send for them. 
You shall repay me when you are able; I am resolv'd to 
have a good printer here, and I am sure you must succeed." 
This was spoken with such an appearance of cordiality, that 
I had not the least doubt of his meaning what he said, I 
had hitherto kept the proposition of my setting up, a secret 
in Philadelphia, and I still kept it. Had it been known that 
I depended on the governor, probably some friend, that knew 
him better, would have advis'd me not to rely on him, as I 
afterwards heard it as his known character to be liberal of 
promises which he never meant to keep. Yet, unsolicited as 
he was by me, how could I think his generous offers insin- 
cere? I believ'd him one of the best m.en in the world. 

I presented him an inventory of a little print'g-house, 
amounting by my computation to about one hundred pounds 
sterling. He lik'd it, but ask'd me if my being on the spot 
in England to chuse the types, and see that every thing was 



36 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

good of the kind, might not be of some advantage. " Then," 
says he, " when there, you may make acquaintances, and 
establish correspondences in the bookselling and stationery 
way." I agreed that this might be advantageous. " Then," 
says he, " get yourself ready to go with Annis ;" which was 
the annual ship, and the only one at that time usually pass- 
ing between London and Philadelphia. But it would be 
some months before Annis sail'd, so I continu'd working 
with Keimer, fretting about the money Collins had got from 
me, and in daily apprehensions of being call'd upon by Ver- 
non, which, however, did not happen for some years after. 

I believe I have omitted mentioning that, in my first 
voyage from Boston, being becalm'd off Block Island, our 
people set about catching cod, and hauled up a great many. 
Hitherto I had stuck to my resolution of not eating animal 
food, and on this occasion consider'd, with my master 
Tryon, the taking every fish as a kind of tmprovoked mur- 
der, since none of them had, or ever could do us any injury 
that might justify the slaughter. All this seemed very rea- 
sonable. But I had formerly been a great lover of fish, and, 
when this came hot out of the frying-pan, it smelt admirably 
well. I balanc'd some time between principle and inclina- 
tion, till I recollected that, when the fish were opened, I saw 
smaller fish taken out of their stomachs; then thought I, 
" If you eat one another, I don't see why we mayn't eat you." 
So I din'd upon cod very heartily, and continued to eat with 
other people, returning only now and then occasionally to a 
vegetable diet. So convenient a thing it is to be a reason-; 
able creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason 
for everything one has a mind to do. 

Keimer and I liv'd on a pretty good familiar footing, an(j 
agreed tolerably well, for he suspected nothing of my setting 
up. He retained a great deal of his old enthusiasms and 
lov'd argumentation. We therefore had many disputations. 
I used to work him so with my Socratic method, and had 
trepann'd him so often by questions apparently so distant 
from any point we had in hand, and yet by degrees lead 
to the point, and brought him into difficulties and contra- 
dictions, that at last he grew ridiculously cautious, and 
would hardly answer me the most common question, without 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 37 

asking first, ^ What do you intend to infer from that?" 
However, 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 to confound all 
opponents. When he came to explain with me upon the 
doctrines, I found several conundrums which I objected to, 
unless I might have my way a little too, and introduce some 
of mine. 

Keimer wore his beard at full length, because somewhere 
in the Mosaic law it is said, " Thou shdlt not mar the corners 
of thy heard." He likewise kept the Seventh day, Sabbath; 
and these two points were essentials with him. I dislik'd 
both ; but agreed to admit them upon condition of his adopt- 
ing the doctrine of using no animal food. " I doubt," said 
he, " my constitution will not bear that." I assur'd him it 
would, and that he would be the better for it. He was 
usually a great glutton, and I promised myself some diversion 
in half starving him. He agreed to try the practice, if I 
would keep him company. I did so, and we held it for 
three months. We had our victuals dress'd, and brought 
to us regularly by a woman in the neighborhood, who had 
from me a list of forty dishes to be prepar'd for us at dif- 
ferent times, in all which there was neither fish, flesh, nor 
fowl, and the whim suited me the better at this time from 
the cheapness of it, not costing us above eighteenpence 
sterling each per week. I have since kept several Lents 
most strictly, 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 tempta- 
tion, and ate the whole before we came. 

I had made some courtship during this time to Miss Read. 
I had a great respect and affection for her, and had some 
reason to believe she had the same for me ; but, as I was 
about to take a long voyage, and we were both very young. 



38 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

only a little above eighteen, it was thought most prudent 
by her mother to prevent our going too far at present, as 
a marriage, if it was to take place, Vv^ould be more con- 
venient after my return, when I should be, as I expected, 
set up in my business. Perhaps, too, she thought my ex- 
pectations not so well founded as I imagined them to be. 

My chief acquaintances at this time were Charles Osborne, 
Joseph Watson, and James Ralph, all lovers of reading. 
The two first were clerks to an eminent scrivener or con- 
veyancer in the town, Charles Brogden; the other was 
clerk to a merchant. Watson was a pious, sensible young 
man, of great integrity; the others rather more lax in their 
principles of religion, particularly Ralph, who, as well as 
Collins, had been imsettled by me, for which they both made 
me suffer. Osborne was sensible, candid, frank; sincere 
and affectionate to his friends; but, in literary matters, 
too fond of criticising. Ralph was ingenious, genteel in 
his manners, and extremely eloquent; I think I never knew 
a prettier talker. Both of them great admirers of poetry, 
and began to try their hands in little pieces. Many pleasant 
walks we four had together on Sundays into the woods, near 
Schuylkill, where we read to one another, and conferr'd on 
what we read. 

Ralph was inclin'd to pursue the study of poetry, not 
doubting but he might become eminent in it, and make his 
fortune by it, alleging that the best poets must, when they 
first began to write, make as many faults as he did. Osborne 
dissuaded him, assur'd him he had no genius for poetry, and 
advis'd him to think of nothing beyond the business he 
was bred to; that, in the mercantile way, tho' he had no 
stock, he might, by his diligence and punctuality, recom- 
mend himself to employment as a factor, and in time 
acquire wherewith to trade on his ov/n account. I approved 
the amusing one's self with poetry now and then, so far 
as to improve one's language, but no farther. 

On this it was propos'd that we should each of us, at 
our next meeting, produce a piece of our own composing, 
in order to improve by our mutual observations, criticisms, 
and corrections. As language and expression were what 
we had in view, we excluded all considerations of invention 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 39 

by agreeing that the task should be a version of the eigh- 
teenth Psalm, which describes the descent of a Deity. 
When the time of our meeting drew nigh, Ralph called 
on me first, and let me know his piece was ready. I told 
him I had been busy, and, having little inclination, had 
done nothing. He then show'd me his piece for my opinion, 
and I much approv'd it, as it appear'd to me to have great 
merit. " Now," sa37s he, " Osborne never will allow the 
least merit in any thing of mine, but makes looo criticisms 
out of mere envy. He is not so jealous of you; I wish, 
therefore, you would take this piece, and produce it as yours ; 
I will pretend not to have had time, and so produce nothing. 
We shall then see what he will say to it." It was agreed, 
and I immediately transcrib'd it, that it might appear in 
my own hand. 

We met; Watson's performance was read; there were 
some beauties in it, but many defects. Osborne's was read; 
it was much better; Ralph did it justice; remarked some 
faults, but applauded the beauties. He himself had nothing 
to produce. I was backward; seemed desirous of being 
excused ; had not had sufficient time to correct, etc. ; but 
no excuse could be admitted; produce I must. It was read 
and repeated; Watson and Osborne gave up the contest, 
and join'd in applauding it. Ralph only made some criti- 
cisms, and propos'd some amendments; but I defended my 
text. Osborne was against Ralph, and told him he was no 
better a critic than poet, so he dropt the argument. As they 
two went home together, Osborne expressed himself still 
more strongly in favor of what he thought my production; 
having restrain'd himself before, as he said, lest I should 
think it flattery. " But who would have imiagin'd," said he, 
" that Franklin had been capable of such a performance ; 
such painting, such force, such fire ! He has even improv'd 
the original. In his common conversation he seems to 
have no choice of words; he hesitates and blunders; and 
yet, good God ! how he writes ! " When we next met, 
Ralph discovered the trick we had plaid him, and Osborne 
was a little laught at. 

This transaction fixed Ralph in his resolution of becoming 
a poet. I did all I could to dissuade him from it, but he 



40 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

continued scribbling verses till Pope cured him. He became, 
however, a pretty good prose writer. More of him here- 
after. But, as I may not have occasion again to mention 
the other two, I shall just remark here, that Watson died 
in my arms a few years after, much lamented, being 
the best of our set. Osborne went to the West Indies, 
where he became an eminent lawyer and made money, 
but died young. He and I had made a serious agree- 
ment, that the one who happen'd first to die should, if 
possible, make a friendly visit to the other, and acquaint 
him how he found things in that separate state. But he 
never fulfill'd his promise. 

The governor, seeming to like my company, had m.e fre- 
quently to his house, and his setting mie up was always 
mention'd as a fixed thing. I was to take with me letters 
recommendatory to a number of his friends, besides the 
letter of credit to furnish me with the necessary money for 
purchasing the press and types, paper, etc. For these letters 
I was appointed to call at different times, when they were 
to be ready, but a future time was still named. Thus 
he went on till the ship, whose departure too had been 
several times postponed, was on the point of sailing. Then, 
when I caird to take my leave and receive the letters, his 
secretary. Dr. Bard, came out to me and said the governor 
was extremely busy in writing, but would be down at New- 
castle before the ship, and there the letters would be de- 
livered to me. 

Ralph, though married, and having one child, had de- 
termined to accompany me in this voyage. It was thought 
he intended to establish a correspondence, and obtain goods 
to sell on commission; but I found afterwards, that, thro' 
some discontent with his wife's relations, he purposed to 
leave her on their hands, and never return again. Having 
taken leave of my friends, and interchang'd some promises 
with Miss Read, I left Philadelphia in the. ship, which 
anchor'd at Newcastle. The governor was there; but when 
I went to his lodging, the secretary came to me from him 
with the civillest message in the world, that he could not 
then see me, being engaged in business of the utmost im- 
portance, but should send the letters to me on board, wish'd 



HIS AUTOBIOGHAPHY 41 

me heartily a good voyage and a speedy return, etc. I 
returned on board a little puzzled, but still not doubting. 

Mr. Andrew Hamilton, a famous lawyer of Philadelphia, 
had taken passage in the same ship for himself and son, 
and with Mr. Denham, a Quaker merchant, and Messrs. 
Onion and Russel, masters of an iron work in Maryland, 
had engag'd the great cabin ; so that Ralph and I were forced 
to take up with a berth in the steerage, and none on board 
knowing us^ were considered as ordinary persons. But Mr. 
Hamilton and his son (it was James, since governor) 
return'd from Newcastle to Philadelphia, the father being 
recall'd by a great fee to plead for a seized ship; and, just 
before we saiFd, Colonel French coming on board, and 
showing me great respect, I was more taken notice of, and, 
with my friend Ralph, invited by the other gentlemen to 
come into the cabin, there being now room. Accordingly, 
we remov'd thither. 

Understanding that Colonel French had brought on board 
the governor's despatches, I ask'd the captain for those 
letters that were to be under my care. He said all were 
put into the bag together and he could not then come at 
them; but, before we landed in England, I should have an 
opportunity of picking them out ; so I was satisfied for the 
present, and we proceeded on our voyage. We had a 
sociable company in the cabin, and lived uncommonly well, 
having the addition of all Mr. Hamilton's stores, who had 
laid in plentifully. In this passage Mr. Denham contracted 
a friendship for me that continued during his life. The 
voyage was otherwise not a pleasant one, as we had a great 
deal of bad weather. 

When we came into the Channel, the captain kept his 
word with me, and gave me an opportunity of examining 
the bag for the governor's letters. I found none upon which 
my name was put as under my care. I picked out six or 
seven, that, by the handwriting, I thought might be the 
promised 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 



42 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

person/' says he ; but, opening 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 sincerity. I found my friend Denham, and 
opened the whole affair to him. He let me into Keith's 
character; told me there was not the least probability that 
he had written any letters for me; that no one, who knew 
him, had the smallest dependence on him; and he laught at 
the notion of the governor's giving me a letter of credit, 
having, as he said, no credit to give. On my expressing 
some concern about what I should do, he advised me to 
endeavor' getting some employment in the way of my busi- 
ness. " Among the printers here," said he, " you will improve 
yourself, and when you return to America, you will set up 
to greater advantage." 

We both of us happen'd to know, as well as the stationer, 
that Riddlesden, the attorney, was a very knave. He had 
half ruin'd Miss Read's father by persuading him to be 
bound for him. By this letter it appear'd there was a secret 
scheme on foot to the prejudice of Hamilton (suppos'd to 
be then coming over with us)t; and that Keith was con- 
cerned in it with Riddlesden. Denham, who was a friend 
of Hamilton's thought he ought to be acquainted with it; 
so, when he arriv'd in England, which was soon after, 
partly from resentment and ill-will to Keith and Riddlesden, 
and partly from good-will to him, I waited on him, and 
gave him the letter. He thank'd me cordially, the infor- 
mation being of importance to him; and from that time he 
became my friend, greatly to my advantage afterwards on 
many occasions. 

But what shall we think of a governor's playing such 
pitiful tricks, and imposing so grossly on a poor ignorant 
boy ! It was 3. habit he had acquired. He wish'd to please 
everybody; and, having little to give, he gave expectations. 
He was otherwise an ingenious, sensible man, a pretty good 
writer, and a good governor for the people, tho' not for his 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 43 

constituents, the proprietaries, whose instructions he some- 
times disregarded. Several of our best laws were of his 
planning and passed during his administration. 

Ralph and I were inseparable com.panions. "We took lodg- 
ings together in Little Britain at three shillings and six- 
pence a week — as much as we could then afford. He found 
some relations, but they were poor, and unable to assist him. 
He now let me know his intentions of remaining in London, 
and that he never meant to return to Philadelphia. He 
had brought no money with him, the whole he could muster 
having been expended in paying his passage. I had fifteen 
pistoles ; so he borrowed occasionally of me to subsist, while 
he was looking out for business. He first endeavored to get 
into the playhouse, believing himself qualify'd for an actor ; 
but Wilkes, to v/hom he apply'd, advis'd him candidly not 
to think of that employment, as it was impossible he should 
succeed in it. Then he propos'd to Roberts, a publisher in 
Paternoster Row, to write for him a weekly paper like the 
Spectator, on certain conditions, which Roberts did not 
approve. Then he endeavored to get employment as a 
hackney writer, to copy for the stationers and lawyers about 
the Temple, but could find no vacancy. 

I immediately got into work at Palmer's, then a famous 
printing-house in Bartholomew Close, and here I continu'd 
near a year. I w^as pretty diligent, but spent with Ralph a 
good deal of my earnings in going to plays and other places 
of amusemicnt. We had together consum_ed all my pistoles, 
and now just rubbed on from hand to mouth. He seem'd 
quite to forget his wife and child, and I, by degrees, my 
engagements with Miss Read, to whom I never wrote more 
than one letter, and that was to let her know I was not 
likely soon to return. This y^sls another of the great errata 
of my life, which I should wish to correct if I were to live 
it over again. In fact, by our expenses, I was constantly 
kept unable to pay my passage. 

At Palmer's I was employed in composing for the second 
edition of Wollaston's '' Religion of Nature." Some of his 
reasonings not appearing to me well founded, I wrote a 
little metaphysical piece in which I made remarks on them. 
It was entitled "A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, 



44 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

Pleasure and Pain." I inscribed it to my friend Ralph; I 
printed a small number. It occasion'd my being more con- 
sidered by Mr. Palmer as a young man of some ingenuity, 
tho' he seriously expostulated with me upon the principles 
of my pamphlet, which to him appear'd abominable. My 
printing this pamphlet was another erratum. While I 
lodg'd in Little Britain, I made an acquaintance with one 
Wilcox, a bookseller, whose shop was at the next door. 
He had an immense collection of second-hand books. Cir- 
culating libraries were not then in use; but we agreed that, 
on certain reasonable terms, which I have now forgotten, 
I might take, read, and return any of his books. This I 
esteem'd a great advantage, and I miade as much use of it 
as I could. 

My pamphlet by some means falling into the hands of 
one Lyons, a surgeon, author of a book entitled " The In- 
fallibility of Human Judgment," it occasioned an acquaint- 
ance between us. He took great notice of me, called on me 
often to converse on those subjects, carried me to the Horns, 

a pale alehouse in Lane, Cheapside, and introduced me 

to Dr. Mandeville, author of the " Fable of the Bees," v^rho 
had a club there, of which he was the soul, being a most 
facetious, entertaining companion. Lyons, too, introduced 
me to Dr. Pemberton, at Batson's Coffee-house, who promised 
to give me an opportunity, some time or other, of seeing 
Sir Isaac Newton, of which I was extreamely desirous; but 
this never happened. 

I had brought over a few curiosities, among which th^ 
principal was a purse made of the asbestos, which purifies 
by fire. Sir Hans Sloane heard of it, came to see me, and 
invited me to his house in Bloomsbury Square, where he 
show'd me all his curiosities, and persuaded me to let him 
add that to the number, for which he paid me handsomely. 

In our house there lodg'd a young woman, a milliner, who, 
I think, had a shop in the Cloisters. She had been genteelly 
bred, was sensible and lively, and of most pleasing conversa- 
tion. Ralph read plays to her in the evenings, they grew 
intimate, she took another lodging, and he followed her. 
They liv'd together some time; but, he being still out of 
business, and her income not sufficient to maintain them 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 45 

with her child, he took a resolution of going from London, 
to try for a country school, which he thought himself well 
qualified to undertake, as he wrote an excellent hand, and 
was a master of arithmetic and accounts. This, however, he 
deemed a business below him, and confident of future better 
fortune, when he should be unwilling to have it known that 
he once was so meanly employed, he changed his name, and 
did me the honor to assume mine; for I soon after had ^ 
letter from him, acquainting me that he was settled in a 
small village (in Berkshire, I think it was, where he taught 
reading and writing to ten or a dozen boys, at sixpence each 

per week), recommending Mrs. T to my care, and 

desiring me to write to him, directing for Mr. Franklin, 
schoolmaster, at such a place. 

He continued to write frequently, sending me large speci- 
mens of an epic poem which he was then composing, and 
desiring my remarks and corrections. These I gave him 
from time to time, but endeavor'd rather to discourage his 
proceeding. One of Young's Satires was then just pub- 
lished. I copy'd and sent him a great part of it, which set in 
a strong light the folly of pursuing the Muses with any hope 
of advancement by them. All was in vain; sheets of the 
poem continued to come by every post. In the mean time, 

Mrs. T , having on his account lost her friends and 

business, was often in distresses, and us'd to send for me, 
and borrow what I could spare to help her out of them. I 
grew fond of her company, and, being at that time under no 
religious restraint, and presuming upon my importance to 
her, I attempted familiarities (another erratum) which she 
repuls'd with a proper resentment, and acquainted him with 
my behaviour. This made a breach between us; and, when 
he returned again to London, he let me know he thought I 
had canceird all the obligations he had been under to me. 
So I found I was never to expect his repaying me what I 
lent to him, or advanced for him. This, however, was not 
then of much consequence, as he was totally unable; and in 
the loss of his friendship I found myself relieved from a 
burthen. I now began to think of getting a little money 
beforehand, and, expecting better work, I left Palmer's to 
work at Watts's, near Lincoln's Inn Fields, a still ^rtdXQt 



46 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

printing-house. Here I continued all the rest of my stay 
in London. 

At my first admission into this printing-house I took to 
working at press, imagining I felt a want of the bodily 
zeroise I had been us'd to in America, where presswork 
is mix'd with composing. I drank only water ; the other 
workmen, near fifty in number, were great guzzlers of beer. 
On occasion, I carried up and down stairs a large form of 
types in each hand, when others carried but one in both 
hands. They wondered to see, from this and several in- 
stances, that the Wafer-American^ as they called me, was 
stronger than themselves, who drank strong beer ! We had 
an alehouse boy who attended always in the house to supply 
the workmen. My companion at the press drank every day 
a pint before breakfast, a pint at breakfast with his bread 
and cheese, a pint between breakfast and dinner, a pint at 
dinner, a pint in the afternoon about six o'clock, and 
another when he had done his day's work. I thought it a 
detestable custom; but it was necessary, he supposed, to 
drink strong beer, that he might be strong to labor. I 
endeavored to convince him that the bodily strength afforded 
by beer could only be in proportion to the grain or flour of 
the barley dissolved in the water of which it was made; 
that there was more flour in a pennyworth of bread; and 
therefore, if he y/ould eat that with a pint of water, it would 
give him more strength than a quart of beer. He drank on, 
however, and had four or five shillings to pay out of his 
wages every Saturday night for that muddling liquor; an 
expense I was free from. And thus these poor devils keep 
themselves aKvays under. 

Watts, after some weeks, desiring to have me in the com- 
posing-room, I left the pressmen; a new bien venu or sum 
for drink, being five shillings, was demanded of me by the 
compositors. I thought it an imposition, as I had paid below ; 
the master thought so too, and forbad my paying it. I stood 
out two or three weeks, was accordingly considered as an 
excommunicate, and had so many little pieces of private 
mischief done me, by mixing my sorts, transposing my pages, 
breaking my matter, etc., etc., if I were ever so little out of 
the room, and all ascribed to the chappel ghost, which they 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 47 

said ever hattnted those not regularly admitted, that, not- 
withstanding the master's protection, I found myself oblig'd 
to comply and pay the money, convinc'd of the folly of being 
on ill terms with those one is to live with continually. 

I was now on a fair footing with them, and soon acquir'd 
considerable influence* I propos'd some reasonable altera- 
tions in their chappel^ laws, and carried them against all 
opposition. From my example, a great part of them left 
their muddling breakfast of beer, and bread, and cheese, find- 
ing they could with me be suppli'd from a neighboring house 
with a large porringer of hot water-gruel, sprinkled with 
pepper, crumbl'd with bread and a bit of butter in it, for the 
price of a pint of beer, viz., three half-pence. This was a 
more comfortable as well as cheaper breakfast, and kept 
their heads clearer. Those who continued sotting with beer 
all day, were often, by not paying, out of credit at the ale- 
house, and us'd to make interest with me to get beer; their 
lights as they phrased it, being out. I watch'd the pay-table 
on Saturday night, and collected what I stood engag'd for 
them, having to pay sometimes near thirty shillings a week 
on their account. This, and my being esteem'd a pretty 
good rig git e J that is, a jocular verbal satirist, supported my 
consequence in the society. My constant attendance (I 
never making a St. Monday) recommended me to the mas- 
ter; and my uncommon quickness at composing occasioned 
my being put upon all v/ork of dispatch, which was generally 
better paid. So I went on now very agreeably. 

My lodging in Little Britain being too remote, I found 
another in Duke-street, opposite to the Romish Chapel. It 
was two pair of stairs backwards, at an Italian warehouse. 
A widow lady kept the house; she had a daughter, and a 
maid servant, and a journeyman who attended the ware- 
house, but lodg'd abroad. After sending to inquire my 
character at the house where I last lodg'd she agreed to take 
me in at the same rate, 5s. 6d. per week; cheaper, as she 

* "A printing--house is always called a chapel by the workmeti,^ the origifi 
of which appears to have been that printing was first carried on in England 
in an ancient chapel converted into a printing-house, and the title has been 
preserved by tradition. ^ The bi-en venu among the printers answers to the 
texms entrance and footing among mechanics; thus a journeyman, on enter- 
ing a printing-house, was accustomed to pay one or more gallons of beer for 
the good of the chapel; this custom was falling into disuse thirty years ago; 
it is very properly rejected entirely in the United States." — ^W. T. F. 



48 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN - 

said, from the protection she expected in having a man lodge 
in the house. She was a widow, an elderly woman; had 
been bred a Protestant, being a clergyman's daughter, but 
was converted to the Catholic religion by her husband, whose 
memory she much revered; had lived much among people 
of distinction, and knew a thousand anecdotes of them as far 
back as the times of Charles the Second. She was lam^e in 
her knees with the gout, and, therefore, seldom stirred out 
of her room, so sometimes wanted company; and hers was 
so highly amusing to me, that I was sure to spend an evening 
with her whenever she desired it. Our supper was only half 
an anchovy each, on a very little strip of bread and butter, 
asid half a pint of ale between us ; but the entertainment was 
in her conversation. My always keeping good hours, and 
giving little trouble in the family, made her unwilling to 
part with me ; so that, when I talk'd of a lodging I had heard 
of, nearer my business, for two shillings a week, which, intent 
as I now |Was on saving money, made some difference, she 
bid me not think of it, for she would abate me two shillings 
a week for the future ; so I remained with her at one shilling 
and sixpence as long as I staid in London. 

In a garret of her house there lived a maiden lady of 
seventy, in the most retired manner, of whom my landlady 
gave me this account: that she was a Roman Catholic, had 
been sent abroad when young, and lodg'd in a nunnery with 
an intent of becoming a nun ; but, the country not agreeing 
with her, she returned to England, where, there being no 
nunnery, she had vow'd to lead the life of a nun, as near 
as might be done in those circumstances. Accordingly, she 
had given all her estate to charitable uses, reserving only 
twelve pounds a year to live on, and out of this sum she 
still gave a great deal in charity, living herself on water- 
gruel only, and using no fire but to boil it. She had lived 
many years in that garret, being permitted to remain there 
gratis by successive Catholic tenants of the house below, as 
they deemed it a blessing to have her there. A priest visited 
fief to confess her every day. " I have ask'd her," says my 
landlady, "how she, as she liv'd, could possibly find so mucH 
employment for a confessor? " " Oh," said she, "it is inrpos- 
jwble to avoid vain thoughts" I was permitted once to visit 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 49 

her. She was chearful and polite, and convers'd pleasantly. 
The room was clean, but had no other furniture than a 
matras, a table with a crucifix and book, a stool which she 
gave me to sit on, and a picture over the chimney of Saint 
Veronica displaying her handkerchief, with the miraculous 
figure of Christ's bleeding face on it, which she explained 
to me with great seriousness. She look'd pale, but was never 
sick; and I give it as another instance on how small an 
income life and health may be supported. 

At Watts's printing-house I contracted an acquaintance 
with an ingenious young man, one Wygate, who, having 
wealthy relations, had been better educated than most 
printers; was a tolerable Latinist, spoke French, and lov'd 
reading. I taught him and a friend of his to swim at twice 
going into the river, and they soon became good swimmers. 
They introduc'd me to some gentlemen from the country, 
whd went to Chelsea by water to see the College and Don 
Saltero's curiositieso In our return, at the request of the 
company, whose curiosity Wygate had excited, I stripped 
and leaped into the river, and swam from near Chelsea to 
Blackfryar's, performing on the way many feats of activity, 
both upon and under water, that surprised and pleas'd those 
to whom they were novelties. 

I had from a child been ever delighted with this exercise, 
had studied and practis'd all Thevenot's motions and posi- 
tions, added some of my own, aiming at the graceful and easy 
as well as the useful. All these I took this occasion of exhib- 
iting to the company, and was much flatter'd by their admira- 
tion; and Wygate, who was desirous of becoming a master, 
grew more and more attach'd to me on that account, as well 
as from the similarity of our studies. He at length proposed 
to me travelling all over Europe together, supporting our- 
selves everywhere by working at our business. I was once 
inclined to it; but, mentioning it to my good friend Mr. 
Denham, with whom I often spent an hour when I had 
leisure, he dissuaded me from it, advising me to think only 
of returning to Pennsilvania, which he was now about to do. 

I must record one trait of this good man's character. He 
,liad formerly been in business at Bristol, but failed in ciebl: 
to a number of people, compounded and went to Ajlierica. 



50 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN - 

There, by a close application to business as a mefclicint, he 
acquir'd a plentiful fortune in a few years. Returning to 
England in the ship with me, he invited his old creditors to 
an entertainment^ at which he thank'd them for the easy 
composition they had favored him with, and, when they 
expected nothing but the treat, every man at the first remove 
found under his plate an order on a banker for the full 
amount of the unpaid remainder with interest. 

He now told me he was about to return to Philadelphia, 
and should carry over a great quantity of goods in order to 
open a store there. He propos'd to take me over as his 
clerk, to keep his books, in which he would instruct me, copy 
his letters, and attend the store. He added that, as soon as 
I should be acquainted with mercantile business, he would 
promote me by sending me with a cargo of flour and bread, 
etc., to the West Indies, and procure me commissions from 
others which would be profitable; and, if I manag'd well, 
would establish me handsomely. The thing pleas'd m.e; for 
I was grown tired of London, remembered with pleasure the 
happy months I had spent in Pennsylvania, and wish'd again 
to see it; therefore I immediately agreed on the terms of 
fifty pounds a year, Pennsylvania money; less, indeed, than 
my present gettings as a compositor, but affording a better 
prospect. 

I now took leave of printing, as I thought, for ever, and 
was 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 
upon workmen to dispatch, etc. ; and, when all was on board, 
I had a few days' leisure. On one of these days, I was, to 
my surprise, sent for by a great man I knew only by name, 
a Sir William Wyndham, and I waited upon him. He had 
heard by some means or other of my swimming from Chelsea 
to Blackfriar's, and of my teaching Wygate and another 
young man to swim in a few hours. He had two sons, about 
to set out on their travels; he wish'd to have them first 
taught swimming, and proposed to gratify me handsomely 
if I would teach them. They were not yet come to town, 
and my stay was uncertain, so I could not undertake it ; but, 
from this incident, I thought it likely that, if I were to 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 51 

remain in England and open a swimming-schoool, I might 
get a good deal of money ; and it struck me so strongly, that, 
had the overture been sooner made me, probably I should 
not so soon have returned to America. After many years, 
you and I had something of more importance to do with one 
of these sons of Sir William Wyndham, becom.e Earl of 
Egremoat, v/hich I shall mention in its place. 

Thus I spent about eighteen months in London; most 
part of the time I work'd hard at my business, and spent but 
little upon m^yself except in seeing plays and in books. My 
friend Ralph had kept me poor ; he owed me about twenty- 
seven pounds, which I was now never likely to receive; a 
great sum out of my small earnings ! I lov'd him, notwith- 
standing, for he had many amiable qualities. I had by no 
mieans improv'd m.y fortune; but I had picked up some very 
ingenious acquaintance, whose conversation was of great 
advantage to me; and I had read considerably. 

We sail'd from Gravesend on the 23d of July, 1726. For 
the incidents of the voyage, I refer you to my Journal, where 
you will find 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 regulating my future conduct in 
life. It is the more remarkable, as being formed when I was 
so young, and yet being pretty faithfully adhered to quite 
thro' to old age. 

We landed in Philadelphia on the nth of October, where 
I found sundry alterations. Keith was no longer governor, 
being superseded by Major Gordon. I met liim walking the 
streets as a common citizen. He seem'd a little asham'd at 
seeing me, but pass'd without saying anything. I should 
have been as much asham'd at seeing Miss Read, had not 
her friends, despairing with reason of my return after the 
receipt of my letter, persuaded her to marry another, one 
Rogers, a potter, which was done in my absence. With him, 
however, she was never happy, and soon parted from him, 
refusing to cohabit with him or bear his name, it being 
now said that he had another wife. He was a worthless 
fellow, tho' an excellent workman, which was the temptation 

s The " Journal " v/as printed by Sparks, from a copy made at Eeadlag 
la 1787. But it does not contain the Plan. — Ed. 



52 BENJAMIN f RANKLIIi 

tQ her frien3s. He got into debt, ran away in 1^37 or 1728, 
went to the West Indies, and died there. Keimer had got a 
better house, a shop well supply 'd with stationery, plenty of 
new types, a number of hands, tho' none good, and seemed 
to have a great deal of business, 

Mr. Denham took a store in Water-street, where wc openM 
our goods; I attended the business diligently^ studied 
accounts, and grew, in a little time, expert at selling. We 
lodg'd and boarded together; he counsell'd me as a father, 
having a sincere regard for me. I respected and lov'd him, 
and we might have gone on together very happy ; but, in the 
beginning of February, 1726-7, when I had just pass'd my 
twenty-first year, we both were taken ill. My distemper was 
a pleurisy, which very nearly carried me off, I suffered a 
good deal, gave up the point in my own mind, and was rather 
disappointed when I found myself recovering, regretting, in 
some degree, that I must now, some time or other, have all 
that disagreeable work to do over again. I forget what his 
distemper was; it held him a long time, and at length car- 
ried him off. He left me a small legacy in a nuncupative 
will, as a token of his kindness for me, and he left me once 
more to the v/ide world; for the store was taken into the 
care of his executors, and my employment under him ended. 

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



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 53 

their business; and the expectation of these high wages, to 
come on hereafter, was what he had drawn them in with. 
Meredith was to work at press, Potts at book-binding, which 
he, by agreement, was to teach them, though he knew neither 

one nor t'other. John , a wild Irishman, brought up to 

no business, whose service, for four years, Keimer had pur- 
chased from the captain of a ship; he, too, was to be made 
a pressm.an. George Webb, an Oxford scholar, whose time 
for four years he had likewise bought, intending him for a 
compositor, of whom more presently; and David Harry, a 
Country boy, whom he had taken apprentice. 

I soon perceiv'd that the intention of engaging me at wages 
so much higher than he had been us'd to give, was, to have 
these raw, cheap hands form'd thro' me; and, as soon as I 
had instructed them, then they being all articled to him, he 
should be able to do without me. I went on, however, very 
cheerfully, put his printing-house in order, which had been 
in great confusion, and brought his hands by degrees to 
mind their business and to do it better. 

It was an odd thing to find an Oxford scholar in the 
situation of a bought servant. He was not more than 
eighteen years of age, and gave me this account of himself; 
that he was born in Gloucester, educated at a grammar- 
school there, had been distinguish'd among the scholars for 
some apparent superiority in performing his part, when they 
exhibited plays; belonged to the Witty Club there, and had 
written some pieces in prose and verse, which were printed 
in the Gloucester newspapers; thence he was sent to Oxford; 
where he continued about a year, but not well satisfi'd, wish- 
ing of all things to see London, and become a playero At 
length, receiving his quarterly allowance of fifteen guineas, 
instead of discharging his debts he walk'd out of town, hid 
his gown in a furze bush, and footed it to London, where, 
having no friend to advise him, he fell into bad company, 
soon spent his guineas, found no means of being introduc'd 
among the players, grew necessitous, pawn'd his cloaths, and 
wanted bread. Walking the street very hungry, and not 
knowing what to do with himself, a crimp's bill was put into 
his hand, offering immediate entertainment and encourage- 
ment to such as would bind themselves to serve in America. 



54 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

He went directly, sign'd the indentures, was put intt? tHe 
ship, and came over, never writing a line to acquaint his 
friends what was become of him. He was lively, witty, 
good-natur'd, and a pleasant companion, but idle, thought- 
less, and imprudent to the last degree. 

John, the Irishman, soon ran away; with the rest I began 
to live very agreeably, for they all respected me the more, 
as they found Keimer incapable of instructing them, and that 
from me they learned something daily. We never worked 
on Saturday, that being Keimer's Sabbath, so I had two 
days for reading. My acquaintance with ingenious people 
in 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 ptiiiting-house often wanted sorts, and there was no 
letter-founder in America ; I had seen types cast at James's 
in London, but without much attention to the manner; how- 
ever, I now contrived a mould, made use of the letters we 
had as puncheons, struck the matrices in lead, and thus 
supply'd in a pretty tolerable way all deficiencies. I also 
engrav'd several things on occasion ; I made the ink ; I was 
warehouseman, and everything, and, in short, quite a fac- 
totum. 

But, however serviceable I might be, I found that my 
services became every day of less im.portance, as the other 
hands improved in the business; and, when Keimer paid 
tny second quarter's wages, he let me know that he felt 
them too heavy, and thought I should make an abatement. 
He grew by degrees less civil, put on m-ore of the master, 
frequently found fault, was captious, and seem'd ready for 
an outbreaking. 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 connec- 
tions; for, a great noise happening near the court-house, 
I put my head out of the window to see what was the matter. 
Keimer, being in the street, look'd up and saw me, call'd 
out to me in a loud voice and angry tone to mind my 
business, adding some reproachful words, that nettled me the 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 55 

more for tKeir publicity, all the neighbors who were looking 
out on the same occasion being witnesses how I was treated. 
He came up imimediately into the printing-house, continu'd 
the quarrel, high words pass'd on both sides, he gave me 
the quarterns warning we had stipulated, expressing a wish 
that he had not been oblig'd to so long a warning. I told 
him his wish was unnecessary, for I would leave him that 
instant; and so, taking my hat, walk'd out of doors, desir- 
ing Meredith, whom I saw below, to take care of some 
things I left, and bring them to my lodgings. 

Meredith came accordingly in the evening, when we talked 
my affair over. He had conceiv'd a great regard for me, 
and was very unwilling that I should leave the house while 
he remain'd in it. He dissuaded me from returning to my 
native country, which I began to think of; he reminded me 
that Keimer was in debt for all he possessed; that his 
creditors began to be uneasy ; that he kept his shop mxiserably, 
sold often without profit for ready money, and often trusted 
without keeping accounts ; that he must therefore fail, which 
would make a vacancy I might profit of. I objected my want 
of money. He then let me know that his father had a high 
opinion of me, and, from some discourse that had pass'd 
between them, he was sure would advance money to set us 
up, if I would enter into partnership with him. " My time,** 
says he, " will be out with Keimer in the spring ; by that 
time we may have our press and types in from London. I 
am sensible I am no workman; if you like it, your skill In 
the business shall be set against the stock I furnish, and 
we will share the profits equally." 

The proposal was agreeable, and I consented; his father 
was in town and approv'd of it; the more as he saw I had 
great influence with his son, had prevail'd on him to abstain 
long from dram-drinking, and he hop'd m.ight break him off 
that wretched habit entirely, when we came to be so closely 
connected. I gave an inventory to the father, who carry'd 
it to a merchant; the things were sent for, the secret v/as 
to be kept till they should arrive, and in the mean time I 
was to get work, if I could, at the other printing-house. 
But I found no vacancy there, and so remain'd idle a few 
days, when Keimer^ on a prospect of being employ'd to print 



S6 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

some paper money in New Jersey, which would require cuts 
and various types that I only could supply, and apprehending 
Bradford might engage me and get the jobb from him, 
sent me a very civil message, that old friends should not 
part for a few words, the effect of sudden passion, and 
wishing me to return, Meredith persuaded me to comply, 
as it would give more opportunity for his improvement under 
my daily instructions; so I return' d, and we went on more 
smoothly than for some time before. The New Jersey jobb 
was obtain'd, I contriv'd a copperplate press for it, the 
first that had been seen in the country; I cut several orna- 
ments and checks for the bills. We went together to Bur- 
lington, where I executed the whole to satisfaction; and he 
received so large a sum for the work as to be enabled there- 
by to keep his head much longer above water. 

At Burlington I made an acquaintance with many prin- 
cipal people of the province. Several of them had been 
appointed by the Assembly a com.mittee to attend the press, 
and take care that no more bills were printed than the law 
directed. They were therefore, by turns, constantly with 
us, and generally he who attended, brought with him a 
friend or two for company. My mind having been much 
more improv'd by reading than Keimer's, I suppose it was 
for that reason my conversation seem'd to be more valu'd. 
They had me to their houses, introduced me to their friends, 
and show'd me much civility; while he, tho' the master, 
was a little neglected. In truth, he was an odd fish ; ignorant 
of common life, fond of rudely opposing receiv'd opinions, 
slovenly to extreme dirtiness, enthusiastic in some points of 
religion, and a little knavish withal. 

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



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 57 

he, "I foresee that you will soon work this man out of 
business, and make a fortune in it at Philadelphia." He 
had not then the least intimation of my intention to set up 
there or anywhere. These friends were afterwards of great 
use to me, as I occasionally was to som.e of them. They 
all continued their regard for me as long as they lived. 

Before I enter upon my public appearance in business, it 
may be well to let you know the then state of my mind with 
regard to m.y principles and morals, that you may see how far 
those influenc'd the future events of my life. My parents 
had early given me religious impressions, and brought me 
through my childhood piously in the Dissenting way. But 
I was scarce fifteen, when, after doubting by turns of several 
points, as I found them disputed in the different books I 
read, I began to doubt of Revelation itself. Some books 
against Deism fell into my hands ; they were said to be the 
substance of sermons preached at Boyle's Lectures. It hap- 
pened that they wrought an effect on me quite contrary to 
what was intended by them ; for the arguments of the Deists, 
which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much 
stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a 
thorough Deist. My arguments perverted some others, par- 
ticularly Collins and Ralph ; but, each of them having after- 
wards wrong'd me greatly without the least compunction, 
and recollecting Keith's conduct towards me (who was 
another freethinker), and my own towards Vernon and Miss 
Read, which at times gave me great trouble, I began to 
suspect that this doctrine, tho' it might be true, was not 
very useful. My London pamphlet, which had for its motto 
these lines of Dryden: 

" Whatever is, is right. Though purblind man 
Sees but a part o' the chain, the nearest link : 
His eyes not carrying to the equal beam, 
That poises all above ; " 

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



S8 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

error had not insinuated itself unperceiv'd . into my argu- 
ment, so as to infect all that follow'd, as is common in 
metaph3^sical reasonings. 

I grew convinc'd that trutJi, sincerity and integrity in 
dealings betv/een man and man were of the utmost importance 
to the felicity of life; and I form'd written resolutions, 
which still- remain in my journal book, to practice them 
ever while I lived. Revelation had indeed no weight with 
mc, as such; but 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 prob- 
ably these actions might be forbidden because they were bad 
for us, or commanded because they were beneficial to us, 
in their own natures, all the circumstances of things con- 
sidered. And this persuasion, with the kind hand of Provi- 
dence, or some guardian angel, or accidental favorable cir- 
cumstances and situations, or all together, preserved me, 
thro' this dangerous time of youth, and the hazardous situa- 
tions I was sometimes in among strangers, remote from 
the eye and advice of my father, without any willful gross 
immorality or injustice, that might have been expected from 
my want of religion. I say willful, because the instances 
I have mentioned had something of necessity in them, from 
my youth, inexperience, and the knavery of others. I had 
therefore a tolerable character to begin the world with; 
I valued it properly, and determin'd to preserve it. 

We had not been long return'd to Philadelphia before 
the new types arriv'd from London. We settled with Keimer, 
and left him by his consent before he heard of it. We found 
a house to hire near the market, and took it. To lessen 
the rent, which vv^as then but twenty-four pounds a year, 
tho' I have since known it to let for seventy, we took in 
Thomas Godfrey, a glazier, and his family, who were to 
pay a considerable part of it to us, and we to board with 
them. We had scarce opened our letters and put our press in " 
order, before George House, an acquaintance of mine, 
brought a countryman to us, whom he had met in the street 
inquiring for a printer. All our cash was now expenckd 
in the variety of particulars we had been obliged to procure, 
and this countryman's five shillings, being our first-fruitSp 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 59 

and coming so seasonably, gave me more pleasure than any 
crown I have since earned; and the gratitude I felt toward 
House has made me often more ready than perhaps I should 
otherwise have been to assist young beginners. 

There are croakers in every country, always boding its 
ruin. Such a one then lived in Philadelphia; a person of 
note, an elderly man, with a wise look and a very grave 
manner of speaking; his name was Samuel Mickle. This 
gentleman, a stranger to me, stopt one day at my door, and 
asked me if I was the young man who had lately opened a 
new printing-house. Being answered in the affirmative, he 
said he was sorry for me, because it was an expensive 
undertaking, and the expense would be lost ; for Philadelphia 
was a sinking place, the people already half-bankrupts, or 
near being so; all appearances to the contrary, such as new 
buildings and the rise of rents, being to his certain knowledge 
fallacious; for they were, in fact, among the things that 
would soon ruin us. And he gave me such a detail of mis- 
fortunes now existing, or that were soon to exist, that he 
left me half melancholy. Had I known him before I engaged 
in this business, probably I never should have done it. 
This man continued to live in this decaying place, and to 
declaim in the same strain, refusing for many years to buy 
a house there, because all was going to destruction; and 
at last I had the pleasure of seeing him give five times as 
much for one as he might have bought it for when he first 
began his croaking. 

I should have mentioned before, that, in the autumn of 
the preceding year, I had form'd most of my ingenious 
acquaintance into a club of mutual improvement, which we 
called the Junto; we met on Friday evenings. The rules 
that I drew up required that every member, in his turn, 
should produce one or more queries on any point of Morals, 
Politics, or Natural Philosophy, to be discuss'd by the com- 
pany; and once in three months produce and read an 
essay of his own writing, on any subject he pleased. Our 
debates were to be under the direction of a president, and 
to be conducted in the sincere spirit of inquiry after truth, 
without fondness for dispute, or desire of victory; and, to 
prevent warmth, all expressions of positiveness in opinions, 



60 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

or direct contradiction, were after some time made contra- 
band, and prohibited under small pecuniary penalties. 

The first members were Joseph Breintnal, a copyer of 
deeds for the scriveners, a good-natur'd, friendly, middle- 
ag'd man^ a great lover of poetry, reading all he could meet 
with, and writing some that was tolerable; very ingenious 
in many little Nicknackeries, and of sensible conversation. 

Thomas Godfrey, a self-taught mathematician, great in 
his way, and afterward inventor of what is now called 
Hadley's Quadrant. But he knew little out of his way, and 
was not a pleasing companion; as, like most great mathe- 
maticians I have met with, he expected universal precision 
in everything said, or was for ever denying or distinguish- 
ing upon trifles, to the disturbance of all conversation. He 
soon left us. 

Nicholas Scull, a surveyor, afterwards surveyor-general, 
who lov'd books, and sometimes made a few verses. 

William Parsons, bred a shoemaker, but loving reading, 
had acquir'd a considerable share of mathematics, which 
he first studied with a view to astrology, that he afterwards 
laught at it. He also became surveyor-general. 

William Maugridge, a joiner, a most exquisite mechanic, 
and a solid, sensible m.an. 

Hugh Meredith, Stephen Potts, and George Webb I have 
characteriz'd before. 

Robert Grace, a young gentleman of some fortune, gen- 
erous, lively, and witty; a lover of punning and of his 
friends. 

And William Coleman, then a merchant's clerk, about 
my age, who had the coolest, clearest head, the best heart, 
and the exactest morals of almost any man I ever met with. 
He became afterwards a merchant of great note, and one 
of our provincial judges. Our friendship continued without 
interruption to his death, upward of forty years; and the 
club continued almost as long, and was the best school of 
philosophy, morality, and politics that then existed in the 
province; for our queries, which were read the week pre- 
ceding their discussion, put us upon reading with atten- 
tion upon the several subjects, that we might speak more 
to the purpose; and here, too, we acquired better habits of 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 61 

conversation, every thing being studied in our rules which 
might prevent our disgusting each other. From hence the 
long continuance of the club, which I shall have frequent 
occasion to speak further of hereafter. 

But my giving this account of it here is to show something 
of the interest I had, every one of these exerting themselves 
in recommending business to us. Breintnal particularly 
procur'd us from the Quakers the printing forty sheets of 
their history, the rest being to be done by Keimer ; and upon 
this we work'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 reduced 
to pi, I immediately distributed and compos'd it over again 
before I went to bed ; and this industry, visible to our neigh- 
bors, began to give us character and credit; particularly, I 
was told, that mention being made of the new printing-office 
at the merchants' Every-night club, the general opinion was 
that 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 industry 
of that Franklin," says he, " is superior to any thing I 
ever saw of the kind; I see him still at work when I go 
home from club, and he is at work again before his neigh- 
bors are out of bed." This struck the rest, and we soon 
after had offers from one of them to supply us with sta- 
tionery; but as yet we did not chuse to engage in shop 
business. 

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



62 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

George Webb, who had found a female friend that lent 
him wherewith to purchase his time of Keimer, now came 
to offer himself as a journeyman to us. We could not then 
employ him; but I foolishly let him know as a secret that 
I soon intended to begin a newspaper, and might then have 
work for him. My hopes of success, as I told him, were 
founded on this, that the then only newspaper, printed by 
Bradford, was a paltry thing, wretchedly manag'd, no way 
entertaining, and yet was profitable to him; I therefore 
thought a good paper would scarcely fail of good encourage- 
ment. I requested Webb not to mention it; but he told it 
to Keimer, who immediately, to be beforehand with me, 
published proposals for printing one himself, on which Webb 
was to be employ'd, I resented 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 bur- 
lesqu'd and ridicul'd, were disregarded. He began his paper, 
however, and, after carrying it on three quarters of a year, 
with at most only ninety subscribers, he offered it to me for 
a trifle; and 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 papers made a quite different appearance from 
any before in the province ; a better type, and better printed ; 
but som.e spirited remarks of my writing, on the dispute 
then going on between Governor Burnet and the Massa- 
chusetts Assembly, struck the principal people, occasioned 
the paper and the manager of it to be much talk'd of, and 
in a few weeks brought them all to be our subscribers. 

Their example was folLow'd by many, and our number 
went on growing continually. This was one of the first 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 63 

good effects of my having learnt a little to scribble; another 
was, that the leading men, seeing a newspaper now in the 
hands of one who could also handle a pen, thought it con- 
venient to oblige and encourage me. Bradford still printed 
the votes, and laws, and other publick business. He had 
printed an address of the House to the governor, in a coarse, 
blundering manner, we reprinted it elegantly and correctly, 
and sent one to every member. They were sensible of the 
difference: it strengthened the hands of our friends in the 
House, and they voted us their printers for the year ensuing. 

Among my friends in the House I must not forget Mr. 
Hamilton, before mentioned, who was then returned from 
England, and had a seat in it. He interested himself for 
me strongly in that instance, as he did in many others after- 
ward, continuing his patronage till his death.® 

Mr. Vernon, about this time, put me in mind of the debt 
I ow'd him, but did not press me. I wrote him an ingenuous 
letter of acknowledgment, crav'd his forbearance a little 
longer, which he allow'd me, and as soon as I was able, I 
paid the principal with interest, and many thanks; so that 
erratum was in some degree corrected. 

But now another difficulty came upon me which I had 
never the least reason to expect. Mr. Meredith's father, 
who was to have paid for our printing-house, according to 
the expectations given me, was able to advance only one 
hundred pounds currency, which had been paid; and a 
hundred more was due to the merchant, who grew impatient, 
and su'd us all. We gave bail, but saw that, if the money 
could not be rais'd in time, the suit must soon come to a 
judgment and execution, and our hopeful prospects must, 
with us, be ruined, as the press and letters must be sold for 
payment, perhaps at half price. 

In this distress two true friends, whose kindness I have 
never forgotten, nor ever shall forget while I can remember 
any thing, came to me separately, unknown to each other, 
and, without any application from me, offering each of them 
to advance me all the money that should be necessary to 
enable me to take the whole business upon myself, if that 
should be practicable; but they did not like my continuing 
•I got his son once £500.— [Mar^. note.J 



64 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

the partnership with Meredith, who, as they said, was often 
seen drunk in the streets^ and playing at low games in 
alehouses, much to our discredit. These two friends were 
William Coleman and Robert Grace. I told them I could 
not propose a separation while any prospect remain'd of the 
Merediths' fulfilling their part of our agreement, because 
I thought myself under great obligations to them for what 
they had done, and would do if they could; but, if they 
finally fail'd in their performance, and our partnership must 
be dissolv'd, I should then think myself at liberty to accept 
the assistance of my friends. 

Thus the matter rested for some time, when I said to my 
partner, " Perhaps your father is dissatisfied at the part you 
have undertaken in this affair of ours, and is unwilling to 
advance for you and me what he would for you alone. If 
that is the case, tell me, and I will resign the whole to ycu, 
and go about my business." " No," said he, " my father has 
really been disappointed, and is really unable; and I am 
unwilling to distress him farther. I see this is a business 
I am not fit for. I was bred a farmer, and it was a folly 
in me to come to town, and put myself, at thirty years of 
age, an apprentice to learn a new trade. Many of our 
Welsh people are going to settle in North Carolina, where 
land is cheap. I am inclin'd to go with them, and follow 
my old emiployment. You may find friends to assist you. 
If you will take the debts of the company upon you ; return 
to my father the hundred pound he has advanced; pay my 
little personal debts, and give me 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 immediately. I gave him what 
he demanded, and he went soon after to Carolina, from 
whence he sent me next year two long letters, containing the 
best account that had been given of that country, the climate, 
the soil, husbandry, etc., for in those matters he was very 
judicious. I printed them in the papers, and they gave great 
satisfaction to the publick. 

As soon 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, 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 65 

and half o£ the other; paid off the company's debts, and went 
on with the business in my own name, advertising that the 
partnership was dissolved, I think this was in or about the 
year 1729. 

About this time there was a cry among the people for 
more paper money, only fifteen thousand pounds being extant 
in the province, and that soon to be sunk. The wealthy 
inhabitants oppos'd any addition, being against all paper 
currency, from an apprehension that it would depreciate, 
as it had done in New England, to the prejudice of all 
creditors. We had discuss'd this point in our Junto, where 
I was on the side of an addition, being persuaded that the 
first small sum struck in 1723 had done much good by 
increasing the trade, employment, and number of inhabitants 
in the province, since I now saw all the old houses inhabited, 
and many new ones building: whereas I remembered well, 
that when I first walk'd about the streets of Philadelphia, 
eating my roll, I saw most of the houses in Walnut-street, 
between Second and Front streets, with bills on their doors, 
" To be let " ; and many likewise in Chestnut-street and 
other streets, which m.ade me then think the inhabitants of 
the city were deserting it one after another. 

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

The utility of this currency became by time and experience 
so evident as never afterwards to be much disputed; so 
that it grew soon to fifty-five thousand pounds, and in 1739 
to eighty thousand pounds, since which it arose during war 
to upwards of three hundred and fifty thousand pounds 

3 HC— Vol. 1 



S6 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN' 

trade, building, and inhabitants all the while increasing, tho* 
I now think there are limits beyond which . the quantity may 
be hurtful. 

I soon after obtain'd, thro' my friend Hamilton, the print- 
ing of the Newcastle paper money, another profitable jobb 
as I then thought it; small things appearing great to those 
in small circumstances; and these, to me, were really great 
advantages, as they were great encouragements^ He pro- 
cured for me, also, the printing of the laws and votes of 
that government, which continu'd in my hands as long as 
I followed the business, 

I now open'd a little stationer's shop, I had in it blanks 
of all sorts, the correctest that ever appeard among us, 
being assisted in that by my friend BreintnaL I had also 
paper, parchment, chapmen's books, etc. One Whitemash, 
a compositor I had known in London, an excellent workman, 
now came to me^ and work'd with me constantly and dili- 
gently; and I took an apprentice, the son of Aquila Rose. 

I began now gradually to pay off the debt I was under 
for the printing-house. In order to secure my credit and 
character as a tradesman, I took care not only to be in 
reality industrious and frugal, but to avoid all appearances 
to the contrary. I drest plainly; I was seen at no places 
of idle diversion. I never v/ent out a fishing or shooting; a 
book, indeed, sometimes debauch'd m^e from my work, but 
that was seldom, snug, and gave no scandal ; and, to show 
that I was not above my business, I sometimes brought home 
the paper I purchased at the stores thro' the streets on a 
wheelbarrow. Thus being esteem'd an industrious, thriving 
young man, and paying duly for what I bought, the mer- 
chants who imported stationery solicited my custom; others 
proposed supplying me with books, and I went on swim- 
mingly. In the mean time, Keimer's credit and business 
declining daily, he was at last forc'd to sell his printing- 
house to satisfy his creditors. He went to Barbadoes, and 
there lived some years in very poor circumstances. 

His apprentice, David Harry, whom I had instructed 
while I work'd with him, set up in his place at Philadelphia, 
having bought his materials. I was at first apprehensive 
o£ a powerful rival in Harry, as his friends were very able^ 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 67 

and had a good deal of interesto I therefore propos'd a 
partnership to him, which he, fortunately for me, rejected 
with scorn. He was very proudj dress'd like a gentleBian, liv'd 
expensively, took much divermon and pleasure abroa^d, ran 
in debt, and neglected his business ; upon which, all bus.iriess 
left him; and, finding nothing to do, he followed Keimer to 
Barbadoes, taking the printing-house with him. There this 
apprentice employ'd his former master as a journeyman; 
they quarrel'd often; Harry went continually behindhand^ 
and at length was forc'd to sell his types and return to his 
country work in Pensilvania. The person that bought them 
employ'd Keimer to use them, but in a few years he died. 

There remained now no competitor with me at Phila- 
delphia but the old one, Bradford; who was rich and easy, 
did a little printing now and then by straggling hands, but 
was not very anxious about the business. However, as he 
kept the post-office, it was imagined he had better oppor- 
tunities of obtaining news; his paper was thought a better 
distributer of advertisements than mine, and therefore had 
many more, which was a profitable thing to him, and a 
disadvantage to me; for, tho' I did indeed receive and send 
papers by the post, yet the publick opinion was otherwise, 
for what I did send was by bribing the riders, who took 
them privately, Bradford being unkind enough to forbid it, 
which occasion'd some resentment on my part ; and I thought 
so meanly of him for it, that, when I afterward came into 
his situation, I took care never to imitate it. 

I had hitherto continued to board with Godfrey, who lived 
in part of my house with his wife and children, and had 
one side of the shop for his glazier's business, tho' he worked 
littlCy being always absorbed in his mathematics. Mrs. 
Godfrey projected a match for me with a relation's daughter, 
took opportunities of bringing us often together, till S serious 
courtship on my part ensu'd, the girl being in hergdf very 
deservingo The old folks encourag'd me by continual invi- 
tations to supper, and by leaving us together, till at length 
it was time to explain. Mrs. Godfrey manag'd our little 
treaty. I let her know that I expected as m-uch money with 
their daughter as would pay off my remaining debt for the 
printing-house, which I believe was not then above a 



68 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

hundred pounds. She brought me word they had no sucH 
sum to spare; I 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 inquiry of 
Bradford, they had been inform'd the printing business was 
not a profitable one; the types would soon be worn out, 
and more wanted; that S. Keimer and D. Harry had failed 
one after the other, and I should probably soon follow them; 
and, therefore, I was forbidden the house, and the daughter 
shut up. 

Whether this was a real change of sentiment or only 
artifice, on a supposition of our being too far engaged in 
affection to retract, and therefore that we should steal a 
marriage, which would leave them at liberty to give or 
withhold what they pleas'd, I know not; but I suspected 
the latter, resented it, and went no more. Mrs. Godfrey 
brought me afterward some more favorable accounts of 
their disposition, and would have drawn me on again; but 
I declared absolutely my resolution to have nothing more 
to do with that family. This was resented by the Godfreys ; 
we differed, and they removed, leaving me the whole house, 
and I resolved to take no more inmates. 

But this affair having turned my thoughts to marriage, 
I look'd round me and m.ade overtures of acquaintance in 
other places; but soon found that, the business of a printer 
being generally thought a poor one, I was not to expect 
money with a wife, unless with such a one as I should not 
otherwise think agreeable. In the mean time, that hard-to- 
be-governed passion of youth hurried me frequently into 
intrigues with low women that fell in my way, which were 
attended with some expense and great inconvenience, be- 
sides a continual risque to my health by a distemper which 
of all things I dreaded, though by great good luck I escaped 
it» A friendly correspondence as neighbors and old ac- 
quaintances had continued between me and Mrs, Read's 
family, who all had a regard for me from the time of my 
first lodging in their house. I was often invited there and 
consulted in their affairs, wherein I sometimes was of serv- 
ice. I piti'd poor Miss Read's unfortunate situation, who 
was generally dejected, seldom cheerful, and avoided com- 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 69 

pany. I considered my giddiness and inconstancy when in 
London as in a great degree the cause of her unhappiness, 
tho' the mother was good enough to think the fault m.ore 
her own than mine, as she had prevented our marrying 
before I went thither, and persuaded the other match in my 
absence. Our mutual affection was revived, but there were 
now great objections to our union. The match was indeed 
looked upon as invalid, a preceding wife being said to be 
living in England; but this could not easily be prov'd, 
because of the distance; and, tho' there was a report of 
his death, it was not certain. Then, tho' it should be true, 
he had left many debts, vv'hich his successor might be call'd 
upon to pay. We ventured, however, over all these diffi- 
culties, and I took her to wife, September ist, 1730, None 
of the inconveniences happened that we had apprehended; 
she proved a good and faithful helpmate, assisted me much 
by attending the shop; we throve together, and have ever 
mutually endeavored to make each other happy. Thus I 
corrected that great erratum as well as I could. 

About this time, our club meeting, not at a tavern, but 
in a little room of Mr, Grace's, set apart for that purpose, 
a proposition was made by me, that, since our books were 
often referr'd to in our disquisitions upon the queries, it 
might be convenient to vis to have them altogether where 
we met, that upon occasion they might be consulted; and 
by thus clubbing our books to a common library, we should, 
while we lik'd to keep them together, have each of us the 
advantage of using the books of all the other members, 
which would be nearly as beneficial as if each owned the 
whole. It was lik'd and agreed to, and we fill'd one end 
of the room with such books as we could best spare. The 
number was not so great as we expected; and tho' they had 
been of great use, yet some inconveniences occurring for 
want of due care of them, the collection, after about a year, 
v/as separated, and each took his books home again. 

And now I set on foot my first project of a public nature, 
that for a subscription library. I drew up the proposals, 
got them put into form by our great scrivener, Brockdeii, 
and, by the help of my fri.ends in the Junto, procured fifty 
subscribers of forty shillings each to begin wit.h, and ten 



70 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

shillings a year for fifty years, the term our company was 
to continue. We afterwards obtain'd a charter, the com- 
pany being increased to one hundred: this was the mother 
of all the North American subscription libraries, now so 
numerous. It is become a great thing itself, and continually 
increasing. These libraries have improved the general con- 
versation of the Americans, made the common tradesmen 
and farmers as intelligent as most gentlemen from other 
countries, and perhaps have contributed in some degree to 
the stand so generally miade throughout the colonies in 
defense of their privileges. 

Memo. Thus far was written with the intention express'd 
in the beginning and therefore contains several little family 
anecdotes of no importance to others. What follows was 
written m.any years after in compliance with the advice con- 
tain'd in these letters, and accordingly intended for the public. 
The affairs of the Revolution occasion'd the interruption. 



%etter from Mr. 'Ahel James, with Notes of my Life 
{received in Paris'). 



M 



""^ *~Y Dear and Honored Friend: I have often been 
desirous of writing to thee, but could not be recon- 
ciled to the thought that the letter might fall into 
the hands of the British, lest some printer or busy-body 
should publish some part of the contents, and give our friend 
pain, and myself censure. 

" Some time since there fell into my hands, to my great 
joy, about twenty-three sheets in thy ov/n handwriting, 
containing an account of the parentage and life of thyself, 
directed to thy son, ending in the year 1730, with which 
there were notes, likewise in thy writing; a copy of which 
I inclose, in hopes it may be a m_eans, if thou continued it 
up to a later period, that the first and latter part may be 
put together; and if it is not yet continued, I hope thee 
will not delay it. Life is uncertain, as the preacher tells 
us; and what will the world say if kind, humane, and 
benevolent Ben. Franklin should leave his friends and the 
world deprived of so pleasing and profitable a work ; a work 
which would be useful and entertaining not only to a few, 
but to millions? The influence writings under that class 
have on the minds of youth is very great, and has nowhere 
appeared to me so plain, as in our public friend's journals. 
It almost insensibly leads the youth into the resolution of 
endeavoring to become as good and eminent as the journalist. 
Should thine, for instance, when published (and I think it 
could not fail of it), lead the youth to equal the industry 
and temperance of thy early youth, what a blessing with 
that class would such a work be! I know of no character 
living, nor many of them put together, who has so much in 
his po\ver as thyself to promote a greater spirit of industry 

71. 



72 BENJAMIN FRATSTEXIN 

aa4 early attention to business, frngality, and temperance 
with the American youth. Not that I think the work v/ould 
have no other merit and use in the world, far from it; 
but th& first is of such vast importance that I know nothing 
that can equal it." 

The foregoing letter and the minutes accompanying it 
being shown to a friend, I received from him the following: 

■Letter from Mr. Benjamin Vaughan. 

" Paris, January 31, 1783. 
" My Dearest Sir : When I had read over your sheets 
oi minutes of the principal incidents of your life, recovered 
for you by your Quaker acquaintance, I told you I would 
send you a letter expressing my reasons why I thought it 
would be useful to complete and publish it as he desired. 
Various concerns have for some time past prevented this 
letter being written, and I do not knov/ whether it was 
worth any expectation; happening to be at leisure, however, 
at present, I shall by writing, at least interest and instruct 
myself; but as the terms I am inclined to use may tend 
to offend a person of your manners, I shall only tell you 
how I would address any other person, who was as good 
and as great as yourself, but less diffident. I would say to 
him. Sir, I solicit the history of your life from the following 
motives: Your history is so remarkable, that if you do not 
give it, somebody else will certainly give it; and perhaps 
so as nearly to do as much harm, as your own management 
of the thing might do good. It will moreover present a 
table of the internal circumstances of your country, which 
will very much tend to invite to it settlers of virtuous and 
manly minds. And considering the eagerness with which 
such information is sought by them, and the extent of youf 
reputation, I do not know of a more efficacious advertise- 
ment than your biography would give. All that has hap- 
pened to you is also connected with the detail of the manners 
and situation of a rising people; and in this respect I do 
not think that the writings of C^sar and Tacitus can be 
more interesting to a true judge of human nature and 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 73 

society. But these, sir, are small reasons, in my opinion, 
compared with the chance which your life will give for 
the forming of future great men; and in conjunction with 
your Art of Virtue (which you design to publish) of im- 
proving the features of private character, and consequently 
of aiding all happiness, both public and domestic. The two 
works I allude to, sir, will in particular give a noble rule 
and example of self-education. School and other education 
constantly proceed upon false principles, and show a clumsy 
apparatus pointed at a false mark; but your apparatus is 
simple, and the mark a true one; and while parents and 
young persons are left destitute of other just means of 
estimating and becoming prepared for a reasonable course in 
life, your discovery that the thing is in many a man's 
private power, will be invaluable ! Influence upon the private 
character, late in life, is not only an influence late in life, 
but a weak influence. It is in youth that we plant our 
chief habits and prejudices; it is in youth that we take our 
party as to profession, pursuits and matrimony. In youth, 
therefore, the turn is given; in youth the education even 
of the next generation is given; in youth the private and 
public character is determined; and the term of life ex- 
tending but from youth to age, life ought to begin well from 
youth, and more especially before we take our party as to 
our principal objects. But your biography will not merely 
teach self-education, but the education of a wise man; and 
the wisest man will receive lights and improve his progress, 
by seeing detailed the conduct of another wise man. And 
why are weaker men to be deprived of such helps, when v/e 
see our race has been blundering on in the dark, almost 
without a guide in this particular, from the farthest trace 
of time? Show then, sir, how much is to be done, both to 
sons and fathers; and invite all wise men to become like 
yourself, and other men to become wise. When we see 
how cruel statesmen and warriors can be to the hum.an race, 
and how absurd distinguished m.en can be to their ac- 
quaintance, it will be instructive to observe the instances 
multiply of pacific, acquiescing manners; and to find how 
compatible it is to be great and domestic, enviable and yet 
good-humored. 



