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În 1598, living at Eaton till he was too old to contie nue 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 monu. ment 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, Thoe mas, John, Benjamin, and Josias. I sļall 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 un. derstanding, he improved it by study, at the solici. tation of a gentleman of the name of Palmer, who was at that time the principal inhabitant of the vila lage, and who encouraged in like manner all my uncles to improve their minds. Thomas thus rendered himself competent to the functions of a coun. try attorney ; soon became an essential personage in the affairs of the village ; and. was one of the chief movers of every public enterprize, as well relative to the county as the town of Northampton, A variety of remarkable incidents were told of him ar Eaton. After enjoying the esteem and patro. nage of Lord Halifax, he died January 6, 1702, precisely four years before I was born. The reci. tal that was made us of his life and character, by some aged persons of the village, struck you, I rea member, as extraordinary, from its analogy to whats you know of myself. “ Had he died," said your “ just four years later, one might have supposed a transmigration of souls.”
John, 10 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 re-, member 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 inyented 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 inuch so perhaps for his situation. I lately found in London a collection which he had made of all the principal pamphlets relative to public affairs, from the year 1641 to 1717. Many volumes are 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 fif. ty years ago. I found various notes of his writing in the marging. His grandson, Samuel, is now liying at Boston.
Dur 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 pack threads across the leaves, on the inside of the lid of a closestool. When my great grandfather wished to read 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 appear· ance: in that case the lid was restored to its place, with the Bible concealed under it as before. I had 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 join. ed 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 dis. turbed, some considerable persons of his acquaintance determined to go to America, where they hyped to enjoy the free exercise of their religion, and my father was prevailed on to accompany them.
My father had also by the same wife four chil. dren born in America, an'i ten others by a second wife, making 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 pious and learned Englishman," if I rightly recollect his expressions. I have been told of his having write ten 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 perse. cution. To this persecution he attributes the wars with the natives, and other calamities which afflict ed the country, regarding them as the judgments of God in punishment of so odious an offence, and he exhorts the government to the repeal of laws 60 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 :
From Sherburne,* where I dwell,
I therefore put my name,
My brothers were 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 re. garded me as the chaplain of the family. The promptitude with which from my infancy I had learned to read, for I do not remember to have been ever without this acquirement, and the encourage. ment 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 rass, at the end of the year, to the one next in order. But my father, burthened with a numerous family, found that he was incapable, without sub. jecting himself to difficulties, of providing for the expence of a collegiate education; and considering besides, as I heard him say to his friends, that per. sons 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 writ. ting and' arithmetic, kept by a Mr. George Brown. wel, 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 I soon acquired an excellent hand ; but I failed in arithmetic, and made therein no sort of progress.
At ten years of age I was called home to assist