Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 39

flattering things of me to my father, and
strongly recommending the project of my setting up at Philadelphia as
a thing that must make my fortune. We struck on a shoal in going down
the bay, and sprung a leak; we had a blustering time at sea, and were
oblig'd to pump almost continually, at which I took my turn. We
arriv'd safe, however, at Boston in about a fortnight. I had been
absent seven months, and my friends had heard nothing of me; for my
br. Holmes was not yet return'd, and had not written about me. My
unexpected appearance surpris'd the family; all were, however, very
glad to see me, and made me welcome, except my brother. I went to see
him at his printing-house. I was better dress'd than ever while in his
service, having a genteel new suit from head to foot, a watch, and my
pockets lin'd with near five pounds sterling in silver. He receiv'd me
not very frankly, look'd me all over, and turn'd to his work again.

[Illustration: The journeymen were inquisitive]

The journeymen were inquisitive where I had been, what sort of a
country it was, and how I lik'd it. I prais'd it much, and the happy
life I led in it, expressing strongly my intention of returning to it;
and, one of them asking what kind of money we had there, I produc'd a
handful of silver, and spread it before them, which was a kind of
raree-show[32] they had not been us'd to, paper being the money of
Boston.[33] Then I took an opportunity of letting them see my watch;
and, lastly (my brother still grum and sullen), I gave them a piece
of eight[34] to drink, and took my leave. This visit of mine offended
him extreamly; for, when my mother some time after spoke to him of a
reconciliation, and of her wishes to see us on good terms together,
and that we might live for the future as brothers, he said I had
insulted him in such a manner before his people that he could never
forget or forgive it. In this, however, he was mistaken.

[32] A peep-show in a box.

[33] There were no mints in the colonies, so the metal
money was of foreign coinage and not nearly so common as
paper money, which was printed in large quantities in
America, even in small denominations.

[34] Spanish dollar about equivalent to our

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_Ispahan, March 6.