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I have more time for reading, than can well be employed in that exercise. I cannot always read, as I find sitting long over a book of any sort, is apt to create drowsi. ness; I need a change of employ, and as I have no turn at all for farming, I find it necessary to divide all my time between reading and writing ; in the latter of which, it appears, I could continue eighteen hours without the least drowsiness, though I find it fatigueing to the hand and eyes, and is sometimes attended with painfulness in the right side of my breast. Time is precious -nothing more som every portion of it ought to be so filled up as to leave no blanks: this consideration has induced me to spend some part of my time, this fall and winter, in recollecting and writing down some memoirs of myseif and family, but more particularly what concerns my own life. This, I am persuaded, will be a profitable employment to myself, and, I hope, to you, to whom these sheets are immediately addressed ; and, after my decease, it may be profitable to others, as I have no objection to the publication of these memoirs then, enher wholly and in the: shape in which they here stand, or in part, and in any other shape, which you and my
friend Mr. Duke shall judge best, should you survive me.
I said, I am persuaded this will be a pro. fitable employ to myself, in as much as it has a tendency to inspire my heart with sincere love'and sentiments of ardent gratitude to my kind Benefactor, while I recollect and record his providential care of, and gracious goodness toward me, from the beginning, in blessing me with those natural faculties of body and mind, which I have possest, and still retain-in visiting my dark, untutored soul, with the rays of his enlightening and quickning grace-in calling my attention to things divine and eternal-shewing me my guilt, my danger, and my remedy-in giving me any sense of his pardoning love and mercy, through Jesus Christ-in raising me from the depths of obscurity, and the lowest walks of life, to such a distinguished place and station in his house and family--and though, like Amos, I was no prophet, nor prophet's son, yet hath he appointed me to speak to the people, in his name, and honored me with a coinmission and office, which I consider of higher dignity and greater importance, than those of all ambassadors, plenipotentiaries, or envoys extraordinary, aniong the states and kingdoms of this world--and in crown.
ing my negociations, with mankind, with any degree of success—in owning my mission, and setting so many seals to it. O may He still direct me in this undertaking, smile upon, and render it a blessing to writer and reader.
I begin, as is usual in works of this sort, with my birth and parentage.
I was born in New Kent, a county in Virginia, about 25 miles below Richmond, on January 6th, 1732-3, O. S. I was the youngest child of Robert Farratt and Sarah his wife. My grand-father was an Englishman, born, I believe, in the city of Lone don, in Devereux county, in Essex-Street, which is so called from Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex. From this circumstance, perhaps, or from his being a soldier in the army of the Earl of Essex, he named his first son Robert, and his second son Devereux. He had only these two sons and one daughter, who was married to Walter Clope ton, of New Kent. But from whenceso. ever the name Devereux was derived, it is certain, as far as I have known, or heard, my uncle was the first who had that name in Virginia, or even in America, and it was confined to our family for 50 or 60 years. But after I became minister of this parish ( Bath,) a number of people, out of re.
army of the from hism this ci
spect to me, called one of their sons after niy name.
My grand-mother, as I was told, was a native of Ireland. Both she and my grandfather died before I was born, and I have had no account of them, except that they were poor people, but industrious, and rather rough in their manners. They acquired a pretty good tract of land, of near 1200 acres, but they had no slaves - probably they were prejudiced against that kind of property. The family of the Jarratt's have been remarkably short lived, and very few of the name are to be found now living.
My father was brought up to the trade of a carpenter, at which he wrought till the very day before he died. He was a mild, inoffensive man, and much respected among his neighbors. My mother was the daughter of Joseph Bradley, of Charles City, a county bordering on New Kent. None of my ancestors, on either side, were either rich or great, but had the character of honesty and industry, by which they lived in credit among their neighbors, free from real want, and above the frowns of the world. This was also the habit, in which my parents were. They always had plenty of plain food and raiment, wholesome and
good, suitable to their humble station, and the times in which they lived. Our food was altogether the produce of the farm, or plantation, except a little sugar, which was rarely used ; and our raiment was altogether my mother's manufacture, except our hats and shoes, the latter of which we never put on, but in the winter season. We made no use of tea or coffee for breakfast, or at any other time; nor did I know a single family that made any use of them. Meat, bread and milk was the ordinary food of all my acquaintance. I suppose the richer sort might make use of those and other luxuries, but to such people I had no access. We were accustomed to look upon, what were called gentle folks, as beings of a superior order. For my part, I was quite shy of them, and kept off at a hum. ble distance. A periwig, in those days, was a distinguishing badge of gentle folk and when I saw a man riding the road, near our house, with a wig on, it would so alarm my fears, and give me such a disagreeable feeling, that, I dare say, I would run off, as for my life. Such ideas of the dif. ference between gentle and simple, were, I believe, universal among all of my rank: and age. But I have lived to see, a vast alteration, in this respect, and the contrary