Abbildungen der Seite




to me.


I have amused myself with collecting soine Iretio anecdotes of my family. You may remember tho inquiries I made, when vou vere with me i Eng. land, among such of my relations as were then liv. ing; and the jouries I undertook for that purpose. To be acquainted witis the particulars of my parent: age and life, many of which are vnksown to you, ! flatier myself will afford the same pleasure to you as

I shall relate them upon paper: it will be an agreeable employment of a week's uninterrupied leisure, which I promise myself muring my present retirement in the country. There are also other ino. rices which induce me to the undertaking. From the bosom of poverty and obscurity, in which I drew my first breath, and spent my earbest years, I have raised myselí 19. a state of opulence, and to seine degree of celebrity in the world.

A constant good fortune has attended me through every period o life to my oresent advanced age; and my ciescendants niay be dosirous of learning wiat were the means of which ! 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 gi. milar situation, derive' somo advantage from my car rative. Whon I

lect, as I frequently do, upon the felicity I hate enjoyed, I sometimes say t myself, that were the offer made true I would engage to run agam,


beginning to end, the same canter of life. All I would ask, should be the privilege of an author, correct, in a second edition, certain errors of the first I could wish, likewise, if it were in my power, lo change some trivial incideriis and events for other moro favourable. Were this, however, denied are, still would I not declina the offer. But since a ito petition 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 render their remembrance more durable, coinnit them to writing.. By us em:'nying anyself, I shall yield is the inclination, su natural in old men, lo talk of bemselves and their expioits, and may freely foilow my bering without being tiresonie to those who, from respect to my age, might think themselves obliged to Listen tc me; as they will be at liberty to read me or not as they please. In finem and I may as well avow it, since nobody would believe me were I to deny itI shall, perhaps, by this employment, gratify my vani ty. Scarcely, indeed, have I ever heard or nad the introductory phrase, “ 1 may say without vanity," but somo striking and characteristic instance of vanity bas immediate y followed. The generality uf men nato vanity in others, however strongly they inay be tinctured with it themselves : for myself, I pay obej sance to it wherever I meet with it, persuaded that it is advantageino, as well to the individual whom it governs, as to those who are within the spriere of it Induenco. Oi consequence, it would, in many cases, oor be wholly absurd, that a man should count his vanity among the other sweets of life, and give thanks u Providence for the blessing.

And here let nie with all humility acknowledge that to Divine Providence I am indeired for the felicity! bavn hitheno enjoyed. It is that power alone which has finished me with the means I have einployed, nad that has crowned thom with success. My farth, in this respect, lends me to hope, though I cannot count upon it, thai tie Divine goodness will still be wercised towards me, sither by prolonging the dunbon of my, happiness to the close of life, or by giving one fortitude to support any melancholy revorse, whics

may happen to me, as to so many others. My fuuine fortune is unknown but 10 Him in wnose haud is our destinv, and who can make her very afflictions sub servient to our benefit.

Or:e of my oncles, desirous, like myself, of collect. ing aneciutes of our family, gave nie soine notes,

from which I have derived many particulars respect. ing our ancestors. From these I learn, that they had lived in the sanre village (Eaton, in Northampton shire,) upon a freehold vi 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 siaco the institutiori of sumames, when they took the appellation of Franklin, which had forinerly been the name of a particular order of individuals. *

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

* As a proof that Franklio was anciently, the common, Dame of an order or rank in England, see Judge Fortesque, De laudibus legum Anglia, written about the year. 1412. in. which is the following passage, to show that good juries. might easily be formed in any part of king and .

Regio etiam illa, ita respersa referisque est possessoribus terrarum et agrorum, quod in na villula tam parva reperiri *Bon poterit, in qua non est miles, arniger, veljaler-familiasa qualis ibidem franklin vulgaritur nuncupatur, magnis ditatus, possessicnibus, nec non libere tenentes et alii valecti plurimi, suis patrimoniis sufficientes, ad faciendum jurutam, in forma prægulata."

. Moreover, the same countey is so filled and replenished with landed menne, that therein so small a thure cannot be found wherein dwelleth not a knighi, an esquire, or such a house holder as is there commonly called a franklin, en riched with great possessions, and also other creeholders and many yeomen, able for their livelihnud to take a jury in forn, a forementioned.'

Old Translation. Chaucer ton cai!s his country-gentleman a franklin; and, after describing his good housekeeping, thur characterizes

This worthy franklin bore a purse of silk
Fir'd to his girdle, white as morning milk;
Knight of the shire. first justice with assiza.
To help the poor, the doubtful to advise.
la all employments, generous, jası, he provide
Recowo'd for courtesy, by Jl belor'd

í *

« ZurückWeiter »