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Briggs, Charles F. (Charles Frederick), 1804-1877 [1839], The adventures of Harry Franco. Volume 1 (F. Saunders, New York) [word count] [eaf025v1].
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HARRY FRANCO. CHAPTER I. Being the beginning of the Book, is very properly devoted to the beginning of the Hero. ANCESTRAL.

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It is a generally received opinion in some parts
of the world, that a man must of necessity have
had ancestors; but, in our truly independent
country, we contrive to get along very well without
them. That strange race, called Aristocrats,
it is said, consider every body as nobody, unless
they can boast of at least a dozen ancestors. These
lofty people would have scorned an alliance with
a parvenu like Adam, of course. What a fortunate
circumstance for their high mightinesses, that
they were not born in the early ages. No antediluvian
family would have been entitled to the

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slightest consideration from them. When the
world was only two thousand years old, it is
melancholy to reflect, its surface was covered with
nobodies; men of yesterday, without an ancestry
worth speaking of. It is not to be wondered at,
that such a set of upstarts should have caused the
flood; nothing less would have washed away their
vulgarity, to say nothing of their sins.

But in this blessed country, as is known to all
the world, men rest their claims to notice on their
own merits; and as we neither hold ourselves
accountable for the vices, nor take credit to ourselves
for the virtues of our ancestors, it will not
be necessary for me to trace my pedigree any
farther back than to my immediate progenitor;
and of him I shall write but very sparingly, as it
is my intention, in these pages, to confine my
narrative to my own personal adventures.

Every body has heard of the long Embargo;
but every body, it is probable, has not heard as
much about it as I have. It was by that wise and
patriotic measure, that my father was ruined; and
it will not be wondered at, that it should have
formed, ever after, the staple of his conversation.
It was not the fashion in those days for a man to
set up his carriage after he had failed in business;
so my father conformed to the custom of the times,

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as he would have done, probably, if his misfortunes
had overtaken him later in life, and having
paid all his honest debts, he scraped together the
odds and ends that were left to him, and removed
to his native village, there to await for better
times; and in due course of events, I made my
appearance in the world.

My native village was a quiet little
out-of-the-way place, about a day's ride from one of the
steamboat landings on the Hudson. Like every
other little out-of-the-way village, its quiet was in
appearance only, for the men and women who
made up its body politic, were as much under the
dominion of the enemy of man's peace, as ever
were the dwellers of a great and crowded city. Of
this fact, my unfortunate parents very soon became
convinced. My father, it is probable, always was
convinced of it; but my mother, who was city
bread, and who had picked up her ideas of human
nature from novels and romances, expected to find
country people and villagers, as innocent as the
lambs that frisked about on their meadows; and
the first outbreak of uncharitableness, which she
witnessed in her new neighbors, caused as much
astonishment in her mind, as though she had found
a thorn on the stem of a butter cup.

Having thus accounted for my being in the

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world, I shall close this chapter, and in the very
next, proceed at once to the business in hand, and
relate my adventures with as little digression as
possible. And I trust that my kind reader, when
he shall arrive at the end, will not be compelled
to ejaculate, as the old woman did when she read
the dictionary through from A to izzard, that she
could make neither head nor tail of the story.

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Briggs, Charles F. (Charles Frederick), 1804-1877 [1839], The adventures of Harry Franco. Volume 1 (F. Saunders, New York) [word count] [eaf025v1].
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