74 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

"The 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 pen; our affairs and 
management will have an air of simplicity or importance 
that will not fail to strike; and I am convinced 3^ou have 
conducted them with as much originality as if you had been 
conducting discussions in politics or philosophy; and what 
more worthy of experiments and system (its importance and 
its errors considered) than human life? 

" Some men have been virtuous blindly, others have specu- 
lated fantastically, and others have been shrewd to bad 
purposes; but you, sir, I am sure, will give under your 
hand, nothing but what is at the same moment, wise, prac- 
tical and good. Your account of yourself (for I suppose 
the parallel I am drawing for Dr. Franklin, will hold not 
only in point of character, but of private history) will show 
that you are ashamed of no origin; a thing the more im- 
portant, as you prove how little necessary all origin is to 
happiness, virtue, or greatness. As no end likewise happens 
without a means, so we shall find, sir, that even you your- 
self fram.ed a plan by which you became considerable; but 
at the same time v/e may see that though the event is flat- 
tering, the means are as simple as wisdom could make 
them; that is, depending upon nature, virtue, thought and 
habit. Another thing demonstrated will be the propriety of 
every man's waiting for his time for appearing upon the 
stage of the world. Our sensations being very much fixed 
to the moment, we are apt to forget that more moments are 
to follow the first, and consequently that man should arrange 
his conduct so as to suit the whole of a life. Your attribu- 
tion appears to have been applied to your life, and the 
passing moments of it have been enlivened with content 
and enjoyment, instead of being tormented with foolish 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 75 

impatience or regrets. Such a conduct is easy for those 
who make virtue and themselves in countenance by examples 
of other truly great men, of whom patience is so often 
the characteristic. Your Quaker correspondent, sir (for 
here again I will suppose the subject of my letter resem.bling 
Dr. Franklin), praised your frugality, diligence and tem- 
perance, which he considered as a pattern for all youth; 
but it is singular that he should have forgotten your mod- 
esty and your disinterestedness, without which you never 
could have waited for your advancement, or found your 
situation in the m.ean time comfortable; which is a strong 
lesson to show the poverty of glory and the importance of 
regulating our minds. If this correspondent had known 
the nature of your reputation as well as I do, he would have 
said, Your former writings and measures would secure atten- 
tion to your Biography, and Art of Virtue ; and your Biogra" 
phy and Art of Virtue, in return, would secure attention 
to them. This is an advantage attendant upon a various 
character, and which brings all that belongs to it into 
greater play; and it is the more useful, as perhaps more 
persons are at a loss for the means of improving their 
minds and characters, than they are for the time or the 
inclination to do it. But there is one concluding reflection, 
sir, that will shew the use of your life as a mere piece 
of biography. This style of writing seems a little gone out of 
vogue, and yet it is a very useful one ; and your specimen of 
it may be particularly serviceable, as it will make a subject 
of comparison with the lives of various public cutthroats 
and intriguers, and with absurd monastic self -tormentors or 
vain literary triflers. If it encourages m.ore writings of 
the same kind with your own, and induces more men to 
spend lives fit to be written, it will be worth all Plutarch's 
Lives put together. But being tired of figuring to myself 
a character of which every feature suits only one man in 
the world, without giving him the praise of it, I shall end 
m.y letter, my dear Dr. Franklin, with a personal applica- 
tion to your proper self. I am earnestly desirous, then, my 
dear sir, that you should let the world into the traits of 
your genuine character, as civil broils may otherwise tend 
to disguise or traduce it. Considering your great age, the 



76 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

caution o£ your character, and j^^our peculiar style of think- 
ings it is not likely that any one besides yourself can be 
sufficiently master of the facts of your life, or the inten- 
tions of your mind. Besides all this, the immense revolu- 
tion of the present period, will necessarily turn our atten- 
tion towards the author of it, and when virtuous principles 
have been pretended in it, it will be highly important to 
shew that such have really influenced; and, as your own 
• character vnll be the principal one to receive a scrutiny, it 
is proper (even for its effects upon your vast and rising 
country, as well as upon England and upon Europe) that 
it should stand respectable and eternal. For the furtherance 
of human happiness, I have always maintained that it is 
necessary to prove that man is not even at present a vicious 
and detestable animal; and still more to prove that good 
management may greatly amend him; and it is for much 
the same reason, that I am anxious to see the opinion 
established, that there are fair characters existing among 
the individuals of the race; for the moment that all m.en, 
without exception, shall be conceived abandoned, good people 
will cease efforts deemed to be hopeless, and perhaps think 
of taking their share in the scramble of life, or at least of 
making it comfortable principally for themselves. Take then, 
my dear sir, this work most speedily into hand : shew your- 
self good as you are good; temperate as you are temperate; 
and above all things, prove yourself as one, who from your 
infancy have loved justice, liberty and concord, in a way 
that has made it natural and consistent for you to have 
acted, as we have seen you act in the last seventeen years 
of your life. Let Englishmen be made not only to respect, 
but even to love you. When they think well of individuals 
in your native country, they will go nearer to thinking 
well of your country; and when your countrymen see them- 
selves well thought of by Englishmen, they v/ill go nearer 
to thinking well of England. Extend your views even 
further ; do not stop at those who speak the English tongue, 
but after having settled so many points in nature and 
politics, think of bettering the whole race of men. As I 
have not read any part of the life in question, but know 
ionly the character that lived it. I write somewhat at hazard. 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 77 

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

" Signed, Benj. Vaughan." 



Continuation of the Account of my Life, begun at 
Passy, near Paris, 1784. 

It is some time since I receiv'd the above letters, but I 
have been too busy till now to think of complying with the 
request they contain. 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 en- 
deavor to recollect and write what I can; if I live to get 
home, it may there be corrected and improv'd. 

Not having any copy here of what is already written, I 
know not whether an account is given of the means I used 
to establish the Philadelphia public library, which, from a 
small beginning, is now become so considerable, though 
I remember to have come down to near the time of that 
transaction (1730). I will therefore begin here with an 
account of it, which may be struck out if found to have 
been already given. 

At the time I establish'd myself in Pennsylvania, there 
was not a good bookseller's shop in any of the colonies to 
the southward of Boston. In New York and Philad'a the 
printers v/ere indeed stationers; they sold only paper, etc., 
almanacs, ballads, and a few common school-books. Those 



78 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

who lov'd reading were oblig'd to send for tlieir books 
from England; the members of the Junto had each a few. 
We had left the alehouse, where we first met, and hired 
a room to hold our club in. I propos'd that we should all 
of us bring our books to that room, where they would not 
only be ready to consult in our conferences, but become a 
common benefit, each of us being at liberty to borrow 
such as he wish'd to read at home. This was accordingly 
done, and for some time contented us. 

Finding the advantage of this little collection, I propos'd 
to render the benefit from books more common, by commenc- 
ing a public subscription library. I drew a sketch of the 
plan and rules that would be necessary^ and got a skilful 
conveyancer, Mr. Charles Brockden, to put the whole in 
form of articles of agreement to be subscribed, by which 
each subscriber engag'd to pay a certain sum down for the 
first purchase of books, and an annual contribution for 
increasing them. So few were the readers at that time in 
Philadelphia, and the majority of us so poor, that I was 
not able, with great industry, to find more than fifty persons, 
mostly young tradesmen, willing to pay down for this pur- 
pose forty shillings each, and ten shillings per annum. On 
this little fund we began. The books were imported; the 
library was opened one day in the week for lending to the 
subscribers, on their promissory notes to pay double the 
value if not duly returned. The institution soon mani- 
fested its utility, was imitated by other towns, and in other 
provinces. The libraries were augmented by donations; 
reading became fashionable; and our people, having no 
publick amusements to divert their attention from study, 
became better acquainted with books, and in a few years 
were observ'd by strangers to be better instructed and more 
intelligent than people of the same rank generally are in 
other countries. 

When we were about to sign the above-mentioned ar- 
ticles, which were to be binding upon us, our heirs, etc., 
for fifty years, Mr. Brockden, the scrivener, said to us, 
" You are young men, but it is scarcely probable that 
any of you will live to see the expiration of the term fix'd 
in the instrument/' A number of us, however, are yet 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 79 

living; but the instrument was after a few years rendered 
null by a charter that incorporated and gave perpetuity to 
the company. 

The objections and reluctances I met with in soliciting 
the subscriptions, made me soon feel the impropriety of 
presenting one's self as the proposer of any useful project, 
that might be supposed to raise one's reputation in the 
smallest degree above that of one's neighbors, when one has 
need of their assistance to accomplish that project. I there- 
fore put myself as much as I could out of sight, and stated 
it as a scheme of a number of friends, who had requested 
me to go about and propose it to such as they thought lovers 
of reading. In this way my affair went on more smoothly, 
and I ever after practis'd it on such occasions; and, from 
my frequent successes, can heartily recommend it. The 
present little sacrifice of your vanity will afterwards be 
amply repaid. If it remains a while uncertain to whom 
the merit belongs, some one more vain than yourself will 
be encouraged to claim it^ and then even envy will be 
disposed to do you justice by plucking those assumed feathers, 
and restoring them to their right owner. 

This library afforded me the means of improvement by 
constant study, for which I set apart an hour or two each 
day, and thus repair'd in some degree the loss of the learned 
education my father once intended for me. Reading was 
th« only amusement I allow'd myself. I spent no time in 
taverns, games, or frolicks of any kind; and my industry 
in my business continu'd as indefatigable as it was necessary. 
I was indebted for my printing-house ; I had a young family 
coming on to be educated, and I had to contend with for 
business two printers, who v/ere established in the place • 
before me. My circumistances, however, grew daily easier. 
My original habits of frugality continuing, and my father 
having, among his instructions to me when a boy, frequently 
repeated a proverb of Solomon, " Seest thou a man diligent 
in his calling, he shall stand before kings, he shall not stand 
before mean men," I from thence considered industry as a 
means of obtaining wealth and distinction, which encourag'd 
me, tho* I did not think that I should ever literally stand 
before kings, which^ however^ has since happened; for I have 



80 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

stood before 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 ask his wife." It was lucky for me that I had 
one as much dispos'd to industry and frugality as myself. 
She assisted me cheerfully in my business, folding and stitch- 
ing pamphlets, tending shop, purchasing old linen rags for 
the papermakers, etc., etc. We kept no idle servants, our 
table was plain and simple, our furniture of the cheapest. 
For instance, my breakfast was a long time bread and milk 
(no tea), and I ate it out of a twopenny earthen porringer, 
with a pewter spoon. But mark how luxury will enter 
families, and make a progress, in spite of principle: being 
calPd one morning to breakfast, I found it in a China bov/1, 
with a spoon of silver ! They had been bought for me with- 
out my knowledge by my wife, and had cost her the enormous 
sum of three-and-twenty shillings, for which she had no other 
excuse or apology to make, but that she thought her husband 
deserv'd a silver spoon and China bowl as well as any of his 
neighbors. This was the first appearance of plate and China 
in our house, which afterward, in a course of years, as our 
wealth increas'd, augmented gradually to several hundred 
pounds in value. 

I had been religiously educated as a Presbyterian; and 
tho' some of the dogmas of that persuasion, such as the 
eternal decrees of God, election, reprobation, etc., appeared 
to me unintelligible, others doubtful, and I early absented 
myself from the public assemblies of the sect, Sunday being 
ttiy studying day, I never was without some religious prin- 
ciples. I never doubted, for instance, the existence of the 
Deity; that he made the world, and govern'd it by his 
Providence; that the most acceptable service of God was 
the doing good to man; that our souls are immortal; and 
that all crime will be punished, and virtue rewarded, either 
here or hereafter. These I esteem'd the essentials of every 
religion; and, being to be found in all the religions we had 
in our country, I respected them all, tho' with different 
degrees of respect, as I found them more or less mix'd with 
other articles, which, without any tendency to inspire, pro- 
mote, or confirm morality, serv'd principally to divide uSj, 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 81 

an<3 make us unfriendly to one another. This respect to all, 
>vith an opinion that the worst had some good effects, induc'd 
me to avoid all discourse that might tend to lessen the good 
opinion another might have of his own religion; and as our 
province increas'd in people, and new places of worship were 
continually wanted, and generally erected by voluntary con- 
tributions, m-y mite for such purpose, whatever miight be the 
sect, was never refused. 

Tho' I seldom attended any pubHc worship, I had still an 
opinion of its propriety, and of its utility when rightly con- 
ducted, and I regularly paid my annual subscription for the 
support of the only Presbyterian minister or meeting we had 
in Philadelphia. He us'd to visit me sometimes as a friend, 
and admonish me to attend his administrations, and I was 
now and then prevail'd on to do so, once for five Sundays 
successively. Had he been in my opinion a good preacher, 
perhaps I might have continued, notwithstanding the occa- 
sion I had for the Sunday's leisure in my course of study; 
but his discourses were chiefly either polemic argumxCnts, or 
explications of the peculiar doctrines of our sect, and were 
all to me very dry, uninteresting, and unedifying, since not 
a single m.oral principle was inculcated or enforc'd, their aim 
seeming to be rather to make us Presbyterians than good 
citizens. 

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 he any virtue, or any praise, think on these things'* 
And I imagin'd, in a sermon on such a text, we could not 
miss of having some morality. But he confin'd himself to 
five points only, as meant by the apostle, viz. : i. Keeping 
holy the Sabbath day. 2. Being diligent in reading the 
holy Scriptures. 3. Attending duly the publick worship. 
4. Partaking of the Sacrament. 5. Paying a due respect to 
God's ministers. These might be all good things; but, as 
they were not the kind of good things that I expected from 
that text, I despaired of ever meeting with them from any 
other, was disgusted, and attended his preaching no more. 
I had some years before compos'd a little Liturgy, or form 
of prayer, for my own private use (viz,, in 1728), entitled. 



82 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

Articles of Belief and Acts of Religion. I retuni'd to the 
use of this, and v^^ent no more to the public assemblies. My 
conduct might be blameable, but I leave it, without attempt- 
ing further to excuse it; my present purpose being to relate 
facts, and not to make apologies for them. 

It was about this time I conceiv'd the bold and arduous 
project of arriving at moral perfection. I wish'd to live 
without committing any fault at any time; I would conquer 
all that either natural inclination, custom, or company might 
lead me into. As I knew, or thought I knew, vs^hat was right 
and wrong, I did not see why I might not always do the 
one and avoid the other. But I soon found I had undertaken 
a task of more difficulty than I had imagined. While 
my care was employ'd in guarding against one fault, I was 
often surprised by another; habit took the advantage 
of inattention; inclination was sometimes too strong 
for reason. I concluded, at length, that the mere spec- 
ulative conviction that it was our interest to be com- 
pletely virtuous, was not sufficient to prevent our slipping; 
and that the contrary habits must be broken, and good 
ones acquired and established, before we can have any 
dependence on a steady, uniform rectitude of con- 
duct. For this purpose I therefore contrived the fol- 
lowing method. 

In the various enumerations of the moral virtues I had 
met with in my reading, I found the catalogue more or less 
numerous, as different writers included more or fewer ideas 
under the same name. Temperance, for example, was by 
some confined to eating and drinking, while by others it was 
extended to mean the moderating every other pleasure, appe- 
tite, inclination, or passion, bodily or mental, even to our 
avarice and ambition. I propos'd to myself, for the sake of 
clearness, to use rather m.ore names, with fewer ideas annex'd 
to each, than a few names with more ideas ; and I included 
under thirteen names of virtues all that at th^t time occurr'd 
to me as necessary or desirable, and annexed to each a short 
precept, which fully express'd the extent I gave to its 
meaning. 

These names of virtues, .with their precepts, wefe: 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 83 

I. Temperance. 
Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation. 

2. Silence. 

Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid 
trifling conversation. 

3. Order. 

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

4. Resolution. 

Resolve to perform v/hat you ought; perform without 
fail what you resolve. 

5. Frugality. 

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

6. Industry. 

Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; 
cut off all unnecessary actions. 

7. Sincerity. 

Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, 
if you speak, speak accordingly. 

8. Justice. 

Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits 
that are your duty. 

9. Moderation. 

Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as 
you think they deserve. 



84 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

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

II. Tranquillity. 

Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or 
ttnavoidabk. 

12. Chastity. 

Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to 
dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's 
peace or reputation. 

13. Humility. 
Imitate Jesus and Socrates. 

My intention being to acquire the habitude of all these 
virtues, I judg'd 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 acquisition of some 
might facilitate the acquisition of certain others, I arrang'd 
them with that view, as they stand above. Temperance 
first, as it tends to procure that coolness and clearness of 
head, which is so necessary where constant vigilance was 
to be kept up, and guard maintained against the unremitting 
attraction of ancient habits, and the force of perpetual 
temptations. This being acquir'd and establish'd. Silence 
would be more easy ; and my desire being to gain knowledge 
at the same time that I improv'd in virtue, and considering 
that in conversation it was obtain'd rather by the use of 
the ears than of the tongue, and therefore wishing to break 
a habit I was getting into of prattling, punning, and joking, 
which only made me acceptable to trifling company, I gave 
Silence the second place. This and the next, Order, I 
expected would allow me more time for attending to my 
project and my studies. Resolution, once become habitual, 
would keep me firm in my endeavors to obtain all the subse- 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 



85 



qtient virtues; Frugality and Industry freeing me from my 
remaining debt, and producing affluence and independence, 
would make more easy the practice of Sincerity and Justice, 
etc., etc. Conceiving then, that, agreeably to the advice of 
Pythagoras in his Golden Verses, daily examination would 
be necessary, I contrived the following method for conduct- 
ing that examination. 

I made a little book, in which I allotted a page for each 
of the virtues. I rul'd each page with red ink, so as to 
have seven columns, one for each day of the week, marking 
each column with a letter for the day. I cross'd these 
columns v/ith thirteen red lines, marking the beginning of 
each line with the first letter of one of the virtues, on which 
line, and in its proper column, I might mark, by a little 
black spot, every fault I found upon examination to have 
been committed respecting that virtue upon that day. 

Form of the pages. 



TEMPERANCE. 


EAT NOT TO DULNESS ; 
DRINK NOT TO ELEVATION. 




S. 


M. 


T. 


W. 


T. 


F. 


S. 


T. 
















S. 


* 


* 




* 




* 




o. 


* * 


* 


* 




* 


* 


« 


R. 






* 






* 




F. 




* 






* 






I. 






* 










S. 
















J. 
















M. 
















G. 
















T. 














C. 
















H. 














- i 



86 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

I determined to give a week's strict attention to eacli of 
the virtues successively. Thus, in the first week, my great 
guard was to avoid every the least offence against Temper- 
ance, leaving the other virtues to their ordinary chance, 
only marking every evening the faults of the day. Thus, if 
in the first week I could keep my first line, marked T, clear 
of spots, I suppos'd the habit of that virtue so much 
strengthen'd, and its opposite weaken'd, that I might venture 
extending my attention to include the next, and for the 
following week keep both lines clear of spots. Proceeding 
thus to the last, I could go thro' a course compleat in thir- 
teen weeks, and four courses in a year. And like him who, 
having a garden to weed, does not attempt to eradicate all 
the bad herbs at once, which would exceed his reach and 
his strength, but works on one of the beds at a time, and, 
having accomplish'd the first, proceeds to a second, so I 
should have, I hoped, the encouraging pleasure of seeing on 
my pages the progress I made in virtue, by clearing suc- 
cessively my lines of their spots, till in the end, by a num- 
ber of courses, I should be happy in viewing a clean book, 
after a thirteen weeks' daily examination. 

This my little book had for its motto these lines from 
Addison's Cato: 

" Here will I hold. If there's a power above us 
(And that there is, all nature cries aloud 
Thro' all her works), He must delight in virtue; 
And that which he delights in must be happy." 

Another from Cicero, 

" O vitse Philosophia dux ! O virtutum indagatrix expultrlxque 
vitiorum ! Unus dies, bene et ex praeceptis tuis actus, peccanti 
immortalitati est anteponendus." 

Another from the Proverbs of Solomon, speaking of 
wisdom or virtue: 

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

And conceiving God to be the fountain of wisdom, I 
thought it right and necessary to solicit his assistance for 
obtaining it ; to this end I formed the following little prayer. 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 



87 



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

"O powerful Goodness! bountiful Father! merciful Guide! 
Increase in me that zuisdom which discovers my truest interest. 
Strengthen my resolutions to perform what that wisdom dictates. 
Accept my kind offices to thy other children as the only return in 
my power for thy continual favors to me." 

I used also sometimes a little prayer which I took from 
Thomson's Poems, viz. : 

" Father of light and life, thou Good Supreme ! 
O teach me what is good ; teach me Thyself ! 
Save me from folly, vanity, and vice, 
From every low pursuit; and fill my soul 
With knowledge, conscious peace, and virtue pure; 
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-four hours of a natural day: 



The Morning. 



Question. What 
I do this day? 



good shall 



< 6 



Rise, wash, and address 
Powerful Goodness! Contrive 
day's business, and take the 
resolution of the day; prose- 
cute the present study, and 
breakfast. 



Noon. 



Evening. 



vw 



9 \. Work. 

lO 

II 

12 

I 
2 

3 
4 
5J 



Question. What good have 
\ done to-day? 



Night. 



Read, or overlook my ac- 
counts, and dine. 

Work. 

Put things in their places. 
^ Supper. Music or diversion, 
8 ' or conversation. Examinatior 



9 

ID 
II 
12 

I 

2 

3 
L 4X 



of the day. 



Sleep. 



88 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

I enter'd upon the execution of this plan for self-examina- 
tion, and continu'd it v/ith occasional intermissions for some 
time. I was surpris'd to find myself so much fuller of faults 
than I had imagined; but I had the satisfaction of seeing 
them diminish. To avoid the trouble of renewing now and 
then my little book, which, by scraping out the marks on 
the paper of old faults to make room for new ones in a 
new course, became full of holes, I transferr'd my tables 
and precepts to the ivory leaves of a memorandum book, 
on which the lines were drawn with red ink, that made a 
durable stain, and on those lines I mark'd my faults with 
a black-lead pencil, which marks I could easily wipe out 
with a wet sponge. After a while I went thro' one course 
only in a year, and afterward only one in several years, till 
at length I omitted them entirely, being employ'd in voyages 
and business abroad, with a multiplicity of affairs that inter- 
fered; but I always carried my little book with me. 

My scheme of Order gave me the most trouble; and I 
found that, tho' it might be practicable where a man's busi- 
ness was such as to leave him the disposition of his time, 
that of a journeyman printer, for instance, it was not pos- 
sible to be exactly observed by a master, who must mix 
with the world, and often receive people of business at their 
own hours. Order, too, vv^ith regard to places for things, 
papers, 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 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 89 

it was, without farther grinding. " No," said the smith, 
" turn on, turn on ; we shall have it bright by-and-by ; as 
yet, it is only speckled/'' " Yes," said the man, "" but I 
think I like a speckled ax best/' And I believe this may 
have been the case with many, who, having, for want of 
some such means as I employ'd, found the difficulty of 
obtaining good and breaking bad habits in other points of 
vice and virtue, have given up the struggle, and concluded 
that " a speckled ax was best " ; for something, that pretended 
to be reason, was every now and then suggesting to me that 
such extream nicety as I exacted of myself might be a kind 
of foppery in morals, which, if it were known, would make 
me ridiculous; that a perfect character might be attended 
with the inconvenience of being envied and hated; and that 
a benevolent man should allow a few faults in himself, to 
keep his friends in countenance. 

In truth, I found myself incorrigible with respect to 
Order; and now I am grown old, and my memory bad, I 
feel very sensibly the want of it. But, on the whole, tho' 
I never arrived at the perfection I had been so ambitious of 
obtaining, but fell far short of it, yet I was, by the endeavour, 
a better and a happier man than I otherwise should have 
been if I had not attempted it; as those who aim at 
perfect writing by imitating the engraved copies, tho' they 
never reach the wish'd-for excellence of those copies, their 
hand is mended by the endeavor, and is tolerable while it 
continues fair and legible. 

It may be well my posterity should be informed that to 
this little artifice, with the blessing of God, their ancestor 
cw'd the constant felicity of his life, down to his 79th year, 
in which this is written. What reverses may attend the 
remainder is in the hand of Providence; but, if they arrive, 
the reflection on past happiness enjoy'd ought to help his 
bearing them with more resignation. To Temperance he 
ascribes his long-continued health, and what is still left to him 
of a good constitution; to Industry and Frugality, the early 
easiness of his circumstances and acquisition of his fortune, 
with all that knowledge that enabled him to be a useful 
citizen, and obtained for him some degree of reputation 
among the learned; to Sincerity and Justice, the confidence 



90 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

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

It will be remark'd that, tho' my schem.e was not wholly 
without religion, there was in it no mark of any of the 
distinguishing tenets of any particular sect. I had purposely 
avoided them; for, being fully persuaded of the utility and 
excellency of my method, and that it might be serviceable 
to people in all religions, and intending some time or other 
to publish it, I would not have any thing in it that should 
prejudice any one, of any sect, against it. I purposed 
writing a little comment on each virtue, in which I would 
have shown the advantages of possessing it, and the mis- 
chiefs attending its opposite vice; and I should have called 
my book The Art of Virtue,^ because it would have shown 
the means and manner of obtaining virtue, which would 
have distinguished it from the mere exhortation to be good, 
that does not instruct and indicate the m.eans, but is like 
the apostle's man of verbal charity, who only without show- 
ing to the naked and hungry how or where they might get 
clothes or victuals, exhorted them to be fed and clothed. — 
James ii. 15, 16. 

But it so happened that my intention of writing and 
publishing this comment was never fulfilled. I did, indeed, 
from time to time, put down short hints of the sentiments, 
reasonings, etc., to be made use of in it, some of which I 
have still by me ; but the necessary close attention to private 
business in the earlier part of my life, and public business 
since, have occasioned my postponing it; for, it being con- 
nected in my mind with a great and extensive project, that 
required the whole man to execute, and which an unforeseen 
succession of employs prevented my attending to, it has 
liitherto remain'd unfinish'd. 

In this piece it was my design to explain and enforce this 

'Nothing so likely to make 3 man's fortune as virtne.'^lMarg. note.l 

f 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 91 

doctrine, that vicious actions are not hurtful because they 
are forbidden, but forbidden because they are hurtful, the 
nature of man alone considered; that it was, therefore, 
every one's interest to be virtuous who wish'd to be happy 
even in this v/orld; and I should, from this circumstance 
(there being always in the world a number of rich mer- 
chants, nobility, states, and princes, who have need of honest 
instruments for the management of their affairs, and such 
being so rare), have endeavored to convince young persons 
that no qualities were so likely to make a poor man's fortime 
as those of probity and integrity. 

My list of virtues contain'd at first but twelve; but a 
Quaker friend having kindly informed me that I was gen- 
erally thought proud; that my pride show'd itself frequently 
in conversation; that I was not content with being in the 
right when discussing any point, but was overbearing, and 
rather insolent, of which he convinc'd me by mentioning 
several instances ; I determined endeavouring to cure myself, 
if I 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 virtue, but I had a good deal with regard to the 
appearance of it. I made it a rule to forbear all direct con- 
tradiction to the sentiments of others, and all positive asser- 
tion of my own. I even forbid myself, agreeably to t^e old 
laws of our Junto, the use of every word or expresjion in 
the language that imported a fix'd opinion, such as certainly, 
undoubtedly, etc., and I adopted., instead of them, / conceive, 
I apprehend, or / imagine a thing to be so or so; or it 
so appears to me at present. When another asserted some- 
thing that I thought an error, I deny'd myself the pleasure 
of contradicting him abruptly, and of showing immediately 
some absurdity in his proposition ; and in answering I began 
by observing that in certain cases or circumstances his 
opinion would be right, but in the present case there appeared 
or seem'd to me some difference, etc. I soon found the 
advantage of this change in my manner; the conversations 
I engag'd in went on more pleasantly. The modest way in 
which I propos'd my opinions procur'd them a readier recep- 



92 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

tion and less contradiction; I had less mortification when I 
was found to be in the wrong, and I more easily prevail'd 
with others to give up their mistakes and join with me when 
I happened to be in the right. 

And this mode, which I at first put on with some violence 
to natural inclination, became at length so easy, and so 
habitual to me, that perhaps for these fifty years past no 
one has ever heard a dogmatical expression escape me. And 
to this habit (after m.y character of integrity) I think it 
principally owing that I had early so much weight with my 
fellow-citizens when I proposed new institutions, or altera- 
tions in the old, and so niuch influence in public councils 
when I became a member; for I was but a bad speaker, 
never eloquent, subject to much hesitation in my choice of 
words, hardly correct in language, and yet I generally 
carried my points. 

In reality, there is, perhaps, no one of our natural passions 
so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, 
beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, 
it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and 
show itself; you will see it, perhaps, often in this history; 
for, even if I could conceive that I had com.pleatly overcome 
it, I should probably be proud of my humility. 

[Thus far written at Passy, 1784.] 




f / am now ah out to write at home, 'August, iy88, hut can 
not have the help expected from my papers, many of 
them being lost in the war. I have, however, found the 
following "Y 

'AVING mentioned a great and extensive project 
which I had conceiv'd, it seems proper that some 
account should be here given of that project and its 
object. Its first rise in my mind appears in the following 
little paper, accidentally preserv'd, viz. : 

Observations on my reading history, in Library, May 
19th, 1731. 

" That the great affairs of the world, the wars, revolutions, 
etc., are carried on and affected by parties. 

" That the view of these parties is their present general 
interest, or what they take to be such. 

" That the different views of these different parties occa- 
sion all confusion. 

** That while a party is carrying on a general design, each 
man has his particular private interest in view. 

" That as soon as a party has gain'd its general point, 
each member becomes intent upon his particular interest; 
which, thwarting others, breaks that party into divisions, 
and occasions more confusion. 

" That few in public affairs act from a meer view of the 
good of their country, whatever they may pretend; and, 
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 tQ 
the good of mankind. 

s This is a marginal memorandum. — B. 
93 



94 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

*'THere seems to me at present to be great occasion for 
raising a United Party for Virtue, by forming the vir- 
tuous and good men of all nations into a regular body, to 
be governed by suitable good and wise rules, which good and 
wise men may probably be more unanimous in their obedience 
to, than common people are to common laws. 

" I at present think that whoever attempts this aright, 
and is well qualified, can not fail of pleasing God, and of 
meeting with success. B. F." 

Revolving this project in my mind, as to be undertaken 
hereafter, when my circumstances should afford me the 
necessary leisure, I put down from tinie to time, on pieces 
of paper, such thoughts as occurr'd to me respecting it. 
Most of these are lost; but I find one purporting to be the 
substance of an intended creed, containing, as I thought, 
the essentials of every known religion, and being free of 
every thing that might shock the professors of any religion. 
It is express'd in these words, viz. : 

" That there is one God, who made all things. 

" That he governs the world by his providence. 

" That he ought to be worshiped by adoration, prayer, 
and thanksgiving. 

" But that the most acceptable service of God is doing 
good to man. 

" That the soul is immortal. 

"And that God will certainly reward virtue and punish 
vice, either here or hereafter."^ 

My ideas at that time were, that the sect should be begun 
and spread at first among young and single men only; that 
each person to be initiated should not only declare his assent 
to such creed, but should have exercised himself with the 
thirteen v/eeks* examination and practice of the virtues, as 
in the before-mention'd model; that the existence of such 
a society should be kept a secret, till it was become consid- 
erable, to prevent solicitations for the admission of improper 
persons, but that the members should each of them search 
among his acquaintance for ingenuous, well-disposed youths, 
to whom, with prudent caution, the scheme should be grad- 

^ In the Middle Ages, Franklin, if such a phenomenon as Franklin were 
possible in the Middle Ages, would probably have been the founder of a 
monastic order. — B. 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 95 

ually comirmnicated ; that the members should engage to 
afford their advice, assistance^ and support to each other in 
promoting one another's interests, business, and advancement 
in life; that, for distinction, we should be call'd The Society 
of the Free and Easy: free, as being, by the general prac- 
tice and habit of the virtues, free from the dominion of vice; 
and particularly by the practice of industry and frugality, 
free from debt, which exposes a man to confinement, and 
a species of slavery to his creditors. 

This is as much as I can now recollect of the project, 
except that I comm.unicated it in part to two young men, 
who adopted it with some enthusiasm; but my then narrow 
circumstances, and the necessity I was under of sticking 
close to my business, occasion'd my postponing the further 
prosecution of it at that time; and my multifarious occupa- 
tions, public and private, induc'd me to continue post- 
poning, so that it has been omitted till I have no longer 
strength or activity left sufficient for such an enterprise; 
tho* I am still of opinion that it was a practicable scheme, 
and mJght have been very useful, by forming a great num- 
ber of good citizens ; and I was not discourag'd by the seem- 
ing magnitude of the undertaking, as I have always thought 
that one man of tolerable abilities may work great changes, 
and accomplish great affairs among mankind, if he first 
forms a good plan, and, cutting off all amusements or other 
employments that would divert his attention, makes the exe- 
cution of that same plan his sole study and business. 

In 1732 I first publish'd my Almanack, under the name 
of Richard Saunders; it was continu'd by me about twenty- 
five years, commonly call'd Poor Richard's Almanac. I 
endeavor'd to make it both entertaining and useful, and it 
accordingly came to be in such demand, that I reap'd con- 
siderable profit from it, vending annually near ten thousand. 
And observing that it was generally read, scarce any neigh- 
borhood in the province being without it, I consider'd it as 
a proper vehicle for conveying instruction among the com- 
mon people, who bought scarcely any other books; I there- 
fore filled all the little spaces that occurr'd between the 
remarkable days in the calendar with proverbial sentences, 
chiefly such as inculcated industry and frugality, as the 



96 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

means of procuring wealth, and thereby securing virtue; it 
being more difficult for a man in want, to act always hon- 
estly, as, to use here one of those proverbs, it is hard for an 
empty sack to stand upright. 

These proyerbs, which contained the wisdom of many 
ages and nations, I assem^bled and form'd into a connected 
discourse prefix'd to the Almanack of 1757, as the harangue 
of a wise old man to the people attending an auction. The 
bringing all these scatter'd counsels thus into a focus enabled 
them to make greater impression. The piece, being univer- 
sally approved, was copied in all the newspapers of the Con- 
tinent ; reprinted in Britain on a broad side, to be stuck up in 
houses; two translations were made of it in French, and 
great numbers bought by the clergy and gentry, to distribute 
gratis among their poor parishioners and tenants. In Penn- 
sylvania, as it discouraged useless expense in foreign super- 
fluities, somiC thought it had its share of influence in pro- 
ducing that growing plenty of money which was observable 
for several years after its publication. 

I considered my newspaper, also, as another means of 
communicating instruction, and in that view frequently 
reprinted in it extracts from the Spectator, and other moral 
writers; and sometimes publish'd little pieces of my own, 
which had been first compos'd for reading in our Junto. Of 
these are a Socratic dialogue, tending to prove that, what- 
ever might be his parts and abilities, a vicious man could 
not properly be called a man of sense; and a discourse on 
self-denial, showing that virtue was not secure till its prac- 
tice 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 news- 
p»aper was like a stage-coach, in which any one who would 
pay had a right to a place, my answer was, that I would 
print the piece separately if desired, and the author mxight 
have as many copies as he pleased to distribute himself, 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 97 

but that I would not take upon me to spread his detraction; 
and that, having contracted with my subscribers to furnish 
them with what might be either useful or entertaining, I 
could not fill their papers with private altercation, in which 
they had no concern, without doing them manifest injustice. 
Now, many of our printers make no scruple of gratifying 
the malice of individuals by false accusations of the fairest 
characters among ourselves, augmenting animosity even to 
the producing of duels; and are, moreover, so indiscreet as 
to print scurrilous reflections on the government of neigh- 
boring states, and even on the conduct of our best national 
allies, which may be attended with the most pernicious con- 
sequences. These things I mention as a caution to young 
printers, and that they may be encouraged not to pollute their 
presses and disgrace their profession by such infamous prac- 
tices, but refuse steadily, as they may see by my example 
that such a course of conduct will not, on the whole, be in- 
jurious to their interests. 

In 1733 I sent one of my journeymen to Charleston, Soutfi 
Carolina, where a printer was wanting. I furnish'd him 
with a press and letters, on an agreement of partnership, 
by which I was to receive one-third of the profits of the 
business, paying one-third of the expense. He was a man 
of learning, and honest but ignorant in matters of account; 
and, tho' he sometimes made me remittances, I could get no 
account from him, nor any satisfactory state of our partner- 
ship while he lived. On his decease, the business was con- 
tinued by his widow, who, being born and bred in Holland, 
where, as I have been inform' d, the knowledge of accounts 
makes a part of fem.ale education, she not only sent me as 
clear a state as she could find of the transactions past, but 
continued to account with the greatest regularity and exact- 
ness every quarter afterwards, and m.anaged the business 
with such success, that she not only brought up reputably 
a family of children, but, at the expiration of the term, 
was able to purchase of me the printing-house, and establish 
her son in it. 

I mention this affair chiefly for the sake of recommend- 
ing that branch of education for our young females, as likely 
to be of more use to them and their children, in case of 

4 HO— Vol. 1 



98 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

widowhood, than either music or dancing, by preserving 
them from losses by imposition of crafty men, and enabling 
them to continue, perhaps, a profitable mercantile house, 
with established correspondence, till a son is grown up fit to 
undertake and go on with it, to the lasting advantage and 
enriching of the family. 

About the year 1734 there arrived among us from Ireland 
a young Presbyterian preacher, named Hemphill, who de- 
livered with a good voice, and apparently extempore, most 
excellent discourses, which drew together considerable num- 
bers of different persuasion, who join'd in admiring them. 
Among the rest, I became one of his constant hearers, his 
sermons pleasing me, as they had little of the dogmatical 
kind, but inculcated strongly the practice of virtue, or what 
in the religious stile are called good works. Those, however, 
of our congregation, who considered themselves as orthodox 
Presbyterians, disapprov'd his doctrine, and were join'd by 
most of the old clergy, who arraign'd him of heterodoxy 
before the synod, in order to have him silenc'd. I became 
his zealous partisan, and contributed all I could to raise a 
party in his favour, and we combated for him a while with 
some hopes of success. There was much scribbling pro and 
con upon the occasion; and finding that, tho' an elegant 
preacher, he was but a poor writer, I lent him my pen and 
wrote for him two or three pamphlets, and one piece in the 
Gazette of April, 1735. Those pamphlets, as is generally 
the case with controversial writings, tho' eagerly read at the 
time, were soon out of vogue, and I question whether a 
single copy of them now exists. 

Puring the contest an unlucky occurrence hurt his cause 
exceedingly. One of our adversaries having heard him 
preach a sermon that was much admired, thought he had 
somewhere read the sermon before, or at least a part of it. 
On search he found that part quoted at length, in one of 
the British Reviews, from a discourse of Dr. Foster's. This 
detection gave many of our party disgust, who accordingly 
abandoned his cause, and occasioned our more speedy discom- 
fiture in the synod. I stuck by him, hovv^ever, as I rather 
approv'd Us giving us good sermons compos'd by others, 
than bad ones of his own manufacture, tho' the latter was 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 99 

the practice of our common teachers. He afterward acknowl- 
edg'd to me that none of those he preach'd were his own; 
adding, that his memory was such as enabled him to retain 
and repeat any sermon after one reading only. On our 
defeat, he left us in search elsewhere of better fortune, and 
I quitted the congregation, never joining it after, tho' I 
continu'd many years my subscription for the support of 
its ministers. 

I had begun in 1733 to study languages; I soon made 
myself so much a master of the French as to be able to 
read the books with ease. I then undertook the Italian. An 
acquaintance, who was also learning it, us'd often to tempt 
me to play chess with him. Finding this took up too much 
of the time I had to spare for study, I at length refus'd 
to play any more, unless on this condition, that the victor 
in every game should have a right to impose a task, either 
in parts of the grammar to be got by heart, or in transla- 
tionSj etc., which tasks the vanquish'd was to perform upon 
honour, before our next meeting. As we play'd pretty 
equally, we thus beat one another into that language. I 
afterwards with a little painstaking, acquir'd as much of 
the Spanish as to read their books also. 

I have already mention'd that I had only one year's in- 
struction in a Latin school,, and that when very young, after 
which I neglected that language entirely. But, when I had 
attained an acquaintance with the French, Italian, and 
Spanish, I was surpriz'd to find, on looking over a Latin 
Testament, that I understood so much more of that language 
than I had imagined, which encouraged me to apply myself 
again to the study of it, and I met with more success, as those 
preceding languages had greatly smooth'd my way. 

From these circumstances, I have thought that there is 
some inconsistency in our common mode of teaching lan- 
guages. We are told that it is proper to begin first with 
the Latin, and, having acquir'd that, it will be more easy 
to attain those modern languages which are deriv'd from it; 
and yet we do not begin with the Greek, in order more 
easily to acquire the Latin. It is true that, if you can 
clamber and get to the top of a staircase v/ithout using the 
steps, you will mere easily gain them in descending; but 



100 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

certainly, 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 time, they should quit the study of lan- 
guages and never arrive at the Latin, they would, however, 
have acquired another tongue or two, that, being in modern 
use, might be serviceable to them in common life. 

After ten years' absence from Boston, and having become 
easy in my circumstances, I made a journey thither to visit 
my relations, which I could not sooner well afford. In 
returning, I call'd at Newport to see my brother, then settled 
thdre with his printing-house. Our former differences were 
forgotten, and our meeting was very cordial and affec- 
tionate. He was fast declining in his health, and requested 
of me that, in case of his death, which he apprehended not 
far distant, I would take home his son, then but ten years 
of age, and bring him up to the printing business. This I 
accordingly perform'd, sending him a few years to school 
before I took him into the office. His mother carried on 
the business till he was grown up, when I assisted him with 
an assortment of new types, those of his father being in a 
manner worn out. Thus it was that I made my brother 
ample amends for the service I had depriv'd him of by 
leaving him so early. 

In 1736 I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four years 
old, by the small-pox, taken in the common way. I long 
regretted bitterly, and 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 introducin, 
without exce : 
number, viz., 
a rule to keep ; 
observ'd; the i 
persons for ad 
find it difficult . 
against any adc 
in writing a pr 
endeavor to fo^ 
respecting quer 
connection with 
the improvemen 
of our institutic 
sentiments of th 
member might j 
was to report to 
the promotion of 
extensive recommt 
in public affairs, a 
thro' the several c 

The project j'o «-- 
to form his club, but l 
only were compleated, w 
as the Vine, the Union, t 
themselves, and afforded 
information, and instruction 
considerable degree, our vie 
opinion on particular occasion:^ 
instances in course of time as i. 

My first promotion was my beix- 
of the General Assembly. The cho. 
without opposition; but the year foi .. 
again propos'd (the choice, like that of ..' 
annual), a new member made a long speeu 
order to favour some other candidate. I v 
chosen, which was the more agreeable to me, as, 
pay for the immediate service as clerk, the place g 
better opportunity of keeping up an interest amoi.^ 
members, which secur'd to me the business o£ printing 



nal jobbs for 

itable. 

i new member, 

m, with talents 

nfluence in the 

I did not, how- 

/ servile respect 

method. Hav- 

ain very scarce 

expressing my 

ig he would do 

' days. He sent 

^t a week with 

J of the favour. 

to me (which he 

civility; and he 

J me on all occa- 

<nd our friendship 

iv instance of the 

ich says, ''He that 

re ready to do you 

yje obliged." And it 

iS prudently to remove, 

J inimical proceedings. 

ite governor of Virginia, 

Ag dissatisfied with the con- 

.phia, respecting some negli- 

,:actitude of his accounts, took 

ad offered it to me. I accepted 

jf great advantage; for, tho' the 

acilitated the correspondence that 

^r, increas'd the number demanded, as 

cments to be inserted, so that it came to 

jerable income. My old competitor's news- 

proportionably, and I was satisfy'd without 

.s refusal, while postmaster, to permit my papers 

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

^lect in due accounting; and I mention it as a lesson 

.lose young men who may be employed in managing 

aairs for others, that they should alv^^ays render accounts. 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 103 

and make remittances, with great clearness and punctuality. 
The character of observing such a conduct is the most 
powerful of all recommendations to new employments and 
increase of business. 

I began now to turn my thoughts a little to public affairs, 
beginning, however, with small matters. The city watch 
was one of the first things that I conceiv'd to want regula- 
tion. It was managed by the constables of the respective 
wards in turn; the constable warned a number of house- 
keepers to attend him for the night. Those who chose never 
to attend paid him six shillings a year to be excus'd, which 
was suppos'd to be for hiring substitutes, but was, in reality, 
much more than was necessary for that purpose, and made 
the constableship a place of profit; and the constable, for a 
little drink, often got such ragamuffins about him as a watch, 
that respectable housekeepers did not choose to mix with. 
Walking the rounds, too, was often neglected, and most o£ 
the nights spent in tippling. I thereupon wrote a paper to 
be read in Junto, representing these irregularities, but insist- 
ing more particularly on the inequality of this six-shilling 
tax of the constables, respecting the circumstances of those 
who paid it, since a poor widow housekeeper, all whose 
property to be guarded by the watch did not perhaps exceed 
the value of fifty pounds, paid as much as the wealthiest 
merchant, who had thousands of pounds' worth of goods 
in his stores. 

On the whole, I proposed as a more effectual watch, the 
hiring of proper men to serve constantly in that business; 
and as a more equitable way of supporting the charge the 
levying a tax that should be proportion'd to the property. 
This idea, being approv'd by the Junto, was communicated 
to the other clubs, but as arising in each of them; and 
though the plan was not immediately carried into execution, 
yet, by preparing the minds of people for the change, it 
paved the way for the law obtained a few years after, v/hen 
the members of our clubs were grown into more influence. 

About this time I wrote a paper (first to be read in 
Junto, but it was afterward publish'd) on the different acci- 
dents and carelessnesses by which houses were set on fire, 
with cautions against them,, and means proposed of avoiding 



104 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

them. This was much spoken of as a useful piece, and gave 
rise 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 transporting of goods), which 
were to be brought to every fire; and we agreed to meet 
oace a month and spend a social evening together, in dis^ 
coursing and comm.unicating such ideas as occurred to us 
upon the subject of fires, as might be useful in our conduct 
on such occasions. 

The utiHty of this institution soon appeared, and many 
more desiring to be admitted than we thought convenient for 
one company, they Vv^ere advised to form another, which was 
accordingly done ; and this went on, one new company being 
formed after another, till they became so numerous as to 
include most of the inhabitants who were men of property; 
and now, at the time of my writing this, tho' upward of 
fifty years since its establishment, that which I first formed, 
called 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 meetings 
have been apply'd to the purchase of fire-engines, ladders, 
fire-hooks, and other useful implements for each company, 
so that I question whether there is a city in the world better 
provided with the means of putting a stop to beginning con- 
flagrations ; and, in fact, since these institutions, the city has 
never lost by fire more than one or two houses at a time, 
and the flames have often been extinguished before the 
house in which they began has been half consumed. 

In 1739 arrived among us from Ireland the Reverend Mr. 
Whitefidd, who had made himself remarkable there as an 
itinerant preacher. He was at first permitted to preach in 
some of our churches; but the clergy, taking a dislike to 
him, soon refus'd him their p.ulpits, and he was oblig'd to 
pre;a.ch in the fields. The multitudes of all sects and denomi- 



HIS AUTOBIOGBAPHY 105 

nations that attended his sermons were enormous^ and it 
was matter of speculation to me, who was one of the num- 
ber, to observe the extraordinary influence of his oratory on 
his hearers, and how much they admir'd and respected him, 
notwithstanding his common abuse of them, by assuring 
them that they were naturally half beasts and half devils. 
It was wonderful to see the change soon made in the man- 
ners of our inhabitants. From being thoughtless or indif- 
ferent about religion, it seem'd as if all the world were 
growing religious, so that one could not walk thro' the 
town in an evening without hearing psalms sung in different 
families of every street. 

And it being found inconvenient to assemble in the open 
air, subject to its inclemencies, the building of a house to 
meet in was no sooner propos'd, and persons appointed to 
receive contributions, but sufficient sums were soon receiv'd 
to procure the ground and erect the building, which was one 
hundred feet long and seventy broad, about the size of 
Westminster Hall; and the work was carried on with such 
spirit as to be finished in a much shorter time than could 
have been expected. Both house and ground were vested 
in trustees, expressly for the use of any preacher of any 
religious persuasion who might desire to say something to 
the people at Philadelphia ; the design in building not being 
to accommodate any particular sect, but the inhabitants in 
general; so that even if the Mufti of Constantinople were 
to send a missionary to preach Mohammedanism to us, he 
would find a pulpit at his service. 

Mr. Whitefield, in leaving us, went preaching all the way 
thro' the colonies to Georgia. The settlement of that 
province had lately been begun, but, instead of being made 
with hardy, industrious husbandmen, accustomed to labor, 
the only people fit for such an enterprise, it was with families 
of broken shop-keepers and other insolvent debtors, many 
of indolent and idle habits, taken out of the jails, who, being 
set down in the woods, unqualified for clearing land, and 
unable to endure the hardships of a new settlement, perished 
in numbers, leaving many helpless children unprovided for. 
The sight of their miserable situation inspir'd the benevolent 
heart of Mr. Whitefield with the idea of building an Orphan 



106 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

House there, in which they might be supported and educated. 
Returning northward, he preach'd up this charity, and made 
large collections, for his eloquence had a wonderful power 
over the hearts and purses of his hearers, of which I myself 
was an instance. 

I did not disapprove of the design, but, as Georgia was 
then destitute of materials and workmen, and it was pro- 
posed to send them from Philadelphia at a great expense, 
I thought it would have been better to have built the house 
here, and brought the children to it. This I advis'd; but 
he was resolute in his first project, rejected my counsel, and 
I therefore refus'd to contribute. I happened soon after to 
attend one of his sermions, in the course of which I per- 
ceived he intended to finish with a collection, and I silently 
resolved he should get nothing from me. I had in my pocket 
a handful of copper money, three or four silver dollars, and 
five pistoles in gold. As he proceeded I began to soften, 
and concluded to give the coppers. Another stroke of his 
oratory made me asham'd of that, and determin'd me to 
give the silver ; and he finished so admirably, that I empty'd 
my pocket wholly into the collector's dish, gold and all. At 
this sermon there was also one of our club, who, being of 
my sentiments respecting the building in Georgia, and sus- 
pecting a collection might be intended, had, by precaution, 
emptied his pockets before he cam.e from home. Towards 
the conclusion of the discourse, how^ever, he felt a strong 
desire to give, and apply'd to a neighbour, who stood near 
him, to borrow some money for the purpose. The applica- 
tion was unfortunately [made] to perhaps the only man in 
the company who had the firmness not to be affected by the 
preacher. His ansvv^er was, ^' At any other time, Friend 
Hopkinson, I would lend to thee freely; hut not now, for 
thee seems to he out of thy right senses." 

Some of Mr. Whitefield's enemies affected to suppose that 
he would apply these collections to his own private emolu- 
ment; but I who was intimately acquainted v/ith him (being 
employed in printing his Sermons and Journals, etc.), never 
had the least suspicion of his integrity, but am to this day 
decidedly of opinion that he was in all his conduct a per- 
fectly honest man; and metliinks my testimony in his favour 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 107 

ought to have the more weight, as we had no rehgious con- 
nection. He us'd, indeed, sometimes to pray for my conver- 
sion, but never had the satisfaction of believing that his 
prayers were heard. Ours was a mere civil friendship, sin- 
cere on both sides, and lasted to his death. 

The following instance will show something of the terms 
on which we stood. Upon one of his arrivals from England 
at Boston, he wrote to me that he should come soon to 
Philadelphia, but knew not where he could lodge when there, 
as he understood his old friend and host, Mr. Benezet, was 
removed to Germantown. My answer was, " You know my 
house; if you can make shift with its scanty accommoda- 
tions, you will be most heartily welcome." He reply'd, that 
if I made that kind offer for Christ's sake, I should not miss 
of a reward. And I returned, "Don't let me he mistaken; 
it was not for Christ's sake, hut for your sake." One of our 
common acquaintance jocosely remark'd, that, knowing it to 
be the custom of the saints, when they received any favour, 
to shift the burden of the obligation from off their own 
shoulders, and place it in heaven, I had contrived to fix it 
on earth. 

The 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, observ'd the most exact silence. He 
preach'd one evening from the top of the Court-house steps, 
which are in the middle of Market-street, and on the west 
side of Second-street, which crosses it at right angles. Both 
streets were fill'd with his hearers to a considerable 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 semi- 
circle, of which my distance should be the radius, and that 
it were fill'd with auditors, to each of whom I allow'd two 
square feet, I computed that he might well be heard by 



108 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

more than thirty thousand. This reconcil'd me to the news- 
paper accounts of his having preach'd to twenty-five thousand 
people in the fields, and to the antient histories of generals 
haranguing whole armies, of which I had sometimes doubted. 

By hearing him often, T came to distinguish easily between 
sermons newly compos'd, and those which he had often 
preach'd in the course of his travels. His delivery of the 
latter was so improv'd by frequent repetitions that every 
accent, every em.phasis, every modulation of voice, was so 
perfectly well turn'd and well plac'd, that, without being in- 
terested in the subject, one could not help being pleas'd with 
the discourse; a pleasure of much the same kind with that 
receiv'd from an excellent piece of musick. This is an 
advantage itinerant preachers have over those who are sta- 
tionary, as the latter can not well improve their delivery of 
a sermon by so many rehearsals. 

Kis writing and printing from time to time gave great 
advantage to his enemies; unguarded expressions, and even 
erroneous opinions, delivered in preaching, might have been 
afterwards explain'd or qualifi'd by supposing others that 
might have accompani'd them^ or they might have been 
deny'd; but lifera scripta manet. Critics attack'd his writings 
violently, and with so much appearance of reason as to 
diminish the number of his votaries and prevent their en- 
crease; so that I am of opinion if he had never written any 
thing, he would have left behind him a much more num.erous 
and important sect, and his reputation might in that case 
have been still growing, even after his death, as there being 
nothing of his writing on which to found a censure and give 
him a lower character, his proselytes would be left at liberty 
to feign for him as great a variety of excellence as their 
enthusiastic admiration might wish him to have possessed. 

My business was now continually augmenting, and my 
circumstances growing daily easier, my newspaper having 
become very profitable, as being for a time alm^ost the only 
one in this and the neighbouring provinces. I experienced, 
too, the truth of the observation, '' that after getting the iirst 
hundred pounds it is more easy to get the second," money 
itself being of a prolific nature. 

The partnership at Carolina having succeeded, I was en- 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 109 

courag'd to engage in others, and to promote several of my 
workmen, who had behaved well, by establishing them with 
printing-houses in different colonies, on the same terms with 
that in Carolina. Most of them did well, being enabled at 
the end of our term, six years, to purchase the types of me 
and go on working for themselves, by which means several 
families were raised. Partnerships often finish in quarrels; 
but I was happy in this, that mine were all carried on and 
ended amicably, owing, I think, a good deal to the precau- 
tion of having very explicitly settled, in our articles, every 
thing to be done by or expected from each partner, so that 
there was nothing to dispute, which precaution I would 
therefore recommend to all who enter into partnerships ; for, 
whatever esteem partners may have for, and confidence in 
each other at the time of the contract, little jealousies and 
disgusts may arise, with ideas of inequality in the care and 
burden of the business, etc., which are attended often with 
breach of friendship and of the connection, perhaps with 
lawsuits and other disagreeable consequences. 

I had, on the whole, abundant reason to be satisfied with 
my being established in Pennsylvania. There were, however, 
two things that I regretted, there being no provision for 
defense, nor for a compleat education of youth; no militia, 
nor any college. I therefore, in 1743, drew up a proposal 
for establishing an academy; and at that time, thinking the 
Reverend Mr. Peters, who was out of employ, a fit person 
to superintend such an institution, I communicated the project 
to him; but he, having more profitable views in the service 
of the proprietaries, which succeeded, declin'd the under- 
taking; and, not knowing another at that time suitable for 
such a trust, I let the scheme lie a while dormant. I suc- 
ceeded better the next year, 1744, in proposing and establish- 
ing a Philosophical Society. The paper I wrote for that 
purpose will be found among my writings, when collected. 

With respect to defense, Spain having been several years 
at war against Great Britain, and being at length joln'd by 
France, which brought us into great danger; and the 
laboured and long-continued endeavour of our govenKJr, 
Thomas, to prevail with our Quaker Assembly to pass a 
militia law, and make other provisions for the security of 



110 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

the province, having proved abortive, I determined to tr^ 
•what might be done by a voluntary association of the people. 
To promote this, I first wrote and published a pamphlet, 
entitled 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 generally signed for that purpose. 
The pamphlet had a sudden and surprising effect. I was 
call'd upon for the instrument of association, and having 
settled the draft of it with a few friends, I appointed a 
meeting of the citizens in the large building before mentioned. 
The house was pretty full; I had prepared a number of 
printed copies, and provided pens and ink dispers'd all over 
the room. I harangued them a little on the subject, read the 
paper, and explained it, and then distributed the copies, which 
were eagerly signed, not the least objection being made. 

When the company separated, and the papers were col- 
lected, we found above twelve hundred hards; and, other 
copies being dispersed in the country, the subscribers 
amounted at length to upward of ten thousand. These all 
furnished themselves as soon as they could with arms, formed 
themselves into companies and regiments, chose their own 
officers, and met every week to be instructed in the manual 
exercise, and other parts of military discipline. The women, 
by subscriptions among themselves, provided silk colors, 
which they presented to the companies, painted with different 
devices and mottos, which I supplied. 

The officers of the companies composing the Philadelphia 
regiment, being met, chose me for their colonel; but, con- 
ceiving myself unfit, I declin'd that station, and recom- 
mended Mr. Lawrence, a fine person, and man of influence, 
who was accordingly appointed. I then proposed a lottery 
to defray the expense of building a battery below the town, 
and furnishing it with cannon. It filled expeditiously, and 
the battery was soon erected, the merlons being fram'd of 
logs and fiU'd with earth. We bought some old cannon 
from Boston, but, these not being sufficient, v/e wrote to 
England for more, soliciting, at the same time, our proprie- 
taries for some assistance, tho' without much expectation o£ 
obtaining it. 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 111 

Meanwhile, Colonel Lawrence, William Allen, Abram 
Taylor, Esqr., and myself were sent to New York hy the 
associators, comm.ission'd to borrow some cannon of Gov- 
ernor Clinton. He at first refus'd us peremptorily; but at 
dinner with his council, where there was great drinking of 
Madeira wine, as the custom of that place then was, he 
softened by degrees, and said he would lend us six. After 
a few more bumpers he advanced to ten; and at length he 
very good-naturedly conceded eighteen. They were fine 
cannon, eighteen-pounders, with their carriages, which we 
soon transported and mounted on our battery, where the 
associators kept a nightly guard while the war lasted, and 
among the rest I regularly took my turn of duty there as a 
common soldier. 

My activity in these operations was agreeable to the gov- 
ernor and council; they took me into confidence, and I 
was consulted by them in every measure wherein their con- 
currence was thought useful to the association. Calling in 
the aid of religion, I proposed to them the proclaiming a 
fast, to promote reformation, and implore the blessing of 
Heaven on our undertaking. They embrac'd the motion; 
but, as it was the first fast ever thought of in the province, 
the secretary had no precedent from which to draw the 
proclamation. My education in New England, where a fast 
is proclaimed every year, was here of some advantage: I 
drev/ it in the accustomed stile, it was translated into Ger- 
man, printed in both languages, and divulg'd thro' the 
province. This gave the clergy of the different sects an 
opportunity of influencing their congregations to join in the 
association, and it would probably have been general among 
all but Quakers if the peace had not soon interven'd. 

It was thought by some of my friends that, by my activity 
in these affairs, I should offend that sect, and thereby lose 
my interest in the Assembly of the province, where they 
formed a great majority. A young gentleman who had like- 
wise some friends in the House, and v/ished to succeed me as 
their clerk, acquainted me that it was decided to displace me 
at the next election ; and he, therefore, in good will, advis'd 
me to resign, as more consistent with my honour than being 
turn'd out. My answer to him was, that I had read or 



112 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN | 

heard of some public man who made it a rule never to a$k 
for an office, and never to refuse one when offer'd to him. 
" I approve/' says I, " of his rule, and will practice it with 
a small addition; I shall never ask, never refuse, nor ever 
resign an office. If they will have my office of clerk to dis-' 
pose of to another, they shall take it from me. I will not, 
by giving it up, lose my right of some time or other making 
reprisals on my adversaries." I heard, however, no more 
of this; I was chosen again unanimously as usual at the 
next election. Possibly, as they dislik'd my late intimacy 
with the mem.bers of council, who had join'd the governors 
in all the disputes about military preparations, with which 
the House had long been harass'd, they might have been 
pleas'd if I would voluntarily have left them; but they did 
not care to displace me on account merely of my zeal for 
the association, and they could not well give another reason. 

Indeed I had some cause to believe that the defense of 
the country was not disagreeable to any of them, provided 
they were not requir'd to assist in it. And I found that a 
much greater number of them than I could have imagined, 
tho' against offensive war, were clearly for the defensive. 
Many pamphlets pro and con were publish'd on the subject, 
and some by good Quakers, in favour of defense, which I 
believe convinc'd most of their younger people. 

A transaction in our fire company gave me some insight 
into their prevailing sentiments. It had been proposed that 
we should encourage the scheme for building a battery by 
laying out the present stock, then about sixty pounds, in 
tickets of the lottery. By our rules, no money could be 
dispos'd of till the next meeting after the proposal. The 
company consisted of thirty members, of which twenty-two 
were Quakers, and eight only of other persuasions. We eight 
punctually attended the meeting; but, tho' we thought that 
some of the Quakers would join us, v/e were by no mxeans 
sure of a majority. Only one Quaker, Mr. James Morris, 
appear'd to oppose the measure. He expressed much sorrow 
that it had ever been proposed, as he said Friends were all 
against it, and it would create such discord as might break 
up the company. We told him that we saw no reason for 
that; we were the minority, and if Friends were against 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 113 

the measure, and outvoted us, we must and should, agreeably 
to the usage of all societies, submit. When the hour for 
business arriv'd it was mov'd to put the vote; he allo-'-v'd we 
might then do it by the rules, but, as he could assure us 
that a number of members intended to be present for the 
purpose of opposing it, it would be but candid to allow a 
little time for their appearing. 

While we were disputing this, a waiter came to tell me 
two gentlemen below desir'd to speak with me. I went down, 
and found they were two of our Quaker members. They 
told me there were eight of them assembled at a tavern 
just by; that they were determin'd to come and vote with 
us if there should be occasion, which they hop'd would not 
be the case, and desir'd we would not call for their assistance 
if we could do without it, as their voting for such a measure 
might embroil them with their elders and friends. Being 
thus secure of a majority, I went up, and after a little seem- 
ing hesitation, agreed to a delay of another hour. This Mr. 
Morris allow'd to be extreamly fair. Not one of his oppos- 
ing friends appear'd, at which he express'd great surprize; 
and, at the expiration of the hour, we carry'd the resolution 
eight to one ; and as, of the twenty-two Quakers, eight were 
ready to vote with us, and thirteen, by their absence, mani- 
fested that they were not inclin'd to oppose the measure, 
I afterv/ard estimated the proportion of Quakers sincerely 
against defense as one to twenty-one only; for these were 
all regular members of that society, and in good reputation 
among them, and had due notice of what was propos'd at 
that meeting. 

The honorable and learned Mr. Logan, who had always 
been of that sect, was one who wrote an address to them, 
declaring his approbation of defensive war, and supporting 
his opinion by many strong argum.ents. He put into my 
hands sixty pounds to be laid out in lottery tickets for the 
battery, with directions to apply what prizes might be drawn 
wholly to that service. He told me the following anecdote 
of his old master, V/illiam Penn, respecting defense. He 
came over from England, when a young man, with that 
proprietary, and as his secretary. It was v/ar-time, and their 
ship 3?vas chas'd by an armed vessel, suppos'd to be an enemy. 



114 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

Their captain prepar'd for defense; but told William Penn, 
and his company of Quakers, that he did not expect their 
assistance, and they might retire into the cabin, which they 
did, except James Logan, who chose to stay upon deck, and 
was quarter'd to a gun. The suppos'd enemy prov'd a 
friend, so there was no fighting; but when the secretary 
went down to communicate the intelligence, William Penn 
rebuk'd him severely *f or staying upon deck, and undertaking 
to assist in defending the vessel, contrary to the principles of 
Friends, especially as it had not been required by the cap- 
tain. This reproof^ being before all the company, piqu'd the 
secretary, who answer'd, ''I being thy servant, why did thee 
not order me to come down? But thee was willing enough 
that I should stay and help to fight the ship when thee thought 
there was danger." 

My being many years in the Assembly, the majority of 
which were constantly Quakers, gave me frequent oppor- 
tunities of seeing the embarrassment given them by their 
principle against war, whenever application was made to 
them, by order of the crown, to grant aids for military pur- 
poses. They were unwilling to offend government, on the 
one hand, by a direct refusal ; and their friends, the body 
of the Quakers, on the other^ by a compliance contrary to 
their principles; hence a variety of evasions to avoid com- 
plying, and modes of disguising the com.pliance when it be- 
came unavoidable. The com.mon mode at last was, to grant 
money under the phrase of its being ''for the king's use" 
and never to inquire how it was applied. 

But, if the demand was not directly from the crown, that 
phrase was found not so proper, and some other was to be 
invented. As, when powder was wanting (I think it wa3 
for the garrison at Louisburg), and the government of New 
England solicited a grant of some from Pennsilvania, which 
was much urg'd on the House by Governor Thomas, they 
could not grant money to buy powder, because that was an 
ingredient of war; but they voted an aid to New England 
of three thousand pounds, to be put into the hands of the 
governor, and appropriated it for the purchasing of bread, 
flour, wheat, or other grain. Some of the council, desirous 
of giving the House still further embarrassment, advis'd 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 115 

the governor not to accept provision, as not being the thing 
he had demanded ; but he reply'd, " I shall take the money, 
for I understand very well their meaning; other grain is 
gunpowder," which he accordingly bought, and they never 
objected to it/° 

It was in allusion to this fact that, when in our fire com- 
pany we feared the success of our proposal in favour of the 
lottery, and I had said to my friend Mr, Syng, one of our 
members, " If we fail, let us move the purchase of a fire- 
engine with the money; the Quakers can have no objection 
to that; and then, if you nominate me and I you as a commit- 
tee for that purpose, we will buy a great gun, which is cer- 
tainly a -fire-engine/' " I see," says he, " you have imiprov'd 
by being so long in the Assembfy; your equivocal project 
would be just a match for their wheat or other grain." 

