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the living of great Yarmouth, and, Fransham's pecuniary circumstances being exceedingly low, he submitted to a friend whether his attendance at Brooke might not be deserving of something more than the hospitable reception he had always received; adding that, if he could consider his instructions worth a guinea, that sum would be very serviceable. His friend advised him to write to Dr. Cooper on the subject; to which Fransham replied that he had never written a letter to any person in his life, and was wholly unequal to the task; and requested him to indite such a letter for him as he might think suitable. Fransham had written whole volumes upon various subjects, had discussed the comparative merits of poets, orators, and philosophers, and so early as his eighteenth year had written an epistle against the fear of death; yet he had reached his fiftieth without penning a single letter, and now felt himself wholly unequal to the undertaking. The letter to Dr. Cooper was written for him, and Fransham copied it. In purport it simply stated that, if the Dr. thought Fransham's services to the family worthy of more remuneration than his meat and bed, a guinea, or a less sum, would be highly acceptable. A new difficulty presented itself; for lie who had never written a letter had never learned to fold one. He exercised his ingenuity in doubling and redoubling this, until he was again obliged to resort to his friend for assistance. The epistle was sent by the post: day after day elapsed; no answer arrived; and Fransham expressed a determination that, as he had been so unsuccessful in his first, he would never venture a second attempt at correspondence. At length a letter arrived from Dr. Cooper, inclosing, not the utmost of Fransham's expectations, a guinea, but a five pound note, with a kind apology for the delay occasioned by the doctor's absence, warm expressions of thanks for Fransham's instructive attentions, of regret that the too great distance prevented a renewal of them, and with a generous and pressing invitation to him to spend a few weeks with Dr. Cooper and his family, not as a preceptor, but as a friend. The doctor's remittance was affluence to Fransham; it enabled hiin for some time to support himself comfortably, and seems to have been the means of finally disencumbering him. His reputation for ability as a teacher procurer1 successive applications
to him for tuition in the classics and mathematics, from some of the most respectable families in Norwich. At that time he was the only person in the city who could give able instruction in both these branches, and young men who were designed for Oxford or Cambridge, were chiefly indebted to his preparatory assistance, before they were entered for the universities.
Fransham now opened a kind of school, from six o'clock till eight in the morning, during summer, and during the same hours in the evening of winter. This was a favorable arrangement for youth destined to become attorneys, chemists, or medical practitioners, or to enter on professions which required a knowledge of Latin and the exact sciences. Fransham's pecuniary circumstances improved. He obtained from fifteen to twenty pupils: a number far exceeding his expectations, and greatly more than he wished for. He conceived it impossible that any teacher could do justice to more than six or eight pupils at a time. and often expressed astonishment at parents who, for the sake of cheapness, sent their sons to schools where an immense number of boys prevented the master from giving them the proper instruction, and the lowness of the terms precluded the possibility of obtaining proper assistants. Fransham commenced by charging one shilling per week, which sum he stipulated should be paid every Friday evening; and, if a pupil omitted tc bring it duly, he sent the boy to procure it, previously to the lesson of the evening. This weekly arrangement was soon attended with inconvenience and loss. Some of the pupils, with a higher relish for confectionery and fruit than for Virgil and Euclid, occasionally absented themselves for whole weeks together, and spent the weekly shillings entrusted to them by their parents for Fransham. To prevent these lapses, he altered his terms to a quarterly paymentof half-a-guinea; which, by the advice of Mr. Robinson, the friendly dictator of the letter to Dr. Cooper, he afterwards raised to fourteen shillings. This income enabled Fransham to procure the necessaries of life with a few of its comforts: and he reserved a small sum against exigences and old age. He now added to his scanty stock of books His chief affection was for old authors in old editions; not that he loved antiquity for antiquity's sake, and venerated every thing ancient because it was ancient; but he
considered that the old writers on elevated subjects were more choice and close in their language and reasoning; and that old editions were more accurately executed.
