...bid me kindly farewell, as he had done to the rest in mystation. So that he had never made me any Invitation, as was falselyrepresented. Some time after it happened, that meeting with oneRichard Arnold, a quondam Playfellow, as though in a great hurry.Dick, said I, whither in such haste? Tommy, said he, will you go withme? I am this day going on board a ship bound for England. Yousurprise me, said I, it is a place I earnestly long to see, being myfather's native country: and both from him and from others I haveheard so much Talk about it: Besides, my master is too severe, andnever content though I work ever so hard: He may, indeed, make me anexcellent workman at long run; but he so refines my body, that I amafraid I shall become all spirit in a little time. Indeed, I hadanother secret reason: He had a servant, named Joan, who lived at apublic house, the Anchor in the piazza's, in Essex Street. While heonce drinking there, a drunken fellow called her a w--, foe he saidhe could prove it. She leaves the place, puts the criminal in theBishop's court, and then she became our hopeful servant. Her fondnessto me was such as I very much disliked so young as I then was: Shewas so far from a beauty that I rather thought her the contrary.There was not the least temptation except being a cupboard friend,the benefits of which, through her spontaneous desire, she waswilling communicate when required. Leaving my mistress, she pretendedit was upon my account. She gets another service near my father'shouse, that she might see me when I came thither: She had herconfederates to way-lay me, and reproach me with unkindness to aninnocent virgin thy said, to whom I had promised marriage: As I knewthat to be a falsity, and all an intrigue; that I was over-satisfiedof her silly behaviour in coming to my bed, clinging to my lips, andalmost smothering with her early morning kisses. Ads-fish, I had sucha surfeit of her affections, that I think my master's severity wasnot a greater reason to leave the kingdom, in which I might have beenutterly ruined, than her nauseous affection. The worst was in leavingmy dear parents, but that I hoped would in time be atoned for; inshort, I told Arnold that I would accompany him: he promised to meetme on Aston's Quay, wherein he failed. However, as Captain Whartonwas going to sail, I took some small provision, got a shilling of mydear mother, gave a farewell kiss to her and my loving father,(without any word or token of what I had in agitation,) and boughttwo or three penny loaves out of my stock, which, I think, was aboutseventeen pence, only that my habit was tolerable, having taken mybest suit. And so, on the 9th of August, 1710, as we entered themouth of the bay, a great storm ensued, which obliged the sailors tocast anchor.
I was crept into the hold, where I lay very sick, by which means Iwas secure from the searches of my indulgent father, one Mr CharlesHarris, a tidewaiter, and my master aforesaid. And on the third dayfrom my being on board, the wind and weather permitting, we setforward, and the day following came opposite to the shore, on theeminence of which is a place called Park Gate; here, knowing my poorstock would not half amount to the payment of my passage, I offeredmy waistcoat as a recompense to the master, who, I was previouslytold, would order me to be severely striped for presuming to enterinto the ship without money. But, indeed, contrary to what wasthought, he let two or three others pass free: when I came to make myoffering, "Pretty lad," said he, "and is it so poor with you? Why, ifI should strip you of your raiment, you might happen to be starved todeath, which I know not but might be left at my door; but, child, hadmy sailors told me you were hid in the ship, upon my word you shouldhave been delivered to your friends when they searched for you. Whatwill your tender parents say, when they come to hear that you are ina strange land, without support? for my own part, I grieve for yourcondition. Here, young man, take this sixpence with you, endeavour toget employment, and take to good ways; for I have children of my ownand that makes me pity you the more, seeing you are but young, and asyet so helpless a creature, for want of friends to assist you, andadvise you for the best." Such kind of expressions coming, as Ithought at first, from a rough sailor, drew flowing tears from thefull sluices of mine eyes; and while I thanked him the more, withpromise if ever I met him knowingly, and was of ability, I shouldmore than recompense him for his timely generosity, it melted himalso, that he could speak but little more than bidding God bless me,who was able chiefly to support me, as he had wonderfully many otherfaithful travelling adventurers. He ordered one of the sailors tohelp me into the boat, as being myself very weak, through the violenttossing of the waves; so then, when I landed, the world seemed toturn round, through the giddiness that possessed my poor brains, andreally had almost deprived me of any thought. I had like to havefallen backwards into the water, but was kindly supported by some inthe company, till a walk or two occasioned a due circulation, andrestored me to my faculties.
And now, setting forwards towards Chester, in company with a jollyfat Englishwoman, and an anchorsmith, whom she seemed particularlyfond of, also an Irishwoman, and her seeming husband, we arrived atthat famous city in about three or four hours' time. I was agreeablypleased with the piazzas, under which it is pleasant to walk dry inrainy weather; the noble walls, from whence you have an agreeableprospect; the towers; spacious buildings; and the celebrated riverDee, where the famous king Edgar was rowed by eight tributary kings.*
But then no printing press, as I could hear of, was set up inthose parts; neither could my fellow-travellers find anyencouragement in their way: thus, like distressed strangers, we wereall obliged to push forward for London. At first, my companionscalled me Mr Tommy, by way of eminence; but when they found the titledid not agree with my empty pockets, they imposed some of their heavyburdens on my wearied shoulders. This was not very pleasing to myspirit: but their company was more detestable, when one of the menknocked down a goose that was swimming in a sort of lake near theroad, and both them and their hussies obliged me to wade deep in thewater before I could get it out. This gave me a terrible notion howunfortunate those unhappy people were who fall into bad company; inwhat a sad dilemma they are oftentimes engaged; and, without God'sdelivering providence, might be brought to suffer the very rigour ofjustice, for the vile enormities of other sinful wretches. But these,my now crooked friends, got no good by their hungry theft, for,getting it boiled at a place they thought convenient, it was almostas tough as parchment itself. At night a room was shown to thepretended married couple; near to which was a proper cubiculum, inwhich were two beds, one for me, and the other was occupied by theblack anchorsmith and the aforesaid Anglian dame: who often cried outto me, Master Tommy! Are you awake? Pray talk a little. But I,wanting rest, said nothing; yet could not sleep a while for them;much less, when their bed began to shake so much, as if the house hadbeen tottering by the rattling of a coach upon flinty stones: Whichaffecting indication made me really suppose (though quite innocentwas I then what coition was) that the fellow had cast his plummetinto the ocean of his Venus; for his goddess spoke no more that nightbeing ushered to sleep by a succeeding calm, till Aurora with herblushes ushered in the morning sun.
Well, we journeyed still further and further, till we lit of acompany of soldiers, travelling on foot, in order to embark forSpain. They had a serjeant with them, and an officer, who wasmounted. They attacked my fellow-travellers, the two men, to take onwith them; this made me like company the worse: so, delivering mybundle, I endeavoured to make off from them all; but Serjeant Kite,and the thinjawed officer, from his lean Rosinante, ordered one oftheir young fellows nimbly to overtake me, and persuade me backagain, to sup with them that night; but the honest youth, who hadbeen entrapped himself, seeing me very weary, and, after somediscourse, pitying my condition, laid open to me a scene of theirhonesty, if I might give it so good a name. "The officer," said he,"will ride up to you, as I depart on one side; you may seem to agreewith what he says, by bidding you live, as his men do, along withthem; but rise up early next morning, and make the best of your wayfrom us." What he spake was really truth, and I acted accordingly;however, the officer overtook me next day, towards evening: "Iperceive, young man," said he, "you did not like us, by giving us theslip; but you had as well be with us as shun us, for at London youwill be pressed, in spite of your teeth, and meet with far moreuncourteous usage." "Perhaps, sir," said I, "it may he so; but I prayyou, at present, permit me to be of another mind to believe what yousay, because I think I was never designed to be a warrior,-but ratherone who, by profession, should rather exhibit their glorious actionsto future ages." "You'll be forced to it," said he, "whether you willor no;" and so rode from me in a huff, which plainly proved what theyoung soldier had told me, whose warning I honourably kept within mybreast, in perfect gratitude, lest he should in anywise suffer forhis goodness to me.
