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the "Gazette" of February 4th-11th, 1723, contains this falsehood: "The late Printer of this paper, finding so many Inconveniences would arise by his carrying the Manuscript and Public news to be supervised by the Secretary as to render his carrying it on unprofitable, has entirely dropt the undertaking." Thenceforth the newspaper issued under Benjamin Franklin's name. The public were assured the late printer had abandoned the enterprise entirely. Lest anyone should inquire into the truth of this statement, the old indenture was cancelled and Benjamin declared free. But the elder brother had no intention of freeing his apprentice, and the cancelled indenture was replaced by a new one which the brothers kept carefully concealed.
It was now pretended that the "Courant" was conducted by a "Club for the Propagation of Sense and Good Manners among the docible part of Mankind in His Majestys Plantations in America." Of this club Dr. Janus was perpetual dictator, and of Dr. Janus an account was given in a humorous "Preface" which Benjamin wrote for the first number of the " Courant" printed in his own name.
"The Society," he wrote, had "design'd to present the Public with the effigies of Dr. Janus; but the Limner, to whom he was
presented for a draught of his Countenance discried (and this he is ready to offer upon Oath) nineteen features in his face more than ever he beheld in any Human Visage before; which so raised the price of his Picture that our Master himself forbid the extravagance of coming up to it. And then besides, the Limner objected to a Schism in his Face which splits it from his Forehead in a Straight line down to his chin in such wise that Mr. Painter protests 'tis a double face and will have four pounds. for its portraiture. However tho' this double face has spoilt us a pretty Picture, yet we all rejoice to see old Janus in our company. . . . As for his morals he is a chearly Christian as the Country Phrase has it. A man of good temper, courteous Deportment, sound Judgement; a mortal Hater of Nonsense, Foppery, Formality and endless ceremony." To him all letters must be addressed, and thenceforth not a number of the "Courant" issues without some pretended communication "To the Venerable Old Janus," "To Good Master Janus," "To the ancient and venerable Dr. Janus," "To Old Janus the Couranteer." "The gentle reader," "the ingenuous and courteous reader," is assured that the "design of the Club is to contribute to the diversion and Merryment of the town," that "pieces of pleasantry and Mirth have a secret
charm in them to allay the heats and Tumors of our Spirits and make us forget our restless resentments, and that no paper shall be suffered to pass without a latin motto if one can possibly be found. Such mottoes charm the Vulgar and give the learned the pleasure of construing. Gladly would the Club add a scrap or two of Greek; but the printer, unhappily has no type. The candid reader therefore will not impute this defect to ignorance; for Docter Janus knows all the Greek letters by heart."
Under the management of the club, the "Courant" grew daily in favor. Each week the list of subscribers became longer, the borrowers became more numerous, and the advertisements steadily increased. Flushed with success, Benjamin in a humorous notice informed his readers that the club had raised the price of the paper to twelve shillings a year. And well he might, for so sprightly and entertaining a newspaper did not exist anywhere else in the colonies. But for this prosperity James Franklin was soon to pay dearly. The very act by which he evaded the order of the General Court placed him in the power of his apprentice, and set the lad an example of dishonesty which Benjamin was quick to follow. From the few glimpses we obtain of James Franklin in the "Autobiography" of Benjamin, he seems
to have been a man morose, ill-tempered, doomed not to succeed. The "Junto" knew, and he must have known, that no journeyman in his printing-house did such work, and that no contributor to the paper wrote such pieces as his young brother. Had he been a man of sense and judgment, he would undoubtedly have cancelled the indentures in all honesty, given the lad his freedom, and made him a partner. But he took precisely the opposite course. The more the apprentice displayed his ability, the more domineering became the master. From disputes the two proceeded to quarrels, and from quarrels to blows. Then Benjamin turned to the cancelled indentures and declared himself free. Unable to deny this, James went among the printers and persuaded them to refuse his brother work, and advertised in the "Courant" for "a likely lad for an apprentice." Benjamin, after selling a few of his books for ready money, turned his back upon Boston and ran away.
A packet sloop carried him to New York. There he sought out William Bradford, still remembered as the man who put up the first press, set the first type, and printed the first pamphlet, in the middle colonies. Bradford could give the boy no work, and recommended him to go on to Philadelphia. He set out ac
cordingly, was almost lost in a storm in New York Bay, landed at Perth Amboy, and went across New Jersey on foot.
There were at that day but two roads across New Jersey between Philadelphia and New York. One, long known as the Old Road, ran out from Elizabethtown Point to what is now New Brunswick, thence in an almost direct line to the Delaware above Trenton, and so on to Burlington, where the traveler once a week took boat to Philadelphia. But it was long after Franklin's boyhood before the road became anything better than a bridle-path, or before a wagon of any kind rolled over it. So late as 1716, when the Assembly fixed the ferry rate at New Brunswick, two tolls only were established, one "for horse and man," and one for "single persons." Ten pounds, raised each year by tax on the innkeepers of Piscataway, Woodbridge, and Elizabethtown, were thought ample to keep the pathway in repair.
The favored road across the province was that from Perth Town to Burlington, on the Delaware, and was, as early as 1707, wide enough for a wagon to pass without scraping the hubs on the trees. In that year the Assembly complained as a great evil that a patent had been given to several persons to carry goods by wagon over the Amboy road to the