Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Some Other Songs

Some other traditional songs.

"Spanking Jack"

Spanking Jack was so comely, so pleasant, so jolly
Tho' winds blew great guns still he'd whistle and sing
Jack lov'd his friend, and was true to his Molly,
And if honor gives greatness, was great as a king:
One night, as we droe with two reefers in our mainsail
And the scud came on low'ring upon a lee shore
Jack went aloft for to hand the top ga'ant sail,
A spray wash'd him off, and we ne'er saw him more
But grieving's a folly,
Come let us be jolly;
If we've troubles at sea, boys, we've pleasures ashore

Bonny Ben was to each jolly messmate a brother,
He was manly and honest, good natur'd and free;
If ever one tar was more true than another
To his friend and his duty, that sailor was he:
One day with the davit, to heave the cadge anchor
Ben went in a boat on a bold craggy shore,
He overboard tipt, when a shark and a spanker
Soon nipt him in two, and we ne'er saw him more
But grieving's a folly,
Come, let us be jolly;
If we've troubles at sea boys, we've pleasures ashore.

Whiffing Tom, still full of mischief of fun in the middle,
thro' life in all weathers at random would job
He'd dance and he'd sing, and he'd play on the fiddle
And swig, with an air, his allowance of grog:
Long side of a Don, in the Terrible frigate
As yard arm and yard arm we lay off the shore
In and out Whiffing Tom did so caper and jib it
That his head was shot off and we ne'er saw him more
But grieving's a folly
Come let us be jolly
If we've troubles at sea boys, we've pleasures ashore

But what of it all lads: Shall we be downhearted
Because that mayhap we now take our last sup?
Life's cable must one day or other be parted;
And death, in fast mooring, will bring us all up
Yet 'tis always the way on't--one scarce finds a brother
Fond as pitch, honest, hearty, and true to the core
But by battle or storm, or some fell thing or other,
He's popp'd off the hooks, and we ne'er see him more
But grieving's a folly,
Come let us be jolly
If we've troubles at sea boys, we've pleasures ashore1

1See "Spanking Jack" in "Spanking Jack and other Songs," a songbook bound with other songbooks under the title of "Songs," Library Company of Philadelphia, 1805.

“Thimble’s Wife,”

Thimble’s scolding wife lay dead,
‘Heigho!”says Thimble,
‘My dearest duck’s defunct in bed;
Death has cabbaged her—oh, she’s fled!
With her roley poley,
Gammon and spinnage,
Heigho!’ says Thimble,
Thimble buried his wife that nigh;
‘Heigho!’ says Thimble,
“I grieve to sew up my heart’s delight,
With her diamond ring on her finger tight;’
And her roley, poley, &c

To saw off her finger and steal the ring,
Soon came the Sexton;
She sat up an end, and she gave a fling,
Crying ‘Damme, you dog, you steal no such thing!’
With your roley poley, &c
And off ran the sexton.
She stalk’d to her home, and she made a din,
‘Heigho!’ cried Thimble,
Then popp’d out his head, and said, with a grin,
‘You are dead, dearest duck, and I can’t let you in’
With your roley poley, &c
‘O heigh!’ cried Thimble.

“The Glasses Sparkle on the Board,”

The glasses sparkle on the board,
The wine is ruby bright,
The reign of pleasure is restor’d,
Of ease and gay delight.

The day is gone, the night’s our own,
Then let us feast the soul;
If any pain or care remain,
Why drown it in the bowl.
If any pain or care remain,
Why drown it in the bowl.

This world they say ‘s a world of woe,
But that I do deny;
Can sorrow from the goblet flow,
Or pain from beauty’s eye?
The wise are fools, with all their rules,
When they would joy control;
If life’s a pain, I say again,
Let’s drown it in the bowl.
If life’s a pain, &c.

That time flies fast, the poet sings,
Then surely it is wise,
In rosy wine to dip his wings,
And seize him as he flies:
This night is ours, then strew with flow’rs
The moments as they roll;
If any pain, or care remain,
Why drown it in a bowl.
If any pain, or care remain,
Why drown it in a bowl.

When Gen’rous Wine.

When gen’rous wine expands the soul,
And pleasure hovers roubnd the bowl,
Avaunt, avaunt, ye cares of fancy’s crew,
And give the guilty wretch his due:
Avaunt ye cares, &c.

But let the juice of sparkling wine,
My grosser sense to love refine;
As Jove his nectar drinks above,
I’ll quaff whole goblets full of love,
As Jove his nectar, &c

Then why should I at life repine,
Bring me Venus, bring me wine;
Fill the ever flowing bowl,
In circles gay and pleasures roll,
Fill the ever flowing, &c.

Ever open, ever free,
Hail thou friend of jollity;
My brows with Bacchus’ chaplets crown’d,
I live to love, my cares are drown’d.’
My brows with Bacchus, &c.

“Songster’s Museum”—NY, 1824

Friend and Pitcher,

The wealthy fool with gold in store,
Will still desire to grow richer
Give me but health, I ask no more
My charming girl, my friend and pitcher.
My friend so rare, my girl so fair,
With such, what mortal can be richer,
Give me but these, a fig for care,
With my sweet girl, my friend and pitcher

From morning sun I’d never grieve,
To toil a hedger or a ditcher,
If that, when I came home at eve,
I might enjoy my friend and pitcher
My friend so rare, &c.