When I reached the ancient town of St. Alban's, so called from thefamous protomartyr of England, I took up my lodgings in the firststreet, at the sign of St. Catherine's Wheel. The good landlordobserving me very lame and tired, asked me what I would have got forsupper; but I honestly told him I had but twopence in the world,which I should pay him for my lodging, that I must fast, and drinknothing but water, till I got to London; but what was a greatertrouble, there were soldiers on the road, who thought to ensnare me,and from whom I had travelled prodigiously hard, to escape theirintended destruction. This open plainness touched so much the heartsof the good man and his wife, that they gave me something to eat,which I was unwilling to receive, and for some time-
[Here is, unfortunately, a chasm in the manuscript. When thenarrative proceeds, we find him in the employ of Mr Midwinter, andhaving recently made acquaintance with a Dublin schoolfellow, a sonof Sir Richard Levintz.]
When we walked out, I declared the naked truth in everycircumstance. He told me his father, Sir Richard Levintz, who was ajudge in Ireland, had sent him thither to be educated in St. Paul'sschool, where he had been for some time; but of late was ordered totravel into the eastern countries; that he was soon to go on board;and that he was provided with several suits of apparel for thatpurpose. He did not know, he said, as he was going up theMediterranean, but he might see Jerusalem before he returned; thathis ambition was to behold many parts of Asia, if he could; to visitConstantinople, Greece, and Rome, and every noted place. But howfortune would favour him in that respect, he could not tell "however,Tommy," said he, "while I stay in London, I will enjoy your companynow and then, and tomorrow I will come and beg an holyday for you."Accordingly, next day, he came to our house, and besought one for mefrom Madam Midwinter: he was tall, exceedingly beautiful, and had afine address. So much was she attracted with the youth, that she sooncalled me from work, and bid me dress myself to go along with him.Never was a friend more endearing; "Tommy," said he, "whilst we werelads at school, you often obliged me at marvels, at which, Iremember, you was a great bulker; also with tops, flying kites, andother sports, for which you was the most excellent in St. Mary'sparish. Now let us walk out to the fields, towards Islington,Newington, Pancridge, or any other towns, and once more talk of ourjuvenile actions." Accordingly we did so, and in many pleasantarbours he treated me with wine, cider, ale, and cakes, and indeedwhatever I had a mind to. At night, returning, I parted with him athis lodging, near Christ's Hospital; but he had me abroad with himonce or twice more, till he began to enter upon his travels; andthough I often inquired of him, by my friends, to whom I repeated hisgoodness to me, I never had the good fortune to see him after.
But so honourable an acquaintance had this good effect, that Mrs.Midwinter, thinking me none of the very commonest sort of my countryfolks, she began to have a greater respect to me than usual, though(as her circumstances then were not so great as might be wished,) itabated nothing of my hard labour, working many times from five o'clock in the morning till twelve at night, and frequently withoutfood from breakfast time till five or six in the evening, through ourhurry with hawkers. My fellow-servants would often give me greatuneasiness through their authentic nonsense, and unreasonablecontempt, which obliged me, now and then, to have some skirmishes formy quietude, in which, I have heartily thanked Providence that I wasenabled, though with strong reluctancy, to bring them at last intogood manners.
When I was about twenty years old, I think I had been seven yearsat the business, from my first apprenticeship in Ireland, when mymaster, Midwinter, exhibited a glorious spirit of generosity: hecalled me one night to sup with him; his daughter-in-law, BettyWalters, told me there was a fowl prepared for me. It was not longbefore that I was severely beaten for sending him a letter toIslington, complaining I was in a poor philosopher's condition, forwant of a pair of breeches; and though, upon my writing Dr.Sacheverel's sermon after his suspension, for which I waited frommorning till evening to hear him, he had given what I wanted, and acrown-piece beside, because he took near £30 that week by it;yet still, as he had taken it as a great affront, I imaginedresentment continued in his breast towards me. "No, indeed, Mr Gent,"said Betty, (and that was the first time she gave me the title ofMr,) "my father has quite contrary apprehensions, for he respectsyou, and I am sure you will find it so." However, I could not helptrembling, thinking myself undone if he proved now unkind to me; butentering the room,-"Take a chair, Mr Gent," both master and mistresskindly said. They cut me victuals, which, God knows, in reverence tothem, I could hardly taste, and the cup shook in my hand as I pledgedtheir healths, which my master pitying, smiling, said, "I believe, MrGent, I know your thoughts; because I have treated you as a servant,perhaps now and then with correction, only to make you better, youmay think I shall carry myself with illnature to you for the future.No, my lad, I scorn it; and so does your good mistress, too, whateveryou may judge of us both; and, as I am sensible you have been fullseven years at the business, you may, from this night, work with whomyou please, under my protection; as yet, I believe, you are utterlyunprovided, therefore, I desire you would neither want board norlodging, such as you have had already, whilst I have a house to cometo. So you see I do not prefer my interest to your good; and thoughyou came an almost stranger to me, God forbid that I should send youas such abroad; at this time, as I am not so full of business butwhat our hands can do, you may make use of this opportunity byimproving more with others: so that take a good heart, be diligent ifyou are employed, and patient if you are not; and never fear butevery thing will answer for your good at last, as so far it has donealready." And so they both drunk my health, and bid me be cheerful.
It cannot be imagined what great satisfaction these words of mymaster gave me. I desired both of them not to think I should nowthink hard of any usage I might have received by correction, often, Ibelieved, through misrepresentation of others; but if not, I ownedthat youth must either be under discipline, or entirely lost; that Ihad rather cause to rejoice they had been my defenders, and now werebecome a greater blessing than even my natural parents; but, atpresent, I could do no more than return my most humble thanks, forwhose prosperity I should pray as long as life continued to make mesensible of so incumbent a duty.
Upon their asking me what money I had, I told them, my poor stockamounted to no more than a tester; that indeed I had a shilling, butsixpence of it went to pay for a letter that my dear mother happilysent me, wherein, considering my condition, she had ordered me fortyshillings and half a dozen shirts, to be received of Mr Gurnell,merchant, in Throgmorton street. This was great comfort at soparticular a time.
