The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin/Section Nineteen

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Section Nineteen[edit]

The Governor, seeming to like my Company, had me frequently to his House; & his Setting me up was always mention’d as a fix’d 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 & Types, Paper, &c. 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 we went on till the Ship whose Departure too had been several times postponed was on the Point of sailing. Then when I call’d to take my Leave & Receive the Letters, his Secretary, Dr Bard, came out to me and said the Governor was extremely busy, in writing, but would be down at Newcastle before the Ship, & there the Letters would be delivered to me.

Ralph, tho’ married & having one Child, had determined to accompany me in this Voyage. It was thought he intended to establish a Correspondence, & 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, & never return again. Having taken leave of my Friends, & 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 engag’d in Business of the utmost Importance; but should send the Letters to me on board, wish’d me heartily a good Voyage and a speedy Return, &c. I return’d 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, & Messrs Onion & Russel Masters of an Iron Work in Maryland, had engag’d the Great Cabin; so that Ralph and I were forc’d to take up with a Berth in the Steerage: And none on board knowing us, were considered as ordinary Persons. But Mr Hamilton & 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 sail’d Col. French coming on board, & 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.