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a similar situation, derive some advantage from my narrative.

When I reflect, as I frequently do, upon the felicity I have enjoyed, I sometimes say to myself, that, were the offer made me, I would engage to run again, from beginning to end, the same career of life. All I would ask should be the privilege of an author, to correct, in a second edition, certain errors of the first. I could wish, likewise, if it were in my power, to change fome trivial in. cidents and events for others more favourable. Were this however denied me, still would I not decline the offer. But since a repetition 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, commit them to writing. By thus employing myself, I Ihall yield to the inclination, so natural in old men, to


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talk' of themselves and their exploits, and may freely follow my bent, without being tirefome to those who, from refpect to my age, might think themselves obliged to listen to me; as they will be at liberty to read me or not as they please. In fine-and I may as well avow it, since nobody would believe me were I to deny it--I fhall perhaps, by this employment, gratify my vanity. Scarcely indeed have I ever heard or read the introductory phrase, “ I may say without vanity,” but some striking and characteristic instance of vanity has immediately followed. The generality of men hate vanity in others, however strongly they may

be tinctured with it themselves : for myfelf, I pay obeifance to it wherever I meet with it, persuaded that it is advantageous, as well to the individual whom it governs, as to those who are within the fphere of its influence. Of consequence, it would, in many cases,


not be wholly absurd, that a man should count his vanity among the other sweets of life, and give thanks to providence for the blessing,

And here let me with all humility acknowledge, that to divine providence I am indebted for the felicity I have hitherto enjoyed.

It is that power alone which has furnished me with the means I have employed, and that has crowned them with success. My faith in this respect leads me to hope, though I cannot count upon it, that the divine goodness will still be exercised towards me, either by prolonging the duration of my happiness to the close of life, or by giving me fortitude to support any melancholy reverse, which may happen to me, as to so many others. My future fortune is unknown but to him in whose hand is our destiny, and who can make our very afflictions subservient to our benefit.


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One of my uncles, desirous, like myself, of collecting anecdotes of our family, gave me some notes, from which I have derived many particulars respecting our ancestors. From these I learn, that they had lived in the same village (Eaton in Northamptonshire), upon a freehold of 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 since the institution of surnames, when they took the appellation of Franklin, which had formerly been the name of a particular order of individuals *.


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* As a proof that Franklin was anciently the common name of an order or rank in England, sec Judge Fortescue, De laudibus legum Anglie, written about the year 1412, in which is the following pasfage, to shew that good juries might easily be formcd in any part of England:


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This petty estate would not have sufficed for their subsistence, had they not added the trade of blacksmith, which


Regio' etiam illa, ita respersa refertaque est poleloribus terrarum et agrorum, quod in ea, vil. “ lula tam parva reperiri non poterit, in qua non " est miles, armiger, vel pater-familias, qualis ibidem "franklin vulgariter nuncupatur, magnis ditatus

poffeffionibus, nec non libere tenentes et alii vac leži plurimi, suis patrimoniis sufficientes, ad fa“ ciendum juratam, in forma prænotata.”

“ Moreover, the same country is so filled and re☺ plenished with landed menne, that therein so small

a thorpe cannot be found wherein dwelleth not a “ knight, an esquire, or such a householder as is " there commonly called a franklin, enriched with “ great possessions; and also other freeholders and

many yeomen, able for their livelihoodes to make a jury in form aforementioned.”

Old TRANSLATION. Chaucer too calls his country gentleman a franklin, and, after describing his good housekeeping, thus characterises him :

This worthy franklin bore a purse of filk,
Fix'd to his girdle, white as morning milk.


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