Twyford, at the Bishop of St Asaph’s 1771.


I have ever had a Pleasure in obtaining any little Anecdotes of my Ancestors. You may remember the Inquiries I made among the Remains of my Relations when you were with me in England; and the Journey I took for that purpose. Now imagining it may be equally agreeable to you to know the Circumstances of my Life, many of which you are yet unacquainted with; and expecting a Week’s uninterrupted Leisure in my present Country Retirement, I sit down to write them for you. To which I have besides some other Inducements. Having emerg’d from the Poverty & Obscurity in which I was born & bred, to a State of Affluence & some Degree of Reputation in the World, and having gone so far thro’ Life with a considerable Share of Felicity, the conducing Means I made use of, which, with the Blessing of God, so well succeeded, my Posterity may like to know, as they may find some of them suitable to their own Situations, & therefore fit to be imitated. That Felicity, when I reflected on it, has induc’d me sometimes to say, that were it offer’d to my Choice, I should have no Objection to a Repetition of the same Life from its Beginning, only asking the Advantages Authors have in a second Edition to correct some Faults of the first. So would I if I might, besides correcting the Faults, change some sinister Accidents & Events of it for others more favourable, but tho’ this were deny’d, I should still accept the Offer. However, since such a Repetition is not to be expected, the next Thing most like living one’s Life over again, seems to be a Recollection of that Life; and to make that Recollection as durable as possible, the putting it down in Writing. Hereby, too, I shall indulge the Inclination so natural in old Men, to be talking of themselves and their own past Actions, and I shall indulge it, without being troublesome to others who thro’ respect to Age might think themselves oblig’d to give me a Hearing, since this may be read or not as any one pleases. And lastly, (I may as well confess it, since my Denial of it will be believ’d by nobody) perhaps I shall a good deal gratify my own Vanity. Indeed I scarce ever heard or saw the introductory Words, Without Vanity I may say, &c but some vain thing immediately follow’d. Most People dislike Vanity in others whatever Share they have of it themselves, but I give it fair Quarter wherever I meet with it, being persuaded that it is often productive of Good to the Possessor & to others that are within his Sphere of Action: And therefore in many Cases it would not be quite absurd if a Man were to thank God for his Vanity among the other Comforts of Life.

And now I speak of thanking God, I desire with all Humility to acknowledge, that I owe the mention’d Happiness of my past Life to his kind Providence, which led me to the Means I us’d & gave them Success. My Belief of this, induces me to hope, tho’ I must not presume, that the same Goodness will still be exercis’d towards me in continuing that Happiness, or in enabling me to bear a fatal Reverse, which I may experience as others have done, the Complexion of my future Fortune being known to him only: and in whose Power it is to bless to us even our Afflictions.

The Notes one of my Uncles (who had the same kind of Curiosity in collecting Family Anecdotes) once put into my Hands, furnish’d me with several Particulars relating to our Ancestors. From these Notes I learned that the Family had liv’d in the same Village, Ecton in Northamptonshire, for 300 Years, & how much longer he knew not (perhaps from the Time when the Name Franklin that before was the Name of an Order of People, was assum’d by them for a Surname, when others took Surnames all over the Kingdom.—(Here a Note) on a Freehold of about 30 Acres, aided by the Smith’s Business which had continued in the Family till his Time, the eldest Son being always bred to that Business. A Custom which he & my Father both followed as to their eldest Sons. When I search’d the Register at Ecton, I found an Account of their Births, Marriages and Burials, from the Year 1555 only, there being no Register kept in that Parish at any time preceding. By that Register I perceiv’d that I was the youngest Son of the youngest Son for 5 Generations back. My Grandfather Thomas, who was born in 1958, lived at Ecton till he grew too old to follow Business longer, when he went to live with his Son John, a Dyer at Banbury in Oxfordshire, with whom my Father serv’d an Apprenticeship. There my Grandfather died and lies buried. We saw his Gravestone in 1758. His eldest Son Thomas liv’d in the House at Ecton, and left it with the Land to his only Child, a Daughter, who with her Husband, one Fisher of Wellingborough, sold it to Mr Isted, now Lord of the Manor there. My Grandfather had 4 Sons that grew up, viz. Thomas,

  By PanEris using Melati.

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