These embarrassm^ents that the Quakers suffer'd from 
having establish'd and published it as one of their principles 
that no kind of war was lawful, and which, being once pub- 
lished, they could not afterwards, however they might change 
their minds, easily get rid of, reminds mc of what I think a 
more prudent conduct in another sect among tis, that of the 
Dunkers. I v/as acquainted with one of its founders, Michael 
Welfare, soon after it appear'd. He complain'd to me that 
they were grievously calumniated by the zealots of other 
persuasions, and charg'd with abominable principles and prac- 
tices, to which they were utter strangers. I told him this 
had always been the case with new sects, and that, to put 
a stop to such abuse, I imagin'd it might be well to publish 
the articles of their belief, and the rules of their discipline. 
He said that it had been propos'd among them, but not 
agreed to, for this reason : " When we were first drawn 
together as a society," says he, " it had pleased God to 
enlighten our minds so far as to see that some doctrines, 
which we once esteem.ed truths, v/ere errors; and that 
others, which we had esteem.ed errors, were real truths. 
From time to time He has been pleased to afford us farther 
light, and our principles have been improving, and our errors 
diminishing. Now we are not sure that we are arrived at 
the end of this progression, and at the perfection of spiritual 
1° See the votes.— [Mar^. note.'i 



116 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

or theological knowledge; and we fear that, if we should 
once print our confession of faith, we should feel ourselves 
as if bound and confin'd by it, and perhaps be unwilling 
to receive farther improvement, and our successors still 
more so, as conceiving what we their elders and founders 
had done, to be something sacred, never to be departed 
from." 

This modesty in a sect is perhaps a singular instance in 
the history of mankind, every other sect supposing itself in 
possession of all truth, and that those who differ are so far 
in the wrong; like a man traveling in foggy weather, those 
at some distance before him on the road he sees wrapped 
up in the fog, as well as those behind him, and also the 
people in the fields on each side, but near him all appears 
clear, tho' in truth he is as much in the fog as any of them. 
To avoid this kind of embarrassment, the Quakers have of 
late years been gradually declining the public service in the 
Assembly and in the magistracy, choosing rather to quit 
their power than their principle. 

In order of time, I should have mentioned before, that 
having, in 1742, invented an open stove for the better warm- 
ing of rooms, and at the same time saving fuel, as the fresh 
air admitted was warmed in entering, I made a present of 
the model to Mr. Robert Grace, one of my early friends, 
who, having an iron-furnace, found the casting of the plates 
for these stoves a profitable thing, as they were growing in 
demand. To promote that demand, I wrote and published a 
^|5amphlet, entitled "An Account of the new-invented 
^Pennsylvania Fireplaces; wherein their Construction and 
Manner of Operation is particularly explained; their 
Advantages above every other Method of warming Rooms 
demonstrated; and all Objections that have been raised 
against the Use of them answered and obviated" etc. This 
pamphlet had a good effect. Gov'r. Thomas was so pleas'd 
with the construction of this stove, as described in it, that 
he offered to give me a patent for the sole vending of them 
for a term of years ; but I declin'd it from a principle which 
has ever Vv^eighed with me on such occasions, viz.. That, as 
we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, 
'we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 117 

invention of ours; and this we should do freely and 
generously. 

An ironmonger in London however, assuming a good deal 
of my pamphlet, and working it up into his own, and making 
some small changes in the machine, which rather hurt its 
operation, got a patent for it there, and made, as I was told, 
a little fortune by it. And this is not the only instance of 
patents taken out for m.y inventions by others, tho' not 
always with the same success, which I never contested, as 
having no desire of profiting by patents myself, and hating 
disputes. The use of these fireplaces in very many houses, 
both of this and the neighbouring colonies, has been, and is, 
a great saving of wood to the inhabitants. 

Peace being concluded, and the association business there- 
fore at an end, I turn'd my thoughts again to the affair of 
establishing an academy. The first step I took was to asso- 
ciate in the design a number of active friends, of whom the 
Junto furnished a good part; the next was to v/rite and 
publish a pamphlet, entitled Proposals Relating to the 
Education of Youth in Pennsylvania. This I distributed 
among the principal inhabitants gratis; and as soon as I 
could suppose their minds a little prepared by the perusal 
of it, I set on foot a subscription for opening and supporting 
an academy; it was to be paid in quotas yearly for five 
years; by so dividing it, I judg'd the subscription might be 
larger, and I believe it was so, amounting to no less, if I 
remember right, than five thousand pounds. 

In the introduction to these proposals, I stated their pub- 
lication, not as an act of mine, but of some puhlick-spirifed 
gentlemen, avoiding as much as I could, according to m;^ 
usual rule, the presenting myself to the publick as the author 
of any scheme for their benefit. 

The subscribers, to carry the project into immediate 
execution, chose out of their number twenty-four trustees, 
and appointed Mr. Francis, then attorney-general, and my- 
self to draw up constitutions for the government of the 
academy; which being done and signed, a house v/as hired, 
masters engag'd, and the schools opened, I think, in the 
same year, 1749. 

The scholars increasing fast, the house was soon found 



118 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

too small, and we were looking out for a piece of ground, 
properly situated, with intention to build, when Providence 
threw into our way a large house ready built, which, with a 
few alterations, might well serve our purpose. This was 
the building before mentioned, erected by the hearers of Mr. 
Whitefield, and was obtained for us in the following manner. 

It is to be noted that the contributions to this building 
being made by people of different sects, care was taken in 
the nomination of trustees, in whom the building and ground 
was to be vested, that a predominancy should not be given 
to any sect, lest in time that predominancy might be a means 
of appropriating the whole to the use of such sect, contrary 
to the original intention. It was therefore that one of each 
sect was appointed, viz., one Church-of-England man, one 
Presbyterian, one Baptist, one Moravian, etc., those, in case 
of vacancy by death, were to fill it by election from among 
the contributors. The Moravian happen'd not to please his 
colleagues, and on his death they resolved to have no other 
of that sect. The difficulty then was, how to avoid having 
two of some other sect, by means of the new choice. 

Several persons were named, and for that reason not 
agreed to. At length one mentioned me, with the observation 
that I was merely an honest man, and of no sect at all, 
which prevail'd with them to chuse me. The enthusiasm 
which existed when the house was built had long since 
abated, and its trustees had not been able to procure fresh 
contributions for paying the ground-rent, and discharging 
some other debts the building had occasion'd, which embar- 
rass'd them greatly. Being now a member of both setts of 
trustees, that for the building and that for the Academy, 
I had a good opportunity of negotiating with both, and 
brought them finally to an agreement, by which the trustees 
for the building were to cede it to those of the academy, the 
latter undertaking to discharge the debt, to keep for ever 
open in the building a large hall for occasional preachers, 
according to the original intention, and maintain a free- 
school for the instruction of poor children. Writings were 
accordingly drawn, and on paying the debts the trustees of 
the academy were put in possession of the premises; and 
by dividing the great and lofty hall into stories, and dif- 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 119 

ferent rooms above and below for the several schools, and 
purchasing some additional ground, the whole was soon 
made fit for our purpose, and the scholars remov'd into the 
building. The care and trouble of agreeing with the work- 
men, purchasing materials, and superintending the work, 
fell upon me; and I went thro' it the more cheerfully, as 
it did not then interfere with my private business, having 
the year before taken a very able, industrious, and honest 
partner, Mr. David Hall, with whose character I was well 
acquainted, as he had work'd for me four years. He took 
off my hands all care of the printing-office, paying me punc- 
tually my share of the profits. This partnership continued 
eighteen years, successfully for us both. 

The trustees of the academy, after a while, were incor- 
porated by a charter from the governor; their funds were 
increas'd by contributions in Britain and grants of land from 
the proprietaries, to which the Assembly has since made 
considerable addition; and thus was established the present 
University of Philadelphia. I have been continued one of 
its trustees from the beginning, now near forty years, and 
have had the very great pleasure of seeing a number of the 
youth who have received their education in it, distinguish'd 
by their improv'd abilities, serviceable in public stations, and 
ornaments to their country. 

When I disengaged myself, as above mentioned, from 
private business, I flatter'd myself that, by the sufficient tho' 
moderate fortune I had acquir'd, I had secured leisure dur- 
ing the rest of my life for philosophical studies and amuse- 
ments. I purchased all Dr. Spence's apparatus, who had 
come from England to lecture here, and I proceeded in my 
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 
almost at the same time, imposing some duty upon me. The 
governor put me into the commission of the peace; the cor- 
poration of the city chose m.e of the common council, and 
soon after an alderman; and the citizens at large chose me 
a burgess to represent them in Assembly. This latter sta- 
tion was the more agreeable to me, as I was at length 
tired with sitting there to hear debates, in which, as clerk, 



120 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

I could take no part, and which were often so unentertain- 
ing that I was hiduc'd to amuse myself with making magic 
squares or circles, or any thing to avoid weariness; and I 
conceiv'd my becoming a member would enlarge my power 
of doing good. I would not, however, insinuate that my 
am.bition was not flatter'd by all these promotions; it cer- 
tainly was; for, considering my low beginning, they were 
great things to me; and they were still more pleasing, as 
being so many spontaneous testimonies of the public good 
opinion, and by me entirely unsolicited. 

The office of justice of the peace I try'd a little, by attend- 
ing a few courts, and sitting on the bench to hear causes; 
but finding that more knowledge of the common law than I 
possess'd was necessary to act in that station with credit, I 
gradually withdrew from it, excusing myself by my being 
oblig'd to attend the higher duties of a legislator in the 
Assembly. My election to this trust was repeated every year 
for ten years, without my ever asking any elector for his 
vote, or signifying, either directly or indirectly, any desire 
of being chosen. On taking my seat in the House, my son 
was appointed their clerk. 

The year following, a treaty being to be held with the 
Indians at Carlisle, the governor sent a message to the 
House, proposing that they should nominate some of their 
members, to be join'd with some members of council, as 
cornxmissioners for that purpose.^ The House named the 
Speaker (Mr. Norris) and myself; and, being commission'd, 
we went to Carlisle, and met the Indians accordingly. 

As those people are extreamly apt to get drunk, and, 
when so, are very quarrelsome and disorderly, we strictly 
forbad the selling any liquor to them; and when they com- 
plain'd of this restriction, we told them that if they would 
continue sober during the treaty, we would give them plenty 
of rum when business was over. They promis'd this, and 
they kept their promise, because they could get no liquor, 
and the treaty was conducted very orderly, and concluded 
to mutual satisfaction. They then claim'd and receiv'd the 
rum; this was in the afternoon; they were near one hun- 
dred men, women, and children, and were lodg'd in tem- 
^ See the votes to have this more correctly.— [Mor^r. note.} 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 121 

porary cabins, huilt in the form of a square, just without 
the town. In the evening, hearing a great noise among 
them, the commissioners walk'd out to see what was the 
matter. We found they had m-ade a great bonfire in the 
middle of the square ; they were all drunk, men and women, 
quarreling and fighting. Their dark-colour'd bodies, half 
naked, seen only by the gloomy light of the bonfire, running 
after and beating one another with firebraads, accompanied 
by their horrid yeiUngs, form'd a scene the most resembling 
our ideas of hell that could well be imagin'd; there was no 
appeasing the tumult, and we retired to our lodging. At 
midnight a number of them came thundering at our door, 
demanding more rum, of which we took no notice. 

The next day, sensible they had misbehav'd in giving us 
that disturbance, they sent three of their old counselors to 
make their apology. The orator acknowledg'd the fault, but 
laid it upon the rum; and then endeavored to excuse th^ 
rum by saying, '' The Great Spirit, who made all things, 
made every thing for sor/te use, and whatever use he 
designed any thing for, that use it should always he put to. 
Now, when he made rum, he said 'Let this he for the In- 
dians to get drunk with,' and it mMst he so.'* And, indeed, 
if it be the design of Providence to extirpate these savages 
in order to make room for cultivators of the earth, it seems 
not improbable that rum may be the appointed means. It 
has already annihilated all the trihes who formerly inhabited 
the sea-coast. 

In 175 1, Dr. Thomas Bond, a particular friend of mine, 
conceived the idea of establishing a hospital in Philadelphia 
(a very beneficent design, which has been ascrib'd to me, but 
was originally his), for the reception and cure of poor sick 
persons, whether inhabitants of the province or strangers. 
He was zealous and active in endeavouring to procure sub- 
scriptions for it, but the proposal being a novelty in America, 
and at first not well understood, he met with but small 
success. 

At length he came to me with the compliment that he 
found there was no such thing as carrying a public-spirited 
project through without my being concern'd in it. "For," 
says he, "I am often ask'd by those to whom I propose 



122 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

subscribing, Have you consulted Franklin upon this busi- 
ness? And what does he think of it? And when I tell 
them that I have not (supposing it rather out of your line), 
they do not subscribe, but say they will consider of it." I 
enquired into the na/ure and probable utility of his schemej 
and receiving from him a very satisfactory explanation, I 
not only subscrib'd to it myself, but engag'd heartily in the 
design of procuring subscriptions from others. Previously, 
however, to the solicitation, I endeavoured to prepare the 
minds of the people by writing on the subject in the news- 
papers, which was my usual custom in such cases, but yvhich 
he had omitted. 

The subscriptions afterwards were more free and gen- 
erous; but, beginning to flag, I saw they would be insuffi- 
cient without some assistance from the Assembly, and there- 
fore propos'd to petition for it, which v/as done. The coun- 
try members did not at first relish the project; they objected 
that it could only be serviceable to the city, and therefore 
the citizens alone should be at the expense of it; and they 
doubted whether the citizens themselves generally approv'd 
of it. My allegation on the contrary, that it met with such 
approbation as to leave no doubt of our being able to raise 
two thousand pounds by voluntary donations, they consid- 
ered as a most extravagant supposition, and utterly im- 
possible. 

On this I f orm'd my plan ; and asking leave to bring in a 
bill for incorporating the contributors according to the 
prayer of their petition, and granting them a blank sum of 
money, which leave was obtained chiefly on the considera- 
tion that the House could throw the bill out if they did not 
like it, I drew it so as to make the important clause a con- 
ditional one, viz., " And be it enacted, by the authority 
aforesaid, that when the said contributors shall have met 
and chosen their managers and treasurer, and shall have 

raised by their contributions a capital stock of value 

(the yearly interest of which is to be applied to the accom- 
modating of the sick poor in the said hospital, free of charge 
for diet, attendance, advice, and medicines), and shall make 
the same appear to the satisfaction of the speaker of the 
Assembly for the tirae being, that then it shall and may be 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 123 

lawful for tHe said speaker, and he is hereby required, to 
sign an order on the provincial treasurer for the payment 
of two thousand pounds, in two yearly payments, to the 
treasurer of the said hospital, to be applied to the founding, 
building, and finishing of the same." 

This condition carried the bill through; for the members, 
who had oppos'd the grant, and now conceiv'd they might 
have the credit of being charitable without the expence, 
agreed to its passage; and then, in soliciting subscriptions 
among the people, we urg'd the conditional premise of the 
law as an additional motive to give, since every man's dona- 
tion would be doubled; thus the clause work'd both ways. 
The subscriptions accordingly soon exceeded the requisite 
sum, and we claim'd and receiv'd the public gift, which 
enabled us to carry the design into execution. A convenient 
and handsome building was soon erected ; the institution has 
by constant experience been found useful, and flourishes to 
this day; and I do not remember any of my political 
manoeuvres, the success of which gave me at the time more 
pleasure, or wherein, after thinking of it, I more easily 
excus'd myself for having made some use of cunning. 

It was about this time that another projector, the Rev. 
Gilbert Tennent, came to me with a request that I would 
assist him in procuring a subscription for erecting a new 
meeting-house. It was to be for the use of a congregation he 
had gathered among the Presbyterians, who were originally 
disciples of Mr. Whitefield. Unwilling to m.ake myself dis- 
agreeable to my fellow-citizens by too frequently soliciting 
their contributions, I absolutely refus'd. He then desired 
I would furnish him with a list of the namxes of persons I 
knew by experience to be generous and public-spirited. I 
thought it would be unbecoming in m.e, after their kind 
compliance with my solicitations, to mark them out to be 
worried by other beggars, and therefore refus'd also to give 
such a list. He then desir'd I would at least give him my 
advice. " That I will readily do," said I ; " and, in the first 
place, I advise you to apply to all those whom you know 
will give something; next, to those whom you are uncertain 
whether they will give any thing or not, and show them the 
list of those who have given; and, lastly, do not neglect 



124 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

those who you are sure will give nothing-, for in some of 
them you may be mistal^en." He laugh'd and thank'd me, 
and said he would take m.y advice. He did so, for he ask'd 
of everybody, and he obtained a much larger sum than he 
expected, with which he erected the capacious and very; 
elegant meeting-house that stands in Arch-street. 

Our city, tho' laid out with a beautiful regularity, the 
streets large, strait, and crossing each other at right angles, 
had the disgrace of suffering those streets to remain long 
unpav'd, and in wet weather the wheels of heavy carriages 
plough'd them into a quagmire, so that it was difficult to 
cross them; and in dry weather the dust was offensive. I 
had liv'd near what was call'd the Jersey Market, and saw 
with pain the inhabitants wading in mud while purchasing 
their provisions. A strip of ground down the middle of 
that market was at length pav'd with brick, so that, being 
once in the market, they had firm footing, but were often 
over shoes in dirt to get there. By talking and writing on 
the subject, I was at length instrumental in getting the 
street pav'd v^ith stone between the market and the brick'd 
foot-pavem.ent, that was on each side next the houses. This, 
for some time, gave an easy access to the market dry-shod; 
but, the rest of the street not being pav'd, whenever a 
carriage came out of the mud upon this pavement, it shook 
off and left its dirt upon it, and it was soon cover'd with 
mire, which was not remov'd, the city as yet having no 
scavengers. 

After some inquiry I found a poor industrious man, who 
was willing to undertake keeping the pavement clean, by 
sweeping it twice a week, carrying off the dirt from before 
all the neighbours' doors, for the sum of sixpence per month, 
to be paid by each house. I then wrote and printed a paper 
setting forth the advantages to the neighbourhood that might 
be obtain'd by this small expense; the greater ease in keep- 
ing our houses clean, so much dirt not being brought in by 
people's feet; the benefit to the shops by more custom, etc., 
etc., as buyers could more easily get at them; and by not 
having, in windy weather, the dust blown in upon their 
goods, etc., etc. I sent one of these papers to each house, 
and in a day or two went round to see who would subscribe 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 125 

an agreement to pay these sixpences; it was unanimously 
sign'd, and for a time well executed. All the inhabitants 
of the city were delighted with the cleanliness of the pave- 
ment that surrounded the market, it being a convenience to 
all and this rais'd a general desire to have all the streets 
paved, and made the people more willing to submit to a tax 
for that purpose. 

After some time I drew a bill for paving the city, and 
brought it into the Assembly. It was just before I went 
to England, in 1757-, and did not pass till I was gone,^ and 
then with an alteration in the mode of assessment, which 
I thought not for the better, but with an additional provision 
for lighting as well as paving the streets, which was a 
great improvement. It was by a private person, the late 
Mr. John Clifton, his giving a sample of the utility of lamps, 
by placing one at his door, that the people were first im- 
press'd with the idea of enlighting all the city. The honotir 
of this public benefit has also been ascrib'd to me, but it 
belongs truly to that gentleman. I did but follow his 
example, and have only some merit to claim respecting 
the form of our lamps^ as differing from the globe lamps 
we were at first supply'd with from London. Those we 
found inconvenient in these respects: they admitted no 
air below; the smoke, therefore, did not readily go out 
above, but circulated in the globe, lodg'd on its inside, and 
soon obstructed the light they were intended to afford; giv- 
ing, besides, the daily trouble of wiping them clean; and an 
accidental stroke on one of them would demolish it, and 
render it totally useless. I therefore suggested the com- 
posing them of four flat panes, with a long funnel above 
to draw up the smoke^ and crevices admitting air below, to 
facilitate the ascent of the smoke; by this means they were 
kept clean, and did not grow dark in a few hours, as the 
London lamps do, but continu'd bright till morning, and 
an accidental stroke would generally break but a single 
pane, easily repair'd. 

I have sometimes wonder'd that the Londoners did not, 
from the effect holes in the bottom of the globe lamps us'd 
at Vauxhall have in keeping them clean, learn to have such 

^ See votes. 



126 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

holes in their street lamps. But, these holes being made 
for another purpose, viz., to communicate flame more sud- 
denly to the wick by a little flax hanging down thro' them, 
the other use, of letting in air, seems not to have been 
thought of; and therefore, after the lamps have been lit 
a few hours, the streets of London are very poorly 
illuminated. 

The mention of these improvements puts me in mnnd of 
one I propos'd, when in London, to Dr. Fothergill, who 
was among the best men I have known, and a great pro- 
moter of useful projects. I had observ'd that the streets, 
when dry, were never swept, and the light dust carried 
away; but it was suffer'd to accumulate till wet weather 
reduc'd it to mud, and then, after lying some days so deep 
on the pavement that there was no crossing but in paths 
kept clean by poor people with brooms, it was with great 
labour rak'd together and thrown up into carts open above, 
the sides of which suffer'd some of the slush at every jolt 
on the pavement to shake out and fall, sometim-cs to the an- 
noyance of foot-passengers. The reason given for not 
sweeping the dusty streets was, that the dust would fly into 
the windows of shops and houses. 

An accidental occurrence had instructed me how much 
sweeping might be done in a little time. I found at my 
door in Craven-street, one morning, a poor woman sweeping 
my pavement with a birch broom; she appeared very pale 
and feeble, as just come out of a fit of sickness. I ask'd 
who employ'd her to sweep there ; she said, " Nobody, but 
I am very poor and in distress, and I sweeps before gen- 
tlefolkses doors, and hopes they will give me something." 
I bid her sweep the whole street clean, and I would give 
her a shilling ; this was at nine o'clock ; at 12 she came for 
the shilling. From the slowness I saw at first in her work- 
ing, I could scarce believe that the work was done so soon, 
and sent m^y servant to examine it, who reported that the 
whole street was swept perfectly clean, and all the dust 
plac'd in the gutter, which was in the middle; and the 
next rain wash'd it quite away, so that the pavement and 
even the kennel v/ere perfectly clean. 

I then judg'd that, if that feeble woman could sweep 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 127 

such a street in three hours, a strong, active man might 
have done it in half the time. And here let me remark the 
convenience of having but one gutter in such a narrow 
street, running down its middle, instead of two, one on each 
side, near the footway; for where all the rain that falls 
on a street runs from the sides and meets in the middle, it 
forms there a current strong enough to wash away all the 
mud it meets with; but when divided into two channels, it 
is often too weak to cleanse either, and only makes the 
mud it finds mxore fluid, so that the wheels of carriages 
and feet of horses throw and dash it upon the foot-pave- 
ment, which is thereby rendered foul and slippery, and some- 
times splash it upon those who are walking. My proposal, 
communicated to the good doctor, was as follows : 

" For the more effectual cleaning and keeping clean the 
streets of London and Westminster, it is proposed that the 
several watchmen be contracted with to have the dust swept 
up in dry seasons, and the mud rak'd up at other times, each 
in the several streets and lanes of his round ; that they be 
furnish'd with brooms and other proper instruments for 
these purposes, to be kept at their respective stands, ready 
to furnish the poor people they may employ in the service. 

" That in the dry summ.er months the dust be all swept 
up into heaps at proper distances, before the shops and 
Vv^indows of houses are usually opened, when the scavengers, 
with close-covered carts, shall also carry it all away. 

" That the mud, when rak'd up, be not left in heaps to 
be spread abroad again by the wheels of carriages and 
trampling of horses, but that the scavengers be provided 
with bodies of carts, not plac'd high upon wheels, but low 
upon sliders, with lattice bottoms, which, being cover'd witH 
straw, will retain the mud thrown into them, and permit the 
water to drain from it, v/hereby it will become much lighter, 
water making the greatest part of its weight; these bodies 
of carts to be plac'd at convenient distances, and the mud 
brought to them in wheel-barrows; they remaining v/here 
plac'd till the mud is drain'd, and then horses brought to 
draw them away." 

I have since had doubts of the practicability of the latter 
part of this proposal, on account of the narrowness of some 



128 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

streets, and the difficulty of placing the draining-sleds so as 
not to encumber too much the passage; but I am still of 
opinion that the former, requiring the dust to be swept up 
and carry'd away before the shops are open, is very prac- 
ticable in the summer, when the days are long; for, in 
walking thro' the Strand and Fleet-street one morning at 
seven o'clock, I observ'd there was not one shop open, tho' 
it had been daylight and the sun up above three hours; the 
inhabitants of London chusing voluntarily to live much by 
candle-light, and sleep by sunshine, and yet often complain, 
a little absurdly, of the duty on candles and the high price 
of tallow. 

Some may think these trifling matters not worth minding 
or relating; but when they consider that tho' dust blown 
into the eyes of a single person, or into a single shop on a 
windy day, is but of small importance, yet the great number 
of the instances in a populous city, and its frequent repeti- 
tions give it weight- and consequence, perhaps they will not 
censure very severely those who bestow some attention to 
affairs of this seemingly low nature. Human felicity is 
produc'd not so much by great pieces of good fortune that 
seldom happen, as by little advantages that occur every 
day. Thus, if you teach a poor young man to shave himself, 
and keep his razor in order, you may contribute more to 
the happiness of his life than in giving him a thousand 
guineas. The money may be soon spent, the regret only 
remaining of having foolishly consumed it ; but in the other 
case, he escapes the frequent vexation of waiting for barbers, 
and of their sometimes dirty fingers, offensive breaths, and 
dull razors; he shaves when most convenient to him, and 
enjoys daily the pleasure of its being done with a good 
instrument. With these sentiments I have hazarded the 
few preceding pages, hoping they may afford hints w^hich 
some time or other may be useful to a city I love, having 
lived many years in it very happily, and perhaps to some 
of our towns in America. 

Having been for some time employed by the postmaster- 
general of America as his comptroller in regulating several 
offices, and bringing the officers to account, I was, upon his 
death in 1753, appointed, jointly with Mr. William Hunter, 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 129 

to succeed him_, by a commission from the postmaster- 
general in England. The American office never had hitherto 
paid any thing to that of Britain. We were to have six 
hundred pounds a year between us, 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 before I was dis- 
plac'd by a freak of the ministers, of which I shall speak 
hereafter, we had brought it to yield three times as much 
clear revenue to the crown as the postoffice of Ireland. 
Since that imprudent transaction, they have receiv'd from 
it — not one farthing ! 

The business of the postoffice occasion'd my taking a 
journey this year to New England, where the College of 
Cambridge, of their own motion, presented me with the 
degree of Master of Arts. Yale College, in Connecticut, 
had before made me a similar compliment. Thus, without 
studying in any college, I came to partake of their honours. 
They were conferr'd in consideration of my improvements 
and discoveries in the electric branch of natural philosophy. 

In 1754, war with France being again apprehended, a 
congress of com.missioners from the different colonies was, 
by an order of the Lords of Trade, to be assembled at Albany, 
there to confer with the chiefs of the Six Nations concern- 
ing the m.eans of defending both their country and ours. 
Governor Hamilton, having receiv'd this order, acquainted 
the House with it, requesting they would furnish proper 
presents for the Indians, to be given on this occasion; and 
naming the speaker (Mr. Norris) and myself to join Mr. 
Thomas Penn and Mr. Secretary Peters as commissioners 
to act for Pennsylvania. The House approv'd the nomina- 
tion, and provided the goods for the present, and tho' they 
did not m.uch like treating out of the provinces; and we 
met the other commissioners at Albany about the middle of 
June. 

In our way thither, I projected and drew a plan for the 
union of all the colonies under one government, so far as 
might be necessary for defense, and other important general 

5 HC— Vol. 1 



130 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

purposes. As we pass'd thro' New York, I had there sfiown 
my project to Mr. James Alexander and Mr. Kennedy, two 
gentlem.en of great knowledge in public affairs, and, being 
fortified by their approbation, I ventur'd to lay it before 
the Congress. It then appeared that several of the com- 
missioners had form'd plans of the same kind. A previous 
question was first taken, whether a union should be estab- 
lished, which pass'd in the afifirmxative unanimously. A com- 
mittee was then appointed, one member from each colony, 
to consider the several plans and report. Mine happen'd to 
be preferr'd, and, v/ith a few amendments, was accordingly 
reported. 

By this plan the general government was to be administered 
by a president-general, appointed and supported by the crown, 
and a grand council was to be chosen by the representa- 
tives of the people of the several colonies, met in their 
respective assemblies. The debates upon it in Congress 
went on daily, hand in hand with the Indian business. 
Many objections and difficulties were started, but at length 
they were 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 singular: the assemblies did not adopt it, as they 
all thought there was too much prerogative in it, and in 
England it was judg'd to have too much of the democratic. 

The Board of Trade therefore did not approve of it, nor 
recommend it for the approbation of his majesty; but 
another scheme was form'd, supposed to answer the same 
purpose better, whereby the governors of the provinces, 
with some mem.bers of their respective councils, were to 
meet and order the raising of troops, building of forts, etc., 
and to draw on the treasury of Great Britain for the expense, 
which was afterwards to be refunded by an act of Parlia- 
ment laying a tax on America. My plan, with my reasons 
in support of it, is to be found among my political papers 
that are printed. 

Being the winter following in Boston, I had m.uch con- 
versation with Governor Shirley upon both the plans. Part 
of what passed between us on the occasion may also be seen 
among those papers. The different and contrary reasons 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 131 

o£ dislike to my plan makes me suspect that it was really 
the true medium; and I am still of opinion it would have 
been happy for both sides the water if it had been adopted. 
The colonies, so united, would have been sufficiently strong 
to have defended themselves; there would then have been 
no need of troops from England; of course, the subsequent 
pretence for taxing America, and the bloody contest it occa- 
sioned, would have been avoided. But such mistakes are 
not new; history is full of the errors of states and princes. 

" Look round the habitable world, how few 
Know their own good, or, knowing it, pursue ! " 

Those who govern, having much business on their hands, 
do not generally like to take the trouble of considering and 
carrying into execution new projects. The best public 
measures are therefore seldom adopted from previous wis- 
dom, hut forc'd by the occasion. 

The Governor of Pennsylvania, in sending it down to the 
Assembly, express'd his approbation of the plan, " as appear- 
ing to him to be drawn up with great clearness and strength 
of judgment, and therefore recommended it as well worthy 
of their closest and most serious attention." The House, 
however, by the management of a certain member, took it 
up when I happen'd to be absent, which I thought not very 
fair, and reprobated it without paying any attention to it at 
all, to my no small mortification. 

In my journey to Boston this year, I m^et at New York 
with our new governor, Mr. Morris, just arriv'd there from 
England, with whom I had been before intimately acquainted. 
He brought a commission to supersede Mr. Hamilton, who, 
tir'd with the disputes his proprietary instructions subjected 
him to, had resign'd. Mr. Morris ask'd me if I thought he 
must expect as uncomfortable an administration. I said, 
" No ; you may, on the contrary, have a very comfortable 
one, if you will only take care not to enter into any dispute 
with the Assembly/' " My dear friend," says he, pleasantly, 
"how can you advise my avoiding disputes? You know 
I love disputing; it is one of my greatest pleasures; how- 
ever, to show the regard I have for your counsel, I promise 
you I will, if possible, avoid them." He had some reason 
for loving to dispute, being eloquent, an acute sophister, and, 



132 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

therefore, generally successful in argumentative conversa- 
tion. He had been brought up to it from a boy, his father, 
as I have heard, accustoming his children to dispute with 
one another for his diversion, while sitting at table after 
dinner; but I think the practice was not wise; for, in the 
course of my observation, these disputing, contradicting, and 
confuting people are generally unfortunate in their affairs. 
They get victory sometimes, but they never get good will, 
which would be of more use to them. We parted, he going 
to Philadelphia, and I to Boston. 

In returning, I met at New York with the votes of the 
Assembly, by which it appear'd that, notwithstanding his 
promise to me, he and the House were already in high con- 
tention; and it was a continual battle between them as long 
as he retain'd the government. I had my share of it; for, 
as soon as I got back to my seat in the Assembly, I was 
put on every committee for answering his speeches and 
messages, and by the committees always desired to make 
the drafts. Our answers, as well as his messages, were 
often tart, and sometimes indecently abusive; and, as he 
knew I wrote for the Assem^bly, one might have imagined 
that, when we met, we could hardly avoid cutting throats; 
but he was so good-natur'd a man that no personal difference 
between him and me was occasion'd by the contest, and we 
often din'd together. 

One afternoon, in the height of this public quarrel, we 
met in the street. " Franklin," says he, " you must go home 
with me and spend the evening; I am to have some com- 
pany that you will like ; " and, taking me by the arm, he 
led me to his house. In gay conversation over our wine, 
after supper, he told us, jokingly, that he much admir'd the 
idea of Sancho Panza, who, when it was proposed to give 
him a government, requested it might be a government of 
blacks, as then, if he could not agree with his people, he 
might sell them. One of his friends, who sat next to me, 
says, " Franklin, why do you continue to side with these 
damn'd Quakers? Had not you better sell them? The pro- 
prietor would give you a good price." " The governor," says 
I, " has not yet blacked them enough." He, indeed, had 
labored hard to blacken the Assembly in all his messages. 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 133 

but they wjp'd off his coloring as fast as he laid it on, and 
plac'd it, in return, thick upon his own face; so that, finding 
he was likely to be negroned himself, he, as well as Mr. 
Hamilton, grew tir'd of the contest, and quitted the 
government. 

^^ These public quarrels were all at bottom owing to the 
proprietaries, our hereditary governors, who, when any 
expense was to be incurred for the defense of their province, 
with incredible meanness instructed their deputies to pass 
no act for levying the necessary taxes, unless their vast 
estates were in the same act expressly excused; and they 
had even taken bonds of these deputies to observe such in- 
structions. The Assemblies for three years held out against 
this injustice, tho' constrained to bend at last. At length 
Captain Denny, who was Governor Morris's successor, ven- 
tured to disobey those instructions; how that was brought 
about I shall show hereafter. 

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

War being in a manner com.menced with France, the 
government of Massachusetts Bay projected an attack upon 
Crown Point, and sent Mr. Quincy to Pennsylvania, and 
Mr. Pownall, afterward Governor Pownall, to New York, 
to solicit assistance. As I was in the Assembly, knew its 
temper, and was Mr. Quincy's countryman, he appli'd to me 
for my influence and assistance. I dictated his address to 
them, which was well receiv'd. They voted an aid of ten 
thousand pounds, to be laid out in provisions. But the 
governor refusing his assent to their bill (which included this 
with other sums granted for the use of the crown), unless 
a clause were inserted exempting the proprietary estate 
from bearing any part of the tax that would be necessary, 
the Assembly, tho' very desirous of making their grant to 
New England effectual, were at a loss how to accomplish it. 
Mr. Quincy labored hard with the governor to obtain his 
assent, but he was obstinate. 

I then suggested a method of doing the business without 
the governor, by orders on the trustees of the Loan Office, 

^ My acts in Morris's time, military, etc.— [Marg. note.} 



134 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

which, by law, the Assembly had the right of drawing. 
There was, indeed, Httle or no money at that time in the 
office, and therefore I propos'd that the orders should be 
payable in a year, and to bear an interest of five per cent. 
With these orders I suppos'd the provisions might easily be 
purchas'd. The Assembly, with very little hesitation, adopted 
the proposal. The orders were immediately printed, and I 
iWas one of the committee directed to sign and dispose of 
them. The fund for paying them was the interest of all the 
paper currency then extant in the province upon loan, to- 
gether with the revenue arising from the excise, which being 
known to be more than sufficient, they obtain'd instant credit, 
and were not only receiv'd in payment for the provisions, 
but many money 'd people, who had cash lying by them, 
vested it in those orders, which they found advantageous, 
as they bore interest while upon hand, and might on any 
occasion be used as money; so that they were eagerly all 
bought up, and in a few weeks none of them were to be seen. 
Thus this important affair was by my means compleated. 
My Quincy return'd thanks to the Assembly in a handsome 
memorial, went home highly pleas'd with the success of his 
em.bassy, and ever after bore for me the most cordial and 
affectionate friendship. 

The British government, not chusing to permit the union 
of the colonies as propos'd at Albany, and to trust that 
union with their defense, lest they should thereby grow 
too military, and feel their own strength, suspicions and 
jealousies at this time being entertain'd of them, sent 
over General Braddock with two regiments of regular 
English troops for that purpose. He landed at Alexandria, 
in Virginia, and thence march'd to Frederictown, in Mary- 
land, where he halted for carriages. Our Assembly ap- 
prehending, from some information, that he had con- 
ceived violent prejudices against them, as averse to the 
service, wish'd me to wait upon him, not as from them, 
but as postmaster-general, under the guise of proposing 
to settle with him the mode of conducting with most 
celerity and certainty the despatches between him and 
the governors of the several provinces, with whom he must 
necessarily have continual correspondence, and of which 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 135 

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

We found the general at Frederictown, waiting impa- 
tiently for the return of those he had sent thro' the back 
parts of Maryland and Virginia to collect waggons. I 
stayed with him several days, din'd with him daily, and had 
full opportunity of removing all his prejudices, by the in- 
formation of what the Assembly had before his arrival 
actually done, and were still willing to do, to facilitate his 
operations. When I was about to depart, the returns of 
waggons to be obtained were brought in, by which it ap- 
pear'd that they amounted only to twenty-five, and not all 
of those were in serviceable condition. The general and 
all the officers were surpris'd, declar'd the expedition was 
then at an end, being impossible, and exclaim'd against the 
ministers for ignorantly landing them in a country destitute 
of the means of conveying their stores, baggage, etc., not 
less than one hundred and fifty waggons being necessary. 

I happened to say I thought it was a pity they had not been 
landed rather in Pennsylvania, as in that country almost 
every farmer had his waggon. The general eagerly laid 
hold of my words, and said, " Then you, sir, who are a man 
of interest there, can probably procure them for us; and I 
beg you will undertake it." I ask'd what terms were to be 
offer'd the owners of the waggons ; and I was desir'd to put 
on paper the terms that appeared to me necessary. This I 
did, and they were agreed to, and a commission and instruc- 
tions accordingly prepar'd immediately. What those terms 
were will appear in the advertisement I publish'd as soon as 
I arriv'd at Lancaster, which being, from the great and 
sudden effect it produc'd, a piece of some curiosity, I shall 
insert it at length, as follows: 

" Advertisement. 

"Lancaster, Afril 26, lyss* 

"Whereas, one hundred and fifty waggons, with four 

horses to each waggon, and fifteen hundred saddle or pack 

horses, are wanted for the service of his majesty's forces 

now about to rendezvous at Will's Creek, and his excellency 



136 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

General Braddock having been pleased to empower me to 
contract for the hire of the same, I hereby give notice that 
I shall attend for that purpose at Lancaster from this day 
to next Wednesday evening, and at York from next Thurs- 
day morning till Friday evening, where I shall be ready to 
agree for waggons and teams, or single horses, on the fol- 
lowing terms, viz.: i. That there shall be paid for each 
waggon, with four good horses and a driver, fifteen shillings 
per diem; and for each able horse with a pack-saddle, or 
other saddle and furniture, two shillings per diem; and for 
each able horse without a saddle, eighteen pence per diem. 
2. That the pay commence from the time of their joining 
the forces at Will's Creek, which must be on or before the 
20th of May ensuing, and that a reasonable allowance be 
paid over and above for the time necessary for their travel- 
ling to Will's Creek and home again after their discharge. 
■3. Each waggon and team, and every saddle or pack horse, 
is to be valued by indifferent persons chosen between me 
and the owner ; and in case of the loss of any waggon, team, 
or other horse in the service, the price according to such 
valuation is to be allowed and paid. 4. Seven days' pay is 
to be advanced and paid in hand by me to the owner of each 
[waggon and team, or horse, at the time of contracting, if 
required, and the remainder to be paid by General Brad- 
dock, or by the paymaster of the army, at the time of their 
discharge, or from time to time, as it shall be demanded. 
'5. No drivers of waggons, or persons taking care of the 
hired horses, are on any account to be called upon to do the 
'duty of soldiers, or be otherwise employed than in conduct- 
ing or taking care of their carriages or horses. 6. All oats, 
Indian com, or other forage that waggons or horses bring to 
the camp, more than is necessary for the subsistence of the 
horses, is to be taken for the use of the army, and a reason- 
able price paid for the same. 

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

"B. Franklin." 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 137 



^*To the inhabitants of the Counties of Lancaster, 
York and Cumberland. 

^'Friends and Countrymen, 

" Being occasionally at the camp at Frederic a few days 
since, I found the general and officers extremely exasperated 
on account of their not being supplied with horses and car- 
riages, which had been expected from this province, as most 
able to furnish them; but, through the dissensions between 
our governor and Assembly^ money had not been provided, 
nor any steps taken for that purpose. 

*' It was proposed to send an armed force immediately 
into these counties, to seize as many of the best carriages 
and horses as should be wanted, and compel as many persons 
into the service as would be necessary to drive and take care 
of them, 

"1 apprehended that the progress of British soldiers 
through these counties on such an occasion, especially con- 
sidering the temper they are in, and their resentment against 
us, would be attended with many and great inconveniences 
to the inhabitants, and therefore more willingly took the 
trouble of trying first what might be done by fair and 
equitable means. The people of these back counties have 
lately complained to the Assembly that a sufficient currency 
was wanting; you have an opportunity of receiving and 
dividing among you a very considerable sum; for, if the 
service of this expedition should continue, as it is more than 
probable it will, for one hundred and twenty days, the hire 
of these v\^aggons and horses will amount to upward of 
thirty thousand pounds, which will be paid you in silver 
and gold of the king's money. 

" The service will be light and easy, for the army will 
scarce march above twelve miles per day, and the waggons 
and baggage-horses, as they carry those things that are 
absolutely necessary to the v/elfare of the army, must march 
with the army, and no faster; and are, for the army's sake, 
always placed where they can be most secure, whether in a 
march or in a camp. 

"If you are really, as I believe you are, good and loyal 



138 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

subjects to his majesty, you may now do a most acceptable 
service, and make it easy to yourselves; for three or four 
of such as can not separately spare from the business of 
their plantations a w^aggon and four horses and a driver, 
may do it together, one furnishing the waggon, another one 
or two horses, and another the driver, and divide the pay 
proportionately between you; but if you do not this service 
to your king and country voluntarily, when such good pay 
and reasonable terms are offered to you, your loyalty will be 
strongly suspected. The king's business must be done; so 
many brave troops, come so far for your defense, must not 
stand idle through your backwardness to do what may be 
reasonably expected from you ; waggons and horses must be 
had; violent measures will probably be used, and you will 
be left to seek for a recompense where you can find it, and 
your case, perhaps, be little pitied or regarded. 

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

I received of the general about eight hundred pounds, to 
be disbursed in advance-money to the waggon owners, etc.; 
but that sum being insufficient, I advanc'd upward of two 
hundred pounds more, and in two weeks the one hundred and 
fifty waggons, with two hundred and fifty-nine carr^dng 
horses, were on their march for the camp. The advertise- 
ment promised payment according to the valuation, in case 
any waggon or horse should be lost. The owners, however, 
alleging they did not know General Braddock, or what de- 
pendence might be had on his promise, insisted on my bond 
for the performance, which I accordingly gave them. 

While I was at the camp, supping one evening with the 
ofHcers of Colonel Dunbar's regiment, he represented to me 
his concern for the subalterns, who, he said, were generally 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 139 

not in affluence, and could ill afford, in this dear country, 
to lay in the stores that might be necessary in so long a 
march, thro' a wilderness, where nothing was to be pur- 
chas'd. I commiserated their case, and resolved to endeavor 
procuring them some relief. I said nothing, however, to him 
of my intention, but wrote the next morning to the com- 
mittee of the Assembly, who had the disposition of some 
public money, w^armly recommending the case of these officers 
to their consideration, and proposing that a present should 
be sent them of necessaries and refreshments. My son, who 
had some experience of a camp life, and of its wants, drew 
up a list for m.e, which I enclos'd in my letter. The com- 
mittee approv'd, and used such diligence that, conducted by 
my son, the stores arrived at the camp as soon as the wag- 
gons. They consisted of twenty parcels, each containing 

6 lbs. loaf sugar. i Gloucester cheese. 

6 lbs. good Muscovado do. i kegg containing 20 lbs. good 
I lb. good green tea. butter. 

I lb. good bohea do. 2 doz. old Madeira wine. 

6 lbs. good ground coffee. 2 gallons Jamaica spirits. 

6 lbs. chocolate. i bottle flour of mustard. 

1-2 cwt. best white biscuit. 2 well-cur'd hams. 

1-2 lb. pepper. 1-2 dozen dry'd tongues. 
I quart best white wine vine- 6 lbs. rice, 

gar. 6 lbs. raisins. 

These twenty parcels, well pack'd, were placed on as many 
horses, each parcel, with the horse, being intended as a 
present for one officer. They were very thankfully receiv'd, 
and the kindness acknowdedg'd by letters to me from the 
colonels of both regim.ents, in the most grateful terms. The 
general, too, was highly satisfied with my conduct in pro- 
curing him the waggons, etc., and readily paid my account 
of disbursements, thanking me repeatedly, and requesting my 
farther assistance in sending provisions after him. I under- 
took this also, and was busily employ'd in it till we heard of 
his defeat, advancing for the service of my own money, 
upwards of one thousand pounds sterling, of which I sent 
him an account. It came to his hands, luckily for m^e, a few 
days before the battle, and he return'd me immediately an 
order on the paymaster for the round sum of one thousand 
pounds, leaving the remainder to the next account. I con- 



140 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

sider this payment as good luck, having never been able to 
obtain that remainder, of which more hereafter. 

This general was, I think, a brave man, and might prob- 
ably have made a figure as a good officer in some European 
war. But he had too much self-confidence, too high an 
opinion of the validity of regular troops, and too mean a 
one of both Americans and Indians. George Croghan, our 
Indian interpreter, join'd him on his march with one hundred 
of those people, who might have been of great use to his 
army as guides, scouts, etc., if he had treated them kindly; 
but he slighted and neglected them, and they gradually left 
him. 

In conversation with him one day, he v/as giving me some 
account of his intended progress. "After taking Fort 
Duquesne," says he, "I am to proceed to Niagara; and, 
having taken that, to Frontenac, if the season will allow 
time ; and I suppose it will, for Duquesne can hardly detain 
me above three or four days; and then I see nothing that 
can obstruct my march to Niagara." Having before revolv'd 
in my mind the long line his army must make in their march 
by a very narrow road, to be cut for them thro' the woods 
and bushes, and also what I had read of a former defeat of 
fifteen hundred French, who invaded the Iroquois country, 
I had conceiv'd some doubts and some fears for the event 
of the campaign. But I ventur'd only to say, " To be sure, 
sir, if you arrive well before Duquesne, with these fine 
troops, so well provided with artillery, that place not yet 
compleatly fortified, and as we hear with no very strong 
garrison, can probably make but a short resistance. The 
only danger I apprehend of obstruction to your march is 
from ambuscades of Indians, who, by constant practice, are 
dexterous in laying and executing them; and the slender 
line, near four miles long, which your army m.ust m.ake, m.ay 
expose it to be attack'd by surprise in its flanks, and to be 
cut like a thread into several pieces, which, from their dis- 
tance, can not come up in time to support each other." 

He smil'd at my ignorance, and reply'd, "These savages 
may, indeed, be a formidable enemy to your raw American 
militia, but upon the king's regular and disciplin'd troops, 
sir, it is impossible they should make any impression." I 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 141 

was conscious of an impropriety in my disputing with a 
military man in matters of his profession, and said no more. 
The enemy, however, did not take the advantage of his 
army which I apprehended its long line of march expos'd 
it to, but let it advance without interruption till within nine 
miles of the place; and then, when more in a body (for it 
had just passed a river, where the front had halted till 
all were come over), and in a more open part of the woods 
than any it had pass'd, attacked its advanced guard by a 
heavy fire from behind trees and bushes, which was the first 
intelligence the general had of an enemy's being near him. 
This guard being disordered, the general hurried the troops 
up to their assistance, which was done in great confusion, 
thro' waggons, baggage, and cattle; and presently the fire 
came upon their flank : the officers, being on horseback, were 
more easily distinguish'd, pick'd out as marks, and fell very 
fast; and the soldiers were crowded together in a huddle, 
having or hearing no orders, and standing to be shot at till 
two-thirds of them were killed; and then, being seiz'd with 
a panick, the whole fled with precipitation. 

The waggoners took each a horse out of his team and 
scam.per'd; their example was immediately followed by 
others; so that all the waggons, provisions, artillery, and 
stores were left to the enemy. The general, being wounded, 
was brought oft* with difficulty; his secretary, Mr. Shirley, 
was killed by his side; and out of eighty-six officers, sixty- 
three were killed or wounded, and seven hundred and four- 
teen men killed out of eleven hundred. These eleven hun- 
dred had been picked men from the whole army; the rest 
had been left behind with Colonel Dunbar, who was to fol- 
low Avith the heavier part of the stores, provisions, and 
baggage. The flyers, not being pursu'd, arriv'd at Dunbar's 
camp, and the panick they brought with them instantly 
seiz'd him and all his people; and, tho' he had now above 
one thousand men, and the enemy who had beaten Braddock 
did not at most exceed four hundred Indians and French 
together, instead of proceeding, and endeavoring to recover 
some of the lost honour, he ordered all the stores, ammuni- 
tion, etc., to be destroy'd, that he might have more horses 
to assist his flight towards the settlements, and less lumber 



142 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

to remove. He was there met with requests from the gov- 
ernors of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, that he 
would post his troops on the frontiers, so as to afford some 
protection to the inhabitants; but he continu'd his hasty 
march thro' all the country, not thinking himself safe till 
he arriv'd at Philadelphia, where the inhabitants could pro- 
tect him. This whole transaction gave us Americans the 
first suspicion that our exalted ideas of the prowess of 
■British regulars had not been well founded. 

In their first march, too, from their landing till they got 
beyond the settlements, they had plundered and stripped the 
inhabitants, totally ruining some poor families, besides insult- 
ing, abusing, and confining the people if they remonstrated. 
This was enough to put us out of conceit of such defenders, 
if we had really wanted any. How different was the con- 
duct of our French friends in 1781, who, during a march 
thro' the most inhabited part of our country from Rhode 
Island to Virginia, near seven hundred miles, occasioned not 
the smallest complaint for thg loss of a pig, a chicken, or 
even an apple. 

Captain Orme, who was one of the general's aids-de-camp, 
and, being grievously wounded, was brought oft* with him, 
and continu'd with him to his death, which happen'd in a 
few days, told me that he was totally silent all the first day, 
and at night only said, " Who would have thought it? " 
That he was silent again the following day, saying only at 
last, " We shall better know hozu to deal with them another 
time;" and dy'd in a few minutes after. 

The secretary's papers, with all the general's orders, in- 
structions, and correspondence, falling into the enemy's 
hands, they selected and translated into French a number of 
the articles, which they printed, to prove the hostile inten- 
tions of the British court before the declaration of war. 
Among these I saw some letters of the general to the 
ministry, speaking highly of the great service I had ren- 
dered the army, and recommending me to their notice. David 
Hume, too, who was some years after secretary to Lord 
Hertford, when minister in France, and afterward to Gen- 
eral Conway, when secretary of state, told me he had seen 
among the papers in that office, letters from Braddock 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 143 

highly recommending me. But, the expedition having been 
unfortunate, my service, it seems, was not thought of much 
value, for those recommendations vv^ere never of any use 
to me. 

As to rewards from himself, I ask'd only one, which was, 
that he would give orders to his officers not to enlist any 
more of our bought servants, and that he would discharge 
such as had been already enlisted. This he readily granted, 
and several were accordingly return'd to their masters, on 
my application. Dunbar, when the command devolv'd on 
him, was not so generous. He being at Philadelphia, on his 
retreat, or rather flight, I apply'd to him for the discharge 
of the servants of three poor farmers of Lancaster county 
that he had enlisted, reminding him of the late general's 
orders on that head. He promised me that, if the masters 
would come to him at Trenton, where he should be in a few 
days on his march to New York, he would there deliver 
their men to them. They accordingly vv^ere at the expense 
and trouble of going to Trenton, and there he refus'd to per- 
form his promise, to their great loss and disappointment. 

As soon as the loss of the waggons and horses was gen- 
erally known, all the owners came upon me for the valuation 
which I had given bond to pay. Their demands gave me 
a great deal of trouble, my acquainting them that the money 
was ready in the paymaster's hands, but that orders for 
paying it must first be obtained from General Shirley, and 
my assuring them that I had apply'd to that general by 
letter; but, he being at a distance, an answer could not 
soon be receiv'd^ and they must have patience, all this was 
not sufficient to satisfy, and some began to sue me. Gen- 
eral Shirley at length relieved me from this terrible situa- 
tion by appointing commissioners to examine the claims, 
and ordering payment. They amounted to near twenty 
thousand pound, which to pay would have ruined me. 

Before we had the news of this defeat, the two Doctors 
Bond came to me with a subscription paper for raising money 
to defray the expense of a grand firework, which it was 
intended to exhibit at a rejoicing on receipt of the news 
of our taking Fort Duquesne. I looked grave, and said it 
would;. I thought^ be time enough to prepare for the rejoicing 



144 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

when we knew we should have occasion to rejoice. They 
seem'd surpris'd that I did not immediately comply with 
their proposal. " Why the d — 1 ! " says one of them, " you 
surely don't suppose that the fort will not be taken ? " "I 
idon't know that it will not be taken, but I know that the events 
of war are subject to great uncertainty." I gave them the 
reasons of my doubting; the subscription was dropt, and 
the projectors thereby missed the mortification they would 
have undergone if the firework had been prepared. Dr. 
Bond, on some other occasion afterward, said that he did 
not like Franklin's forebodings. 

Governor Morris, who had continually worried the As- 
'sembly with message after message before the defeat of 
Braddock, to beat them into the making of acts to raise 
money for the defense of the province, v/ithout taxing, 
among 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, con- 
tinu'd firm, believing they had justice on their side, and that 
it would be giving up an essential right if they suffered 
the governor to amend their money-bills. In one of the 
last, indeed, which was for granting fifty thousand pounds, 
his propos'd amendment was only of a single word. The 
bill expressed "that all estates, real and personal, were to 
be taxed, those of the proprietaries not excepted." His 
amendment was, for not read only : sl small, but very material 
alteration. However, when the news of this disaster reached 
England, our friends there, w^om we had taken care to fur- 
nish with all the Assembly's answers to the governor's mes- 
sages, rais'd a clamor against the proprietaries for their 
meanness and injustice in giving their governor such in- 
structions; some going so far as to say that, by obstructing 
the defense of their province, they forfeited their right to it. 
They were intimidated by this, and sent orders to their 
receiver-general to add five thousand pounds of their money 
to whatever sum might be given by the Assembly for such 
purpose. 

This, being notified to the House, was accepted in lieu 
of their share of a general tax, and a new bill was form'd. 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 145 

with an exempting clause, which passed accordingly. By 
this act I was appointed one of the commissioners for dis- 
posing of the money, sixty thousand pounds. I had been 
active in modelling the bill and procuring its passage, and 
had, at the same time, drawn a bill for establishing and 
disciplining of a voluntary militia, which I carried thro' the 
House without much difficulty, as care was taken in it to 
leave the Quakers at their liberty. To promote the associa- 
tion necessary to form the militia, I wrote a dialogue,^* 
stating and answering all the objections I could think of to 
such a militia, which was printed, and had, as I thought, 
great effect. 

While the several companies in the city and country 
were forming and learning their exercise, the gc^vernor pre- 
vail'd with me to take charge of our North-western frontier, 
which was infested by the enem)^, and provide for the defense 
of the inhabitants by raising troops and building a line of 
forts. I undertook this military business, tho' I did not con- 
ceive myself well qualified for it. He gave me a commission 
with full powers, and a parcel of blank commissions for 
officers, to be given to whom I thought fit. I had but little 
difficulty in raising men, having soon five hundred and sixty 
under my command. My son, who had in the preceding 
war been an officer in the army rais'd against Canada, was 
my aid-de-camp, and of great use to me. The Indians had 
burned Gnadenhut, a village settled by the Moravians, and 
massacred the inhabitants; but the place was thought a 
good situation for one of the forts. 

In order to march thither, I assembled the companies at 
Bethlehem, the chief establishment of those people. I was 
surprised to find it in so good a posture of defense; the 
destruction of Gnadenhut had made them apprehend danger. 
The principal buildings were defended by a stockade; they 
had purchased a quantity of arms and ammunition from 
New York, and had even plac'd quantities of small paving 
stones between the windows of their high stone houses, for 
their women to throw down upon the heads of any Indians 
that should attempt to force into them. The armed brethren, 

^ Xhis dialogue and the mSitia act are in the " Gentleman's Magazine " 
for February a5<i March, t^i&i — ^Marg. nofe-.} 



146 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN / 

too, kept watch, and reliev'd as methodically as in any gar- 
rison town. In conversation with the bishop, Spailgenberg, 
I mentioned this my surprise; for, knowing they had ob- 
tained an act of Parhament exempting them from military 
duties in the colonies, I had suppos'd they were conscien- 
tiously scrupulous of bearing arms'. He answer'd me that 
it was not one of their established principles, but that, at 
the time of their obtaining that act, it was thought to be a 
principle with many of their people. On this occasion, hov/- 
ever, they, to their surprise, found it adopted by but a few. 
It seems they were either deceiv'd in themselves, or deceiv'd 
the Parliament ; but common sense, aided by present danger, 
will sometimes be too strong for whimsical opinions. 

It was the beginning of January when we set out upon this 
business of building forts. I sent one detachment toward 
the Minisink, with instructions to erect one for the security 
of that upper part of the country^ and another to the lower 
part, with similar instructions; and I concluded to go 
myself with the rest of my force to Gnadenhut, where a 
fort was tho't more immediately necessary. The Moravians 
procur'd me five waggons for our tools, stores, baggage, etc. 

Just before we left Bethlehem, eleven farmers, who had 
been driven from their plantations by the Indians, came to 
me requesting a supply of firearms, that they might go back 
and fetch off their cattle. I gave them each a gun with 
suitable ammunition. We had not march'd many miles 
before it began to rain, and it continued raining all day; 
there were no habitations on the road to shelter us, till we 
arriv'd near night at the house of a German, where, and in 
his barn, we were all huddled together, as wet as water 
could make us. It was well we were not attack'd in our 
march, for our arms were of the most ordinary sort, and 
our men could not keep their gun locks dry. The Indians 
are dextrous in contrivances for that purpose, which we had 
not. They met that day the eleven poor farm.ers above 
mentioned, and killed ten of them. The one who escap'd 
inform'd that his and his companions' guns would not go off, 
the priming being wet with the rain. 

The next day being fair, we continu'd our march, and 
arriv'd at the desolated Gnadenhut. There was a saw-mill 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 147 

near, round which were left several piles of boards, with 
which we soon hutted ourselves; an operation the more 
necessary at that inclement season, as we had no tents. Our 
first work was to bury more effectually the dead we found 
there, who had been half interr'd by the country people. 

The next morning our fort was plann'd and mark'd out, 
the circumference m.easuring four hundred and fifty-five 
feet, which would require as m.any palisades to be made of 
trees, one with another, of a foot diameter each. Our axes, 
of which we had seventy, were immediately set to work to 
cut down trees, and, our men being dextrous in the use of 
them, great despatch was made. Seeing the trees fall so 
fast, I had the curiosity to look at my watch when two men 
began to cut at a pine; in six minutes they had it upoii 
the ground, and I found it of fourteen inches diameter-. 
Each pine made three palisades of eighteen feet long, 
pointed at one end. While these were preparing, our other 
men dug a trench all round, of three feet deep, in which the 
palisades v/ere to be planted; and, our waggons, the bodys 
being taken off, and the fore and hind wheels separated by 
taking out the pin which united the two parts of the perch, 
we had ten carriages, with two horses each, to bring the 
palisades from the woods to the spot. When they were set 
up, our carpenters built a stage of boards all round within, 
about six feet high, for the men to stand on when to fire 
thro' the loopholes. We had one swivel gun, which we 
mounted on one of the angles, and fir'd it as soon as fix'd, to 
let the Indians know, if any were within hearing, that we 
had such pieces; and thus our fort, if such a magnificent 
name may be given to so miserable a stockade, was finish'd 
in a week, though it rain'd so hard every other day that the 
men could not work. 

This gave me occasion to observe, that, when men are 
employ'd, they are best content'd; for on the days they 
worked they were good-natur'd and cheerful, and, with the 
consciousness of having done a good day's work, they spent 
the evening jollily; but on our idle days they v/ere mu- 
tinous and quarrelsome, finding fault with their pork, the 
bread, etc., and in continual ill-humor, which put me in 
mind of a sea-captain, whose rule it was to keep his men 



148 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

constantly at work; and, when his mate once told him that 
they had done every thing, and there was nothing further 
to employ them about, " Oh," says he, " make them scour 
the anchor." 

This kind of fort, however contemptible, is a sufficient 
defense against Indians, who have no cannon. Finding our- 
selves now posted securely, and having a place to retreat 
to on occasion, we ventur'd out in parties to scour the ad- 
jacent country. We met with no Indians, but we found 
the places on the neighboring hills where they had lain to 
watch our proceedings. There was an art in their con- 
trivance of those places, that seems worth mention. It 
being winter, a fire was necessary for them; but a common 
fire on the surface of the ground would by its light have 
discovered their position at a distance. They had therefore 
dug holes in the ground about three feet diameter, and some- 
what deeper; we saw where they had with their hatchets 
cut off the charcoal from the sides of burnt logs lying in 
the woods. With these coals they had made small fires in 
the bottom of the holes, and we observed among the weeds 
and grass the prints of their bodies, made by their laying 
all round, with their legs hanging down in the holes to keep 
their feet warm, which, with them, Is an essential point. 
This kind of fire, so manag'd, could not discover them, either 
by its light, flame, sparks, or even smoke: it appear'd that 
their number was not great, and it seems they saw we were 
too many to be attacked by them with prospect of advantage. 

We had for our chaplain a zealous Presbyterian minister, 
Mr. Beatty, who complained to me that the men did not 
generally attend his prayers and exhortations. When they 
enlisted, they were promised, besides pay and provisions, a 
gill of rum a day, which was punctually serv'd out to them, 
half in the morning, and the other half in the evening; and 
I observ'd they were as punctual in attending to receive it; 
upon which I said to Mr. Beatty, " It is, perhaps, below the 
dignity of your profession to act as steward of the rum, 
but if you were to deal it out and only just after prayers, 
you would have them all about you." He liked the tho't, 
undertook the office, and, with the help of a few hands to 
measure out the liquor, executed it to satisfaction, and 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 149 

never were prayers more generally and more punctually 
attended; so that I thought this method preferable to the 
punishment inflicted by some military laws for non-attend- 
ance on divine service. 

I had hardly finish'd this business, and got my fort well 
stor'd with provisions, when I receiv'd a letter from the 
governor, acquainting me that he had call'd the Assembly, 
and wished my attendance there, if the posture of affairs on 
the frontiers was such that my remaining there was no 
longer necessary. My friends, too, of the Assembly, press- 
ing me by their letters to be, if possible, at the meeting, 
and my three intended forts being now compleated, and the 
inhabitants contented to remain on their farms under that 
protection, I resolved to return; the more willingly, as a 
New England officer, Colonel Clapham, experienced in In- 
dian war, being on a visit to our establishment, consented to 
accept the command. I gave him a commission, and, parad- 
ing the garrison, had it read before them, and introduc'd 
him to them as an officer who, from his skill in military 
afifairs, was much more fit to command them than myself; 
and, giving them a little exhortation, took my leave. I was 
escorted as far as Bethlehem, where I rested a few days to 
recover from the fatigue I had undergone. The first night, 
being in a good bed, I could hardly sleep, it was so different 
from my hard lodging on the floor of our hut at Gnaden 
wrapt only in a blanket or two. 

While at Bethlehem, I inquir'd a little into the practice of 
the Moravians: some of them had accompanied me, and all 
were very kind to me. I found they work'd for a common 
stock, eat at common tables, and slept in common dormi- 
tories, great numbers together. In the dormitories I ob- 
served loopholes, at certain distances all along just under 
the ceiling, which I thought judiciously placed for change 
of air. I was at their church, where I was entertaln'd with 
good musick, the organ being accompanied with violins, 
hautboys, flutes, clarinets, etc. I understood that their ser- 
mons were not usually pVeached to mixed congregations of 
men, women, and children, as is our comm.on practice, but 
that they assembled sometimes the married men, at other 
times their wives, then the young men, the young women. 



150 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

and the little children, each division by itself. The sermon 
I heard was to the latter, who came in and were plac'd in 
rows on benches; the boys tmder the conduct of a young 
man, their tutor, and the girls conducted by a young woman. 
The discourse seem'd well adapted to their capacities, and 
was delivered in a pleasing, familiar manner, coaxing them, 
as it were, to be good. They behav'd very orderly, but 
looked pale and unhealthy, which made me suspect they v/ere 
kept too much within doors, or not allow'd sufficient exercise. 

I inquir'd concerning the Moravian marriages, whether 
the report 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 eiders of his class, who consulted the elder ladies that 
govern'd the young women. As these elders of the different 
sexes were well acquainted with the tempers and dispositions 
of their respective pupils, they could best judge what matches 
were suitable, and their judgments were generally acquiesc'd 
in; but if, for example, it should happen that two or three 
young women were found to be equally proper for the 
young man, the lot was then recurred to. I objected, if the 
matches are not m.ade by the mutual choice of the parties, 
some of them may chance to be very unhappy. " And so 
they may," answer'd my informer, *' if you let the parties 
chuse for themselves ; " which, indeed, I could not deny. 

Being returned to Philadelphia, I found the association 
went on swimmingly, the inhabitants that were not Quakers 
having pretty generally come into it, formed themselves into 
companies, and chose their captains, lieutenants, and ensigns, 
according to the new law. Dr. B. visited me, and gave me 
an account of the pains he had taken to spread a general 
good liking to the law, and ascribed much to those endeavors. 
I had had the vanity to ascribe all to my Dialogue; however, 
not knowing but that he might be in the right, I let him 
enjoy his opinion, which I take to be generally the best way 
in such cases. The officers, meeting, chose me to be colonel 
of the regiment, which I this time accepted. I forget how 
many companies we had, but we paraded about twelve hun- 
dred well-looking men, with a company of artillery, who 
had been furnished with six brass field-pieces, which they 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 151 

had become so expert in the use of as to fire twelve times in 
a minute. The 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 com- 
missions were soon after broken by a repeal of the law in 
England. 

