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Ben Franklin

autobiography

page 16

Franklin's Autobiography
The sloop putting in at Newport, Rhode Island, I visited my brother John, who had been married and settled there some years. He received me very affectionately, for he always loved me. A friend of his, one Vernon, having some money due to him in Pennsylvania, 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 occasioned 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 impressed her, I suppose, with a degree of good will toward me. Therefore, when she saw a daily growing familiarity between me and the two young women, which they appeared to encourage, she took me aside, and said: "Young man, I am concerned for thee, as thou has no friend with thee, and seems not to know much of the world, or of the snares youth is exposed 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 seemed at first not to think so ill of them as she did, she mentioned some things she had observed an (I heard that had escaped my notice, but now convinced me she was right. I thanked her for her kind advice, and promised to follow it. When we arrived at New York, they told me where they lived and invited me to come and see them; but I avoided it, and it was well I did, for the next day the captain missed a silver spoon and some other things, that had been taken out of his cabin, and knowing that these were a couple of strumpets, lie got a warrant to search their lodgings, found the stolen goods, and had the thieves punished. So, tho' we had escaped a sunken rock, which we scraped upon in the passage, I thought this escape of rather more importance to me.

At New York I found my friend Collins, who lead arrived there some time before me. We had been intimate from children and had read the same books togeher; 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 lived in Boston, most of my hours of leisure for conversation were spent with him, and he continued a sober as well as an industrious lad; was much respected for his learning by several of the clergy and other gentlemen, and seemed to promise making a good figure in life. But, during my absence, he had acquired a habit of sotting with brandy; and I found by his account, and what I heard from others, that he had been drunk every day since his arrival at New York, and behaved very oddly. He had gamed, too, and lost his money, so that I was obliged to discharge his lodgings, and defray his expenses to and at Philadelphia, which proved 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, 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, showed 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.

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