Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 71

They were sensible of the difference: it
strengthened the hands of our friends in the House, and they voted us
their printers for the year ensuing.

Among my friends in the House I must not forget Mr. Hamilton, before
mentioned, who was then returned from England, and had a seat in it.
He interested himself for me strongly in that instance, as he did in
many others afterward, continuing his patronage till his death.[58]

[58] I got his son once L500.--_Marg. note_.

Mr. Vernon, about this time, put me in mind of the debt I ow'd him,
but did not press me. I wrote him an ingenuous letter of
acknowledgment, crav'd his forbearance a little longer, which he
allow'd me, and as soon as I was able, I paid the principal with
interest, and many thanks; so that erratum was in some degree

But now another difficulty came upon me which I had never the least
reason to expect. Mr. Meredith's father, who was to have paid for our
printing-house, according to the expectations given me, was able to
advance only one hundred pounds currency, which had been paid; and a
hundred more was due to the merchant, who grew impatient, and su'd us
all. We gave bail, but saw that, if the money could not be rais'd in
time, the suit must soon come to a judgment and execution, and our
hopeful prospects must, with us, be ruined, as the press and letters
must be sold for payment, perhaps at half price.

In this distress two true friends, whose kindness I have never
forgotten, nor ever shall forget while I can remember any thing, came
to me separately, unknown to each other, and, without any application
from me, offering each of them to advance me all the money that should
be necessary to enable me to take the whole business upon myself, if
that should be practicable; but they did not like my continuing the
partnership with Meredith, who, as they said, was often seen drunk in
the streets, and playing at low games in alehouses, much to our
discredit. These two friends were William Coleman and Robert Grace. I
told them I could not propose a separation while any prospect remain'd
of the Meredith's fulfilling their part of our agreement, because I
thought myself under great obligations to them for what they had done,
and would do if they could; but, if they finally fail'd in their
performance, and our partnership must be dissolv'd, I should then
think myself at liberty to accept the assistance of my friends.

Thus the matter

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