So the next day I went to wait on him, but he was neither at home,or on the Exchange; I took a walk into Moorfields, and looking overthe booksellers' stalls, I spied Ayre's Arithmetic, which buying, Iparted with my last sixpence, thinking it would not be long before Ihad a fresh recruit. I went back again, but not finding my merchant,I was obliged to dine with Duke Humphrey: that I might not returnempty, I had patience to fast till about four o'clock, and then itwas, with great joy, that I found him in his habitation. The good mandelivered me what was ordered, with a pious exhortation how to behavemyself in the world; that I should carefully endeavour to shun thepaths of wickedness, and strive to live such a pious life, as mightnot only be conducive to my health and reputation, but be the onlymeans, after death, to obtain a state of felicity which is eternal inthe heavens above. I found, by his modest habit, that he was a sortof Quaker, and returned him thanks for his care and advice, as herichly deserved. However my craving stomach was pained for want oftemporal food, I so well digested this heavenly sustenance that mytender nature could not refrain from tears; and so, humbly takingleave, I went directly to seek a place of business, when luckily, Ihappened to engage with Mrs. Bradford, a quaker, and widow, in Fetterlane, who ordered me to come the next morning. With great spirit andelasticity I flew, as it were, homewards, to the great satisfactionof my kind master and mistress, who asked me, why I did not come todinner? if I was not almost starved? or if I lit of the merchant, anddined with him? I told them the whole truth; and, going to work thenext day, I continued so briskly, that by Saturday night I had earnednear seventeen shillings: so that, having near three pounds in bank,and a new suit of clothes, of about three pounds price, which MrMidwinter had given me, exclusive of my other apparel, I thought thatI might do pretty well in the world; in order to which, I furnishedmyself with a new composing iron, called a stick, because ancientlythat useful material was made of wood; a pair of scissors, to cutscaleboards; a sharp bodkin, to correct the letter; and prettysliding box, to contain them, and preserve all from rustiness; Ibought also a galley, for the pages I was to compose, with otherappurtenances that might be of service to me when occasion shouldrequire.
But as inconsiderate youth is, too soon, over fond of novelty,being invited to another place, under Mr Mears, in Blackfriars, Ivery indiscreetly parted with my mistress, which entirely lost me thefavour of that knowing gentlewoman. On my entrance amongst a numberof men, besides paying what is called Benmoney, I found, soon after,I was, as it were, to be dubbed as great a cuz as the famous DonQuixote seemed to be when he thought himself a knight, and that theinnkeeper was lord of the castle, in the yard of which he judged thatthe honour was conferred: though the insipid folly thereof, agreeablyto their strange harangues in praise of the protecting charms ofcuzship, which, like the power of Don Waltho Claterbank's infalliblemedicines, would heal all evils, whether curable or not, was not veryagreeable to my hearing; yet, when the master himself insisted itmust be done, I was obliged to submit to that immemorial custom, theorigin of which they could not then explain to me. It commenced bywalking round the chapel, (printing rooms being called such, becausefirst begun to be practised in one at Westminster Abbey;) singing analphabetical anthem, tuned literally to the vowels; striking me,kneeling, with a broadsword; and pouring ale upon my head: my titleswere exhibited much to this effect, "Thomas Gent, baron of CollegeGreen, earl of Fingall, with power to the limits of Dublin bar,captain general of the Teagues, near the Lake of Allen, and lord highadmiral over all the bogs in Ireland." To confirm which, and that Imight not pay over again for the same ceremony, throughforgetfulness, they allowed me godfathers, the first I ever hadbefore, because the Presbyterian minister, at my christening, allowednone at his office; and these, my new pious fathers, were theun-reverend Mr Holt and Mr Palmer. Nay, there were witnesses also,such as Mr Fleming, Mr Gibbins, and Mr Cocket, staunch journeymenprinters. But after all this work, I began to see the vanity of humangrandeur; for, as I was not yet a freeman, I was discharged as aforeigner in about a fortnight or three weeks' time. This was like ajavelin to my soul, especially when I thought how vainly I had leftMrs. Bradford, in whose house I had lived without envy or danger; Iimagined myself in a worse state than the prodigal, and judged that Iwas highly guilty of incivility, if not ingratitude. But though Ibelieved my capacity for her business might induce her to accept meonce more, yet, fearing her just contempt, I durst not adventureagain to offer my service; there fore I sought for a new place, andinstead of one, got several; in short, I obtained smouting-work, thatis, labouring here and there without settlement, which affording atolerable subsistence, made me endeavour to prove an excellentsmouter, a more profitable title than that of a cuz, I assure you.And now I thought I had as little occasion to value Mears as he hadset by me in discharging me as he did; I was so full of resentment,that when I met the proud fellow, (as I could call him no other, byhis usage,) that I did not shew the least respect, but scorn, andwould never work for him after.
Some months passed, when Mr Midwinter had a letter from Mr White,at York, that they wanted a young man at the business; and my answerbeing thought too pert or unsatisfactory to the proposal made me, Iwas rejected for a season; but one Isaac, a hawker, happening totravel in the country, went to that city, and being asked questions,if he knew Mr Midwinter; or me, gave such a character of me, asturned the scales in my favour. Another letter came from Mrs. White,that I might, if I thought fit, have allowed me eighteen pounds ayear, besides board, washing, and lodging. Mr Midwinter consented Ishould go, since London was to me uncertain, and would be, till thetime should come when I might have the same freedom as others; andindeed, though unwilling to leave so magnificent a city, I thought myconsent became necessary. A guinea was allowed to bear my charges,twenty shillings of which I offered to Crofts, the carrier, a verysurly young fellow as ever I conversed with, but he would have fiveor six shillings more; finding him so stiff with me, I was resolvedto venture on foot. He set out with his horses on Monday, which Iemployed in taking leave of my friends, and particularly, thatevening, of Mr and Mrs. Midwinter.
The next morning, being Tuesday, the 20th of April, 1714, I setforward, and had not, I think, walked three miles, when a gentleman'sservant, with a horse ready saddled, and himself riding on another,overtook me, and, for a shilling, with a glass or so on the road,allowed me to ride with him in my road as far as Caxton, which wasthe period of his journey. On Wednesday, with difficulty, I reachedStamford; on Thursday, got to Newark, famous for the ancient castlenear Trent, built by Alexander, bishop of Lincoln; Friday, havinglost my road, I got no further than Bawtry; on Saturday, reachedSherburn; on Sunday, was much delighted with the stream of Wharf,near Tadcaster, and the same day arrived at York, about twelveo'clock. The first house I entered to inquire for my new master wasin a printer's, at Petergate, the very dwelling that is now my own,by purchase; but not finding Mr White therein, a child brought me tohis door, which was opened by the head maiden, that is now my dearspouse. She ushered me into the chamber, where Mrs. White laysomething ill in bed; but the old gentleman was at his dinner, by thefireside, sitting in a noble arm-chair, with a good large pie beforehim, and made me partake heartily with him.* I had a guinea in myshoe lining, which I pulled out to ease my foot, at which the oldgentleman smiled, and pleasantly said, it was more than he ever hadseen a journeyman save before; I could not but smile too, becausethat my trunk, with my clothes, and eight guineas, was sent, about amonth before, to Ireland, where I was resolved to go, and see myfriends, had his place not offered to me as it did.
I lived as happy as I could wish in this family, and as I earnedmoney, I bought me clothes, to serve me till I either went to visitmy parents, where my trunk was carried to, or that I could get itsent me over sea; for Mr White had plenty of business to employseveral persons, there being few printers in England, except London,at that time; none then, I am sure, at Chester, Liverpool,Whitehaven, Preston, Manchester, Kendal, and Leeds, as, for the mostpart, now abound.