Though fortune ever shun my door,
I know not what can thus bewitch her;
With all my heart can I be poor,
With my sweet girl, my friend and pitcher,
My friend so rare &c


Oh! Cruel were my parents as tore mylove from me,
And cruel was the press-gang who took him off to sea,
And cruel was the little boat as rowed him from the strand,
And cruel was the great big ship as sailed him from the land.
Singing too rol loo rol loo rol, too rol loo rol loo

Oh! Cruel was the water as bore her love from Mary,
And cruel was the fair wind as wouldn’t blow contrary,
And cruel was the captain boatswain, and the men,
As didn’t care a fardin, if we never met again.
Singing too rol, &c

Oh!cruel was the splinter as broke my deary’s leg,
Now he’s oblig’d to fiddle for’t, and I’m oblig’d to beg,
A vagabonding vagrant, and a rantipoling wife,
We fiddle, limp, and scrape it, through the ups anddowns of life.

Singing too rol, &c

John Fitch, "The Song of the Brown Jug"

The song below was printed into a will that Fitch drew up in 1792. As can be seen from the song, Fitch intended to commit suicide at that point, but ended up holding off suicide until 1798.

The Song of the Brown Jug

With my jug in one hand and my pipe in the other
I'll drink to my neighbor and friend
All my cares in a whiff of Tobacco I'll smother
My life I know shortly must End
While Ceres most kindly refills my Brown Jug with Brown Ale
I will make myself mellow
In my old Vicar Chair I'll set myself snuf
Like a jolly and true-hearted fellow

I'll ne'er trouble myself with the Cares of my Nation
I've enough of My own for to mind
All we see in this World is but grief and vexation
To Death I am Shortly Resigned
So we'll laugh Drink and Smoke and leave nothing to Care
And Drop like a Pair (Pear) Ripe and Mellow
When Cold in my Coffin I'll leave them to Say
He's gone what a True-hearted Fellow[i]

[i]Fitch, "Will," July 13, 1792, Force Collection, Library of Congress.

Poem by John Fitch, Inventor of Steamboat

A little intro. This poem is about an incident that Fitch encountered on his journey from his home in Connecticut to New Jersey. He was making this journey so that he could leave his wife before they had any more children. He considered her a scold.

Sir now I will a story tell which does upon me center.
Near Woodbridge town there I did meet a true but strange adventure.
It was a hot long melting day and I grew almost weary.
To a small house I did repair thinking a while to tarry.
I knocked and entered in the door without eithers permission
And when one minutes space I found I spoke without commission
Said I good woman tell me why that you live so uneasy
Come try some other plan to live and see if that wont pleaseye.
No faith said she no other plan shall ere come in my notion
For since he has a villen grown this shall be his portion.
Well then said I now for your peace let both consent for parting
That the remainder of your days be not so full of smarting.
They both consented to the thing but she was for full hire
One half of all she did demand before she would retire.
Then my judgment soon was made it was without permission
That the whole I’d rather give than live in that condition.
Then quick here eyes like lightning streams began to be aflying
I was apprised of the same methought I was adying
Then a quick a brand out of the fire toward me was coming
And with my pack I made a shield and hindered it from homeing
Then soon I made unto the door sure I was not delaying
And the fume which was behind me was not the least for staying
And when I made into the street she followed me close after.
Had any one but seen the sight I’m sure he would[‘ve] made laughter
The brand soon coming bout my ears and I for it was dodging
Which made me fly to quit the place and seek for better lodging.
If you think my courage was not good permit me Sir the favour
To tell you true and honestly I’d rather run and leave her
If you will send a hero brave that will make her for yielding
One guiney I will freely give and pay the cost of healing.
But the last which I have said I think is something joeking
For womankind cant be subdued without a little choaking.[i]
[i]Ibid, 49-50.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Herder and the Philosophy of Language

In all aboriginal languages, vestiges of these sounds of nature are still to be heard

Children, like animals, utter sounds of sensation. But is not the language they learn from other humans a totally different language?

Condillac, with his hollow explanation of the origin of language, provided Rousseau, as we all know, with the occasion to get the question in our century off the ground again in his own peculiar way, that is, to doubt it.

Because sounds of emotion will never turn into a human language, does it follow that nothing else could ever have turned into it?

In lieu of instincts, other hidden forces must be dormant in it [the human infant] ...No, I am not jumping ahead. I do not suddenly ascribe to man - as an arbitrary qualitas occulta - a new power providing him with the ability to create language.

I do not ... proceed on the basis of arbitrary or social forces but from the general animal economy.

The sound of bleating perceived by a human soul as the distinguishing mark of the sheep became, by virtue of this reflection, the name of the sheep... And what is the entire human language other than a collection of such words?

These numerous unbearable fallacies ... The point here is that it is not the organization of the mouth that made language .. The point here is that it is not a scream of emotion, for not a breathing machine but a reflective soul invented language... Least of all is it agreement, an arbitrary convention of society".

Who can speak shapes? Who can sound colors?

There was a sound, the soul grasped for it, and there it had a ringing word.

The tree will be called the rustler, the west wind the fanner, the brook the murmurer - and there, all finished and ready, is a little dictionary.

The first vocabulary was thus collected from the sounds of the world. From every sounding being echoed its name

Feelings are interwoven in it; What moves is alive; what sounds speak

Whence comes to man the art of changing into sound what is not sound? What has a color, what has roundness in common with the name that might evolve from it ...? The protagonists of the supernatural origin of language have their answer ready-made: "Arbitrary! Who can search and understand God's reason for why green is called green and not blue?.. I trust no one will blame me if in this case I cannot understand the meaning of the word arbitrary. To invent a language out of one's brain, arbitrarily and without any basis of choice, is - at least for a human soul that wants to have a reason, some reason for everything - is no less of a torture than it is for a body to be caressed to death." ... An arbitrarily thought-out language is in all senses contrary to the entire analogy of man's spiritual forces.

For who can compare sound and color or phenomenon and feeling? We are full of such interconnections of the most different senses. ... What remarkable analogies of the most diverse senses ... in nature all the threads are one single tissue.

