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LIFE

DR. FRANKLIN.

MY DEAR SOX,

I HAVE amused myself with collecting soine Isalo anecdotes of my family. You may remember the inquiries I made, when you were with me in Eng. land, among such of my relaticns as were then live ing; and the journey l' undertook for that purpose. To be acquainted with the particulars of my parentage and life, many of which are unknown to you, I flatter myse;f will afford the same pleasure to yoa as to rne. I shall relate their upon paper: it will be an agreeable employndent of a week's uninterrupred leisure, which i průniisg. myséli', during my pizzert retirement in the country. There are also other md. tives which induce me to the undertaking.: From the bosomn of poverty and obscurity in which I drew my first breathi, and spent my earliest jears, I have raised myself 19 a state of opulence, wd to some degree of celebrity in the world. A contint good fortuna has attended me through every period o life to my praise ent advanced age; and my descendants niay be de sirous of learning what were the means of which I made use, and which, thanks to the assisting hand of Providence, have proved so eminently successful. They may also, should they ever be piaced in a gia milar situarion, derive some advantage from my nar. rative.

Whon I reflect, as I frequently do, upon the felicity I hare enjoyed, I sometimes say to myself, that woro the offer made true I would engage to run again, from

beginning to end, the same career of life. An would ask, should be the privilege of an author, te correct, in a second edition, certain errors of the first I could wish, likewise, if it were in my power, 10 change some trivial incidents and events for othors moro favourable., Were this, however, denied me, still would I not decline the offer. But since a repetition of life cannot take place, there is nothing which, in my opinion, so nearly resembles it, as to call to mind all its circumstances, and, to revdel their remembrance more durable, cominių them to writing. By thus empoying inyself, I shall yield to the inclination, so natural in old men, to talk of themselves and their exploits, and may freely filow my bemin, without being tiresome to those who, from respect to my age, might think themselves obliged to Listen to me; as they will be at liberty to read me or not as they plcase. In finaand I inay as well avow it, since nobody would believe me were I to deny itI shall, perhaps, by this employment, gratify my vani. ig. Scarcely, indeed, have I ever heard or read the

introductory phrase, “I may say without vanity," but . soma striking and characteristico instance of vanity • hans, immediately followed." :The generality of men bate vanity in others, however strongly they may be tinctured with it themselves for myself, I pay obeisance to it wherevei 1 meet with it, persuaded that it is advantages, as well to the individual whom it governs; as to those who are within the sphere of its influence of consequence, it would, in many cases, apt BA wholly absurd, that a man should count his vanity aihong the other sweets of life, and give thanks to Providence for the blessing.

And here let nie with all humility acknowledge 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 1 hare employed, , and that has crowned thom with success. My faith,

in this respect, leads me to hope, though I cannot count upon it, that the Divine goudness will still be exorcised towards me, either by prolonging the dura. son of my happiness to the close of life, or by giving me fortitudo to support any melancholy reverse, which

may happen to me, as to so many others. My futuro fortune is unknown but to Him in whose hand is our destinv, and who can make our very afflictions subo servient to our benefit.

Ore of my uncles, desirous, like myself, of collecto ing anecdutes of our family, gave me somne notes, from which I have derived many particulars respect ing our ancestors. From these I learn, that they had lived in the same village (Eaton, in Northamptonehire,) upon a freehold of about thirty acres, for the space at least of three hundred years. How long they had resided there, prior to that period, my unclo had been unable to discover; probably ever since the institutior: of sumames, when they took the appella. tion of Franklin, which had forinerly been the name or a particular order of individuals. *

This petty estate would not have sufficed for their Sthsistence, had they not added the trade of black.

* As a proof that Franklin was anciently the common name of an order or rank in England, see Judge Fortesque, De laudibus legum Anglice, written about the year 1412, in which is the following passage to slide chat good juries might easily be formed in any part of Eng and :

Regio etiam illa, ita respersa referiaque est possessoribus terrarum et agrorum, quod in ea villule tam parva reperiri non poterit, in qua non est m lzs, arinage, vel pater-familias, qualis ibidem franklin vulgaritur nuncupatir, magnis ditatus possessionibus, nec non libere tenentes et alii valecti plurimi, Guis patrimoniis sufficientes, ad faciendum jaratam, in forma prænotata."

" Moreover, the same coun'ry is'en Gļled apů replenished with landed menne, that therein so small a thorre cannot be found wherein dwelleth not a kuight, an esquire, or such a bouse holder as is there commonly called a franklin, en riched with great possessions; and also other freeholders and many yeomen, able for their livelihoud to make a jury in form aforementioned."

Old Translation, Chaucer ton, calls his country-gentleman a franklin; and, alter describing his good housekeeping, thus characterizos bim:

This worthy franklin bore a purse of silk
Fir'd to his girdle, white as morning milk;
Knight of the shire, first justice at th' assize,
To help the poor, the doubtful to advise.
In all employments, generous, just, be pror'd
Rodowo'd for courtesy, by all belor'd.

mith, which was perpetuated in the family down to my uncle's time, the ellest son having been unitormly brought up to this employınent: a custom which both he and iny father observed with respect to their oldest sons.

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. This register informed me, that I was the youngest son of the youngest branch oí une family, counting five generations. My grandfather, Thomas, was born in 1598, lived at Eaton till he was too old to continue his trade, when he retired to Banbury, in Oxfordshire, where his son John, who was a dier, resided, and with whom my father was apprentice... He dica, 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. Fisher, of Welling. borough, afterwards sold it to Mr. Estead, the present proprietor. .. .

My grabdfather had four surviving sons, Thornas, Lohn Benjamin, agic Josias i shall give you such particulars of them as my memory will furnish, not having my papers lieve, in which you will find a more minute account, if they are not lost during iny absence,'.' '.

Thomas had learnteam the grade of a blackstolt under his fathet ; mito possessing a good natural un. derstanding; he irfproven it by study, 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. Thoinas thus rendered him self conipetent to the functions of a country attorney; son became an essentie) personage in the affairs of the village; and was one of the chief movers of every public enterprise, as well relative to the county as the Sigrun of Northampton. A variety of remarkable inmitten is were told us of him at Eaton. After enjoying wo esleem and patronage of Lorá Halifax, he died Jangary 6, 1902, precisely four ycars before I was

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