The death of Queen Anne, at Kensington, on the 29th of July,occasioned the proclamation of King George I., on the 3d of Augustfollowing, at York; it was on the steps of the magnificent cathedralthat I perceived the comely tall presence of that most illustriousprelate, of Sir William Dawes, the archbishop, in company with thelord mayor and chief citizens, when the ceremony was performed. Onthe 9th of November, I purchased a watch of Mr Etherington, a Quaker,in High Ouse Gate, which, with the chain, cost me six guineas. On the13th of December, Mr Andrew Hind and Archibald Ashburn, (the former abroken master printer, the other a journeyman,) came from theirjourney from Ireland to York; they received assistance from some ofthe Scots printers, and me in particular, though the latter proved soproudly ungrateful as not to regard me when I saw him afterwards atLondon. The year following* came another of the fraternity fromthence, and though I had obliged the man in what lay in my power,whose name was William Sudworth, yet the wretch discovered me to thefull in such a vile manner, that I thought him such a drunken madenemy, more worthy to be prayed for than resented, because fromsecret, while I heard him, I found he knew not what he did, or, atleast, had no reason from me for such inhuman treatment. But mymistress, who knew how to catch at cheap advantages, let me know thatI was little better, and in fact, no other than an apprentice lad;which, considering I had already served seven years, I must needsconfess, cut me to the very soul. And in this melancholy humour beinggiven to versifying, when I had given over business in the evenings,I attempted to invoke the muses, whilst I wrote the following linesof what, so young, I had undergone in this mortal life:
In fair Hibernia first I sucked in breath,
A pleasant isle, where spreading plenty flows,
A kingdom which, of all the realms on earth,
Is, sure, most happy, free from mortal foes,
Where wars and animosities do cease,
And, midst of war, enjoys a silent peace.
Of meek and gentle parents dear I came,
Whose great delight was once in me, their son;
Who though for greatness they bore not a name,
Yet, for proximic virtue, bright have shewn;
Were rich in grace, though not in shining ore,-
They had enough, and who need value more ?
In gentle sort they did me fair maintain,
My habit graceful, as I grew in age;
They sowed in me the seeds of future gain,
Made me to read, betimes, each sacred page;
And what successive learning might be gained,
They did their best for me to be obtained.
Both writing and arithmetic were taught,
With Latin, too, for to adorn the tongue;
But most, my mother's care, who would have nought
Be wanting, makes her subject of this song;
Whose wisdom with her piety did shine,
That rendered her like one as though divine.
"Whate'er you do, my son," she'd often say,
"Or in what place you happen for to be,
In foreign lands, or on the raging sea,
Think of the Lord in most sublime degree;
Then either will He your blest soul defend,
Or send his guardian angels for that end.
"Whatever wicked men of you may say,
However they may strive to do you ill,
Cease not to Him who made thee for to pray,
And doubt not but He will defend thee still:
Believe me, then, you'll have no cause to fear;
If God be for you, none to hurt you dare.
"If fortune frowns, bear it with sweet content,
Nor blame kind heav'n for partiality;
But rather take it as a punishment
Due to our sins, from which no mortal's free."
And such dear exhortations would she give,
That in the school of virtues I might strive.
Whilst thus I lived, my days went gliding on;
But far from vice she strove me still to part;
Would not excuse the least offence I'd done;
She'd make me bring the rod, right used with art,
Not furiously, as simple mothers use it,
But mild, correct, and never once abuse it.
Nor ever did she whip her children dear,
But she would wound us with her kinder speech;
Ne'er gave a stripe, but we might see a tear
In her swoln eye, as if she would beseech
That, for the future, we might take great care
No more t'offend, that she the birch might spare.
But when, at length, grown up to be put out,
And as a servile poor apprentice bound,
Hard words, and harder blows were laid about,
Far worse than parents give, or schools are found:
My thirteenth year began to find new forms,
Like Ocean's rage when windy Boreas storms.
Three years I with a tyrant strove to live
In easeless days, and more uneasy nights;
Sleep-that kind nature doth in darkness give-
He'd banish from our lids, and all delights;
Severe beyond allowance, like a Turk,
Cared for no servant, only for his work.
By nature lustful, and by drink made worse,
fierce over those he knew were bound t'obey,
Nero he seemed,-to us a greater curse,-
Whilst on our bones he furiously would lay,
A wretch so furious in his wrathful ire,
As filled us all with heat, and set our souls on fire.
Such was the wretch, so were his actions vile
As worthy proved of just reproach and shame,
As pushed me sooner to forsake my isle,
To be a stranger, and to merit blame;
Which might, alas! my utter ruin been,
Had not Jehovah interposed between.
Unknown to parents, then of friends most dear,
Whose hearts for me were with much sorrow filled;
Unknown to tyrant drunk, devoid of care,
Or sober, like a brute, to creature mild;
Away I moved, loaded with heavy grief,
And little else to yield my mind relief,-
Into a vessel, where I got safe hold,
Tho' not exempt from high and boisterous storms;
Sometimes I could the ocean wide behold,
To my stray'd eyes display most hideous forms;
Then did I wish myself free from the main,-
Wish on I might, but wishing was in vain.
I can't express the sorrows I endured,
But few, I knew, there were could pity me:
Just like the deer, who from the hounds allured
Himself, but in the lion's paw fell he;
So I, escaping from a cruel master,
Did seem to plunge myself in worse disaster.
When worst of saliant waters I past o'er,
And came at last in sight of British ground,
Soon after landed on fair Albion's shore;
A glimpse of sweet contentment there I found;
On Providence I solely did depend,-
Praised be the Power Divine that proved my friend!
To London, then, my wandering feet I traced,
Pinched much thro' want, but more by travel sore;
The days seemed long, and nights too quickly ceased,
Yet empty pockets made me ne'er give o'er,
Till I beheld, with joy, its towering spires,
And fresh became inflamed with new desires.
In London four long years I did remain,
In servitude three years three quarters spent;
Three years, four months, and fifteen days, in vain,
In fair Hibernia I underwent;
So, I may say, I've serv'd seven years or more,
My freedom I will seek,-my liberty explore.
Dear Mr Midwinter, this must I say,
Though unto me ofttimes I thought you hard,
For that severity whilst you did sway,
You for my service had no small regard;
When like a worthy man you set me free,
Well knowing I deserved my liberty.
Nor was this all which I esteem most dear,
You like a parent unto me did prove,
Well knowing that my friends were not me near,
Your goodness flowed as blessings from above:
May comforts thence surround you from the same,
Whilst I your noble virtue shall proclaim!
I'm not ashamed to own what I have writ,
Or mourn of poverty, which many scorn;
Nor can I think that I betray my wit,
If still I add, I was no beggar born;
My father dear is of an honest trade,
My mother 's decent and genteelly bred.
The best of men are subject unto woes;
The richest ofttimes fall in poverty;
The thoughts of which I ever did suppose
Could be no wrong to mine, no hurt to me:
They're only poor and woeful is their state,
Who seek not God, and whom the Lord doth hate.
'Twas Him alone has been my lonely friend,
Whether in shady groves, or mounts, or plains;
He's dried my tears, whilst tears I had to spend,
And made me change my joy to mournful strains;
My flattest notes has turn'd to sprightly sharp,
Inspired me as that king who played like David's harp.
O may I ne'er forget a person here,
Dear Madam Midwinter, of 'lustrious fame!
Sweet darling woman! Heaven's peculiar care!
Worthy in annals bright to shine; your name!
What ear has heard, what eye has piercing seen,
That good displayed? such has my mistress been!
By nature prone to virtue from her birth,
Made of the finest and genteelest mould;
One of the fairest products sprung from earth,
Her mien and stature pleasant to behold:
But though her lov'd perfections seemed divine,
Above all these her virtues far did shine.
