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extreme prevail. In our high republicanz times, there is more levelling than ought to be, consistent with good government. I have as little notion of oppression and tyranny as any man, but a due subordination is essentially requisite in every government. At present, there is too little regard and reverence paid to magistrates and persons in public office; and whence do this disre. gard and irreverence originate, but from the notion and practice of levelling ?. An idea is held out to us, that our present government and laws are far superior to the former, when we were under the royal admi. nistration; but my age enables me to know, that the people are not now, by half, so quietly and peaceably governed as formerly; nor are the laws, perhaps by the tenth part, so well executed. And yet I allow the superiority of our present government. In theory, it is certainly superior; but in practice it is not so. This can arise from nothing so much as the want of a proper distinction, between the various orders of the people. But here I am rambling again, and must come back to my tract. · My parents neither sought nor expected Any titles, honors, or great things, either
for themselves or children. Their highest tambition was to teach their children to read,
write, and understand the fundamental rules. of arithmetic. I remember also, they taught us short prayers, and made us very perfect in repeating the Church Catechism. They wished us all to be brought up in some honest calling, that we might earn our bread, by the sweat of our brow, as they did. Two of their children died in infancy, before I was born ; and only four lived to years of maturity, three sons and a daughter. I was a great favorite, as being the youngest.
When I was between six and seven years of age, I had the misfortune to lose my father, by a very sudden stroke. I remember, on the morning, in which he died, I saw him go out of the house, about his business, as usual, and by nine o'clock I saw him expiring in his chamber. His sudden exit was attributed to his taking a dose of tartar emetic, as he complained of being something unwell. The remembrance of this event, has made me cautious of tartar all my days. I never knowingly took a grain of it; though I suspected that a physician once gave me some of it, in disguise, but it almost put an end to me. It brought on the same symptoms of the cramp and cold sweat, which came on my father, just before he expired-but I, beka
• ing of a stronger constitution than he, survived the attack.
My father, dying so suddenly and unexpectedly, had made no will ; the consequence was that my elder brother, Robert, heired all the landed estate. Of the perishable estate an equal division was made, and my part, as well as the rest, amounted to 251." current money of Virginia, which I was to receive at the age of twenty-one. This sum would be thought very trifling, åt this day, but then it was justly reckoned much more considerable, as all family necessaries were so much cheaper, than now. A horse, which would now sell for 201. might be bought then for 51.: a good cow and calf for a pistole, and other things in proportion. I mention these things to shew the difference of the times, and the great fluctuation of human affairs.
Both my brothers were taught the trade of a carpenter and millwright, at which they wrought for the most part of their lives. They both died about the meridian of life. My sister is still living. But I shall say no more of my family—but proceed to those things which more particularly relate to myself.
At a very early period, as I have been told, 1 discovered a pregnancy of genius, in some things, not very common, and was frequently called parson; and some of my friends would sometimes say they thought I would be a parson. I can myself remember this ; and can now recollect that the retentiveness of my memory was very extraordinary. Before I knew the letters of the alphabet, I could repeat a whole chapter in the Bible, at a few times hearing it read, especially if the subject of it struck my fancy. The 16th chapter of Judges, and some other parts of the history of Samson, I soon learned to repeat; because I was so much taken with his strength, exploits, and vengeance on the Philistines for histwo eyes. And the odiousness of Delilah's character, who so basely betrayed him into the hands of his enemies, made such an įmpression on my mind, as, I believe, much contributed to that utter abhorrence, which I have had of that kind of vermin, all the days of my life.
Í had indeed an aptitude in learning sevaral things, but more especially those, in which the memory was mostly concerned. I have never conversed with any person in my life, whose memory seemed equal to mine. Nor did I ever know one, who çould repeat so many lines, in an English, or Latin poet, as I could, in the same spa.ce of time. My voice was remarkably tune. able, and soft, or sonorous ; as the case required, on which it was exercised. So that as my memory enabled me to repeat the stanzas of the longest songs, I could sing them, with an air and grace, which excited attention and admiration. The number of songs, I could repeat and sing, when but a child, might seem incredible to relate. The old song of Chevy Chase, which Mr. Addison has honoured with a cri. tic in the Spectator, and considers as a work of merit and genius, I learned to repeat, and sing, by hearing it a few times only, though it contained near a hundred stanzas. The traces made on my brain, by the chapters and songs I then learned to repeat, have never been erased to the present moment. As what I have here said respecting my memory, &c. relate merely to gifts of nature, which I had no hand in acquiring, there can be no vanity in writing them down. But I cannot help regreting, that I had no better subjects offered for a display of such talents, than paltry songs, as most of those were, which then took my atten. tion. · At 8 or 9 years old, I was sent to an English school in the neighbourhood: and I continued to go to one teacher and