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lost his wife and all his children, save one, and finally came out to America to join the family at Boston.
Franklin's mother was Abiah Folger, the second wife of his father. She was the daughter of Peter Folger, of Nantucket, a surveyor, who is described by Cotton Mather as a somewhat learned man. He made himself familiar with some of the Indian languages, and taught the Indians to read and write. He wrote verses of about the same quality as those of Uncle Benjamin. One of these, called “A Looking Glass for the Times," while it is mere doggerel, shows that its author was interested in literature. He was a man of liberal views and opposed to the persecution of the Quakers and Baptists in Massachusetts.
From this grandfather on his mother's side Franklin no doubt inherited his fondness for books, a fondness that was reinforced by a similar tendency which, though not very strong in his father, evidently existed in his father's family, as Uncle Benjamin's verses show. These verses sent to the boy Franklin and his efforts at times to answer them were an encouragement towards reading and knowledge. Franklin's extremely liberal views may possibly have had their origin in his maternal grandfather, Peter Folger.
But independently of these suppositions as regards heredity, we find Franklin at twelve years of age reading everything he could lay his hands on. His first book was Bunyan's “Pilgrim's Progress," which would not interest boys nowadays, and scarcely interests mature people any more ; but there were no
novels then and no story-books for boys. “ Pilgrim's Progress” is a prose story with dialogues between the characters, the first instance of this sort of writing in English, and sufficient to fascinate a boy when there was nothing better in the world.
He liked it so well that he bought the rest of Bunyan's works, but soon sold them to procure Burton's Historical Collections, which were forty small chapmen's books, full of travels, adventures, history, and descriptions of animals, well calculated to stimulate the interest of a bright lad. Among his father's theological books was Plutarch's “Lives," which young Franklin read eagerly, also De Foe's “Essay upon Projects,” and Cotton Mather's “Essays to do Good,” which he said had an important influence on his character.
He so hated cutting wicks and melting tallow that, like many other boys of his time, he wanted to run away to sea; and his father, to check this inclination and settle him, compelled him to sigt articles of apprenticeship with his brother James, who was a printer. The child's taste for books, the father thought, fitted him to be a printer, which would be a more
profitable occupation than the ministry, for which he was at first intended.
So Franklin was bound by law to serve his brother until he was twenty-one. He learned the business quickly, stealing time to read books, which he sometimes persuaded booksellers' apprentices to take from their masters' shops in the evening. He would sit up nearly all night to read them, so that they might be returned early in the morning before they were missed.