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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 66 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
exclusion of the Old Road. But the governor reminded the grumblers that by this means a trade had grown up between Philadelphia, Burlington, Perth Town, and New York such as had never before existed.
Notwithstanding this travel, the road when Franklin used it ran for miles through an uninhabited country. The almanacs, which were the road-books of that day, make mention of but four places where a traveler could find rest and refreshment. One was at Cranberry Brook; another was at Allentown, a place nine years old. A third was at Crosswick Bridge; and the fourth at Dr. Brown's, eight miles from Burlington, and here Benjamin slept on the night of his second day from Amboy.
Early the next morning he was at Burlington, where he once more took boat, slept that night in the fields, and early one Sunday morning in October, 1723, entered Philadelphia. For a while he wandered about the streets, but falling in with a number of Quakers, followed them to meeting and there fell asleep. It was well that he did, for had the constable met him sauntering around the town, Benjamin would have been placed in the lockup.
THE prospect that lay before Benjamin, when, the fatigue of the journey slept off, he went forth in search of work, was poor indeed. All the printing done in Pennsylvania was done on the press of Andrew Bradford; and all the printing Bradford did in a year could, in our time, be done in one hour. From his press came the "American Weekly Mercury," the contents of which would not fill a column and a half of such a daily newspaper as the "Boston Traveller" or the "Philadelphia Press." Never in any one year did all the tracts, all the sermons, all the almanacs, all the appeals, catechisms, and proposals published in Pennsylvania number thirty-nine. Nor did the largest book yet printed contain three hundred small octavo pages. Indeed, forty-seven years had not gone since William Bradford began the list of Middle Colony publications with Atkins's" Kalendarium Pennsilvaniense, being an Almanac for the year of Grace 1686.”
William Bradford was then a lad of two-andtwenty, who had been brought up to set type and work a press in the shop of Andrew Sowle, a famous London printer of Friends' books. His relations with Sowle, first as apprentice and then as son-in-law, brought him often to the notice of William Penn. Anxious to secure a good printer for his province, Penn made an offer to Bradford to go to Pennsylvania and print the laws: the offer was accepted, and in the summer of 1685 the young printer landed at Philadelphia with types, a press, and three letters from George Fox.
On the day he landed there were but two printing-presses in the whole of British North America. Evidence exists that there was, for a while, a third; that in 1682 one John Buckner published the Virginia laws of 1680; that he was promptly summoned before the governor and council, censured, and forbidden to print again till the king's will was known; and that for forty-seven years not another type was set in the Old Dominion. With the single exception of the Virginia laws of 1680, not a piece of printing had been done out of Cambridge, Massachusetts, when early in December, 1685, Bradford issued the "Kalendarium Pennsilvaniense,” and introduced "the great art and mystery of printing" into the Middle Colonies.