I may compare her to that empress bright,
Matilda, daughter to first Henry king,
Whose graces sweet composed, gave such delight,
Of every action justice loud did ring;
Able to wound, yet mercy in her reign'd,
And, oft offended, freely pardon deign'd.
To live unbounteous never did she know;
Whilst speaking, pleasant was her speech to hear;
Prompted to give, she quickly would bestow;
If silent, silence seemed to all severe;
But when she smiled, transcendent charms were seen,
And all were pleased while she appear'd serene.
Farewell, dear madam, if 'tis so decreed
That I no more shall thee again behold;
But whether God, who knows what all do need,
Says live awhile, or soon fall into mould,
In heaven for ever blessed be thy soul,
Where virtues glittering most transcendent rule.
Now from a seven years' servitude, at last,
I'm sent abroad, to seek my daily bread;
Through many torments of my mind I've past,
And still must look what painful steps I tread;
For some rejoice I can't as yet be free,
Whilst others hope that I shall never be.
Printing is sure a fine and curious art,
Esteemed by princes, great and mighty men,
Because that things obscure it doth impart
More quick than numbers e'er could do by pen:
So cheap withal-what manuscripts contain,
As saves a world of time with little pain.
But men who do at press this art profess,
Do work like horses wild, as seem themselves;
Whilst those at case, styl'd asses, seem not less,
Though for the most part both are drunken elves:
Famous for knowledge which they strict pursue,
But when o'er pot, for dullest scandal too.
Some time amongst these herds I did remain;
As they appeared to me like grunting swine,
Envious at what I earn'd with no small pain,
And grudging that I had therewith to dine:
Till moved at length by kind auspicious ray,
I'm far from them, o'er hills and far away.
I shall not now such characters declare,
Nor would I, gen'rally, be understood,
For though the most are bad, yet some there are
Of honest hearts, sincerely just and good;
But few indeed, compared unto those
Who shamefully this art sublime expose.
And now to ancient Ebor's city come,
Perchance I may some time recline my head,
Till future years shall make me spring in bloom,
Or I, through fate, or all my foes, be dead:
Which way it will, I trust that God will be
My guardian here and in eternity.
Young sure I am, and yet have felt much woe,
But happy 'tis, I own, to be so tried;
In vale of tears, we sorrow undergo,
Before we can in happiness abide:
Tremendous Being! let me never sever,
But love Thee still, whose love will last for ever.
Having thus vented the diversity of my flowing passions, I mademyself as easy as possible with Mr White, till the year expired thatI was hired for; though offered to be continued, I would not agree tostay another year, till I had seen my friends in Ireland. Yet whatmade my departure somewhat uneasy, I scarce then well knew how, wasthrough respect of Mrs. Alice Guy, (the young woman who I said firstopened the door to me,) upper maiden to Mrs. White, who, I waspersuaded to believe, had the like mutual kindness for me: she wasthe daughter of Mr Richard Guy, schoolmaster, at Ingleton, nearLancashire; had very good natural parts, quick understanding, was ofa fine complexion, and very amiable in her features. Indeed, I wasnot very forward in love, or desire of matrimony, till I knew theworld better, and, consequently, more able to provide such a handsomemaintenance as, I confess, I had ambition enough to desire; but yetmy heart could not absolutely slight a lovely young creature, as topretend I had no esteem for her charms, which had captivated others,and particularly my master's grandson, Mr Charles Bourne, who wasmore deserving than any. However, I told her, (because myirresolution should not anticipate her advancement,) that I shouldrespect her as one of the dearest of friends; and receiving a littledog from her, as a companion on the road, I had the honour to beaccompanied, as far as Bramham Moor, by my rival, on Saturday, the15th of May; being attended also with my late companions, Mr JohnMickle, Mr Penman, Mr John Harvey, and others. In Yorkshire Itravelled through Leeds, Brighurst, Ealand, and over BlackstoneHedge; in Lancashire, through Ribondale, Ratsdale, Bury, Bolton,Ashton, Prescot, and Liverpool. As I could not readily meet with aship bound for Ireland, I thought to have worked with Mr Terry, theprinter of this latter town, but, the man seeming to have no morebusiness than he thought he could manage, and not in the least, as Ithought, courteous to me, a stranger, I made no hesitation, butdirectly crossed the river, in the ferry boat, to Estham, and sotravelled to Park Gate; the Betty galley, with colours displayed,commanded by Captain Briscoe, was ready to sail with the first fairwind: I called to mind how much I was indebted to Providence in thestate I was in, compared to that when I first beheld that place. Theinns and public-houses being full, I lodged at Nesson, a mile fromthe shore: at first I did not like the house, on account of theordinary travellers I 'spied there, which the landlady perceiving, "I see," said she, "you are not a common traveller, young man, by yourhabit and linen, and therefore you shall have a clean bed toyourself:" and indeed it was so, in a little snug room, where, nextmorning, I was wonderfully pleased with the reflection that the sun,rising, made on the counterpane, being complete patchwork, likeJoseph's coat, and, for aught I know, made up with as great a varietyof colours. As I had formed a resolution to hire a fisherboat tocarry me over the estuary, into Wales, my good-natured landladyagreeably called me to arise, with news that the captain wasimmediately preparing to sail, and that his streamers and ensignsgave indications that now the wind was fair for the voyage: quickly Idressed myself, took some refreshment, returned her thanks, withgenerous payment, refreshed my little dog, and so set forward to thevessel, wherein I joyfully entered with him; the flowing tide comingto its fulness, and turning upon its ebb, the anchors were quicklyweighed up from the sands. The waves were very boisterous along theWelsh coast, according to the violence of the wind: we got into acreek near Holyhead that night, which is the most extreme point ofWales that lies opposite to Dublin; and here our captain, beinghailed, went ashore, and brought along with him the Rev. MrDubourdieu, a clergyman, who belonged to the Episcopal French churchin the cathedral dedicated to St. Patrick, in Dublin. He was a tall,swarthy, venerable, and pious gentleman; but the sailors terriblyswore that they thought that they should have no good, for they wouldas lieve see the devil as a parson, to stop them in this manner inthe middle of their voyage: and indeed, as it fell out, they seemedto be frightful prognosticators indeed, for, a little after,frightful phenomena darkened the elements, succeeded by such aterrible storm that confounded all the passengers, and made thesailors pray, curse, and labour without intermission. For some dayswe were tossed about in this dangerous manner, that (as I heardafterwards,) many in Ireland had concluded our gallant ship and allher crew were utterly lost; for we were driven considerably towardsthe north, and not far from Scotland, but from thence made hard shiftto shelter in the harbour of Douglas, near the Isle of Man, about aquarter of a mile from the town. That day the quality thought fit togo on shore and refresh themselves; whilst we that remained espied afuneral procession solemnly walking to an adjacent village, where thecorpse was interred. Towards night, as the boat was returning withthe captain and the rest, the pilot told the great danger they werein by the high winds, and was afraid he could not attain the ship."Row on," says the master, being drunk; but the man stillrepresenting the case, he struck at him for his care. "Nay then,"said the pilot, "I am as little afraid to die as you; you may repentstriking me before a few moments pass." Upon which he pulled up ascommanded, but of a sudden the boat was almost over turned, and thecompany decently washed more than they expected. "Turn, my lads, tothe shore," said the captain: " Pilot, I will make you amends, and amheartily sorry for what I have done." So they lodged at Douglas, witha resolution to stay for better weather; and, the next day, the boatwas sent for those who were willing to come ashore, with a relationof what happened: I gladly embraced the opportunity, as being verysick with the tossing of the vessel. We continued here about elevendays: at first provisions were very reasonable, but more ships beingdriven to the harbour occasioned a scantiness while they continued.Some were much put to it for beds; but it fortunately happened that Imet with an ingenious Irishman, Mr Thomas Kendall, who was alast-maker, and employed in the family of the Right ReverendFather-in-God Dr. Wilson, Bishop of Sodor, in that island; andbesides was very acute in making viols: and letting him know that Iwas going to my dear parents, he was so good as to allow me to takeshare of his bed, which was large enough for both of us. For my boardhe recommended me to the family of Mr John Corris, who dressed me anything I wanted at a very easy expense, so that I could not expect tofind better usage in any strange part of the universe. I might havehad at first a good pullet for four pence, and a quart of strongbrandy for an English shilling, which went there for fourteen pence.
