The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin/Section Sixteen

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Section Sixteen[edit]

The Sloop putting in at Newport, Rhode Island, I visited my Brother John, who had been married & 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 Pennsylvania, about 35 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 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 Will towards me. Therefore when she saw a daily growing Familiarity between me & the two Young Women, which they appear’d to encourage, she took me aside & 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 mention’d some Things she had observ’d & heard that had escap’d my Notice; but now convinc’d me she was right. I thank’d her for her kind Advice, and promis’d to follow it. When we arriv’d at New York, they told me where they liv’d, & invited me to come and see them: but I avoided it. And it was well I did: For the next Day, the Captain miss’d a Silver Spoon & some other Things that had been taken out of his Cabin, and knowing that these were a Couple of Strumpets, he got a Warrant to search their Lodgings, found the stolen Goods, and had the Thieves punish’d. So tho’ we had escap’d a sunken Rock which we scrap’d upon in the Passage, I thought this Escape of rather more Importance to me. At New York 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, & Studying and a wonderful Genius for Mathematical Learning in which he far outstripped me. While I liv’d in Boston most of my Hours of Leisure for Conversation were spent with him, & he continu’d a sober as well as an industrious Lad; was much respected for his Learning by several of the Clergy & other Gentlemen, & seem’d to promise making a good Figure in Life: but during my Absence he had acquir’d a Habit of Sotting with Brandy; and I found by his own Account & what I heard from others, that he had been drunk every day since his Arrival at New York, & behav’d very oddly. He had gam’d too and lost his Money, so that I was oblig’d to discharge his Lodgings, & 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, desired 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 Governor treated me with great Civility, show’d me his Library, which was a very large one, & we had a good deal of Conversation about Books & 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.