'During this short time of my colonelship, being about to 
set out on a journey to Virginia, the officers of my regiment 
took it into their heads that it would be proper for them 
to escort me out of town, as far as the Lower Ferry. Just 
as I was getting on horseback they came to my door, between 
thirty and forty, mounted, and all in their uniforms. I had 
not been previously acquainted with the project, or I should 
have prevented it, being naturally averse to the assum.ing 
of state on any occasion; and I was a good deal chagrin'd 
at their appearance, as I could not avoid their accompanying 
me. What made it worse was, that, as soon as we began to 
move, they drew their swords and rode with them naked all 
the way. Somebody wrote an account of this to the pro- 
prietor, and it gave him great offense. No such honor had 
been paid him when in the province, nor to any of his 
governors; and he said it was only proper to princes of the 
blood royal, which may be true for aught I know, who was, 
and still am, ignorant of the etiquette in such cases. 

This silly affair, however, greatly increased his rancour 
against me, which was before not a little, on account of my 
conduct in the Assembly respecting the exemption of his 
estate from taxation, which I had always oppos'd very 
warmly, and not without severe reflections on his meanness 
and injustice of contending for it. He accused me to the 
ministry as being the great obstacle to the king's service, 
preventing, by my influence in the House, the proper form 
of the bills for raising money, and he instanced this parade 
with my officers as a proof of my having an intention to take 
the government of the province out of his hands by force. 
He also applied to Sir Everard Fawkener, the postmaster- 
general, to deprive me of my office ; but it had no other effect 
than to procure from. Sir Everard a gentle admonition. 



152 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

Notwithstanding the continual wrangle between the gov- 
ernor and the House, in which I, as a member, had so large 
a share, there still subsisted a civil intercourse between that 
gentleman and myself, and we never had any personal dif- 
ference. I have sometimes since thought that his little or 
no resentment against me, for the answers it was known I 
drew up to his messages, might be the effect of professional 
habit, and that, being bred a lawyer, he mJght consider us 
both as merely advocates for contending clients in a suit, 
he for the proprietaries and I for the Assembly. He would, 
therefore, sometimes call in a friendly way to advise with 
me on difficult points, and sometimes, tho' not often, take 
my advice. 

We acted in concert to supply Braddock's army with pro- 
visions; and, when the shocking news arrived of his defeat, 
the governor sent in haste for me, to consult with him on 
measures for preventing the desertion of the back counties. 
I forget now the advice I gave; but I think it was, that 
Dunbar should be written to, and prevail'd with, if possible, 
to post his troops on the frontiers for their protection, till, 
by re-enforcements from the colonies, he might be able to 
proceed on the expedition. And, after my return from the 
frontier, he w^ould have had me undertake the conduct of 
such an expedition with provincial troops, for the reduction 
of Fort Duquesne, Dunbar and his men being otherwise 
employed; and he proposed to commission me as general. 
I had not so good an opinion of my military abilities as he 
profess'd to have, and I believe his professions must have 
exceeded his real sentiments; but probably he might think 
that my popularity would facilitate the raising of the men, 
and my influence in Assembly, the grant of money to pay 
them, and that, perhaps, withoi^t taxing the proprietary 
estate. Finding me not so forward to engage as he expected, 
the project was dropt, and he soon after left the government, 
being superseded by Captain Denny. 

Before I proceed in relating the part I had in public affairs 
under this new governor's administration, it may not be 
amiss here to give some account of the rise and progress of 
my philosophical reputation. 

In 1746, being at Boston, I met there with a Dr. Spence, 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 153 

who was lately arrived from Scotland, and show'd me some 
electric experiments. They were imperfectly perform'd, as 
he was not very expert; but, being on a subject quite new 
to me, they equally surpris'd and pleased me. Soon after my 
return to Philadelphia, our library company receiv'd from 
Mr. P. Collinson, Fellow of the Royal Society of London, a 
present of a glass tube, with some account of the use of it 
in making such experiments. I eagerly seized the oppor- 
tunity of repeating what I had seen at Boston; and, by 
much practice, acquir'd great readiness in performing those, 
also, which we had an account of from England, adding a 
number of new ones. I say much practice, for my house 
was continually full, for some time, with people who came 
to see these new wonders. 

To divide a liftle this incumbrance among my friends, I 
caused a number of similar tubes to be blown at our glass- 
house, with which they furnish'd themselves, so that we had 
at length several performers. Among these, the principal 
,was Mr. Kinnersley, an ingenious neighbor, who, being out 
of business, I encouraged to undertake showing the experi- 
ments for money, and drew up for him two lectures, in which 
the experiments were rang'd in such order, and accompanied 
with such explanations in such method, as that the fore- 
going should assist in comprehending the following. He 
procur'd an elegant apparatus for the purpose, in which all 
the little machines that I had roughly made for myself were 
nicely form'd by instrument-makers. His lectures were well 
attended, and gave great satisfaction; and after some time 
he went thro' the colonies, exhibiting them in every capital 
town, and pick'd up some money. In the West India islands, 
indeed, it was with difficulty the experiments could be made, 
from the general moisture of the air. 

Oblig'd as we were to Mr. Collinson for his present of the 
tube, etc., I thought it right he should be inform'd of our 
success in using it, and wrote him several letters containing 
accounts of our experiments. He got them read in the Royal 
Society, where they were not at first thought worth so 
much notice as to be printed in their Transactions. One 
paper, which I wrote for Mr. Kinnersley, on the sameness 
of lightning with electricity, I sent to Dr. Mitchel, an 



154 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

acquaintance of mine, and one of the members also of that 
society, who wrote me word that it had been read, but was 
laughed at by the connoisseurs. The papers, however, being 
shown to Dr. Fothergill, he thought them of too much value 
to be stifled, and advis'd the printing of them. Mr. Collinson 
then gave them to Cave for publication in his Gentleman's 
Magazine; but he chose to print them separately in a 
pam-phlet, and Dr. Fothergill wrote the preface. Cave, it 
seems, judged rightly for his profit, for by the additions 
that arrived afterward they swell'd to a quarto volume, 
which has had five editions, and cost him nothing for 
copy-money. 

It was, however, some time before those papers were much 
taken notice of in England. A copy of them happening to 
fall into the hands of the Count de Buffon, a philosopher 
deservedly of great reputation in France, and, indeed, all 
over Europe, he prevailed with M. Dalibard to translate 
them into French, and they were printed at Paris. The 
publication offended the Abbe NoUet, preceptor in Natural 
Philosophy to the royal family, and an able experimenter, 
who had form'd and publish'd a theory of electricit}'-, which 
then had the general vogue. He could not at first believe 
that such a work came from America, and said it must have 
been fabricated by his enemies at Paris, to decry his system. 
Afterwards, having been assur'd that there really existed 
such a person as Franklin at Philadelphia, which he had 
doubted, he wrote and published a volume of Letters, chiefly 
address'd to me, defending his theory, and denying the verity 
of my experiments, and of t'he positions deduc'd from them. 

I once purpos'd answering the abbe, and actually began 
the answer; but, on consideration that my writings con- 
tain'd a description of experiments which any one might 
repeat and verif}'-, and if not to be verifi'd, could not be 
defended; or of observations offer'd as conjectures, and not 
delivered dogmatically, therefore not laying me under any 
obligation to defend them; and reflecting that a dispute 
between two persons, writing in different languages, might 
be lengthened greatly by mistranslations, and thence miscon- 
ceptions of one another's meaning, much of one of the 
abbe's letters being founded on an error in the translation 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 155 

I concluded to let my papers shift for themselves, believing 
it was 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 
m.y friend M. le Roy, of the Royal Academy of Sciences, 
took up my cause and refuted him ; my book was translated 
into the ItaHan, German, and Latin languages; and the 
doctrine it contain'd was by degrees universally adopted by 
the philosophers of Europe, in preference to that of the 
abbe; so that he lived to see himself the last of his sect, 

except Monsieur B , of Paris, his eleve and immediate 

disciple. 

What gave my book the more sudden and general celebrity, 
was the success of one of its proposed experiments, made by 
Messrs. Dalibard and De Lor at Marly, for drawing light- 
ning from the clouds. This engaged the public attention 
every where, M. de Lor, who had an apparatus tor experi- 
mental philosophy, and lectur'd in that branch of science, 
undertook to repeat what he called the Philadelphia Experi- 
ments; and, after they were performed before the king and 
court, all the curious of Paris flocked to see them. I will 
not swell this narrative with an account of that capital 
experiment, nor of the infinite pleasure I receiv'd in the 
success of a similar one I made soon after with a kite at 
Philadelphia, as both are to be found in the histories of 
electricity. 

Dr. Wright, an English physician, v/hen at Paris, wrote 
to a friend, who was of the Royal Society, an account of the 
high esteem my experiments were in among the learned 
abroad, and of their wonder that my writings had been so 
little noticed in England. The society, on this, resum'd the 
consideration of the letters that had been read to them ; and 
the celebrated Dr. Watson drew up a sumimary account of 
them, and of all I had afterwards sent to England on the 
subject, which he accompanied with som.e praise of the 
writer. This summary was then printed in their Transac- 
tions ; and some micmbers of the society in London, particu- 
larly the very ingenious Mr. Canton, having verified the 
experiment of procuring lightning from the clouds by a 



156 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

pointed rod, and acquainting them with the success, they 
soon made me more than amends for the slight with which 
they had before treated me. Without my having made any 
application for that honor, they chose me a member, and 
voted that I should be excus'd the customary payments, 
which would have amounted to twenty-five guineas; and 
ever since have given me their Transactions gratis. They 
also presented me with the gold medal of Sir Godfrey Copley 
for the year 1753, the delivery of which was accompanied by 
a very handsome speech of the president. Lord Macclesfield, 
wherein I was highly honoured. 

Our new governor. Captain Denny, brought over for me 
the before-micntioned medal from the Royal Society, which 
he presented to me at an entertainment given him by the 
city. He accompanied it with very polite expressions of his 
esteem for me, having, as he said, been long acquainted with 
my character. After dinner, when the company, as was 
customary at that time, were engag'd in drinking, he took 
me aside into another room, and acquainted me that he had 
been advis'd by his friends in England to cultivate a friend- 
ship with me, as one who was capable of giving him the 
best advice, and of contributing most effectually to the 
making his administration easy; that he therefore desired 
of all things to have a good understanding with me, and he 
begg'd me to be assur'd of his readiness on all occasions to 
render me every service that might be in his power. He 
said much to me, also, of the proprietor's good disposition 
towards the province, and of the advantage it might be to 
us all, and to me in particular, if the opposition that had 
been so long continu'd to his measures was dropt, and har- 
mony restor'd between him and the people; in effecting 
which, it was thought no one could be more serviceable than 
myself; and I might depend on adequate acknowledgments 
and recompenses, etc., etc. The drinkers, finding we did not 
return immediately to the table, sent us a decanter of 
Madeira, which the governor made liberal use of, and in 
proportion became more profuse of his solicitations and 
promises. 

My answers were to this purpose : that my circumstances, 
thanks to God, were such as to make proprietary favours 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 157 

unnecessary to me ; and that, being a member of the Assem- 
bly, I could not possibly accept of any ; that, however, I had 
no personal enmity to the proprietary, and that, whenever 
the public measures he propos'd should appear to be for the 
good of the people, no one should espouse and forward them 
more zealously than myself ; my past opposition having been 
founded on this, that the measures which had been urged 
were evidently intended to serve the proprietary interest, 
with great prejudice to that of the people; that I was much 
obliged to him (the governor) for his professions of regard 
to me, and that he might rely on every thing in my power 
to make his administration as easy as possible, hoping at 
the same time that he had not brought with him the same 
unfortunate instruction his predecessor had been hamper'd 
with. 

On this he did not then explain himself; but when he 
afterwards came to do business with the Assembly, they 
appear'd again, the disputes were renewed, and I was as 
active as ever in the opposition, being the penman, first, of 
the request to have a communication of the instructions, and 
then of the remarks upon them, which may be found in the 
votes of the time, and in the Historical Review I afterward 
publish'd. But between us personally no enmity arose; we 
were often together; he was a man of letters, had seen 
much of the world, and was very entertaining and pleasing 
in conversation. He gave me the first information that my 
old friend Jas. Ralph was still alive; that he was, esteem'd 
one of the best political writers in England; had been em- 
ploy'd in the dispute between Prince Frederic and the king, 
and had obtain'd a pension of three hundred a year; that 
his reputation was indeed small as a poet. Pope having 
damned his poetry in the Dunciad; but his prose was 
thought as good as any man's. 

^'The Assembly finally finding the proprietary obstinately 
persisted in manacling their deputies with instructions in- 
consistent not only with the privileges of the people, but 
with the service of the crown, resolv'd to petition the king 
against them, and appointed me their agent to go over to 

^The many unanimous resolves of the Assembly — what date? — 
{Marg. note. I 



1S8 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

England, to present and support the petition. The House 
had sent up a bill to the governor, granting a sum of sixty 
thousand pounds for the king's use (ten thousand pounds of 
which was subjected to the orders of the then general, Lord 
Loudoun), which the governor absolutely refus'd to pass, in 
compliance with his instructions. 

I had agreed with Captain Morris, of the paquet at New 
York, for my passage, and my stores were put on board, 
when Lord Loudoun arriv'd at Philadelphia, expressly, as 
he told me, to endeavor an accommodation between the 
governor and Assembly, that his majesty's service might not 
be obstructed by their dissensions. Accordingly, he desir'd 
the governor and myself to meet him, that he might hear 
what was to be said on both sides. We met and discuss'd 
the business. In behalf of the Assembly, I urg'd all the 
various arguments that may be found in the public papers of 
that time, which were of my writing, and are printed with 
the minutes of the Assembly; and the governor pleaded his 
instructions; the bond he had given to observe them, and 
his ruin if he disobey'd, yet seemed not unwilling to hazard 
himself if Lord Loudoun would advise it. This his lordship 
did not chuse to do, though I once thought I had nearly 
prevail'd with him to do it; but finally he rather chose to 
urge the compliance of the Assembly; and he entreated me 
to use my endeavours with them for that purpose, declaring 
that he would spare none of the king's troops for the defense 
of our frontiers, and that, if we did not continue to provide 
for that defense ourselves, they must remain expos'd to the 
enemy. 

I acquainted the House with what had pass'd, and, pre- 
senting them with a set of resolutions I had drawn up, 
declaring our rights, and that we did not relinquish our 
claim to those rights, but only suspended the exercise of 
them on this occasion thro' force, against which we protested, 
they at length agreed to drop that bill, and frame another 
conformable to the proprietary instructions. This of course 
the governor pass'd, and I was then at liberty to proceed on 
my voyage. But, in the meantime, the paquet had sailed 
with my sea-stores, which was some loss to me, and m.y 
only recompense was his lordship's thanks for my service. 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 159 

all the credit of obtaining the accommodation falling to his 
share. 

He set out for New York before me; and, as the time 
for dispatching the paquet-boats was at his disposition, and 
there were two then remaining there, one of which, he said, 
,was to sail very soon, I requested to know the precise time, 
that I miight not miss her by any delay of mine. His answer 
was, " I have given out that she is to sail on Saturday next ; 
but I m.ay let you know, entre nous, that if you are there by 
Monday morning, you will be in time, but do not delay 
longer." By some accidental hinderance at a ferry, it was 
Monday noon before I arrived, and I was much afraid she 
might have sailed, as the wind was fair; but I was soon 
made easy by the information that she was still in the har- 
bor, and would not move till the next day. One would 
imagine that I was now on the very point of departing for 
Europe. I thought so ; but I was not then so well acquainted 
with his lordship's character, of which indecision was one of 
the strongest features. I shall give some instances. It was 
about the beginning of April that I came to New York, and I 
think it was near the end of June before we sail'd. There 
were then two of the paquet-boats, which had been long in 
port, but were detained for the general's letters, which were 
always to be ready to-morrow. Another paquet arriv'd; 
she too was detain'd; and, before we sail'd, a fourth was 
expected. Ours was the first to be dispatch'd, as having been 
there longest. Passengers were engag'd in all, and some 
extremely impatient to be gone, and the merchants uneasy 
about their letters, and the orders the}^ had given for in- 
surance (it being war time) for fall goods ! but their anxiety 
avail'd nothing; his lordship's letters were not ready; and 
yet whoever waited on him found him always at his desk, 
pen in hand, and concluded he must needs write abundantly. 

Going myself one morning to pay my respects, I found in 
his antechamber one Innis, a messenger of Philadelphia, 
who had come from thence express with a paquet from Gov- 
ernor Denny for the General. He delivered to me some 
letters from, my friends there, which occasion'd my inquiring 
when he was to return, and where he lodg'd, that I might 
send some letters by him. He told me he was order'd to 



160 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

call to-morrow at nine for the general's answer to the gov- 
ernor, and should set off immediately. I put my letters into 
his hands the same day. A fortnight after I met him again 
in the same place. " So, you are soon return'd, Innis ?'* 
" Return' d! no, I am not gone yet." "How so?" "I have 
called here by order every m.orning these two weeks past fof 
his lordship's letter, and it is not yet ready." " Is it possible, 
when he is so great a writer ? for I see him constantly at his 
escritoire." " Yes," says Innis, " but he is like St. George 
on the signs, always on horseback, and never rides on." 
This observation of the messenger was, it seems, well 
founded; for, when in England, I understood that Mr. Pitt 
gave it as one reason for removing this general, and sending 
Generals Amherst and Wolfe, that the minister never heard 
from him, and could not know what he was doing. 

This daily expectation of sailing, and all the three paquets 
going down to Sandy Hook, to join the fleet there, the pas- 
sengers thought it best to be on board, lest by a sudden 
order the ships should sail, and they be left behind. There, 
if I remember right, we Vv^ere about six weeks, consuming 
our sea-stores, and oblig'd to procure more. At length the 
fleet sail'd, the General and all his army on board, bound to 
Louisburg, with intent to besiege and take that fortress ; all 
the paquet-boats in company ordered to attend the General's 
ship, ready to receive his dispatches when they should be 
ready. We were out five days before we got a letter with 
leave to part, and then our ship quitted the fleet and steered 
for England. The other two paquets he still detained, car- 
ried them v/ith him to Halifax, where he stayed some time 
to exercise the men in sham attacks upon sham forts, then 
alter'd his mind as to besieging Louisburg, and return'd to 
New York, with all his troops, together with the two paquets 
above mentioned, and all their passengers ! During his 
absence the French and savages had taken Fort George, on 
the frontier of that province, and the savages had massacred 
many of the garrison after capitulation. 

I saw afterwards in London Captain Bonnell, who com- 
manded one of those paquets. He told me that, when he 
had been detain'd a month, he acquainted his lordship that 
his ship was grown foul, to a degree that must necessarily 



. HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 161 

hinder her fast sailing, a point of consequence for a paquet- 
boat, and requested an allowance of time to heave her down 
and clean her bottom. He was asked how long time that would 
require. He answer'd, three days. The general replied, " If 
you can do it in one day, I give leave; otherwise not; for 
you must certainly sail the day after to-morrow." So he 
never obtained leave, though detained afterwards from day 
to day during full three months. 

I saw also in London one of BonnelFs passengers, who 
was so enrag'd against his lordship for deceiving and de- 
taining him so long at New York, and then carrying him to 
Halifax and back again, that he swore he would sue for 
damages. Whether he did or not, I never heard ; but, as he 
represented the injury to his affairs, it was very considerable. 

On the whole, I wonder'd much how such a man came to 
be intrusted with so important a business as the conduct of 
a great army; but, having since seen more of the great 
world, and the means of obtaining, and motives for giving 
places, my wonder is diminished. General Shirley, on whom 
the command of the army devolved upon the death of Brad- 
dock, would, in my opinion, if continued in place, have made 
a much better campaign than that of Loudoun in 1757, which 
was frivolous, expensive, and disgraceful to our nation be- 
yond conception; for, tho'' Shirley was not a bred soldier, 
he was sensible and sagacious in himself, and attentive to 
good advice from others, capable of forming judicious plans, 
and quick and active in carrying them into execution. Lou- 
doun, instead of defending the colonies with his great arm}?-, 
left them totally expos'd while he paraded idly at Halifax, 
by which means Fort George was lost, besides, he derang'd 
all our mercantile operations, and distress'd our trade, by a 
long embargo on the exportation of provisions, on pretence 
of keeping supplies from being obtain'd by the enemy, but 
in reality for beating down their price in favor of the con- 
tractors, in whose profits, it was said, perhaps from suspicion 
only, he had a share. And, when at length the embargo was 
taken off, by neglecting to send notice of it to Charlestown, 
the Carolina fleet was detain'd near three months longer, 
whereby their bottoms were so much damaged by the worm 
that a great part of them foundered in their passage home. 

6 HC— Vol. 1 



^^ 'Benjamin franiclin 

Shirley waSy I believe, sincerely glad of being- relieves 
frcm so byrdensome a charge as the conduct of an army 
must be to a man unacquainted with military business. I 
was at the entertainment given by the city o£ New York to 
Lord Loudoun, on his taking upon him the comm_and. Shir- 
ley, tho' thereby superseded, was present also. There was a 
great company of officers, citizens, and strangers, and, some 
chairs having been borrowed in the neighborhood, there was 
one among them very low, which fell to the lot of Mr. 
Shirley, Perceiving it as I sat by him, I said, " They have 
given you, sir, too low a seat'' " No matter/' says he, " Mr. 
Franklin, I find a low seat the easiest." 

While I was, as afore mention'd^ detain'd at New York, I 
receiv'd all the accounts of the provisions, etc., that I had 
furnish'd to Braddock, some of which accounts could not 
sooner be obtain'd from the different persons I had employed 
to assist in the business. I presented them to Lord Loudoun, 
desiring to be paid the ballance. He caus'd them to be reg- 
ularly examined by the proper officer, who, after comparing 
every article with its voucher, certified them to be right ; and 
the balance due for which his lordship promis'd to give me 
an order oa the paymaster. This was, however, put off 
from time to time ; and, tho' I call'd often for it by appoint- 
ment, I did not get it. At length, just before my departure, 
he told me he had, on better consideration, concluded not to 
mix his accounts with those of his predecessors. " And you," 
says he, " when in England, have only to exhibit your 
accounts at the treasury, and you will be paid immediately." 

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



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 163 

have since learnt that immense fortunes are often made in 
such employments. As to my ballance, I am not paid it to 
this day, of which more hereafter. 

Our captain of the paquet had boasted much, before we 
sailed, of the swiftness of his ship ; unfortunately, Vv^hen we 
came to sea, she proved the dullest of ninety-six sail, to his 
no small mortification. After many conjectures respecting 
the cause, vv'hen we were near another ship almost as dull 
as ours, which, however, gain'd upon us, the captain ordered 
all hands to come aft, and stand as near the ensign staff as 
possible. We were, passengers included, about forty per- 
sons. While we stood there, the ship mended her pace, and 
soon left her neighbour far behind, v/hich prov'd clearly 
what our captain suspected, that she was loaded too much 
by the head. The casks of water, it seems, had been all 
plac'd forv\^ard; these he therefore order'd to be mov'd 
further aft, on which the ship recover'd her character, and 
proved the sailer in the fleet. 

The captain said she had once gone at the rate of thirteen 
knots, which is accounted thirteen miles per hour. We had 
on board, as a passenger, Captain Kennedy, of the Navy, 
who contended that it was impossible, and that no ship ever 
sailed so fast, and that there must have been some error in 
the division of the log-line, or some mistake in heaving the 
log. A w^ager ensu'd betv/een the two captains, to be decided 
when there should be sufficient wind. Kennedy thereupon 
examin'd rigorously the log-line, and, being satisfi'd with 
that, he determin'd to throw the log himself. Accordingly 
some days after, when the wind blew very fair and fresh, 
and the captain of the paquet, Lutwidge, said he believ'd 
she then went at the rate of thirteen knots, Kennedy made 
the experiment, and own'd his wager lost. 

The above fact I give for the sake of the following ob- 
servation. It has been remark'd, as an imperfection in the 
art of ship-building, that it can never be known, till she 
is tried, whether a new ship will or will not be a good sailer ; 
for that the model of a good-sailing ship has been exactly 
follow'd in a new one, which has prov'd, on the contrary, 
remarkably dull. I apprehend that this rnay partly be oc- 
casion'd by the different opinions of seamen respecting the 



164 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

modes o£ lading', rigging, and sailing of a ship^ each has 
his system; and the same vessel;, laden by the judgment 
and orders of one captain^, shall sail better or worse than 
when by the orders of another. Besides, it scarce ever ha|)- 
pens that a ship is form'd, fitted for the sea, and sail'd by 
the same person. One man builds the hull, another rigs her, 
a third lades and sails her. No one of these has the ad- 
vantage of knowing all the ideas and experience of the 
others, and, therefore, can not draw just conclusions from 
a combination of the whole. 

Even in the simple operation of sailing when at sea, I 
have often observ'd different judgments in the officers who 
commanded the successive watches, the wind being the same. 
One would have the sails trimm'd sharper or flatter than 
another, so that they seem'd to have no certain rule to 
govern by. Yet I think a set of experiments might be 
instituted, first, to determine the most proper form of the 
hull for swift sailing; next, the best dimensions and prop- 
erest place for the masts: then the form and quantity of 
iiails, and their position, as the wind may be ; and, lastly, the 
disposition of the lading. This is an age of experiments, and 
I think a set accurately made and combin'd would be of great 
use. I am persuaded, therefore, that ere long some ingenious 
philosopher will undertake it, to whom I wish success. 

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



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 165 

We liad a watchman plac'd in the bow, to whom they 
often called, ''Look well out before there" and he as often 
ansv/ered, "Ay ay;" but perhaps had his eyes shut, and was 
half asleep at the time, they sometimes answering, as is 
said, mechanically; for he did not see a light just before 
us, which had been hid by the studdingsails from the man at 
the helrn, and from the rest of the watch, but by an accidental 
yaw of the ship was discover'd, and occasion'd a great 
alarm, we being very near it, the light appearing to me as 
big as a cart-wheel. It was midnight, and our captain fast 
asleep; but Captain Kennedy, jumping upon deck, and see- 
ing the danger, ordered the ship to wear round, all sails 
standing; an operation dangerous to the masts, but it 
carried us clear, and we escaped shipwreck, for we were 
running right upon the rocks on which the light-house 
was erected. This deliverance im-pressed me strongly with 
the utility of light-houses, and made me resolve to encourage 
the building more of them in America, if I should live to 
return there. 

In the morning it was found by the soundings, etc., that 
V7e were near our port, but a thick fog hid the land from 
our sight. About nine o'clock the fog began to rise, and 
seem'd to be lifted up from the water like the curtain at a 
play-house, discovering underneath, the town of Falmouth, 
the vessels in its harbor, and the fields that surrounded it. 
This was a most pleasing spectacle to those who had been 
so long without any other prospects than the uniform view 
of a vacant ocean, and it gave us the more pleasure as we 
were now free from the anxieties which the state of war 
occasion'd. 

I set out imm.ediately, with my son, for London, and we 
only stopt a little by the way to view Stonehenge on Salis- 
bury Plain, and Lord Pembroke's house and gardens, with 
his very curious antiquities at Wilton. We arrived in 
London the 27th of July, 1757.^* 

^s Here terminates tlie Autobiograpliy, as published by Wm. Temple 
Franklin and his successors. What follows was written in the last year 
of Dr. Franklin's life, and was first printed (in English) in Mr. Bigelow's 
edition of i868.T=rED. 




S SOON as I was settled in a lodging Mr. Charles had 
provided for me, I vv^ent to visit Dr. Fotliergill, to 
whom I was strongly recommended, and whose coun- 
sel respecting my proceedings I was advis'd to obtain. He 
was against an immediate complaint to government, and 
thought the proprietaries should first be personally appli'd 
to, who might possibly be induc'd by the interposition and 
persuasion of some private friends, to accommodate matters 
amicably. I then waited on my old friend and correspondent, 
Mr. Peter CoUinson, who told me that John H^nbury, the 
great Virginia merchant, had requested to be informed when 
I should arrive, that he might carry me to Lord Granville's, 
who was then President of the Council and wished to see 
me as soon as possible. I agreed to go with him the next 
morning. Accordingly Mr. Hanbury called for me and took 
me in his carriage to that nobleman's, who receiv'd me with 
great civility; and after some questions respecting the pres- 
ent state of affairs in America and discourse thereupon, he 
said to me : " You Americans have wrong ideas of the nature 
of your constitution; you contend that the king's instruc- 
tions to his governors are not laws, and think yourselves at 
liberty to regard or disregard them at your own discretion. 
But those instructions are not like the pocket instructions 
given to a minister going abroad, for regulating his conduct 
in some trifling point of ceremony. They are first drawn up 
by judges learned in the laws; they are then considered, 
debated, and perhaps am.ended in Council, after which they 
are signed by the king. They are then, so far as they relate 
to you, the law of the land, for the king is the Legislator 
OF THE Colonies.'"' I told his lordship this was new doc- 
trine to me. I had always understood from our charters 
that our laws were to be miade by our Assemblies, to be pre- 
sented indeed to the king for his royal assent, but that being 

168 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 167 

once given the king could not repeal or alter them. And as 
the Assemblies cculd not make permanent laws without 
his assent, so neither could he make a law for them without 
theirs. He assur'd me I was totally mnstaken. I did not 
think so, however, and his lordship's conversation having 
a little alarm'd me as to w'hat might be the sentiments of 
the court concerning us, I wrote it down as soon as I 
return'd to m.y lodgings. I recollected that about 20 years 
before, a clause in a bill brought into Parliament by the 
ministry had propos'd to make the king's instructions laws 
in the colonies, but the clause v/as thrown out by the Com- 
mons, for which we adored themi as our friends and friends 
of liberty, till by their conduct towards us in 1765 it seem'd 
that they had refus'd that point of sovereignty to the king 
only that they might reserve it for them.selves. 

After some days, Dr. Fothergill having spoken to the 
proprietaries, they agreed to a meeting with m.e at Mr. T. 
Penn's house in Spring Garden. The conversation at first 
consisted of mutual declarations of disposition to reasonable 
accommodations, but I suppose each party had its own ideas 
of what should be m.eant by reasonable. We then went into 
consideration of our several points of complaint, which I 
enumerated. The proprietaries justify'd their conduct as 
well as they could, and I the Assembly's. We now appeared 
very wide, and so far from each other in our opinions as to 
discourage ail hope of agreement. However, it was con- 
cluded that I should give them the heads of our complaints 
in writing, and they promis'd then to consider them. I did 
so soon after, but they put the paper into the hands of their 
solicitor, Ferdinand John Paris, Vv^ho managed for them all 
their law business in their great suit with the neighbouring 
proprietary of Maryland, Lord BaltimiOre, which had subsisted 
70 years, and wrote for them all their papers and messages 
in their dispute with the A^ssem.bly. He was a proud, angry 
man, and as I had occasionally in the answers of the As- 
sembly treated his papers with some severity^, they being 
really weak in point of argument and haughty in expression, 
he had conceived a mortal enmity to m.e, which discovering 
itself whenever \yq met, I declin'd the proprietary's pro- 
posal that he and I should discuss the heads of complaint 



168 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

between our two selves, and refus'd treating with any one 
but them. They then by his advice put the paper into the 
hands of the Attorney and Solicitor-General for their opinion 
and counsel upon it, where it lay unanswered a year wanting 
eight days, during which time I made frequent demands 
of an answer from the proprietaries, but without obtain- 
ing any otlier than that they had not yet received the opinion 
of the Attorney and Solicitor-General. What it was when 
they dki receive it I never learnt, for they did not communi- 
cate it to me, but sent a long message to the Assembly 
drawn and signed by Paris, reciting my paper, complaining 
of its want of formality, as a rudeness on my part, and 
giving a flimsy justification of their conduct, adding that 
they should be willing to accommodate matters if the As- 
sembly would send out some person of candour to treat with 
them for that purpose, intimating thereby that I was not 
such. 

The want of formality or rudeness was, probably, my not 
having addressed the paper to them with their assum'd titles 
of True and Absolute Proprietaries of the Province of Penn- 
sylvania, which I omitted as not thinking it necessary in a 
paper, the intention of which was only to reduce to a cer- 
tainty by writing, what in conversation I had delivered 
viva voce. 

But during this delay, the Assembly having prevailed with 
Gov'r Denny to pass an act taxing the proprietary estate 
in common with the estates of the people, which was the 
grand point in dispute, they omitted answering the message. 

When this act however came over, the proprietaries, coun- 
selled by Paris, determined to oppose its receiving the royal 
assent. Accordingly they petition'd the king in Council, and 
a hearing was appointed In which two lawyers were em- 
ploy'd by them against the act, and two by me in support of 
' it. They alledg'd that the act was intended to load the 
proprietary estate in order to spare those of the people, and 
that if it were suffer'd to continue in force, and the pro- 
prietaries who were in odium with the people, left to their 
mercy in proportioning the taxes, they would inevitably be 
ruined. We reply'd that the act had no such intention, and 
would have no su^ch effect. That the assessors were honest 



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 169 

and discreet men under an oath to assess fairly and equitably, 
and that any advantage each of them might expect in 
lessening his own tax by augmenting that of the proprie- 
taries was too trifling to induce them to perjure themselves. 
This Is the purport of what I remember as urged by both 
sides, except that we insisted strongly on the mischievous 
consequences that must attend a repeal, for that the money, 
£100,000, being printed and given to the king's use, expended 
in his service, and now spread among the people, the repeal 
would strike it dead in their hands to the ruin of many, and 
the total discouragement of future grants, and the selfish- 
ness of the proprietors in soliciting such a general catas- 
trophe, merely from a groundless fear of their estate being 
taxed too highly, was insisted on in the strongest terms. 
On this. Lord Mansfield, one of the counsel rose, and beck- 
oning me took me into the clerk's chamber, while the law- 
yers v/ere pleading, and asked me if I was really of opinion 
that no injury would be done the proprietary estate in the 
execution of the act, I said certainly. " Then," says he, 
" you can have little objection to enter into an engagement 
to assure that point." T answer'd, " None at all." He 
then call'd in Paris, and after some discourse, his lordship's 
proposition was accepted on both sides; a paper to the 
purpose w^as drawn up by the Clerk of the Council, which 
I sign'd with Mr. Charles, who was also an Agent of the 
Province for their ordinary affairs, when Lord Mansfield 
returned to the Council Chamber, where finally the law 
was allowed to pass. Som.e changes were however recom- 
mended and we also engaged they should be made by a 
subsequent law, but the Assembly did not think them nec- 
essary; for one year's tax having been levied by the act 
before the order of Council arrived, they appointed a com- 
mittee to examine the proceedings of the assessors, and on 
this committee they put several particular friends of the 
proprietaries. After a full enquiry, they unanimously sign'd 
a report that they fotmd the tax had been asse^'d with 
perfect equity. 

The Assembly looked into my entering into the first part 
of the engagement, as an essential service to the Province, 
since it secured th^e credit of the paper money then spread 



170 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

over all the cotintry. They gave me their thanks in form 
when I return'd. But the proprietaries were enraged at 
Governor Denny for having pass'd the act, and turn'd him 
out with threats of suing him for breach of instructions 
which he had given bond to observe. He, however, having 
done it at the instance of the General, and for His Majesty's 
service, and having some powerful interest at court, despis'd 
the threats and they were never put in execution. . , . 
lUnfinishedJ* 



CHIEF EVENTS IN FRANKLIN'S LIFE 

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

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

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

1716 Becomes his fathefs assistant in the toAlotD-chandlery 
business. 

1718 Apprenticed to his brother James, printer. 

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

1723 Breaks his indenture and removes to Philadelphia; obtains 
employment in Keimer's printing-office; abandons vege- 
tarianism,. 

172'f. Is persuaded by Governor Keith to establish himself inde- 
pendently, and goes to London to buy type; tvorks at Ms 
trade there, and publishes ''Dissertation on Liberty and 
Necessity, Pleasure and Pain." 

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

goods store, becomes manager of Keimer's printing-house. 

1727 Founds the Junto, or "Leathern Apron" Club. 

1728 With Hugh Meredith, opens a printing-office. 

1729 Becomes proprietor and editor of the "Pennsylvania Ga- 

zette"; prints, anonymously , "Nature and Necessity of a 
Paper Currency" ; opens a stationer's shop. 

1730 Marries Deborah Plead. 

1731 Founds the Philadelphia Library, 

171 



172 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

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

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

1786 Chosen clerk of the General Assembly; forms the Union 
Fire Company of Philadelphia. 

1737 Elected to the Assembly; appointed Deputy Postmaster' 
General; plans a city police. 

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

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

and develops into the University of Pennsylvania. 

1744 Estahlishes the American Philosophical Society. 

1746 Publishes a pamphlet, "Plain Truth,'' on the necessity for 
disciplined defense, and forms a military company; he- 
gins electrical experiments. 

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

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

1749 Appointed a Commissioner to trade toith the Indians, 

1751 Aids in founding a hospital. 

1752 Essperiments with a kite and discovers that lightning is aft 

electrical discharge. 

1753 Awarded the Copley medal for this discovery, and elected 

a member of the Royal Society; receives the degree of 
M.A. from Yale and Harvard. Appointed joint Post- 
master-General. 

1754 Appointed one of the Commissioners from Pennsylvania to 

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

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

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



HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 173 

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

[HERE THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY BREAKS OFF] 

11Q0 Secures from the Privy Council, by a compromise, a deci' 
sion obliging the Proprietary estates to contribute to the 
public revenue. 

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

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

116J^ Defeated by the Penn faction for reelection to the Assem' 
bly; sent to England as agent for Pennsylvania. 

1165 Endeavors to prevent the passage of the Stamp Ad. 

1166 Examined before the House of Commons relative to the pas- 

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

1161 Travels in France a/nd is presented at court. 

1169 Procures a telescope for Harvard College. 

1112 Elected Associi Etranger of the French Academy. 

mil. Dismissed from the office of Postmaster-Oeneral; influences 
Thomas Paine to emigrate to America. 

1115 Returns to America; chosen a delegate to the Second Con- 

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

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

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

2118 Concludes treaties of defensive alliance, and of amity and 
commerce; is. received at court. 

1719 Appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to France. 

1180 Appoints Paul Jones commander of the "Alliance." 



174 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

1782 Signs the 'preliminary articles of peace. 

1788 Signs the definite treaty of peace. 

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

1787 Reelected President; sent as delegate to the convention for 

framing a Federal Cons tit'iU ion. 

1788 Retires frora public life. 

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



THE JOURNAL OF 



INTRODUCTORY NOTE \ 

John Woolman isjas horn at Northampton, N. J., in 1720, 
and died at York, England, in 1772. He was the child of Quaker 
parents, and from kis youth was a zealous member of the So- 
ciety of Friends. His ''Journal," pvJhllshed posthumously in 1774, 
sufEciently describes his way of life and the spirit in which he 
did his work; but his extreme hufnility prevents him from mak- 
ing clear the importance of the part he played in the movement 
against slaveholding among the Quakers. 

During the earlier years of their settlement in America, the 
Friends took part in the traffic in slaves with apparently a^s little 
hesitation as their fellow colonists; hut in 1671 George Fox, visits 
ing the Barbados, zvas struck hy the inconsistency of slave- 
holding with the religious principles of his Society. His protests, 
along with those of others, led to the growth of an agitation^ 
which spread from section to section. In 1742, Woolman, then 
a young clerk in the employment of a storekeeper in New JeYsey, 
was asked to make out a hill of sale for a negro woman; and the 
scruples which then occurred to him were the beginning of a life- 
long activity against the traffic. Shortly afterward he began his 
laborious foot-journeys, pleading everywhere with his co-religion- 
ist'S, and inspiring others to take up the crusade. The result of 
the agitation was that the various Yearly Meetings one by one 
decided that emancipation was a religious duty; and within 
twenty years after Woolman^s death the practise of slavery had 
ceased in the Society of Friends. But Ms influence did not stop 
there, for no small pa^t of the enthtisiasm of the general emanci- 
pation movement is traceable to Ms labors. 

His own words in this "Jounml,'' of an extraordinary simpUcity 
and charm, are the best expression of a personality which in its 
ardor, purity of motive, hreadih of sympathy, and dear spiritual 
insight, gives Woolman a place among the uncanonised smnts of 
America. 



THE 

JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

(172O-I772) 



CHAPTER I 
1720- 1742 

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

I HAVE often felt a motion of love to leave some hints 
in v/riting of my experience of the goodness of God, 
and now, in the thirty-sixth year of my age, I begin 
this work. 

I was born in Northampton, in Burlington County, West 
Jersey, in the year 1720. Before I was seven years old I 
began to be acquainted with the operations of Divine love. 
Through the care of my parent:s, I was taught to read nearly 
as soon as I was capable of it ; and as I went from school one 
day, I remember tliat while my companions were playing by 
the way, I went forward out of sight, and, sittitig down, I 
read the twenty-second cha,pter of Revelation : " He showed 
me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding 
out of the throne of God and of th« Lamb, &c." In reading it, 
my mind was drawn to seek after th&t pure habitation which 
t then believed God had prepared for his servants. The 
place where I sat, and the sweetness that attended my mind, 
remain fresh in my memory. This, and the like gracious 
visitations, had su€h an effect upon me that when boys used 
Ul language it troubled me; and, through the continued 
mercies of God, I was preserved from that evil. 

177 



178 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

The pious instructions of my parents were often fresh ifl 
my mind, when I happened to be among wicked childre^, 
and were of use to me. Having a large family of childreji, 
they used frequently, on first-days, after meeting, to set ns 
one after another to read the Holy Scriptures, or some 
religious books, the rest sitting by without much conversa- 
tion; I have since often thought it was a good practice, 
From what I had read and heard, I believed there had been, 
in past ages, people who walked in uprightness before God 
in a degree exceeding any that I knew or heard of now 
living: and the apprehension of there being less steadiness 
and firmness amongst people in, the present age often 
troubled me while I was a child. 

I may here mention a remarkable circumstance that 
occurred in my childhood. On going to a neighbor's house, 
I saw on the v^^ay a robin sitting on her nest, and as I came 
near she went off; but having young ones, she fiew about^ 
and with many cries expressed her concern for them. I 
stood and threw stones at her, and one striking her she fell 
down dead. At first I was pleased with the exploit, but 
after a few minutes was seized with horror, at having, in a 
sportive ^vay, killed an innocent creature while she was 
careful for her young. I beheld her lying dead, and thought 
those young ones, for which she was so careful, must now 
perish for v/ant of their dam to nourish them. After some 
painful considerations on the subject, I climbed up the tree, 
took all the young birds, and killed them, supposing that 
better than to leave them to pine away and die miserably. 
In this case I believed that Scripture proverb was fulfilled, 
" The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel." I then went 
on my errand, and for some hours could think of little else 
but the cruelties I had committed, and was much troubled. 
Thus He whose tender mercies are over all his works hath 
placed a principle in the human mind, which incites to exer- 
cise goodness towards every living creature; and this being 
singly attended to, people become tender-hearted and sym- 
pathizing; but when frequently and totally rejected, the 
mind becomes shut up in a contrary disposition. 

About the twelfth year of my age, my father being abroad, 
my mother reproved me for som.e misconduct, to which I 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMA!^ 179 

made an undutiful reply. The next first-day, as I was with 
my father returning from meeting, he told m.e that he under- 
stood I had behaved amiss to my mother, and advised me 
to be more careful in future. I knew myself blamable, and 
in shame and confusion remained silent. Being thus awak* 
ened to a sense of my wickedness, I felt remorse in my 
mind, and on getting home I retired and prayed to the Lord 
to forgive me, and I do not remember that I ever after* 
wards spoke unhandsomely to either of my parents, however 
foolish in some other things. 

Having attained the age of sixteen years, I began to love 
wanton company and though I was preserved from profane 
language or scandalous conduct, yet I perceived a plant in 
me which produced much wild grapes; my merciful Father 
did not, however, forsake me utterly, but at times, through 
his grace, I was brought seriously to consider my ways ; and 
the sight of my backslidings affected me with sorrow, yet 
for want of rightly attending to the reproofs of instruction, 
vanity was added to vanity, and repentance to repentance. 
Upon the whole, my mind became more and more alienated 
from the truth, and I hastened toward destruction. While I 
meditate on the gulf towards which I travelled, and reflect 
on my youthful disobedience, for these things I weep, mine 
eye runneth down with water. 

^Advancing in age, the number of my acquaintance in- 
creased, and thereby my way grew more difficult. Though 
I had found comifort in reading the Holy Scriptures and 
thinking on heavenly things, I was now estranged therefrom. 
I knew I was going from the flock of Christ and had no reso- 
lution to return, hence serious reflections were uneasy to me, 
and youthful vanities and diversions were my greatest pleas- 
ure. In this road I found many like myself, and we associ- 
ated in that which is adverse to true friendship. 

In this swift race it pleased God to visit me with sickness, 
so that I doubted of recovery ; then did darkness, horror, and 
amazement with full force seize me, even when my pain and 
distress of body were very great. I thought it would have 
been better for me never to have had being, than to see the 
day which I now saw. I was filled with confusion, and in 
great affliction, both of mind and body, I lay and bewailed 



ISO THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

myself. I had not confidence to lift up my cries to God/ 
whom I had thus offended j but in a deep sense of my greaf 
folly I was humbled before him. At length that word whic|i 
is as a fire and a hammer broke and dissolved my rebellious 
heart ; my cries were put up in contrition ; and in the multi- 
tude of his mercies I found inward relief, and a close 
engagem.ent that if he was pleased to restore my health I 
might walk humbly before him. 

A^fter my recovery this exercise remained with me a 
considerable time, but by degrees giving way to youthful 
vanities, and associating with wanton young people, I lost 
ground. The Lord had been very gracious, and spoke peace 
to me in the time of my distress, and I now most ungrate- 
fully turned again to folly; at times I felt sharp reproof, 
but I did not get low enough to cry for help. I was not so 
hardy as to commit things scandalous, but to exceed in 
vanity and to promote mirth was my chief study. Still I 
retained a love and esteem for pious people, and their com- 
pany brought an awe upon m.e. My dear parents several 
times admonished me in the fear of the Lord, and their 
admonition entered into my heart and had a good effect for 
a season; but not getting deep enough to pray rightly, the 
tempter, when he came, found entrance. Once having spent 
a part of the day in wantonness, when I went to bed at 
night there lay in a window near my bed a Bible, which I 
opened, and first cast my eye on the text, " We lie down in 
our shame, and our confusion cover eth us." This I knew to 
be my case, and meeting with so unexpected a reproof I was 
somewhat affected with it, and went to bed under remorse 
of conscience, which I soon cast off again. 

Thus time passed on; my heart was replenished with 
mirth and wantonness, while pleasing scenes of vanity were 
presented to my imagination, till I attained the age of 
eighteen years^ near which time I felt the judgments of God 
in my soul, like a consuming fire, and looking over my past 
life the prospect was moving. I was often sad, and longed 
to be delrvered from those vanities; then again my heart 
was strongly inclined to them, and there was in me a sore 
eonffict. At times I turned to folly, and then again sorrow 
and confusion took hold of me. In a while I resolved totally 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 181 

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

I kept steadily to m.eetings, spent first-day afternoons 
chiefly in reading the Scriptures and other good books, and 
was early convinced in my mind that true religion consisted 
in an inward life, wherein th^ heart does love and reverence 
God the Creator, and learns to exercise true justice and 
goodness, not only toward all meai, but also toward the brute 
creatures; that, as the m.ind was moved by an inward prin- 
cipk to love God as an invisible, incomprehensible Being, so, 
by the same pTineipk, it w-as moved to love him in all his 
manifestations in the visible world; that, as by his breath 
the flame of life was kindled in all animal sensible creatures, 



182 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

to say we love God as unseen, and at the same time exercise 
cruelty tov/ard the least creature moving by his life, or by 
life derived from him, wsls a contradiction in itself. I found 
no narrowness respecting- sects and opinions, but believed 
that sincere, upright-hearted people, in every society, who 
truly love God, v/ere accepted of him. 

As I lived under the cross, and simply followed the open- 
ing of truth, my mind, from day to day, v/as more enlight- 
ened, my former acquaintance were left to judge of me as 
they would, for I found it safest for me to live in private, 
and keep these things sealed up in my own breast. "While I 
silently ponder on that change wrought in me, I find no 
language equal to convey to another a clear idea of it. I 
looked upon the works of God in this visible creation, and 
an av/fulness covered me. My heart was tender and often 
contrite, and universal love to my fellow-creatures increased 
in me. This wall be understood by such as have trodden in 
the same path. Some glances of real beauty may be seen in 
their faces who dwell in true meekness. There is a harmony 
in the sound of that voice to which Divine love gives 
utterance, and some appearance of right order in their 
temper and conduct whose passions are regulated; yet these 
do not fully show forth that inward life to those who have 
not felt it; this white stone and new name is only known 
rightly by such as receive it. 

Now, though I had been thus strengthened to bear the 
cross, I still found myself in great danger, having many 
weaknesses attending me, and strong temptations to wrestle 
with; in the feeling whereof I frequently withdrew into 
private places, and often with tears besought the Lord to 
help me, and his gracious ear was open to my cry. 

All this time I lived with my parents, and wrought on the 
plantation; and having had schooling pretty well for a 
planter, I used to improve m.yself in winter evenings, and 
other leisure times. Being now in the twenty-first year of 
my age, with my father's consent I engaged with a man, in 
much business as a shop-keeper and baker, to tend shop and 
keep books. At home I had lived retired ; and now having 
a prospect of being much in the way of company, I felt 
frequent and fervent cries in my heart to God, the Father 



THE JOURNx^L OF JOHN WOOLMAN 183 

of Mercies, that he would preserve me from all taint and 
corruption; that, in this more public employment, I might 
serve him, my gracious Redeemer, in that humiility and self- 
denial which I had in a small degree exercised in a more 
private life* 

The man who employed me furnished a shop in Mount 
Holly, about five miles from my father's house, and six from 
his own, and there I lived alone and tended his shop. 
Shortly after my settlement here I v/as visited by several 
young people, my form.er acquaintance, who supposed that 
vanities v/ould be as agreeable to me now as ever. At these 
times I cried to the Lord in secret for v/isdom and strength; 
for I felt myself encompassed with difficulties, and had fresh 
occasion to bewail the follies of times past, in contracting a 
familiarity with libertine people; and as I had now left my 
father's house outwardly, I found my Heavenly Father to 
be merciful to me beyond what I can express. 

By day I was much amongst people, and had many trials 
to go through; but in the evenings I was mostly alone, and 
I may with thankfulness acknowledge, that in those times 
the spirit of supplication was often poured upon me; under 
which I was frequently exercised, and felt my strength 
renewed. 

After a while, my former acquaintance gave over expect- 
ing me as one of their company, and I began to be known to 
some whose conversation was helpful to me. And now, as I 
had experienced the love of God, through Jesus Christ, to 
redeem me from many pollutions, and to be a succor to me 
through a sea of conflicts, with which no person was fully 
acquainted, and as my heart was often enlarged in this 
heavenly principle, I felt a tender compassion for the youth 
who remained entangled in snares like those which had 
entangled me. This love and tenderness increased, and my 
mind was strongly engaged for the good of my fellow- 
creatures. I went to meetings in an awful fram^e of mind, 
and endeavored to be inwardly acquainted with the language 
of the true Shepherd. One day, being under a strong exer- 
cise of spirit, I stood up and said some words in a meeting; 
but not keeping closre to the Divine opening, I said more 
than was required of me. Being soon sensible of my error, 



184 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

I was afflicted in mind some weeks, without any light Of 
comfort, even to that degree that I could not take satisfac- 
tion in anything. I remembered God, and was troubled, and 
in the depth of my distress he had pity upon me, and sent 
the Comforter. I then felt forgiveness for my offence; my 
mind became calm and quiet, and I was truly thankful to my 
gracious Redeemer for his mercies. About six weeks after 
this, feeling the spring of Divine love opened, and a concern 
to speak, I said a few words in a mieeting, in which I found 
peace. Being thus humbled and disciplined under the cross, 
my understanding became more strengthened to distinguish 
the pure spirit which inwardly moves upon the heart, and 
which taught me to wait in silence sometimes many weeks 
together, until I felt that rise which prepares the creature 
to stand like a trumpet, through which the Lord speaks to 
his flock. 

From an inward purifying, and steadfast abiding under it 
springs a lively operative desire for the good of others. All 
the faithful are not called to the public ministry; but who- 
ever afe, are called to minister of that which they have 
tasted and handled spiritually. The outivard modes of wor- 
ship are various; but whenever any are true ministers of 
Jesus Christ, it 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 m^y mind, and I was taught to watch the pure opening, 
and to take heed lest, while I was standing to speak, my own 
v/ill should get uppermost, and cause me to utter words from 
worldly wisdom, and depart from the channel of the true 
gospel ministry. 

In the management of my outward affairs, I may say 
wife thankfulness, I found truth to be my support; and I 
was respected in my master's family, who cam^ to live in 
Mount Holly withia two years after my going there. 

In a few months after I came here, my master bought 
several Scotchmen servants, from on board a vessel, and 
brotight them to Mount Holly to sell, one of whom was 
taken sick and died. In the latter part of his sickness, being 
delirious, he ttsed to curse and swear most sorrowfully ; and 
the next night after his burial I was left to sleep aloine in^ 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 185 

the cliamber where he died. I perceived in me a timorons- 
ness; I knew, however, I had not injured the man, but 
assisted in taking care of him according to my capacity. I 
was not free to ask any one on that occasion to sleep with 
me. Nature was feeble; but every trial was a fresh incite- 
ment to give myself up wholly to the service of God, for I 
found no helper like him in times of trouble. 

About the twenty- third year of my age, I had many fresh 
and heavenly openings, in respect to the care and provi- 
dence of the Almighty over his creatures in general, and 
over man as the most noble amongst those which 
are visible. And being clearly convinced in my judgment 
that to place my whole trust in God was best for me, I 
felt renewed engagements that in all things I might act on 
an inward principle of virtue, and pursue worldly business 
no further than as truth opened my way. 

About the time called Christmas I observed many people, 
both in town and from the country, resorting to public- 
houses, and spending their time in drinking and vain sports, 
tending to corrupt one another; on which account I was 
much troubled. At one house in particular there was much 
disorder; and I believed it was a duty incumbent on me 
to speak to the master of that house. I considered I was 
young, and that several elderly friends in town had oppor- 
tunity to see these things; but though I would gladly have 
been excused, yet I could not feel my mind clear. 

The exercise was heavy; and as I was reading what 
the Almighty said to Ezekid, respecting his duty as a 
watchman, the matter was set home more clearly. With 
prayers and tears I besought the Lord for his assistance, 
and He, in loving-kindness, gave me a resigned heart. At 
a suitable opportunity I went to the public-house ; and seeing 
the man amongst much company, I called him aside, and in 
the fear and dread of the Almighty expressed to him what 
rested on my mind. He took it kindly, and afterwards 
showed more regard to me than before. In a few years after- 
wards he died, middle-aged; and I often thought that had I 
neglected my duty in that case it would hav"" given me 
great trouble; and I was humbly thankful to my gracious 
Father, who had supported me herein. 



186 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

My employer, having a negro woman/ sold her, and de- 
sired me to write a bill of sale, the man being waiting who 
bought her. The thing was sudden; and though I felt 
aneasy at the thoughts of writing an instrument of slavery 
for one of my fellow-creatures, yet I remembered that I 
was hired by the year, that it was my m.aster who directed 
me to do it, and that it was an elderly man, a mem.ber of our 
Society, who bought her; so through weakness I gave way, 
and wrote 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 religion. This, in some degree, abated 
my uneasiness; yet as often as I reflected seriously upon 
it I thought I should have been clearer if I had desired to 
be excused from it, as a thing against my conscience; for 
such it w^as. Some time after this a young man of our 
Society spoke to me to write a conveyance of a slave to 
him, he having lately taken a negro into his house. I told 
him I was not easy to write it; for, though many of our 
meeting and in other places kept slaves, I still believed the 
practice was not right, and desired to be excused from the 
writing. I spoke to him in goodwill; and he told me that 
keeping slaves was not altogether agreeable to his mind; 
but that the slave being a gift miade to his wife he had 
accepted her. 

^ The mimber of slaves in New Jersey at this time must have been considerable, 
for even as late as ISOO tJiere were over 12,000 of them. The newly imported Afri- 
cans were deposited at Perth Ajuboy. In 1734 there were enottgh of them to niaks 
a formidable though unsuccessful insurrection. 




CHAPTER II 

1743-1748 

His first Journey, on a Religious Visit, in East Jersey — Thoughts 
on Merchandising, and Learning a Trade — Second Journey into 
Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina — Third 
Journey through part of West and East Jersey — Fourth Journey 
through New York and Long Island, to New England — And his 
fifth journey to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and the Lower 
Counties on Delaware. 

Y 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 v^ith him ; and after a conference with some 
elderly Friends I agreed to go. We set out on the 5th of 
ninth month, 1743; had an evening meeting at a tavern 
in Brunswick, a town in which none of our Society dwelt; 
the room was full, and the people quiet. Thence to Amboy, 
and had an evening meeting in the court-house, to which 
came many people, amongst whom were several members 
of Assembly, they being in town on the public affairs of 
the province. In both these meetings my ancient companion 
was engaged to preach largely in the love of the gospel. 
Thence we went to Woodbridge, Rahway, and Plainfield, 
and had six or seven meetings in places where Friends' 
meetings are not usually held, chiefly attended by Presby- 
terians, and my beloved companion was frequently strength- 
ened to publish the word of life amongst them. As for me, 
I was often silent through the m.eetings, and when I spake 
it was with much care, that I might speak only what truth 
opened. My mind was often tender, and I learned some 
profitable lessons. We were out about two weeks. 
Near this time, being on some outward business in whicH 



188 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

several families were concerned, and which was attended 
with difficulties, some things relating thereto not being 
clearly stated, nor rightly understood by all, there arose 
some heat in the minds of the parties, and one valuable 
friend got off his watch. I had a great regard for him, 
and felt a strong inclination, after matters were settled, to 
speak to him concerning his conduct in that case; but being 
a youth, and he far advanced in age and experience, my 
way appeared difficult; 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 be- 
came my youth and his years; and though it was a hard 
task to me it was well taken, and I believe was useful to 
lis both. 

Having now been several years with my employer, and 
he doing less in merchandise than heretofore, I was thought- 
ful about some other way of business, perceiving merchandise 
to be attended with much cumber in the way of trading in 
these parts. 

My mind, through the power of truth, was in a good 
degree weaned from the desire of outward greatness, and 
I was learning to be content with real conveniences, that were 
not costly, so that a way of life free from much entangle- 
ment appeared best for me, though the income might be small. 
I had several offers of business that appeared profitable, 
but I did not see my way clear to accept of them, believing 
they would be attended with more outward care and cumber 
than was required of me to engage in. I saw that an hum^ble 
man, with the blessing of the Lord, might live on a little, 
and that where the heart was set on greatness, success in 
business did not satisfy the craving; but that commonly 
with an increase of wealth the desire of wealth increased. 
There was a care on my mind so to pass my time that nothing 
might hinder me from the most steady attention to the voice 
of the true Shepherd. 

My employer, though now a retailer of goods, VN^as by 
trade a tailor, and kept a servant-man at that business; 
and I began to think about learning the trade, expecting 
that if I should settle I might by this trade and a little 
retailing of goods get a living in a plain way, without the 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 189 

load of great business. I mentioned it to my employer, 
and we soon agreed on terms, and when I had leisure from 
the affairs of merchandise I worked with his man. I be- 
lieved the hand of Providence pointed out this business for 
me, and I was taught to be content with it, though I felt 
at times a disposition that would have sought for something 
greater; but through the revelation of Jesus Christ I had 
seen the happiness of humJIity, and there was an earnest 
desire in m.e to enter deeply into it; at times this desire 
arose to a degree of fervent supplication, wherein my soul 
was so environed with heavenly light and consolation that 
things were made easy to me which had been otherwise. 

After some time my employer's wife died; she was a 
virtuous woman, and generally beloved of her neighbors. 
Soon after this he left shop-keeping, and we parted. I then 
wrought at my trade as a tailor ; carefully attended meetings 
for worship and discipline; and found an enlargement of 
gospel love in my mind, and therein a concern to visit 
Friends in some of the back settlements of Pennsylvania 
and Virginia. Being thoughtful about a companion, I ex- 
pressed it to my beloved friend, Isaac Andrews, who told 
me that he had drawings to the same places, and also to 
go through Maryland, Virginia, and Carolina. After a 
considerable time, and several conferences with him, I felt 
easy to accompany him throughout^ if way opened for it. 
I opened the case in our Monthly Meeting, and, Friends 
expressing their unity therewith, we obtained certificates 
to travel as companions, — he from Haddonfield, and I from 
Burlington. 

We left our province on the 12th of third month, 1746, 
and had several meetings in the upper part of Chester 
County, and near Lancaster; in some of which the love 
of Christ prevailed, uniting us together in his service. We 
then crossed the river Susquehanna, and had several meet- 
ings in a new settlement, called the Red Lands. It is the 
poorer sort of people that commonly begin to improve remote 
deserts ; with a small stock they have houses to build, lands 
to clear and fence, corn to raise, clothes to provide, and 
children to educate, so that Friends who visit such may 
well sympathize with them in their hardships in the wilder- 



190 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAx^ 

ness; and though the best entertainment that they can 
give may seem coarse to some who are used to cities or 
old settled places, it becomes the disciples of Christ to be 
therewith content. Our hearts were sometimes enlarged 
in the love of our Heavenly Father amongst these people, 
and the sv/eet influence of his Spirit supported us through 
some difficulties : to him be the praise. 

We passed on to Manoquacy, Fairfax, Hopewell, and 
Shanando, and had meetings, some of wt|,ich were comfort- 
able and edifying. From Shanando, we set off in the after- 
noon for the settlements of Friends in Virginia; the 
first night we, with our guide, lodged in the woods, our 
horses feeding near us; but he being poorly provided wath 
a horse, and we young, and having good horses, were free 
the next day to part wdth him. In two days after we 
reached our friend John Cheagle's, in Virginia. We took 
the meetings in our way through Virginia ; were in some 
degree baptized into a feeling sense of the conditions of the 
people, and our exercise in general was more painful in 
these old settlements than it had been amongst the back in- 
habitants ; yet through the goodness of our Heavenly Father 
the well of living w^aters was at times opened to our 
encouragement, and the refreshment of the sincere-hearted. 
We went on to Perquimians, in North Carolina; had several 
large meetings, and found some openness in those parts, 
and a hopeful appearance amongst the young people. After- 
wards we turned again to Virginia, and attended most of 
the meetings which we had not been at before, laboring 
amongst Friends in the love of Jesus Christ, as ability was 
given; thence went to the mountains, up James River to 
a new settlement, and had several meetings amongst the 
people, some of whom had lately joined in membership with 
our Society, In our journeying to and fro, we found some 
honest-hearted Friends, who appeared to be concerned for 
the cause of truth among a backsliding people. 

From Virginia we crossed over the river Potomac, at 
Hoe's Ferry, and m.ade a general visit to the meetings of 
Friends on the western shore of Maryland, and were at 
their Quarterly Meeting. We had some hard labor amongst 
them, endeavoring to discharge our duty honestly as vv^ay 



rHE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 191 

opened, in the love of truth. Thence, taking sundry meet- 
ings in our way, v/e passed towards home, which, through 
the favor of Divine Providence, v/e reached the l6th of 
sixth month, 1746; and I may say, that through the assist- 
ance of the Holy Spirit, which mortifies selfish desires, my 
companion and I travelled in harmony, and parted in the 
nearness of true brotherly love. 

Two things were remarkable to me in this journey: first, 
in regard to my entertainment. When I ate, drank, and 
lodged free-cost with people who lived in ease on the hard 
labor of their slaves I felt uneasy; and as my mind was 
inward to the Lord, I found this uneasiness return upon 
me, at times, through the whole visit. Where the masters 
bore a good share of the burden, and lived frugally, so that 
their servants were well provided for, and their labor mod- 
erate, I felt more easy; but v/here they lived in a costly 
way, and laid heavy burdens on their slaves, my exercise 
Vv'as often great, and I frequently had conversation with them 
in private concerning it. Secondly, this trade of importing 
slaves from their native country being much encouraged 
amongst them, and the white people and their children so 
generally living without much labor, was frequently the 
subject of my serious thoughts. I saw in these southern 
provinces so many vices and corruptions, increased by this 
trade and this way of life, that it appeared to me as a dark 
gloominess hanging over the land; and though now many 
willingly run into it, yet in future the consequence will be 
grievous to posterity. I express it as it hath appeared to 
me, not once, nor twice, but as a matter- fixed on my mind. 

Soon after my return home I felt an increasing concern 
for Friends on our seacoast ; and on the 8th of eighth month, 
1746, I left home with the unity of Friends, and in com- 
pany with my beloved friend and neighbor Peter Andrews, 
brother to my com.panion before mentioned, and visited them 
in their m.eetings generally about Salem, Cape May, Great 
and Little Egg Harbor; we had m.eetings also at Barnagat, 
Manahockin, and Mane Squan, and so to the Yearly Meet- 
ing at Shrewsbury, Through the goodness of the Lord 
way was opened, and the strength of Divine love was some- 
times felt in cur assemblies, to the comfort and help of 



192 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WGOLMAN 

those who were rightly concerned before him. We wefe 
out twenty-two days, and rode, by computation, three hun- 
dred and forty miles. At Shrewsbury Yearly Meeting we 
met with our dear friends Michael Lightfoot and Abraham 
Farrington, who had good service there. 

The winter follov/ing died my eldest sister Elizabeth 
Woolman, of the small-pox, aged thirty-one years. 

Of late I found drawings in my mind to visit Friends in 
New England, and having an opportunity of joining in com- 
pany with my beloved friend Peter Andrews, we obtained 
certificates from our Monthly Meeting, and set forward on 
the i6th of third month, 1747. We reached the Yearly 
Meeting at Long Island, at which were our friends, Samuel 
Nottingham from England, John Griffith, Jane Hoskins, and 
Elizabeth Hudson from Pennsylvania, and Jacob Andrews 
from Chesterfield, several of whom were favored in their 
public exercise; and, through the goodness of the Lord, we 
had some edifying meetings. After this my companion and 
I visited Friends on Long Island; and through the mercies 
of God we were helped in the work. 

