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and is in familiar verse, agreeably to the taste of the times and the country. The author addresses himself to the governors for the time being, speaks for liberty of conscience, and in favour of the anabaptists, quakers, and other sectaries, who had suffered persecution. To this persecution he attributes the wars with the natives, and other calamities which afflicted the country, regarding them as the judgments of God in punishment of so odious an offence, and he exhorts the government to the repeal of laws so contrary to charity. The poem appeared to be written with a manly freedom and a pleasing simplicity. I recollect the six concluding lines, though I have forgotten the order of words of the two first; the sense of which was, that his censures were dictated by benevolence, and that, of consequence, he wished to be known as the author; because, said he, I hate from my very soul dissimulation.
From Sherburn,* where I dwell,
I therefore put my name,
My brothers were all put apprentices to different trades. With respect to myself, I was sent, at the age of eight years, to a grammar-school. My father destined me for the church, and already regarded me as the chaplain of my family. The promptitude with which, from my infausy, I had learned to read, for I do not remember to have been ever without this acquirement, and the encouragement of his friends, who assured him that I should one day certainly become a man of letters, confirmed him in this design. My uncle Benjamin approved also of the scheme, and promised to give me all his volumes of semmons, writ. ien, as I have said, in the short-hand of his inven tion, if I would take the pains to learn it.
I remained, however, scarcely a year at the gram. mar-school, althongh, in this short interval, I had risen from the middle to the head of my class, froin thence
* Town in the island of Nantucket.
to the class immediately above, and was to pass, at the end of the year, to the one next in order. But my father, burdened with a numerous family, found that he was incapable, without subjecting himself to difficulties, of providing for the expenses of a colie. giate education, and considering, besides, as I heard hiin say to his friends, that persons so educated were often poorly provided for, he renounced his first intentions, took me from the grammar-school, and sent me to a school for writing and arithmetic, kept by a Mr. George Brownwell, who was a skilful master, and succeeded very well in his profession by employing gentle means only, and such as were calculated to encourage his scholars. Under him, I soon acquired an excellent hand; but I failed in arithmetic, and made therein no sort of progress.
At ten years of age, i was called home to assist mı father in his occupation, which was that of soap-boiler: and allow-chandler; a business to which he hack served no apprenticeship, but which he embraced a his arrival in New England, because he found his own, that of dier, in too little request to enable him la inaintain his family. I was accordingly employed in cutting the wicks, filling the moulds, taking care of the shop, canying messages, &c.
This husiness displeased me, and I felt a strong inclination for a sea lite ; but my father set his face against it. The viciniiy of the water, bowever, gave ine frequent opportunities of venturing myself both upon and within it, and soon acquired the art of swimming and of managing a boat. When embarked with other children, the helm was commonly de. puted to ine, particularly on difficult occasions; and, in every other project, I was almost always the leader of the troop, whom I sometimes involved in embarrassments. I shall give an instance of this, which demonstrates an early disposition of mind for public enterprises, though the one in question was tot conducted by justice.
The mill-pond was terminated on one side by a marsh, upon the borders of which we were sscustomed to take our stand, at high water, to amte for snall fish. By dint of walking, we had converted
perfect quagmire. My proposal was to erect a wharf • that should afford us firm footing; and I pointed out to my companions a large heap of stones, intended for the building a new house near the marsh, and which were well adapted for our purpose. Accordingly, when the workmen retired in the evening, I assembled a number of my play-fellows, and by la. bouring diligently, like ants, sometimes four of us uniting our strength to carry a single stone, we removed them all, and constructed our little quay. The work men were surprised the next morning at not finding their stones, which had been conveyed to our wharf, Inquiries were made respecting the authors of this conveyance; we were discovered; complaints were exhibited against us; and many of us underwent correction on the part of our parents; and though I
trenuously defended the utility of the work, my father at length convinced me, that nothing which was not strictly honest could be useful.
