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generality of men hate vanity in others, however Itrongly they may be tinctured with it themselves : for myself, I pay obeisance to it whereever I meet with it, persuaded that it is advantageous, as well to the individual whom it governs, as to those who are within the sphere of its influ
Of consequence, it would in many cases, not be wholly absurd, that a man should count his vanity among the other sweets of life, and give thanks to Providence for the blessing.
And here let me with all humility acknow, ledge, that to Divine Providence I am indebted for the felicity I have hitherto enjoyed. It is that Power alone which has furnished me with the means I have employed, and that has crowned them with success. My faith in this respect leads me to hope, though I cannot count upon it, that the divine goodness will still be exercised towards me, either by prolonging the duration of my happiness to the clofe of life, or by giva ing me fortitude to support any melancholy reverse, which may happen to me, as to so many others. My future fortune is unknown but to him him in whose hand is our destiny, and who can make our very afflictions subservient to our benefit.
One of my uncles, desirous, like myself, of collecting anecdotes of our family, gave me some notes, from which I have derived many particulars respecting our ancestors. From these I learn, that they had lived in the fame village (Eaton in Northamptonshire), upon a freehold of about thirty acres, for the space at least of three hundred years. How long they had refided there prior to that period, my uncle had been unable to discover; probably ever since the institution of surnames, when they took the appellation of
Franklin, which had formerly been the name of a particular order of individuals*
This petty estate would not have fufficed for their sublistence, had they not added the trade of blacksmith, which was perpetuated in the family down to my uncle's time, the eldest son having been uniformly brought up to this employment: a cuftom which both he and my father observed with respect to their eldest fons.
In the researches I made at Eaton, I found no account of their births, marriages, and deaths, earlier than the year 1555; the parish register not extending farther back than that period.
* As a proof that Franklin was anciently the common name of an order or rank in England, see Judge Fortescue, De laudibus legum Angliæ, written about the year 1412, in which is the following paffage, to shrew. that good juries might easily be formed in any part of England:
* Regio etiam illa, ita refperfa refertaque est poleloribus “terrarum et agrorum, quod in ea, villula tam parva reperiri s non poterit, in qua non est miles, armiger, vel pater-familias, " qualis ibidem franklin vulgariter nuncupatur, magnis di“ tatus poffeffionibus, nec non libere tenentes et alii valetti
plurimi, suis patrimoniis fufficientes, ad faciendum juratum,
in forma prænotata.” “ Moreover the same country is so filled and replenished vi with landed menne, that therein so small a thorpe cannot • be found wherein dwelleth nọt a knight, an esquire, or such
a householder as is there commonly called a franklin, en* riched with great posseffrons; and also other freeholders
and many yeomen, able for their livelihoodes to make a jury & in form aforementioned."
OLD TRANSLATION. Chaucer too calls his country gentleman a franklin, and after describing his good housekeeping, thus characterises him:
This worthy franklin bore a purse of filk,
This register informed me, that I was the youngest son of the youngest branch of the family, counting five generations. My grandfather, Thomas, who was born in 1598, lived at Eaton till 'he was too old to continue his trade, when he retired to Banbury in Qxfordshire, where his fon John who was a dyer, resided, and with whom my father was apprenticed. He died, and was buried there: we saw his monument in 1758. His eldest son lived in the family house at Eaton, which he bequeathed, with the land belonging to it, to his only daughter; who, in concert with her husband, Mr. Filher of Wellinborough, after wards sold it to Mr. Efted, the present proprietor.
My graşdfather had four surviving fons, Tho. mas, John, Benjamin, and Josias. I fhall give you such particulars of them as my memory will furnish, not having my papers here, in which you will find a more minute account, if they are not loft during my absence,
Thomas had learned the trade of blacksmith under his father ; but possessing a good natural understanding, he improved it by Itudy, at the solicitation of a gentleman of the name of Palmer, who was at that time the principal inhabitant of the village, and who encouraged in like manner all my uncles to cultivate their minds. Thomas thus rendered himself competent to the functions of a country attorney; soon became an essential personage in the affairs of the village; and was one of the chief movers of every public enterprize, as well relative to the county as the town of Nortliampton. A variety of remarkable inci. dents were told us of him at Laton. After enjoying the esteem anı patronage of lord Halifax, he died, January 6, 1702, precisely four years before I was born: The recital that was made us of his life and character, by some aged persons
of the village, struck you, I remember. as extraordinary, from its analogy to what you knew of myself. Had he died," said you, just “ four years later, one might have supposed a
transmigration of fouls.”
John, to the best of my belief, was brought up to the trade of a wool-dyer.
Benjamin served his apprenticeship in London to a silk-dyer. He was an industrious man: I remember him well; for, while I was a child, he joined my father at Boston, and lived for some years in the house with us.
A particular affection had always subsisted between my father and him; and I was his godfon. He arrived' to 4 great age. He left behind him two quarto volumes of poems in manufcript, confifting of little fugitive pieces addressed to his friends. He had invented a short-hand, which he taught me, but having never made use of it, I have now. forgotten it. He was a man of piety, and a conftant attendant on the best preachers, whose fermons he took a pleasure in writing down according to the expeditory inethod he had devised. Many volumes were thus collected by him. He was also extremely fond of politics, too much so perhaps for his situation. I lately found in London a collection which he had made of all the principal pamphlets relative to public affairs, from the year 1641 to 1717. Many volumes are wanting, as appears by the series of numbers; but there still remain eight in folio, and twentyfour in quarto and octavo. The collection had fallen into the hands of a second-hand bookseller, who, knowing me by having sold me some books, brought it to me. My uncle, it seems, had left it behind him on his departure for America, about fifty years ago. I found various notes of his writing in the margins. His grandson, Samuel, is now living at Boston,
Our humble family had early embraced the Reformation. Theyremained faithfully attached during the reign of Queen Mary, when they were in danger of being molested on account of their zeal against popery. They had an English Bible, and, to conceal it the more securely, they conceived the project of fastening it, open, with packthreads“ across the leaves, on the inside of the lid of a close-stool. When my great-grandfather wished to read to his family, he reversed the lid of the close-ftool upon his knees, and pafled the leaves from one side to the other, which were held down on each by the packthread. One of the children was stationed at the door, to give notice if he saw the proctor (an officer of the spiritual court) make his appearance : in that - case, the lid was restored to its place, with the Bible concealed under it as before. I had this anecdote from my uncle Benjamin.
The whole family preserved its attachment to the Church of England till towards the close of the reign of Charles II. when certain ministers, who had been ejected as nonconformists, having held conventicles in Northamptonshire, they were joined by Benjamin and Josias, who adhered to them ever after. The rest of the family continued in the episcopal church.
My father, Josias, married carly in life. He went, with his wife and three children, to New England, about the year 1682. Conventicles being at that time prohibited by law, and frequently difturbed, fome considerable persons of his acquaintance determined to go to America, where they hoped to enjoy the free exercise of their religion, and my father was prevailed on to accompany them.
My father had also by the same wife four children born in America, and ten others by a se