I often used pensively to walk along the shore, the sands beingvery smooth, except the outward margent, where lay pretty stones andshells. The passage towards the north is terminated by a high rock,that falls gradually into the sea, and, I believe, lies for a greatway beneath the surface of the water. One day I 'spied a smallpassage, by which I ascended, to have a better view of the country.There seemed, by the gradations (only fit for one person at a time),as if the steps had been hewn out by the labour of some ancienthermit; for on the apex there was a seat too, that gave me a vastprospect of the ocean, and the place seemed to me as romantic asCalypso's island, where she would have enervated the vigour of divineTelemachus, had he not been defended by Minerva, under the shadow ofMentor. Here it was that my melancholy thoughts inspired me with asort of poetical genius to contemplate on the unsettled affairs ofthis transitory life.
Upon Sunday following I went to hear divine service in the churchof the village, where the corpse had been carried, as I mentionedbefore: and there I heard the Reverend Mr Lancaster, an Englishgentleman, preach a funeral oration on the much lamented death ofthat gentlewoman, Mrs. Anne Stacey, who was spouse to one of thetwelve senators there that rule in the nature of a parliament. Ithink, as well as I could hear or remember, the minister insistedthat none of his auditors should too absolutely judge, that allsuicides were in a state of damnation, for that many good andvirtuous people had been overcome through a strange melancholy andother wild disorders, not readily to be accounted for: that as to thedeceased, they knew it was the effect of a high fever that occasionedher to call for a knife to pare an apple, which was as foolishlygiven her, and excessive pain that incited her to rip open herbowels, which issued forth with her life; that her former innocenceand virtue, with her many charities to the poor and distressed, wouldno doubt be put into the balance with her last unhappiness, and,through the mercy of God, outweigh that crime and other enormities,which few (heaven knows,) but what are subject to. And, therefore,instead of uncharitable reflections, it rather should make us fly tothe never failing refuge of powerful prayer, to be delivered from thehorrid temptations of the devil, who sought all opportunities,especially in adversity and sickness, to ruin our precious andimmortal souls, whom he would not have protected by holy angels,that, however, often snatch them from the dragon's power, and conveythem to eternal rest beyond all sin and danger.
Another remarkable thing was at the visitation of the clergy. Thegood Bishop, I think, sat as judge, when a young fellow was cited forgetting a child by a young damsel, to whom he had promised marriage:his lordship most piously laid before him the heinousness of hiscrime, by sinful acts to deprive her of her chastity and thenendeavour to fly from, and abandon her to ruin; that even therestitution he should be obliged to make was not a sufficientretaliation, or expiation of his guilt, without a thorough repentancefor what he had committed against God; but if a just sense anddetestation of his faults plainly appeared by his future behaviour inbeing a good husband and truly reformed Christian, why then he couldgive him assurance that he should recover the favour of Heaven andhis fellow-creatures, to the salvation of his soul and body. Thetrembling youth, melting into tears, (which set several of thespectators weeping also,) made not the least hesitation to marry hisdeluded creature, whose fair cheeks were also pitifully bedewed, as atoken of her affection; and I make not the least question but thatthe holy prelate took speedy care that the solemn rites of the churchshould be soon performed between them.
I had a very willing mind to have seen Peel, Ramsey, and CastleTowns only that I dreaded to lose my passage; and as it was, I hadlike to have lost it, from going on board that ship on this occasion.As I sat one rainy evening at a public-house, an exciseman was alsoat the fire-side near me: when I was innocently praising God for hispreservation of our ship's company, he deridingly mocked and hintedas if Almighty God had no hand in human concerns that way, and ourescape might only be imputed to the mere effects of chance; for whatwere we better than, probably, many good people that the same seashad swallowed up? had we greater reason to expect greater favours?and if not, was it not (though we might shew our gratitude by sundryhighest indications,) an imputation upon the divine mercy andbenignity that they were not saved as well as we? "No, no," said he,"think not that your preservation was any concern of his, whosesphere only obtains that happiness which we fondly imagine, throughexcess of fear or devotion, doth also descend to us."
" Sir," said I, " why God suffers some to die sooner, or by moreuncommon deaths, than others, I think becomes not any mortal toocuriously to inquire. He may be willing at one time to take us from amore evil day, I mean from committing more evil, whereby our saddestruction might become inevitable. Perhaps, too, it might be, byimmediate death, to bring them to speedy punishment for cryinginiquities: and, for ought we know, through unbounded love, to callthem to his happiness, as a quick reward for having done their dutyto him in the best manner they were able. His pleasure in these casesis to be submitted to, and well thought of; but your argument is farfrom being so, which robs poor and afflicted travellers of theirgreatest comfort on earth, by making them of all men most miserable;that is, by denying the hope of God and Christ, with the assistanceof the Blessed Spirit, in their greatest distresses, when they knownot how soon their precious souls may be demanded of them. What canbe more wicked than to hear you deny this? What more piercing to meunder such circumstances, when I know my chiefest consolation is inthe Lord; when I know there is nothing in the shadow of death canrevive our sorrowful spirits more than the glorious thoughts ofeverlasting life; and nothing more strong to support us here than thelove of Heaven, whose watchful eye is continually over the faithful,who seek divine truth and hold fast by the promises revealed to us."
Though I was but young, and not much learned, polemically toengage with a man of his age and capacity, with a sort ofmathematical genius, yet I argued as well as I could from the HolyScriptures, wherein so many miracles abound, to prove not only hisDivine existence, but those admirable attributes intermingled withlove and compassion towards those of the large household of faith whoplace their confidence in him. That all our properties of goodness,aptitude, agreement, beauty, virtue, and reason centred in Him whogave us being, and from whom we derive all celestial improvementsthat will reinstate the soul in greater glory. And I reiterated thathis care and love became manifested chiefly in giving his own son todie for our salvation, and sending his Holy Spirit to guide andcomfort us in all the contingencies of this mortal life, as well asto free us from sin and misery. Not to mention, from Eusebius,Justin, and others, those indubitable miracles that were performed inseveral ages of the church, especially in regard to saints, martyrs,and confessors, who owned Christ's divinity and assistance in theirvery last moments, and expired with joy in the midst of the mostcruel torments.
