Obrázky stránek

of vanity has immediately followed. The generality of men hate vanity in others, however strongly they may be tinctured with it themselves; for

myfelf, I pay obeisance to it wherever I meet with it, perfuaded that it is advantageous, as well to the individual whom it governs, as to those who are within the fphere of its influence. Of consequence, it would in many cases, not be wholly absurd, that a man should count his yanity among the other sweets of life, and give thanks to providence for the blessing.

And here let me 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 furnillied 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 close of life, or by giving 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 in whose hand is our destiny, and who can make our very afflicti. ons fubfervient to our benefit.

One of my uncles, desirous like myself, of collecting anecdotes of our family, gave me fome notes, from which I have derived many particulars respecting our ancestors. From these I learn, that they had lived in the same village (Eatin in Northamptoníhire) 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 uncle had been unable to discover; probably ever since the institution of furnames, 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 sufficed for their fubfitence, had they not added the trade of blackfmith, which was perpetuated in the family down to my uncle's tiine, the eldest fun having been uni


* As a proof chat Franklin was anciently the common name of an order of rank in England, fee Judge Fortesclie, De luis:libus legun ingliæ, written about the year 14:2, in which is the following paífuze, to thew that good juries might easily be formed in any part of England :

Regio etiam illa, ita refperfa refertaque eft PT Hori. « bus terrierun et agrorum, quod in ea, villularım par

varen riri non poterit, in qua non eit miles, armiger, vel

pater familias, qualis ibidem frenklin vulgaritur nun" curatur, mis aitatus potefionibus, nec non libere, " teicntes 21 ali vien plurimi, fais patrimoniis fufici.

entes, ?d faciendum juratam, in forina prænotata." "Kercover, the fame country is fo filled and replenith.

cl with larded menne, that therein fo fmall a thorpe "cannot be found wherein dwelleth not a knight, an ef. 66 Guire, cr such a householder as is there commonly called saranklin, enriched with great pofleflions, and also ar ciker freeholders and many yeomen,

able for their “ livelihoods to make a jury in form aforementioned,"

OLD TRANSLA? JON. Chancer too calls his country gentlemen a franklin, and after describing his good housekeeping, thus characteriies hin :

This worthy franklin bore a purse of Glk,
Fix'd to his girdle, white as morning iniik.
Knight to the dire, first justice to th' avize,
To help the poor the coubtful to advise.
In all employments, generous, just ke prov'll,
Renown'd for courtesy, by all belov'd.

formerly brought up to this employment: a custom 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. This register informed me, that I was the youngest son of the youngest branch of the family, counting five m generations. My grandfather, Thomas, who was

born in 1598, living at Eaton till he was too old to continue his trade, when he retired to Banbury in Oxfordshire, 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 belongingto it, to his only daugha ter ; who, in concert with her husband, Mr. Fisher of Wellingborough, afterwards fold it to Mr. Eit. ed, the present proprietor.

My grandfather had four surviving fons, Tho mas, John, Benjamin, and Ji fias. I shall give you such particulars of them as my memory will furnishi, not having my papers here, in which you will find a more minute account, if they are not loit during my absence.

Thoinas had learned the trade of a black finith under his father ; but poffeffing a good natural underitanding, he improved it by study, at the filici. tation of a gentleman by the name of Palmer, wlio was at that time the principal inhabitant of thevil. lage, and who encourged in like manner all my

'incies to improve their minds. Thomas thus rendered himself competent to the functions or a coun.

The re

try attorney; soon became an essential personage in the affairs of the village; and was one of the chief movers of every public enterprize, as wellrelative to the country as the town of Northampton. A variety of remarkable incidents were told us of him at Eaton. After enjoying the esteem and patronage of Lord Halifax, he died Jan. 6, 1702, precisely four years before I was born cital 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. 6. Had he died,” said you,“ just four years later, one might have suppored a transmigration of souls.”

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 fubfifted between my father and him; and I was his godfon. He arrived to a great age. He left behind him two quarto volumes of poems in manuscript, corfilling of little fugitive pieces addressed to the friends. He had invented a fhorihand, which he taught me, but having never made ule of it, I have now forgotten it. He was a man of piety, and a constant attendant on the best preachers, wlose sermons he took a pleasure in writing down according to the expeditor y method he had devised. Many volunes were thus collect. ed by hin), he was also extremely fond of politics, too much fo perhaps for his situation. Tütely 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 their still remain eight in folio, and twenty four U in quarto and octavo. The collection had fallen

into the bands of a second-hand bookseller, who, knowing meby 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 Re. formation. They remained 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 prospect of fastening it, open, with pack-threads a. cross the leaves, on the inside of the lid of a closeftool. When my great-grandfather wished to read to his family, he reversed the lid of the close-stool upon his knees, and passed the leaves from one fide to the other, which were held down on each by the pack-thread. One of the children was stations ed at the door, to give notice if he saw the proctor (an officer of the spiritual court) make his appear. ance: in that case, the lid was restored to its place, with the Bible concealed under it as before, I had this anecdote froin my uncle Benjamin,

The whole family preserved its attachments 10 the Church of England till towards the close of the reign of Charles II. when certain ministers, who had been cjected as non-conformists, having held conventicles in Northamptonshire, they were joinVOL. I.


« PředchozíPokračovat »