The soul, caught in the throng of such converging sensations and needing to create a word, reached out and grasped the word of an adjacent sense whose feeling flowed together with the first. Thus words arose for all senses.. Lightning does not sound ... a word will do it that gives the ear, with the help of an intermediate sensation, the feeling of suddenness and rapidity which the eye had of lightning. Words like smell, tone, sweet, bitter, sour, and so on, all sound as one feels, for what, originally, are the senses other than feeling?

The sensations unite and all converge in the area where the distinguishing traits turn into sounds. Thus, what man sees with his eye and feels by touch can also become soundable.

Extracts from: Herder Johann Gottfried. 1986 [1772] Essay on the Origin Of Language in On the Origin of Language Two essays. Jean-Jacques Rousseau Johann Gottfried Herder, pp. 87-166. Trans. with Afterwords by John H. Moran and Alexander Gode. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Trial of Marie Olympe de Gouges

The Trial of Olympe de Gouges

The case against Olympe de Gouges is worth reading in detail because it is typical of the attacks on those who criticized the authority of the central government that gathered force in the fall of 1793 and continued up to July 1794, when Robespierre fell from power. Gouges, an advocate of increased popular consultation, criticized the National Convention, calling its members ambitious men. This criticism was a far greater factor in the decision to sentence her to death than was her public support of women’s rights.

Audience of . . . . . . 12 Brumaire, Year II of the Republic. Case of Olympe de Gouges.

Questioned concerning her name, surname, age, occupation, place of birth, and residence. Replied that her name was Marie Olympe de Gouges, age thirty-eight, femme de lettres, a native of Montauban, living in Paris, rue du Harlay, Section Pont-Neuf.

The clerk read the act of accusation, the tenor of which follows.

Antoine-Quentin Fouquier-Tinville, public prosecutor before the Revolutionary Tribunal, etc.
States that, by an order of the administrators of police, dated last July 25th, signed Louvet and Baudrais, it was ordered that Marie Olympe de Gouges, widow of Aubry, charged with having composed a work contrary to the expressed desire of the entire nation, and directed against whoever might propose a form of government other than that of a republic, one and indivisible, be brought to the prison called l'Abbaye, and that the documents be sent to the public prosecutor of the Revolutionary Tribunal. Consequently, the accused was brought to the designated prison and the documents delivered to the public prosecutor on July 26th. The following August 6th, one of the judges of the Revolutionary Tribunal proceeded with the interrogation of the above-mentioned de Gouges woman.

From the examination of the documents deposited, together with the interrogation of the accused, it follows that against the desire manifested by the majority of Frenchmen for republican government, and in contempt of laws directed against whoever might propose another form of government, Olympe de Gouges composed and had printed works which can only be considered as an attack on the sovereignty of the people because they tend to call into question that concerning which it [the people] formally expressed its desire; that in her writing, entitled Les Trois urnes, ou le Salut de la patrie, there can be found the project of the liberty-killing faction which wanted to place before the people the approbation of the judgment of the tyrant condemned by the people itself; that the author of this work openly provoked civil war and sought to arm citizens against one another by proposing the meeting of primary assemblies to deliberate and express their desire concerning either monarchical government, which the national sovereignty had abolished and proscribed; concerning the one and indivisible republican [form], which it had chosen and established by the organ of its representatives; or, finally, concerning the federative [form], which would be the source of incalculable evils and which would destroy liberty infallibly.

. . . The public prosecutor stated next that it is with the most violent indignation that one hears the de Gouges woman say to men who for the past four years have not stopped making the greatest sacrifices for liberty; who on 10 August 1792, overturned both the throne and the tyrant; who knew how to bravely face the arms and frustrate the plots of the despot, his slaves, and the traitors who had abused the public confidence, to men who have submitted tyranny to the avenging blade of the law that Louis Capet still reigns among them.

There can be no mistaking the perfidious intentions of this criminal woman, and her hidden motives, when one observes her in all the works to which, at the very least, she lends her name, calumniating and spewing out bile in large doses against the warmest friends of the people, their most intrepid defender.

In a manuscript seized in her home, on which she placed a patriotic title only in order to get her poisons circulated more freely, she places in the mouth of the monster who surpasses the Messalinas and the Medicis these impious expressions: "the placard-makers, these paper scribblings, are not worth a Marat, a Robespierre; in the specious language of patriotism, they overturn everything in the name of the people; they appear to be serving propaganda and never have heads of factions better served the cause of kings; at one and the same time they serve two parties moving at a rapid pace towards the same goal. I love these enterprising men; they have a thorough knowledge of the difficult art of imposing on human weaknesses; they have sensed from the beginning that in order to serve me it was necessary to blaze a trail in the opposite direction; applaud yourself, Calonne, this is your work."

Lastly, in the work in question one sees only provocation to the reestablishment of royalty on the part of a woman who, in one of her writings, admits that monarchy seems to her to be the government most suited to the French spirit; who in [the writing] in question points out that the desire for the republic was not freely pronounced; who, lastly, in another [writing] is not afraid to parody the traitor Isnard and to apply to all of France what the former restricted to the city of Paris alone, so calumniated by the partisans of royalty and by those of federalism.

On the basis of the foregoing expose the public prosecutor drew up this accusation against Marie Olympe de Gouges, widow Aubry, for having maliciously and purposefully composed writings attacking the sovereignty of the people (whose desire, when these were written, had been pronounced for republican government, one and indivisible) and tending towards the reestablishment of the monarchical government (which it [the people] had formally proscribed) as well as the federative [form] (against which it [the people] had forcefully protested); for having had printed up and distributed several copies of one of the cited works tending towards these ends, entitled, Les Trois urnes, ou le Salut de la patrie; for having been stopped in her distribution of a greater number of copies as well as in her posting of the cited work only by the refusal of the bill-poster and by her prompt arrest; for having sent this work to her son, employed in the army of the Vendée as officier de l'état major; for having, in other manuscripts and printed works, notably, in the manuscript entitled La France sauvée, ou le Tyran détrôné as well as in the poster entitled Olympe de Gouges au Tribunal Révolutionnaire, sought to degrade the constituted authorities, calumniate the friends and defenders of the people and of liberty, and spread defiance among the representatives and the represented, which is contrary to the laws, and notably to that of last December 4th.

