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itt 1598, living at Eaton. till he was too old to continue his trade, when he retired to Banbury in Oxfordshire, where his son John who was a dyer, resided, and with whom my father was apprenticed. He died, and was buried there: we saw his monument in 1758. His eldest son lived in the family house at Eaton, which he bequeathed, with the land belonging to it, to his only daughter; who in concert with her husband, Mr. Fisher of Wellingborough, afterwards sold it to Mr. Ested, the present proprietor.
My grandfather had four surviving sons, Thomas, John, Benjamin, and Josias. I shall give you such particulars of them as my memory will furnish, not having my papers here, in which you will find a more minute account, if they are not lost during my absence.
Thomas had learned the trade of a blacksmith under his father ; but possessing a good natural understanding, he improved it by study, at the solicitation of a gentleman of the name of Palmer, who was at that time the principal inhabitant of the village, and who encouraged in like manner all my ur.cles to improve their minds. Thomas thus rendered himself competent to the functions of a country attorney ; soon became an essential personage in the affairs of the village ; and was one of th* chief movers of every public enterprise, as well relative to the county as the town of Northampton. A variety of remarkable incidents were told of him. at Eaton. After enjoying the esteem and patronage of Lord Halifax, he died January" 6, 1702x precisely four years before I was born. The recital that was made us of his life and character, by some aged persons of the village, struck you, 1 re.. member, as extraordinary, from its analogy to whajfi you know of myself. "Had he died," said you* "just four years laterT one might have supposed a transmigration of souls."
John, Io the best of my belief, was brought up to the trade of a wool-dyer.
Benjamin served his apprenticeship in London to a silk-dyer. He was an industrious man: I remember him well; for, while I was a child, he join^ ed my father at Boston, and lived for some years in the house with us. A particular affection had always subsisted between my father and him ; and I was his godson. He arrived to a great age. He left behind him two quarto volumes of poems in manuscript, consisting of little fugitive pieces addressed to his friends. He had invented a short hand, which he taught me, but having never made use of it, I have now forgotten it. He was a man of piety, and a constant attendant on the best preachers, whose sermons he took a pleasure in writing down according to the expeditory method he had devised. Many volumes were thus collected by . him. He was also extremely fond of politics, too much so perhaps for his situation. I lately found in London a collection which he had made ot all the principal pamphlets relative to public affairs, from the year 1641 to 1717. Many volumes ;»re wanting, as appears by the series of numbers; but there still remain eight in folio, and twentyfour in quarto and octavo. The collection had fal- . len into the hands of a second-hand bookseller, who knowing me by having sold me some books, brought it to me. My uncle, it seems, had left it behind him on his departure for America about fifty years ago. I found various notes of his writing in the margins. His grandson, Samuel, is now hying at Boston.
"Our humble family had early embraced the Reformation. They remained faithfully attached during the reign of Queen Mary, when they were in danger of being molested on account of their zeal . against popery. They had an English Bible, and to conceal it the more securely, they conceived the project of fastening it open, with packthreads across the leaves, on the inside of the lid of a closestool. When my great grandfather wished to re ad to the family, he reverved the lid of the close-stool upon his knees, and passed the leaves from one side to the other, which were held down on each by the pack-thread. One of the children was stationed at the door, to give notice if he saw the proctor (an officer of the spiritual court) make his appearance: in that case the lid was restored to its place, with the Bible concealed under it as before, lhad this anecdote from my uncle Benjamin.
The whole family preserved its attachment to the church of England till towards the close of the reign of Charles II. when certain ministers who had been ejected as non-conformists, having held conventicles in Northamptonshire, they were joined by Benjamin and Josias, who adhered to them ever after. The rest of the family continued in the episcopal church.
My father, Josias, married early in life. He went with his wife and three children to New England, about the year 1682. Conventicles being at that time prohibited by law, and frequently disturbed, some considerable persons of his acquaintance determined to go to America, where they hoped to enjoy the free exercise of their religion, an J my fithi r was prevailed on to aceomnanvth,rn.
Mv fuller had also by the same wife four children l)om in Ameiica, ani ten others by a second wife, makii.ji .in all seventeen. I remember to have seen thirteen seated together at his .table, who all arrived to the years of maturity, & 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 Mathers makes honorable mention, in the Ecclesiastical History of that province, as "a piaiis 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 favor of the anabaptists, quakers, and other sectaries, who had sufFered persetution. To this persecution he attributes the wars with the natives, and other calamities which afflict, ed the country, regarding them as the judgments of Ood 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 t
From Sherburne,* where I dwell,
Your friend, who means you well,
Peter Folceb. * Town in the Island of Nantucket.
My brothersVere 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 the family. The promptitude with which from my infancy I had learned to read, for 1 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 sermons, written, as I have said, in the short-hand of his invention, if I would take the pains to learn it.
I remained however scarcely a year at 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 3 ear, to the one next in order. But my father, burthened with a numerous family, found that he was incapable, without subjecting himself to difficulties, of providing for the expence 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 writting and'arithmetic, kept by a Mr. George Brownwel, 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 1 soon acquired an excellent hand ; but I failed in arithmetic, and made therein no sort of progress.
At ten years of dge I was called home to assist; B