Besides giving instructions at his lodgings in the way mentioned, he attended at the houses of gentlemen to whom the school-hours were not convenient, or who desired private tuition. About 1784 he went to reside with Mr. Robinson, with whom he continued during ten years, which, since the death of his friend Wright, were the happiest of his existence.
He continued to give instructions as usual, and his income for some time was from fifteen to eighteen shillings per week. His vacant time was chiefly spent with his hospitable host, in reading portions of his manuscripts, discoursing on the pre-eminence of wisdom and virtue, or relating incidents of his former life. Here he was happily prevented from having recourse to eccentric expedients for support, and he also made some change in his amusements: instead of beating on a drum, which had offended the neighbourhood, he resorted to a cane chair, which equally served to exercise his muscles, and his skill in timing the rat-tat-too. His hautboy, on which he had played delightfully, he destroyed one day when afflicted with a violent head-ache, for which strong tea was his usual remedy; and, not finding fuel for his fire, he supplied the defect with his instrument. To the hautboy succeeded the bilbo-catch, or bilver-ketch. Tn whatever he undertook he determined to excel, and with this little toy he resolved to try what was the greatest number of tiroes he could catch the ball upon the spiked end, without missing. By constant practice he attained to two hundred times successively, but he found he could not exceed that number. Ue carried the toy about with him in his pocket; and, while attending any of his pupils, if he found them not quite ready for his instructions, he instantly took out his bilbo-catch, and filled up the vacant minutes in trials to lodge the ball on the small end two hundred and one times. He could not attain that number, but he never desisted from his efforts, nor paid attention to his pupil, till he had succeeded two hundred times successively, which he generally accomplished on the first trial.
About 1785, the nephew of Mr. Robinson was attacked with a disorder which terminated in a consumption: this young man, during his illness, did not reside
with his uncle, but with his father Ont morning Mr. Robinson went to enquirf after the state of his health. On his return home, as soon as he opened the door, Fransham said to him, "I find you have lost your nephew." Mr. Robinson was much surprised, for his nephew was indeed dead, and he requested Fransham to tell him how he could possibly have received the information. Fransham replied that about four o'clock that morning he dreamed that his nephew called him by name, under the window of his bedroom; and Fransham recollecting that his sister, on a similar occasion, had predicted the death of Mr. Chute, he thought he might in like manner conclude that his young friend was no longer alive.
Although Fransham had long before resumed the use of the shoes and stockings, yet his singular appearance in a shcrt green jacket, with large horn buttons, occasioned roguish school-boys to speak of him as " horn-buttoned Jack." In hot weather he usually carried his jacket across his arm, and held his large fullbrimmed hat in his hand. One close and sultry day, while walking in this manner, he met an opulent manufacturer, a member of the Society of Friends, who accosted him with, " Why, Johnny, thou lookest cool and comfortable, notwithstanding the heat of the weather." u Most likely," said Fransham, "but thou lookest very hot and uncomfortable, and verily thou wilt continue to look so; for thou hast not courage enough to follow my example, since thou darest not show thyself at Friends' Meeting-house with thy coat on thy arm, and thy hat in thy hand, although thou professest thyself to be indifferent to the custom of this world." To this the Friend replied, "No, Johnny, no, decency forbids it; I like to have some regard to decency." "Well," rejoined Fransham. "then do thou for the sake of dccei.n/ continue to wear thy thick cloth coat, and great heavy hat, in a hot sultry day, and I, for the sake of comfort, will continue to carry my jacket on my arm, and my hat in my hand."
At his leisure, Fransham revised his manuscripts, by making such alterations and amendments as the maturity of judgment suggested, and labored on a copious index to all the volumes, in addition to the smaller indexes attached to each. He likewise diligently read the principal books in his small, well-chosen library; and, in most of them, made annotations corrections, and additions, which exhibit, proofs of his industry, classical taste, and logical precision.
