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We are all sons and daughters of Adam, and we can all boast of the great antiquity of our families.
Like Don Quixote, Robinson Crusoe, and other great heroes and self biographers, the Author was born at a certain hour, on a certain day of the week, month and year ; at a certain village, and under a certain planet: of the precise second it is perhaps of little moment unless to the astrologer, who may wish to fire-draw a horoscope, or cast a nativity; but, as fortunately for mankind, all the cobwebs spun by this ragged race of foretellers of future events are swept away, the author is left to tell his own tale. Without entering into particulars, the sun had just sloped his western wheel when the Author was born; five and sixty summer suns have since rolled over his head, and from a slight view of the shades upon that dial, the setting of the bright orb of day is approaching ; it therefore behoves him in every sense, to employ the fleeting moments to the best advantage.
“O gentlemen the time of life is short,
Still ending at an hour.” -SHAKESPEARE. In interweaving the Author's life throughout the following recollections and selections, it is requisite to say something of himself and family. However humble their origin and pretensions, some interesting branches may spring out of the genealogic tree; we shall not trace them with the ardour of a newly made peer—a page or two will suffice.
Some branches of the Author's family have been remarkable for longevity, others through matrimonial ties, have been particularly noticed as early settlers, and as having been longer residents upon one spot than any family in England, and others as persons of travel ; but the whole are now
brought within so limited a circle, that the Author believes he and his son are the last surviving stems of his family bearing his name.
His ancestors were owners of considerable flocks, and cultivated extensive tracts of land. Often has he sighed for a few paternal acres, but unless he held them only “ by the tenure of a pepper corn to his country, and his only landford the lord of all land,” perhaps his anxieties and cares would be the same as they now are. If he has not many rich relatives to boast of, he has the lot of as few poor ones to deplore.
• His great grandfather, on his father's side, by a single dash of the pen for å faithless friend, tost his farm and fortune, and destroyed the prospects of his family. They withdrew their ffocks from the border of the extensive scene of Salisbury Plain, and left their residence near the druidical and mysterious movuments of Stonehenge. They became settlers in a delightful village in Surrey; where their experience and industry were appreciated by an eccentrie, but philosophie farmer, (of whom more hereafter.) Here, upon a farm of two thousand acres, ample scope was given to my grandfather's exertions, which continued to a very extended period; he lived to a very great age, and was actively employed on horseback after he was eighty years of age. One grave opened at the same hour for him and my grandmother, the latter dying in the evening, and the former on the following morning, after having lived together, to the number of
years that almost amonint to the natural age of man.
The author's maternal grandfather, died åt ninety, of the small pox.caught from some children in the village; his wife at an age little short of that of her husband. The joint ages of the four personages embraced about three hundred and fifty years.
The Author's father died at seventy-six, his mother at eighty one, he himself is, (this 23rd day of October, 1835) sixty-five. In summing up this merely introductory outline, it will be necessary to the subsequent developement of events, causes and effects, to divide his life into seven stages, in
the course of which, his adventures, appointments, blessings, comforts, disappointments, enjoyments, events, exertions, fears, grief, happiness, health, hopes, joys, and all the auxiliaries, that can aid him in rendering the following pages amusing and interesting, are yet to be developed. He has only to entreat the reader's patience and perseverance, in contemplating him through all the mazes of a chequered and eventful life ; it may prove a lesson to others, as well as to his childrens' children. "He has considered himself in some respects, as almost a patriarch, a friend has designated him-father Abraham !!!
If his age, experience, and literary stores will not avail him sufficient materiel for his magazine, or Recollections and Selections, he trusts that he can as well as some of our ingenious historical novelists of the day, resort to the “olden time” with good grace.
The author by his second marriage, can point out, as relatives, within 24 miles of London, the family circle of the owners of a spot, granted to their family by Alfred the Great. (He glories in that name.) They have enjoyed, and resided upon the farm in lineal descent, and uninterupted possession and succession for nine hundred years, but more of this hereafter. The Spaniard wishes his friend might live a thousand years ; the author has no desire to live nine hundred and ninety-nine : the reader perhaps is beginning to yawn, he therefore closes his introduction.
“Off-hand and various, as occasion leads,
The Recollections of the author carry him back to a very early period of his life; the first stage of which, he will confine to that of fourteen. At four years of
he recollects he had the honour of dining with his mother during her accouchement with his third brother; at whose christening he displayed considerable anger, from the rough salute, and rough beard of his godfather. At six years of age he was highly amused at the eccentric and philosophic farmer, to whom he has alluded in his introductory chapter. This extraordinary character, (John Parker, Esq.) always dressed with extreme neatness, in a loose coat, with wide and long hanging sleeves, ornamented with gold basket covered buttons, but was never known to wear a waistcoat. His shoes short quartered, high tongued, square toed, with pinchbeck buckles. His gardeners were strictly enjoined to produce him a nosegay of the finest flowers, ere he proceeded on his morning ride, always accompanied by a monkey, who was well dressed, with a cocked hat, and sat behind him upon a fine spirited horse, followed by a respectable man servant. He kept the best society, and died at the advanced age of one hundred and two; but notwithstandiug his supposed riches, and havng had one of the finest farms in the country, consisting of