Consequently, the public prosecutor asks that he be given official notice by the assembled Tribunal of this indictment, etc., etc.

In this case only three witnesses were heard, one of whom was the citizen bill-poster, who stated that, having been asked to post a certain number of copies of printed material with the title Les Trois urnes, he refused when he found out about the principles contained in this writing.

When the accused was questioned sharply about when she composed this writing, she replied that it was some time last May, adding that what motivated her was that seeing the storms arising in a large number of départements, and notably in Bordeaux, Lyons, Marseilles, etc., she had the idea of bringing all parties together by leaving them all free in the choice of the kind of government which would be most suitable for them; that furthermore, her intentions had proven that she had in view only the happiness of her country.

Questioned about how it was that she, the accused, who believed herself to be such a good patriot, had been able to develop, in the month of June, means which she called conciliatory concerning a fact which could no longer be in question because the people, at that period, had formally pronounced for republican government, one and indivisible, she replied that this was also the [form of government] she had voted for as the preferable one; that for a long while she had professed only republican sentiments, as the jurors would be able to convince themselves from her work entitled De l'ésclavage des noirs.

A reading was provided by Naulin, the public prosecutor's substitute, of a letter written by the accused to Herault-Sechelles in which principles of federalism are found.

The accused replied to this fact that her intention had been, as she had said already, pure and that she wanted to be able to show her heart to the citizen jurors so that they might judge her love of liberty and her hatred of every kind of tyranny.

Asked to declare whether she acknowledged authorship of a manuscript work found among her papers entitled La France sauvée ou le Tyran détrôné, she replied yes.

Asked why she had placed injurious and perfidious declamations against the most ardent defenders of the rights of the people in the mouth of the person who in this work was supposed to represent the Capet woman, she replied that she had the Capet woman speaking the language appropriate for her; that besides, the handbill for which she was brought before the Tribunal had never been posted; that to avoid compromising herself she had decided to send twenty-four copies to the Committee of Public Safety, which, two days later, had her arrested.

The public prosecutor pointed out to the accused, concerning this matter, that if her placard entitled Les Trois urnes had not been made public, this was because the bill-poster had not been willing to take it upon himself. The accused was in agreement with this fact.

Questioned about whether, since her detention, she had not sent a copy to her son along with a letter, she said that the fact was exact and that her intention concerning this matter had been to apprise him of the cause of her arrest; that besides, she did not know whether her son had received it, not having heard from him in a long while and not knowing at all what could have become of him.

Asked to speak concerning various phrases in the placard entitled Olympe de Gouges, defendeur de Louis Capet, a work written by her at the time of the former's trial, and concerning the placard entitled Olympe de Gouges au Tribunal Révolutionnaire as well, she responded only with oratorical phrases and persisted in saying that she was and always had been a good citoyenne, that she had never intrigued.

Asked to express herself and to reply precisely concerning her sentiments with respect to the faithful representatives of the people whom she had insulted and calumniated in her writings, the accused replied that she had not changed, that she still held to her same opinion concerning them, and that she had looked upon them as ambitious persons.

In her defense the accused said that she had ruined herself in order to propagate the principles of the Revolution and that she was the founder of popular societies of her sex, etc.
During the resume of the charge brought by the public prosecutor, the accused, with respect to the facts she was hearing articulated against her, never stopped her smirking. Sometimes she shrugged her shoulders; then she clasped her hands and raised her eyes towards the ceiling of the room; then, suddenly, she moved on to an expressive gesture, showing astonishment; then gazing next at the court, she smiled at the spectators, etc.

Here is the judgment rendered against her.

The Tribunal, based on the unanimous declaration of the jury, stating that: (1) it is a fact that there exist in the case writings tending towards the reestablishment of a power attacking the sovereignty of the people; [and] (2) that Marie Olympe de Gouges, calling herself widow Aubry, is proven guilty of being the author of these writings, and admitting the conclusions of the public prosecutor, condemns the aforementioned Marie Olympe de Gouges, widow Aubry, to the punishment of death in conformity with Article One of the law of last March 29th, which was read, which is conceived as follows: "Whoever is convicted of having composed or printed works or writings which provoke the dissolution of the national representation, the reestablishment of royalty, or of any other power attacking the sovereignty of the people, will be brought before the Revolutionary Tribunal and punished by death," and declares the goods of the aforementioned Marie Olympe de Gouges seized for the benefit of the republic. . . .

Orders that by the diligence of the public prosecutor this judgment will be executed on the place de la Revolution of this city [and] printed, published, and posted throughout the realm; and given the public declaration made by the aforementioned Marie Olympe de Gouges that she was pregnant, the Tribunal, following the indictment of the public prosecutor, orders that the aforementioned Marie Olympe de Gouges will be seen and visited by the sworn surgeons and doctors and matrons of the Tribunal in order to determine the sincerity of her declaration so that on the basis of their sworn and filed report the Tribunal can pronounce according to the law.

Before pronouncing his judgment, the prosecutor summoned the accused to declare whether she had some observations to make concerning the application of the law, and she replied: "My enemies will not have the glory of seeing my blood flow. I am pregnant and will bear a citizen or citoyenne for the Republic."

The same day [12 Brumaire], the health officer, having visited the condemned, recognized that her declaration was false.

. . . The execution took place the next day [13 Brumaire] towards 4 P.M.; while mounting the scaffold, the condemned, looking at the people, cried out: "Children of the Fatherland, you will avenge my death." Universal cries of "Vive la République" were heard among the spectators waving hats in the air.