Besides going to the settled meetings of Friends, we were 
at a general meeting at Setawket, chiefly made up of other 
societies; we had also a meeting at Oyster Bay in a dwell- 
ing-house, at which were many people. At the former there 
was not much said by way of testimony, but it was, I be- 
lieve, a good meeting; at the latter, through the springing 
up of living waters, it was a day to be thankfully remem- 
bered. Having visited the island, we went over to the main, 
taking meetings in our way, to Oblong, Nine-partners, and 
New Milford. In these back settlements we met with sev- 
eral people who, through the immediate -vorkings of the 
Spirit of Christ on their minds, were drawn from the vanities 
of the world to an inward acquaintance with him. They 
were educated in the way of the Presbyterians. A consid- 
erable number of the youth, members of that society, used 
often to spend their time together in merriment, but some 
of the principal young men of the company, bemg visited 
by the powerful workings of the Spirit of Christ, and thereby 
led humbly to take up his cross, could no longer join in 
those vanities. As these stood steadfast to tiiat inward con- 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 193 

vincement, they were made a blessing to some of their former 
companions; so that through the power of truth several 
were brought into a close exercise concerning the eternal 
well-being of their souls. These young people continued for 
a time to frequent their public worship; and, besides that, 
had meetings of their own, which meetings were awhile 
allowed by their preacher, who sometimes met with them; 
but in time their judgment in matters of religion disagreeing 
with some of the articles of the Presbyterians their meetings 
were disapproved by that society; and such of them as 
stood firm to their dutj, as it was inwardly manifested, had 
many difficulties to go through. In a while their meetings 
were dropped; some of them returned to the Presbyterians, 
and others joined to our religious society. 

I had conversation with some of the latter to my help and 
edification, and believe several of them are acquainted with 
the nature of that worship which is performed in spirit and 
in truth. Amos Powel, a friend from Long Island, accom- 
panied me through Connecticut, which is chiefly inhabited 
by Presbyterians, who were generally civil to us. After three 
days' riding, we came amongst Friends in the colony of 
Rhode Island, and visited them in and about Newport, Dart- 
mouth, and generally in those parts; we then went to 
Boston, and proceeded eastward as far as Dover. Not far 
from thence we met our friend Thomas Gawthrop, from 
England, who was then on a visit to these provinces. From 
Newport we sailed to Nantucket ; were there nearly a week ; 
and from thence came over to Dartmouth. Having finished 
our visit in these parts, we crossed the Sound from New 
London to Long Island, and taking some meetings on the 
island proceeded towards home, which we reached the 13th 
of seventh month, 1747, having rode about fifteen hun- 
dred miles, and sailed about one hundred and fifty. 

In this journey, I may say in general, we were sometimes 
in much weakness, and labored under discouragements, and 
at other times, through the renewed manifestations of Divine 
love, we had seasons of refreshment wherein the power of 
truth prevailed. We were taught by renewed experience to 
labor for an inward stillness; at no time to seek for words, 
but to live in the spirit of truth, and utter that to the people 

? HC— Vol. 1 



194 THE JOURNAI. OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

which truth opened in us. My beloved companion and I 
belonged both to one meeting, came forth in the ministry- 
near the same tim.e, and were inwardly united in the work. 
He was about thirteen years older than I, bore the heaviest 
burden, and was an instrument of the greatest use. 

Finding a concern to visit Friends in the lower counties 
of Delaware, and on the eastern shore of Maryland, and 
having an opportunity to join with my well-beloved ancient 
friend, John Sykes, we obtained certificates, and set off the 
7th of eighth month, 1748, were at the meetings of Friends 
in the lower counties, attended the Yearly Meeting at Little 
Creek, and made a visit to most of the meetings on the 
eastern shore, and so home by the way of Nottingham. We 
were abroad about six weeks, and rode, by computation, 
about five hundred and fifty miles. 

Our exercise at times was heavy, but through the good- 
ness of the Lord we were often refreshed, and I may say 
by experience "he is a stronghold in the day of trouble." 
Though our Society in these parts appeared to me to be in 
a declining condition, yet I believe the Lord hath a people 
amongst them who labor to serve him uprightly, but they 
have many difficulties to encounter. 



CHAPTER III 
1749-1756 

His Marriage — The Death of his Father — His Journeys into the 
tipper part of New Jersey, and afterwards into Pennsylvania — ■ 
Considerations on keeping Slaves, and Visits to the Families of 
Friends at several times and places — An Epistle from the Gen- 
eral Meeting — His journey to Long Island — Considerations on 
Trading and on the Use of Spirituous Liquors and Costly Apparel 
— Letter to a Friend. 

k BOUT this time, believing it good for me to settle, 
l\ and thinking seriously about a companion, my heart 
-^-^ was turned to the Lord with desires that he would 
give me wisdom to proceed therein agreeably to his will, 
and he was pleased to give me a well-inclined damsel, 
Sarah Ellis, to whom I was married the i8th of eighth 
month, 1749. 

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

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

195 



195 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

taj^e the advice of friends in publishing it? After some 
further conversation thereon, he said, " I have all along been 
deeply affected with the oppression of the poor negroes; 
and now, at last, my concern for them is as great as ever." 

By his direction I had written his will in a time of health, 
and that night he desired me to read it to him.^ which I did ; 
and he said it was agreeable to his mind. He then made 
mention of his end, which he believed was near; and signi- 
fied that though he was sensible of many imperfections in 
the course of his life, yet his experience of the power of 
truth, and of the love and goodness of God from time to 
time, even till now, was such that he had no doubt that on 
leaving this life he should enter into one more happy. 

The next day his sister Elizabeth came to see him, and 
told him of the decease of their sisier Anne, who died a few 
days before ; he then said, " I reckon Sister Anne was free 
to leave this world?" Elizabeth said she was. He then 
said, " I also am free to leave it " ; and being in great weak- 
ness of body said, " I hope I shall shortly go to rest." He 
continued in a weighty frame of mind, and was sensible till 
near the last. 

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

Ninth month, 1753. — In company with miy well-esteemed 
friend, John Sykes, and with the unity of Friends, I travelled 
about two weeks, visiting Friends in Buck's County. We 
labored in the love of the gospel, according to the measure 
received; and through the mercies of Him who is strength 
to the poor who trust in him, we found satisfaction in our 
visit. In the next winter, way opening to visit Friends' 
families within the compass of our Monthly Meeting, partly 
by the labors of two Friends from Pennsylvania, I joined in 
some part of the work, having had a desire some time that 
it might go forward amongst us. 

About this time, a person at som.e distance lying sick, his 
brother came to me to write his will. I knew he had slaves. 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 197 

and, asking his brother, was told he intended to leave them 
as slaves to his children. As writing is a profitable employ, 
and as offending sober people was disagreeable to my inclina- 
tion, I was straitened in my mind; but as I looked to the 
Lord, he inclined my heart to his testimony. I told the man 
that I believed the practice of continuing slavery to this 
people was not right, and that I had a scruple in my mind 
against doing writings of that kind; that though many in 
our Society kept them as slaves, still I was not easy to be 
concerned in it, and desired to be excused from going to 
write the will. I spake to him in the fear of the Lord, and 
he made no reply to what I said, but went away; he also 
had some concerns in the practice, and I thought he was 
displeased with me. In this case I had fresh confirmation 
that acting contrary to present outward interest, from a 
motive of Divine love and in regard to truth and righteous- 
ness, and thereby incurring the resentments of people, opens 
the way to a treasure better than silver, and to a friendship 
exceeding the friendship of men. 

The manuscript before mentioned having laid by me 
several years, the publication of it rested weightily upon me, 
and this year I offered it to the revisal of my friends, who, 
having examined and made som.e small alterations in it, 
directed a number of copies thereof to be published and dis- 
persed amongst members of our Society.^ 

In the year 1754 I found my mind drawn to join in a 
visit to Friends' families belonging to Chesterfield Monthly 
Meeting, and having the approbation of our own, I went to 
their Monthly meeting in order to confer with Friends, and 
see if way opened for it. I had conference with some of 
their members, the proposal having been opened before in 
their meeting, and one Friend agreed to join with me as a 
companion for a beginning; but when meeting was ended, 
I felt great distress of mind, and doubted what way to take, 
or whether to go home and wait for greater clearness. I 
kept my distress secret, and going with a friend to his house, 
my desires were to the great Shepherd for his heavenly 
instruction. In the morning I felt easy to proceed on the 
visit, though very low in my mind. As mine eye was turned 

^Thts pamphlet was published by Benjamin Franklin, 1754, 



198 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

to the Lord, waiting in families in deep reverence before 
him, he was pleased graciously to afford help, so that we 
had many comfortable opportunities, and it appeared as a 
fresh visitation to some young people. I spent several weeks 
this winter in the service, part of which time was employed 
near home. And again in the following winter I was several 
weeks in the same service ; some part of the time at Shrews- 
bury, in company with my beloved friend, John Sykes; and 
I have cause humbly to acknowledge that through the good- 
ness of the Lord our hearts were at times enlarged in his 
love, and strength was given to go through the trials which, 
in the course of our visit, attended us. 

From a disagreement between the powers of England and 
France, it was now a time of trouble on this continent, and 
an epistle to Friends went forth from our general spring 
meeting, which I thought good to give a place in this 
Journal. 

An Epistle front our general Spring Meeting of ministers and elders 
for Pennsylvania and New Jersey, held at Philadelphia, from 
the 2gth of the third month to the ist of the fourth monthf 
inclusive, 1755. 

To Friends on the Continent of America : — 

Dear Friends, — In an humbl-e sense of Divine goodness, 
and the gracious continuation of God's love to his people, 
we tenderly salute you, and are at this time therein engaged 
in mind, that all of us who profess the truth, as held forth 
and published by our worthy predecessors in this latter age 
of the world, may keep near to that Life which is the light 
of men, and be strengthened to hold fast the profession of 
our faith without wavering, that our trust may not be in 
man, but in the Lord alone, who ruleth in the army of 
heaven and in the kingdoms of men, before whom the earth 
is " as the dust of the balance, and her inhabitants as grass- 
hoppers." (Isa. xl. 22.) 

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



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 199 

those national contests which are productive of misery and 
bloodshed, and submit our cause to him, the Most High, 
whose tender love to his children exceeds the most warm 
affections of natural parents, and who hath promised to his 
seed throughout the earth, as to one individual, " I will 
never leave thee, nor forsake thee." (Heb. xiii. 5.) And 
we, through the gracious dealings of the Lord our God, have 
had experience of that work which is carried on, not by- 
earthly might, " nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the 
Lord of Hosts." (Zech. iv. 6.) By which operation that 
spiritual kingdom is set up, which is to subdue and break in 
pieces all kingdoms that oppose it, and shall stand forever. 
In a deep sense thereof, and of the safety, stability, and 
peace that are in it, we are desirous that all who profess the 
truth may be inwardly acquainted with it, and thereby be 
qualified to conduct ourselves in all parts of our life as be- 
comes our peaceable profession; and v/e trust as there is a 
faithful continuance to depend wholly upon the almighty 
arm, from one generation to another, the peaceable kingdom 
will gradually be extended " from sea to sea, and from the 
river to the ends of the earth" (Zech. ix. 10), to the com- 
pletion of those prophecies already begun, that " nation shall 
not lift up a sword against nation, nor learn war any 
more." (Isa. ii. 4. Micah iv. 3.) 

And, dearly beloved friends, seeing that we have these 
promises, and believe that Go<i is beginning to fulfil them, 
let us constantly endeavor to have our minds sufficiently 
disentangled from the surfeiting cares of this life, and 
redeemed from the love of the world, that no earthly pos- 
sessions nor enjoyments may bias our judgments, or turn us 
from that resignation and entire trust in God to which his 
blessing is most surely annexed ; then m^ay we say, " Our 
Redeemer is mighty, he will plead our cause for us." (Jer. 
1. 34.) And if, for the further promoting of his most gra- 
cious purposes in the earth, he should give us to taste of 
that bitter cup of which his faithful ones have often par- 
taken, O that we might be rightly prepared to receive it ! 

And novv^, dear friends, with respect to the commotions 
and stirrings of the powers of the earth at this time near 
us, we are desirous that none of us may be moved thereat, 



200 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

but repose ourselves in the munition of that rock whicfi 
all these shakings shall not move, even in the knov/ledge and 
feeling of the eternal power of God, keeping us subjectly 
given up to his heavenly will, and feeling it daily to mortify 
that which remains in any of us which is of this world; 
for the worldly part in any is the changeable part, and that 
is up and down, 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 partakers of its spirit, so the world 
is but one, and many are made partakers of the spirit of it; 
and so many as do partake of it, so many will be straitened 
and perplexed with it. But they who are single to the truth, 
waiting daily to feel the life and virtue of it in their hearts, 
shall rejoice in the midst of adversity, and have to ex- 
perience with the prophet, that, "although the fig-tree shall 
not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor 
of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; 
the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be 
no herd in the stalls; yet will they rejoice in the Lord, 
and joy in the God of their salvation." (Hab. iii. 17, 18.) 

If, contrary to this, we profess the truth, and, not living 
under the power and influence of it, are producing fruits 
disagreeable to the purity thereof, and trust to the strength 
of man 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 pro- 
moting of his own glory, he doth arise, even to shake terribly 
the earth, who then may oppose him, and prosper? 

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

(Signed by fourteen Friends.) 

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



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 201 

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

About this time an ancient man of good esteem in the 
neighborhood came to my house to get his will written. He 
had young negroes, and I asked him privately how he pur- 
posed to dispose of them. He told me ; I then said, " I 
cannot write thy will without breaking my own peace," and 
respectfully gave him my reasons for it. He signified that 
he had a choice that I should have written it, but as I could 
not, consistently with my conscience, he did not desire it, 
and so he got it written by some other person. A few years 
after, there being great alterations in his family, he came 
again to get me to write his will. His negroes were yet 
young, and his son, to whom he intended to give them, was, 
since he first spoke to me, from a libertine become a sober 
young man, and he supposed that I would have been free on 
that account to write it. We had much friendly talk on the 
subject, and then deferred it. A few days after he came 
again and directed their freedom, and I then wrote his will. 

Near the time that the last-mentioned Friend first spoke 
to me, a neighbor received a bad bruise in his body and sent 
for me to bleed him, which having done, he desired me to 
write his will. I took notes, and amongst other things he 
told me to which of his children he gave his young negro. 
I considered the pain and distress he was in, and knew not 
how it would end, so I wrote his will, save only that part 
concerning his slave, and carrying it to his bedside read it 



202 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

to him. I then told him in a friendly way that I could no? 
write any instruments by which my fellow-creatures were 
made slaves, without bringing trouble on my own mind. I 
let him know that I charged nothing for what I had done, 
and desired to be excused from doing the other part in the 
way he proposed. We then had a serious conference on the 
subject; at length, he agreeing to set her free, I finished 
his will. 

Having found drawings in my mind to visit Friends on 
Long Island, after obtaining a certificate from our Monthly 
Meeting, I set off 12th of fifth month, 1756. When I reached 
the island, I lodged the first night at the house of my dear 
friend, Richard Hallett. The next day being the first of 
the week, I was at the meeting in New Town, in which we 
experienced the renewed manifestations of the love of Jesus 
Christ to the comfort of the honest-hearted. I went that 
night to Flushing, and the next day I and my beloved friend, 
Matthew Franklin, crossed the ferry at White Stone; were 
at three meetings on the main, and then returned to the 
island, where I spent the remainder of the week in visiting 
meetings. The Lord, I believe, hath a people in those parts 
who are honestly inclined to serve him; but many I fear, 
are too much clogged with the things of this life, and do 
not come forward bearing the cross in such faithfulness as 
he calls for. 

My mind was deeply engaged in this visit, both in public 
and private, and at several places where I was, on observ- 
ing that they had slaves, I found myself under a necessity, 
in a friendly way, to labor with them on that subject; ex- 
pressing, as way opened, the inconsistency of that practice 
with the purity of the Christian religion, and the ill effects 
of it manifested amongst us. 

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 meet- 
ings were large, and m.easurably favored with Divine good- 
ness. The exercise of my mind at this meeting was chiefly 
on account of those who were considered as the foremost 
rank in the Society; and in a meeting of ministers and 
elders way opened for me to express in some measure what 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 203 

lay upon me; and when Friends were met for transacting 
the affairs of the church, having sat awhile silent, I felt a 
weight on my mind, and stood up ; and through the gracious 
regard of our Heavenly Father, strength was given fully to 
clear myself of a burden which for some days had been in- 
creasing upon me. 

Through the humbling dispensations of Divine Provi- 
dence, men are sometimes fitted for his service. The mes- 
sages of the prophet Jeremiah were so disagreeable to the 
people, and so adverse to the spirit they lived in, that he 
became the object of their reproach, and in the weak- 
ness of nature he thought of desisting from his prophetic 
office ; but saith he, " His word was in my heart as a burn- 
ing fire shut up in my bones; and I was weary with for- 
bearing, and could not stay." I saw at this time that if I 
was honest in declaring that which truth opened in me, I 
could not please all men; and I labored to be content in the 
way of my duty, however disagreeable to my own inclination. 
After this I went homeward, taking Woodbridge and Plain- 
field in my way, in both which meetings the pure influence of 
Divine love was manifested, in an humbling sense whereof I 
went home. I had been out about twenty-four days, and 
rode about three hundred and sixteen miles. 

While I was out on this journey my heart was mucfi 
affected with a sense of the state of the churches in our 
southern provinces; and believing the Lord was calling me 
to some further labor amongst them, I was bowed in rev* 
erence before him, with fervent desires that I might find' 
strength to resign myself to his heavenly will. 

Until this year, 1756, I continued to retail goods, besides 
following my trade as a tailor; about which time I grew 
uneasy on account of my business growing too cumbersome. 
I had begun with selling trimmings for garments, and from 
thence proceeded to sell cloths and linens; and at length, 
having got a considerable shop of goods, my trade Increased 
every year, and the way to large business appeared open, 
but I felt a stop in my mind. 

Through the mercies of the Almighty, I had, in a good 
degree, learned to be content with a plain way of living, i 
had but a small family; and, on serious consideration, be- 



204 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

lieved truth did not require me 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 people, I was not easy to trade in; seldom 
did it; and whenever I did I found it weaken me as a 
Christian. 

The increase of business became my burden; for though 
my natural inclination was toward merchandise, yet I be- 
lieved truth required me to live more free from outward 
cumbers; and there was now a strife in my mind between 
the two. In this exercise my prayers were put up to the 
Lord, who 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, and inoculating. ^ In 
merchandise it is the custom where I lived to sell chiefly on 
credit, and poor people often get in debt ; when payment is 
expected, not having wherewith to pay, their creditors often 
sue for it at law. Having frequently observed occurrences 
of this kind, I found it good for me to advise poor people 
to take such goods as were most useful, and not costly. 

In the time of trading I had an opportunity of seeing that 
the too liberal use of spirituous liquors and the custom of 
wearing too costly apparel led some people into great incon- 
veniences; and that these two things appear to be often 

2 He seems to have regarded agriculture as the business rhost conducive 
to moral and physical health. He thought " if the leadings of the Spirit 
were more attended to, more people would be engaged in the sweet employ- 
ment of husbandry, where_ labor is agreeable and healthful." He does not 
condemn the honest acquisition of wealth in other business free from oppres- 
sion ;_ even " merchandising," he thought, might be carried on innocently 
and in pure reason. Christ does not forbid the laying up of a needful 
support for family and friends; the command is, " Lay not up for your- 
selves treasures on earth." From his little farm on the Rancocas he 
looked out with a mingled feeling of wonder and sorrow upon the hurry 
and unrest of the world; and especially was he pained to see luxury and 
extravagance overgrowing the early plainness and simplicity of his own 
religious society. He regarded the merely rich man with unfeigned pity. 
With nothing of his scorn, he had all of Thoreau's commiseration, for peo- 
ple who went about bowed down with the weight of broad acres and great 
houses on their hacks.— Note in edition published by Messrs. Houghton„ 
Mifflin <if Co. 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 205 

connected with each other. By not attending to that use of 
things which is consistent with universal righteousness, 
there is an increase of labor which extends beyond what our 
Heavenly Father intends for us. And by great labor, and 
often of much sweating, there is even among such as 
are not drunkards a craving of liquors to revive the 
spirits; that partly by the luxurious drinking of some, and 
partly by the drinking of others (led to it through immod- 
erate labor), very great quantities of rum are every year ex- 
pended in our colonies; the greater part of which we should 
have no need 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 dis- 
order their understandings, neglect their duty as members 
of a family or civil society, and cast off all regard to religion, 
their case is much to be pitied. And where those whose 
lives are for the most part regular, and whose examples have 
a strong influence on the minds of others, adhere to some 
customs which powerfully draw to the use of more strong 
liquor than pure wisdom allows^ it hinders the spreading of 
the spirit of meekness, and strengthens the hands of the 
more excessive drinkers. This is a case to be lamented. 

Every degree of luxury hath some connection with evil; 
and if those who profess to be disciples of Christ, and are 
looked upon as leaders of the people, have that mind in them 
which was also in Christ, and so stand separate from every 
wrong way, it is a means of help to the weaker. As I have 
sometimes been much spent in the heat and have taken 
spirits to revive me, I have found by experience, that in such 
circumstances the mind is not so calm, nor so fitly disposed 
for Divine meditation, as when all such extremes are avoided. 
I have felt an increasing care to attend to that Holy Spirit 
which sets right bounds to our desires, and leads those who 
faithfully follow it to apply all the gifts of Divine Provi- 
dence to the purposes for which they were intended. Did 
those who have the care of great estates attend with single- 
ness of heart to this heavenly Instructor, which so opens and 
enlarges the mind as to cause men to love their neighbors 
as themselves, they would have wisdom given them to manage 
their concerns, without employing some people in providing 



206 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

luxuries of life, or others i^ laboring too hard ; but for want 
of steadily regarding this principle of Divine love, a selfish 
spirit takes place in the minds of people, which is attended 
with darkness and manifold confusions in the world. 

Though trading in things useful is an honest employ, yet 
through the great number of superfluities which are bought 
and sold, and through the corruption of the times, they who 
apply to merchandise for a living have great need to be well 
experienced in that precept which the Prophet Jeremiah laid 
down for his scribe: "Seekest thou great things for thy- 
self? seek them not." 

In the winter this year I was engaged with friends in visit- 
ing families, and through the goodness of the Lord we often- 
times experienced his heart-tendering presence amongst us. 

A Copy of a Letter written to a Friend 

"In this, 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 ; that thou being more fully 
acquainted with that way which the world esteems foolish, 
mayst feel the clothing of Divine fortitude, and be strength- 
ened to resist that spirit which leads from the simplicity of 
the everlasting truth. 

"We may see ourselves crippled and halting, and from, a 
strong bias to things pleasant and easy find an impossibility 
to advance forward; but things impossible with men are 
possible with God; and our wills being made subject to his, 
all temptations are surmountable. 

"This work of subjecting the will is compared to the min- 
eral in the furnace, which, through fervent heat, is reduced 
from its first principle : ' He refines them as silver is refined ; 
he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.' By these com- 
parisons 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 adoration by inwardly 
turning away from that spirit, in all its workings, which is 
not of him. To forward this v7ork the all-wise God is some- 
times pleased, through outward distress, to bring us near the 
9-ates of death; that life being painful and afflicting, and 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 207 

tlie prospect of eternity opened before us, all earthly bonds 
may be loosened, and the mind prepared for that deep and 
sacred instruction which otherwise would not be received. 
If kind parents love their children and delight in their hap- 
piness, then he who is perfect goodness in sending abroad 
m_ortal contagions doth assuredly direct their use. Are the 
righteous removed by it? their change is happy. Are the 
wicked taken away in their wickedness? the Almighty is 
clear. Do we pass through with anguish and great bitter- 
ness, and yet recover ? He intends that we should be purged 
from dross, and our ear opened to discipline. 

" And now, as thou art again restored, after thy sore 
affliction and doubts of recovery, forget not Him who hath 
helped thee, but in hum.ble gratitude hold fast his instruc- 
tions, and thereby shun those by-paths which lead from the 
firm foundation. I am sensible of that variety of company 
to which one in thy business must be exposed; I have pain- 
fully felt the force of conversation proceeding from men 
deeply rooted in an earthly mind, and can sympathize with 
others in such conflicts, because much weakness still attends 
me. 

" I find that to be a fool as to worldly wisdom, and to 
commit my cause to God, not fearing to offend men, who 
take offence at the simplicity of truth, is the only way to 
remain unmoved at the sentiments of others. 

" The fear of man brings a snare. By halting in our duty, 
and giving back in the time of trial, our hands grow weaker, 
our spirits get mingled with the people, our ears grow dull 
as to hearing the language of the true Shepherd, so that when 
we look at the way of the righteous, it seems as though it 
was not for us to follow them. 

"A love clothes my miind while I write, which is superior 
to all expression ; and I find m}^ heart open to encourage to 
a holy em-ulation, to advance forward in Christian firmness. 
Deep hum-ility is a strong bulwark, and as we enter into it 
we find safety and true exaltation. The foolishness of God 
is wiser than man, and the weakness of God is stronger 
than man. Being unclothed of our own wisdom, and know- 
ing the abasement of the creature, we find that power to 
arise which gives health and vigor to us." 




CHAPTER IV 

1757, 1758 

Visit to the Families of Friends at Burlington — -Journey to Penn- 
sylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina — Considera- 
tions on the State of Friends there, and the Exercise he was 
tmder in Travelling among those so generally concerned in keep- 
ing Slaves, with some Observations on this Subject — Epistle to 
Friends at New Garden and Crane Creek — Thoughts on the 
Neglect of a Religious Care in the Education of the Negroes. 

[HIRTEENTH fifth month, 1757.— Being in good 
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 apparent distance of five feet, about nine inches in 
diameter, of a clear, easy brightness, and near its centre the 
most radiant. As I lay still looking upon it without any sur- 
prise, words were spoken to my inward ear, which filled my 
whole inward man. They were not the effect of thought, 
nor any conclusion in relation to the appearance, but as the 
language of the Holy One spoken in my mind. The words 
were. Certain Evidence of Divine Truth. They were 
again repeated exactly in the same manner, and then the 
light disappeared. 

Feeling the exercise In relation to a visit to the Southern 
Provinces to increase upon me, I acquainted our Monthly 
Meeting therewith, and obtained their certificate. Expecting 
to go alone, one of my brothers who lived in Philadelphia, 
having some business in North Carolina, proposed going 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 209 

:with me part of 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 with several elderly Friends of Philadelphia on 
the subject, and he obtaining a certificate suitable to the 
occasion, we set off in the fifth month, 1757. Coming to Not- 
tingham week-day meeting, we lodged at John Churchman's, 
where I met with our friend, Benjamin Buffington, from New 
England, who was returning from a visit to the Southern 
Provinces. Thence we crossed the river Susquehanna, and 
lodged at William Cox's in Maryland. 

Soon after I entered this province a deep and painful exer- 
cise came upon me, which I often had som.e feeling of, since 
my mind was drawn toward these parts, and with which I 
had acquainted my brother before we agreed to join as com- 
panions. As the people in this and the Southern Provinces 
live much on 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 sup- 
ported as to remain unmoved at the faces of men. 

As it is common for Friends on such a visit to have enter- 
tainment free of cost, a difficulty arose in my mind with 
respect to saving my money by kindness received from what 
appeared to me to be the gain of oppression. Receiving a 
gift, considered as a gift, brings the receiver under obliga- 
tions to the benefactor, and has a natural tendency to draw 
the obliged into a party with the giver. To prevent difficul- 
ties of this kind, and to preserve the minds of judges from 
any bias, was that Divine prohibition : "Thou shalt not 
receive any gift; for a gift bindeth the wise, and perverteth 
the words of the righteous." (Exod. xxiii. 8.) As the dis- 
ciples w^ere sent forth without any provision for their jour- 
ney, and our Lord said the workman is worthy of his meat, 
their labor in the gospel was considered as a reward for their 
entertainment, and therefore not received as a gift; yet, in 
regard to my present journey, I could not see my way clear 
in that respect. The difference appeared thus : the entertain- 
ment the disciples met with was from them whose hearts God 
had opened to receive them, from a love to them and the 



210 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

truth they published; but we, considered as members of the 
same religious society, look upon it as a piece of civility to 
receive each other in such visits; and such receptions, at 
times, is partly in regard to reputation, and not from an 
inward unity of heart and spirit. Conduct is more convinc- 
ing than language, and where people, by their actions, mani- 
fest that the slave-trade is not so disagreeable to their prin- 
ciples but that it m.ay be encouraged, there is not a sound 
uniting with some Friends who visit them. 

The prospect of so weighty a work, and of being so distin- 
guished from many whom I esteemed before myself, brought 
me very low, and such were the conflicts of my soul that I 
had a near sympathy with the Prophet, in the time of his 
weakness, when he said : " If thou deal thus with me, kill 
me, I pray thee, if I have found favor in thy sight." (Num. 
xi. 15.) But I soon saw that this proceeded from the want 
of a full resignation to the Divine will. Many were the 
afflictions which attended me, and in great abasem.ent, 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 exercised, and 
in calmness of mind went forward, trusting that the Lord 
Jesus Christ, as I faithfully attended to him, would be a 
counsellor to me in all difficulties, and that by His strength I 
should be enabled even to leave money with the members 
of society where I had entertainment, when I found that 
omitting it would obstruct that work to which I believed He 
had called me. As I copy this after my return, I may here 
add, that oftentimes I did so under a sense of duty. The way 
in which I did it was thus : when I expected soon to leave a 
Friend's house where I had entertainment, if I believed that 
I should not keep clear from the gain of oppression without 
leaving money, I spoke to one of the heads of the family 
privately, and desired them to accept of those pieces of 
silver, and give them to such of their negroes as they be- 
lieved v/ould make the best use of them ; and at other times 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 211 

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

Ninth of fifth month. — A Friend at whose house we break- 
fasted setting us a little on our way, I had conversation v/ith 
him, in the fear of the Lord, concerning his slaves, in v/hich 
my heart was tender; I used much plainness of speech with 
him, and he appeared to take it kindly. We pursued our 
journey without appointing meetings, being pressed In my 
mind to be at the Yearly Meeting in Virginia. In my trav- 
elling on the road, I often felt a cry rise from, the centre of 
my mind, thus : " O Lord, I am a stranger on the earth, hide 
not thy face from me." On the nth, we crossed the rivers 
Patowmack and Rapahannock, and lodged at Port Royal. On 
the way we had the company of a colonel of the militia, who 
appeared to be a thoughtful man. I took occasion to remark 
on the difference in general betwixt a people used to labor 
moderately for their living, training up their children in 
frugality and business, and those who live on the labor of 
slaves; the former, in my view, being the most happy life. 
He concurred in the remark, and mentioned the trouble 
arising from the tmtoward, slothful disposition of the ne- 
groes, adding that one of our laborers would do as m.uch in 
a day as two of their slaves. I replied, that free m.en, whose 
minds were properly on their business, found a satisfaction 
in improving, cultivating, and providing for their families; 
but negroes, laboring to support others who claim them as 
their property, and expecting nothing but slavery during life, 
had not the like inducement to be industrious. 

After some further conversation I said, that men having 
power too often misapplied it; that though we m.ade slaves 
of the negroes, and the Turks made slaves of the Christians, 
I believed that liberty was the natural right of all men 
equally. This he did not deny, but said the lives of the 
negroes were so wretched in their own country that many 



212 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

of them lived better here than there. I replied, " There is 
great odds in regard to us on what principle we act " ; and 
so the conversation on that subject ended. I may here add 
that another person, some time afterwards, mentioned the 
wretchedness of the negroes, occasioned by their intestine 
wars, as an argument in favor of our fetching them away 
for slaves. To which I replied, if compassion for the Afri- 
cans, on account of their domestic troubles, was the real 
motive of our purchasing them, that spirit of tenderness being 
attended to, would incite us to use them kindly that, as 
strangers brought out of affliction, their lives might be happy 
among us. And as they are human creatures, whose souls 
are as precious as ours, and who may receive the same help 
and comfort from the Holy Scriptures as we do, we could 
not omit suitable endeavors to instruct them therein; but 
that while we manifest by our conduct that our views in 
purchasing them are to advance ourselves, and while our 
buying captives taken in war animates those parties to push 
on the war, and increase desolation amongst them, to say 
they live unhappily in Africa is far from being an argument 
in our favor. I further said, the present circumstances of 
these provinces to me appear difficult; the slaves look like a 
burdensome stone to such as burden themselves with them; 
and that if the white people retain a resolution to prefer their 
outward prospects of gain to all other considerations, and 
do not act conscientiously toward them as fellow-creatures^ 
I believe that burden will grow heavier and heavier, until 
times change in a way disagreeable to us. The person ap- 
peared very serious, and owned that in considering their 
condition and the manner of their treatment in these prov- 
inces he had sometimes thought it might be just in the 
Almighty so to order it. 

Having travelled through Maryland, we came amongst 
Friends at Cedar Creek in Virginia, on the 12th; and the 
next day rode, in company with several of them, a day's 
journey to Camp Creek. As I was riding along in the 
morning, my mind was deeply affected in a sense I had of 
the need of Divine aid to support me in the various difficul- 
ties which attended m.e, and in uncommon distress of mind I 
cried in secret to the Most High, " O Lord be merciful, I 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 213 

beseech thee, to thy poor afflicted creature!" After some 
time, I felt inward relief, and, soon after, a Friend in com- 
pany began to talk in support of the slave-trade, and said 
the negroes were understood to be the offspring of Cain, 
their blackness being the mark which God set upon him 
after he murdered Abel his brother ; that it was the design of 
Providence they should be slaves, as a condition proper to the 
race of so wicked a man as Cain was. Then another spake in 
support of what had been said. To all which I replied in 
substance as follows : that Noah and his family were all 
who survived the flood, according to Scripture ; and as Noah 
was of Seth's race, the family of Cain was wholly destroyed. 
One of them said that after the flood Ham went to the land 
of Nod and took a wife; that Nod was a land far distant, 
inhabited by Cain's race, and that the flood did not reach it; 
and as Ham was sentenced to be a servant of servants to 
his brethren, these two families, being thus joined, were 
undoubtedly fit only for slaves. I replied, the flood was a 
judgment upon the world for their abominations, and it was 
granted that Cain's stock was the most wicked, and there- 
fore unreasonable to suppose that they were spared. As to 
Ham's going to the land of Nod for a wife, no time being 
fixed. Nod might be inhabited by some of Noah's family 
before Ham married a second time; moreover the text saith 
"That all flesh died that moved upon the earth." (Gen. vii. 
21.) I further reminded them how the prophets repeatedly 
declare " that the son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the 
father, but every one be answerable for his own sins." I 
was troubled to perceive the darkness of their imaginations, 
and in some pressure of spirit said, " The love of ease and 
gain are the motives in general of keeping slaves, and men 
are wont to take hold of weak arguments to support a cause 
fvhich is unreasonable. I have no interest on either side, 
save only the interest which I desire to have in the truth. 
I believe liberty is their right, and as I see they are not 
only deprived of it, but treated in other respects with inhu- 
manity in many places, I believe He who is a refuge for 
the oppressed will, in his own time, plead their cause, and 
happy will it be for such as walk in uprightness before him." 
And thus our conversation ended. 



214 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

Fourteenth of fifth month. — I was this day at Camp Creek 
Monthly Meeting, and then rode to the mountains up James 
!River, and had a meeting at a Friend's house, in both which 
I felt sorrow of heart, and my tears were poured out before 
the Lord, who was pleased to afford a degree of strength 
by which way was opened to clear my mind amongst Friends 
in those places. 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 presence of the Lord. I lodged at James Stand- 
ley's, father of William Standley, one of the young men who 
suffered imprisonment at Winchester last summer on account 
of their testimony against fighting, and I had some satisfac- 
tory conversation with him concerning it. Hence I went to 
the Swamp Meeting, and to Wayanoke Meeting, and then 
crossed James River, and lodged near Burleigh. From the 
tim^e of m.y entering Maryland I have been much under sor- 
row, which of late so increased upon me that my mind was 
almost overwhelmed, and I may say with the Psalmist, " In 
my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God," 
who, in infinite goodness, looked upon my affliction, and in 
my private retirement sent the Comforter for my relief, 
for which I humbly bless His holy name. 

The sense I had of the state of the churches brought a 
weight of distress upon me. The gold to me appeared dim, 
and the fine gold changed, and though this is the case too' 
j^enerally, yet the sense of it in these parts hath in a par- 
ticular manner borne heavy upon m.e. It appeared to me that 
through the prevailing of the spirit of this world the minds 
of many were brought to an inward desolation, and instead 
of the spirit of meekness, gentleness, and heavenly wisdom, 
which are the necessary companions of the true sheep of 
Christ, a spirit of fierceness and the love of dominion too 
generally prevailed. From small beginnings in error great 
buildings by degrees are raised, and from one age to another 
are more and more strengthened by the general concurrence 
of the people ; and as men obtain reputation by their profes- 
sion of the truth, their virtues are mentioned as arguments 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 215 

in favor of general error; and those of less note, to justify 
themselves, say, such and such good men did the like. By 
vv^hat other steps could the people of Judah arise to that 
height in wickedness as to give just ground for the Prophet 
Isaiah to declare, in the nam.e of the Lord, *' that none calleth 
for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth" (Isa. lix. 4), or for 
the Almighty to call upon the great city of Jerusalem just 
before the Babylonish captivity, " If ye can find a man, if 
there be any who executeth judgment, that seeketh the 
truth, and I will pardon it"? (Jer. v. i.) 

The prospect of a way being open to the same degeneracy, 
in some parts of this newly settled land of America, in respect 
to our conduct towards the negroes, hath deeply bowed my 
mind in this journey, and though briefly to relate how these 
people are treated is no agreeable work yet, after often 
reading over the notes I made as I travelled, I find my mind 
engaged to preserve them. Many of the white people in 
those provinces take little or no care of negro marriages ; and 
when negroes marry after their own way, some make so 
little account of those marriages that with views of outward 
interest they often part men from their wives by selling them 
far asunder, which is common when estates are sold by 
executors at vendue. Many whose labor is heavy being fol- 
lowed at their business in the field by a m.an with a whip, 
hired for that purpose, have in common little else allowed 
but one peck of Indian corn and some salt, for one week, 
with a few potatoes; the potatoes they commonly raise by 
their labor on the first day of the week. The correction 
ensuing on their disobedience to overseers, or slothfulness 
in business, is often very severe, and sometimes desperate. 

Men and women have many times scarcely clothes suffi- 
cient to hide their nakedness, and boys and girls ten and 
twelve years old are often quite naked amongst their master's 
children. Some of our Society, and some of the society 
called Newlights, use some endeavors to instruct those they 
have in reading; but in common this is not only neglected, 
but disapproved. These are the people by whose labor the 
other inhabitants are in a great measure supported, and many 
of them in the luxuries of life. These are the people who 
have made no agreement to serve us, and who have not for- 



216 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

feited their liberty that we know 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 
indignation of God is kindled against oppression and cruelty, 
and in beholding the great distress of so numerous a people 
will find cause for mourning. 

From my lodgings I went to Burleigh Meeting, where I 
felt my mind drawn in a quiet, resigned state. After a long 
silence I felt an engagement to stand up, and through the 
powerful operation of Divine love we were favored with an 
edifying meeting. The next meeting we had was at Black- 
Water, and from thence went to the Yearly Meeting at the 
Western Branch. When business began, some queries were 
introduced by some of their members for consideration, and, 
if approved, they were to be answered hereafter by their 
respective Monthly Meetings. They were the Pennsylvania 
queries, which had been examined by a committee of Vir- 
ginia Yearly Meeting appointed the last year, who made 
some alterations in them, one of which alterations was made 
in favor of a custom which troubled me. The query was, 
" Are there any concerned in the importation of negroes, or 
in buying them after imported ? " which was thus altered, 
*'Are there any concerned in the importation of negroes, or 
buying them to trade in?" As one query admitted with 
unanimity was, " Are any concerned in buying or vending 
goods unlawfully imported, or prize goods?" I found my 
mind engaged to say that as we profess the truth, and were 
there assembled to support the testimony of it, it was neces- 
sary for us to dwell deep and act in that wisdom which is 
pure, or otherwise we could not prosper. I then mentioned 
their alteration, and referring to the last-mentioned query, 
added, that as purchasing any merchandise taken by the 
sword was always allowed to be inconsistent with our prin- 
ciples, so negroes being captives of war, or taken by stealth, 
it was inconsistent with our testimony to buy them; and 
their being our fellow-creatures, and sold as slaves, added 
greatly to the iniquity. Friends appeared attentive to what 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 217 

was said; some expressed a care and concern about theii? 
negroes; none made any objection, by way of reply to what 
I said, but the query was admitted as they had altered it. 

As som.e of their members have heretofore traded in 
negroes, as in other merchandise, this query being admitted 
will be one step further than they have hitherto gone, and I 
did not see it my duty to press for an alteration, but felt 
easy to leave it all to Him who alone is able to turn the 
hearts of the mighty, and make way for the spreading of 
truth on the earth, by means agreeable to his infinite wisdom. 
In regard to those they already had, I felt my mind engaged 
to labor with them, and said that as we believe the Scriptures 
were given forth by holy men, as they were moved by the 
Holy Ghost, and many of us know by experience that they 
are often helpful and comfortable, and believe ourselves 
bound in duty to teach our children to read them ; I believed 
that if we were divested of all selfish views, the same good 
spirit that gave them forth would engage us to teach the 
negroes to read, that they might have the benefit of them. 
Some present manifested a concern to take more care in the 
education of their negroes. 

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

The next day, about the tenth hour. Friends met to finish 
their business, and then the meeting for worship ensued, 
which to me was a laborious time ; but through the goodness 
of the Lord, truth, I believed, gained some ground, and it 
was a strengthening opportunity to the honest-hearted. 



218 THE JOUKNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

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

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

Dear Friends, — It having pleased the Lord to drav/ 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 
truthc First, my dear friends, dwell in humility; and take 
heed that no views of outward gain get too deep hold of you, 
that so your eyes being single to the Lord, you may be pre- 
served in the way of safety. Where people let loose their 
minds after the love of outward things, and are more engaged 
in pursuing the profits and seeking the friendships of this 
world than to be inv\^ardly acquainted with the way of true 
peace, they walk in a vain shadow, while the true comfort of 
life is VN^anting. Their examples are often hurtful to others ; 
and their treasures thus collected do many timxcs prove dan- 
gerous snares to their children. 

But where people are sincerely devoted to follow Christ, 
and dwell under the influence of his Holy Spirit, their sta- 
bility and firmness, through a Divine blessing, is at times 
like dew on the tender plants round about them, and the 
weightiness of their spirits secretly works on the minds of 
others. In this condition, through the spreading influence 
of Divine love, they feel a care over the flock, and way is 
opened for maintaining good order in the Society. And 
though we may meet with opposition from another spirit, 
yet, as there is a dwelling in meekness, feeling our spirits 
subject, and moving only in the gentle, peaceable wisdom, 
the inward reward of quietness will be greater than all our 
difficulties. Where the pure life is kept to, and meetings of 
discipline are held in the authority of it, we find by experi- 
ence that they are comfortable, and tend to the health of 
the body. 

While I write, the youth come fresh in my way. Dear 
young people, choose God for your portion; love his truth, 
and be not ashamed of it; choose for your company such as 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 219 

serve him in uprightness; and shun as most dangerous the 
conversation of those whose lives are of an ill savor; for by 
frequenting such company some hopeful young people have 
come to great loss, and been drawn from less evils to greater, 
to their utter ruin. In the bloom of youth no ornament is 
so lovely as that of virtue, nor any enjoyments equal to 
those which v\^e partake of in fully resigning ourselves to the 
Divine will. These enjoyments add sweetness to all other 
comforts, and give true satisfaction in company and con- 
versation, w^here people are mutually acquainted with it ; and 
as your minds are thus seasoned with the truth, you will find 
strength to abide steadfast to the testimony of it, and be 
prepared for services in the church. 

And now, dear friends and brethren, as you are improving 
a wilderness^ and may be numbered amongst the first planters 
in one part of a province^ I beseech you, in the love of Jesus 
Christ, wisely to consider the force of your examples, and 
think how much your successors may be thereby affected. 
It is a help in a country, yea, and a great favor and blessing, 
when customs first settled are agreeable to sound wisdom; 
but when they are otherwise the effect of them is grievous; 
and children feel them.selves encompassed with difficulties 
prepared for them by their predecessors. 

As moderate care and exercise, under the direction of true 
wisdom, are useful both to mind and body, so by these means 
in general the real wants of life are easily supplied, our 
gracious Father having so proportioned one to the other 
that keeping in the medium we may pass on quietly. Where 
slaves are purchased to do our labor numerous difficulties 
attend it. To rational creatures bondage is uneasy, and 
frequently occasions sourness and discontent In them; which 
affects the family and such as claim the mastery over them. 
Thus people and their children are many times encompassed 
with vexations, which arise from their applying to >vrong 
methods to get a living. 

I have been informed that there is a large number of 
Friends in 5':our parts who have no slaves; and in tender 
and most affectionate love I beseech you to keep clear from 
purchasing any. Look, my dear friends, to Divine Provi- 
dence, and follow in simplicity that exercise of body, that 



220 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

plainness and frugality, which true wisdom leads to; so 
may you be preserved from those dangers which attend such 
as are aiming at outward ease and greatness. 

Treasures, though small, attained on a true principle of 
virtue, are sweet; and while we walk in the light of the 
Lord there is true comfort and satisfaction in the possession ; 
neither the murmurs of an oppressed people, nor a throbbing, 
uneasy conscience, nor anxious thoughts about the events of 
things, hinder the enjoyment of them. 

When we look towards the end of life, and think on the 
division of our substance among our successors, if we know 
that it was collected in the fear of the Lord, in honesty, in 
equity, and in uprightness of heart before him, we may con- 
sider it as his gift to us, and with a single eye to his bless- 
ing, bestow it on those we leave behind us. Such is the 
happiness of the plain ways of true virtue. " The work of 
righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteous- 
ness, quietness and assurance forever." (Isa. xxxii. 17.) 

Dwell here, my dear friends; and then in remote and 
solitary deserts you may find true peace and satisfaction. If 
the Lord be our God, in truth and reality, there is safety for 
us : for he is a stronghold in the day of trouble, and knoweth 
them that trust in him. 

Isle of Wight County, in Virginia, 
20th of the 5th month, 1757. 

From the Yearly Meeting in Virginia I went to Carolina, 
and on the first of sixth month was at Wells Monthly Meet- 
ing, where the spring of the gospel ministry was opened, and 
the love of Jesus Christ experienced among us ; to his name 
be the praise. 

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



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 221 

settled in silence. Near the end of their business a member 
of their meeting expressed a concern that had some time 
lain upon him, on account of Friends so much neglecting 
their duty in the education of their slaves, and proposed 
having meetings sometimes appointed for them on a week- 
day, to be attended only by some Friends to be named in 
their Monthly Meetings. Many present appeared to unite 
with the proposal. One said he had often wondered that they, 
being our fellow-creatures, and capable of religious under- 
standing, had been so exceedingly neglected; another ex- 
pressed the like concern, and appeared zealous that in future 
it might be more closely considered. At length a m-inute was 
made, and the further consideration of it referred to their 
next Monthly Meeting. The Friend who made this proposal 
hath negroes ; he told me that he was at New Garden, about 
two hundred and fifty miles from home, and came back alone ; 
that in this solitary journey this exercise, in regard to the 
education of their negroes, was from time to time renewed 
in his mind. A Friend of some note in Virginia, who hath 
slaves, told me that he being far from home on a lonesome 
journey had m.any serious thoughts about them.; and his 
mind was so impressed therewith that he believed he saw a 
time coming when Divine Providence v/ould alter the circum- 
stance of these people, respecting their condition as slaves. 

From hence I went to a meeting at Nev^^begun Creek, 
and sat a considerable time in much weakness; then I felt 
truth open the way 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 meekness and self-denial. Pineywoods was 
the last meeting I was at in Carolina; it was large, and my 
heart being deeply engaged, I was drawn forth into a fervent 
labor amongst them. 

When I was at Newbegun Creek a Friend was there 
who labored for his living, having no negroes, and who had 



222 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

been a minister many years. He came to me the next day, 
and as we rode together, he signified that he wanted to 
talk with me concerning a difficulty he had been under, 
which he related nearly as follows: That as moneys had of 
late years been raised by a tax to carry on the wars, he had 
a scruple in his mind in regard to paying it, and chose rather 
to suffer restraint of his goods; but as he was the only 
person who refused it in those parts, and knew not that any 
one else was in the like circumstances, he signified that it 
had been a heavy trial to him, especially as some of his 
brethren had been uneasy with his conduct in that case. 
He added, that from a sympathy he felt with me yesterday 
in meeting, he found freedom thus to open the matter in the 
way of querying concerning Friends in our parts; I told 
him the state of Friends amongst us as well as I was able, 
and also that I had for some time been under the like scru- 
ple. I believed him to be one who v/as concerned to walk 
uprightly before the Lord, and esteemed it my duty to pre- 
serve this note concerning him, Samuel Newby. 

From hence I went back 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. 

Travelling up and down of late, I have had renewed evi- 
dences that to be faithful to the Lord, and content with his 
will concerning me, is a most necessary and useful lesson 
for me 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 ever- 
lasting strength; and as the mind, by humble resignation, 
is united to Him, and we utter words from an inward 
knowledge that they arise from the heavenly spring, though 
our Vv'ay may be difficult, and it may require close attention 
to keep in it, and though the matter in which we may be 
led may tend to our own abasement; yet, if we continue 
in patience and meekness, heavenly peace will be the reward 
of our labors. 

I attended Curies Meeting, which, though small, was re- 
viving to the honest-hearted. Afterwards I went to Black 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 223 

Creek and Caroline Meetings, from whence, accompanied 
by William Standiey before mentioned, I rode to Goose 
Creek, being much through the woods, and about one hun- 
dred miles. We lodged the first night at a public-house; 
the second in the woods; and the next day we reached a 
Friend's house at Goose Creek. In the wcJods we were 
under some disadvantage, having no fire-works nor bells for 
our horses, but we stopped a little before night and let them 
feed on the wild grass, which was plentiful, in the mean 
time cutting with our knives a store against night. We then 
secured our horses, and gathering some bushes under an oak 
we lay down; but the mosquitoes being numerous and the 
ground damp I slept but little. Thus lying in the wilderness, 
and looking at the stars, I was led to contemplate on the 
condition of our first parents when they were sent forth 
from the garden; how the Almighty, though they had been 
disobedient, continued to be a father to them, and showed 
them what tended to their felicity as intelligent creatures, 
and was acceptable to him. To provide things relative to our 
outward living, in the way of true wisdom, is good, and the 
gift of improving in things useful is a good gift, and comes 
from the Father of Lights. Many have had this gift; and 
from age to age there have been improvements of this kind 
made in the world. But some, not keeping to the pure gift, 
have in the creaturely cunning and self-exaltation sought out 
many inventions. As the first motive to these inventions of 
men, as distinct from that uprightness in which man was 
created, was evil, so the effects have been and are evil. It 
IS, therefore, as necessary for us at this day constantly to 
attend on the heavenly gift, to be qualified to use rightly the 
good things in this life, amidst great improvements, as it was 
for our first parents when they were without any improve- 
ments, without any friend or father but God only. 

I was at a meeting at Goose Creek, and next at a Monthly 
Meeting at Fairfax, where, through the gracious dealing of 
the Almighty with us, his power prevailed over many hearts. 
From thence I went to Monoquacy and Pipe Creek in Mary- 
land; at both places I had cause humbly to adore Him who 
had supported me through many exercises, and by whose 
help I was enabled to reach the true witness in the hearts of 



224 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

others. There were some hopeful young people in those 
parts. I had meetings afterwards at John Everit's, in Mona- 
len, and at Huntingdon, and I was made humbly thankful 
to the Lord, who opened my heart amongst the people in 
these new settlements, so that it was a time of encourage*- 
ment to the honest-minded. 

At Monalen a Friend gave me some account of a religious 
society among the Dutch called Mennonists, and amongst 
other things related a passage in substance as follows : One 
oi- the Mennonists having 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 acquaintance in former time won- 
dered at his conduct in that case. The Mennonist replied, 
" Ever since I lodged by thy field I have wanted an oppor- 
tunity to speak with thee. I had intended to come to thy 
house for entertainment, but seeing thy slaves at their work, 
and observing the manner of their dress, I had no liking to 
come to partake with thee." He then admonished him to 
use them with more humanity, and added, " As I lay by the 
fire that night, I thought that as I was a man of substance 
thou wouldst have received me freely; but if I had been as 
poor as one of thy slaves, and had no power to help myself, 
I should have received from thy hand no kinder usage than 
they." 

In this journey I was out about two months, and travelled 
about eleven hundred and fifty miles. I returned home 
under an humbling sense of the gracious dealings of the 
Lord with me, in preserving me through many trials and 
afflictions. 




CHAPTER V 
1757. 1758 

Considerations on tlie Payment of a Tax laid for Carrying on the 
War against the Indians — Meetings of the Committee of the 
Yearly Meeting at Philadelphia — Som.e Notes on Thomas a 
Kempis and John Huss — The present Circumstances of Friends 
in Pennsylvania and New Jersey very Different from those of 
our Predecessors — The Drafting of the Militia in New Jersey 
to serve in the Army, with some Observations on the State of 
the Members of our Society at that time — Visit to Friends in 
Pennsylvania, accompanied by Benjamin Jones — Proceedings at 
the Monthly, Quarterly, and Yearly Meetings in Philadelphia, 
respecting those who keep Slaves 

FEW years past, money being made current in our 
province for carrying on wars, and to be called in 
again by taxes laid on the inhabitants, my mind was 
often affected with the thoughts of paying such taxes; and 
I believe it right for me to preserve a memorandum con- 
cerning it. I was told that Friends in England frequently 
paid taxes, when the money was applied to such purposes. 
I had conversation with several noted Friends on the sub- 
ject, who all favored the payment of such taxes; some of 
them I preferred before myself, and this made me easier for 
a time; yet there was in the depth of my mind a scruple 
which I never could get over; and at certain times I was 
greatly distressed on that account. 

I believed that there v/ere some upright-hearted men whO' 
paid such taxes, yet could not see that their example was a 
sufficient reason for me to do so, while I believe that the 
spirit of truth required of me, as an individual, to suffer 
patiently the distress of goods, rather than pay actively. 

To refuse the active payment of a tax v/hich our Societj 
generally paid was exceedingly disagreeable; but to do g 
8 225 HC— Vol. 1 



226 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAH 

thing contrary to my conscience appeared yet more dreadful 
When this exercise came upon me, I knew of none under 
the Hke difficulty; and in my distress I besought the Lord 
to enable me to give up all that so I might follow him 
wheresoever he was pleased to lead me. Under this exer- 
cise I went to our Yearly Meeting at Philadelphia in the 
year 1755; at which a committee was appointed of some 
from each Quarterly Meeting, to correspond with the meet- 
ing for sufferers in London; and another to visit our 
Monthly and Quarterly Meetings. After their appointment, 
before the last adjournment of the meeting, it was agreed 
that these tvv^o committees should meet together in Friends' 
school-house in the city, to consider some things in which 
the cause of truth was concerned. They accordingly had a 
weighty conference in the fear of the Lord; at which time 
I perceived there were many Friends under a scruple like 
that before mentioned.^ 

As scrupling to pay a tax on account of the application 
hath seldorn been heard of heretofore, even amongst men of 
integrity, who have steadily borne their testimony against 
outward wars in their time, I may therefore note some 
tilings which have occurred to my mind, as I have been 
inwardly exercised on that account. From the steady opposi- 
tion which faithful Friends in early times made to wrong 
things then approved, they were hated and persecuted by 
men living in the spirit of this world, and suffering with 
firmness, they were made a blessing to the church, and the 
work prospered. It equally concerns men in every age to 
take heed to their own spirits; and in comparing their sit- 
uation with ours, to me it appears that there was less danger 
of their being infected with the spirit of this world, in pay- 
ing such taxes, than is the case with us now. They had 
little or no share in civil government, and many of them 
declared that they were, through the power of God, sepa- 
rated from the spirit in which wars were, and being afflicted 
by the rulers on accoimt of their testimony, there was less 
likelihood of their uniting in spirit with them in things 
inconsistent with the purity of truth. We, from the first 

^ Christians refused to pay taxes to support heathen temples. See Cave's 
Primitive Christianity, Part III., p. 327, 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 227 

settlement of this land, have known little or no troubles of 
that sort. The profession of our predecessors was for a 
time accounted reproachful, but at length their uprightness 
being understood by the rulers, and their innocent sufferings 
moving them, our way of worship was tolerated, and many 
of our members in these colonies became active in civil 
government. Being thus tried with favor and prosperity, 
this world appeared inviting; our minds have been turned 
to the improvement of our country, to merchandise and the 
sciences, amongst which are many things useful, if followed 
in pure wisdom; but in our present condition I believe it 
will not be denied that a carnal mind is gaining upon us. 
Some of our members, who are officers in civil government, 
are in one case or other, called upon in their respective sta- 
tions to assist in things relative to the wars; but being in 
doubt whether to act or to crave to be excused from their 
office, if they see their brethren united in the payment of a 
tax to carry on the said wars, may think their case not 
much different, and so might quench the tender movings of 
the Holy Spirit in their minds. Thus, by small degrees, we 
might approach so near to fighting that the distinction would 
be little else than the name of a peaceable people. 

It requires great self-denial and resignation of ourselves 
to God, to attain that state wherein we can freely cease 
from fighting when wrongfully invaded, if, by our fighting, 
there were a probability of overcoming the invaders. Who- 
ever rightly attains to it does in some degree feel that spirit 
in which our Redeemer gave his life for us; and through 
Divine goodness many of our predecessors, and many now 
living, have learned this blessed lesson; but many others, 
having their religion chiefly by education, and not being 
enough acquainted with that cross which crucifies to the 
world, do manifest a temper distinguishable from that of an 
entire trust in God. In calmly considering these things, it 
hath not appeared strange to me that an exercise hath now 
fallen upon some, which, with respect to the outward 
means, is different from what was known to many of those 
who went before us. 

Some time after the Yearly Meeting, the said committees 
met at Philadelphia, and, by adjournments, continued sitting 



228 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

several days. The calamities of war were now increasing; 
the frontier inhabitants of Pennsylvania were frequently 
surprised; some were slain, and many taken captive by the 
Indians; and while these committees sat, the corpse of one 
so slain was brought in a wagon, and taken through the 
streets of the city in his bloody garments, to alarm the 
people and rouse them to war. 

Friends thus met were not all of one mind in relation to 
the tax, which, to those who scrupled it, made the way more 
difficult. To refuse an active payment at such a time might 
be construed into an act of disloyalty, and appeared likely 
to displease the rulers, not only here but in England; still 
there was a scruple so fixed on the minds of many Friends 
that nothing moved it. It was a conference the most weighty 
that ever I was at, and the hearts of many were bowed in 
reverence before the Most High. Some Friends of the said 
committees who appeared easy to pay the tax, after several 
adjournments, withdrew; others of them continued till the 
last. At length an epistle of tender love and caution to 
Friends in Pennsylvania was drawn up, and being read 
several times and corrected, was signed by such as were 
free to sign it, and afterward sent to the Monthly and Quar- 
terly Meetings. 

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



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 229 

practice doth harmonize with principle. Amongst the 
officers are men of understanding, who have some regard to 
sincerity where they see it; and when such in the execu- 
tion of their office have men to deal with whom they believe 
to be upright-hearted, it is a painful task to put them to 
trouble on account of scruples of conscience, and they will 
be likely to avoid it as much as easily may be. But where 
men profess to be so meek and heavenly-minded, and to have 
their trust so firmly settled in God that they cannot join in 
wars, and yet by their spirit and conduct in common life 
manifest a contrary disposition, their difficulties are great at 
such a time. 

When officers who are anxiously endeavoring to get troops 
to answer the dem.ands of their superiors see men who are 
insincere pretend scruple of conscience in hopes of being 
excused from a dangerous employment, it is likely they will 
be roughly handled. In this time of commotion some of our 
young men left these parts and tarried abroad till it was 
over; som_e came, and proposed to go as soldiers; others 
appeared to have a real tender scruple in their minds against 
joining in wars, and were much humbled under the appre- 
hension of a trial so near. I had conversation with several 
of them to my satisfaction. When the captain came to town, 
some of the last-mentioned went and told him in substance 
as follows: That they could not bear arms for conscience' 
sake; nor could they hire any to go in their places, being 
resigned as to the event. At length the captain acquainted 
them all that they might return home for the present, but he 
required them to provide themselves as soldiers, and be in 
readiness to march when called upon. This was such a 
time as I had not seen before; and yet I may say, with 
thankfulness to the Lord, that I believed the trial was in- 
tended for our good; and I was favored with resignation to 
him. The French army having taken the fort they were 
besieging, destroyed it and went away ; the company of men 
who were first drafted, after some days' march, had orders 
to return home, and those on the second draft were no more 
called upon on that occasion. 

Fourth of fourth mionth, ly^S. — Orders came to some offi- 
cers in Mount Holly to prepare quarters for a short time for 



230 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

about one hundred soldiers. An officer and two other men, all 
inhabitants of our town came to my house. The officer told 
me that he came to desire me to provide lodging and enter- 
tainment for two soldiers, and that six shillings a week per 
man would be allowed as pay for it. The case being new and 
unexpected I made no answer suddenly, but sat a time silent, 
my mind being inward. I was fully convinced that the pro- 
ceedings in wars are inconsistent with the purity of the 
Christian religion; and to be hired to entertain men, who 
were then under pay as soldiers, was a difficulty with me. 
I expected they had legal authority for what they did; and 
after a short time I said to the officer, if the men are sent 
here for entertainment I believe I shall not refuse to admit 
them into my house, but the nature of the case is such that 
I expect I cannot keep them on hire; one of the men in- 
tim.ated that he thought I might do it consistently with my 
religious principles. To 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. I could not take pay, having admitted 
him into my house in a passive obedience to authority. I 
was on horseback when he spake to me, and as I turned from 
him, he said he was obliged to me; to v/hich I said nothing; 
but, thinking on the expression, I grew uneasy; and after- 
wards, being ndar where he lived, I went and told him on 
what grounds I refused taking pay for keeping the soldier. 

I have been informed that Thomas a Kempis lived and 
died in the profession of the Roman Catholic religion; and, 
in reading his writings, I have believed him to be a man of 
a true Christian spirit, as fully so as many who died martyrs 
because they could not join with some superstitions in that 
church. All true Christians are of the same spirit, but 
their gifts are diverse, Jesiis Christ appointing to each one 
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 historian reports to have consisted of some thou- 
sand persons. He modestly vindicated the cause which he 
believed was right; and though his language and conduct 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 231 

towards his judges appear to have been respectful, yet he 
never could be moved from the principles settled in his 
mind. To use his own words : " This I most humbly require 
and desire of you all, even for his sake who is the God of 
us all, that I be not compelled to the thing which my con- 
science doth repugn or strive against." And again, in his 
answer to the Emperor : " I refuse nothing, most noble Em- 
peror, whatsoever the council shall decree or determine upon 
me, only this one thing I except, that I do not offend God 
and my conscience."^ At length, rather than act contrary 
to that which he believed the Lord required of him, he chose 
to suffer death by fire. Thomas a Kempis, without disputing 
against the articles then generally agreed to, appears to 
have labored, by a pious example as well as by preaching 
and writing, to promote virtue and the inward spiritual re- 
ligion ; and I believe they were both sincere-hearted followers 
of Christ. True charity is an excellent virtue; and sincerely 
to labor for their good, whose belief in all points doth not 
agree with ours, is a happy state. 

Near the beginning of the year 1758, I went one evening, 
in company with a friend, to visit a sick person ; and before 
our return we were told of a woman living near, who had 
for several days heen disconsolate, occasioned by a dream, 
wherein death, and the judgments of the Almighty after 
death, were represented to her mind in a moving manner. 
Her sadness on that account being worn off, the friend with 
whom I was in company went to see her, and had some re- 
ligious conversation with her and her husband. With this 
visit they Vv^ere somewhat affected, and the man, with many 
tears, expressed his satisfaction. In a short time after the 
poor man, being on the river in a storm of wind, was with 
one more drowned. 

Eighth month, 1758. — Having had drawings in my mind 
to be at the Quarterly Meeting in Chester County, and at 
some meetings in the county of Philadelphia, I went first 
to said Quarterly Meeting, which was large. Several 
weighty matters came under consideration and debate, and 
the Lord was pleased to qualify some of his servants with 
strength and firmness to bear the burden of the day. Though 

2 Fox's Acts and Monuments, p. 233. 



232 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

I said but little, my mind was deeply exercised; and, under 
a sense of God's love, in the anointing and fitting of some 
young men for his work, I was comforted, and my heart was 
tendered before him. From hence I went to the Youth's 
Meeting at Darby, where my beloved friend and brother 
Benjamin Jones met me by appointment before I left home, 
to join in the visit. We were at Radnor, Merion, Richland, 
North Wales, Plymouth, and Abington meetings, and had 
cause to bow in reverence before the Lord, our gracious 
God, by whose help way was opened for us fromi day to day. 
I was out about two weeks, and rode about two hun- 
dred miles. 

The Monthly Meeting of Philadelphia having been under 
a concern on account of some Friends who this summer 
(1758) had bought negro slaves, proposed to their Quarterly 
Meeting to have the minute reconsidered in the Yearly 
Meeting, which was made last on that subject, and the said 
Quarterly Meeting appointed a committee to consider it, 
and to report to their next. This committee having met 
once and adjourned, and I, going to Philadelphia to meet 
a committee of the Yearly Meeting, was in town the evening 
on which the Quarterly Meeting's committee met the second 
time, and finding an inclination to sit with them, I, with 
some others, was admitted, and Friends had a weighty con- 
ference on the subject. Soon after their next Quarterly 
meeting I heard that the case was coming to our Yearly 
Meeting. This brought a weighty exercise upon me, and 
under a sense of my own infirmities, and the great danger 
I felt of turning aside from perfect purity, my mind was often 
drawn to retire alone, and put up my prayers to the Lord that 
he would be graciously pleased to strengthen me ; that setting 
aside all views of self-interest and the friendship of this 
world, I might stand fully resigned to his holy will. 

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



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 233 

directly to any other matter before the meeting. Now when 
this case was opened several faithful Friends spake weightily 
thereto, with which I was comforted; and feeling a concern 
to cast in my mite, I said in substance as follows : — 

" In the difficulties attending us in this life nothing is 
more precious than the mind of truth inwardly manifested; 
and it is my earnest desire that in this weighty matter we 
may be so truly humbled as to be favored with a clear un- 
derstanding of the mind of truth, and follow it; this would 
be of more advantage to the Society than any medium not 
in the clearness of Divine wisdom. The case is difficult 
to some who have slaves, but if such set aside all self-interest, 
and come to be weaned from the desire of getting estates, 
or even from holding them together, when truth requires 
the contrary, I believe way will so open that they will know 
how to steer through those difficulties." 

