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England, about the year 1685. We have had no correspondence with her since my uncle Benjamin's death, now near thirty years. I knew she had lived at Wellingborough, and had married there to one Mr. Richard Fisher, a grazier and tanner, about fifty years ago, but did not expect to see either of them alive, so inquired for their posterity. I was directed to their house, and we found them both alive, but weak with age, very glad however to see us. She seems to have been a very smart, sensible woman. They are wealthy, have left off business, and live comfortably. They have had only one child, a daughter, who died, when about thirty years of age, unmarried. She gave me several of my uncle Benjamin's letters to her, and acquainted me where the other remains of the family lived, of which I have, since my return to London, found out a daughter of my father's only sister, very old, and never married. She is a good, clever woman, but poor, though vastly contented with her situation, and very cheerful. The others are in different parts of the country. I intend to visit them, but they were too much out of our tour in that journey. "
From Wellingborough we went to Ecton, about three or four miles, being the village where my father was born, and where his father, grandfather, and greatgrandfather had lived, and how many of the family before them we know not. We went first to see the old house and grounds; they came to Mr. Fisher with his wife, and, after letting them for some years, finding his rent something ill paid, he sold them. The land is now added to another farm, and a school kept in the house. It is a decayed old stone building, but still known by the name of Franklin House. Thence we went to visit the rector of the parish, who lives close by the church, a very ancient building. He entertained us very kindly, and showed us the old church register, in which were the births, marriages, and burials of our ancestors for two hundred years, as early as his book began. His wife, a goodnatured, chatty old lady, (granddaughter of the famous Archdeacon Palmer, who formerly had that parish, and lived there,) remembered a great deal about the family ; carried us out into the churchyard, and showed us several of their gravestones, which were so covered with moss, that we could not read the letters, till she ordered a hard brush and basin of water, with which Peter scoured them clean, and then Billy copied them. She entertained and diverted us highly with stories of Thomas Franklin, Mrs. Fisher's father, who was a conveyancer, something of a lawyer, clerk of the county courts, and clerk to the Archdeacon in his visitations, a very leading man in all county affairs, and much employed in public business. He set on foot a subscription for erecting chimés in their steeple, and completed it, and we heard them play. He found out an easy method of saving their village meadows from being drowned, as they used to be sometimes by the river, which method is still in being; but, when first proposed, nobody could conceive how it could be; “but however,” they said, “if Franklin says he knows how to do it, it will be done.” His advice and opinion were sought for on all occasions, by all sorts of people, and he was looked upon, she said, by some, as something of a conjurer. He died just four years before I was born, on the same day of the same month. 9 Since our return to London, I have had a kind letter from cousin Fisher, and another from the rector, which I send you. y From Écton we went to Northampton, where we stayed part of the day; then went to Coventry, and
from thence to Birmingham. Here, upon inquiry, we soon found out yours, and cousin Wilkinson's, and cousin Cash's relations. First, we found out one of the Cashes, and he went with us to Rebecca Flint's, where we saw her and her husband. She is a turner and he a buttonmaker; they have no children; were very glad to see any person that knew their sister Wilkinson; told us what letters they had received, and showed us some of them; and even showed us that they had, out of respect, preserved a keg, in which they had received a present of some sturgeon. They sent for their brother, Joshua North, who came with his wife immediately to see us; he is a . turner also, and has six children, a lively, active man. Mrs. Flint desired me to tell her sister, that they live still in the old house she left them in, which I think she says was their father's. From thence Mr. North went with us to your cousin Benjamin's.* - ismo
TO HUGH ROBERTS.
London, 16 September, 1758. DEAR FRIEND, Your kind letter of June 1st gave me great pleasure. I thank you for the concern you express about my health, which at present seems tolerably confirmed by my late journey into different parts of the kingdom, that have been highly entertaining as well as useful to me. Your visits to my little family in my absence are very obliging, and I hope you will be so good as to continue them. Your remark on the thistle and the Scotch motto made us very merry, as well as your
• The remainder of the letter is missing.
string of puns. You will allow me to claim a little merit or demerit in the last, as having had some hand in making you a punster; but the wit of the first is keen, and all your own.
Two of the former members of the Junto you tell me are departed this life, Potts and Parsons. Odd characters both of them. Parsons a wise man, that often acted foolishly; Potts a wit, that seldom acted wisely. If enough were the means to make a man happy, one had always the means of happiness, without ever enjoying the thing; the other had always the thing, without ever possessing the means. Parsons, even in his prosperity, always fretting; Potts, in the midst of his poverty, ever laughing. It seems, then, that happiness in this life rather depends on internals than externals; and that, besides the natural effects of wisdom and virtue, vice and folly, there is such a thing as a happy or an unhappy constitution. They were both our friends, and loved us. So, peace to their shades. They had their virtues as well as their foibles; they were both honest men, and that alone, as the world goes, is one of the greatest of characters. They were old acquaintances, in whose company I formerly enjoyed a great deal of pleasure, and I cannot think of losing them, without concern and regret.
I shall, as you suppose, look on every opportunity you give me of doing you service, as a favor, because it will afford me pleasure. I know how to make you ample returns for such favors, by giving the pleasure of building me a house. You may do it without losing any of your own time; it will only take some part of that you now spend in other folks' business. It is only jumping out of their waters into mine.
I am grieved for our friend Syng's loss. You and I, who esteem him, and have valuable sons ourselves, can sympathize with him sincerely. I hope yours is perfectly recovered, for your sake as well as for his own. I wish he may be, in every respect, as good and as useful as his father. I need not wish him more; and can only add, that I am, with great esteem, dear friend, yours affectionately,
P. S. I rejoice to hear of the prosperity of the Hospital, and send the wafers. I do not quite like your absenting yourself from that good old club, the Junto. Your more frequent presence might be a means of keeping them from being all engaged in measures not the best for the public welfare. I exhort you, therefore, to return to your duty; and, as the Indians say, to confirm my words, I send you a Birmingham tile. I thought the neatness of the figures would please you.
TO MRS. JANE MECOM.
Further Particulars respecting his Family Connexions. i Moral Reflections. - Faith, Hope, Charity.
London, 16 September, 1758. DEAR SISTER, , I received your favor of June 17th. I wonder you have had no letter from me since my being in England. I have wrote you at least two, and I think a third before this, and, what was next to waiting on you in person, sent you my picture. In June last"I sent Benny a trunk of books, and wrote to him. I hope they are come to hand, and that he meets with encouragement in his business. I congratulate you'on the conquest of Cape Breton, and hope, as your people took it by praying the first time, you will now pray