Ben Franklin, Autobiography


The Author's Reasons for undertaking the present Work---A Dissertation upon Vanity---Some Account of his Ancestors---He discovers that he is the youngest Son of the youngest Son for five Generations---Young Franklin is at first destined for the Church---His Father soon after takes him from School and emplys him as an Assistant in making Candles, Etc.---He is desirous of being a Sailor---Some Account of his youthful Frolicks--- Becomes greatly attached to Books---Is bound Apprentice to a Printer---Begins to study Composition---Adopts a vegetable Regimen---And is extremely fond of Disputation.

TWYFORD, at the Bishop of St. Asaph's, 1771.

Dear son: I have ever had 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 undertook for that purpose. Imagining it may be equally agreeable to(1) you to know the circumstances of my life, many of which you are yet unacquainted with, and expecting the enjoyment of 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 emerged from the poverty and obscurity in which I was born and bred, to a state of affluence and some degree of reputation in the world, and having gone so far through 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, and therefore fit to be imitated.

That felicity, when I reflected on it, has induced me sometimes to say, that were it offered 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 I might, besides correcting the faults, change some sinister accidents and events of it for others more favorable. But though this were denied, I should still accept the offer. 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 by 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 tiresome to others, who, through respect to age, might conceive themselves obliged 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 believed 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 followed. 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, and to others that are within his sphere of action; and therefore, in many cases, it would not be altogether 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 mentioned happiness of my past life to His kind providence, which lead me to the means I used and gave them success. My belief of this induces me to hope, though I must not presume, that the same goodness will still be exercised toward me, in continuing that happiness, or 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 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, furnished me with several particulars relating to our ancestors. From these notes I learned that the family had lived in the same village, Ecton, in Northamptonshire, for three hundred years, and how much longer he knew not (perhaps from the time when the name of Franklin, that before was the name of an order of people, was assumed by them as a surname when others took surnames all over the kingdom), on a freehold of about thirty 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 and my father followed as to their eldest sons. When I searched the registers at Ecton, I found an account of their births, marriages and burials from the year 1555 only, there being no registers
kept in that parish at any time preceding. By that register I perceived that I was the youngest son of the youngest son for five generations back. My grandfather Thomas, who was born in 1598, 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 served an apprenticeship. There my grandfather died and lies buried. We saw his gravestone in 1758. His eldest son Thomas lived 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 four sons that grew up, viz.: Thomas, John, Benjamin and Josiah. I will give you what account I can of them, at this distance from my papers, and if these are not lost in my absence, you will among them find many more particulars.

Thomas was bred a smith under his father; but, being ingenious, and encouraged in learning (as all my brothers were) by an Esquire Palmer, then the principal gentleman in that parish, he qualified himself for the business of scrivener; became a considerable man in the county; was a chief mover of all public-spirited undertakings for the county or town of Northampton, and his own village, of which many instances were related of him; and much taken notice of and patronized by the then Lord Halifax. He died in 17O2, January 6, old style, just four years to a day before I was born. The account we received of his life and character from some old people at Ecton, I remember, struck you as something extraordinary, from its similarity to what you knew of mine.

"Had he died on the same day," you said, "one might have supposed a transmigration."

John was bred a dyer, I believe of woolens. Benjamin was bred a silk dyer, serving an apprenticeship at London. He was an ingenious man. I remember him well, for when I was a boy he came over to my father in Boston, and lived in the house with us some years. He lived to a great age. His grandson, Samuel Franklin, now lives in Boston. He left behind him two quarto volumes, MS., of his own poetry, consisting of little occasional pieces addressed to his friends and relations, of which the following, sent to me, is a specimen.(2) He had formed a short-hand of his own, which he taught me, but, never practising it, I have now forgot it. I was named after this uncle, there being a particular affection between him and my father. He was very pious, a great attender of sermons of the best preachers, which he took down in his short-hand, and had with him many volumes of them. He was also much of a politician; too much, perhaps, for his station.

There fell lately into my hands, in London, a collection he had made of all the principal pamphlets, relating to public affairs, from 1641 to 1717; many of the volumes are wanting as appears by the numbering, but there still remain eight volumes in folio, and twenty-four in quarto and in octavo. A dealer in old books met with them, and knowing me by my sometimes buying of him, he brought them to me. It seems my uncle must have left them here, when he went to America, which was about fifty years since. There are many of his notes in the margins.
This obscure family of ours was early in the Reformation, and continued Protestants through the reign of Queen Mary, when they were sometimes in danger of trouble on account of their zeal against popery. They had got an English Bible, and to conceal and secure it, it was fastened open with tapes under and within the cover of a joint-stool. When my great-great-grandfather read it to his family, he turned up the joint-stool upon his knees, turning over the leaves then under the tapes. One of the children stood at the door to give notice if he saw the apparitor coming, who was an officer of the spiritual court. In that case the stool was turned down again upon its feet, when the Bible remained concealed under it as before. This anecdote I had from my uncle Benjamin. The family continued all of the Church of England till about the end of Charles the Second's reign, when some of the ministers that had been outed for nonconformity holding conventicles in Northamptonshire, Benjamin and Josiah adhered to them, and so continued all their lives: the rest of the family remained with the Episcopal Church.

