Benjamin Franklin, the First Civilized American

By Phillips Russell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX Franklin Begins to Find Himself

I

IN eighteen months Benjamin could not have expected to find Philadelphia much changed. Nevertheless the town had grown; immigrants were arriving steadily; the Quaker colony was expanding; new houses and shops were being built; and a burgher class of small business men was making itself felt. Among the urban population there was much talk of money, and the need for making it, saving it, and thereby becoming the head of one's own business. The respectable virtues of thrift, economy, timesaving, and industry were becoming popular, as a middle class began to arise out of elements contributed to the town by the farming population and the more enterprising artisans.

There were visible, as Franklin noted, other "sundry alterations." The facile Governor Keith had been deposed. He hung his head when Franklin passed him on the street one day, and pretended not to see the credulous youth to whom he had proposed such grandiose schemes. For this Ben did not care, but the news concerning Deborah Read was quite a blow to him. The once blooming Debby was keeping herself in seclusion. While the false and festive Ben was disporting himself in London, she had married a potter named Rogers, but had left him when she had discovered he was some one else's husband and that he was a sorry fellow, anyhow. Rogers got into debt, fled to the West Indies, and died there. Debby was therefore a widow.

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