Fransham's acquirements enabled him to assist many educated gentlemen, who desired to recover or extend their acquaintance with the Greek and Latin languages. Many who were about to take orders, and some who afterwards filled high stations in the church and the state, became his pupils. In the course of time he had contrived to save a hundred pounds, and his friends wished him to deposit the money in a bank for security, and upon interest. Upon such solicitations he used to observe that Virgil had no faith in banks, as might be seen by his third eclogue, where he says, " Non bene ripae creditor," that is, "It is not safe to trust the bank." At length, he placed it in the hands of a reputable merchant, who from casualties soon afterwards became bankrupt. A few weeks before, Fransham had, from some cause or other, withdrawn seventy-five pounds, and still there remained twenty-five pounds, which, to a man in his situation, was a considerable sum to lose. As soon as Fransham heard of this event, he hastened home, and, calling Mr. Robinson, burst forth with joyful exclamations, telling him that he had saved seventy-five pounds. How so? inquired his host. "Why," said he, " the gentleman in whose hands I placed one hundred pounds has failed, and only a few weeks ago I withdrew seventy-five pounds: how uncommonly fortunate I" "Why yes," said Mr. Robinson, " fortunate in having withdrawn seventy-five pounds, but unfortunate in leaving twenty-five, which will prove no gain to you, but a loss." "I tell you, sir," replied Fransham, " it is a clear gain of seventyfive pounds. Here, look here," said he, pointing to his library, " not one of thesi should I have had, if I had not withdrawn the seventy-five pounds; these, therefore, and all the money in my closet besides, are so much clear gain, — seventy-five pounds actually saved." Fransham believed that, instead of having lost twentyfive pounds, he had gained seventy-five. His philosophy converted the evils of life into blessings, made gains of losses, and pleasures of pains.
About this period Fransham became acquainted with Mr. Cooper, a barrister distinguished for great legal ability, bibliographical knowledge, and kindness and hospitality to genius in adversity. With
this gentleman, Fransham dined every Sunday, for nearly three years, and received from him very kind and endearing attentions, besides enjoying the pleasures of pure and elevated conversation. At Mr. Cooper's he had the unlimited use of a large and excellent library, consisting of choice and valuable books in arts and sciences, classics, and general literature. On one of his weekly visits to Mr. Cooper, he met Dr. Parr, whom he conversed with for a considerable part of the day, and ever afterwards spoke of as a most extraordinary man. His intimacy with Mr. Cooper was terminated by that gentleman's removal from Norwich.
While he lived with Mr. Robinson, an adjoining out-house was converted into a stable. The apparent carelessness of the groom, who attended this stable in the evening with a lighted candle, excited in Fransham a fearful apprehension of fire, which daily increased, and, by way of security, he procured a ladder, which he kept in his bed-room, ready to put out of the window for his descent, the moment he should receive an alarm. That he might, however, be the better able to escape with despatch and safety, he daily practised running up and down this ladder, with a small box or trunk, made of such a size as just to contain his five manuscript volumes, and which he constantly kept upon his window, ready for emergency. In running up and down his ladder, he acquired a dexterity not to be excelled by any London lamp-lighter; and, aj his hour of repeating the experiment was twelve o'clock at noon, he was frequently an object of amusement to the curious. After acquiring these facilities, he recollected, that from the soundness with which he was accustomed to sleep, it was not only possible, but probable, that he might not awaken till the fire should reach his room, and thus prevent him from adopting his expedient. For this evil there was no remedy but retiring from the spot. He accordingly quilted Mr. Robinson, and took a room or rooms in St. Michael's at Plea. In a year or two afterwards, the stable was converted to another use, and F'ransham returned to his old lodgings, where he continued till Mr. Robinson's removal into a smaller house precluded the possibility of F'ransham having a room with him.