Josiah, my father, married young, and carried his wife with three children into New England, about 1682. The conventicles having been forbidden by law, and frequently disturbed, induced some considerable men of his acquaintance to remove to that country, and he was prevailed with to accompany them thither, where they expected to enjoy their mode of religion with freedom. By the same wife he had four children more born there, and by a second wife ten more, in all seventeen; of which I remember thirteen sitting at one time at his table, who all grew up to be men and women, and married; I was the youngest son, and the youngest child but two, and was born in Boston, New England. My mother, the second wife, was Abiah Folger, daughter of Peter Folger, one of the first settlers of New England, of whom honorable mention is made by Cotton Mather in his church history of that country, entitled Magnalia Christi Americana, as 'a godly, learned Englishman," if I remember the words rightly. I have heard that he wrote sundry small occasional pieces, but only one of them was printed, which I saw now many years since. It was written in 1675, in the home-spun verse of that time and people, and addressed to those then concerned in the government there. It was in favor of liberty of conscience, and in behalf of the Baptists, Quakers, and other sectaries that had been under persecution, ascribing the Indian wars, and other distresses that had befallen the country, to that persecution, as so many judgments of God to punish so heinous an offense, and exhorting a repeal of those uncharitable laws. The whole appeared to me as written with a good deal of decent plainness and manly freedom. The six concluding lines I remember, though I have forgotten the two first of the stanza; but the purport of them was, that his censures proceeded from good-will, and, therefore, he would be known to be the author.

"Because to be a libeller (says he) I hate it with my heart; From Sherburne town, where now I dwell My name I do put here; Without offense your real friend, It is Peter Folgier."

My elder brothers were all put apprentices to different trades. I was put to the grammar-school at eight years of age, my father intending to devote me, as the tithe of his sons, to the service of the Church. My early readiness in learning to read (which must have been very early, as I do not remember when I could not read), and the opinion of all his friends, that I should certainly make a good scholar, encouraged him in this purpose of his. My uncle Benjamin, too, approved of it, and proposed to give me all his short-hand volumes of sermons, I suppose as a stock to set up with, if I would learn his character. I continued, however, at the grammar-school not quite one year, though in that time I had risen gradually from the middle of the class of that year to be the head of it, and farther was removed into the next class above it, in order to go with that into the third at the end of the year. But my father, in the meantime, from a view of the expense of a college education, which having so large a family he could not well afford, and the mean living many so educated were afterwards able to obtain--reasons that be gave to his friends in my hearing--altered his first intention, took me from the grammar-school, and sent me to a school for writing and arithmetic, kept by a then famous man, Mr. George Brownell, very successful in his profession generally, and that by mild, encouraging methods. Under him I acquired fair writing pretty soon, but I failed in the arithmetic, and made no progress in it. At ten years old I was taken home to assist my father in his business, which was that of a tallow-chandler and sope-boiler; a business he was not bred to, but had assumed on his arrival in New England, and on finding his dying trade would not maintain his family, being in little request. Accordingly, I was employed in cutting wick for the candles, filling the dipping mold and the molds for cast candles, attending the shop, going of errands, etc.

I disliked the trade, and had a strong inclination for the sea, but my father declared against it; however, living near the water, I was much in and about it, learnt early to swim well, and to manage boats; and when in a boat or canoe with other boys, I was commonly allowed to govern, especially in any case of difficulty; and upon other occasions I was generally a leader among the boys, and sometimes led them into scrapes, of which I will mention one instance, as it shows an early projecting public spirit, tho' not then justly conducted.

There was a salt-marsh that bounded part of the mill-pond, on the edge of which, at high water, we used to stand to fish for minnows. By much trampling, we had made it a mere quagmire. My proposal was to build a wharff there fit for us to stand upon, and I showed my comrades a large heap of stones, which were intended for a new house near the marsh, and which would very well suit our purpose. Accordingly, in the evening, when the workmen were gone, I assembled a number of my play-fellows, and working with them diligently like so many emmets, sometimes two or three to a stone, we brought them all away and built our little wharff. The next morning the workmen were surprised at missing the stones, which were found in our wharff. Inquiry was made after the removers; we were discovered and complained of; several of us were corrected by our fathers; and though I pleaded the usefulness of the work, mine convinced me that nothing was useful which was not honest.

I think you may like to know something of his person and character. He had an excellent constitution of body, was of middle stature, but well set, and very strong; he was ingenious, could draw prettily, was skilled a little in music, and had a clear pleasing voice, so that when he played psalm tunes on his violin and sung withal, as he sometimesdid in an evening after the business of the day was over, it was extremely agreeable to hear. He had a mechanical genius too, and, on occasion, was very handy in the use of other tradesmen's tools; but his great excellence lay in a sound understanding and solid judgment in prudential matters, both in private and publick affairs. In the latter, indeed, he was never employed, the numerous family he had to educate and the straitness of his circumstances keeping him close to his trade; but I remember well his being frequently visited by leading people, who consulted him for his opinion in affairs of the town or of the church he belonged to, and showed a good deal of respect for his judgment and advice: he was also much consulted by private persons about their affairs when any difficulty occurred, and frequently chosen an arbitrator between contending parties.

At his table he liked to have, as often as he could, some sensible friend or neighbor to converse with, and always took care to start some ingenious or useful topic for discourse, which might tend to improve the minds of his children. By this means he turned our attention to what was good, just, and prudent in the conduct of life; and little or no notice was ever taken of what related to the victuals on the table, whether it was well or ill dressed, in or out of season, of good or bad flavor, preferable or inferior to this or that other thing of the kind, so that I was bro't up in such a perfect inattention to those matters as to be quite indifferent what kind of food was set before me, and so unobservant of it, that to this day if I am asked I can scarce tell a few hours after dinner what I dined upon. This has been a convenience to me in travelling, where my companions have been sometimes very unhappy for want of a suitable gratification of their more delicate, because better instructed, tastes and appetites.

My mother had likewise an excellent constitution: she suckled all her ten children. I never knew either my father or mother to have any sickness but that of which they dy'd, he at 89, and she at 85 years of age. They lie buried together at Boston, where I some years since placed a marble over their grave, with this inscription:

JOSIAH FRANKLIN, and ABIAH his Wife, lie here interred. They lived lovingly together in wedlock fifty-five years. Without an estate, or any gainful employment, By constant labor and industry, with God's blessing, They maintained a large family comfortably, and brought up thirteen children and seven grandchildren reputably. From this instance, reader, Be encouraged to diligence in thy calling, And distrust not Providence. He was a pious and prudent man; She, a discreet and virtuous woman. Their youngest son, In filial regard to their memory, Places this stone.