Many Friends appeared to be deeply bowed under the 
weight of the work, and manifested much firmness in their 
love to the cause of truth and universal righteousness on the 
earth. And though none did openly justify the practice of 
slave-keeping in general, yet some appeared concerned lest 
the meeting should go into such measures as might give un- 
easiness to many brethren, alleging that if Friends patiently 
continued under the exercise the Lord in his time might open 
a way for the deliverance of these people. Finding an en- 
gagement to speak, I said, " My mind is often led to con- 
sider the purity of the Divine Being, and the justice of 
his judgments; and herein my soul is covered with awful- 
ness. I cannot omit to hint of some cases where people have 
not been treated with the purity of justice, and the event 
hath been lamentable. Many slaves on this continent are 
oppressed, and their cries have reached the ears of the Most 
High. Such are the purity and certainty of his judgments, 
that he cannot be partial in our favor. In infinite love and 
goodness he hath opened our understanding from one time 
to another concerning our duty towards this people, and it 
is not a time for delay. Should we now be sensible of what 
he requires of us, and through a respect to the private in- 
terest of some persons, or through a regard to some friend- 
ships which do not stand on an immutable foundation, neglect 



234 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

to do our duty in firmness and constancy, still waiting for 
some extraordinary means to bring about their deliverance, 
God may by terrible things in righteousness answer us in 
this matter." 

Many faithful brethren labored with great firmness, and 
the love of truth in a good degree prevailed. Several who 
had negroes expressed their desire that a rule might be 
made to deal with such Friends as offenders who bought 
slaves in future. To this it was answered that the root of 
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 ad- 
ministered throughout. Several Friends expressed their de- 
sire that a visit might be made to such Friends as kept slaves, 
and many others said that they believed liberty was the 
negro's right; to which, at length, no opposition was pub- 
licly made. A minute vv^as made more full on that subject 
than any heretofore; and the names of several Friends en- 
tered who were free to join in a visit to such as kept slaves. 




CHAPTER VI 

1758, 1759 

Visit to the Quarterly Meetings in Chester County — Joins Daniel 
Stanton and John Scarborough in a Visit to such as kept Slaves 
there — Some Observations on the Conduct which those should 
maintain v/ho speak in Meetings for Discipline — More Visits to 
such as kept Slaves, and to Friends near Salem — Account of the 
Yearly Meeting in the Year 1759, and of the increasing Con- 
cern in Divers Provinces to Labor against Bujdng and Keeping 
Slaves — The Yearly Meeting Epistle — Thoughts on the Small- 
pox spreading, and on Inoculation. 

LEVENTH of eleventh month, 1758.— This day I set 
I . out for Concord; the Quarterly Meeting heretofore 
"^ held there was now, b}^ reason of a great increase of 
members, divided into two by the agreement of Friends at 
our last Yearly Meeting. Here I met with our beloved 
friends Samuel Spavold and Mary Kirby from England, and 
with Joseph White from Buck's County ; the latter had taken 
leave of his family in order to go on a religious visit to 
Friends in England, and, through Divine goodness, we were 
favored with a strengthening opportunity together. 

After this meeting I joined with my friends, Daniel Stan- 
ton and John Scarborough, in visiting Friends who had 
slaves. At night we had a family meeting at William Trim- 
ble's, many young people being there ; and it was a precious, 
reviving opportunity. Next morning we had a comfortable 
sitting with a sick neighbor, and thence to the burial of the 
corpse of a Friend at Uwchland Meeting, at which were 
many people, and it was a time of Divine favor, after which 
we visited som.e M^ho had slaves. In the evening we had a 
family meeting at a Friend's house, where the channel of 
the gospel love was opened, and my mind was com-forted 
after a hard day's labor. The next day we were at Goshen 

235 



236 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

Monthly Meeting, and on the i8th attended the Quarterly 
Meeting at London Grove, it being first held at that place. 
Here we met again with all the before-mentioned Friends, 
and had some edifying meetings. Near the conclusion of the 
meeting for business, Friends were incited to constancy in 
supporting the testimony of truth, and reminded of the ne- 
cessity which the disciples of Christ are under to attend 
principally to his business as he is pleased to open it to us, 
and to be particularly careful to have our minds redeemicd 
from the love of wealth, and our outward affairs in as little 
room as may be, that no temporal concerns may entangle 
our affections or hinder us from diligently following the dic- 
tates of truth in laboring to promote the pure spirit of meek- 
ness and heavenly-mindedness amongst the children of men 
in these days of calamity and distress, wherein God is visit- 
ing our land with his just judgments. 

Each of these Quarterly Meetings was large and sat near 
eight hours. I had occasion to consider that it is a weighty 
thing to speak much in large meetings for business, for 
except our minds are rightly prepared, and we clearly under- 
stand the case we speak to, instead of forwarding, we hinder 
business, and make more labor for those on whom the burden 
of the work is laid. If selfish views or a partial spirit have 
any room in our minds, we are unfit for the Lord's work; if 
we have a clear prospect of the business, and proper weight 
on our mJnds to speak, we should avoid useless apologies and 
repetitions. Where people are gathered from far, and ad- 
journing a meeting of business is attended with great diffi- 
culty, it behoves all to be cautious how they detain a meeting, 
especially when they have sat six or seven hours, and have a 
great distance to ride home. After this meeting I rode home. 

In the beginning of the twelfth month I joined, in company 
with my friends John Sykes and Daniel Stanton, in visiting 
such as had slaves. Some whose hearts were rightly exer- 
cised about them appeared to be glad of our visit, but in 
some places our v/ay was more difficult. I often saw the 
necessity of keeping down to that root from vv^hence 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- 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 237 

flicts, and begat a spirit of sympathy and tenderness in me 
towards some who were grievously entangled by the spirit 
of this world. 

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

Twenty-fourth of third month, 1759. — After attending our 
general Spring Meeting at Philadelphia I again joined with 
John Churchman on a visit to some who had slaves in Phila- 
delphia, and with thankfulness to our Heavenly Father I 
m.ay say that Divine love and a true sympathizing tenderness 
of heart prevailed at times in this service. 

Having at times perceived a shyness in some Friends of 
considerable note towards me, I found an engagement in 
gospel love to pay a visit to one of them ; and as I dwelt under 
the exercise, I felt a resignedness in my mind to go and tell 
him privately that I had a desire to have an opportunity with 
him alone; to this proposal he readily agreed, and then, in 
the fear of the Lord, things relating to that shyness w^ere 
searched to the bottom, and we had a large conference, 
which, I believe was of use to both of us, and I am thankful 
that way was opened for it. 

Fourteenth of sixth month. — Having felt drawings in my 
mind to visit Friends about Salem, and having the appro- 
bation of our Monthly Meeting, I attended their Quarterly 
Meeting, and was out seven days, and attended seven meet- 
ings ; in some of them I was chiefly silent ; in others, through 
the baptizing power of truth, my heart was enlarged in 
heavenly love, and I found a near fellowship with the breth- 
ren and sisters, in the manifold trials attending their Chris- 
tian progress through this world. 



238 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

Seventh month. — I have found an increasing concert! fm 
my mind to visit some active members in our Society who 
have slaves, and having no opportunity of the company of 
such as were named in the minutes of the Yearly Meeting, 
I went alone to their houses, and, in the fear of the Lord, 
acquainted them with the exercise I was under; and, thus, 
sometimes by a few words, I found myself discharged from 
a heavy burden. After this, our friend John Churchman 
coming into our province with a view to be at some meetings, 
and to join again in the visit to those who had slaves, I bore 
him company in the said visit to some active members, 
and found inward satisfaction. 

At our Yearly Meeting this year, we had some weighty 
seasons, in which the power of truth was largely extended, 
to the strengthening of the honest-minded. As the epistles 
which were to be sent to the Yearly Meetings on this con- 
tinent were read, I observed that in most of them, both this 
year and the last, it was recom.mended to Friends to labor 
against buying and keeping slaves, and in some of them 
the subject was closely treated upon. As this practice hatH 
long been a heavy exercise to me, and I have often waded 
through mortifying labors on that account, and at times in 
some meetings have been almost alone therein, I was humbly 
bowed in thankfulness in observing the increasing concern 
in our religious society, and seeing how the Lord was raising 
up and qualifying servants for his work, not only in this 
respect, but for promoting the cause of truth in general. 

This meeting continued near a week. For several days, 
in the fore part of it, my mind was drawn into a deep inward 
stillness, and being at times covered with the spirit of sup- 
plication, my heart was secretly poured out before the Lord. 
Near the conclusion of the meeting for business, way opened 
in the pure Sowings of Divine love for me to express what 
lay upon me, which, as it then arose in my mind, was first 
to show how deep answers to deep in the hearts of the sincere 
and upright; though, in their different growths, they may 
not all have attained to the same clearness in some points 
relating to our testimony. And I was then led to mention 
the integrity and constancy of many martyrs who gave their 
lives for the testimony of Jesus, and yet, in some points, they 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 239 

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

An epistle went forth from this Yearly Meeting which I 
think good to give a place in this Journal. It is as follows. 

From the Yearly Meeting held at Philadelphia^ for Pennsylvania and 
New Jersey^ from the twenty-secojtd day of the ninth month to 
the twenty-eighth of the same, inclusive., 1759. 

To THE Quarterly and Monthly Meetings of Friends belonging 
TO the said Yearly Meeting: — 

Dearly beloved Friends and Brethren^ — In an awful 
'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 reverently regard the dispensations of his provi- 
dence, 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 unsearchable. We in these provinces 
may say, He hath, as a gracious and tender parent, dealt 
bguntifully with us, even from the days of our fathers. It 



240 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

was he who strengthened them to labor through the difHcul« 
ties attending the improvement of a wilderness, and made 
way for them in the hearts of the natives, so that by them 
they were comforted in times of want and distress. It was 
by the gracious influences of his Holy Spirit that they were 
disposed to work righteousness, and walk uprightly towards 
each other, and towards the natives; in life and conver- 
sation to manifest the excellency of the principles and doc- 
trines of the Christian religion whereby they retain their 
esteem and friendship. Whilst they were laboring for the 
necessaries of life, many of them were fervently engaged to 
promote piety and virtue in the earth, and to educate their 
children in the fear of the Lord. 

If we carefully consider the peaceable measures pursued in 
the first settlement of land, and that freedom from the deso- 
lations of wars which for a long time we enjoyed, we shall 
find ourselves under strong obligations to the Almighty, who, 
when the earth is so generally polluted with wickedness, 
gives us a being in a part so signally favored with tran- 
quillity and plenty, and in which the glad tidings of the gospel 
of Christ are so freely published that we m.ay justly say 
with the Psalmist, " What shall we render unto the Lord 
for all his benefits ? " 

Our own real good, and the good of our posterity, in some 
measure depends on the part v^e act, and it nearly con- 
cerns us to try our foundations impartially. Such are the 
different rewards of the just and unjust in a future state^ 
that to attend diligently to the dictates of the spirit of Christ 
to devote ourselves to his service, and to engage fervently in 
his cause, during our short stay in this world, is a choice 
well becom.ing a free, intelligent creature. We shall thus 
clearly see and consider that the dealings of God with man- 
kind, in a national capacity, as recorded in Holy Writ, do 
sufficiently evidence the truth of that saying, * It is right- 
eousness which exalteth a nation " ; and though he doth not 
at all times suddenly execute his judgments on a sinful 
people in this life, yet we see in many instances that when 
"men follow lying vanities they forsake their own mercies"; 
and as a proud, selfish spirit prevails and spreads among a 
people, so partial judgment, oppression, discord, envy, and 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 241 

confusions increase, and provinces and kingdoms are made 
to drink the cup of adversity as a reward of their own 
doings. Thus the inspired prophet, reasoning with the de- 
generated Jews, saith, " Thine own wickedness shall correct 
thee, and thy backsliding shall reprove thee ; know, therefore, 
that it is an 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 Hosts." (Jeremiah ii. 19.) 

The God of our fathers, who hath bestowed on us many; 
benefits, furnished a table for us in the wilderness, and made 
the deserts and solitary places to rejoice. He doth now 
mercifully call upon us to serve him more faithfully. We 
may truly say with the Prophet, " It is his voice which 
crieth to the city, and men of wisdom see his name. They 
regard the rod, and Him who hath appointed it." People 
who look chiefly at things outward too little consider the 
original cause of the present troubles; but they who fear 
the Lord and think often upon his name, see and feel that 
a wrong spirit is spreading amongst the inhabitants of our 
country; that the hearts of many are waxed fat, and their 
ears dull of hearing; that the Most High, in his visitations 
to us, instead of calling, lifteth up his voice and crieth: he 
crieth to our country, and his voice waxeth louder and 
louder. In former wars between the English and other na- 
tions, since the settlement of our provinces, the calamities 
attending them have fallen chiefly on other places, but now; 
of late they have reached to our borders; many of our 
fellow-subjects have suffered on and near our frontiers, some 
have been slain in battle, some killed in their houses, and 
some in their fields, some wounded and left in great misery, 
and others separated from their wives and little children, 
who have been carried captives among the Indians. We 
have seen men and women who have been witnesses o£ 
these scenes of sorrow, and, being reduced to want^ 
have come to our houses asking relief. It is not long 
since that many young men in one of these provinces 
were drafted, in order to be taken as soldiers; some were 
at that time in great distress, and had occasion to consider 
that their lives had been too little conformable to the purity 
and spirituality of that religion which we profess, and found 



242 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

themselves too little acquainted with that inward humility, in 
which true fortitude to endure hardness for the truth's sake 
is experienced. Many parents were concerned for their 
children, and 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 settlement in that religion whicK 
erucifieth to the world, and enableth to bear testim.ony to 
the peaceable government of the Messiah. These troubles 
are removed, and for a time we are released from them. 

Let us not forget that " The Most High hath his way in 
the deep, in clouds, and in thick darkness " ; that it is his 
voice which crieth to the city and to the country, and O ! that 
these loud and awakening cries may have a proper effect 
upon us, that heavier chastisement may not become neces- 
sary! For though things, as to the outward, may for a 
short time afford a pleasing prospect, yet, while a selfish 
spirit, that is not subject to the cross of Christ, continueth 
to spread and prevail, there can be no long continuance in 
outward peace and tranquillity. If we desire an inheritance 
incorruptible, and to be at rest in that state of peace and 
happiness which ever continues; if we desire in this life 
to dwell under the favor and protection of that Almighty 
Being whose habitation is in holiness, whose ways are all 
equal, and whose anger is now kindled because of our back- 
slidings, — ^let us then awfully regard these beginnings of his 
sore judgm.ents, and with abasement and humiliation turn 
to him v\^hom we have offended. 

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

Do we feel an affectionate regard to posterity? and are we 
employed to promote their happiness? Do our minds, in 
things outward, look beyond our own dissolution? and are 
we contriving for the prosperity of our children after us? 
Let us then, like wise builders, lay the foundation deep, 
and by our constant uniform regard to an inv/ard piety 
and virtue let them see that we really value it. Let us labor 
in the fear of the Lord, that their innocent minds, while 
young and tender, may be preserved from corruptions; that 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 243 

as they advance in age they may rightly understand their 
true interest, may consider the uncertainty of temporal 
things, and, above all, have their hope and confidence firmly 
settled in the blessing of that Almighty Being who inhabits 
eternity and preserves and supports the world. 

In all our cares about worldly treasures, let us steadily 
bear in mind that riches possessed by children who do not 
truly serve God are likely to prove snares that may more 
grievously entangle them in that spirit of selfishness and ex- 
altation which stands in opposition to real peace and hap- 
piness, and renders those who submit to the influence of it 
enemies to the cross of Christ. 

To keep a watchful eye towards real objects of charity, 
to visit the poor in their lonesome dwelling-places, to comfort 
those who, through the dispensations of Divine Providence, 
are in strait and painful circumstances in this life, and 
steadily to endeavor to honor God with our substance, from 
a real sense of the love of Christ influencing our minds, is 
more likely to bring a blessing to our children, and will 
afford more satisfaction to a Christian favored with plenty, 
than an earnest desire to collect much wealth to leave behind 
us ; for, "here we have no continuing city" ; may we therefore 
diligently "seek one that is to come, whose builder and 
maker is God." 

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatso- 
ever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever 
things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if 
there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these 
things, and do them, and the God of peace shall be with you." 

(Signed by appointment, and on behalf of said meeting.)' 

Twenty-eighth eleventh month. — This day I attended the 
Quarterly Meeting in Bucks County. In the meeting of 
ministers and elders my heart was enlarged in the love of 
Jesus Christ, and the favor of the Most High was extended 
to us in that and the ensuing meeting. 

I had conversation at my lodging with my beloved friend 
Samuel Eastburn, who expressed a concern to join in a visit 
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 



244 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

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 selfish- 
ness, that I might be strengthened to discharge my duty 
faithfully, how hard soever to the natural part. We pro- 
ceeded on the visit in a weighty frame of spirit, and went 
to the houses of the most active members who had negroes 
throughout the county. Through the goodness of the Lord 
my mind was preserved in resignation in times of trial, and 
though the work was hard to nature, yet through the strength 
of that love which is stronger than death, tenderness of heart 
was often felt amongst us in our visits, and we parted from 
several families with greater satisfaction than we expected. 

We visited Joseph White's family, he being in England; 
we had also a family-sitting at the house of an elder who 
bore us company, and were at Makefield on a first day: at 
all which times my heart was truly thankful to the Lord 
who was graciously pleased to renew his loving-kindness to 
us, his poor servants, uniting us together in his work. 

In the winter of this year, the small-pox being in our 
town, and many being inoculated, of whom a few died, some 
things were opened in my mind, which I wrote as follows : — 

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



THE JOURNAL OF JOFIN WOOLMAN 245 

This disease being in a house, and my business calling me 
to go near it, incites me to consider whether this is a real 
indispensable duty; whether it is not in conformity to some 
custom which would be better laid aside, or, whether it does 
not proceed from too eager a pursuit after some outward 
treasure. If the business before me springs not from a clear 
understanding and a regard to that use of things which per- 
fect wisdom approves, to be brought to a sense of it and 
stopped in my pursuit is a kindness, for when I proceed to 
business without somx evidence of duty, I have found by 
experience that it tends to weakness. 

If I am so situated that there appears no probability of 
missing the infection, it tends to make me think whether my 
manner of life in things outward has nothing in it which may 
unfit my body to receive this messenger in a way the most 
favorable to me. Do I use food and drink in no other sort 
and in no other degree than was designed by Him who gave 
these creatures for our sustenance? Do I never abuse my 
body by inordinate labor, striving to accomplish some end 
which I have unwisely proposed? Do I use action enough 
in some useful employ, or do I sit too much idle while some 
persons who labor to support me have too great a share of 
it? If in any of these things I am deficient, to be incited to 
consider it is a favor to me. Employment is necessary in 
social life, and this infection, which often proves mortal, 
incites me to think whether these social acts of mine are real 
duties. If I go on a visit to the widows and fatherless, do I 
go purely on a principle of charity, free from any selfish 
views? If I go to a religious meeting it puts me on think- 
ing whether I go in sincerity and in a clear sense of duty, 
or whether it is not partly in conformity to custom, or 
partly from a sensible delight which my animal spirits feel 
in the company of other people, and whether to support my 
reputation as a religious m.an has no share in it. 

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



246 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

nities, names, or distinctions among men, do not stain the 
beauty of those assemblies, and render it doubtful; in point 
of duty, whether a disciple of Christ ought to attend as a 
member united to the body or not. Whenever there are 
blemishes which for a series of time remain such, that which 
is a means of stirring us up to look attentively on these 
blemishes, and to labor according to our capacities, to have 
health and soundness restored in our country, we may justly 
account a kindness from our gracious Father, who appointed 
that means. 

The care of a wise and good man for his only son is 
inferior to the regard of the great Parent of the universe 
for his creatures. He hath the command of all the powers 
and operations in nature, and " doth not afflict willingly, nor 
grieve the children of men." Chastisement is intended for 
instruction, and instruction being received by gentle chastise- 
ment, greater calamities are prevented. By an earthquake 
hundreds of houses are sometimes shaken down in a few 
minutes, multitudes of people perish suddenly, and many 
more, being crushed and bruised in the rdins of the build- 
ings, pine away and die in great misery. 

By the breaking in of enraged merciless armies, flourish- 
ing countries have been laid waste, great numbers of people 
have perished in a short time, and many more have been 
pressed with poverty and grief. By the pestilence, people 
have died so fast in a city, that, through fear, grief, and 
confusion, those in health have found great difficulty in 
burying the dead, even without coffins. By famine, great 
numbers of people in some places have been brought to the 
utmost distress, and have pined away from want of the 
necessaries of life. Thus, when the kind invitations and 
gentle chastisements of a gracious God have not been 
attended to, his sore judgments have at times been poured 
out upon people. 

While some rules approved in civil society and conform- 
able to humxan policy, so called, are distinguishable from the 
purity of truth and righteousness, — while many professing 
the truth are declining from that ardent love and heavenly- 
mindedness which was amongst the primitive followers of 
Jesus Christ, it is time for us to attend diligently to the 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 247 

intent of every chastisement, and to consider the most deep 
and inward design of them. 

The Most High doth not often speak with, an outward 
voice to our outward ears, but if we humbly meditate on his 
perfections, consider that he is perfect wisdom and good- 
ness, and that to afflict his creatures to no purpose would 
be utterly averse to his nature, we shall hear and under- 
stand his language both in his gentle and more heavy chas- 
tisements, and shall take heed that we do not, in the wisdom; 
of this world, endeavor to escape his hand by means too 
powerful for us. 

Had he endowed men with understanding to prevent this 
disease (the small-pox) by means which had never proved 
hurtful nor mortal, such a discovery might be considered as 
the period of chastisement by this distemper, where that 
knowledge extended. But as life and health are his gifts, 
and are not to be disposed of in our own wills, to take upon 
us by inoculation when in health a disorder of which some 
die, requires great clearness of knowledge that it is our 
duty to do so^ 




CHAPTER Vir 
1760 

Visit, in Company with Samuel Eastburn, to Long Island, Rhode 
Island, Boston, etc. — Remarks on the Slave-Trade at New- 
port ; also on Lotteries — Some Observations on the Island of 
Nantucket. 

lOURTH month, 1760. — Having for some time past felt 
a sympathy in my mind with Friends eastward, I 
opened my concern in our Monthly Meeting, and, 
obtaining a certificate, set forward on the 17th of this 
month, in company with my beloved friend Samuel Eastburn. 
We had meetings at Woodbridge, Rahway, and Plainfield, 
and were at their Monthly Meeting of ministers and elders 
in Rahway. We labored under some discouragement, but 
through the invisible power of truth our visit was made 
reviving to the lowly-minded, with whom I felt a near unity 
of spirit, being much reduced in my mind. We passed on 
and visited most of the meetings on Long Island. It was 
my concern from day to day to say neither more nor less 
than what the spirit of truth opened in me, being jealous 
over myself lest I should say anything to make my testi- 
mony look agreeable to that mind in people which is not in 
pure obedience to the cross of Christ. 

The spring of the ministry was often low, and through 
the subjecting power of truth we were kept low with it; 
from place to place they whose hearts were truly concerned 
for the cause of Christ appeared to be comforted in our 
labors, and though it was in general a time of abasement of 
the creature, yet through his goodness who is a helper of 
the poor we had some truly edifying seasons both in meet- 
ings and in families where we tarried ; sometimes we found 
strength to labor earnestly with the unfaithful, especially 

248 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 249 

with those whose station in families or in the Society was 
such that their example had a powerful tendency to open 
the way for others to go aside from the purity and sound- 
ness of the blessed truth. 
At Jericho, on Long Island, I wrote home as follows: — 



24th of the fourth month, 1760. 

Dearly beloved Wife! 

We are favored with health; have been at sundry meet- 
ings in East Jersey and on this island. My mind hath been 
m-uch in an inward, watchful frame since I left thee, greatly 
desiring that our proceedings may be singly in the will of 
our Heavenly Father. 

As the present appearance of things is not joyous, I have 
been much shut up from outward cheerfulness, remembering 
that promise, " Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord " ; 
as this from day to day has been revived in my memory, I 
have considered that his internal presence in our minds is a 
delight of all others the most pure, and that the honest- 
hearted not only delight in this, but in the effect of it upon 
them. He regards the helpless and distressed, and reveals 
his love to his children under affliction, who delight in 
beholding his benevolence, and in feeling Divine charity mov- 
ing in them. Of this I may speak a little, for though since 
I left you I have often an engaging love and affection to- 
wards thee and my daughter, and friends about home, and 
going out at this time, when sickness is so great amongst 
you, is a trial upon me; yet I often remember there are 
many widows and fatherless, many who have poor tutors, 
many who have evil examples before them, and many whose 
minds are in captivity ; for whose sake my heart is at times 
moved with compassion, so that I feel my mind resigned to 
leave you for a season, to exercise that gift which the Lord 
hath bestowed on me, which though small compared with 
some, yet in this I rejoice, that I feel love unfeigned to- 
wards my fellow-creatures. I recommend you to the Al- 
mighty, who I trust, cares for you, and under a sense of his 
heavenly love remain. Thy loving husband, 

J. W. 



250 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

We crossed from the east end of Long Island to New 
London, about thirty miles, in a large open boat; while we 
were out, the wind rising high, the waves several times 
beat over us, so that to me it appeared dangerous, but my 
mind was at that time turned to Him who made and gov- 
erns the deep, and my life v/as resigned to him; as he was 
mercifully pleased to preserve us I had fresh occasion to 
consider every day as a day lent to me, and felt a renewed 
engagement to devote my time, and all I had, to him who 
gave it. 

We had five meetings in Narraganset, and went thence to 
Newport on Rhode Island. Our gracious Father preserved 
us in an humble dependence on him through deep exercises 
that were mortifying to the creaturely will. In several fami- 
lies in the. country where we lodged, I felt an engagement 
on my mind to have a conference with them in private, 
concerning their slaves; and through Divine aid I was 
favored to give up thereto. Though in this concern I differ 
from many whose service in travelling is, I believe, greater 
than mine, yet I do not think hardly of them for omitting it ; 
I do not repine at having so unpleasant a task assigned me, 
but look with awfulness to him who appoints to his servants 
their respective employments, and is good to all who serve 
him sincerely. 

We got to Newport in the evening, and on the next day 
visited two sick persons, with whom we had comfortable 
sittings, and in the afternoon attended the burial of a Friend. 
The next day we were at meetings at Newport, in the fore- 
noon and afternoon ; the spring of the ministry was opened, 
and strength was given to declare the Word of Life to the 
people. 

The day following we went on our journey, but the great 
number of slaves in these parts, and the continuance of that 
trade from thence to Guinea, made a deep impression on me, 
and my cries were often put up to my Heavenly Father in 
secret, that he would enable me to discharge my duty faith- 
fully in such way as he might be pleased to point out to me. 

We took Swansea, Freetown, and Taunton in our way to 
Boston, where also we had a meeting; our exercise was 
deep, and the love of truth prevailed, for which I bless the 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 251 

tor'd. We went eastward about eighty miles beyond Boston, 
taking meetings, and were in a good degree preserved in an 
humble dependence on that arm which drew us out; and 
though we had some hard labor with the disobedient, by lay- 
ing things home and close to such as were stout against the 
truth, yet through the goodness of God we had at times to 
partake of heavenly comfort with those who were meek, and 
were often favored to part with Friends in the nearness of 
true gospel fellowship. We returned to Boston and had 
another comfortable opportunity with Friends there, and 
thence rode back a day's journey eastward of Boston. Our 
guide being a heavy man, and the weather hot, my companion 
and I expressed our freedom to go on without him, to whicfi 
he consented, and we respectfully took our leave of him; 
this we did as believing the journey would have been hard 
to him and his horse. 

In visiting the meetings in those parts we were meas- 
urably baptized into a feeling of the state of the Society, 
and in bowedness of spirit went to the Yearly Meeting at 
Newport, where we met with John Storer from England, 
Elizabeth Shipley, Ann Gaunt, Hannah Foster, and Mercy 
Redman, from our parts, all ministers of the gospel, of 
whose company I was glad. Understanding that a large 
number of slaves had been imported from Africa into that 
town and were then on sale by a member of our Society, 
my appetite failed, and I grew outwardly weak, and had a 
feeling of the condition of Habakkuk, as thus expressed, 
" When I heard, my belly trembled, my lips quivered, I trem- 
bled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble." I 
had many cogitations, and was sorely distressed. I was 
desirous that Friends might petition the Legislature to use 
their endeavors to discourage the future importation of 
slaves, for I saw that this trade was a great evil, and tended 
to multiply troubles, and to bring distresses on the people for 
whose welfare my heart was deeply concerned. But I per- 
ceived several difficulties in regard to petitioning, and such 
was the exercise of my mind that I thought of endeavoring 
to get an opportunity to speak a few words in the House 
of Ai.ssembly, then sitting in town. 

This exercise came upon me in the afternoon on the 



252 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

second day of the Yearly Meeting, and on going to bed I 
got no sleep till my mind was wholly resigned thereto. In 
the morning I inquired of a Friend how long the Assembly 
was likely to continue sitting, who told me it was expected 
to be prorogued that day or the next. As I was desirous to 
attend the business of the meeting, and perceived the Assem- 
bly was likely to separate before the business was over, after 
considerable exercise, humbly seeking to the Lord for in- 
struction, my mind settled to attend on the business of the 
meeting; on the last day of which I had prepared a short 
essay of a petition to be presented to the Legislature, if way 
opened. And being informed that there were some appointed 
by that Yearly Meeting to speak with those in authority on 
cases relating to the Society, I opened my mind to several 
of them, and showed them the essay I had made, and after- 
wards I opened the case in the meeting for business, in sub- 
stance as follows: — 

" I have been under a concern for some time on account 
of the 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 with- 
out doing so. I have prepared an essay of a petition tO' be 
presented to the Legislature, if way open; and what I have 
to propose to this meeting is that some Friends may be 
named to withdraw and look over it, and report whether they 
believe it suitable to be read in the meeting. If they should 
think well of reading it, it will remain for the meeting to 
consider whether to take any further notice of it, as a meet- 
ing, or not." After a short conference some Friends went 
out, and, looking over it, expressed their willingness to 
have it read, which being done, many expressed their unity 
with the proposal, and some signified that to have the sub- 
jects of the petition enlarged upon, and signed out of meet- 
ing by such as were free, would be more suitable than to 
do it there. Though I expected at first that if it was done it 
would be in that way, yet such was the exercise of my mind 
that to move it in the hearing of Friends when assembled 
appeared to me as a duty, for my heart yearned towards the 
inhabitants of these parts, believing that by this trade there 
had been an increase of inquietude amongst them, and way 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 253 

had been made for the spreading of a spirit opposite to that 
meekness and humility which is a sure resting-place for the 
soul ; and that the continuance of this trade would not only- 
render their healing more difficult, but would increase their 
malady. 

Having proceeded thus far, I felt easy to leave the essay 
amongst Friends, for them to proceed in it as they believed 
best. And now an exercise revived in my mind in relation 
to lotteries, which were common in those parts. I had men- 
tioned the subject in a former sitting of this meeting, when 
arguments were used in favor of Friends being held excused 
who were only concerned in such lotteries as were agreeable 
to law. And now, on moving it again, it was opposed as 
before ; but the hearts of some solid Friends appeared to be 
united to discourage the practice amongst their members, 
and the matter was zealously handled by some on both sides. 
In this debate it appeared very clear to me that the spirit of 
lotteries was a spirit of selfishness, which tended to confuse 
and darken the understanding, and that pleading for it in 
our meetings, which were set apart for the Lord's work, 
was not right. In the heat of zeal, I made reply to what 
an ancient Friend said, and when I sat down I saw that my 
words were not enough seasoned with charity. After this I 
spoke no more on the subject. At l,ength a minute was 
made, a copy of which was to be sent to their several Quar- 
terly Meetings, inciting Friends to labor to discourage the 
practice amongst all professing with us. 

Some time after this minute was made I remained uneasy 
with the manner of my speaking to the ancient Friend, and 
could not see my way clear to conceal my uneasiness, though 
I was concerned that I might say nothing to weaken the 
cause in which I had labored. After some close exercise 
and hearty repentence for not having attended closely to 
the safe guide, I stood up, and, reciting the passage, ac- 
quainted Friends that though I durst not go from what I 
had said as to the matter, yet I was uneasy with the man- 
ner of my speaking, believing milder language would have 
been better. As this was uttered in some degree of crea- 
turely abasement after a warm debate, it appeared to have a 
good savor amongst us. 



254 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

The Yearly Meeting being now over, there yet remained 
on my mind a secret though heavy exercise, in regard to 
some leading active miembers about Newport, who were in 
the practice of keeping slaves. This I mentioned to two 
ancient Friends who came out of the country, and proposed 
to them, if way opened, to have some conversation with 
those members. One of them and I, having consulted one 
of the most noted elders who had slaves, he, in a respectful 
manner, encouraged me to proceed to clear myself of what 
lay upon me. Near the beginning of the Yearly Meeting, I 
had had a private conference with this said elder and his 
wife, concerning their slaves, so that the way seemed clear 
to me to advise with him about the m.anner of proceeding. 
I told him I was free to have a conference with them all 
together in a private house; or if he thought they would 
take it unkind to be asked to come together, and to be spoken 
with in the hearing of one another, I was free to spend soms 
time amongst them, and to visit them all in their own houses. 
He expressed his liking to the first proposal, not doubting 
their willingness to come together; and, as I proposed a 
visit 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 man- 
ner, he offered to go to all their houses, to open the matter 
to them, — and did so. About the eighth hour the next 
morning we met in the meeting-house chamber, the last- 
mentioned country Friend, my companion, and John Storer 
being with us. After a short time of retirement, I acquainted 
them with the steps I had taken in procuring that meeting, 
and opened the concern I was under, and we then proceeded' 
to a free conference upon the subject. My exercise was 
heavy, and I was deeply bowed in spirit before the Lord, who 
was pleased to favor with the seasoning virtue of truth, which 
wrought a tenderness amongst us; and the subject was 
mutually handled in a calm and peaceable spirit. At length, 
feeling my mind released from the burden which I had been 
under, I took my leave of them in a good degree of satis- 
faction; and by the tenderness they manifested in regard 
to the practice, and the concern several of them expressed in 
relation to the manner of disposing of their negroes after 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 255 

tJieir decease, I believed that a good exercise was spreading 
amongst them ; and I am humbly thankful to God, who sup- 
ported my mind and preserved me in a good degree of 
resignation through these trials. 

Thou who sometimes travellest in the work of the minis- 
try, and art made very welcome by thy friends, seest many 
tokens of their satisfaction in having thee for their guest. 
It is good for thee to dwell deep, that thou mayest feel and 
understand the spirits of people. If we believe truth points 
towards a conference on some subjects in a private way, it is 
needful for us to take heed that their kindness, their free- 
dom, and affability do not hinder us from the Lord's work, 
I have experienced that, in the midst of kindness and smooth 
conduct, to speak close and home to them who entertain us, 
on points that relate to outward interest, is hard labor. 
Sometimes, when I have felt truth lead towards it, I have 
found myself disqualified by a superficial friendship ; and as 
the sense thereof hath abased me, and my cries have been to 
the Lord, so I have been humbled and made content to appear 
weak, or as a fool for his sake; and thus a door hath been 
opened to enter upon it. To attempt to do. the Lord's work 
in our own way, and to speak of that which is the burden 
of the Word, in a way easy to the natural part, doth not 
reach the bottom of the disorder. To see the failings of 
our friends, and think hard of them, without opening that 
which we ought to open, and still carry a face of friendship, 
tends to undermine the foundation of true unity. The office 
of a minister of Christ is weighty. And they who now go 
forth as watchmen have need to be steadily on their guard 
against the snares of prosperity and an outside friendship. 

After the Yearly Meeting we were at meetings at New- 
town, Cushnet, Long Plain, Rochester, and Dartmouth. 
From thence we sailed for Nantucket, in company with Ann 
Gaunt, Mercy Redman, and several other Friends. The 
wind being slack we only reached Tarpawling Cove the first 
day; where, going on shore, we found room in a public- 
house, and beds for a few of us, — the rest slept on the floor. 
We went on board again about break of day, and though 
the wind was small, we were favored to come within about 
four miles of Nantucket; and then about ten of us got into 



256 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

our toat and rowed to the harbor before dark; a large boat 
went off and brought in the rest of the passengers about 
midnight. The next day but one was their Yearly Meeting, 
which held four days, the last of which was their Monthly 
Meeting for business. We had a laborious time amongst 
them; our minds were closely exercised, and I believe it 
was a time of great searching of heart. The longer I was 
on the Island the more I became sensible that there was a 
considerable number of valuable Friends there, though an 
evil spirit, tending to strife, had been at work amongst them. 
I was cautious of making any visits except as my mind was 
particularly drawn to them; and in that way we had some 
sittings in Friends' houses, where the heavenly wing was -at 
times spread over us, to our mutual comfort. My beloved 
companion had very acceptable service on this island. 

When meeting was over we all agreed to sail the next 
day if the weather was suitable and we were well ; and being 
called up the latter part of the night, about fifty of us went 
on board a vessel; but, the wind changing, the seamen 
thought best to stay in the harbor till it altered, so we 
returned on shore. Feeling clear as to any further visits, 
I spent my time in my chamber, chiefly alone; and after 
some hours, my heart being filled with the spirit of supplica- 
tion, miy prayers and tears were poured out before my Heav- 
enly Father for his help and instruction in the manifold 
difficulties which attended me in life. While I was waiting 
upon the Lord, there came a m.essenger from the women 
Friends who lodged at another house, desiring to confer with 
us about appointing a meeting, which to me appeared weighty, 
as we had been at so many before; but after a short con- 
ference, and advising with some elderly Friends, a meeting 
was appointed, in which the Friend who first moved it, and 
who had been much shut up before, was largely opened in 
the love of the gospel. The next morning about break of 
day going again on board the vessel, we reached Falmouth 
on the Main before night, where our horses being brought, 
we proceeded towards Sandwich Quarterly Meeting. 

Being two days in going to Nantucket, and having been 
there once before, I observed many shoals in their bay, which 
make sailing more dangerous, especially in stormy nights; 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 257 

also, that a great shoal, which encloses their harbor, prevents 
the entrance of sloops except when the tide is up. Waiting 
without for the rising of the tide is sometimes hazardous 
in storms, and by waiting within they sometimes miss a fair 
wind. I took notice that there was on that small island a 
great number of inhabitants, and the soil not very fertile, the 
timber being so gone that for vessels, fences, and firewood, 
they depend chiefly on buying from the Main, for the cost 
whereof, with most of their other expenses, they depend 
principally upon the whale fishery. I considered that as 
towns grew larger, and lands near navigable waters were 
more cleared, it would require more labor to get timber and 
wood. I understood that the whales, being much hunted and 
sometimes wounded and not killed, grow more shy and 
difficult to come at. I considered that the formation of the 
earth, the seas, the islands, bays, and rivers, the motions 
of the winds, and great waters, which cause bars and shoals 
in particular places, were all the works of Him who is per- 
fect wisdom and goodness; and as people attend to his 
heavenly instruction, and put their trust in him, he provides 
for them in all parts where he gives them a being; and 
as in this visit to these people I felt a strong desire for 
their firm establishment on the sure foundation, besides 
what was said more publicly, I was concerned to speak with 
the women Friends in their Monthly Meeting of business, 
many being present, and in the fresh spring of pure love to 
open before them the advantage, both inwardly and out- 
wardly, of attending singly to the pure guidance of the Holy 
Spirit, and therein to educate their children in true humility 
and the disuse of all superfluities. I reminded them of the 
difficulties their husbands and sons were frequently exposed 
to at sea, and that the more plain and simple their way of 
living was the less need there would be of running great 
hazards to support them. I also encouraged the young 
women to continue their neat, decent way of attending them- 
selves on the affairs of the house; showing, as the way 
opened, that where people were truly humble, used themselves 
to business, and were content with a plain way of life, they 
had ever had more true peace and calmness of mind than they 
who, aspiring to greatness and outward show, have grasped 

9 HC— Vol. 1 



258 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

hard for an income to support themselves therein. And as I 
observed they had so few or no slaves, I had to encourage 
them to be content without them, making mention of the 
numerous troubles and vexations which frequently attended 
the minds of the people who depend on slaves to do 
their labor. 

We attended the Quarterly Meeting at Sandwich, in com- 
pany with Ann Gaunt and Mercy Redman, which was pre- 
ceded by a Monthly Meeting, and in the whole held three 
days. We were in various ways exercised amongst them, 
in gospel love, according to the several gifts bestowed on 
us, and were at times overshadowed with the virtue of truth, 
to the comfort of the sincere and stirring up of the negligent. 
Here we parted with Ann and Mercy, and went to Rhode 
Island, taking one meeting in our way, which was a satis- 
factory time. Reaching Newport the evening before their 
Quarterly Meeting, we attended it, and after that had a 
meeting with our young people, separated from those of 
other societies. We went through much labor in this town; 
and now, in taking leave of it, though I felt close inward ex- 
ercise to the last, I found inward peace, and was in some 
degree comforted in a belief that a good number remiain in 
that place who retain a sense of truth, and that there are 
some young people attentive to the voice of the Heavenly 
Shepherd. The last meeting, in which Friends from the 
several parts of the quarter came together, was a select 
meeting, and through the renewed manifestation of the 
Father's love the hearts of the sincere were united together. 

The poverty of spirit and inward weakness, with which 
I was much tried the fore part of this journey, has of late 
appeared to me a dispensation of kindness. Appointing 
meetings never appeared more weighty to me, and I was led 
in-to a deep search, whether in all things my mind was re- 
signed to the will of God; often querying with myself what 
should be the cause of such inward poverty, and greatly 
desiring that no secret reserve in my heart might hinder 
my access to the Divine fountain. In these humbling times 
I was made watchful, and excited to attend to the secret 
movings of the heavenly principle in my mind, which pre- 
pared the way to some duties that in more easy and pros- 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 259 

perous times as to the outward, I believe I should have been 
in danger of omitting. 

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




CHAPTER VIII 
1761, 1762 

Visits Pennsylvania, Shrewsbury, and Squan — Publishes the Second 
Part of his Considerations on keeping Negroes — The Grounds 
of his appearing in some Respects singular in his Dress — Visit 
to the Families of Friends of Ancocas and Mount Holly Meet- 
ings — Visits to the Indians at Wehaloosing on the River 
Susquehanna. 

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

Eighth month, 1761. — Having felt drawings in my mind 
to visit Friends in and about Shrewsbury, I went there, and 
was at their Monthly Meeting, and their first-day meeting; 
I had also a meeting at Squan, and another at Squanquam, 
and, as way opened, had conversation with some noted 
Friends concerning their slaves. I returned home in a 
thankful sense of the goodness of the Lord. 

From the concern I felt growing in me for some years, 
I wrote part the second of a work entitled " Considerations 
on keeping Negroes," which was printed this year, 1762. 

260 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 261 

When the overseers of the press had done with it, they 
offered to get a number printed, to be paid for out of the 
Yearly Meeting's stock, to be given away ; but I being most 
easy to publish it at my own expense, and offering my 
reasons, they appeared satisfied. 

This stock is the contribution of the members of our re- 
ligious society in general, among whom are some who keep 
negroes, and, being inclined to continue them in slavery, are 
not likely to be satisfied with such books being spread among 
a people, especially at their own expense, many of whose 
slaves are taught to read, and such, receiving them as a 
gift, often conceal them. But as they who make a purchase 
generally buy that which they have a mind for, I be- 
lieved it best to sell them, expecting by that means they 
would more generally be read with attention. Adver- 
tisements were signed by order of the overseers of the 
press, and directed to be read in the Monthly Meetings of 
business within our own Yearly Meeting, informing where 
the books were, and that the price was no more than the 
cost of printing and binding them. Many were taken off 
in our parts; some I sent to Virginia, some to New York, 
some to my acquaintance at Newport, and some I kept, in- 
tending to give part of them away, where there appeared a 
prospect of service. 

In my youth I was used to hard labor, and though I was 
m.iddling healthy, yet my nature was not fitted to endure 
so much as many others. Being often weary, I was pre- 
pared to sympathize with those whose circumstances in life, 
as free men, required constant labor to answer the demands 
of their creditors, as well as with others under oppression. 
In the uneasiness of body which I have many times felt by 
too much labor, not as a forced but a voluntary oppression, 
I have often been excited to think on the original cause of 
that oppression which is imposed on many in the world. The 
latter part of the time wherein I labored on our plantation, 
my heart, through the fresh visitations of heavenly love, 
being often tender, and my leisure time being frequently 
spent in reading the life and doctrines of our blessed Re- 
deemer, the account of the sufferings of martyrs, and the 
history of the first rise of our Society, a belief was grad- 



262 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

ualiy settled in my mind, that 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 em- 
ployed in things useful, that labor both for men and other 
creatures would need to be no more than an agreeable em- 
ploy, and divers branches of business, which serve chiefly 
to please the natural inclinations of our minds, and which 
at present seem necessary to circulate that v/ealth which 
some gather, might, in this way of pure wisdom, be dis- 
continued. As I have thus considered these things, a query 
at times hath arisen: Do I, in all my proceedings, keep to 
that use of things which is agreeable to universal righteous- 
ness ? And then there hath some degree of sadness at times 
eome over me, because I accustomed myself to some things 
which have occasioned more labor than I believe Divine 
wisdom intended for us. 

From my early acquaintance with truth I have often felt 
an inward distress, occasioned by the striving of a spirit in 
me against the operation of the heavenly principle; and in 
this state I have been affected with a sense of my own 
wretchedness, and in a mourning condition have felt earnest 
longings for that Divine help which brings the soul into true 
liberty. Sometimes, on retiring into private places, the spirit 
of supplication hath been given me, and under a heavenly 
covering I have asked my gracious Father to give me a 
heart in all things resigned to the direction of his wisdom; 
in uttering language like this, the thought of my wearing 
hats and garments dyed with a dye hurtful to them, has 
made lasting impression on me. 

In visiting people of note in the Society who had slaves, 
and laboring with them in brotherly love on that account, 
I have seen, and the sight has affected me, that a conformity 
to some customs distinguishable from pure wisdom has en- 
tangled many, and that the desire of gain to support these 
©ustoms has greatly opposed the work of truth. Sometimes 
when the prospect of the work before me has been such that 
in bowedness of spirit I have been drawn into retired places, 
and have besought the Lord with tears that he would take 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 263 

me wholly under his direction, and show me the way in 
which I ought to walk, it hath revived with strength of con- 
viction that if I would be his faithful servant I must in all 
things attend to his wisdom, and be teachable, and so cease 
from all customs contrary thereto, however used among re- 
ligious people. 

As he is the perfection of power, of wisdom, and of good- 
ness, so I believe he hath provided that so much labor shall 
be necessary for men's support in this world as would, being 
rightly divided, be a suitable employment of their time; and 
that we cannot go into superfluities, or grasp after wealth 
in a way contrary to his wisdom, without having connection 
with some degree of oppression, and with that spirit which 
leads to self-exaltation and strife, and which frequently 
brings calamities on countries by parties contending about 
their claims. 

Being thus fully convinced, and feeling an increasing de- 
sire to live in the spirit of peace, I have often been sorrow- 
fully affected with thinking on the unquiet spirit in which 
wars are generally carried on, and with the miseries of many 
of my fellow-creatures engaged therein; some suddenly de- 
stroyed ; some wounded, and after much pain remaining crip- 
ples; some deprived of all their outward substance and re- 
duced to want; and some carried into captivity. Thinking 
often on these things, the use of hats and garments dyed 
with a dye hurtful to them, and wearing more clothes in 
summ.er than are useful, grew more uneasy to m^e, believing 
them to be customs which have not their foundation in pure 
wisdom. The apprehension of being singular from my be- 
loved friends was a strait upon me, and thus I continued 
in the use of some things contrary to my judgment. 

On the 31st of fifth month, 1761, I was taken ill of a 
fever, and after it had continued near a week I was in great 
distress of body. One day there was a cry raised in me that 
I might understand the cause of my affliction, and im- 
prove under it, and my conformity to some customs which 
I believed were not right was brought to my remembrance. 
In the continuance of this exercise I felt all the powers in 
me yield themselves up into the hands of Him who gave me 
being, and was made thankful that he had taken hold of me 



264 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

by his chastisements. Feeling the necessity of fttftH^ puri- 
fying, there was now no desire in me for health until the 
de:sign of my correction was answered. Thus I lay in abase- 
ment and brokenness of spirit, and as I felt a sinking down 
into a calm resignation, so I felt, as in an instant, an inward 
healing in my nature, and from that time forward 1 
grew better. 

Though my mind was thus settled in relation to hurtful 
dyes, I felt easy to wear m.y garments heretofore made, and 
continued to do so about nine months. Then I thought of 
getting a hat the natural color of the fur, but the apprehen- 
sion of being looked upon as one affecting singularity felt 
uneasy to me. Here I had occasion to consider that things, 
though small in themselves, being clearly enjoined by Divine 
authority, become great things to us; and I trusted that the 
Lord would support me in the trials that might attend singu- 
larity, so long as singularity was only for his sake. On 
this account I was under close exercise of mind in the time 
of our General Spring Meeting, 1762, greatly desiring to be 
rightly directed; when, being deeply bowed in spirit before 
the Lord, I was made willing to submit to what I appre- 
hended was required of me, and when I returned home got 
a hat of the natural color of the fur. 

In attending meetings this singularity was a trial to me, 
and more especially at this time, as white hats were used 
by some who were fond of following the changeable modes 
of dress, and as some Friends who knew not from what 
motives I wore it grew shy of me, I felt my way for a time 
shut up in the exercise of the ministry. In this condition, 
my mind being turned toward my Heavenly Father with 
fervent cries that I might be preserved to walk before him 
in the meekness of wisdom, my heart was often tender 
in meetings, and I felt an inward consolation which to me 
was very precious under these difficulties. 

I had several dyed garments fit for use which I believed 
it best to wear till I had occasion for new ones. Some 
Friends were apprehensive that my wearing such a hat 
savored of an affected singularity; those who spoke with me 
in a friendly way I generally informed, in a few words, that 
I believed my wearing it was not in my own will. I had at 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 26S 

times been sensible that a superficial friendship had been 
dangerous to me; and many Friends being now uneasy with 
me, I had an inclination to acquaint some with the manner 
of my being led into these things ; yet upon a deeper thought 
I was for a time most easy to omit it, believing the present 
dispensation was profitable, and trusting that if I kept my 
place the Lord in his own time would open the hearts of 
Friends towards me. I have since had cause to admire his 
goodness and loving-kindness in leading about and instruct- 
ing me, and in opening and enlarging my heart in some of 
our meetings. 

In the eleventh month this year, feeling an engagement of 
mind to visit som.e families in Mansfield, I joined my beloved 
friend Benjamin Jones, and we spent a few days together in 
that service. In the second month, 1763, I joined, in com- 
pany with Elizabeth Smith and Mary Noble, in a visit to 
the families of Friends at Ancocas. In both these visits, 
through the baptizing power of truth, the sincere laboreris 
were often comforted, and the hearts of Friends opened to 
receive us. In the fourth month following, I accompanied 
some Friends in a visit to the families of Friends in Mount 
Holly; during this visit my mind was often drawn into an 
inward awfulness, wherein strong desires were raised for 
the everlasting welfare of my fellow-creatures, and through 
the kindness of our Heavenly Father our hearts were at 
times enlarged, and Friends were invited, in the flowings 
of Divine love, to attend to that which would settle them on 
the sure foundation. 

Having for 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 considera- 
tion assigned their inheritance to us, and being at Phila- 
delphia in the 8th month, 1761, on a visit to som^ Friends 
who had slaves, I fell in company with some of those natives 
who lived on the east branch of the river Susquehanna, at 
an Indian town called Wehaloosing, two hundred miles from 
Philadelphia. In conversation with them by an interpr^er, 
as also by observations on their countenances and coisiuGt, 
I believed some of them were measurably acquainted with 



266 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

that Divine power which subjects the rough and f reward will 
of the creature. At times I felt inward drawings towards 
a visit to that place, which I mentioned to none except my 
dear wife until it came to some ripeness. In the winter of 
1762 I laid my prospects before my friends at our Monthly 
and Quarterly, and afterwards at our General Spring Meet- 
ing; and having the unity of Friends, and being thoughtful 
about an Indian pilot, there came a man and three women 
from a little beyond that town to Philadelphia on business. 
Being informed thereof by letter, I met them in town in the 
5th month, 1763; and after some conversation, finding they 
were sober people, I, with the concurrence of Friends in that 
place, agreed to join them as companions in their return, 
and we appointed to meet at Samuel Foulk's, at Richland, in 
Bucks County, on the 7th of sixth month. Now, as this 
■/isit felt weighty, and was performed at a time when travel- 
ling appeared perilous, so the dispensations of Divine Prov- 
idence in preparing my mind for it have been memorable, 
and I believe it good for me to give some account thereof. 

After I had given up to go, the thoughts of the journey 
were often attended v/ith unusual sadness; at which times 
my heart v/as frequently turned to the Lord with inward 
breathings for his heavenly support, that I might not fail 
to follow him wheresoever he might lead me. Being at our 
youth's meeting at Chesterfield, about a week before the 
time I expected to set off, I was there led to speak on that 
prayer of our Redeemer to the Father: "I pray not that 
thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou 
shouldest keep them from the evil." And in attending to the 
pure openings of truth, I had to mention what he elsewhere 
said to his Father : " I knov/ that thou hearest me at all 
times " ; so, as some of his followers kept their places, and 
as his prayer was granted, it followed necessarily that they 
were kept from evil; and as some of those met with great 
hardships and afflictions in this world, and at last suffered 
death by cruel men, so it appears- that whatsoever befalls 
men while they live in pure obedience to God certainly works 
for their good, and may not be considered an evil as it re- 
lates to them. As I spake on this subject my heart was 
much tendered, and great awfulness came over me. On the 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 267 

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 disap- 
pointed; and how the Psalmist said, "The angel of the Lord 
encampeth round about them that fear him." Thus, in true 
love and tenderness, I parted from Friends, expecting the 
next morning to proceed on my journey. Being weary I 
went early to bed. After I had been asleep a short time 
I was awoke by a man calling at my door, and inviting 
me to meet some Friends at a public-house in our town, who 
came from Philadelphia so late that Friends were generally 
gone to bed. These Friends informed me that an express 
had arrived the last morning from Pittsburg, and brought 
news that the Indians had taken a fort from the English 
westward, and had slain and scalped some English people 
near the said Pittsburg, and in divers places. Some elderly 
Friends in Philadelphia, knowing the time of my intending 
to set off, had conferred together, and thought good to inform 
me of these things before I left home, that I might con- 
sider them and proceed as I believed best. Going to bed 
again, I told not my wife till morning. My heart was turned 
to the Lord for his heavenly instruction; and it was an 
humbling time to me. When I told my dear wife, she ap- 
peared to be deeply concerned about it; but in a few hours' 
time my mind became settled in a belief that it was my duty 
to proceed on my journey, and she bore it with a good 
degree of resignation. In this conflict of spirit there were 
great searchings of heart and strong cries to the Lord, that 
no motion might in the least degree be attended to but that 
of the pure spirit of truth. 

The subjects before mentioned, on which I had so lately 
spoken in public, were now fresh before me, and I was 
brought inwardly to commit myself to the Lord, to be dis- 
posed of as he saw best. I took leave of my family and 
neighbors in much bowedness of spirit, and went to our 
Monthly Meeting at Burlington. After taking leave of 
Friends there, I crossed the river, accompanied by my friends 
Israel and John Pemberton; and parting the next morning 



268 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

with Israel, John bore me company to Samuel Foulk's, where 
I met the before-mentioned Indians; and we were glad to 
see each other. Here my friend Benjamin Parvin met me, 
and proposed joining me as a companion, — we had before 
exchanged some letters on the subject, — and now I had a 
sharp trial on his account ; for, as the journey appeared per- 
ilous, I thought if he went chiefly to bear me company, and 
we should be taken captive, my having been the m.eans of 
drawing him into these difficulties would add to my own 
afflictions; so I told him my mind freely, and let him know 
that I was resigned to go alone ; but after all, if he really be- 
lieved 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 appeared to be so fastened to the visit 
that he could not be easy to leave me; so we went on, ac- 
companied by our friends John Pemberton and William 
Lightfoot of Pikeland. We lodged at Bethlehem, and there 
parting with John, William and we went forward on the 
9th of the sixth months and got lodging on the floor of a 
house, about five miles from Fort Allen. Here we parted 
with William., and at this place we met with an Indian trader 
lately come from Wyoming. In conversation with him, I 
perceived that many white people often sell rum to the 
Indians, which I believe is a great evil. In the first place, 
they are thereby deprived of the use of reason, and their 
spirits being violently agitated, quarrels often arise which 
end in mischief, and the bitterness and resentment occasioned 
hereby are frequently of long continuance. Again, their skins 
and furs, gotten through much fatigue and hard travels in 
hunting, with which they intended to buy clothing, they often 
sell at a low rate for more rum, when they become intoxi- 
cated; and afterward, when they suffer for want of the 
necessaries of life, are angry with those who, for the sake 
of gain, took advantage of their weakness. Their chiefs have 
often complained of this in their treaties with the English. 
Where cunning people pass counterfeits and impose on others 
that which is good for nothing, it is considered as wicked- 
ness; but for the sake of gain to sell that which we know 
does people harm, and which often works their ruin, mani- 
fests a hardened and corrupt hearty and is an evil which de* 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 269 

mands the care of all true lovers of virtue to suppress. While 
my mind this evening was thus employed, I also remembered 
that the people on the frontiers, among whom this evil is too 
common, are often poor ; and that they venture to the outside 
of a colony in order to live more independently of the 
wealthy, who often set high rents on their land. I was re- 
newedly confirmed in a belief, that if all our inhabitants lived 
according to sound wisdom, laboring to promote universal 
love and righteousness, and ceased from every inordinate 
desire after wealth, and from all customs which are tinctured 
with luxury, the way would be easy for our inhabitants, 
though they might be much more numerous than at present, 
to live comfortably on honest employments, without the 
temptation they are so often under of being drawn into 
schemes to make settlements on lands which have not been 
purchased of the Indians, or of applying to that wicked prac- 
tice of selling rum to them. 

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



270 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

Near our tent, on the sides of large trees peeled for that 
purpose, were various representations of men going to and 
returning from the wars, and of some being killed in battle. 
This was a path heretofore used by warriors, and as I walked 
about viewing those Indian histories, which were painted 
mostly in red or black, and thinking on the innumerable 
afflictions which the proud, fierce spirit produceth in the 
world, also on the toils and fatigues of warriors in travelling 
over mountains and deserts; on their miseries and distresses 
when far from home and wounded by their enemies ; of their 
bruises and great weariness in chasing one another over the 
rocks and mountains; of the restless, unquiet state of mind 
of those who live in this spirit, and of the hatred which 
mutually grows up in the minds of their children, — ^the desire 
to cherish the spirit of love and peace among these people 
arose very fresh in me. This was the first night that we 
lodged in the woods, and being wet with travelling in the 
rain, as were also our blankets, the ground, our tent, and the 
bushes under which we purposed to lay, all looked discour- 
aging; but I believed that it was the Lord who had thus far 
brought me forward, and that he would dispose of me as 
he saw good, and so I felt easy. We kindled a fire, with 
our tent open to it, then laid some bushes next the ground, 
and put our blankets upon them for our bed, and, lying down, 
got some sleep. In the morning, feeling a little unwell, I 
went into the river; the water was cold, but soon after I 
felt fresh and well. About eight o'clock we set forward and 
crossed a high mountain supposed to be upward of four miles 
over, the north side being the steepest. About noon we were 
overtaken by one of the Moravian brethren going to Weha- 
loosing, and an Indian man with him who could talk English ; 
and we being together while our horses ate grass had some 
friendly conversation; but they, travelling faster than we, 
soon left us. This Moravian, I understood, has this spring 
'Spent some time at Wehaloosing, and was invited by some 
of the Indians to come again. 

Twelfth of sixth month being the first of the week and a 
rainy day, we continued in our tent, and I was led to think 
on the nature of the exercise which hath attended me. Love 
was the first motion, and thence a concern arose to spend 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 271 

some time with the Indians, that I might feel and understand 
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 leadings of truth among 
them ; and as it pleased the Lord to make way for m.y going 
at a time when the troubles of war were increasing, and 
when, by reason of much wet weather, travelling was 
more difficult than usual at that season, I looked upon 
is as a more favorable opportunity to season my mind, 
and to bring me into a nearer sympathy with them. As 
mine eye was to the great Father of Mercies, humbly 
desiring to learn his will concerning me, I was made quiet 
and content. 

Our guide's horse strayed, though hoppled, in the night, 
and after searching some time for him his footsteps were 
discovered in the path going back, whereupon my kind com- 
panion went off in the rain, and after about seven hours 
returned with him. Here we lodged again, tying up our 
horses before we went to bed, and loosing them to feed 
about break of day. 

Thirteenth of sixth month. — The sun appearing, we set for- 
ward, and as I rode over the barren hills my meditations 
were on the alterations in the circumstances of the natives 
of this land since the coming in of the English. The lands 
near the sea are conveniently situated for fishing; the lands 
near the rivers, where the tides flow, and some above, are 
in many places fertile, and not mountainous, while the 
changing of the tides makes passing up and down easy with 
any kind of traffic. 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 set- 
tlements, and partly by the increase of English hunters, the 
wild beasts on which the natives chiefly depend for subsis- 
tence are not so plentiful as they were, and people too often, 
for the sake of gain, induce them to waste their skins and 



272 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

furs in purchasing a liquor which tends to the ruin of them 
and their families. 

My own 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 engage- 
ment that we might be obedient to the Lord while in tender 
mercy he is yet calling to us, and that we might so attend 
to pure universal righteousness as to give no just cause of 
offence to the gentiles, who do not profess Christianity, 
whether they be the blacks from Africa, or the native inhabi- 
tants of this continent. Here I was led into a close and 
laborious inquiry whether I, as an individual, kept clear 
from all things which tended to stir up or were connected 
with wars, either in this land or in Africa; my heart was 
deeply concerned that in future I might in all things keep 
steadily to the pure truth, and live and walk in the plainness 
and simplicity of a sincere follower of Christ. In this lonely 
journey I did greatly bewail the spreading of a wrong spirit, 
believing that the prosperous, convenient situation of the 
English would require a constant attention in us to Divine 
love and wisdom, in order to their being guided and sup- 
ported in a way answerable to the will of that good, gracious, 
and Almighty Being, who hath an equal regard to all man- 
kind. And here luxury and covetousness, with the numerous 
oppressions and other evils attending them, appeared very 
afflicting to me, and I felt in that which is immutable that 
the seeds of great calamity and desolation are sown and 
growing fast on this continent. Nor have I words sufficient 
to s<^t 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 faithful 
messengers labor to check the growth of these seeds, that 
they may not ripen to the ruin of our posterity. 

On reaching the Indian settlement at Wyoming, we were 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 273 

told that an Indian runner had been at that place a day or 
two before tis, and brought news of the Indians having taken 
an English fort westward, and destroyed the people, and that 
they were endeavoring to take another; also that another 
Indian runner came there about the middle of the previous 
night from a town about ten miles fram Wehaloosing, and 
brought the news that some Indian warriors from distant 
parts came to that town with two English scalps, and told 
the people that it was war with the English. 

Our guides took us to the house of a very ancient man. 
Soon after we had put in our baggage there came a man 
from another Indian house some distance off. Perceiving 
there was a man near the door I went out; the man had a 
tomahawk wrapped under his match-coat out of sight. As 
I approached him he took it in his hand; I went forward, 
and, speaking to him in a friendly way, perceived he under- 
stood some English. My companion joining me, we had 
some talk with him concerning the nature of our visit in 
these parts; he then went Into the house with us, and, talk- 
ing with our guides, soon appeared friendly, sat down and 
smoked his pipe. Though taking his hatchet in his hand at 
the instant I drew near to him had a disagreeable appear- 
ance, I believe he had no other intent than to be in readi- 
ness in case any violence were offered to him. 

On hearing the news brought by these Indian runners, 
and being told by the Indians where we lodged, that the 
Indians about Wyoming expected in a few days to move to 
some larger towns, I thought, to all outward appearance, it 
would be dangerous travelling at this time. After a hard 
'day's journey I was brought into a painful exercise at night, 
in which I had to trace back and view the steps I had taken 
from my first moving in the visit; and though I had to 
bewail some weakness which at times had attended me, yet 
I could not find that I had ever given way to wilful dis- 
obedience. Believing I had, under a sense of duty, come 
thus far, I was now earnest in spirit, beseeching the Lord 
to show m.e what I ought to do. In this great distress I grew 
jealous of myself, lest the desire of reputation as a man 
firmly settled to persevere through dangers, or the fear of 
disgrace from my returning without performing the visit. 



274 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

might have some place in me. Full of these thoughts, I lay 
great part of the night, while my beloved companion slept 
by me, till the Lord, my gracious Father, who saw the con- 
flicts of my soul, was pleased to give quietness. Then I was 
again strengthened to commit my life, and all things relat- 
ing thereto, into his heavenly hands, and got a little sleep 
towards day. 

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

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



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 275 

fallen across our path, and in some swamps our way was so 
stopped that v/e got through with extreme difficulty. I had 
this day often to consider myself as a sojourner in this 
world. A belief in the all-sufficiency of God to support his 
people in their pilgrimage felt comfortable to me, and I 
was industriously employed to get to a state of perfect 
resignation. 

We seldom saw our canoe but at appointed places, by 
reason of the path going off from the river. This afternoon 
Job Chilaway, an Indian from Wehaloosing, who talks good 
English and is acquainted with several people in and about 
Philadelphia, m.et our people on the river. Understanding 
where we expected to lodge, he pushed back about six 
miles, and came to us after night; and in a while our own 
canoe arrived, it being hard work pushing up the stream. 
Job told us that an Indian came in haste to their town yes- 
terday and told them that three warriors from a distance 
lodged in a town above Wehaloosing a few nights past, and 
that these three men were going against the English at 
Juniata. Job was going down the river to the province- 
store at Shamokin. Though I was so far favored with 
health as to continue travelling, yet, through the various 
difficulties in our journey, and the different v/ay of living 
from which I had been used to, I grew sick. The nev/s of 
these warriors being on their march so near us, and not 
knowing whether we might not fall in with them, was a 
fresh trial of my faith; and though, through the strength 
of Divine love, I had several times been enabled to commit 
myself to the Divine disposal, I still found the want of a 
renewal of my strength, that I might be able to persevere 
therein; and my cries for help were put up to the Lord, 
who, in great mercy, gave me a resigned heart, in which I 
found quietness. 

