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INTRODUCTORY NOTE BENJAMIN FRANKLIN was born in Milk Street Boston on January 6 1706 His father Josiah Franklin was a tallow chandler who married twice and of his seventeen children Benjamin was the youngest son Meantime Franklin was concerning himself more and more with public affairs On his return to America he played an honorable part in the Paxton affair through which he lost his seat in the Assembly but in 1764 he was again despatched to England as agent for the colony this time to petition the King to resume the government from the hands of the proprietors Page 5 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY 1706-1757 DEAR SON I have ever had pleasure in obtaining any little anecdotes of my ancestors Page 6 besides correcting the faults change some sinister accidents and events of it for others more favorable Page 7 three hundred years and how much longer he knew not perhaps from the time when the name of Franklin that before was the name of an order of people was assumed by them as a surname when others took surnames all over the kingdom on a freehold of about thirty acres aided by the smiths business which had continued in the family till his time the eldest son being always bred to that business a custom which he and my father followed as to their eldest sons By that register I perceived that I was the youngest son of the youngest son for five generations back My grandfather Thomas who was born in 1598 lived at Ecton till he grew too old to follow business longer when he went to live with his son John a dyer at Banbury in Oxfordshire with whom my father served an apprenticeship The account we received of his life and character from some old people at Ecton I remember struck you as something extraordinary from its similarity to what you knew of mine Page
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