J.F. born 1655, died 1744, AEtat 89.A.F. born 1667, died 1752, ----- 95.

By my rambling digressions I perceive myself to be grown old. I us'd to write more methodically. But one does not dress for private company as for a publick ball. 'Tis perhaps only negligence.

To return: I continued thus employed in my father's business for two years, that is, till I was twelve years old; and my brother John, who was bred to that business, having left my father, married, and set up for himself at Rhode Island, there was all appearance that I was destined to supply his place, and become a tallow-chandler. But my dislike to the trade continuing, my father was under apprehensions that if he did not find one for me more agreeable, I should break away and get to sea, as his son Josiah had done, to his great vexation. He therefore sometimes took me to walk with him, and see joiners, bricklayers, turners, braziers, etc., at their work, that he might observe my inclination, and endeavor to fix it on some trade or other on land. It has ever since been a pleasure to me to see good workmen handle their tools; and it has been useful to me, having learnt so much by it as to be able to do little jobs myself in my house when a workman could not readily be got, and to construct little machines for my experiments, while the intention of making the experiment was fresh and warm in my mind. My father at last fixed upon the cutler's trade, and my uncle Benjamin's son Samuel, who was bred to that business in London, being about that time established in Boston, I was sent to be with him some time on liking. But his expectations of a fee with me displeasing my father, I was taken home again.

From a child I was fond of reading, and all the little money that came into my hands was ever laid out in books. Pleased with the Pilgrim's Progress, my first collection was of John Bunyan's works in separate little volumes. I afterward sold them to enable me to buy R. Burton's Historical Collections; they were small chapmen's books, and cheap, 40 or 50 in all. My father's little library consisted chiefly of books in polemic divinity, most of which I read, and have since often regretted that, at a time when I had such a thirst for knowledge, more proper books had not fallen in my way since it was now resolved I should not be a clergyman. Plutarch's Lives there was in which I read abundantly, and I still think that time spent to great advantage. There was also a book of De Foe's, called an Essay on Projects, and another of Dr. Mather's, called Essays to do Good, which perhaps gave me a turn of thinking that had an influence on some of the principal future events of my life.

This bookish inclination at length determined my father to make me a printer, though he had already one son (James) of that profession. In 1717 my brother James returned from England with a press and letters to set up his business in Boston. I liked it much better than that of my father, but still had a hankering for the sea. To prevent the apprehended effect of such an inclination, my father was impatient to have me bound to my brother. I stood out some time, but at last was persuaded, and signed the indentures when I was yet but twelve years old. I was to serve as an apprentice till I was twenty-one years of age, only I was to be allowed journeyman's wages during the last year. In a little time I made great proficiency in the business, and became a useful hand to my brother. I now had access to better books. An acquaintance with the apprentices of booksellers enabled me sometimes to borrow a small one, which I was careful to return soon and clean. Often I sat up in my room reading the greatest part of the night, when the book was borrowed in the evening and to be returned early in the morning, lest it should be missed or wanted.

And after some time an ingenious tradesman, Mr. Matthew Adams, who had a pretty collection of books, and who frequented our printing-house, took notice of me, invited me to his library, and very kindly lent me such books as I chose to read. I now took a fancy to poetry, and made some little pieces; my brother, thinking it might turn to account, encouraged me, and put me on composing occasional ballads. One was called The Lighthouse Tragedy, and contained an account of the drowning of Captain Worthilake, with his two daughters: the other was a sailor's song, on the taking of Teach (or Blackbeard) the pirate. They were wretched stuff, in the Grub-street-ballad style; and when they were printed he sent me about the town to sell them. The first sold wonderfully, the event being recent, having made a great noise. This flattered my vanity; but my father discouraged me by ridiculing my performances, and telling me verse-makers were generally beggars. So I escaped being a poet, most probably a very bad one; but as prose writing bad been of great use to me in the course of my life, and was a principal means of my advancement, I shall tell you how, in such a situation, I acquired what little ability I have in that way.

There was another bookish lad in the town, John Collins by name, with whom I was intimately acquainted. We sometimes disputed, and very fond we were of argument, and very desirous of confuting one another, which disputatious turn, by the way, is apt to become a very bad habit, making people often extremely disagreeable in company by the contradiction that is necessary to bring it into practice; and thence, besides souring and spoiling the conversation, is productive of disgusts and, perhaps enmities where you may have occasion for friendship. I had caught it by reading my father's books of dispute about religion. Persons of good sense, I have since observed, seldom fall into it, except lawyers, university men, and men of all sorts that have been bred at Edinborough.

A question was once, somehow or other, started between Collins and me, of the propriety of educating the female sex in learning, and their abilities for study. He was of opinion that it was improper, and that they were naturally unequal to it. I took the contrary side, perhaps a little for dispute's sake. He was naturally more eloquent, had a ready plenty of words; and sometimes, as I thought, bore me down more by his fluency than by the strength of his reasons. As we parted without settling the point, and were not to see one another again for some time, I sat down to put my arguments in writing, which I copied fair and sent to him. He answered, and I replied. Three or four letters of a side had passed, when my father happened to find my papers and read them. Without entering into the discussion, he took occasion to talk to me about the manner of my writing; observed that, though I had the advantage of my antagonist in correct spelling and pointing (which I ow'd to the printing-house), I fell far short in elegance of expression, in method and in perspicuity, of which he convinced me by several instances. I saw the justice of his remark, and thence grew more attentive to the manner in writing, and determined to endeavor at improvement.