Before Fransham's separation from Mr Robinson, he had relinquished the amusement of the cup and ball, but not till he had accomplished a fina. purpose with that toy; it was to catch th3 ball so great a number cf times as seems incredible. "Every man," said l'ransham, " has some great object which he wishes to accomplish, and why should not I have mine? I will choose such a one as no mortal being ever yet chose, and which no one less than the gods would ever think of attempting. I will get a bilbo-catch, and I will catch the ball, upon the spiked end, six hundred and sixty-six thousand six hundred and sixty-six times 1" It was for the attainment of this object that he used so frequently to employ himself with this toy. In order to keep a correct account of his. progress, he put ten nuts into his left hand pocket; at every hundred times he removed one of these nuts to the pocket on the right; and, every time that he found his left hand pocket empty, he deposited a nut in a box, so that the number of nuts deposited in the box, indicated the number of thousands of times he had succeeded. The achievement of thisobject occupied a considerable portion of his leisure for three or four years.
l'ransham enjoyed uninterrupted good health, but he was of opinion that the value of health could only be estimated by a comparison with sickness; that happiness was increased by contrasting it with misery; and that the cup of pleasure received an additional zest from an occasional infusion of the bitters of pain. In Tcnformity, therefore, with this opinion, .ie occasionally went to a confectioner's shop, where he ate to repletion of the tarts, cakes, fruits, and indigestibles, till he produced a violent head-ache, that he might have the felicity of curing this headache by copious draughts of strong tea, and be thus reminded of the inestimable value of health.
On quitting Mr. Robinson, about 1800, he went to reside with Mr. Jay, a baker, in St. Clement's parish. The unaffected simplicity of Fransham's manners, the gentleness of his disposition, and the venerable aspect with which a pilgrimage of threescore years and ten had dignified him, procured for him the kindest attentions of Mrs. Jay. During his stay with her, he would not allow his bed to be made oftener than once a-week: it was the nurse of idleness and luxury, and the height of effeminacy, he said, for a man to have his bed made every day. Fransham once hired a horse, with the inten
tion of visiting a friend, who resided at a few miles distance from Norwich; but, when he got about a mile out of the city, the horse took him into a pit by the roadside, for the purpose of drinking: after the animal had taken his fill, and turned out of the pit, instead of pursuing t he direction of his rider, he gave visible signs of inclination to return home. "Well," said Fraiisham, "I thank you, my honest creature, for having carried me thus far; and I certainly have no right to make you go further, if it be against your inclination, and therefore we will e'en go back again." Back, therefore, they went; and, after the humane rider had clearly explained to the surprised owner of the horse the cause of their sudden re-appearance, he paid him the fare for the entire day.
While Fransham continued with Mrs. Jay, she considered him eccentric, but always domestically inclined, fond of friendly society, and social conversation. He desired always to take his tea in company with the family, although he had a separate tea equipage; and expressed a desire to instruct her husband, and to converse with him after the labors of the day were ended. It seems, however, he could not prove that a knowledge of the mysteries of the Platonic philosophy would in any manner increase the heat of the oven, enlarge the profits of baking, or facilitate the drudgery of sending home pies and puddings, and Mr. Jay prudently declined initiation. With Mrs. Jay, who had more leisure, and on whom the manner, and particularly the age of l'ransham, had produced strong impressions in his favor, he conversed freely, and related to her the principal occurrences of his life. But she could never prevail upon him to allow the floor of his room to be welted, or the walls to be while-washed; it was his, constant care, in his latter years, to avoid damps and drafts. He often spoke to Mrs. Jay with great admiration of female beauty. 11 is temper was invariably even, and incapable of discomposure, except perchance he saw a short-tailed horse; on which occasion he would come home venting his rage and indignation against "Christian cruelties," and " English barbarity."
