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universally known to be liberal of promises, which he had no intention to perform. But having never folicited him, how could I suppose his offers to be deceitful ? On the contrary, I believed him to be the best man in the world.
I gave him an inventory of a small printingoffice; the
of which I had calculated at about a hundred pounds sterling. He expreffed his approbation ; but asked if my presence in England, that I might choose the characters myfelf, and see that every article was good in its kind, would not be an advantage. You will also be able, said he, to form fome acquaintance there, and establish a correspondence with stationers and booksellers. This I acknowledged was desirable. That being the ease, added he, hold yourself in readiness to go with the Annis. This was the annual vessel, and the only one, at that time, which made regular voyages between the ports of London and Philadelphia. But the Annis was not to sail for some months. I there. fore continued to work with Keimer, unhappy respecting the sum which Collins had drawn from me, and almost in continual agony at the thoughts of Vernon, who fortunately made no demand of his money
for several years
after. In the account of my
voyage from Boston to Philadelphia, I omitted I believe a trifling cir, cumstance, which will not perhaps be out of place here. During a calm which stopped us above Block-island, the crew employed themselves in fishing for cod, of which they caught a great number. I had hitherto adhered to my resolu. tion of not eating any thing that had possessed
life; and I considered on this occasion, agreeably to the maxims of my master Tryon, the capture of every fish as a sort of murder, committed without provocation, since these animals had neither done, nor were capable of doing, the smallest injury to any one that should justify the measure. This mode of reasoning I conceived to be unanswerable. Meanwhile I had formerly been extremely fond of fish; and when one of these cod was taken out of the frying-pan, I thought its flavour delicious. I hesitated fome time between principle and inclination, till at laft recolle&ting, that when the cod had been opened, fome small fish were found in its belly, I said to myself, If you eat one another, I fee no reason why we may not eat you.
I accord ingly dined on the cod with no small degree of pleasure, and have since continued to eat like the rest of mankind, returning only occasionally to my vegetable plan. How convenient does it prove to be a rational animal, that knows how to find or invent a plausible pretext for whatever it has an inclination to do!
I continued to live upon good terms with Keimer, who had not the smallest suspicion of my projected establishment. He still retained a portion of his former enthusiasm; and being fond of argument, we frequently disputed together. I was so much in the habit of using my Socratic method, and had so frequently puzzled him by my questions, which appeared at first very dir, tant from the point in 'debate, yet nevertheless led to it by degrees, involving him in difficulties and contradictions from which he was unable to
extricate himself, that he became at last ridiculously cautious, and would scarcely answer the molt plain and familiar question without previously asking me - What would you infer from that? Hence he formed so high an opinion of my talents for refutation, that he seriously proposed to me to become his colleague in the eitablithment of a new religious sect. He was propagate the doctrine by preaching, and I to refute every opponent.
When he explained to me his tenets, I found many absurdities which I refused to admit, unless he would agree in turn to adopt some of my opinions. Keimer wore' his beard long, because Moses had ļomewhere faid, Thou shalt not mar the corners of thy beard. He likewise observed the Sabbatlı; and these were with him two very essential points. I disliked them both; but I conlented to adopt them, provided he would abstain from animal food. I doubt, said he, whether my constitution will be able to support it. 1 assured hiin on the contrary, that he would find himself the better for it. He was naturally a glutton, and I wished to amuse myself by starving him. He consented to make trial of this regimen, if I would bear him
company; and in reality we continued it for three months. 'A woman in the neighbourhood prepared and brought us our victuals, to whom I gave a list of forty dishes; in the composition of which there entered neither flesh ner fish. This fancy was the more agreeable to me, as it turned to good account; for the whole expence of our living did not exceed for each eighteen-pence a week.
I have since that period observed several Lents with the greatest ftrictness, and have fuddenly returned again to my ordinary diet, without ex, periencing the smallest inconvenience; which has led me to regard as of no importance the ada vice commonly given, of introducing gradually such afterations of regimen.
I continued it cheerfully; but poor Keimer suffered terribly. Tired of the project, he fighed for the flesh pots of Egypt. At length he order-ed a roast pig, and invited me and two of our female acquaintance to dine with him ; but the pig being ready a little too soon, he could not relist the temptation, and eat it all up arrived.
During the circumstances I have related, I had paid some attentions to Miss Read. I entertain. ed for her the utmost esteern and affection ; and I had reason to believe that these sentiments were mutual. But we were both young, scarcely more than eighteen years
and as I was on the point of undertaking a long voyage, her mother thought it prudent to prevent matters being carried too far for the present, judging that if marriage was our object, there would be more propriety in it after my return, when, as at least I expected I should be established in my business. Perhaps also she thought that my expectations were not so well-founded as I imagined.
My most intimate acquaintance at this time were Charles Osborne, Joseph Watson, and James Ralph ; young men who were all fond of reading. The two first were clerks to Mr. Charles Brock. don, one of the principal attornies in the town,
and the other clerk to a merchant. Watson w23, an upright, pious and fenfible young man : the others were somewhat more loose in their principles of religion, particularly Ralph, whose faith, as well as that of Collins, I had contributed to shake; each of whom made me suffer a very adequate punishment. Osborne was sensible, and fincere and affectionate in his friendships, but too much inclined to the critic in matters of literature, Ralph was ingenious and fhrewd, genteel in his address, and extremely eloquent. I do not remember to have met with a more agreeable speaker, They were both enamoured of the muses, and had already, evinced their paflion by some small poetical productions.
It was a custom with us to take a charming walk on Sundays, in the woods that border on the Skuylkill. Here we read together, and afterwards conversed on what we read. Ralph was disposed to give himself up entirely to poetry. He flattered himself that he should arrive at great eminence in the art, and even acquire a fortune. The sublimest poets, he pretended, when they first began to write, committed as many faults as himself, Osborne endeavoured to dissuade him from it, by assuring him that he had no genius for poetry,
and advised him to stick to the trade in which he had been brought up. In the road of commerce, said he, you will be sure; by diligence and assiduity, though you have no capital, of 1o far succeeding as to be employed as a factor, and may thus, in time, acquire the means of setting up for yourself, I concurred in these ientiments, but at the same time expreised my