Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

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.

[ocr errors]

" Because to be a libeller" (said he)

“ I hate it with my heart,
From Sherburne Town' where now I dwell,

My name I do put here:
Without offence your real friend

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 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 shorthand. 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 not maintain his family. Accordingly, I was employed in cutting wick for the candles, filling the moulds for cast candles, attending the shop, going of errands, &c.

1 In the island of Nantucket.

on it,

I disliked the trade, and had a strong inclination to go to 'sea : but my father declared against it. But residing near the water, I was much in it and

I learnt to swim well, and to manage boats: and when embarked with other boys, I was commonly allowed to govern, especially in any case of difficulty; and upon other occasions I was generally the leader among the boys, and sometimes led them into scrapes, of which I will mention one instance, as it shews an early projecting public spirit, though not then justly conducted, There was a salt marsh, which bounded part of the mill-pond, on the edge of which, at high water, we used to stand to fish for minnows. By much trampling we had made it a mere quagmire. My proposal was to build a wharf there for us to stand upon, and I shewed my comrades a large heap of stones, which were intended for a new house near the marsh, and which would very well suit our purpose. Accordingly in the evening, when the workmen were gone home, I assembled a number of my play-fellows, and we worked diligently like so many emmets, sometimes two or three to a stone, till we brought them all to make our little wharf. The next morning, the workmen were surprized at missing the stones which had formed our wharf. Enquiry was made after the authors of this transfer, we were discovered, complained of, and corrected by our fathers; and though I demonstrated the utility of our work, mine convinced me that that which was not honest, could not be truly useful.

I suppose you may like to know what kind of a man my father was. He had an excellent constitution, was of a middle stature, well set and

very strong

He could draw prettily, was skilled a little in music. His voice was sonorous and agreeable, so that when he played on his violin, and sung withal, as he was accustomed to do after the business of the day was over, it was extremely agreeable to hear. He had some knowledge of mechanics, and on occasion was very handy with other tradesmen's tools. But his great excellence was his sound understanding and his solid judgment, in prudential matters, both in private and public affairs. It is true he was never employed in the latter, the numerous family he had to educate, and the straitness of his circumstances, keeping him close to his trade; but I remember well his being frequently visited by leading men, who consulted him for his opinion in public affairs, and those of the church he belonged to ; and who showed great respect for his judgment and advice. He was also much consulted by private persons about their affairs, when any difficulty occurred,

and frequently chosen an arbitrator between contending parties. At his table he liked to have, as often as he could, some sensible friend or neighbour to converse with, and always took care to start some ingenious or useful topic for discourse which might tend to improve the minds of his children. By this means he turned our attention to what was good, just, and prudent, in the conduct of life; and little or no notice was ever taken of what related to the victuals on the table; whether it was well or ill dressed, in or out of season, of good or bad flavor, preferable or inferior to this or that other thing of the kind : so that I was brought up in such a perfect inattention to those matters, as to be quite indifferent what kind of food was set before me.

Indeed I am so unobservant of it, that to this day I can scarce tell a few hours after dinner of what dishes it consisted. This has been a great convenience to me in travelling, where my companions have been sometimes very unhappy for want of a suitable gratification of their more delicate, because better instructed, tastes and

appetites.

My mother had likewise an excellent constitution: she suckled all her ten children. I never knew either my father or mother to have any sickness, but that of which they died : He at 89, and she at 85 years of age. They lie buried together at Boston, where I some years since placed a marble over their grave with this inscription:

« AnteriorContinuar »