About this time I met with an odd volume of the Spectator. It was the third. I had never before seen any of them. I bought it, read it over and over, and was much delighted with it. I thought the writing excellent, and wished, if possible, to imitate it. With this view I took some of the papers, and, making short hints of the sentiment in each sentence, laid them by a few days, and then, without looking at the book, try'd to compleat the papers again, by expressing each hinted sentiment at length, and as fully as it had been expressed before, in any suitable words that should come to hand. Then I compared my Spectator with the original, discovered some of my faults, and corrected them. But I found I wanted a stock of words, or a readiness in recollecting and using them, which I thought I should have acquired before that time if I had gone on making verses; since the continual occasion for words of the same import, but of different length, to suit the measure, or of different sound for the rhyme, would have laid me under a constant necessity of searching for variety, and also have tended to fix that variety in my mind, and make me master of it. Therefore I took some of the tales and turned them into verse; and, after a time, when I had pretty well forgotten the prose, turned them back again. I also sometimes jumbled my collections of hints into confusion, and after some weeks endeavored to reduce them into the best order, before I began to form the full sentences and compleat the paper. This was to teach me method in the arrangement of thoughts. By comparing my work afterwards with the original, I discovered many faults and amended them; but I sometimes had the pleasure of fancying that, in certain particulars of small import, I had been lucky enough to improve the method or the language, and this encouraged me to think I might possibly in time come to be a tolerable English writer, of which I was extremely ambitious. My time for these exercises and for reading was at night, after work or before it began in the morning, or on Sundays, when I contrived to be in the printing-house alone, evading as much as I could the common attendance on public worship which my father used to exact on me when I was under his care, and which indeed I still thought a duty, though I could not, as it seemed to me, afford time to practise it.

When about 16 years of age I happened to meet with a book, written by one Tryon, recommending a vegetable diet. I determined to go into it. My brother, being yet unmarried, did not keep house, but boarded himself and his apprentices in another family. My refusing to eat flesh occasioned an inconveniency, and I was frequently chid for my singularity. I made myself acquainted with Tryon's manner of preparing some of his dishes, such as boiling potatoes or rice, making hasty pudding, and a few others, and then proposed to my brother, that if he would give me, weekly, half the money he paid for my board, I would board myself. He instantly agreed to it, and I presently found that I could save half what he paid me. This was an additional fund for buying books. But I had another advantage in it. My brother and the rest going from the printing-house to their meals, I remained there alone, and, despatching presently my light repast, which often was no more than a bisket or a slice of bread, a handful of raisins or a tart from the pastry-cook's, and a glass of water, had the rest of the time till their return for study, in which I made the greater progress, from that greater clearness of head and quicker apprehension which usually attend temperance in eating and drinking.

And now it was that, being on some occasion made asham'd of my ignorance in figures, which I had twice failed in learning when at school, I took Cocker's book of Arithmetick, and went through the whole by myself with great ease. I also read Seller's and Shermy's books of Navigation, and became acquainted with the little geometry they contain; but never proceeded far in that science. And I read about this time Locke On Human Understanding, and the Art of Thinking, by Messrs. du Port Royal.

While I was intent on improving my language, I met with an English grammar (I think it was Greenwood's), at the end of which there were two little sketches of the arts of rhetoric and logic, the latter finishing with a specimen of a dispute in the Socratic method; and soon after I procur'd Xenophon's Memorable Things of Socrates, wherein there are many instances of the same method. I was charm'd with it, adopted it, dropt my abrupt contradiction and positive argumentation, and put on the humble inquirer and doubter. And being then, from reading Shaftesbury and Collins, become a real doubter in many points of our religious doctrine, I found this method safest for myself and very embarrassing to those against whom I used it; therefore I took a delight in it, practis'd it continually, and grew very artful and expert in drawing people, even of superior knowledge, into concessions, the consequences of which they did not foresee, entangling them in difficulties out of which they could not extricate themselves, and so obtaining victories that neither myself nor my cause always deserved. I continu'd this method some few years, but gradually left it, retaining only the habit of expressing myself in terms of modest diffidence; never using, when I advanced any thing that may possibly be disputed, the words certainly, undoubtedly, or any others that give the air of positiveness to an opinion; but rather say, I conceive or apprehend a thing to be so and so; it appears to me, or I should think it so or so, for such and such reasons; or I imagine it to be so; or it is so, if I am not mistaken. This habit, I believe, has been of great advantage to me when I have had occasion to inculcate my opinions, and persuade men into measures that I have been from time to time engag'd in promoting; and, as the chief ends of conversation are to inform or to be informed, to please or to persuade, I wish well-meaning, sensible men would not lessen their power of doing good by a positive, assuming manner, that seldom fails to disgust, tends to create opposition, and to defeat every one of those purposes for which speech was given to us, to wit, giving or receiving information or pleasure. For, if you would inform, a positive and dogmatical manner in advancing your sentiments may provoke contradiction and prevent a candid attention. If you wish information and improvement from the knowledge of others, and yet at the same time express yourself as firmly fix'd in your present opinions, modest, sensible men, who do not love disputation, will probably leave you undisturbed in the possession of your error. And by such a manner, you can seldom hope to recommend yourself in pleasing your hearers, or to persuade those whose concurrence you desire. Pope says, judiciously:

"Men should be taught as if you taught them not,"And things unknown propos'd as things forgot;"

He also advises,

"To speak, tho' sure, with seeming diffidence."

And he might have coupled with this line that which he has coupled with another, I think, less properly,

"For want of modesty is want of sense."

If you ask, Why less properly? I must repeat the lines,

"Immodest words admit of no defense,"For want of modesty is want of sense."

Now, is not want of sense (where a man is so unfortunate as to want it) some apology for his want of modesty? and would not the lines stand more justly thus?

"Immodest words admit but this defense,"That want of modesty is want of sense."

This, however, I should submit to better judgments.