The Story of Benjamin Franklin

by James Baldwin

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Chapter IX: The Return to Philadelphia

p>Benjamin Franklin felt much disappointed when his father refused to help send him to England. But he was not discouraged.

In a few weeks he was ready to return to Philadelphia. This time he did not have to run away from home.

His father blessed him, and his mother gave him many small gifts as tokens of her love.

"Be diligent," said his father, "attend well to your business, and save your money carefully, and, perhaps, by the time you are twenty-one years old, you will be able to set up for yourself without the governor's help."

All the family, except James the printer, bade him a kind good-bye, as he went on board the little ship that was to take him as far as New York.

There was another surprise for him when he reached New York.

The governor of New York had heard that there was a young man from Boston on board the ship, and that he had a great many books. There were no large libraries in New York at that time. There were no bookstores, and but few people who cared for books.

So the governor sent for Franklin to come and see him. He showed him his own library, and they had a long talk about books and authors.

This was the second governor that had taken notice of Benjamin. For a poor boy, like him, it was a great honor, and very pleasing.

When he arrived in Philadelphia he gave to Governor Keith the letter which his father had written.

The governor was not very well pleased. He said:

"Your father is too careful. There is a great difference in persons. Young men can sometimes be trusted with great undertakings as well as if they were older."

He then said that he would set Franklin up in business without his father's help.

"Give me a list of everything needed in a first-class printing-office. I will see that you are properly fitted out."

Franklin was delighted. He thought that Governor Keith was one of the best men in the world.

In a few days he laid before the governor a list of the things needed in a little printing-office.

The cost of the outfit would be about five hundred dollars.

The governor was pleased with the list. There were no type-foundries in America at that time. There was no place where printing-presses were made. Everything had to be bought in England.

The governor said, "Don't you think it would be better if you could go to England and choose the types for yourself, and see that everything is just as you would like to have it?"

"Yes, sir," said Franklin, "I think that would be a great advantage."

"Well, then," said the governor, "get yourself ready to go on the next regular ship to London. It shall be at my expense."

At that time there was only one ship that made regular trips from Philadelphia to England, and it sailed but once each year. The name of this ship was the Annis. It would not be ready to sail again for several months.

And so young Franklin, while he was getting ready for the voyage, kept on working in Mr. Keimer's little printing-office.

He laid up money enough to pay for his passage. He did not want to be dependent upon Governor Keith for everything; and it was well that he did not.


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