Parting from Job Chilaway on the 17th, we went on and 
reached Wehaloosing about the middle of the afternoon. 
The first Indian that we saw was a woman of a modest 
countenance, with a Bible, who spake first to our guide, and 
then with an harmonious voice expressed her gladness at 
seeing us, having before heard of our coming. By the 
direction of our guide we sat down on a log while he went 



276 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

to the town to tell the people we were come. My companion 
and I, sitting thus together in a deep inward stillness, the 
poor woman came and sat near us; and, great awfulness 
coming over us, we rejoiced in a sense of God's love mani- 
fested to our poor souls. After a while we heard a conch- 
shell blow several times, and then cam.e John Curtis and 
another Indian man, who kindly invited us into a house near 
the town, where we found about sixty people sitting in 
silence. After sitting with them a short time I stood up, 
and in some tenderness of spirit acquainted them, in a few 
short sentences, with the nature of my visit, and that a 
concern for their good had made me willing to come thus 
far to see them; which some of them understanding inter- 
preted to the others, and there appeared gladness among 
them. I then showed them my certificate, which was ex- 
plained to them; and the Moravian who overtook us on the 
way, being now here, bade me welcome. But the Indians 
knowing that this Moravian and I were of different religious 
societies, and as some of their people had encouraged him 
to come and stay awhile with them, they were, I believe, 
concerned that there might be no jarring or discord in their 
meetings; and having, I suppose, conferred together, they 
acquainted me that the people, at my request, would at any 
time come together and hold meetings. They also told me 
that they expected the Moravian would speak in their set- 
tled meetings, which are commonly held in the morning and 
near evening. So finding liberty in my heart to speak to the 
Moravian, I told him of the care I felt on my mind for the 
good of these people, and my belief that no ill effects would 
follow if I sometimes spake in their meetings when love 
engaged me thereto, without calling them together at times 
when they did not meet of course. He expressed his good- 
will towards my speaking at any time all that I found in my 
heart to say. 

On the evening of the i8th I was at their meeting, where 
pure gospel love was felt, to the tendering of some of our 
hearts. The interpreters endeavored to acquaint the people 
with what I said, in short sentences, but found some diffi- 
culty, as none of them were quite perfect in the English and 
Delaware tongues, so they helped one another, and we 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 277 

labored along, Divine love attending. Afterwards, feeling 
my mind covered with the spirit of prayer, I told the inter- 
preters that I found it in my heart to pray to God, and 
believed, if I prayed aright, he would hear me; and I ex- 
pressed my willingness for them to omit interpreting; so 
our meeting ended with a degree of Divine love. Before 
the people v/ent out, I observed Papunehang (the man who 
had been zealous in laboring for a reformation in that town, 
being then very tender) speaking to one of the interpreters, 
and I was aftervvrards told that he said in substance as fol- 
lows : " I love to feel where v/ords come from." 

Nineteenth of sixth month and first of the week. — This 
m.orning the Indian who came with the Moravian, being also 
a member of that society, prayed in the meeting, and then 
the Moravian spake a short time to the people. In the after- 
noon, my heart being filled with a heavenly care for their 
good, I spake to them awhile by interpreters; but none of 
them being perfect in the work, and I feeling the current 
of love run strong, told the interpreters that I believed some 
of the people would understand me, and so I proceeded with- 
out them; and I believe the Holy Ghost wrought on som.e 
hearts to edification where all the words were not under- 
stood. I looked upon it as a time of Divine favor, and my 
heart was tendered and truly thankful before the Lord. 
After I sat down, one of the interpreters seemed spirited to 
give the Indians the substance of what I said. 

Before our first meeting this morning, I was led to medi- 
tate on the manifold difficulties of these Indians who, by the 
permission of the Six Nations, dwell in these parts. A near 
sympathy with them was raised in me, and, my heart being 
enlarged in the love of Christ, I thought that the affectionate 
care of a good man for his only brother in affliction does 
not exceed what I then felt for that people. I came to this 
place through much trouble; and though through the mer- 
cies of God I believed that if I died in the journey it would 
be well with me, yet the thoughts of falling into the hands 
of Indian warriors were, in times of v/eakness, afflicting to 
me ; and being of a tender constitution of body, the thoughts 
of captivity among them were also grievous ; supposing that 
as they were strong and hardy they might demand service 



278 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

of me beyond what 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 
wilderness between me and home, I was inwardly joyful 
that the Lord had strengthened me to come on this visit, and 
had manifested a fatherly care over me in my poor lowly 
condition, when, in mine own eyes, I appeared inferior to 
many among the Indians. 

When the last-mentioned meeting was ended, it being 
night, Papunehang went to bed ; and hearing him speak with 
an harmonious voice, I suppose for a minute or two, I asked 
the interpreter, who told me that he was expressing his 
thankfulness to God for the favors he had received that day, 
and prayed that he would continue to favor him with the 
same, which he had experienced in that meeting. Though 
Papunehang had before agreed to receive the Moravian and 
join with them, he still appeared kind and loving to us. 

I was at two meetings on the 20th, and silent in them. 
The following morning, in meeting, my heart was enlarged 
in pure love among them, and in short plain sentences I 
expressed several things that rested upon me, which one of 
the interpreters gave the people pretty readily. The meeting 
ended in supplication, and I had cause humbly to acknowl- 
edge the loving-kindness of the Lord towards us ; and then 
I believed that a door remained open for the faithful dis- 
ciples of Jesus Christ to labor among these people. And 
now, feeling my mind at liberty to return, I took my leave 
of them in general at the conclusion of what I said in meet- 
ing, and we then prepared to go homeward. But some of 
their most active men told us that when we were ready to 
move the people would choose to come and shake hands 
with us. Those who usually came to meeting did so; and 
from a secret draught in my mind I went among some who 
did not usually go to meeting, and took my leave of them 
also. The Moravian and 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 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 279 

thirty feet long and eighteen wide, — some bigger, some less. 
They are built m.ostly of split plank, one end being set in 
the ground, and the other pinned to a plate on which rafters 
are laid, and then covered with bark. I understand a great 
flood last winter overflowed the greater part of the ground 
where the town stands, and some were now about moving 
their houses to higher ground. 

We expected only two Indians to be of our company, but 
when we were ready to go we found many of them were 
going to Bethlehem with skins and furs, and chose to go in 
company with us. So they loaded tv/o canoes in which they 
desired us to go, telling us that the waters were so raised 
with the rains that the horses should be taken by such as 
were better acquainted with the fording-places. We, there- 
fore, with several Indians, went in the canoes, and others 
went on horses, there being seven besides ours. We met 
with the horsemen once on the way by appointment, and at 
night we lodged a little below a branch called Tankhannah, 
and some of the young men, going out a little before dusk 
with their guns, brought in a deer. 

Through diligence we reached Wyoming before night, the 
22d, and understood that the Indians were mostly gone from 
this place. We went up a small creek into the woods with 
our canoes, and, pitching our tent, carried out our baggage, 
and before dark our horses came to us. Next morning, the 
horses being loaded and our baggage prepared, we set for- 
ward, being in all fourteen, and with diligent travelling were 
favored to get near half-way to Fort Allen. The land on 
this road from Wyoming to our frontier being mostly poor, 
and good grass being scarce, the Indians chose a piece of 
low ground to lodge on, as the best for grazing. I had 
sweat much in travelling, and, being weary, slept soundly. 
In the night I perceived that I had taken cold, of which I 
was favored soon to get better. 

Twenty-fourth of sixth month. — This day we passed Fort 
Allen and lodged near it in the woods. We forded the 
westerly branch of the Delaware three times, which was a 
shorter way than going over the top of the Blue Mountains 
called the Second Ridge. In the second time of fording 
where the river cuts through the mountain, the waters being 



280 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

rapid and pretty deep, my companion's mare, being a tall, 
tractable animal, was sundry times driven back through the 
river, being laden with the burdens of some small horses 
which were thought unable to come through with their loads. 
The troubles westward, and the difficulty for Indians to 
pass through our frontier, was, I apprehend, one reason why 
so many came, expecting that our being in company would 
prevent the outside inhabitants being surprised. We reached 
Bethlehem on the 25th, taking care to keep foremost, and 
to acquaint people on and near the road who these Indians 
were. This we found very needful, for the frontier in- 
habitants were often alarmed at the report of the English 
being killed by Indians westward. Among our company were 
some whom I did not remember to have seen at meeting, 
and some of these 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 endeav- 
ored to settle all affairs with the Indians relative to our 
journey, we took leave of them, and I thought they generally 
parted from us affectionately. We went forward to Rich- 
land and had a very comfortable meeting among our friends, 
it being the first day of the week. Here I parted with my 
kind friend and companion Benjamin Parvin, and, accom- 
panied by my friend Samuel Foulk, we rode to John Cad- 
wallader's, from whence I reached home the next day, and 
found my family tolerably well. They and my friends ap- 
peared glad to see me return from a journey which they 
apprehended would be dangerous; but my mind, while I 
was out, had been so employed in striving for perfect resig- 
nation, and had so often been confirmed in a belief, that, 
whatever the Lord might be pleased to allot for me, it would 
work for good, that I was careful lest I should admit any 
degree of selfishness in being glad overmuch, and labored 
to improve by those trials in such a manner as my gracious 
Father and Protector designed. Between the English set- 
tlements and Wehaloosing we had only a narrow path, which 
in many places is much grown up with bushes, and inter- 
rupted by abundance of trees lying across it. These, to- 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 281 1 

I 

gether with the mountain swamps and rough stones, make i 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER IX 
1753-1769 

•Religious Conversation with a Company met to see the Tricks of a 
Juggler — Account of John Smith's Advice and of the Proceed- 
ings of a Committee at the Yearly Meeting in 1764 — Contempla- 
tions on the Nature of True Wisdom — Visit to the Families of 
Friends at Mount Holly, Mansfield, and Burlington, and to the 
Meetings on the Sea-Coast from Cape May towards Squan — 
Some Account of Joseph Nichols and his Followers — On the 
different State of the First Settlers in Pennsylvania who de- 
pended on their own Labor, compared with those of the South- 
ern Provinces who kept Negroes — Visit to the Northern Parts 
of New Jersey and the Western Parts of Maryland and Penn- 
sylvania ; also to the Families of Friends at Mount Holly and 
several Parts of Maryland — Further Considerations on keep- 
ing Slaves, and his Concern for having been a Party to the 
Sale of One — Thoughts on Friends exercising Offices in Civil 
Government. 

I HE latter part of the summer, 1763, there came a man 
to Mount Holly who had previously published a 
printed advertisement that at a certain public-house 
he vi^ould 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 re- 
peated the next night, and that the people were to meet 
about sunset, I felt an exercise on that account. So I went 
to the public-house in the evening, and told the man of the 
house that I had an inclination to spend a part of the 
evening there; with which he signified that he was content. 
Then, sitting down by the door, I spoke to the people in the 
fear of the Lord, as they came together, concerning this 
show, and labored to convince them that their thus assem- 
bling to see these sleight-of-hand tricks, and bestowing their 
money to support men who, in that capacity, were of no 

282 




THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 283 

use to the world, was contrary to the nature of the Christian 
religion. One of the company endeavored to show by argu- 
ments the reasonableness of their proceedings herein; but 
after considering some texts of Scripture and calmly debat- 
ing the matter he gave up the point. After spending about 
an hour among them, and feeling ray mind easy, I departed. 
Twenty-fifth* of ninth month, 1764. — At our Yearly Meet- 
ing at Philadelphia this day, John Smith, of Marlborough, 
aged upwards of eighty years, a faithful minister, though 
not eloquent, stood up in our meeting of ministers and elders, 
and, appearing to be under a great exercise of spirit, in- 
formed Friends in substance as follows : " That he had been 
a member of our Society upwards of sixty years, and he 
well remembered, that, in those early times, Friends were 
a plain, lowly-minded people, and that there was much 
tenderness and contrition in their meetings. That, at twenty 
years from that time, the Society increasing in wealth and 
in some degree conforming to the fashions of the world, 
true humility was less apparent, and their meetings in gen- 
eral were not so lively and edifying. That at the end 
of forty years many of them were grown very rich, and 
many of the Society made a specious appearance in the 
world; that wearing fine costly garments, and using 
silver and other watches, became customary with them, their 
sons, and their daughters. These marks of outward wealth 
and greatness appeared on some in our meetings of ministers 
and elders; and, as such things became more prevalent, so 
the powerful overshadowings of the Holy Ghost were less 
manifest in the Society. That there Had been a continued 
increase of such ways of life, even until the present time; 
and that the weakness which hath now overspread the So- 
ciety and the barrenness manifest among us is matter of 
much sorrow." He then mentioned the uncertainty of his 
attending these meetings in future, expecting his dissolution 
was near; and, having tenderly expressed his concern for 
us, signified that he had seen in the true light that the 
Lord would bring back his people from these things, into 
which they were thus degenerated, but that his faithful ser- 
vants must go through great and heavy exercises. 

*[ Twenttethf—Ed.\ 



284 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

Twentieth* of ninth month. — The committee appointed by 
the Yearly Meeting to visit the Quarterly and Monthly 
Meetings gave an account in writing of their proceedings in 
that service. They signified that in the course of the visit 
they had been apprehensive that some persons holding offices 
in government inconsistent with our principles, and others 
who kept slaves, remaining active members in our meetings 
for discipline, had been one means of weakness prevailing 
in some places. After this report was read, an exercise re- 
vived in my mind which had attended me for several years, 
and inward cries to the Lord were raised in me that the 
fear of man might not prevent me from doing what he re- 
quired of me, and, standing up, I spoke in substance as fol- 
lows : " I have felt a tenderness in my mind towards persons 
in two circumstances mentioned in that report; nam.ely, 
towards such active members as keep slaves and such as 
hold offices in civil government; and I have desired that 
Friends, in all their conduct, may be kindly affectioned one 
towards another. Many Friends who keep slaves are under 
some exercise on that account; and at times think about 
trying them with freedom, but find many things in their 
way. The way of living and the annual expenses of some 
of them are such that it seems impracticable for them to 
set their slaves free without changing their own way of life. 
It has been my lot to be often abroad; and I have observed 
in some places, at Quarterly and Yearly Meetings, and at 
some houses where travelling Friends and their horses are 
often entertained, that the yearly expense of individuals 
therein is very considerable. And Friends in some places 
crowding much on persons in these circumstances for en- 
tertainment hath rested as a burden on my mind for some 
years past. I now express it in the fear of the Lord, greatly 
desiring that Friends here present may duly consider it." 

In the fall of this year, having hired a man to work, I 
perceived in conversation with him that he had been a 
soldier in the late war on this continent; and he informed 
me in the evening, in a narrative of his captivity among 
the Indians, that he saw two of his fellow-captives tortured 
to death in a very cruel manner. This relation affected me 

• [ Twmty-HUh?-Ed.\ 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 285 

with sadness, under which I went to bed; and the next 
morning, soon after I awoke, a fresh and living sense of 
Divine love overspread my mind, in which I had a renewed 
prospect of the nature of that wisdom from above which 
leads to a right use of all gifts, both spiritual and temporal, 
and gives content therein. Under a feeling thereof, I wrote 
as follows: — 

" Hath He who gave me a being attended with many 
wants unknown to brute creatures given me a capacity supe- 
rior to theirs, and shown me that a moderate application to 
business is suitable to my present condition; and that this, 
attended with his blessing, may supply all my outward 
wants while they remain within the bounds he hath fixed, 
and while no imaginary wants proceeding from an evil spirit 
have any place in me ? Attend then, O my soul ! to this 
pure wisdom as thy sure conductor through the manifold 
dangers of this world. 

" Doth pride lead to vanity ? Doth vanity form imaginary 
wants? Do these wants prompt men to exert their power 
in requiring more from others than they would be willing 
to perform themselves, were the same required of them? 
Do these proceedings beget hard thoughts? Do hard" 
thoughts, w^hen ripe, become malice? Does malice, when 
ripe, become revengeful, and in the end inflict terrible pains 
on our fellow-creatures and spread desolations in the world? 

" Do mankind, walking in uprightness, delight in each 
other's happiness? And do those who are capable of this 
attainment, by giving way to an evil spirit, employ their skill 
and strength to afflict and destroy one another? Remember 
then, O my soul ! the quietude of those in whom Christ 
governs, and in all thy proceedings feel after it. 

" Doth he condescend to bless thee with his presence ? To 
move and influence thes to action? To dwell and to walk 
in thee? Remember tlien thy station as being sacred to 
God. Accept of the strength freely offered to thee, and take 
heed that no weakness in conforming to unwise, expensive, 
and hard-hearted customs, gendering to discord and strife, 
be given way to. Doth he claim my body as his temple, and 
graciously require that I may be sacred to him? O that I 
may prize this favor, and that ^y whole life may be con- 



286 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

formable to this character ! Remember, O my soul ! that 
the Prince of Peace is thy Lord; that he communicates his 
unmixed wisdom to his family, that they, living in perfect 
simplicity, may give no just cause of offence to any creature, 
but that they may walk as He walked !" 

Having felt an openness in my heart towards visiting 
families in our own meeting, and especially in the town of 
Mount Holly, the place of my abode, I mentioned it at our 
Monthly Meeting in the fore part of the winter of 1764, 
which being agreed to, and several Friends of our meeting 
being united in the exercise, we proceeded therein; and 
through Divine favor we were helped in the work, so that 
it appeared to me as a fresh reviving of godly care among 
Friends. The latter part of the samxC winter I joined my 
friend William Jones in a visit to Friends' families in Mans- 
field, in which labor I had cause to admire the goodness of 
the Lord toward us. 

'\ My mind being drawn towards Friends along the sea- 
coast from Cape May to near Squan, and also to visit some 
people in those parts, among whom there is no settled wor- 
ship, I joined with my beloved friend Benjamin Jones in a 
visit to them, having Friends' unity therein. 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 re- 
turn I joined my friends John Sleeper and Elizabeth Smith 
in a visit to Friends' families at Burlington, there being at 
this time about fifty families of our Society in that city; 
and we had cause humbly to adore our Heavenly Father, 
who baptized us into a feeling of the state of the people, and 
strengthened us to labor in true gospel love among them. 

Having had a concern at times for several years to pay 
a religious visit to Friends on the Eastern Shore of Mary- 
land, and to travel on foot among them, that by so travelling 
I might have a more lively feeling of the condition of the 
oppressed slaves, set an example of lowliness before the eyes 
of their masters, and be more out of the way of temptation 
to unprofitable converse; and the time drawing near in 
which I believed it my duty to lay my concern before our 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 287 

Monthly Meeting, I perceived, in conversation with my be- 
loved friend John Sleeper, that he also was under a similar 
concern to travel on foot in the form of a servant among 
them, as he expressed it. This he told me before he knew 
aught of my exercise. Being thus drawn the same way, we 
laid our exercise and the nature of it before Friends; and, 
obtaining certificates, we set off the 6th of fifth month, 
1766, and were at meetings with Friends at Wilmington, 
Duck Creek, Little Creek, and Motherkill. My heart was 
often tendered under the Divine influence, and enlarged in 
love towards the people among whom we travelled. 

From Motherkill we crossed the country about thirty-five 
miles to Tuckahoe, in Maryland, and had a meeting there, 
and also at Marshy Creek. At the last three meetings there 
were a considerable number of the followers of one Joseph 
Nichols, a preacher, who, I understand, is not in outward 
fellowship with any religious society, but professeth nearly 
the same principles as those of our Society, and often travels 
up and down, appointing meetings vv^hich many people 
attend. I heard of some who had been irreligious people 
that were now his followers, and were become sober, well- 
behaved men and women. Some irregularities, I hear, have 
been among the people at several of his meetings ; but from 
what I have perceived I believe the man and some of his 
followers are honestly disposed, but that skilful fathers are 
wanting among them.. 

We then went to Choptank and Third Haven, and thence 
to Queen Anne's. The weather for some days past having 
been hot and dry, and we having travelled pretty steadily and 
having hard labor in meetings, I grew weakly, at which 
I was for a time discouraged; but looking over our journey 
and considering how the Lord had supported our minds and 
bodies, so that we had gone forward m^uch faster than I 
expected before we came out, I sav7 that I had been in 
danger of too strongly desiring to get quickly through the 
journey, and that the bodily weakness now attending me 
was a kindness; and then, in contrition of spirit, I became 
very thankful to my gracious Father for this manifestation 
of his love, and in humble submission to his will my trust in 
him was renewed. 



288 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

In this part of our journey I had many thoughts on the 
'different circumstances of Friends who inhabit Pennsyl- 
vania and Jersey from those who dwell in Maryland, Vir- 
ginia, and Carolina. Pennsylvania and New Jersey were 
settled by Friends who were convinced of our principles in 
England in times of suffering; these, coming over, bought 
lands of the natives, and applied to husbandry in a peaceable 
way, and many of their children were taught to labor for their 
living. Few of these, I believe, settled in any of the southern 
provinces; but by the faithful labors of travelling Friends 
in early times there was considerable convincement among 
the inhabitants of these parts. I also remembered having 
read of the warlike disposition of many of the first settlers 
in those provinces, and of their numerous engagements with 
the natives in which much blood was shed even in the in- 
fancy of the colonies. Some of the people inhabiting those 
places, being grounded in customs contrary to the pure 
truth, were affected with the powerful preaching of the 
Word of Life and joined in fellowship with our Society, 
and in so doing they had a great work to go through. In 
the history of the reformation from Popery it is observable 
that the progress was gradual from age to age. The up- 
rightness of the first reformers in attending to the light and 
understanding given to them opened the way for sincere- 
hearted people to proceed further afterwards ; and thus each 
one truly fearing God and laboring in the works of right- 
eousness appointed for him in his day findeth acceptance 
with Him. Through the darkness of the times and the cor- 
ruption of manners and customs, some upright men may 
have had little more for their day's work than to attend to 
the righteous principle in their minds as it related to their 
own conduct in life without pointing out to others the whole 
extent of that into v/hich the same principle would lead suc- 
ceeding ages. Thus, for instance, among an imperious, war- 
like people, supported by oppressed slaves, some of these 
masters, I suppose, are awakened to feel and to see their 
error, and through sincere repentance cease from oppression 
and become like fathers to their servants, showing by their 
example a pattern of humility in living, and moderation in 
governing, for the instruction and admonition of their 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 289 

Oppressing neighbors; these, without carrying the reforma- 
tion further, have, I believe, found acceptance with the Lord. 
Such was the beginning; and those who succeeded them, 
and who faithfully attended to the nature and spirit of the 
reformation, have seen the necessity of proceeding forward, 
and have not only to instruct others by their own example 
in governing well, but have also to use means to prevent their 
successors from having so much power to oppress others. 

Here I was renewedly confirmed in my mind that the 
Lord {whose tender mercies are over all his works, and 
whose ear is open to the cries and groans of the oppressed) 
is graciously moving in the hearts of people to draw them 
off from the desire of wealth and to bring them into such an 
humble, lowly v/ay of living that they may see their way 
clearly to repair to the standard of true righteousness, and 
may not only break the yoke of oppression, but may know 
him to be their strength and support in times of outward 
affliction. 

We crossed Chester River, had a meeting there, and also 
at Cecil and Sassafras. My bodily weakness, joined with a 
heavy exercise of mind, was to me an humbling dispensa- 
tion, and I had a very lively feeling of t^e state of the op- 
pressed; yet I often thought that what I s«uffered was little 
compared with the sufferings of the blessed Jesus and many 
of his faithful followers; and I may say with thankfulness 
that I was made content. From Sassafras we went pretty 
directly home, where we found our families well. For sev- 
eral weeks after our return I had often to look over our 
journey; and though to me it appeared as a small service, 
and that some faithful messengers will yet have more bitter 
cups to drink in those southern provinces for Christ's sake 
than we have had, yet I found peace in that I had been 
helped to walk in sincerity according to the understanding 
and strength given to me. 

Thirteenth of eleventh month. — With the unity of Friends 
at our monthly meeting, and in company with my beloved 
friend Benjamin Jones, I set out on a visit to Friends in the 
upper part of this province, having had drawings of love in 
my heart that w^ay for a considerable time. We travelled 
as far as Hardwick, and I had inward peace in my labo3r» 

10 HC— Vol. 1 



290 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

of love among them. Through the humbling dispensations o£ 
Divine Providence my mind hath been further brought into 
a feeling of the difficulties of Friends and their servants 
southv/estward ; and being often engaged in spirit on their 
account I believed it my duty to walk into some parts of 
the western shore of Maryland on a religious visit. Having 
obtained a certificate from Friends of our Monthly Meeting, 
I took leave of my family under the heart-tendering opera- 
tion of truth, and on the 20th of fourth month, 1767, rode 
to the ferry opposite to Philadelphia, and thence walked to 
William Home's, at Derby, the same evening. Next day I 
pursued my journey alone and reached Concord Week-Day 
Meeting. 

Discouragements and a v/eight of distress had at times 
attended me in this lonesome walk, but through these afflic- 
tions I was m.ercifully preserved. Sitting down with 
Friends, m.y mind was turned towards the Lord to wait for 
his holy leadings; and in infinite love he was pleased to 
soften my heart into humble contrition, and renev/edly to 
strengthen me to go forv^^ard, so that to me it was a time of 
heavenly refreshment in a silent meeting. The next day I 
came to Nev^ Garden Week-Day Meeting, in which I sat in 
bowedness of spirit, and being baptized into a feeling of the 
state of some present, the Lord gave us a heart-tendering 
season ; to his name be the praise. Passing on, I was at 
Nottingham Monthly Meeting, and at a m.eeting at Little 
Britain on first-day; in the afternoon several Friends came 
to the house where I lodged and we had a little afternoon 
meeting, and through the humbling power of truth I had to 
admire the loving-kindness of the Lord manifested to us. 

Twenty-sixth of fourth month. — I crossed the Susque- 
hanna, and coming among people in outward ease and 
greatness, supported chiefly on the labor of slaves, my heart 
was much affected, and in awful retiredness my mind was 
gathered inward to the Lord^ humbly desiring that in true 
resignation I might receive instruction from him respecting 
my duty among this people. Though travelling on foot was 
wearisome to my body, yet it was agreeable to the state of 
my mind. Being weakly, I was covered with sorrow and 
heaviness on account of the prevailing spirit of this world 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 291 

hj which customs grievous and oppressive are introduced 
on the one hand, and pride and wantonness on the other. 

In this lonely walk and state of abasement and humiliation, 
the condition of the church in these parts was opened before 
me, and I may truly say with the Prophet, " I was bowed 
down at the hearing of it; I was dismayed at the seeing 
of it." Under this exercise I attended the Quarterly Meet- 
ing at Gunpowder, and in bowedness of spirit I had to express 
with much plainness my feelings respecting Friends living 
in fulness on the labors of the poor oppressed negroes ; and 
that promise of the Most High was now revived, " I will 
gather all nations and tongues, and they shall come and see 
my glory." Here the sufferings of Christ and his tasting 
death for every man, and the travels, sufferings, and martyr- 
dom of the Apostles and primitive Christians in laboring for 
the conversion of the Gentiles, were livingly revived in me, 
and according to the measure of strength afforded I labored 
in some tenderness of spirit, being deeply affected among 
them. The difference between the present treatment which 
these gentiles, the negroes, receive at our hands, and the 
labors of the primitive Christians for the conversion of the 
Gentiles, were pressed home, and the power of truth came 
over us, under a feeling of which my mind was united to 
a tender-hearted people in these parts. The meeting con- 
cluded in a sense of God's goodness towards his humble, 
dependent children. 

The next day was a general meeting for worship, much 
crowded, in which I was deeply engaged in inward cries to 
the Lord for help, that I might stand wholly resigned, and 
move only as he might be pleased to lead me. I was merci- 
fully helped to labor honestly and fervently among them, in 
which I found inward peace, and the sincere were com- 
forted. From this place I turned towards Pipe Creek and 
the Red Lands, and had several meetings among Friends in 
those parts. My heart was often tenderly affected under a 
sense of the Lord's goodness in sanctifying my troubles and 
exercises, turning them to my comfort, and I believe to the 
benefit of many others, for I may say with thankfulness that 
in this visit it appeared like a tendering visitation in most 
places. 



292 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

I passed on to the Western Quarterly Meeting in Penn- 
sylvania. During the several days of this meeting I w^as 
mercifully preserved in an inward feeling after the mind of 
truth, and my public labors tended to my humiliation, with 
which I was content. After the Quarterly Meeting for wor- 
ship ended, I felt drawings to go to the women's meeting for 
business, v/hich was very full; here the humility of Jesus 
Christ as a pattern for us to walk by was livingly opened 
before me, and in treating on it my heart was enlarged, and 
it was a baptizing time. I was afterwards at meetings at 
Concord, Middletown, Providence, and Haddonfield, whence 
I returned home and found my family well. A sense of the 
Lord's merciful preservation in this my journey excites 
reverent thankfulness to him. 

Second of ninth month, 1767. — With the unity of Friends, 
I set off on a visit to Friends in the upper part of Berks 
and Philadelphia counties; was at eleven meetings in about 
two weeks, and have renewed cause to bow in reverence 
before the Lord, who, by the powerful extendings of his 
humbling goodness, opened my way among Friends, and I 
trust made the meetings profitable to us. The following 
winter I joined some Friends in a family visit to some part 
of our meeting, in which exercise the pure influence of 
Divine love made our visits reviving. 

Fifth of fifth month, 1768. — I left home under the hum- 
bling hand of the Lord, with a certificate to visit some meet- 
ings in Maryland, and to proceed without a horse seemed 
clearest to me. I was at the Quarterly Meetings at Phila- 
delphia and Concord, whence I proceeded to Chester River, 
and, crossing the bay, was at the Yearly Meeting at West 
River; I then returned to Chester River, and, taking a few 
meetings in my way, proceeded home. It was a journey of 
much inward waiting, and as my eye was to the Lord, way 
was several times opened to my humbling admiration when 
things appeared very difiicult. On my return I felt a very 
comfortable relief of mind, having through Divine help 
labored in much plainness, both with Friends selected and in 
the more public meetings, so that I trust the pure witness 
m many minds was reached. 

Eleventh of sixth month, 1769.— -There have been sundry 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 293 

cases of late years within the limits of our Monthly Meet- 
ing, respecting the exercising of pure righteousness towards 
the negroes, in which I have lived under a labor of heart 
that equity might be steadily preserved. On this account 
I have had some close exercises among Friends, in which, 
I may thankfully say, I find peace. And as my meditations 
have been on universal love, my own conduct in time past 
became of late v^ry grievous to me. As persons setting 
negroes free in our province are bound by law to 
maintain them in case they have need of relief, some in 
the time of my youth who scrupled to keep slaves for 
term of life were wont to detain their young negroes in 
their service without wages till they were thirty years ol 
age. With this custom I so far agreed that being joined 
with another Friend in executing the will of a deceased 
Friend, I once sold a negro lad till he might attain the 
age of thirty years, and applied the money to the use of 
the estate. 

With abasement of heart I may now say that sometimes 
as I have sat in a meeting with my heart exercised towards 
that awful Being who respecteth not persons nor colors, and 
have thought upon this lad, I have felt that all was not 
clear in my mind respecting him ; and as I have attended to 
this exercise and fervently sought the Lord, it hath ap- 
peared to me that I should make some restitution; but in 
what way I saw not till lately, when being under some con- 
cern that I might be resigned to go on a visit to some part 
of the West Indies, and under close engagement of spirit 
seeking to the Lord for counsel herein, the aforesaid trans- 
action came heavily upon me, and my mind for a time was 
covered with darkness and sorrow. Under this sore afflic- 
tion my heart was softened to receive instruction, and I now 
first perceived that as I had been one of the two executors 
who had sold this lad for nine years longer than is common 
for our own children to serve, so I should nov7 offer part 
of my substance to redeem the last half of the nine years; 
but as the time was not yet come, I executed a bond, bind- 
ing myself and my executors to pay to the man to whom he 
was sold what to candid men might appear equitable for the 
last four and a half years of his time, in case the said youth 



294 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

should be living, and in a condition likely to provide com- 
fortably for himself. 

Ninth of tenth month. — My heart hath often been deeply 
afHicted under a feeling that the standard of pure righteous- 
ness is not lifted up to the people by us, as a society, in that 
clearness which it might have been, had we been as faithful 
as we ought to be to the teachings of Christ. And as my 
mind hath been inward to the Lord, the purity of Christ's 
government hath been made clear to my understanding, and 
I have believed, in the opening of universal love, that where 
a people v/ho are convinced of the truth of the inward teach- 
ings of Christ are active in putting laws in execution which 
are not consistent with pure v/isdom, it hath a necessary 
tendency to bring dimness over their minds. My heart hav- 
ing been thus exercised for several years with a tender sym- 
pathy towards my fellow-members, I have v/ithin a few 
months past expressed my concern on this subject in several 
meetings for discipline. 




CHAPTER X 
1769, 1770 

Bodily Indisposition — Exercise of his Mind for the Good of the 
People in the West Indies — Communicates to Friends his Con- 
cern to visit some of those Islands — Preparations to embark — 
Considerations on the Trade to the West Indies — Release from 
his Concern and return Home — Religious Engagements — Sick- 
ness, and Exercise of his Mind therein. 

|WELFTH of third month, 1769. — Having for some 
years past dieted myself on account of illness and 
weakness of body, and not having ability to travel 
by land as heretofore, I was at times favored to look with 
awfulness towards the Lord, before whom are all my wa3''s, 
Vv^ho alone hath the power of life and death, and to feel 
thankfulness raised in me for this fatherly chastisement, be- 
lieving that if I was truly humbled under it all would work 
for good. While under this bodily weakness, my mind was 
at times exercised for my fellow-creatures in the West In- 
dies, and I grew jealous over myself lest the disagreeableness 
of the prospect should hinder me from obediently attending 
thereto; for, though I knev/ not that the Lord required me 
to go there, yet I believed that resignation was now called 
for in th^:t respect. Feeling a danger of not being wholly 
devoted to him, I was frequently engaged to watch unto 
prayer that I might be preserved; and upwards of a year 
having passed, as I one day walked in a solitary wood, my 
mind being covered with awfulness, cries were raised in me 
to my merciful Father, that he would graciously keep me in 
faithfulness; and it then settled on my mind, as a duty, to 
open my condition to Friends at our Monthly Meeting, which 
I did soon after, as follows: — 

" An exercise hath attended me for some time past, and 

29$ 



296 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

of late hath been more weighty upon me, which is, tflat I 
believe it is required of me to be resigned to go on a visit to 
some parts of the West Indies." In the Quarterly and Gen- 
eral Spring Meetings I found no clearness to express any- 
thkig further than that I believed resignatioia herein 
was required of me. Having obtained certificates from 
all the said meetings, I felt like a sojourner at my 
outward habitation, and kept free from worldly encum- 
brances, and I was often bowed in spirit before the Lord, 
with inward breathings to him that I might be rightly 
directed. I may here note that the circumstance before re- 
lated of my having, when young, joined with another ex- 
ecutor in selling a negro lad till he might attain the age of 
thirty years, was now the cause of much sorrow to me ; and, 
after having settled matters relating to this youth, I pro- 
vided a sea-store and bed, and things for the voyage. Hear- 
ing of a vessel likely to sail from Philadelphia for Barbadoes, 
I spake with one of the owners at Burlington, and soon 
after went to Philadelphia on purpose to speak to him again. 
He told me there was a Friend in town who was part owner 
of the said vessel. I felt no inclination to speak with the 
latter, but returned home. Awhile after I took leave of 
my family, and, going to Philadelphia, had some weighty 
conversation with the first-mentioned owner, and showed him 
a writing, as follows: — 

" On 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 at- 
tended me, under which I have at times rejoiced that I have 
felt my own self-will subjected. 

" Some years ago I retailed rum, sugar, and molasses, the 
fruits of the labor of slaves, but had not then much concern 
about them save only that the rum might be used in modera- 
tion; nor was this concern so weightily attended to as I now 
believe it ought to have been. Having of late years been 
further informed respecting the oppressions too generally 
exercised in these islands, and thinking often on the dangers 
there are in connections of interest and fellowship with the 
works of darkness (Eph. v. ii), I have felt an increasing 
concern to be wholly given up to the leadings o:i^ the Holy 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 297 

Spirit, and it hath seemed right that my small gain from 
this branch of trade shotild be applied in promoting right- 
eousness on the earth. This was the first motion towards a 
visit to Barbadoes. I believed also that part of my out- 
ward substance should be applied in paying my passage, if 
I went, and providing things in a lowly way for my sub- 
sistence; but when the time drew near in which I believed 
it required of me to be in readiness, a difficulty arose which 
hath been a continual trial for some months past, tmder 
which I have, with abasement of mind from day to day, 
sought the Lord for instruction, having often had a feeling 
of the condition of one formerly, who bewailed himself be- 
cause the Lord hid his face from him. During these ex- 
ercises my heart hath often been contrite, and I have had 
a tender feeling of the temptations of my fellow-creatures, 
laboring under expensive customs not agreeable to the sim- 
plicity that 'there is in Christ' (2 Cor. ii. 3), and sometimes 
in the renewings of gospel love I have been helped to min- 
ister to others. 

"That which hath so closely engaged my mind, in seeking 
to the Lord for instruction, is, whether, after the full 
information I have had of the oppression which the slaves 
lie under who raise the West India produce, which I have 
gained by reading a caution and warning to Great Britain and 
her colonies, written by Anthony Benezet, it is right for me 
to take passage in a vessel employed in the West India trade. 

" To trade 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 v/ould be if the cause 
of mniversal righteousness was humbly and firmly attended 
to hy those in general with whom they have commerce; 
and that complaint of the Lord by hi-s prophet, " They have 
strengthened the hands of the wicked," hath very often re- 
vived in my mind- I may here add some circumstances 
which occurred to me before I had any pTospect of a visit 
^here. David longsd for some water in a well beyond an 
army of Philistines who were at war widi Is-rael, and some 
of his men, to please him, ventured their lives in passing 
through this army, and brought l^a-t water. 



298 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

"It (3otli not appear that the Israelites were then scarce 
of water, but rather that David gave way to delicacy of 
taste; and having reflected on the danger to which these 
men had been exposed, he considered this water as their 
blood, and his heart smote him that he could not drink it, 
but he poureid it out to the Lord. The oppression of the 
slaves which I have seen in several journeys southward on 
this continent, and the report of their treatment in the West 
Indies, have deeply affected me, and a care to live in the 
spirit of peace and minister no just carse of offence to my 
fellow-creatures having from tim.e to time livingly revived 
in my mind, I have for some years past declined to gratify 
my palate with those sugars. 

"I do not censure my brethren in these things, but I be- 
lieve the Father of Mercies, to whom all mankind by creation 
are equally related, hath heard the groans of this oppressed 
people and that he is preparing some to have a tender feeling 
of their condition. Trading in or the frequent use of any 
produce known to be raised by the labor of those who are 
under such lamentable oppression hath appeared to be a 
subject which may hereafter require the more serious con- 
sideration of the humble followers of Christ, the Prince 
of Peace. 

"After long and mournful exercise I am now free to 
mention how things have opened in my mind, v/ith desires 
that if it may please the Lord further to open his will to 
any of his children in this matter they may faithfully follow 
him in such further manifestation. 

" The number of those who decline the use of West India 
produce, on account of the hard usage of the slaves who 
raise it, appears small, even among people truly pious ; and 
the labors in Christian love on that subject of those who do 
are not very extensive. Were the trade from this continent 
to the West Indies to be stopped at once, I believe many 
there would suffer for want of bread. Did we on this con- 
tinent and the inhabitants of the West Indies generally 
dwell in pure righteousness, I believe a small trade between 
us might be right. Under these considerations, when the 
thoughts of wholly declining the use of trading-vessels and 
ol trying to hire a vessel to go under ballast have arisen 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 299 

in my mind, I have believed that the labors in gospel love 
hitherto bestowed in the cause of universal righteousness 
have not reached that height. If the trade to the West Indies 
were no more than was consistent with pure wisdom, I be- 
lieve the passage-money v/ould for good reasons be higher 
than it is now; and therefore, under deep exercise of mind, 
I have believed that I should not take advantage of this 
great trade and small passage-money, but, as a testimony in 
favor of less trading, should pay more than is common for 
others to pay if I go at this tim.e." 

The first-mentioned owner, having read the paper, went 
with me to the other ov/ner, who also read over the paper, 
and we had some solid conversation, under which I felt my- 
self bowed in reverence before the Most High. At length one 
of them asked me if I would go and see the vessel. But 
not having clearness in my mind to go, I went to my 
lodging and retired in private under great exercise of mind; 
and my tears were poured out before the Lord with inward 
cries that he would graciously help me under these trials, I 
believe my mind was resigned, but I did not feel clearness 
to proceed; and my own weakness and the necessity of 
Divine instruction were impressed upon me. 

I was for a tim.e as one who knew not what to do and 
was tossed as in a tempest; under which affliction the doc- 
trine of Christ, " Take no thought for the m.orrow," arose 
livingly before me, and I was favored to get into a good 
degree of stillness. Having been near two days in town, 
I believed my obedience to my Heavenly Father consisted 
in returning homeward; I therefore went over among 
Friends on the Jersey shore and tarried till the morning 
on which the vessel was appointed to sail. As I lay in bed 
the latter part of that night my mind v/as comforted, and 
I felt what I esteemed a fresh confirmation that it v^^as the 
Lord's will that I should pass through some further exer- 
cises near home; so I went thither, and still felt like a so- 
journer with my family. In the fresh spring of pure love 
I had some labors in a private way zmong Friends on a 
subject relating to truth's testimony, under v/hich I had 
frequently been exercised in heart for some years. I re- 
member, as I walked on the road under this exercise, that 



300 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

passage in Ezekiel came fresh upon me, " Whithersoever 
their faces were turned thither they went." And I was 
graciously helped to discharge my duty in the fear and 
dread of the Almighty. 

In the course of a few weeks it pleased the Lord to visit 
me with a pleurisy; and after I had lain a few days and felt 
the disorder very grievous, I was thoughtful how it might 
end. I had of late, through various exercises, been much 
weaned from the pleasant things of this life; and I now 
thought if it were the Lord's will to put an end to my labors 
and graciously to receive me into the arms of his mercy, 
death would be acceptable to me; but if it were his will 
further to refine me under affliction, and to make me in any 
degree useful in his church, I desired not to die. I may with 
thankfulness say that in this case I felt resignedness wrought 
in me and had no inclination to send for a doctor, believing, 
if it were the Lord's will through outward means to raise 
me up, some sympathizing Friends would be sent to minister 
to me; which accordingly was the case. But though I was 
carefully attended, yet the disorder was at times so heavy 
that I had no expectation of recovery. One night in par- 
ticular my bodily distress 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 
v^rarm to my feet, expecting my end w^as near. After I had 
Iain near ten hours in this condition, I closed my eyes, think- 
ing whether I might now be delivered out of the body; but 
in these awful moments my mind was livingly opened to 
behold the church; and strong engagements were begotten 
in me for the everlasting well-being of my fellow-creatures. 
I felt in the spring of pure love that I might remain some 
time longer in the body, to fill up according to my measure 
that which remains of the afflictions of Christ, and to labor 
for the good of the church; after which I requested my 
nurse to apply warmth to my feet, and I revived. The next 
night, feeling a weighty exercise of spirit and having a 
solid friend sitting up with me, I requested him to write 
what I said, which he did as follows: — 

"Fourth day of the first month, 1770, about five in the 
msming.— I have seen in the Light of the Lord that the day 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 301 

Is approaching when the man that is most wise in human 
poHcy shall be the greatest fool ; and the arm that is mighty 
to support injustice shall be broken to pieces; the enemies 
of righteousness shall make a terrible rattle, and shall 
mightily torment one another; for He that is omnipotent is 
rising up to judgment, and will plead the cause of the op- 
pressed; and He commanded me to open the vision." 

Near a week after this, feeling my mind livingly opened, 
I sent for a neighbor, who, at my request, wrote as follows : — 

*' The place of prayer is a precious habitation*; for I now 
saw that the prayers of the saints were precious incense; 
and a trumpet was given to me that I might sound forth 
this language ; that the children might hear it and be invited 
together to this precious habitation, where the prayers of the 
saints, as sweet incense, arise before the throne of God and 
the Lamb. I saw this habitation to be safe, — to be inwardly 
quiet when there were great stirrings and commotions in 
the world. 

" Prayer, at this day, in pure resignation, is a precious 
place: the trumpet is sounded; the call goes forth to the 
church that she gather to the place of pure inward prayer; 
and her habitation is safe." 



CHAPTER XI 



1772 




Embarks at Chester, witli Samtiel Emlen, in a Ship bound for Lon- 
<Jon— Exercise of Mind respecting the Hardships of the Sailors 
— Considerations on the Dangers of training Youth to a Seafaring 
Life — Thoughts during a Storm at Sea — Arrival in London. 

""RAVING been some time under a religious concern to 
prepare for crossing the seas, in order to visit 
Friends in the northern parts of England, and more 
particularly in Yorkshire, after consideration I thought it 
expedient to inform Friends of it at our Monthly Meeting 
at Burlington, who, having unity with me therein, gave me 
a certificate. I afterwards communicated the same to our 
Quarterly Meeting, and they likewise certified their con- 
currence. Some time after, at the General Spring Meeting 
of ministers and elders, I thought it my duty to acquaint 
them with the religious exercise which attended my mind; 
and they likewise signified their unity therewith by a cer- 
tificate, dated the 24th of third month, 1772, directed to 
Friends in Great Britain. 

In the fourth month following I thought the time was 
come for me to make some inquiry for a suitable conveyance ; 
and as my concern was principally towards the northern 
parts of England, it seemed m.ost proper to go in a vessel 
bound to Liverpool or Whitehaven. While I was at Phila- 
delphia deliberating on this subject I was informed that 
m.y beloved friend Samuel Emlen, junior, intended to 
go to London, and had taken a passage for himself in 
the cabin of the ship called the Mary and Elizabeth, of 
which James Sparks was master, and John Head, of the 
city of Philadelphia, one of the owners ; and feeling a 
draught in my mind towards the steerage of the same 

302 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 303 

stip, I went first and opened to Samuel the feeling I had 
concerning it. 

My beloved friend wept when I spake to him, and ap- 
peared glad that I had thoughts of going in the vessel with 
him, though my prospect was toward the steerage: and he 
offering to go with m.e, we v/ent on board, first into the 
cabin, — a commodious room, — and then into the steerage, 
where we sat down on a chest, the sailors being busy about 
us. The owner of the ship also came and sat down with us. 
My mind was turned towards Christ, the Heavenly Coun- 
sellor, and feeling at this timiC my own will subjected, my 
heart was contrite before him. A motion was made by the 
owner to go and sit in the cabin, as a place more retired; 
but I felt easy to leave the ship, and making no agreement 
as to a passage in her, told the owner if I took a passage in 
the ship I believed it would be in the steerage; but did not 
say much as to my exercise in that case. 

After I went to my lodgings, and the case was a little 
knov/n in town, a Friend laid before me the great incon- 
venience attending a passage in the steerage, which for a 
time appeared very discouraging to me. 

I soon after went to bed, and my mind was under a deep 
exercise before the Lord, whose helping hand was mani- 
fested to me as I slept that night, and his love strengthened 
my heart. In the morning I went with two Friends on 
board the vessel again, and after a short time spent therein, 
I went with Samuel Emlen to the house of the owner, to 
whom, in the hearing of Samuel only, I opened my exercise 
in relation to a scruple I felt with regard to a passage in 
the cabin, in substance as follows :— 

" That on the outside of that part of the ship where the 
cabin was I observed sundry sorts of carved VN^ork and 
imiagery; that in the cabin I observed some superfluity of 
workmianship of several sorts; and that according to the 
ways of men's reckoning, the sum of money to be paid for 
a passage in that apartment has some relation to the expense 
of furnishing it to please the minds of such as give way to 
a conformity to this world; and that in this, as in other 
cases, the moneys received from the passengers are calcu- 
lated to defray the cost of these superfluities, as well as the 



304 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN / 

other expenses of their passage. I therefore felt a scruple 
with regard to paying my money to be applied to such 
purposes." 

As my mind vv^as now opened, I told the owner that I had, 
at several times, in my travels, seen great oppressions on 
this continent, at which my heart had been much affected 
and brought into a feeling of the state of the sufferers ; and 
having many times been engaged in the fear and love of 
God to labor with those under whom the oppressed have 
been borne down and afflicted, I have often perceived that 
with a view to get riches and to provide estates for children, 
that they may live conformably to the customs and honors 
of this world, many are entangled in the spirit of oppression, 
and the exercise of my soul had been such that I could not 
find peace in joining in anything which I saw was against 
that wisdom which is pure. 

After this I agreed for a passage in the steerage; and 
hearing that Joseph White had desired to see me, I went to 
his house, and the next day home, where I tarried two 
nights. Early the next morning I parted with my family 
under a sense of the humbling hand of God upon me, and, 
going to Philadelphia, had an opportunity with several of 
my beloved friends, who appeared to be concerned for me 
on account of the unpleasant situation of that part of the 
vessel in which I was likely to lodge. In these opportunities 
my mind, through the mercies of the Lord, was kept low in 
an inward waiting for his help; and Friends having ex- 
pressed their desire that I might have a more convenient 
place than the steerage, did not urge it, but appeared dis- 
posed to leave me to the Lord. 

Having stayed tw^o nights at Philadelphia, I went the next 
day to Derby Monthly Meeting, where through the strength 
of Divine love my heart was enlarged towards the youth 
there present, under which I was helped to labor in some 
tenderness of spirit. I lodged at William Horn's and after- 
wards went to Chester, where I met with Samuel Emlen, 
and we went on board ist of fifth month, 1772. As I sat 
alone on the deck I felt a satisfactory evidence that my pro- 
ceedings were not in my own will, but under the power of 
the cross of Christ 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 305 

Seventh of fifth month. — We have had rough weather 
mostly since I came on board, and the passengers, James 
Reynolds, John Till Adams, Sarah Logan and her hired 
maid, and John Bispham, all sea-sick at times; from which 
sickness, through the tender mercies of my Heavenly Father, 
I have been preserved, my afflictions now being of another 
kind. There appeared an openness in the minds of the 
master of the ship and in the cabin passengers towards me. 
We are often together on the deck, and sometimes in the 
cabin. My mind, through the merciful help of the Lord, 
hath been preserved in a good degree watchful and quiet, 
for which I have great cause to be thankful. 

As my lodging in the steerage, now near a week, hath 
afforded me sundry opportunities of seeing, hearing, and 
feeling with respect to the life and spirit of many poor 
sailors, an exercise of soul hath attended me in regard to 
placing our children and youth where they may be likely to 
oe exampled and instructed in the pure fear of the Lord. 

Being much among the seamen I have, from a motion of 
love, taken sundry opportunities with one of them at a time, 
and have in free conversation labored to turn their minds 
tovv^ard the fear of the Lord. This day we had a meeting 
in the cabin, where my heart was contrite under a feeling 
of Divine love. 

I believe a communication with different parts of the 
world by sea is at times consistent with the will of our 
Heavenly Father, and to educate some youth in the practice 
of sailing, I believe may be right; but how lamentable is 
the present corruption of the world ! How impure are the 
channels through which trade is conducted ! How great is 
the danger to which poor lads are exposed when placed on 
shipboard to learn the art of sailing ! Five lads training up 
for the seas were on board this ship. Two of them were 
brought up in our Society, and the other, by name James 
Naylor, is a member, to whose father James Naylor, men- 
tioned in Sev/el's history, appears to have been uncle. I 
often feel a tenderness of heart towards these poor lads, and 
at times look at them as though they were m.y children 
according to the flesh. 

O that all may take heed and beware of covetousness ! O 



306 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

that all may learn of Christ, who was meek and lowly oi 
heart. Then in faithfully 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-creatures, and a desire 
that those in the lowest stations may be assisted and encour- 
aged, and where owners of ships attain to the perfect law 
of liberty and are doers of the Word, these will be blessed 
in their deeds. 

A ship at sea commonly sails all night, and the seamen 
take their watches four hours at a time. Rising to work 
in the night, it is not commonly pleasant in any case, but in 
dark rainy nights it is very disagreeable, even though each 
man were furnished with all conveniences. If, after having 
been on deck several hours in the night, they come down 
into the steerage soaking wet, and are so closely stowed that 
proper convenience for change of garments is not easily 
come at, but for want of proper room their wet garments 
are throv/n in heaps, and sometimes, through much crowd- 
ing, are trodden under foot in going to their lodgings and 
getting out of them, and it is difficult at times for each to 
find his own. Here are trials for the poor sailors. 

Now, as I have been with them in my lodge, my heart 
hath often yearned for them, and tender desires have been 
raised in me that all owners and masters of vessels may 
dwell in the love of God and therein act uprightly, and by 
seeking less for gain and looking carefully to their ways 
they may earnestly labor to remove all cause of provocation 
from the poor seamen, so that they m.ay neither fret nor 
use excess of strong drink; for, indeed, the poor creatures, 
in the wet and cold, seem to apply at times to strong drink 
to supply the want of other convenience. Great reforma- 
tion is wanting in the world, and the necessity of it among 
those who do business on great waters hath at this time 
been abundantly opened before me. 

Eighth of fifth month.— This morning the clouds gath- 
ered, the v/ind blew strong from the southeast, and before 
noon so increased that sailing appeared dangerous. The sea- 
men then bound up some of their sails and took down others, 
and the storm increasing they put the dead-lights, so called, 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 307 

into the cabin windows and lighted a lamp as at night. The 
wind now blew vehemently, and the sea wrought to that 
degree that an awful seriousness prevailed in the cabin, in 
which I spent, I believe, about seventeen hours, for the 
cabin passengers had given me frequent invitations, and I 
thought the poor wet toiling seamen had need of all the 
room in the crov/ded steerage. They now ceased from sail- 
ing and put the vessel in the posture called lying to. 

My mind during this tempest, through the gracious assist- 
ance of the Lord, was preserved in a good degree of resigna- 
tion; and at times I expressed a few w^ords in his love to 
my shipmates in regard to the all-sufficiency of Him who 
form-ed the great deep, and whose care is so extensive that 
a sparrow falls not without his notice ; and thus in a tender 
frame of mind I spoke to them of the necessity of our yield- 
ing in true obedience to the instructions of our Heavenly 
Father, who sometimes through adversities intendeth our 
refinement. 

About eleYcn at night I went out on the deck. The sea 
.wrought exceedingly, and the high, foaming waves- round 
about had in some sort the appearance of fire, but did not 
give much if any light. The sailor at the helm said he 
lately sav7 a corposant at the head of the mast. I observed 
that the master of the ship ordered the carpenter to keep 
on the deck; and, though he said little, I apprehended his 
care was that the carpenter with his axe might be in readi- 
ness in case of any em.ergency. Soon after this the ve- 
hemency of the wind abated, and before morning they 
again put the ship under sail. 

Tenth of fifth month. — It being the first day of the week 
and fine weather, we had a meeting in the cabin, at which 
most of the seamen were present; this meeting was to me 
a strengthening time. 13th. — As I continue to lodge in the 
steerag:e I feel an openness this morning to express some- 
thing further of the state of my mind in respect to poor 
lads bound apprentice to learn the art of sailing. As I 
believe sailing is of use in the v/orld, a labor of soul attends 
me that the pure counsel of truth may be humbly waited for 
in this case by all concerned in the business of the seas. 
A pious father whose mind is exercised for the CTerlasting 



308 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN j 

welfare of his child may not with a peaceable mind place 
him out to an employment among a people ^whose common 
course of life is manifestly corrupt and profane. Great is 
the present defect among seafaring men in regard to virtue 
and piety; and, by reason of an abundant traffic and many 
ships being used for war, so many people are employed on 
the sea that the subject of placing lads to this employment 
appears very weighty. 

When I remember the saying of the Most High through 
his prophet, " This people have I formed for myself ; they 
shall show forth my praise," and think of placing children 
among such to learn the practice of sailing, the consistency 
of it with a pious education seems to me like that mentioned 
by the prophet, "There is no answer from God." 

Profane examples are very corrupting and very forcible. 
"And as my mind day after day and night after night hath 
been affected with a sympathizing tenderness towards poor 
children who are put to the employment of sailors, I have 
sometimes had weighty conversation with the sailors in the 
steerage, who were mostly respectful to me and became 
more so the longer I was with them. They mostly appeared 
to take kindly what I said to them ; but their minds were so 
deeply impressed with the almost universal depravity among 
sailors that the poor creatures in their answers to me have 
revived in my remembrance that of the degenerate Jews a 
little before the captivity, as repeated by Jeremiah the 
prophet, " There is no hope." 

Now under this exercise a sense of the desire of outward 
gain prevailing among us felt grievous; and a strong call 
to the professed followers of Christ was raised in me that 
all may take heed lest, through loving this present world, 
they be found in a continued neglect of duty with respect 
to a faithful labor for reformation. 

To silence every motion proceeding from the love of money 
and humbly to wait upon God to know his will concerning us 
have appeared necessary. He alone is able to strengthen us to 
dig deep, to remove all which lies between as aaad the safe 
foundation, and so to Mr^t us m cmr outward employments 
that pure universal love may sbine fcfrth in tmr proceedings. 
D^ires arising from the spirit of tru^ are pure desires ; and 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 309 

wHen a mind divinely opened towards a young generation is 
made sensible of corrupting examples powerfully working 
and extensively spreading among them, how moving is the 
prospect ! In a world of dangers and difficulties, like a 
desolate, thorny wilderness, how precious, how comfortable, 
hov/ safe, are the leadings of Christ the good Shepherd, 
who said, "I know my sheep, and am known of mine ! " 

Sixteenth of sixth^ month. — Wind for several days past 
often high, w^hat the sailors call squally, with a rough sea 
and frequent rains. This last night has been a very trying 
one to the poor seamen, the water the most part of the 
night running over the main-deck, and sometimes breaking 
twaves came on the quarter-deck. The latter part of the 
night, as I lay in bed, my mind was humbled under the 
power of Divine love; and resignedness to the great Crea- 
tor of the earth and the seas was renewedly wrought in me, 
and his fatherly care over his children felt precious to my 
soul. I was now desirous to embrace every opportunity of 
being inwardly acquainted with the hardships and difficulties 
of my fellow-creatures, and to labor in his love for the 
spreading of pure righteousness on the earth. Opportunities 
were frequent of hearing conversation among the sailors 
respecting the voyages to Africa and the manner of bringing 
the deeply oppressed slaves into our islands. They are fre- 
quently brought on board the vessels in chains and fetters, 
with hearts loaded with grief under the apprehension of 
miserable slavery; so that my mind was frequently engaged 
to meditate on these things. 

Seventeenth of fifth month and first of the week. — We had 
a meeting in the cabin, to which the seamen generally came. 
My spirit v^^as contrite before the Lord, whose love at this 
time affected my heart. In the afternoon I felt a tender 
sympathy of soul with my poor wife and family left behind, 
in which state my heart was enlarged in desires that they 
may walk in that humble obedience wherein the everlasting 
Father may be their guide and support through all their 
difficulties in this world; and a sense of that gracious assist- 
ance, through which my mind hath been strengthened to 
take up the cross and leave them to tmvel in the love o£ 



310 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

truth, hath begotten thankfulness in my heart to our great 
Helper. 

Twenty-fourth of fifth month.— A clear, pleasant morning. 
As I sat on deck I felt a reviving in my nature, which had 
been weakened through much rainy weather and high winds 
and being shut up in a close, unhealthy air. Several nights 
of late I have felt my breathing difficult; and a little after 
the rising of the second watch, which is about midnight, I 
have got up and stood near an hour with my face near the 
hatchway, to get the fresh air at the small vacancy under 
the hatch door, which is commonly shut down, partly to 
keep out rain and sometimes to keep the breaking waves 
from, dashing into the steerage. I may with thankfulness to 
the Father of Mercies acknowledge that in my present weak 
state my mind hath been supported to bear this affliction with 
patience; and I have looked at the present dispensation as 
a kindness from the great Father of mankind, who, in this 
my floating pilgrimage, is in some degree bringing me to 
feel what many thousands of my fellow-creatures often suffer 
in a greater degree. 

My appetite failing, the trial hath been the heavier; and 
I have felt tender breathings in my soul after God, the 
fountain of comfort, whose inward help hath supplied at 
times the want of outward convenience; and strong desires 
have attended me that his family, who are acquainted with 
the movings of his Holy Spirit, may be so redeemed from 
the love of money and from that spirit in which men seek 
honor one of another, that in all business, by sea or land, 
they may constantly keep in view the coming of his king- 
dom on earth as it is in Heaven, and, by faithfully follow- 
ing this safe guide, may show forth examples tending to 
lead out of that under which the creation groans. This day 
we had a meeting in the cabin, in which I was favored in 
some degree to experience the fulfilling of that saying o£ 
the prophet, " The Lord hath been a strength to the poor, a 
strength to the needy in their distress " ; for which my heart 
is bowed in thankfulness before him. 

Twenty-eighth of fifth month. — Wet weather of late and 
small winds, inclining to calms. Our seamen cast a lead, I 
suppose about one hundred fathoms, but found no bottom. 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 311 

Foggy weather this morning. Through the kindness of the 
great Preserver of men my mind remains quiet; and a de- 
gree of exercise from day to day attends me, that the pure 
peaceable government of Christ may spread and prevail 
among mankind. 

The leading of a young generation in that pure way in 
which the wisdom of this world hath no place, where parents 
and tutors, humbly waiting for the heavenly Counsellor, may 
example them in the truth as it is in Jesus, hath for several 
daj^s been the exercise of my mind. O, how safe, how quiet, 
is that state where the soul stands in pure obedience to the 
voice of Christ and a watchful care is maintained not to 
follow the voice of the stranger ! Here Christ is felt to be 
our Shepherd, and under his leading people are brought to 
a stability; and where he doth not lead forward, we are 
bound in the bonds of pure love to stand still and wait 
upon him. 

In the love of money and in the wisdom of this world, 
business is proposed, then the urgency of affairs push for- 
ward, and the mJnd cannot in this state discern the good 
and perfect will of God concerning us. The love of God is 
manifested in graciously calling us to come out of that 
which stands in confusion; but if we bow not in the name 
of Jesus, if we give not up those prospects of gain which in 
the wisdom of this world are open before us, but say in our 
hearts, " I must needs go on ; and in going on I hope to 
keep as near the purity of truth as the business before me 
will admit of," the mind remains entangled and the shining 
of the light of life into the soul is obstructed. 

Surely the Lord calls to mourning and deep humiliation 
that in his fear we may be instructed and led safely through 
the great difficulties and perplexities in this present age. In 
an entire subjection of our wills the Lord graciously opens a 
way for his people, where all their wants are bounded by 
his wisdom; and here we experience the substance of what 
Moses the prophet figured out in the water of separation as 
a purification from sin, 

Esau is mentioned as a child red all over like a hairy 
garment. In Esau is represented the natural will of man. 
In preparing the water of separation a red heifer without 



312 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

blemish, on which there had been no yoke, was to be slain 
and her blood sprinkled by the priest seven times towards 
the tabernacle of the congregation ; then her skin, her flresh, 
and all pertaining to her, was to be burnt without the camp, 
and of her ashes the water was prepared. Thus, the crucify- 
ing of the old man, or natural will, is represented; and 
hence comes a separation from that carnal mind which is 
death. "He who toucheth the dead body of a man and 
purifieth not himself with the water of separation, defileth 
the tabernacle of the Lord; he is unclean." (Num. xix. 13.) 

If any through the love of gain engage in business wherein 
tiiey dwell as among the tombs and touch the bodies of 
those who are dead should through the infinite love of God 
feel the power of the cross of Christ to crucify them to the 
world, and therein learn humbly to follow the divine Leader, 
here is the judgment of this world, here the prince of this 
world is cast out. The water of separation is felt; and 
though we have been among the slain, and through the de- 
sire of gain have touched the dead body of a man, yet in 
the purifying love of Christ we are washed in the water of 
separation; we are brought off from that business, from 
that gain and from that fellowship which is not agreeable 
to his holy wilL I have felt a renewed confirmation in the 
time of this voyage, that the Lord, in his infinite love, is 
calling to his visited children, so to give up all outward pos- 
sessions and means of getting treasures, that his Holy Spirit 
may have free course in their hearts and direct them in all 
their proceedings. To feel the substance pointed at in this 
figure man must know death as to his own will. 

*'No man can see God and live." This was spoken by 
tiie Almighty to Moses the prophet and opened by our 
blessed Redeemer. As death corner on our own wills, and 
a new life is formed in us, the heart is purified and prepared 
to understand clearly, " Blessed are the pure in heart, for 
they shall see God." In purity of heart the mind is divinely 
opened to behold the nature of universal righteoiisness, or 
the righteousness of ikt kingdom of God. " No man bath 
seen the Father save he that is of God, he hath seen ^e 
Father." 

The natural mind is active alxoui the things of thi* life. 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 313 

and in this natural activity business is proposed and a will 
is formed ia us to go forward in it. And so Long as this 
natural will remains unsubjeeted, so long there remains an 
obstruction to the clearness of Divine light operating in us; 
but wh*^ we love God with all our heart and with all our 
stroigth, in this love we love our neighbor as ourselves; 
and a tenderness of heart is felt towards all people for 
whom Christ died, even those who, as to outward circum- 
stances, may be to us as the Jews were to the Samaritans. 
" Who is my neighbor ? '* See this question answered by 
our Saviour, Luke x. 30. In this love we can say that Jesus 
is the Lord; and in this reformation in our souls, mani- 
fested in a full reformation of our lives, wherein all things 
are new, and all things are of God (2 Cor. v. 18), the desire 
of gain is subjected. 

When employment is honestly followed in the light of 
truth, and people become diligent in business, " fervent in 
spirit, serving the Lord" (Rom. xii. li), the meaning of the 
name is opened to us : " This is the name by which he shall 
be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS." (Jer. 
xxiii. 6.) O, how precious is this name ! it is like ointment 
poured out. The chaste virgins are in love with the Re- 
deemer; and for promoting his peaceable kingdom in the 
world are content to endure hardness like good soldiers; 
and are so separated in spirit from the desire of riches, that 
in their employments they become extensively careful to 
give no offence, either to Jew or Heathen, or to the church 
of Christ. 

Thirty-first of fifth month and first of the week.— We had 
a meeting in the cabin, with nearly all the ship's company, 
the whole being near thirty. In this meeting the Lord in 
mercy favored us with the extending of his love. 

Second of sixth month. — Last evening the seamen found 
bottom at about seventy fathoms. This morning, a fair 
wind and pleasant. I sat on deck; my heart was overcome 
with the love of Christ, and melted into contrition before 
him. In this state the prospect of that work to which I 
found my mind drawn when in my native land being, in 
some degree, opened before me, I felt like a little child ; and 
my cries were put up to m^ Heavenljr Father for preserve- 



314 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

tion, that in an humble dependence on him my soul mi^ht 
be strengthened in his love and kept inwardly waiting for 
his counsel. This afternoon ^ve saw that part of England 
called the Lizard. 

