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you, “ four years later, on the same day, one might have supposed a transmigration.” John, my next uncle, was bred a dyer, I believe of wool. Benjamin was bred a silk dyer, serving an apprenticeship in London. He was an ingenious man. I remember, when I was a boy, he came to my father's in Boston, and resided in the house with us for several years. There was always a particular affection between my father and him, and I was his godson. He lived to a great age. He left behind him two quarto volumes of manuscript, of his own poetry, consisting of fugitive pieces addressed to his friends. He had invented a short-hand of his own, which he taught me, but not having practised it, I have now forgotten it. He was very pious, and an assiduous attendant at the sermons of the best preachers, which he reduced to writing according to his method, and had thus collected several volumes of them. He was also a good deal of a politician; too much so, perhaps, for his station. There fell lately into my hands in London, a collection he had made of all the principal political pamphlets relating to public affairs, from the year 1641 to 1717; many of the volumes are wanting, as appears by their numbering, but there still remain eight volumes in folio, and twenty in quarto and in octavo. A dealer in old books had met with them, and knowing me by name, having bought books of him, he brought them to me. It would
It would appear that my uncle must
have left them here, when he went to America, which was about fifty years ago. I found several of his notes in the margins. His grandson, Samuel Franklin, is still living in Boston.
Our humble family early embraced the reformed religion. Our forefathers continued Protestants through the reign of Mary, when they were some times in danger of persecution, on account of their zeal against Popery. They had an English Bible, and to conceal it, and place it in safety, it was fastened open with tapes under and within the cover of a joint stool. When my great grandfather wished to read it to his family, he placed the joint stool on his knees, and then turned over the leaves under the tapes. One of the children stood at the door to give notice if he saw the apparitor coming, who was an officer of the spiritual court. In that case the stool was turned down again upon its feet, when the Bible remained concealed under it as before. This anecdote I had from uncle Benjamin. The family continued all of the church of England, till about the end of Charles the Second's reign, when some of the ministers that had been outed for their non-conformity, holding conventicles in Northamptonshire, my uncle Benjamin and my father Josiah adhered to them, and so continued all their lives. The rest of the family remained with the episcopal church.
My father married young, and carried his wife with three children to New-England about 1682. The conventicles being at that time forbidden by law, and frequently disturbed in the meetings, some considerable men of his acquaintances, determined to go to that country, and he was prevailed with to accompany them thither, where they expected to enjoy the exercise of their religion with freedom. By the same wife my father had four children more born there, and by a second, ten others; in all seventeen: of which I remember to have seen thirteen sitting together at his table; who all grew up to years of maturity and were married. I was the youngest son, and the young. est of all the children except two daughters. I was born in Boston, in New England.' My mother, the second wife of my father, was Abiah Folgier, daughter of Peter Folgier, one of the first settlers of New England; of whom honorable mention is made by Cotton Mather in his ecclesiastical history of that country, entitled Magnalia Christi Americana, as “a godly and learned Englishman," if I remember the words rightly. I was informed he wrote several small occasional works, but only one of them was printed, which I remember to have seen several years since. It was written in 1675. It was in familiar verse, according to the taste of the times and people; and addressed to the government there. It asserts
the liberty of conscience, in behalf of the Anabaptists, the Quakers, and other sectaries, that had been persecuted. He attributes to this persecution, the Indian wars, and other calamities that had befallen the country: regarding them as so many judgments of God to punish so heinous an offence, and exhorting the repeal of those laws, so contrary to charity. This piece appeared to me as written with manly freedom, and a pleasing simplicity. The six last lines I remember, but have forgotten the preceding ones of the stanza ; the purport of them was, that his censures proceeded from good-will, and therefore he would be known to be the author.
“ Because to be a libeller" (said he)
“ I hate it with my heart,
My name I do put here:
It is Peter Folgier."
My elder brothers were all put apprentices to different trades. I was put to the grammar-school at eight years of age; my father intending to devote me, as the tythe of his sons, to the service of the church. My early readiness in learning to read (which must have been very early, as I do not remember when I could not read) and the opinion of all his friends, that I should certainly make a
In the island of Nantucket.
good scholar, encouraged him in this purpose of his. My uncle Benjamin too approved of it, and proposed to give me his short-hand volumes of sermons, to set up with, if I would learn his shortband. I continued however at the grammarschool, rather less than a year, though in that time I had risen gradually from the middle of the class of that year to be at the head of the same class, and was removed into the next class, whence I was to be placed in the third at the end of the year. But my father, burdened with a numerous family, was unable without inconvenience to support the expense of a college education : considering, moreover, as he said to one of his friends in my presence, the little encouragement that line of life afforded to those educated for it; he gave up his first intentions, took me from the grammarschool, and sent me to a school for writing and arithmetic, kept by a then famous man, Mr. George Brownwell. He was a skilful master, and successful in his profession, employing the mildest and most encouraging methods. Under him I learnt to write a good hand, pretty soon; but I failed entirely in arithmetic. At ten years old I was taken to help my father in his business, which was that of a tallow-chandler, and soap-boiler: a business to which he was not bred, but had assumed on his arrival at New-England, because he found that his dyeing trade, being in little request, would