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Eastern District of Pennsylvania, to wit:
BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the tenth day of June, in the fifty-third year of the Independence of the United States of America, A. D. 1829, URIAÉ HUNT, of the said District, has deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof he claims is proprietor, in the words following, to wit:
“ The Life of Benjamin Franklin; with many Choice Anecdotes and Admirable Saye ings of this great man, never before published by any of his biographers. By M. L. Weems, author of the Life of Washington.
“Sage Franklin next arose in cheerful mien,
And crowns and laurels from their temples torn." In conformity to the Act of the Congress of the United States, entitled, " An Act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned;" and also to an Act, entitled, " An Act supplementary to an Act, entitled, ' An Act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned,' and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching, historical and other prints."
LIFE OF FRANKLIN.
DR. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY; FELLOW OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF EDINBURGH, LONDON AND PARIS; GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA; AND MINISTER PLENIPOTENTIARY FROM THE UNITED STATES TO THE COURT OF FRANCE, was the son of an obscure tallow-chandler and soap-boiler, of Boston, where he was born on the 17th day of January, 1706. Some men carry
letters of recommendation in their looks, and some in their names. 'Tis the lot but of few to inherit both of these advantages. The hero of this work was one of that favoured number. As to his physiognomy, there was in it such an air of wisdom and philanthropy, and consequently such an expression of majesty and sweetness, as charms, even in the commonest pictures of him.
And for his name, every one acquainted with the old English history, must know, that Franklin stands for what we now mean by 66 Gentleman,” or 6 CLEVER FELLOW.”
In the days of Auld Lang Syne, their neighbours from the continent made a descents on the fast anchored isle,” and compelled the hardy, red-ochred natives to buckle to their yoke. Among the victors were some regiments of Franks, who distinguished themselves by their valor, and still more by their politeness to the vanquished, and especially to the females. By this amiable gallantry the Franks acquired such glory among the brave islanders, that whenever any of their own people achieved any thing uncom. monly handsome, he was called, by way of compliment, a FRANKLIN, i. e. a little Frank. As the living flame does not more naturally tend upwards than does every virtue to exalt its possessors, these little Franks were soon promoteil to be great men, such as justices of the peace, knights of the
shire, and other such names of high renown. Hence those pretty lines of the old poet Chaucer
"This worthy Franklin wore a purse of silk
Renown'd for courtesy ; by all belov'd." But though, according to Dr. Franklin's own account of his family, whose pedigree he looked into with great diligence while he was in England, it appears that they were all of the "well born," or gentlemen in the best sense of the word; yet they dil not deem it beneath them to continue the came useful courses which had at first conferred their titles. On the contrary, the ductor owns, and indeed glories in it, that for three hundred years the eldest son, or heir apparent in this family of old British gentlemen, was invariably brought up a blacksmith. Moreover, it appears from the saine indubitable authority, that the blacksmith succession was most religiously continued in the family down to the days of the doctor's father. How it has gone on since that time I have never heard; but considering the salutary effects of such a fashion on the prosperity of a young republic, it were most devoutly to be wished that it is kept up: and that the family of one of the greatest men who ever lived in this or any other country, still display in their coat of arms, not the barren gules and garters of European folly, but those better ensigns of American wisdom the SLEDGE-HAMMER and ANVIL.
"Were I so tall to reach the pole,
And grasp the ocean in my span,
For 'tis the MIND that makes the man."
From the best accounts which I have been able to pick up, it would appear that a passion for learning had a long run in the family of the Franklins. Of the doctor's three uncles, the elder, whose name was Thomas, though con scientiously brought up a blacksmith, and subsisting his family by the din and sweat of his anvil, was still a great reader. Instead of wasting his leisure hours, as too many of the trade do, in tippling and tobacco, he acquired enougke
of the law to render himself a very useful and leading man among the people of Northampton, where his forefathers had lived in great comfort for three hundred years, on thirty acres of land.
His uncle Benjamin, too, another old English gentleman of the right stamp, though a very hard-working man at the silk-dying trade, was equally devoted to the pleasures of the mind." He made it a rule whenever he lighted on a copy of verses that pleased him, to transcribe them into a large blank book which he kept for the purpose.
he colleated two quarto volumes of poems, written in short hand of his own inventing. And, being a man of great piety, and fond of attending the best preachers, whose serinons he always took down, he collected in the course of his life, eight volumes of sermons in folio, besides near thirty in quarto and octavo, and all in the aforesaid short hand! Astonishing proof, what a banquet of elegant pleasures even a poor mechanic may enjoy, who begins early to read and think! 'Tis true, he was a long time about it. afforded him a constant cheerfulness. And deriving from the same source a regular temperance, he attained to a great age. In his seventy-third year, still fresh and strong, he left his native country, and came over to America, to see his
younger brother Josias, between whom and himself there had always subsisted a more than ordinary friendship. On his arrival in Boston, he was received with unbounded joy by Josias, who pressed him to spend the residue of his days in his family. To this proposition the old gentleman readily consented; and the more so as he was then a widower, and his children, all married off, had left him. He had the honor to give his name, and to stand godfather to our little nero, for whom, on account of his vivacity and fondness for learning, he conceived an extraordinary affection. And Ben always took a great delight in talking of this uncle. Nor was it to be wondered at; for he was an old man who wore his religion very much to win young people-a pleasant countenance—a sweet speech and a fund of anecdotes always entertaining, and generally carrying some good moral in the tail of them. His grandfather before him must have been a man of rare humour, as appears from a world of droll stories which uncle Benjamin used to tell after him, and which his New England descendants to this day are wont to repeat with great glee. I must let the reader hear one or two of them. They will amuse him, by showing what strange
things were done in days of yore by kings and priests l'a the land of our venerable forefathers.
It was his grandfather's fortune to live in the reign of Queen Mary, whom her friends called holy Mary, but her enemies bloody Mary. In the grand struggle for power between those humble followers of the cross, the catholics and the protestants, the former gained the victory, for which Te Deums' in abundance were sung throughout the land. And having been sadly rib-roasted by the protestants when in power, they determined, like good christians, now that the tables were turned, to try on them the virtues of fire and faggot. The Franklin family having ever been sturdy protestants, began now to be in great tribulation.
66 What shall we do to save our Bible?" was the question. After serious consultation in a family caucus, it was resolved to hide it in the close-stool; which was accordingly done, by fastening it, open, on the under side of the lid by twine threads drawn strongly across the leaves. When the grandfather read to the family, he turned up the aforesaid lid on his knees, passing the leaves of his Bible, as he read, from one side to the other. One of the children was carefully stationed at the door, to give notice if he saw the priest, or any of his frowning tribe, draw near. In that event, the lid with the Bible lashed beneath it, was instantly clapped down again on its old place.
These things may appear strange to us, who live under a wise republic, which will not suffer the black gowns of one church to persecute those of another. But they were common in those dark and dismal days, when the clergy thought more of creeds than of Christ, and of learning Latin than of learning love. Queen Mary was one of this gnostic generation, who place their religion in the head, though Christ places it in the heart,) and finding it much easier to her unloving spirit, to burn human beings called heretics, than to mortify her own lust of popularity, she suffered her catholic to fly upon and worry her protestant subjects at a shameful rate. Good old uncle Benjamin use , to divert his friends with another story, which happened i the family of his own aunt, who kept an inn af Eaton, Northamptonshire.
A most violent priest, of the name of Asquith, who thought, like Saul, that he should be doing “God service” by killing the heretics, had obtained letters patent from queen Mary against those people in the county of Warwick. On his way he called to dine at Eaton, where he was