Some fowls yet remained of those the passengers took for 
their sea-store. I believe about fourteen perished in the 
storms at sea, by the waves breaking over the quarter-deck, 
and a considerable number with sickness at different times. 
I observed the cocks crew as we came down the Delaware, 
and while we were near the land, but afterwards I think I 
did not hear one of them crow till we came near the English 
coast, when they again crowed a few times. In observing 
their dull appearance at sea, and the pining sickness of some 
of them, I often remem.bered the Fountain of goodness, v/ho 
gave being to all creatures, and whose love extends to caring 
for the sparrows. I believe where the love of God is verily 
perfected, and the true spirit of government watchfully 
attended to, a tenderness tow^ards all creatures made subject 
to us will be experienced, and a care felt in us that we do 
not lessen that sweetness of life in the animal creation 
which the great Creator intends for them under our 
government. 

Fourth of sixth month. — Wet weather, high winds, and 
so dark that we could see but a little way. I perceived our 
seamen were apprehensive of the danger of missing the 
channel, which I understood was narrov\/. In a v/hile it 
grew lighter, and they saw the land and knew where we 
were. Thus the Father of Mercies was pleased to try us 
with the sight of dangers, and then graciously, from time 
to time, deliver us from them; thus sparing our lives, that 
in humility and reverence we might walk before him and 
put our trust in him. About noon a pilot came ofl from 
Dover, where m.y beloved friend Samuel Emlen went on 
shore and thence to London, about seventy-two miles by 
land; but I felt easy in staying in the ship. 

Seventh of sixth month and first of the week. — A clear 
morning; we lay at anchor for the tide, and had a parting 
meeting with the ship's com.pany, in which my heart was 
enlarged in a fervent concern for them, that they may 
come to experience salvation through Christ. Had a head- 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 315 

wind up the Thames; lay sometimes at anchor; saw many- 
ships passing, and some at anchor near; and I had large 
opportunity of feeling the spirit in which the poor bewild- 
ered sailors too generally live. That lamentable degeneracy 
which so much prevails in the people employed on the seas 
so affected my heart that I cannot easily convey the feeling 
I had to another. 

The present state of the seafaring life in general appears 
so opposite to that of a pious education, so full ot corruption 
and extreme alienation from God, so full of the most dan- 
gerous examples to young people that in looking towards a 
young generation I feel a care for them, that they may have 
an education different from the present one of lads at sea, 
and that all of us who are acquainted with the pure gospel 
spirit may lay this case to heart, may remember the lamenta- 
ble corruptions which attend the conveyance of merchandise 
across the seas, and so abide in the love of Christ that, being 
delivered from the entangling expenses of a curious, deli- 
cate, and luxurious life, we may learn contentment with a 
little, and promote the seafaring life no further than that 
spirit which leads into all truth attends us in our pro- 
ceedings. 




CHAPTER XII 

1772 

Attends the Yearly Meeting in London — Then proceeds towards 
Yorkshire — Visits Quarterly and other Meetings in the Counties 
of Hertford, Warwick, Oxford, Nottingham, York, and West- 
moreland — Returns to Yorkshire — Instructive Observations and 
Letters — Hears of the Decease of William Hunt — Some Account 
of him — The Author's Last Illness and Death at York. 

N the 8th of sixth month, 1772, we landed at London, 
and I went straightway to the Yearly Meeting of 
ministers and elders, which had been gathered, I 
suppose, about half an hour. ^ 

In this meeting my mind was humbly contrite. In the 
afternoon the meeting for business was opened, which by 
adjournments held near a week. In these meetings I often 
felt a living concern for the establishment of Friends in 
the pure life of truth. My heart was enlarged in the meet- 
ings of ministers, that for business, and in several meetings 
for public worship, and I felt my mind united in true love 
to the faithful laborers now gathered at this Yearly Meeting. 
On the 15th I went to a Quarterly Meeting at Hertford. 

1 There is a story told of his first appearance in England which I have 
from my friend, William J. AUinson, editor of the Friends' Review, and 
which he assures me is well authenticated. The vessel reached London on. 
the morning of the fifth day of the week, and John Woolman, knowing that 
the meeting was then in session, lost no time in reaching it. Coming in 
late and unannounced, his peculiar dress and manner excited attention and 
apprehension that he was an itinerant enthusiast. He presented his cer- 
tificate from Friends in America, but the dissatisfaction still remained, and 
some one remarked that perhaps the stranger Friend might feel that his 
dedication of himself to this apprehended service was accepted, without 
further labor, and that he might now feel free to return to his home. John 
Wpolman sat silent for a space, seeking the unerring counsel of Divine 
Wisdom. He was profoundly affected by the unfavorable reception he met 
with, and his tears flowed freely. In the love of Christ and his fellow-men 
he had, at a painful sacrifice, taken his life in his hands, and left behind 
the peace and endearments of home. That love still flowed out toward the 
people of England; must it henceforth be pent up in his own heart? He 
rose at last, and stated that he could not feel himself released from his 
prospect of labor in England. Yet he could not travel in the ministry with- 
out the unity of Friends; and while that was withheld he could not feel 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN ^7 

First of seventh month.-^I have been at Quarterly Meet- 
ings at Sherrington, Northampton, Banbury, and Shipton, 
and have had sundry meetings between. My mind hath been 
bowed under a sense of Divine goodness manifested among 
us; my heart hath been often enlarged in true love, both 
among ministers and elders and in public meetings, and 
through the Lord's goodness I believe it hath been a fresh 
visitation to many, in particular to the youth. 

Seventeenth. — I was this day at Birmingham; I have 
been at meetings at Coventry, Warwick, in Oxfordshire, and 
sundry other places, and have felt the humbling hand of 
the Lord upon me; but through his tender mercies I find 
peace in the labors I have gone through. 

Twenty-sixth. — I have continued travelling northward, 
visiting meetings. W*as this day at Nottingham; the fore- 
noon meeting was especially, through Divine love, a heart- 
tendering season. Next day I had a meeting in a Friend's 
family, which, through the strengthening arm of the Lord, 
was a time to be thankfully remembered. 

Second of eighth month and first of the week. — ^I was 
this day at Sheffield, a large inland town. I was at sundry 
meetings last week, and feel inward thankfulness for that 
Divine support which hath been graciously extended to me. 
On the 9th I was at Rushworth. I have lately passed through 
some painful labor, but have been comforted under a sense 

easy to be of any cost to them. He could not go back as had been sug- 
gested; but he was acquainted with a mechanical trade, and while the im- 
pediment to his services continued he hoped Friends would be kindly willing 
to employ him in such business as he was capable of, that he might not be 
chargeable to any. , , 

A deep silence prevailed over the assembly, many of whom were touclxed 
by the wise simplicity of the stranger's words and manner. After a season 
of waiting, John Woolman felt that words were given him to utter as a 
minister of Christ. The spirit of his Master bore witness to them in tne 
hearts of his hearers. When he closed, the Friend who had advised against 
his further service rose up and humbly confessed his eror, and avowed nis 
full unity with the stranger. All doubt was removed; there AS'as a general 
expression of unity and sympathy, and John Woolman, owned by nis Dretn- 
ren, passed on to his work. . , it-. 

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 super- 
fluity 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 oi 
his serious objections to dyed clothing was that it served to conceal unciean- 
ness, and was, therefore, detrimental to real purity. It is, however quite 
probable that his outer man, on the occasion referred to, was suggestive ot 
a hasty toilet in the crowded steerage. — Note from the edition pv-blisiiea by 
Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co. 



3X8 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

of that Divine visitation which I feel extended towards many 
young people. 

Sixteenth of eighth month and the first of the week, I 
was at Settle. It hath of late been a time of inward poverty, 
under which my mind hath been preserved in a watchful, 
tender state, feeling for the mind of the Holy Leader, and 
I find peace in the labors I have passed through. 

On inquiry in many places I find the price of rye about 
five shillings; wheat, eight shillings per bushel; oatmeal, 
twelve shillings for a hundred and twenty pounds; mutton 
from threepence to fivepence per pound; bacon from seven- 
pence to ninepence; cheese from fourpence to sixpence; 
butter from eightpence to tenpence; house-rent for a poor 
man from twenty-five shillings to forty shillings per year, to 
be paid weekly; wood for fire very scarce and dear; coal 
in some places two shillings and sixpence per hundredweight; 
but near the pits not a quarter so much. O, may the wealthy 
consider the poor! 

The wages of laboring men in several counties toward 
London at tenpence per day in common business, the em- 
ployer finds small beer and the laborer finds his ovv^n food; 
but in harvest and hay time wages are about one shilling 
per day, and the laborer hath all his diet. In some parts of 
the north of England poor laboring men have their food 
where they work, and appear in common to do rather 
better than nearer London. Industrious women who spin 
in the factories get some fourpence, some fivepence, and so 
on to six, seven, eight, nine, or ten pence per day, and find 
their own house-room and diet. Great numbers of poor 
people live chiefly on bread and water in the southern parts 
of England, as well as in the northern parts; and there are 
many poor children not even taught to read. May those who 
have abundance lay these things to heart ! 

Stage-coaches frequently go upwards of one hundred miles 
ia twenty-four hours; and I have heard Friends say in 
several places that it is common for horses to be killed with 
hard driving, and that many others are driven till they grow 
blind. Post-boys pursue their business, each one to his stage, 
all night through the winter. Some boys who ride long 
stages suffer greatly in winter nights, and at several places 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 319 

I have heard of their being frozen to death. So great is 
the hurry in the spirit of this world, that in aiming to do 
business quickly and to gain wealth the creation at this day 
doth loudly groan. 

As my journey hath been without a horse, I have had 
several offers of being assisted on my way in these stage- 
coaches, but have not been in them ; nor have I had freedom 
to send letters by these posts in the present way of riding, 
the stages being so fixed, and one boy dependent on another 
as to time, and going at great speed, that in long cold v/inter 
nights the poor boys suffer much. I heard in America of 
the way of these posts, and cautioned Friends in the General 
Meeting of ministers and elders at Philadelphia, and in the 
Yearly Meeting of ministers and elders in London, not to 
send letters to me on any common occasion by post And 
though on this account I may be likely not to hear so often 
from my family left behind, yet for righteousness' sake I am, 
through Divine favor, made content. 

I have felt great distress of mind since I came on this 
island, on account of the micmbers of our Society being mixed 
with the world in various sorts of traffic, carried on in im- 
pure channels. Great is the trade to Africa for slaves ; and 
for the loading of these ships a great number of people are 
employed in their factories, among whom are many of our 
Society. Friends in early times refused on a religious prin- 
ciple to make or trade in superfluities, of which we have 
many testimonies on record; but for want of faithfulness, 
some, whose examples were of note in our Society, gave way, 
from which others took more liberty. Members of our So- 
ciety worked in superfluities, and bought and sold them, and 
thus dimness of sight came over many; at length Friends 
got into the use of some superfluities in dress and in the 
furniture of their houses, v/hich hath spread from less to 
more, till superfluity of some kinds is common am.ong us. 

In this declining state many look at the example of others 
and too much neglect the pure feeling of truth. Of late 
years a deep exercise hath attended my mind, that Friends 
may dig deep, may carefully cast forth the loose matter and 
get down to the rock, the sure foundation, and there hearken 
to that Divine voice which gives a clear and certain sound; 



320 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

and 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 he 
patterns of deep self-denial in things relating to trade and 
handicraft labor; and others who have plenty of the treas- 
ures of this world will be examples of a plain frugal life, and 
pay wages to such as they may hire more liberally than is 
now customary in some places. 

Twenty-third of eighth month. — I was this day at Preston 
Patrick, and had a comfortable meeting. I have several 
times been entertained at the houses of Friends, who had 
sundry things about them that had the appearance of out- 
ward greatness, and as I have kept inward, way hath opened 
for conversation with such in private, in which Divine good- 
ness hath favored us together with heart-tendering times. 

Twenty-sixth of eighth month. — Being now at George 
Crosfield's, in the county of Westmoreland, I feel a concern 
to commit to writing the following uncommon circumstance. 

In a time of sickness, a little more than two years and a 
half ago, I was brought so near the gates of death that I 
forgot my name. Being then desirous to knovv^ who I was, 
I saw a mass of matter of a dull gloomy color between the 
south and the east, and v/as informed that this mass was 
human beings in as great misery as they could be, and live, 
and that I was mixed with them, and that henceforth I might 
not consider myself as a distinct or separate being. In this 
state I remained several hours. I then heard a soft melo- 
dious voice, more pure and harmonious than any I had heard 
with my ears before ; I believed it was the voice of an angel 
who spake to the other angels; the words were, "John 
Woolman is dead." I soon remembered that I was once John 
Woolman, and being assured that I was alive in the body, 
I greatly wondered what that heavenly voice could mean. I 
believed beyond doubting that it was the voice of an holy 
angel, but as yet it was a mystery to me. 

I was then carried in spirit to the mines where poor op- 
pressed people were digging rich treasures for those called 
Christians, and heard them blaspheme the name of Christ, 
at which I was grieved, for his name to me was precious, i 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 321 

was then informed that these heathens v/ere told that those 
who oppressed them were the followers of Christ, and they 
said among themselves, " If Christ directed them to use us 
in this sort, then Christ is a cruel tyrant." 

AU this time the song of the angel remained a mystery; 
and in the morning, my dear wife and some others coming 
to my bedside, I asked them if they knew who I was, and 
they telling me I was John Woolman, thought I was light- 
headed, for I told them^ not what the angel said, nor was I 
disposed to talk much to any one, but was very desirous to 
get so deep that I miight understand this mystery. 

My tongue was often so dry that I could not speak till I 
had moved it about and gathered some mioisture, and as I 
lay still for a time I at length felt a Divine power prepare 
my mouth that I could speak, and I then said, " I am cruci- 
fied with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ 
liveth in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh I 
live by the faith of the Son of God, v/ho loved me and gave 
himiself for me." Then the mystery was opened and I per- 
ceived there was joy in heaven over a sinner who had re- 
pented, and that the language " John Woolman is dead," 
meant no more than the death of my own will. 

My natural understanding now returned as before, and I 
saw that people setting off their tables with silver vessels 
at entertainments was often stained with worldly glory, and 
that in the present state of things I should take heed how 
I fed myself out of such vessels. Going to our Monthly 
Meeting soon after my recovery, I dined at a Friend's house 
where drink was brought in silver vessels, and not in any 
other. Wanting something to drink, I told him my case with 
weeping, and he ordered some drink for me in another 
vessel. I afterwards went through the same exercise in sev- 
eral Friends' houses in America, as v/ell as in England, 
and I have cause to acknowledge with humble reverence 
the loving-kindness of my Heavenly Father, who hath pre- 
served me in such a tender frame of mind, that none, I be- 
lieve, have ever been offended at what I have said on that 
subject. 

After this sickness I spake not in public meetings for 
worship for nearly one year, but my mind was very often 

11 HO— Vol. 1 



322 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

in company with the oppressed slaves as I sat in meetings; 
and though under his dispensation I was shut up from 
speaking, yet the spring of the gospel ministry v/as many 
tim.es livingly opened in me, and the Divine gift operated 
by abundance of weeping, in feeling the oppression of this 
people. It being so long since I passed through this dis- 
pensation, and the matter remaining fresh and lively in my 
mind, I believe it safest for me to commit it to writing. 

Thirtieth of eighth month. — This morning I wrote a letter 
in substance as follows: — • 

Beloved Friend, — My mind is often affected as I pass 
along under a sense of the state of many poor people who 
sit under that sort of ministry which requires much outward 
labor to support it ; and the loving-kindness of our Heavenly 
Father in opening a pure gospel miinistry in this nation hath 
often raised thankfulness in my heart to him. I often re- 
member the conflicts of the faithful under persecution, and 
now look at the free exercise of the pure gift uninterrupted 
by outward laws, as a trust committed to us, which requires 
our deepest gratitude and m.ost careful attention. I feel a 
tender concern that the work of reformation so prosperously 
carried on in this land within a ievv ages past may go for- 
ward and spread among the nations, and may not go back- 
ward through dust gathering on our garments, who have 
been called to a work so great and so precious. 

Last evening during thy absence I had a little opportunity 
with some of thy family, in which I rejoiced, and feeling a 
sweetness on my mind towards thee, I now endeavor to open 
a little of the feeling I had there. 

I have heard that you in these parts have at certain seasons 
Meetings of Conference in relation to Friends living up to 
our principles, in which several meetings unite in one. With 
this I feel unity, having in some measure felt truth lead 
that way among Friends in America, and I have found, m.y 
dear friend, that in these labors all superfluities in our own 
living are against us, I feel that pure love towards thee in 
which there is freedom, 

I look at that precious gift bestowed on thee with awful- 
aess before Him who gave it, and feel a desire that we may 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 323 

be so separated to the gospel of Christ, that those things 
which proceed from the spirit of this world may have no 
place among us. Thy friend, 

John Woolman. 

I rested a few days in body and mind with our friend, 
Jane Crosfield, who was once in America. On the sixth 
day of the week I was at Kendal, in Westmoreland, and at 
Greyrig Meeting the 30th day of the month, and first of the 
week. I have known poverty of late, and have been gra- 
ciously supported to keep in the patience, and am thankful 
under a sense of the goodness of the Lord towards those 
who are of a contrite spirit. 

Sixth of ninth month and first of the week. — I was this 
day at Counterside, a large m.eeting-house, and very full. 
Through the opening of pure love, it was a strengthening 
time to m.e, and I believe to many m.ore. 

Thirteenth of ninth month. — This day I was at Leyburn, 
a small meeting; but, the towns-people coming in, the house 
was crowded. It was a time of heavy labor, and I believe 
v/as a profitable meeting. A^t this place 1 heard that my 
kinsman, William Hunt, from North Carolina, who was on 
a religious visit to Friends in England, departed this life 
on the 9th of this month, of the sm.all-pox, at Newcastle. 
He appeared in the ministry vv^hen a youth, and his labors 
therein were of good savor. He travelled much in that 
work in Amierica. I once heard him say in public testimony, 
that his concern in that visit was to be devoted to the service 
of Christ so fully that he might not spend one minute in 
pleasing him.self, which words, joined with his example, was 
a means of stirring up the pure mind in me. 

Having of late often travelled in wet weather through 
narrow streets in towns and villages, where dirtiness under 
foot and the scent arising fromi that filth v/hich more or less 
infects the air of all thickly settled tov/ns were disagreeable; 
and, being but weakly, I have felt distress both in body and 
mind with that which is impure. In these journeys I have 
been where much cloth hath been dyed, and have, at sundry 
times, walked over ground where much of their dye-stuffs has 
drained away. This hath produced a longing in my mind 



324 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

that people might come into cleanness of spirit, cleanness of 
person, and cleanness about their houses and garments. 

Some of the great carry delicacy to a great height them- 
selves, and yet real cleanliness is not generally promoted. 
Dyes being invented partly to please the eye and partly to 
hide dirt, 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 v/hich is disagreeable is strength- 
ened. Real cleanliness becometh a holy people; but hiding 
that which is not clean by coloring our garments seems con- 
trary to the sweetness of sincerity. Through some sorts of 
dyes cloth is rendered less useful. And if the value of dye- 
stuffs, and expense of dyeing, and the damage done to cloth, 
[were all added together, and that cost applied to keeping all 
sweet and clean, hov7 much more would real cleanliness 
prevail. 

On this visit to England I have felt some instructions 
sealed on my mind, which I am concerned to leave in writing 
for the use of such as are called to the station of a minister 
of Christ 

Christ being the Prince of Peace, and we being no more 
than ministers, it is necessary for us not only to feel a con- 
cern in our first going forth, but to experience the renewing 
thereof in the appointment of meetings. I felt a concern 
in America to prepare for this voyage, and being through 
the mercy of God brought safe hither, my heart was like a 
vessel that wanted vent. For several weeks after my arrival, 
when my mouth was opened in meetings, it was like the 
raising of a gate in a water-course when a weight of water 
lay upon it. In these labors there was a fresh visitation to 
many, especially to the youth; but sometimes I felt poor 
and empty, and yet there appeared a necessity to appoint 
meetings. In this I was exercised to abide in the pure life 
of truth, and in all my labors to watch diligently against the 
motions of self in my own mind. 



THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 325 

I have frequently found a necessity to stand up when the 
spring of the ministry was low, and to speak from the ne- 
cessity in that which subjecteth the wall of the creature; 
and herein I was united with the suffering seed, and found 
inward sweetness in these mortifying labors. As I have 
been preserved in a watchful attention to the divine Leader, 
under these dispensations enlargement at times hath fol- 
lowed, and the power of truth hath risen higher in some 
meetings than I ever knew it before through me. Thus I 
have been more and more instructed as to the necessity of 
depending, not upon a concern which I felt in A.merica to 
come on a visit to England, but upon the daily instructions 
of Christ, the Prince of Peace. 

Of late I have sometimes felt a stop in the appointment 
of mxcetings, not v/holly, but in part: and I 'do not feel 
liberty to appoint them so quickly, one after another, as I 
have done heretofore. The work of the ministry being a 
v/ork of Divine love, I feel that the openings thereof are 
to be waited for in all our appointm.ents. O, how deep is 
Divine wisdom ! Christ puts forth his ministers and goeth 
before them; and O, how great is the danger of departing 
from the pure feeling of that which leadeth safely ! Christ 
knoweth the state of the people, and in the pure feeling of 
the gospel ministry their states are opened to his servants. 
Christ knoweth when the fruit-bearing branches themselves 
have need of purging. O that these lessons may be re- 
membered by me ! and that all who appoint meetings may 
proceed in the pure feeling of duty ! 

I have sometimes felt a necessity to stand up, but that 
spirit which is of the world hath so much prevailed in many, 
and the pure life of truth hath been so pressed dovm, that 
I have gone forward, not as one travelling in a road cast up 
and well prepared, but as a man walking through a miry 
place in which are stones here and there safe to step on, but 
so situated that one step being taken, time is necessary to 
see where to step next. Now I find that in a state of pure 
obedience the mind learns contentment in appearing weak 
and foolish to that wisdom which is of the world; and ill 
these lowly labors, they who stand in a low place and are 
rightly exercised under the cross will find nourishment. The 



S26 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

gift 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 o£ 
Christ for his body's sake^ which is the church. 

The natural man loveth eloquence, and many love to hear 
eloquent orations, and if there be not a careful attention 
to the gift, men who have once labored in the pure gospel 
ministry, growing weary of suffering, and ashamed of ap- 
pearing weak, may kindle a fire, compass themselves about 
with sparks, and walk in the light, not of Christ, who is 
under suffering, but of that fire which they in departing 
from the gift have kindled, in order that those hearers who 
have left the meek, suffering state for worldly v/isdom 
may be warmed with this fire and speak highly of their 
labors. That which is of- God gathers to God, and that 
which is of the world is ov^7ned by the world. 

In this journey a labor hath attended my mind, that the 
ministers among us may be preserved in the meek, feeling 
life of truth, where we m.ay have no desire but to follow 
Christ and to be with him, that when he is under suffering, 
we may suffer v/ith him, and never desire to rise up in 
dominion, but as he, by the virtue of his own spirit, m3,y_ 
raise us. 



THE DEATH OF JOHN WOOLMAK 

JOHN JVOOLMA27 died at York, England, Octoler 7, 1772. His 
last days are memorialized in the foUoicing extract from "The 
testimony of Friends in TorJcshire at their Quarterly Meeting, 
held at YorJc the 2Jith and 25th of the third month, 1773, conr 
cerning John Woohnan, of Mou7it Holly, in the Province of 
New Jersey, North America, who departed this life at the 
house of our Friend Thomas Priestman, in the suhurhs of this 
city, the 7th of the tenth month, 1772, and was interred in the 
hurial-ground of Friends the 9th of the same, aged ahout fifty- 
two years: 

"This our valuable friend having heen under a religious engage^ 
ment for some time to visit Friends in this nation, and more 
especially us in the northern parts, undertooh the same in full 
concurrence and near sympathy ivith his friends and ibrethren at 
home, as appeared hy certificates from the Monthly and Quarterly 
Meetings to lohich he helonged, and from the Spring Meeting of 
ministers atid elders held at Philadelphia for Pennsylvania and 
New Jersey. 

"Ee arrived in the city of London the heginning of the last 
Yearly Meeting, and, after attending that meeting, traveled north- 
ward, visiting the Quarterly Meetings of Hertfordshire, Bucking- 
hamshire, Northamptonshire, Ooofordshirt,, and Worcestershire, and 
divers particular meetings in his icay. 

"Ee visited many meetings on the west side of this country, 
also some in Lancashire and Westmoreland, from whence he came 
to our Quarterly Meeting in the last ninth month, and though 
much out of health, yet was enabled to attends all the sittings of 
that meeting except the last. 

"Eis disorder, which proved the small-pox, increased speedily 
upon him, and was very afflicting, under which he U)as supported 
in much meekness, patience, and Christian fortitude. To those 
who attended him, in his illness, his mind appeared to he centred 

327 



'328 THE JOURNAL OF JOHN WOOLMAN 

in Divine love, under the precious influence whereof we "believe 
he -finished his course, and entered into the mansions of ever- 
lasting rest. 

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

" '0 Lord my God! the amazing horrors of darkness were 
gathered around me and covered me all over, and I saw no way 
t^ go forth; I felt the misery of my felloio-creatures separated 
fr^x^il the Divine harmony, and it was heavier than I could hear, 
and I was crushed down under it; I lifted up my hand and 
stretched out my arm, hut there icas none to help me; I looked 
round ahout and was amazed. In the depth of misery, Lord! 1 
remembered that thou art omnipotent, that I had called thee 
Father, and I felt that I loved thee, and I was made quiet in thy 
will, and I 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 eocam- 
ple of thy Son, and thou taught me to follow him, and I said. 
Thy unll, Father, he done.' 

''Many more of his weighty expressions might have heen in- 
serted here, hut it was deemed unnecessary, they heing already 
puhlished in print" 



iOME FRUITS OF SOLITUD: 

BY WILLIAM PENN 



INTRODUCTORY NOTE 

William PenNj ihe foimder of Pennsylvania, wti'S the son of 
Sir William Penn, a distinguished English Admiral. He was 
horn in 1644. His boyhood was marked by a combination of 
pietism zvith a strong interest i^i athletics, and he was expelled 
from Oxford for nonconformity. After leaving the University 
he traveled on the Continent, served in the navy, and studied 
lazv. In i66y he became a Quaker, and in the next year he was 
committed to the Tozver for an attack en the orthodoxy of the 
day. During his imprisonment he zvrote his well-known treatise 
on •self-sacrifice, "No Cross, No Crozvn" ; and after his re- 
lease he suffered from time to time renewed imprisonments, 
till he finally turned his attention to America as a possible refuge 
for the persecuted Friends. In 1682 he obtained a charter creat- 
ing him proprietor and governor of East New Jersey and Penn- 
sylvania, and, after drawing up a constitution for the colony on 
the basis of religious toleration, he sailed for his new province. 
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 misunder- 
standing of his motives and character. At the Revolution of 
1688 he was treated as a Jacobite, but finally obtained 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 pro- 
posal to convert his province into a crozvn 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 
concerned 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 comm.ent upon 
human life, which combines with the acute common sense of 
Franklin the spiritual elevation of Woolman. 



CONTENT! 



PART I 



Ignorance ... 

Education ..<, = .,.,<.= 

Pride 

Luxury , c . , . . . o . , 
Inconsideration . . . o o . 
Disappointment and Resignation 
Murmuring . = . . . 
Censoriousness . . . 
Bounds 05^ Charity 
Frugality or Bounty 

Discipline 

Industry ...,». 
Temperance . . 
A-pparel . . o . 

iliGHT Marriage c 

\varice .... 
Friendship . . = 
Qualities op a Friend 
Caution and Conduct 
Reparation ..... 
Rules op Conversation 
Eloquence , . . , . 

Temper 

Truth ...» o .... » 
Justice . . , » c » = <. . 
Secrecy ,.00=00.0 
Complacency . . . » . . . 

OHIFTS c.oeaaooae 

Interest . . . » . o » « . 
Inquiry . . « e o « c . . 

331 



PAGE 

• 331^ 
' 331 
339 
341 
341 
342 
342 
, 342 
343 
344 
344 
344 
345 
346 
346 

347 

350 
35«^ 
351 
351 
352 



• 353 

• 353 
. 353 
. 353 
. 353 
. 354 

• 354 
•^ 354 



332 

RlOHT-TIMING . . . . 

Knowledge ....<. 

Wit o . 

Obedience to Parents 
Bearing . . . , o 
Promising .... 
Fidelity ..... 

Master 

Servant . . . . . 
Jealousy ..... 
Posterity .... 
A Country Life . = 
|Art and Project . 
Industry ..... 
Temporal Happiness 
Respect ..... 
Hazard ..... 
Detraction . , . . 
Moderation . , . 

Trick , 

Passion ..... 
Personal Cautions =. 
Ballance . . , o 
Popularity .... 

Privacy 

Government „ . , 
A Private Life . . 
A PuBLiCK Life . . 
Qualifications . . 
Capacity ..... 
Clean Hands . . . 

Dispatch 

Patience ..... 
Impartiality . . , 
Indifperency . . . 
Neutrality . . . 

A Party 

Ostentation . . . 
Compleat Virtue . 
Religion o . . . . 



• » • » O 9 O 



PAGE 

• 354 
. 355 

• 355 
.355 

• 356 

o 356 

• 357 
» 357 
. 357 

. 358 

» 358 

" 359 
. 360 

o 360 
o 360 

. 361 
. 362 

363 

» 363 

o 363 

. 364 
» 365 
. 366 
. 366 
. 367 
. 370 

• 370 

• 371 
» 371 
. 371 

. 371 
. 372 

. 373 

. 374 

o 374 

. 374 

. 375 

. 375 

. 376 



THE PREFACE 

Reader, — This Enchiridion, I present thee with, is the Fruit 
of Solitude: 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 Satis- 
faction, 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 himself 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 Persons. 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 certainly most strictly 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: Hov/ 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 
Enjoyment of it, and of our selves in it, is lamentable indeed. 
This one Refieetioa would yield a thinking Person great Instruc- 

333 



334 THE PREFACE 

tion. And since nothing below Man can so Think; Man, in 
being Thoughtless, must needs fall below himself. And that, 
to be sure, such do, as are unconcern'd in the Use of their most 
Precious Time. 

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

V7e understand little of the Works of God, either in Nature 
or Grace. We pursue False Knowledge, and Mistake Educa- 
tion 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 little 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 little 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 v^e 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 Ccca,sions. 

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 Business not being Ostentation, but Charity. 'T is Miscel- 
laneous in the Matter of it, and by no means Artificial in the 
Composure. But it contains Hints, that it may serve thee for 
Texts to Preach to thy Self upon, and which comxprehend Much 
of the Course of Human Life: Since whether thou art Parent or 
Child, Prince or Subject, Master or Servant, Single or Married, 



THE PREFACE 335 

Publick or Private, Mean or Honorable, Rich or Poor, Prosperous 
or Improsperous, in Peace or Controversy, in Business or Solitude; 
Wbarever be thy Inclination or Aversion, Practice or Duty, thou 
wilt find something not unsuitably said for thy Direction and Ad- 
vantage. 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 them- 
selves, 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 Situ- 
ation, 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 living walking Tabernacle: Nor the World of 
which it \\^as 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 v/e 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 Hiero- 
glyphicks of a better : But, alas ! how very fev/ 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 he fit for Business, know little or nothing of it. 

EDUCATION 

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



338 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 tv^^o, 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; w^hich 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 neg- 
lected. But Things are still to be preferred. 

8. Children had rather be making of Tools and Instru- 
ments 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 
Heavens, 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 understood by us : And an eternal 
Wisdom, Power, Majesty, and Goodness, very conspicuous 
to us, thro' those sensible and passing Forms: The World 
wearing the Mark of its Maker, whose Stamp is everywhere 
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 In- 



SSOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDB 3S9 

sensibility liardy in misusing this noble Creation, that has the 
Stamp and Voice of a Deity every where, and in every Thing 
to the Observing. 

15. It is pity therefore that Books have not been composed 
for Youth, by some curious and careful Naturalists, and also 
Mechanicks, 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 Arti- 
ficers are of the Reason of their own Rules that govern 
their excellent Workmanship. But a Naturalist and Me- 
chanick 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 commxcndable ; and 
without which he cannot be said to be a complete Natural- 
ist 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 re- 
gard 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 agreeable Variety, which is to 
be observed in Nature, to the Adm.iration of that V/isdom 
and Adoration of that Power which made us all. 



PRIDE 

18. And yet we are very apt to be full of our selves, in- 
stead of Him that made what v/e so much value ; and, but for 
whom v/e 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 Strives as well 
as our Maker, that we should live and die ignorant of our 



340 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

Selves, and thereby of Him and the Obligations we are tindef 
to Him for our Selves. 

20. If the worth of a Gift sets the Obligation, and directs 
the 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 Mem-bers, their Order, Function and Dependency r 
The Instruments of Food, the Vessels of Digestion, the sev- 
eral Transmutations it passes. And how Nourishment is car- 
ried 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 comforted, surely Man would 
have a more reverent Sense of the Power, Wisdom and Good- 
ness of God, and of that Duty he owes to Him for it. But 
if he would be acquainted with his own Soul, its noble Facul- 
ties, its Union with the Body, its Nature and End, and the 
Providences by which the whole Frame of Hum-anlty is pre- 
served, he would Admire and Adore his Good and Great God. 
But Man is become a strange Contradiction to himiself ; 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, re- 
venges all Affronts to Extremity; but, alas, forgets ail the 
while that he is the Man ; and is more in Arrear to God, that 
!s so very patient with him, than they are to him with whom 
he is so strict and impatient. 

^ Capricious. 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 341 

24. He is curious to wash, dress, and perfume his Body, 
but careless 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 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 mieans 
his own : At least acts so. 

2y. It is too frequent to begin with God and end v/ith 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 ; v/e 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 Inheritance. 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 
Unhappiness Man brings upon himself. For his second 
Thoughts rarely agree with his first, which pass not without 
a considerable Retrenchment or Correction. And yet that 
sensible Warning is, too frequently, not Precaution enough 
for his future Conduct. 

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

a Stale. 



342 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

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, 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 
Substance without God's Providence. 

36. Nor can we fall below the Arms of God, how lov/ so- 
ever it be we fall. 

37. For though our Saviour's Passion is over, his Com- 
passion is not. That never fails his humble, sincere Dis- 
ciples : 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 o£ 
las 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 Ingrati- 
tude, but Injustice. For we are both unthankful for the time 
we had it, and not honest enough to restore it, if v/e 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. 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 343 

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 In- 
firmity : 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 inordinate Value of our selves: For we love Rambling 
better than home, and blaming the unhappy, rather than cov- 
ering 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 fev/ 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 ex- 
cuse his Purse, that he v/ill, 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 Prodigality (as if, poor Man, 
Covetousness were no Fault) Or, of your Projects, or grasp- 
ing after a great Trade : While he himself would have done 
the same thing, but that he had not the Courage to venture 
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, v/hich 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 Pur- 



344 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

chase is infinite: Thou wilt have found the Art of Multi- 
plying^ indeed. 

FRUGALITY OR BOUNTY 

50. Frugality is good if Liberality be join'd v/ith 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 Covetousness ; the last without the first begins 
Prodigality: Both together make an excellent Temper. 
Happy the Place where ever that is found. 

51. Were it universal, we should be Cur'd of two Ex- 
treams. 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 Governm.ent to suffer 
so much Poverty and Excess. 

53. V/ere the Superfluities of a Nation valued^ and made 
a perpetual Tax or Benevolence, there would be more Alms- 
houses 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 he 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 rnayest 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 tkan nothing. 

58. A Garden, an Elaboratory, a Work-house, Improve- 

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



SOMB FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 345 

ments 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 Con- 
stitution 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. 

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 v/hich nothing contrib- 
utes 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 Superfluity 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, be- 
tween 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. 

6y. Strong Liquors are good at some Times, and in small 
Proportions; being better for Physick than Food, for Cor- 
dials than comm.on 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 
commonly : Lest thou shouldest invert the Use and Order of 
things; become Wanton and Voluptuous; and thy Blessings 
prove a Curse. 

4 Weaker. 



346 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

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

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

'J2. 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, Impu- 
dent, Dangerous and Mad. In fine, he that is drunk is not 
a Man: Because he is so long void of Reason, that distin- 
guishes a Man from a Beast. 



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 un- 
shapely, nor fantastical; and for Use and Decency, and not 
for Pride. 

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

^(i. 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 Com.munion. 

yy. Y\fe 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 In- 
centives 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. 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 347 

8i. Let not Enjoyment lessen, but augment Affection; it 
being the basest of Passions to like when we have not, what 
Vv'e slight when we possess. 

S2. 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 
Families: That inward and deep, this superficial; this tran- 
sient, and that parmanent. 

84. They that Marr}^ for Money cannot have the trtie Sat- 
isfaction of Marriage; the requisite Means being wanting. 

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 
Posterit}^, 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 Crea- 
ture 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. W^hat ! Give Ten Shillings to a Doctor, 
and have an Apothecary's Bill besides, that m_ay 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 se^ and deserves not Christian 
Burial. 

90. He is a common Nusance, a Weyer* cross the Stream^ 

'A suicide. 'Dam. 



348 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

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 
compared to Pharoah's lean Kine, for ail that he has does 
him no good. He com.monly 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 greater Torment to him on Earth, than 
to live 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 Toyls 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, v/hich in- 
deed 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 

' One of an order of monks pledged to the observance o£ perpetual Lent. 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 349 

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: Sickness, 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. 

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 ob- 
tained. 

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

104. It is a general Fault, not to be more careful to pre- 
serve Nature in Children; who, at least in the second De- 
scent, hardly have the Feeling of their Relation ; which must 
be an unpleasant Reflection to aft'ectionate Parents. 

105. Frequent Visits, Presents, intimate Correspondence 
and Intermarriages within allowed Bounds, are Means of 



350 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

keeping up the Concern and Affection that Nature requires 
from Relations. 

FRIENDSHIP 

io6. 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 Mar- 
riage of Hearts, and the Bond thereof Vertue. 

107. There can be no Friendship where there is no Free- 
dom. 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 
Acknowledgm.ents. 

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 be miserable alone. As if they could change Bodies, 
they take their turns in Pain as well as in Pleasure; reliev- 
ing 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 cour- 
ageously, 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 Talkative, 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 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 351 

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, so 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 Intim^ate; 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. 

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 in- 
deed m.ean: 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 Unconcerned- 
ness, v/hich 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 In- 
justice to the wronged Party. 

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



3S2 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

RULES OF CONVERSATION 

128. Avoid Company where it is not profitable or neces- 
sary; 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 thinl<:est 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 Judg- 
ment, 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 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: V/here 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. 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 353 

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 Sacrifice 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 aide 
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. 

JUSTICE 

145. Believe nothing against another but upon good Au- 
thority: Nor report what may hurt anotherj unless it be a 
greater hurt to others to conceal it. 



SECRECY 

246. 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^ 

12 HC— Vol. 1 



354 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

for that shows an ill Temper, and provokes, btit 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 Cun- 
ning 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 gees '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. 

INQUIRY 

155. Have a care of Vulgar Error?, Dislike, as well as 
Allov/ 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 
Stupidity in Trusting. It is great Wisdom equally to avoid 
the Extreams. 

RIGHT-TIMING 

159. Do nothing improperly. Some are Witty, Kind, Cold, 
^gry, 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. 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 355 

l6i. 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 Treas- 
urer of a Wise Man. 

163. He that has more Knowledge than Judgment, is m.ade 
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 
advantage upon 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. 

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. 



356 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

177. Remember that thou are not more indebted to tfiy 
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; 
whl<:h is renouncing 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 th^m: For Obedience is the first Command- 
ment 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 Neg- 
lect 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 any^ 
thing 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. 

184. It were endless to dispute upon everything that is 
disputable. 

185. A vindictive Temper is not only mneasie to others, 
but to them that have it. 

PROMISING 

186. Rarely Promise: But, if 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 re- 
solved 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 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 357 

lay thy self under Resolutions that cannot be well made, and 
must be worse performed. 



FIDELITY 

191. Avoid all thou canst to be Entrusted: But do thy ut- 
most to discharge the Trust thou undertakest: For Careless- 
ness 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 Ser- 
vants 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 Dis- 
cretion 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 
Goodness, 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 Com-- 
mand; 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 Chil- 
dren, nor refuse them what is fitting : For one is the highest 



358 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

Unfaithfumess, and the other. Indiscretion as \vell 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: 
A.S, 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 dispatch Irresolute. 

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 consid^riaf 
that as they are, so the next Generation will be. 

214. If we would am^nd 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 Pas- 
sions by the Examples of our own ; and to teach them to be 
pleased, not with what is best, but with what pleases best. 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 359 

216. It is our Duty, and ought to be our Care, to 
ward against that Passion in them, which is more es- 
pecially 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 Wisdom or Goodness among the Rich, in pro- 
portion to their Wealth. 

A COUNTRY LIFE 

220. The Country Life is to be pref err'd ; for there we see 
the Works of God ; but in Cities little else but the Works o£ 
Men: And the one makes a better Subject for our Con- 
templation 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 Good- 
ness; 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 Library, in which he Reads and Contemplates the Power, 
Wisdom and Goodness of God. 

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 
Improvement of it, Man's oldest Business and Trade, and 
the best he can be of. 

s Dolls. 



360 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

ART AND PROJECT 

227. Art, is Good, where it is beneficial. Socrates wisely 
i)Ounded 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 be- 
tween two Thieves; Pretenders and Despisers. 

230. Though injudicious and dishonest Projectors often 
discredit Art, yet the most useful and extraordinary Inven- 
tions 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 ap- 
pears 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 Moun- 
tains. 

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. 

238^ Seek not to be Rich, but Happy. The one lies in 
Bags, the other in Content : which Wealth can never give. 

239. W-e 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 often- 
times the way to Eternal Happiness. 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 361 

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 Pros- 
perity. 

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 Ad- 
vantage 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 op- 
pression, 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. 

RESPECT 

253. Never esteem any Man, or thy self, the more for 
Money ; nor think the meaner of thy self or another for want 



362 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

of it: Verttie being the just Reason of respecting, and the 

want of it, of slighting 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, hut 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 
Consideration 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 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. 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 363 

269. Dislike what deserves it, but never Hate : For that is 
of the Nature of Malice; which is almost ever to Persona, 
not Things, and is one of the blad^est 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 cor- 
rect 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 Censure 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 
Dne. 

277. We must take care to do Right Things Rightly : 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 m the Mind, which ever 
leaves us weaker than it found us. 

280. But being, intermitting to be sure, 't is curable 
with care. 



364 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

281. It more than any thing deprives us of the use of 
our Judgment ; for it raises a Dust very hard to see through. 

282. Like Wine, whose Lee^ fly by being jogg'd, it is too 
muddy to Drinks 

283. It may not unfitly be termed, the Mob of the Man, 
that com^mits a Riot upon his Reason. 

284. I have sometirnes thought, that a Passionate Man is 
like a w^ak 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 Contradiction, may, with all his Wit, miss the Mark. 

2^y, 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 re- 
sembles those that Eat to please their Pallate, 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 Circumstances. 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, & Male Pati, Regis est^ 



PERSONAL CAUTIONS 

295, Reflect without Malice but never widiowt Need. 

296. Despise no Body, nor no Condition; lest it come to 
be thine own. 

29^. Never Rail nor Taunt. The one is Rude, the other 
Scornful, and both Evil, 
2i^. Be not provoked by Injuries, to commit them. 

^ To do good and ill to endure is the part of a king. 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 365 

299. Upbraid only Ingratitude. 

300. Haste makes Work which Catition 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. 
iThe 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 oppose, 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 main- 
taining 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 Pailate. The like may also be said 
of Building, Fin-niture, &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, 
^'A second game played to reverse the issue of the first 



366 SOMK FRUITS OF SOLITUDB 

we shall be as much transported for them, as if the}^ 
deserv'd it. 

315. It is an old Proverb, Maxima hella ex levissimis 
causis: 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 im- 
possible 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, w^e 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 Ex- 
pectation 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 latuiij bene vixii. 
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 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDB 367 

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 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. 



GOVER^TMENT 

329. Government has many Shapes : But 't is Sovereignty, 
tho' not Freedom, in all of them. 

330. Rex & 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 endangered by the Ambition of the Popu- 
lar, 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 Examxple keeps pace with Authority, Power 
hardly fails to be obey'd, and Magistrates to be honor'd. 

337. Let the People thinlc they Govern and they wiU 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 sare to ha\^ and 
keep them imm aU the World. 



368 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

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 loses his Authority with the People; and gives the 
Populace opportunity 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 in- 
cline rather to be fear'd than lov'd; when they see, that 
Fear does not oftener secure a Prince against the Dissatis- 
faction 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 upon Compulsion. 

345. The Romans had a just Sense of this, when they 
plac'd Optimus befo*^ 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 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 369 

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 mis- 
guide the Prince to do publick Injury. 

353. Ministers of State should undertake their Posts at 
their 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 preserved, but where the Min- 
ister 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 neces- 
sary 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- 
chosen 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 Lead- 
ing 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; 
Looseness, Oppression and Envy. 

i^An empire within an empire. 



370 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

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. 

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 Punishments 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. V\^here the State intends a Man no Affront, he should 
not Affront the State. 

A PRIVATE LIFE 

370. Private Life is to be preferred; the Honor and Gain 
of publick Posts, bearing no proportion 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. 

^y-^' Their Subsistance is not during Pleasure; nor have 
they patrons to please or present. 

374. If they are not advanced, neither can they be dis- 
graced. And as they know not the Smiles of Majesty, so 
tliey 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 DueSj 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 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 371 

1 378. To do so, Men must have publick Minds, as well 

I 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. 

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 Inexpertness. 

382. They that are able, should be just too; or the Gov- 
ernment may be the worse for their Capacity. 

CLEAN HANDS 

383. Covetousness in such Men prompts them to prosti- 
tute the Publick for Gain. 

384. The taking of a Bribe or Gratuity, should be pun- 
ished 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 tv/ice paid 
for the same Business. 

387. But to be paid, and not to do Business, is rank 
Oppression. 

DISPATCH 

388. Dispatch is a great and good Qttality in an Officer; 
v/here 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 



372 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

the Business : As if Business could be done before it were 
dispatched: Or what ought to be done, ought not to be dis- 
patch'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 muth the Honor of the Government he 
serves. 

390. Delays have been more injurious than direct 
Injustice. 

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; like those that purchase Estates Mort- 
gaged 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 
Ijttle. 

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 Imperti- 
nencies and Contradictions that attend it. 

403. Method goes far to prevent Trouble in Business: For 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 373 

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 ? 

406. If our Compassions miust not sway us; less should 
our Fears, Profits or Prejudices. 

407. Justice is justly represented Blind, because she sees 
no Difference in the Parties concerned. 

40^. 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 witliout Reason, so it uses no 
Reason m judging of Actions : Confirming the Proverb, The 
Crow thitiks her own Bird the fairest. 

416. What some se« to be no Fault in one, they will have 
Criminal in another. 

417. Nay, ho\y ugly do our own Failings look to us in 
the Persons of others, which yet we see not m our selves. 



374 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

418. And but too common it is for some People, not te 
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 
Government, 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. 



INDIFFERENCY 

423. Indifference is good in Judgment, but bad in Relation, 
and stark 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 
Reconciliation of both. 

A PARTY 

432. And yet, where Right or Religion gives a Call, a 
Neuter must be a Coward or an Hypocrite. 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 375 

433. In such Cases we should never be backward : nor yet 
mistaken. 

434. When our Right or ReHgion is in question, then is 
the fittest time to assert it. 

435. Nor must we always be Neutral where our Neigh- 
bors 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 
Doctrine, from whom th^y have borrowed their Name. 

OSTENTATION, 

439. Do what good thou canst unknown ; and be not vain 
of what ought rather to be felt, than seen. 

440. The Humble, in the Parable of the Day of Judg- 
ment, forgot their good Works; Lord, when did we do so 
and so? 

441. He that does Good, for Good's sake, seeks neither 
Praise nor Reward; tho' sure of both at last. 



COMPLEAT 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 Religion. 

444. Innocent, is not to be Guilty : But Virtuous is to over- 
come our evil Inclinations. 

445. If thou hast not conquered 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 Intemper- 
ance, is for the Pot to call the Kettle black. 

447. vSuch Reproof would have but little Success; because 
It would carry but Httle Authority with it. 



376 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

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. 

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, 
&c. 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 Babkr rather than a Preacher ; a Qiiack rather 
than a Phy^cian of Value. 

460. Of old Time they were made Mrnkters by the Holy 
Gho-st: And the more that is an ii^alient uow, thee fitter 
they are for that Work. 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 377 

461. Running Streams are not so apt to corrupt; nor 
Itinerant, as settled Preachers: But they are not to run be- 
fore 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 expects. 

466. He accounts Content with Godliness great Gain, and 
therefore 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. 

468. To be like Christ then, is to be a Christian. And 
Regeneration 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 Provi- 
dences : 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 compriz'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 Knowl- 
edge 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 Judg- 
ment, and Righteousness in the Earth. 

473. Publick Worship is very commendable, if well per- 
formed. We owe it to God and good Example. But we 
must know, that God is not tyed to Time or Place, who is 



378 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

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 
Pubiick and Private Wofship: And those, the more zealous 
do oftener repeat, in hopes 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 
ihave, 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 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 Par- 
ents, or wrong thy Neighbor, or commit Adultery even in 
thine Heart. 

482. Neither be vain. Lascivious, Proud, Drunken, Re- 
vengeful 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 Dis- 
obedient, 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 rever- 
ently pay ours to God, our most magnificent and constant 
Benefactor ? 

484. The World represents a Rare and Sumptuous Palac% 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 379 

Mankind 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 Crea- 
tures for Food, Pleasure and Profit. In short, how Noble 
an House he keeps, and the Plenty and Variety and Ex- 
cellency 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 pro- 
vok'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 
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 de- 
serve his Displeasure than that we should feel it, if we 
continue to be unprofitable Servants. 

486. But tho' God has replenisht this World with abund- 
ance of good Things for Man's Life and Comfort, yet they 
are all but Imperfect 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 Ele- 
ments, we with the World, are made up of, and subsist hy 
Revolution : But our Souls being of another and nobler Na- 
ture, 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 Crowa 
at last 



380 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

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 Doing well, and Suffering ill. Entitles Man to One 
Longer and Better. 

494. This ever raises the Good Man's Hope, 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. 

500. For tho' Death be a Dark Passage, it leads to Im- 
mortality, 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 
cannot hold them, and that they live 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 Suc- 
cession 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 Fornis. But yet 
the less Forjn in Religion the better, since God is a Spirit: 
(For the more mental our Worship, the more adequate to the 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 381 

Natts^e 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 little, yet as much as we can apprehend or bear: for 
as he is in himself, 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 Apprehen- 
sions 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 Impressions we jreceive 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 Re- 
proof ; of 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 En- 
joyment, that Report. In short, this is undeniable 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 without 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 powerful, and our Worship grateful. 

517. Let us chuse, therefore, to commune where there is 
the warmest Sense of Religion; where Devotion exceeds 
Formality, and Practice most corresponds with Profession; 



382 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

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, mod- 
erates the value and difference about the lesser things. 

522. It is a sad Reflection, that many Men hardly have 
any Religion 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 ReHgion of Another, and not 
Theirs. 

523. To have Religion upon Authority, and not upon Con- 
viction, is like a Finger Watch, to be set forwards or back- 
wards, 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 Contra- 
diction. 

530. Hardly any thing looks worse, than to defend Re- 
ligion by ways that shew it has no Credit with us. 

531. A Devout Man is one thing, a Stickler is quite 
another. 



SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 383 

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 
upon God's Errands, as it is to palliate them with God's 
Name. 

541. Zeal dropped in Charity, is good, without it good for 
•nothing: 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. 

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 for- 
gives first, wins the Lawrel. 

547. If I am even with my Enemy, the Debt is paid; but 
if I forgive it, I oblige him for ever. 

548. Love is the hardest Lesson in Christianity; but, for 
that reason, it should be most our care to learn it. DifUcilia 
qucB Pulchra^ 

549. It is a severe Rebuke upon us, that God makes us so 
many Allowances, and we make so few to our Neighbor : As 

12 Those things are difficult which are beautiful. 



384 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

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 
Animosities, 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 near- 
est to that which they should die, must certainly 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 iti 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 live 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. 

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, 

AmeUc 

END OF PART I 



MORE FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

BEING THE SECOND PART 
OF 

REFLECTIONS AND MAXIMS, RELATING 
TO THE CONDUCT OF HUMAN LIFE 



13 HC— Vol. t 



PART II 

The Right Moralist . . , ^ « 
The World's Able Man . . . »; » 

The Wise Man «: 

Of the Government of Thoughts . 

Of Envy 

Of Man's Life 

Of Ambition 

Of Praise or Applause 

Of Conduct in Speech 

Union of Friends . . 
Of Being Easy in Living . . . . , 
Of Man's Inconsiderateness and Partiality . 
Of the Rule of Judging ..... 

Of Formality 

Of the Mean Notion we Have of God 

Of the Benefit of Justice . . « o 

Of Jealousy ........ 

Of State 

Of a Good Servant » » 

Of an Immediate Pursuit of the World . 

Of the Interest of the Publick in our Estates „ 

The Vain Man 

The Conformist 

The Obligations of Great Men to Almighty God 
Of Refining upon Other Men's Actions or Interests 
Of Charity . . .. ,._ ±. 



PAGE, 

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« 395 
. 396 
. 398 
= 399 
. 399 
. 400 
. 401 
. 402 
. 402 
. 403 
• 404 
■- 405 
. 40s 
. 406 
. 407 
. 407 
. 408 
. 408 

o 409 

. 410 

. 411 

. 412 

. 414 
. 415 



387 



THE INTRODUCTION TO THE READER 

The Title of this Treatise shows, there was a former of the 
same Nature; and the Author hopes 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 Use- 
fulness; and how far this will be able to do it, he knows not; 
yet he thinks himself tollerably safe in making it publick, in 
three 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 per- 
haps be useless to those of lower Flights, and who are less en- 
gaged in publick Heats. 

Lastly, The Author honestly 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 account- 
able for all other Faults. 

Vale. 



389 



^E FRUIT 



I 

BEING THE SECOND PART OF 
REFLECTIONS & MAXIMS 

THE RIGHT MORALIST 

ARIGHT Moralist, is a Great and Good Man, but for 
that Reason he is rarely to be found. 
2. There are a Sort of People, that are fond of 
the Character, who, in my Opinion, have but little Title 
to it. 

3. They think it enough, not to defraud a Man of his Pay, 
or betray his Friend ; but never consider, That the Law for- 
bids 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 v\^e 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 nearly 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 Neighbor, be the Moral Man ? 

8. Do I owe m.y 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 

391 



392 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE ^ 

his Due, his Heart, his Love, his Service; the Bountiful 
Giver of his Well-Being, as well as Being. 

10. He that lives without a Sense of this Dependency and 
Obligation, cannot be a Moral Man, because he does not 
make his Returns of Love and Obedience; as becomes an 
honest and a sensible Creature: Which very Term Implies 
he is not his own; and it cannot be very honest to mis- 
imploy 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 Ability, 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 insincere 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 Hke 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 prevented betrays it. 

19. They are the Reverse of Human Nature, and yet this 
is the present World's Wise Man and Politician: Excellent 



MORE FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 393 

Qualities for 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 ihat 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 Ira- 
placable if disappointed of Success. 

25. And v/hat 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 
Sentiments. 

28. For his Interest, he refuses no Side or Party ; and will 
take the Wrong by the Hand, v/hen 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 Parties, 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 Person to whom it is given; 
which I take to be an Immoralit^r. 



394 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

35. Silence is much more preferable, for it saves the 
Secret, as well as the Person's Honor. 

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 Religion and Politicks, 't is miost pernicious. 

37. To hear two Men talk the Reverse of their own Senti- 
ments, with all the good Breeding and Appearance of Friend- 
ship imaginable, on purpose to Cozen or Pamp 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 Disinherit 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 Weak- 
ness, 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 believed by them, I both pre- 
serv'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 ol 
indifferent Things, is the Fairest Conversation. 

44. Women that rarely go Abroad without Vizard-Masks, 
have none of the best Reputatioii. But when we consider 



MORE FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 395 

what all this Art and Disguise are for, it equally heightens 
the Wise Man's Wonder and Aversion : Perhaps it is to be- 
tray a Father, a Brother, a Master, a Friend, a Neighbor, or 
ones own Party. 

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 Tim-es. 

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 Knavery. 

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 in- 
stead of punishing it; and Alienates the Reward of Virtue. 
Or, at least, m^ust make the World believe, the Country 
yields not honest Men enough, able to serve her. 

50. Art thou a Magistrate? Prefer such as have clean 
Characters v/here 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 somictimes such may be 
found, sooner than the}^ 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 for- 
feit their Peace and Reputation by a base CompHance. 

THE WISE MAN 

52. The Wise Man Governs himself by the Reason of his 
Case, and because v/hat 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 penetrate his Design, or 



396 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

his Reasons for it, yet you shall ever see his Actions of a 
Piece, and his Performances 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 Interloper 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 Politicks, 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 Understanding 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 Com- 
pound for Wrongs, if not forgive 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 V/are, 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 Gov- 
ernment, and the Blessing and Praise of the People. 

62. To conclude: He is Just, and fears God, hates Covet- 
ousness, 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 Benefit in all Respects. 



MORE FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 397 

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. 

65. To this is owing the various Uncertainty and Con- 
fusion we see in the World, and the Intemperate Zeal that 
occasions them. 

66. To this also is to be attributed the imperfect Knowl- 
edge 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. 

6y. 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 Occasion. 

70. If it be thy Religious Duty, suffer nothing else to 
Share in them. And if any Civil or Temporal Affair, ob- 
serve the same Caution, and thou wilt be a whole Man to 
every Thing, and do twice the Business in the same Time. 

71. If any Point over-Labors thy Mind, divert and re- 
lieve it, by some other Subject, of a more Sensible, or 
Manual Nature, rather than what may affect the Under- 
standing; 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. 



398. SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE / 

/ 

75. But make not more Business necessary than is sp; 
and rather lessen than augment Work for thy self. 

y6. Nor yet be over-eager in pursuit of any Thing; for 
the Mercurial too often happen to leave Judgment behind 
them, and sometim.es make Work for Repentance. 

•/y. 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 
Business requires, and let that have a Place according to 
Merit and Urgency; 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 m.en do as much begrutch others a good Name, 
as they want one themselves; and perhaps that is the Rea- 
son 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 othfer 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 Clipping of Merit and Reputation. 

S^. And as some Men think it an Allay to themselves. 



MORE FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 399 

tliat others liave their Right ; so they know no End of Pilfer- 
ing to raise their own Credit. 

^8. This Envy is the Child of Pride and Misgives, rather 
than Mistakes. 

89. It will have Charity, to be Ostentation; Sobriety, 
Covetousness ; 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 1 

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 liis 
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 nx 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 theit 



400 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

Credit; but 111 Ones a Sandy Foundation that Yields 
Calamities. j 

1 01. And truly they ought to expect no Pity in their F^ll, 
that when in Power had no Bowels for the Unhappy. 

102. The worst of Distempers; always Craving and 
Thirsty, Restless and Hated: A perfect Delirium in the 
Mind: Insufferable in Success, and in Disappointments most 
Revengeful. 

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 
deceivable, 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 ex- 
ceed. Flattery. 

107. Good Measure belongs to Good Actions; more looks 
Nauseous, as well as Insincere; besides, 't is a Persecuting 
of the Meritorious, 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 believe what is Pleasing, 
rather than what is True, we may be too easily swell'd, 
beyond our just Proportion, by the Windy Compliments 
of Men. 

III. Make ever therefore Allowances for what is said on 
such Occasions, or thou Exposest, as well as Deceivest thy 
self. 



MORE FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 401 

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 v^^ith those 
that are not as full of us as v^e 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. 

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 Ansv^^er for. 

119. Vanity or Resentment often engage us, and 't is two 
to one but we come off 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 Unnatural that are not Communicable. But if Reserved- 
ness 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 Ostenta- 
tion, but to be understood. 

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 
Apothecary-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 Turna 



402 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

of Expression, is fulsome, and worse than the Modern Imita- 
tion of Tapestry, and East-India Goods, in Stuffs anc 
Linnens. In short, 't is but Taudry Talk, and next to ver^ 
Trash. 

UNION OF FRIENDS ( 

127. They that love beyond the World, cannot be sepa- 
rated 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. 

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 
Converse 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 prefer- 
able 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. 



MORE FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 403 

142. Nay, 't is certain, that Liberty of the Mind is 
mightily preserved hy 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 Peo- 
ple, 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 Freedom of our Souls. 



OF MAN S INCONSIDERATENESS AND PARTIALITY 

147. 'T is very observable, if our Civil Rights are invaded 
or incroach'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 Disappointments are not always to be measured by the 
Loss of the Thing, but the Over-value we put upon it. 

153. 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. 



404 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

and we must observe it at our own Peril, viz. To Ibve 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 an- 
other 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 
Argument, the greater the Obstinacy, where the Design is 
not to be convinced. 

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. 

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 
Tradition 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 Ad- 
vantage : 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 reason- 
ably, they would either reconcile their Differences, or more 
Amicably maintain them. 

16S. Let That therefore be the Standard, that has most 
to say for itself; The' of that let every Man be Judge for 
himself e 



MORE FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 405 

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 FORMALITY 

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 m.ore Stress on our Inward Preparation than our Out- 
ward Action. 



OF THE MEAN NOTION WE HAVE OF GOD 

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 Con- 
fessions 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 v/ill God 
think himself well served, where his Law is Violated? Or 
well used, where there is so much more Shew tjian Sub- 
stance ? 



406 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

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 dis- 
tinguished 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 Support 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 m.akes Trade Difficult, and a great Temptation 
to Men of Virtue. 

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 deserved, and the Ignorance or Necessity of the 
Buyer im.posed 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 Mag- 
istrate. 

188. A Politick rather than a Moral Honesty; a con- 
strained, 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 
tinder the Name of Law. A Cut-Purse in Westmin- 
ster-Hall exceeds; for that advances Injustice to Op- 
pression, where Law is alledged for that which it should 
punish. 



MORE FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 407 

OF JEALOUSY 

190. The Jealous are Troublesome to others, but a Tor- 
ment 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 Wed- 
lock, 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 111 Nature, and by Reflection 
thinks its own Faults to be other Men's ; as he that 's over- 
run with the Jaundice 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. 

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 Con- 
versation, puts Value enough upon himself every where, 

204. The other is rather Pageantry than State, 



408 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

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 ii 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 Loyterings, Wasteings, or dishonorable Reflections. 

211. So that a true Servant is Diligent, Secret, and Re- 
spectful: 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. 

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 
Pes'version of Providence; and yet the Generality are the 
worse for their Riches. 

216. But it is strange, that Old Men should excel : For gen- 
erally 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 



MORE FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 409 

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 In- 
come, 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 
Publick may claim a Share with us. But of all we call ours, 
we are most accountable to God and the Publick for our Es- 
tates: 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 Superfluities 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 Things are excised by Laws, and Pride left to Reign 
Free over them and the Publick. 

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 ex- 
cellent Laws, commonly called Sumptuary, to Forbid, at 
least Limit the Pride of the People ; which because the Exe- 
cution of them would be our Interest and Honor, their 
Neglect must be our just Reproach and Loss. 



410 .SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

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 som^e say, It ruins Trade, and will make the Poor 
Burthensorne to the Publick; But if such Trade in Conse- 
quence ruins the Kingdom, is it not Time to ruin that 
Trade? Is Moderation no Part of our Duty, and Temper- 
ance an Enem.y 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 Culti- 
vate, 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. 
A.nd as he abounds in his Comparisons, so he is sure to give 
himiself 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 somictimes thought that such People are 
in a sort Happy, that nothing can put out of Countenance with 
themselves, 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 intolerable and ridiculous Temper 5 nor shew any 



MOUE FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 411 

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 Igno- 
rance, Confidence, 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 
Unteachableness. Tell it any Thing, and it has known it 
long ago ; and out-runs Information and Instruction, or else 
proudly pufts 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 great- 
est 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 Gov- 
ernment, where it is carried to Things of an Indifferent 
Nature, since besides that it makes Way for Scruples, Lib- 
erty is always the Price of it. 

252. Such Conformists have little to boast of, and there- 
fore the less Reason to Reproach others that have more 
Latitude. 

253. And ytt the Latitudinarian that I love, is one that is 



412 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

only so in Charity; for the Freedom I recommend is no 
Scepticism in Judgment, and much less so in Practice. 



THE OBLIGATIONS OF GREAT MEN TO ALMIGHTY GOD 

254. It seems but reasonable, that those whom God has 
Distinguish'd from others; by his Goodness, should dis- 
tinguish 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 Subordination 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 Scavenger. 

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 
Ra»ks of the numerous Company 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 Extraordinary Favors. 

260. But it is but too near a-kin to us, to think no further 
than our selves, either in the Acquisition, or Use of our 
Wealth 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 Provi- 
dence to Consume the Time, Power and Wealth he has 
given us above other Men, to gratify our Sordid Passions, 



MORE FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 413 

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 
^nd Provision. 

263. For though God has dignified some Men above their 
Brethren, it never was to serve their Pleasures, but that they 
might take Pleasure to serve the PubHck. 

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 Em- 
ployment 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 Re- 
ligion and Government. 

267. But even in allowable Services it has an humbling 
Consideration, and what should raise the Thankfulness of 
the Great Men to him that has so m^uch better'd their Cir- 
cumstances, 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, 

269. And what has been said of their Excess, may in some 
measure 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 



414 SOME FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

End of it; that they may better distinguish themselves in 
their Conduct, to the Glory of Him that has thus liberally 
Preferred them, and the Benefit 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. 

2^2. 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. Pie 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 of tener befool ourselves. 

276. The Mischiefs are many that follow this Humor, and 
dangerous : For Men Misguide themselves, act upon false Meas- 
ures, 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 appears, and that there is 
no such Thing as a Straightness or Sincerity among Man- 
kind: A Trick instead of Truth. 

278. Neither, allowing Nature or Religion; but some 
Worldly 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 
Uncertainty ; 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. 



MORE FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 415 



OF CHARITY 

281. Charity has various Senses, but is Excellent in all of 
them. 

282. It imports ; first, the Commiseration of the Poor, and 
Unhappy 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 Bov/els, 
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 suffered 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 Dis- 
tressed 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 in- 
trusted us w^ith. 

289. Next, Charity makes the best Construction of Things 
and Persons, and is so far from being an evil Spy, a Back- 
biter, 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 so far from Exacting the utmost 
Farthing, that it had rather lose than seek her Own Violently. 



416 MORE FRUITS OF SOLITUDE 

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 Performances) 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 Christian, 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) 
Umim Necessarium, or the One Thing Needful, which our 
Saviour attributed 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 Persecuting one another in any Manner: 
whatsoever. 

END OF PART II 






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