Because to be a libeler (says he)My elder brothers were all put apprentices to different trades. I was put apprentices to different trades. I was put to the grammar school at eight years of age, my father intending to devote me, as the tithe of his sons, to the service of the church. My early readiness in learning to read ( which must have been very early, as I do not remember when I could not read), and the opinion of all his friends that I should certainly make a good scholar, encouraged him in this purpose of his. My uncle Benjamin, too, approved of it, and proposed to give me all his shorthand volumes of sermons I suppose as a stock to set up with --if I would learn his character. I continued, however, at the grammar school not quite one year, through in that time I had risen gradually from the middle of the class of that year to be the head of it , and farther was removed into the class above it, in order to go with that into the third at the end of the year. But my father, in the mean time, from a view of the expense of a college education, which, having, so large a family, he could not well afford, and the mean living many so educated were afterwards able to obtain reasons that he gave to his friends in my hearing altered his first intention, took me from the grammar school and sent me to a school for writing and arithmetic kept by a then famous man, Mr. George Brownell, very successful in his profession generally, and that by mild, encouraging methods. Under him I acquired fair writing pretty soon, but I failed in the arithmetic, and made no progress in it. At ten years old I was taken home to assist my father in his business, which was that of a tallow-chandler and soap-boiler a business he was not bred to, but had assumed on his arrival in New England, and on his dyeing trade would not maintain his family, being in little request. Accordingly, I was employed in cutting wick for the candles, filing the dipping-mold and the molds for cast candles, attending the shop, going of errands, etc.
I hate it with my heart;
From Sherburne town, where now I dwell,
My name I do put here;
Without offense your real friend,
It is Peter Folgier.
I disliked the trade, and had a strong inclination for the sea, but my father declared against it. However, living near the a water, I was much in and about it, learnt early to swim well, and to manage boats; and when in a boat or canoe with other boys, I was commonly allowed to govern, especially in any case of difficulty; and upon other occasions I was generally a leader among the boys, and sometimes led them into scrapes, of which I will mention one instance, as it shows an early projecting public spirit, tho' not then justly conducted.