The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin/Section Three
I will give you what Account I can of them at this distance from my Papers, and if they 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 encourag’d in Learning (as all his Brothers like wise were) by an Esquire Palmer, then the principal Gentleman in that Parish, he qualify’d himself for the Business of Scrivener, became a considerable Man in the County Affairs, was a chief Mover of all public Spirited Undertakings, for the County, or Town of Northampton & his own Village, of which many Instances were told us at Ecton, and he was much taken Notice of and patroniz’d by the then Lord Halifax. He died in 1702, Jan. 6, old Style, just 4 Years to a Day before I was born. The Account we receiv’d of his Life & 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 suppos’d a Transmigration. John was bred a Dyer, I believe of Woollens. 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, M.S. of his own Poetry, consisting of little occasional Pieces address’d to his Friends and Relations, of which the following sent to me, is a Specimen. (Here insert it.) He had form’d a Shorthand of his own, which he taught me, but, never practising it I have now forgot it. I was nam’d 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 Shorthand 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 remains 8 Vols. Folio, and 24 in 4to & 8vo. A Dealer in old Books met with them, and knowing me by 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 above 50 Years since. There are many of his Notes in the Margins.