-- THOMAS JEFFERSON
IT is Benjamin's bookish inclinations that eventually determine Josiah Franklin to make a printer of his smallest son. Benjamin's older brother, James, is already established in the printing trade. It is respectable enough and not an ungodly business like going to sea. But Benjamin, no doubt to the disgust of his patient father, hangs back on the halter. He still, because he is a water-bred boy and also perhaps because he dreams of beholding those thousand oddities of the world described in Burton Historical Collections, hankers for the ocean wide. At last, though, he dutifully gives in, and signs the indentures which bind him until he shall be 21 years old, to James, a choleric and jealous-natured young man with whom the saucy Benjamin almost at once gets into rows.
To the printing-house, however, the 12-year-old Benjamin becomes soon reconciled. It enables him to meet booksellers' apprentices, who filch for him an occasional book, though only "a small one," from their masters' stocks. Ben returns these borrowed volumes "soon and dean," thus becoming one of the few book-borrowers of that kind known to history. He also borrows books from a kindly tradesman, a customer of his brother.
Ben's time for reading is at night, before and after work during the day, and on Sundays, when he manages to avoid church by inventing excuses to go to the print-shop, where he can be luxuriously alone. According to the theological