About 1805 a distant female relation, named Smith, called upon him for the purpose of acquainting him with her distressed situation, and soliciting his advice and assistance. It immediately occurred to him that he might alleviate net sorrows, if he were to hire two rooms, and take her for nis house-keeper. He accordingly engaged a chamber and garret m the yard adjoining the wool-hall, in the parish of St. George's Colegate; and, that his pupils might not have to pass through the sleeping-room of his house-keeper, he appropriated the chamber to his own use, and the garret to hers. This arrangement, however, he made with reluctance; for, from having lived in garrets almost all his life, he had a strong predilection in favor of these upper stories. The easiness of his temper soon reconciled him to the change.
Fransham's diet was chiefly bread and butter, and tea; when the butler proved bad, he threw all of it into his fire. His house-keeper once presumed to suggest to him, that perhaps it would be better to give the butter away, than to burn it.— "What," said he, " offer that to a fellowcreature which I cannot eat myself 1 No, I should think myself a monster were I to be guilty of such an insult. If, however, you know of any useful purpose to which bad butter may be applied, I will inform you the next time I happen to have any, and you shall have it, and be welcome."
Mrs. Smith continued with him till *hi found a situation which seemedmore «d vantageous; and, as he had no further ' occasion for two rooms, he removed, t< enjoy the felicity of a garret in Elm-hil lane. "A garret," he would say, "is the quietest room in the house; there are n< rude noises over head; all is calm ~:,c serene; nothing is to be heard, but the delightful 'music of the rolling spheres.'"
About 1803 Fransham became acquainted with Mr. Stark, an eminent dyer, father to Mr. Stark the landscape painter. At this gentleman's he was received with frank hospitality, enjoyed the pleasure of free conversation, and had the use of a good English library. Mr. Stark likewise placed two of his sons under his instruction, and from that time Fransham usually spent his Sunday evenings with this gentleman and his family. He had a great aversion to dogs. "Dogs," he would say, "are noisy, mobbish, and vulgar, and therefore I dislike them." If he entered a room where there was a dog, he requested that he or the dog might be permitted to retire. Next to the horse, his favorite animals were cats: he would place them upon his knees, and talk and fondle with them as affectionately as a
mcther with her infant. He had a dislike to very young children; he considered them as inlerrupters of conversation, disturbers of quiet, and frequent, though innocent, offenders against decency and good manners.
Towards the latter end of 1809, Fransham was attacked with a cough, which increased with the severity of winter. In January, 1810, he was too enfeebled to take exercise, and, finally, kept his bed. On the morning of the first of February he requested his nurse to remove him from his bed to his chair: he told her that he should exceedingly dislike to be buried -alive, and would therefore be obliged to her, when she perceived him without motion, tc shake '•■m well, then place him by a large fire, within the scent of a hot apple-pye; if these expedients did not succeed, to ask some beautiful woman to sit by his side; and, if this experiment failed, then she might safely conclude him dead. In a few minutes after these directions, h:s nurse, not hearing him cough, approached his chair and found he had expired.
He was buried in the church-yard of St. George's Colegate, Norwich, and the following inscription is on a stone to his
« M. S.
JoanrJs Fransham, qui plurimis annis in hac urbe Grsecas Latinasque Litteras, necnon Mathematical), studio exploravit, praceptis illustravit."
When Fransham died he was upwards of eighty. His physiognomy was highly intelligent, and somewhat resembled that of Erasmus. In his latter years he suffered his grey hair to hang loose about his shoulders. When he walked the street, he wore his hat drawn over his eyes, and constantly looked downwards, with his, hands most commonly behind him, except in very cold weather, when he usually folded his arms in front of his breast. In conversation on his favorite subjects, language, metaphysics, and mathematics, he always appeared cheerful and animated. He was remarkable for industry, and accustomed himself to rise at five o'clock in the morning during summer, and at six in the winter. He ate very moderately of animal food, and abstained from all strong liquors: he consequently enjoyed sound health, and retained the perfect use of his faculties to the last moments of life. Until within a few days of his death