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''M thinking of going to England with you," said Ralph to Benjamin, one day in October, 1724.

"You don't mean it.'

"I do mean it. I am thinking seriously of going." "I shall be delighted to have your company, but the news is almost too good to be true," continued Benjamin.

"I have been looking the matter over ever since you told me that you expected to go; and now it is settled in my mind that I shall go."

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Going out for your employer?"

"No, going out to establish a correspondence, if possible, and arrange to obtain goods to sell on commission."

"That is a capital scheme, it seems to me, Ralph. I think you can establish a good business with your tact and experience. You'll have to hurry up; for I expect that Captain Annis will sail in three weeks. Benjamin's words showed his gladness that one of his intimate companions would accompany him.

"It won't take me long to get ready; I have been arranging matters for some time with reference to going, though I have spoken to no one about it." Ralph was careful not to divulge the real reason of his going, lest Benjamin should disapprove.

At length it was announced that the London Hope, Captain Annis, master, would sail about the 10th of November. And now, Benjamin was full of business. He made known his intentions to Keimer and other friends,

without disclosing the real object of his trip, or that he was going under the patronage of Governor Keith. Considerable surprise and regret were expressed by several friends that he was going, and yet they were free to say that it would prove an excellent school for such a young man as Benjamin. Governor Keith was lavish in his attentions and interest.

"You will want letters of introduction from me; and I shall have some instructions, which I will write out carefully," he said.

"The letters will be indispensable; and the instructions I shall most surely need to relieve my lack of experience," Benjamin replied.

"I will have them all ready two or three days before Captain Annis sails," added the governor, "and you can call for them. I may want to see you again before I get them ready, and I will send for you."

Benjamin thanked Governor Keith for his great kindness, assuring him that he should always feel himself under a heavy debt of gratitude, never dreaming that the scheming politician was luring him into a snare. He put his whole heart and soul into preparation to leave. To him it was

the great event of his life; and it would have been, if Sir William Keith had been an honest man instead of a rogue. For an American youth, eighteen years of age, to represent the governor of Pennsylvania in the city of London, to consummate a business enterprise of the greatest importance to a thriving American town, was an unusual occurrence. Any youth of considerable ability and ambition must have realized the value and dignity of the enterprise; but to such a youth as Benjamin was,-talented, aspiring, coveting success, striving for the best, the opportunity of this business enterprise, proposed and patronized by the highest officer in the colony, must have appealed strongly to his manly and noble nature. We shall see, however, as it turned out, that all the honesty and high-minded purpose that invested it was in Benjamin's soul. Treachery,

dishonesty, and perfidy blackened the soul of his patron, loading him down with infamy almost without a parallel.

Three days before Captain Annis set sail, Benjamin called for his letters.

"My time has been so thoroughly occupied by public business that I have not been able to prepare them, but I will attend to it."

"I can call again without any trouble," answered Benjamin, exceedingly grateful for the governor's patronage.

"I am sorry that I have not been able to prepare them ; but I will not disappoint you again. Call the day after tomorrow." The more the governor said and promised, the more thankful Benjamin felt that he had fallen into such generous hands.

"I will call in the afternoon, the day after to-morrow," replied Benjamin; and thanking him again for his great kindness, took his leave.

He called as he promised for the letters and other papers. Instead of being ushered into the governor's presence, as usual, his secretary, Colonel French, came out to

announce :

"The governor regrets exceedingly that he has not the documents ready yet, and desires that you shall call again to-morrow, just before the vessel sails."

"Very well, I will call," replied Benjamin, without the least suspicion that any trouble was brewing for him.

On the next day, with all his baggage on board, and the "good-bye" said to all his friends, he hastened to the governor's head-quarters for his papers. Again Colonel

French met him with the announcement :—

"The governor desires me to say that he is really ashamed to disappoint you again; but a constant pressure of business has prevented. But the vessel will stop at Newcastle, and he will meet you and deliver yours with other letters he has to send; and he hopes that you will have a pleasant voyage and meet with great success."

"Please convey my thanks to him for his many kindnesses and present good wishes," answered Benjamin, "and say to him that I will execute his commands to the very best of my ability, and report at the earliest possible time."

So saying Benjamin returned and boarded the vessel, which soon dropped down the Delaware, thinking all the while of his good fortune in having so great and good a man as Governor Keith for his friend.

At Newcastle, Benjamin landed and hastened to see the governor, whom he expected to be there, as Colonel French said; but he met only the secretary, who announced again :

"The governor is now writing the last dispatch, and will send your documents, with others, on board before the ship weighs anchor. He would be glad to see you again before you leave, but requires me to say that every moment of his time will be occupied to the very last minute, so he must content himself with sending to you, by me, his last words of confidence and his best wishes."

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'Convey mine, also, to him," Benjamin replied, as he turned away to go to the vessel.

Just as the ship was about to sail, a bag of letters and other documents came on board from the governor. Benjamin supposed that it contained his indispensable letters, and, at a suitable time, he went to the captain and said:

"Governor Keith was to furnish me with letters of introduction to friends in London, and I suppose they are in the bag which he sent aboard. Can I look them over for my letters ?

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"Just now I am too busy to give the matter any attention," Captain Annis said; "but I assure you that, long before we reach London, you shall have the opportunity to examine and take what belongs to you."

"That will do; I thank you," replied Benjamin, perfectly satisfied that all was right; and he settled down to enjoy the voyage.

When the vessel entered the English Channel, Captain Annis brought out the bag of documents from the governor for Benjamin to inspect. He was surprised beyond measure not to find any letters addressed to himself. He found several addressed to other parties with his name written upon them, as under his care, but not one addressed to himself. It was very singular, he thought, but he concluded that one of the number was devoted to his mission, as it was addressed to Baskett, the king's printer. He found seven or eight letters addressed to different parties, “Care of Benjamin Franklin," and he took them all from the bag. He still supposed that everything about his mission was


They arrived in London on the 24th of December, when Benjamin lacked about a month of being nineteen years old. With Ralph, he proceeded to find lodgings at once; and just as soon as that arrangement was made, he hastened to deliver the letters submitted to his care. The first party upon whom he called was a stationer.

I have the honour of bringing a letter to you, sir, from Governor Keith of Pennsylvania, America," he said, with considerable assurance.

"I have not the honour of his acquaintance," answered the stationer. "Pray, tell me who Governor Keith may be." "The letter will inform you, no doubt," replied Benjamin, giving him the letter.

The stationer opened it; but read scarcely three lines before he exclaimed, to Benjamin's consternation,—

"Oh, this is from Riddlesden! I have lately found him to be a complete rascal, and I will have nothing to do with him, nor receive any letters from him," and he handed the letter back to Benjamin without reading all of it, turned upon his heel and went back to his work.

Benjamin's feelings can be imagined better than described. He was well-nigh dumfounded to learn that the letter was not from Governor Keith. And then it was that

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