The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XV. Colonial and Revolutionary Literature; Early National Literature, Part I.

VI. Franklin

§ 4. Philadelphia; London

Shortly after his arrival in the Quaker city, he found employment with the second printer in Philadelphia, Samuel Keimer, a curious person who kept the Mosaic law. In 1724, encouraged by the facile promises of Governor Keith, Franklin went to England in the expectation that letters of credit and recommendation from his patron would enable him to procure a printing outfit. Left in the lurch by the governor, he served for something over a year in two great London printing-houses, kept free-thinking and rather loose company, and, in refutation of Wollaston’s Religious of Nature, upon which he happened to be engaged in the composing-room, published in 1725 his suppressed tract On Liberty and Necessity. Returning to Philadelphia in 1726, he re-entered the employ of Keimer; in 1728 formed a brief partnership with Hugh Meredith; and in 1730 married and set up for himself. In 1728 he founded the famous Junto Club for reading, debating, and reforming the world—an institution which developed into a powerful organ of political influence. Shortage of money in the province prompted him to the composition of his Modest Inquiry into the Nature and Necessity of Paper Currency (1729), a service for which his friends in the Assembly rewarded him by employing him to print the money—“a very profitable job and a great help to me.”