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Lork of Dr. Franklin, as written by Himself .
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Jin • • • - • .
An Account of the highest Court of:Judicature
in Pennsylvania, viz. the Court of the Press
On the Impress of Seamen
Privateering : : :cini
MY DEAR SON,
I have amused myself with collecting soine inilo anecdotes of my family. You may remember the inquiries I made, when vou vere with me i Eng. land, among such of my relaticns as were then liv. ing; and the journes I undertook for that purpose. To be acquainted with the particulars of my parentage and life, many of which are unknown to you, I flatter myself will afford the same pleasure to you as to ine. I shall relate them upon paper: it will re an agreearlo enployment of a week's uninterrupeed leisure, which I progise myself nuring my present retirement in the country. There are also other mno. tires which induce me to the undertaking. From the bosom of poverty and obscurity, in which I drew my first breath, and spent my earbest years, I have raised myselí 19 a state of opulence, and to seine degree of celebrity in the world. A constant good fortune has attended me thr
ne through every period o life to my bresent advanced age; and my descendants neay be do sirous of learning wiiat were the means of which I made use, and which, thanks to the assisting hand of Providence, have proved so eminently successful.'They may also, should they ever be piaced in a s. milar situation, derive somo advantage from any car rative.
Whon I reflect, as I frequently do, upon the felicity I hare enjoyed, I sometimes say w myself, that were the offer made true I would engage to run again, from
beginning to ond, the same career of life. AN I would ask, should be the privilege of an author, correct, in a second edition, certain errors of the first I could wish, likewise, if it were in my power, lo change some trivial incidents and events for other moro favourable. Were this, however, denied are, still would I not decline the offer. But since a ito petition of life cannot take place, there is nothing which, in my opinion, so bearly resembles it, as to call to mind all its circumstances, and, to render their rensembrance more durable, cominit them to writing. By thus emy:'oying inyself, I shall yield is the inclination, su natural i old men, to talk of bemselves and their expioits, and may freely foilow my bering without being tiresome to those who, from respect 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 fing and I may as well avow it, since nobody would believe me were I to deny itI shall, perhaps, by this employment, gratify my vani ty. Scarely, indeed, have I ever heard or read the introductory phrase, “ I may say without vanity," but somo striking and characteristic instance of vanity bas immediate y followed. The generality of men nato vanity in others, however strongly they inay be tinctured with it themselves : for myselt, I pay obeilance to it wherever I meet with it, persuaded that it is advantages, as well to the individual whom it governs, as to those who are within the spliere of it Induence. Oi consequence, it would, in many cases, pot be wholly &bsurd, that a man should count his vanity among the other sweets of life, and give thanks u Providence for the blessing.
And here let ne with all humility acknowledge that
Divine Providence I am indebted for the felicity I havn hitherto enjoyed. It is that power alone which bas finished me with the means I have employed, and that has crowned them with success. My faith, in this respect, lends me to hopo, though I cannot count upon it, that the Divine goodness will still be azercised towards mo, sither by prolonging the duraDon of my haypinoss to the close of life, or by giving ore fortitude to support any melancholy reverse, whic5
may happen to me, as to so many others. My futino fortune is unknown but to Him in wniose hand is our destinv, and who can make her very afflictions subservient to our benefit.
Ore of my uncles, desirous, like myself, of collect. ing 'anecdutes of our family, gave nie soine notes, from which I have derived many particulars respecting our ancestors. From these I learn, that they had Lived im the sanre village (Eaton, in Northampton shire,) upon a freehold vi 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 sinco the 'institution of stimiames, when they took the ayıpellation of Franklin, which had forinerly been the nama os a particular order of individuals.*
This petty estate would not have sufficed for their subsistenice, had they not added the trade of black.
* As a proof that Franklin was anciently the common, oame of an order or rank in England, see Judge Fortesque, De laudibus legum Anglia, written about the year 1412, in which is the following passage, to show that good juries. might easily be formed in any part of Eng and .
Regio etiam illa, ita respersa referlaque est possessoribus terrarum et agrorum, quod in ea villula tam parva reperiri spon poterit, in qua con est miles, armiger, vel pater-familias, qualis ibidem franklin vulgaritur anncupatur, magnis ditatus, possessiunibus, nec non libere tenentes et alii valecti plurimi, suis patrimoniis sufficientes, ad faciendum jurutam, in forma prenutata."
« Moreover, the same country is so Glled and replenished with landed menne, that therein so small a thorre cannot be found wherein dwelleth not a knight, an esquire, or such a householder as is there cominonly called a franklin, en riched with great possessions, and also other cree holders and many yeomen, able for their liselibanud to make a jury in forn, aforementioned.'
Old Translation. Chaucer ton cails his country.gentleman a franklin; and, after describing his good housekeeping, thur characterizes bum:
This worthy franklin bore a purse of silk