Upon this he seemed to laugh heartily at me, and called me a poorpious philosopher; but I gave him such language, in the spirit ofmeekness, as I thought the case required, considering a text I hadread "Not to provoke a heathen lest he sin," [I think it is somewherein St James] and such that I had no occasion to repent of. Thecompany round us seemed mightily pleased with what I said, called himan atheistical, foolish, unmannerly fellow, and told him that he hadnow met with his match. Upon this he flung away in a huff, and then Itold them, I was far from public disputation, if he had notoccasioned by words which I thought were very impious, especially toa stranger, but was sorry lest I had trespassed too much to hindertheir discourse on other matters.
But they were very well pleased at his absence, willingly treatedme, and told me he was continually affronting innocent persons. Theyadded, they would speak of me to the Bishop's Gentleman, who was thenin Douglas, and that he would take me to Castle Town, where I shouldwant no assistance, till some ship or other was ready to sail forIreland. Besides, that his lordship would be respectful to one of myprofession, as he was a friend to the press, and greatly contributedto the printing of the Common Prayer in English and Manx, for thebenefit of the people of the island. With this pretty talk of theirs,and the benefit of the sparkling liquor in clear glasses, we were allexhilarated to an high degree, and sat rather too long, as I felt byan aching head the next morning.
The sailors not knowing where to find me, had hoisted anchor, andwhen I arose about eight o'clock, the ship was vanished from mysight, behind a rock that screened me from its view; my concern wasvery great, till coming to the brink of the water, I found two otherpassengers, who had been left as well as I, agreeing with a boatmanto follow the ship, with whom I gladly included myself into theirbargain; but just as I was going to step in, my little dog, Isuppose, not well pleased to venture again on the ocean, lookedstrangely affrighted, and began to run away: grieved to leave him,for the sake of her who gave him to me, I ran after him, till a rockthat jutted into the sea stopt him, the boatman crying most of thetime, "Damn the puppy, we'll go without you, if you don't comequickly!" but when I got him, I threw him over my shoulders, as onewould do a sheep, and so run, panting, to them, whom I found had tootender hearts to leave me behind them. When I came aboard, I wasaccosted by the minister, the gentlewomen, and one Mr Harvey, astudent designed for Trinity College, with "Where have you been,young man? what was you afraid of, that you could not tell us whereyou lodged? all of us have been in sad concern about you; however, weare glad you have overtook us in so good a time." I heartily thankedthem for their well wishes, and so we got into Dublin Harbour thatvery day, and, by the boatmen from Ring's End, were carried to shore.Here, and at Lazar's hill, we were welcomed by many people, who hadbefore been in terrible consternation, fearing the long expected shipwas entirely lost, and now their hearts were filled with transportingjoy.
When I came to my father's house, as our dutiful custom is there,I fell on my knees to ask his blessing. The good old man took me up,with tears in his eyes, kissed me, saying "Tommy, I scarcely knewthee." My mother being at my sister Standish's, near the Strand, Iwent thither and found her in the parlour; and she as little knew me,till falling in the same posture, I discovered her wandering son. Thechildren, my nephews and nieces, ran out of the pleasant garden tobehold their uncle; and, in short, I was as much made of as my heartcould desire. But the most fond of me was my dear niece, AnneStandish, a perfect beauty. Often did we walk till late hours in thegarden; she could tell me almost every passage in Cassandra, acelebrated romance that I had bought for her at London. She wasbeloved by a gentleman [Rev. Mr Knowles] of the same college whereher brother, Mr John Standish, was educated, and her countenance wasso amiable, as if the rose and lily met together, that I think theyoung gentlewoman might have charmed the greatest personage on earth;but above all, which graced her modest behaviour, she was a mostpious young creature, and exceedingly charitable to the poor.
After this, it was not long before I engaged myself as journeymanwith Mr Thomas Hume, in Copper alley; one whose mother was wellacquainted with mine, and had her son brought up very prettily in theBlue-Coat Hospital, much like that of the famous St. Bartholomew, inLondon. Being put out to Mr Francis Dickson, who kept a printingoffice, he became enabled at length to set up for himself, andprinted many good books. But here I met with a sad persecution frommy old master, Powell,* [In Dunton's Farewell to Dublin, this firstmaster of Gent is thus described: "His person is handsome, I do notknow whether he knows it or no, and his mind has as many charms. Heis the very life and spirit where he comes, and it is impossible tobe sad when he sets upon it; he is a man of a great deal of wit andsense, and, I hope, of as much honesty; in the meantime, he isneither scurrilous or profane, but a good man and a good printer, aswell as a good companion."] who employed officers to seize me forleaving my apprenticeship with him. This was a cutting stroke, thoughI own it might be expected, and with extreme sorrow pierced me even,I may say, to the very marrow of my soul. In this poor condition Ibecame the ludicrous sport of common Irish journeymen, andparticularly of the scamperers from London, which usage I afterwardsremembered in an Hudibrastic poem, of which I shall take notice inits proper place. In this melancholy situation, being forced to keepout of harm's way, I received a comfortable letter from Mrs.Midwinter, in London, (who knew nothing of my trouble,) that if Ipleased to return to her spouse, I should never want a home while shelived: meanwhile my dear father, my brother-in-law Mr James Standish,and another gentleman visited Mr Powell, and offered a certain sumfor my releasement; but this obsequiousness made him insist the moreon higher matters, so that, upon due consideration, finding there wasno other, and. indeed no better remedy,-that the best of men hadtheir troubles, nay, that King George himself just then, had anunnatural rebellion raised in his kingdom, which, on my comingthither, I had not as much as heard of,- that no inclemencies ordangers could be worse to me than Powell's tyranny, joined, for oughtI could tell, with cruel revenge, and to frighten others through myexample,-and that I had a good kingdom to return to at pleasure; Isay when I considered all this with my friends, a resolution wasformed and agreed to, that I should privately leave my native countryonce more, and wisdom taught me to keep all a secret within my ownbreast till times proved better with me. About that time I received aletter from my dearest, at York, that I was expected thither; andthither, too, purely again to enjoy her company, was I resolved todirect my course. I took leave of all friends, on the 8th of July,who seemed much concerned at our parting: but my unlucky whelp, thata little before, while taking a glass with Mr Hume, had torn my newhat in pieces, seemed noways affected at my taking boat, so I let therascal stay with my dear parents, who were fond of him for my sake,as he was of them for his own; nor was he less pleasant, by histricks, to the neighbourhood, who called him Yorkshire, from thecounty I had brought him. Coming on the sea, we were becalmed, or ifa breeze sprung out, it was rather contrary to our desires; so thatit was the 12th instant when I arrived at Park Gate, where I hadcause to thank God I was escaped once more from a man I was now surehad proved an inflexible enemy indeed. On the 13th, I hired a horseto Eastham, and took boat for Liverpool: it was of a market day, sothat the vessel was mostly filled with a parcel of lovely damsels,that had baskets of provisions to sell, as any person, I believe,might see in the whole universal world; and the same encomium mightbe given those of Lancashire. After landing, whilst easing myself ofurine, a corner of an alley, who should I observe opposite to medoing the like, but my late friend Mr Kendall, who had been so kindto me, in the Isle of Man. With joyful surprise I took him by thehand, led him to a public-house, treated him, and gave him a thousandthanks for his humane and Christian carriage towards me in distress.I told him I had delivered the letter he entrusted with me to hiswife; who I found was, as he had
[Here is another chasm, and when the narrative proceeds, he is onhis way to London, having, as it appears, spent some time in York;the years are 1715 and 1716.]
