Such an one there lived in Philadelphia ; a person of note, an elderly man with-a wise look and a very grave manner of speaking ; his name was Samuel Mickle. This gentleman, a stranger to me, stopped me one day at my door and asked me if I was the young man who had lately opened a new printing-house. Being answered in the affirmative, he said he was sorry for me, because it was an expensive undertaking and the expense would be lost; for Philadelphia was a sinking place, the people already half-bankrupts or near being so; all the appearances of the contrary, such as new buildings and the rise of rents, being to his certain knowledge fallacious, for they were in fact among the things that would ruin us. Then he gave me such a detail of misfortunes now existing or that were soon to exist that he left me half-melancholy. Had I known him before I engaged in this business, probably I never should have done it. This person continued to live in this decaying place and to declaim in the same strain, refusing for many years to buy a house there because all was going to destruction ; and at last I had the pleasure of seeing him give five times as much for one as he might have bought it for when he first began croaking.
I SHOULD have mentioned before that in the autumn of the preceding year I had formed most of my ingenious acquaintance into a club for mutual improvement, which we called the JUNTO. We met on Friday evenings. The rules that I drew up required that every member in his turn should produce one or more queries on any point of morals, politics, or natural philosophy, to be discussed by the company; and once in three months produce and read an essay of his own writing on any subject he