What was Franklin's condition in life when he arrived in Philadephia?

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pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

 When he arrived in Philadelphia, he was very poor, having sold some of his precious books to get the money for the journey. Arriving in Philadephia, he soon began to regret leaving home.  He had very little money, was exhausted and starving, he looked like a vagrant, and was approached as a possible runnaway servant because he was so dirty.

He held two jobs at once, working for both William Bradford, a printer and at Keimer's Printing House.  Working for both these men, Franklin felt that they did not understand the nature of the business.  He writes in his autobiography:

"These two printers I found poorly qualified for their business. Bradford had not been bred to it, and was very illiterate; and Keimer, tho' something of a scholar, was a mere compositor, knowing nothing of presswork." (Franklin)  

For greater detail on Franklin's arrival in Philadelphia, read chapter three of his autobiography at the link below.


edcon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

On the October day in 1723 when Franklin arrived in Philadelphia, he had traveled by boat and on foot for nearly a week from New York where he had searched fruitlessly for a job in a printing house. He had been ill en route. Franklin was seventeen years old; he had very little money and few clean clothes, since his trunk would arrive separately. He had no connections in Philadelphia and spent his first hours in the city sleeping through a meeting in a Quaker meeting house. In his autobiography, he writes of mistakenly buying more bread than he could eat or carry, so he gave a loaf to a mother and child and then walked up Market Street, looking rather disreputable and passing by the young woman he would later marry, Deborah Read, the daughter of a local carpenter who accepted boarders.