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at years of maturity, and were married. I was the last of the sons, and the youngest child, excepting two daughters. I was born at Boston, in New England. My mother, the second wife, was Abiah Folger, daughter of Peter Folger, one of the first colonists of New England, of whom Cotton Mather makes honourable mention, in his Ecclesiastical History of that province, as" a pious and learned Englishman,'' if I rightly recollect his expressions. I have been told of his having written a variety of little pieces; but there appears to be only one in print, which I met with many years ago. It was published in the year 1675, 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 lawsusd.cantråry .to charitja «The poem appeared to be written with a manly freedom and a pleasing'simplicity. I recolláct 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 benevolente and that, of consequence, he wished to be known as the authors because, said he, I hate from my yery soul dissimulatioa.
From herburne, where I dwell,
Iothereiste put my name,
PETER FOLGER. 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 infancy, I had learned to read, for I do not remember to have been ever without this ac- 1 quirement, and the encouragement of his friends, who assured him that I should one day certainly become a i man of letters, confirmed him in this design. My un.) ele Benjamin approved also of the scheme, and promis- | ed to give me all his volumes of sermons, written as I i have said, in the short-hand of his invention, if I would take the pains to learn it.
* Town in the Island of Nantucket.
I remained, however, scarcely a year at the grammar-school, although, in this short interval, I had risen from the middle to the head of my class, from thence 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 him self to difficulties, of providing for the expenses of a collegiate education ; and considering, besides, as I heard him 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 1 failed in arithmetic, and made therein no sort of progress.
At ten years of age, I was called home to assist my father in his occupation, which was that of a soap-boiler and tallow-chandler; a business to which he had seryed no apprenticeship, but which he embraced on his arrival in New England, because he found his own, that of a dyer, in too little request to enable him to maintain his family. I was accordingly employed in cutting the wicks, filling the moulds, taking care of the shop, carrying messages, &c.'
This business displeased me, and I felt a strong inclination for a sea life; but my father set his face against it. The vicinity of the water, however, gave me frequent opportunities of venturing myself both upon and within it, and I soon acquired the art of swimming, and of managing a boat. When embarked with other children, the helm was commonly deputed to me, 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 not conducted by justice.
The mill pond was terminated on one side by a marsh, upon the borders of which we were accustomed to take our stand, at high water, to angle for small fish. By dint of walking, we had converted the place into a 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 of a new house near the marsh, and which were well adapted for our purpose. Ac
cordingly, when the workmen retired in the evening, I assembled a number of my playfellows, and by labouring 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 workmen 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 strenuously 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 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 sung a psalm or hymn, with the accompaniment of his violin, as was his frequent practice in the 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 prudence, both in public and private life. In the former indeed he never en gaged, because his numerous family, 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 respecting 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 conten:ling 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 'ust, 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
bit of cong his opiniononged, and the
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 eightyfive. They are buried together at Boston, where, a few years ago, I placed a marble over their grave, with this inscription :
“ HERE LIES JOSIAS FRANKLIN
AND ABIAH HIS WIFE: « They lived together with reciprocal affection for fifty-nine years; and without private fortune, without lucrative employment, by assiduous labour and honest industry, decently supported a numerous family, and educated with success, thirteen children, and sevgrandchildren. Let this example, reader, encouage thee diligently to discharge the duties of thy calling, and to rely on the support of Divine
" SHE DISCREET AND VIRTUOUS. 66 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 compa
ny as for a formal ball. This deserves, perhaps, the : 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 twelve years of age. About this time my
brother John, who had served his apprenticeship in
London, having quitted my father, and being married cand settled in business on his own account at Rhode
Island, I was destined, to all appearance, to supply bis place, and be a candle-maker all my life : but my dislike to this occupation continuing, my father was apprehensive, that, if a more agreeable one were not
offered me, I might play the truant and escape to sea; as, to his extreme mortification, my brother Josias had done. He therefore took me sometimes to see masons, coopers, braziers, joiners, and other mechanics, employed at their work; in order to discover the bent of my inclination, and fix it if 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 experiments, while the idea I have conceived has been fresh and strongly impressed on my imagination.
My father at length decided that I should be a cutJer, and I was placed for some days upon trial with my cousin Samuel, son of my uncle Benjamin, who had learned this trade in London, and had established himself at Boston. But the premium he required for my apprenticeship displeasing my father, I was recalled home.
From my earliest years I had been passionately fond of reading, and I laid out in books all the money I could procure. I was particularly pleased with accounts of voyages. My first acquisition was Bunyan's collection in small separate volumes. These I afterwards sold in order to buy an historical collection by R. Burton, which consisted of small cheap volumes, amounting in all to about forty or fifty. My father's little library was principally made up of books of practical and polemical theology. I read the greatest part of them. I have since often regretted, that at a time when I had so great a thirst for knowledge, more eligible books had not fallen into my hands, as it was then a point decided that I should not be educated for the church. There was also among my father's books Plutarch's Lives, in which I read continually, and I still regard as advantageously employed the time I devoted to them. I found besides a work of De Foe's, entitled an Essay on Projects from which, perhaps, I derived impressions that have since influenced some of the principal events of my life.
My inclination for books at last determined my father to make me a printer, though he had already a son in that profession. My brother had returned from England in 1717, with a press and types, in order to establish a printing-house at Boston. This business pleased me inuch better than that of my father, though I had still a predilection for the sea. To prevent the