It will not, perhaps, be uninteresting to you to know what sort of a man my father was. He had an excellent constitution, was of a middle size, but well made and strong, and extremely active in whatever he undertook. He designed with a degree of neatness, and knew a little of music. His voice was sonorous and agreeable; so that when he sang a psalm or hymn, with the accompaniment of his violin, as was his frequent practice in an evening, when the labours of the day were finished, it was truly delightful to hear him. He was versed also in mechanics, and could, upon occasion, use the tools of a variety of trades. But his greatest excellence was a sound understanding and solid judgment, in matters of pru. dence, both in public and private life. In the former, indeed, he never engaged, because his numerous fami. ly, and the mediocrity of his fortune, kept him unremittingly employed in the duties of his profession. But I well remember, that the leading men of the place used frequently to come and ask his advice re. specting the affairs of the town, or of the church to which he belonged, and that they paid much deference to his opinion. Individuals were also in the habit of consulting him in their private affairs, and he was often chosen arbiter between contending parties.
He was fond of having at his table, as often as possible, some friends or well-informed neighbours, capable of rational conversation, and he was always careful to introduce useful or ingenious topics of discourse, which might tend to form the minds of his children. By this means he early attracted our attention to what was just, prudent, and beneficial in the conduct of life. He never talked of the meats which appeared upon the table, never discussed whether they were well or ill-dressed, of a good or bad flavour, high-seasoned or otherwise, preferable or inferior to this or that dish of a similar kind. Thus accustomed, from my infancy, to the utmost inattention as to these objects, I have been perfectly regardless of what kind of food was before me; and I pay so little attention to it even now, that it would be a hard matter for me to recollect, a few hours after I had dined, of what my dinner had consisted. When travelling, I have particularly experienced the advantage of this habit; for it has often happened to me to be in company with persons, who, having a more delicate, because a more exercised taste, have suffered in many cases considerable inconvenience; while, as to myself, I have had nothing to desire.
My mother was likewise possessed of an excellent constitution. She suckled all her ten children, and I never heard either her or my father complain of any other disorder than that of which they died: my father at the age of eighty-seven, and my mother at eighty-five. They are buried together at Boston, where, a few years ago, I placed a marble over their grave, with this inscription :
" Here lie "Josias FRANKLIN and Ablah his wife : They lived "together with reciprocal affection for fifty-nine years; “and without private fortune, without lucrative en“ployment, by assiduous labour and honest industry, 6 decently supported a numerous family, and educa. “ted with success, thirteen children, and seven grand
children. Let this example, reader, encourage theo “ diligently to discharge tho duties of thy calling, and "to rely on the support of Divine Providence.
“He was pious and prudent,
“She discreet and virtuous. « Their youngest son, from a sentiment of filial duty,
" consecrates this stone to
" their memory."
I perceive, by my rambling digressions, that I am growing old. But we do not dress for a private conipany as for a formal ball. This deserves, perhaps, ihe name of negligence.
To return. I thus continued employed in my father's trade for the space of two years; that is to say, till I arrived at tweive years of age. About this time my brother John, who had served his apprenticeship in London, having quitted my father, and being married and settled in business on his own account at Rhode Island, I was destined, to all appearance, to supply his place, and be a candle-maker al my life; but my dislike of this occupation continuing, my father was apprehensive, that, if a more agreeable one were not offered me, I might play the truant and eseape to sea; as, to his extreme mortification, my brother Josias had done. He therefore took ine sometimes to see masons, coopers, braziers, joiners, and other niechanics, employed at their work; in order to discover the bent of my inclination, and fix it, it he could, upon some occupation that might retain me on shore. I have since, in consequence of these visits, derived no small pleasure from seeing skilful workmen handle their tools, and it has proved of considerable benefit, to have acquired thereby sufficient knowledge to be able to make little things for myself, when I have had no mechanic at hand, and to construct small machines for my experimente, while the idea i have conceived has been fresh and strongly impressed on my inagination,
My father at length, decided that I should be a cut. ler, and I was placed for some days upon trial with my cousin Samuel, son of my uncle Benjamin, who