But the next morning, getting about a mile from that town, afellow steps from out of a hedge, as if by his staring and uncombedhair, ugly gait, and other insignia of a villain, he had made thathis nocturnal habitation; upon my asking whither he was going, hesaid, "too and fro in the earth, for every place was alike to him."Being a stiff strong man, I neither liked him or his style, when,luckily, an honest countryman, on horseback, passing by, I went tohim, told him I did not like the company I had met with, and desiredhim to bear me away behind him, and I would satisfy him for histrouble; accordingly, I lost my ill-looked chap, met the opportunityof a coach the last day's journey, and got safe to London, aboutthree o'clock in the afternoon.
Whilst working there with my master Midwinter, I met with verybarbarous usage from one Henry Lingard, a fellow-apprentice, son to achairman that plied at the court end of the town. He used to d-mn mefor an Irish bog? And did I think to get my freedom?-no, he shouldtake care to prevent me; and such like stuff used to be the dailyentertainment I met with from him. I believe he was set on by ajourneyman, who, without any just reason, was as vexed because I wasin a way to gain it, in spite of their malice; but one day, thisLingard, hindering me from work, swore he would fight me, whether Iwould or no: I gave him all the good words I could, to be quiet, butin vain; grieved to the heart, I offered him money, to let me liveeasy the time I had to stay; that to make a noise in the house wouldbe very ridiculous, and displeasing to our superiors: all signifiednothing; thrash me, he would. "Well, Spark," said I, "well can Iperceive those spiteful arrows, levelled to make me miserable, do notall come out of your quiver; I wish they that put you on, like a dog,to worry me, would appear as open as you do." "Dog!" said he, indisdain; with that he lets drive the first stroke, which obliged meto return his salutation. I beat him heartily in the case room, andthen we tumbled, like fighting cats, down stairs, amongst thepresses. The lye-trough standing at the bottom, he happened to fallwith his head therein, when that unholy liquid smeared him to somepurpose: we descended down another pair of grades, where thepaperbank tumbled after us for company into the back kitchen; and,notwithstanding his great strength, it was my happy fortune, throughGod's good providence, to give him that just, though severe,correction, that he ran howling like a dog indeed that had lost hisears, to complain of me to his indulgent.parents, who, far morereasonable, upon my telling them, impartially, the whole state of thecase, made matters up between us, through desire of our good masterand mistress, and, afterwards, never young persons proved betterfriends than he and I together.
About the month of September, I received a letter from my dear,which acquainted me that the poor condemned persons had felt theutmost severity of the law, for the mean value of three halfpence,which neither of them had received, I confess I was much astonishedwhen I considered how very common it is with men, sportingly to ask apint of ale, or the value thereof, on the road, without the leastintention of robbery; for if so, it were highly criminal if they tookbut a farthing or nothing, since the making people stand to deliveris putting them in bodily fear, and punishable as if they had takenever so great a sum. But I, like others, could not be satisfied withthe credibility of the evidence; nor would I, in this case, judge illof the printer, though, through his means, while on my master'sbusiness, I had been shamefully abused by one Banks, a copper-nosedrustic, who kept the cock pit; and I wish I may not judge wrong, if Ithink that the temptation of the reward for taking highwaymen, provedthe grand inducement to swear away the poor creatures' lives. But atthat time, as the determinations of law were above my tendercapacity, I could say nothing more but heartily wish the deplorablesufferers a happy immortality, hoping, at the final tribunal, theywould meet with an infinitely more favourable Judge: and what seemedto me to render them more worthy of Divine mercy, and tender pity oftheir fellow-creatures, was the speech which Barron wrote with hisown hand, and desired might be made public in print; and both he andBourne confirmed the same at Tyburn, near York, on Saturday, the 8thof September , just before they were obliged to change thismortal life for a better. People were very much affected at theirbehaviour, both in regard to their vindication and sufferings; andthough the sword of justice had lawfully smitten them according tothe evidence, in which neither judge nor jury were to be blamed, yetcharity made them to believe that the poor sufferers were reallyguiltless of designing to commit any robbery, though they had acted avery foolish, and, as it happened, a fatal indiscretion. But Barronspoke and wrote very plainly, that his life was taken away unlawfullyand unjustly, that, for his part, he was at a distance from those menwho were concerned in so wretched a case, by the breaking of hisshoe-buckle, which prevented his coming near them while it was inagitation; that is, he was not so close up to them as to beconcerned, much less charged with what was acted, but yet he was notso far off neither, but that he heard Townshend beg a little money toget a drink, for truly that he had none to purchase a sup; whereuponMr King said he had no more than three halfpence, which he readilygave him. But Mr Jackson seemed a hero in defence of what he had, andtold him, if he expected any, he must fight for it first. I am ofopinion, that had Mr Jackson been assaulted by a common footpad witha pistol, his courage would soon have been cooled from makingresistance, and I wish his mind did not then give him, that thesepoor fellows without weapons, could not be such as he, for a cursedreward, was willing to prove them; and, on the other hand, no doubtbut Townshend was surprised at such a proposition, which made himreply that he was nowise inclined for fighting, which argues he hadno design of committing a robbery; and I think so too, for fewstaunch rogues are not only for taking what they can, but for blows,and often worse, in order to make their escape, and preventdiscovery. Barron, employed in fastening his shoe, was not come upuntil all was over, and separated; and, therefore, solemnly declaredthat none of his companions, he believed, and for himself he was sureof, had the least thoughts of committing a robbery: for the reason oftheir going out of town, was to seek a deserter, who had beendrinking with them at the Cart and Wheel, in Feeze gate, and forwhose loss the serjeant had threatened he would make them pay;whereupon, rightly conceiving the fellow was gone to his father's, atNorthallerton, they took the road to Clifton, wherein this unhappyaction of three halfpence happened. But a thought striking into theirheads that they would return to York, and declare to the officerstheir intent, by the information they had where he was gone, which itproved by being seen there next day, they stopped from their intendedjourney, to put in practice their resolution: but it was not longbefore they met with Bing and Jackson, accompanied by assistants, tosecure them as offenders! surprised and grieved, they scorned to betaken as such, and so went to their quarters. There it was thatBarron and Bourne were secured, which, when Townshend heard of , whoonly had the three halfpence, he secured himself by making off, andnever was heard of after, whilst they were strictly examined, hardsworn against, and led to prison, though entirely innocent. This wasthe effect of Barron's apology; but at his death, his charity wentfarther; he freely forgave them, however, what they had done, thoughhe never committed that or any other crime that merited heavypunishment from mankind, but, indeed, that he had been guilty of tooimmoderate love towards women of pleasure, drinking, and keepingcompany; "things," he said, "that were but too common in the world,and the ready ways to misfortune."
As to Bourne, he challenged any person to say he ever did theleast wrong, and accused Jackson of down right perjury, insistingthat he never demanded any money of them, or offered the least abuse.Thus these two poor creatures died for being unhappily in the companyof a foolish fellow, who yet was so wise as to shun theirs when underimpending danger, when he was the most highly concerned.
Such a speech, howsoever just it might have been, (which none butheaven and the criminals satisfactorily knew,) had I then worked withMrs. White, I should have endeavoured to have dissuaded her from theprinting thereof; at least, I would have omitted those names, anddressed it in such language as might have as fully displayed theirinnocence, without falling under those losses which designingpersons, who valued not the lives of the most harmless people, wouldrejoice should also be made their prey. But she, not having the leastlove for the reputation of Jackson, who served an apprenticeship withher husband, (nor was there any the like respect lost on his side,)she was resolved to print the same, as it seemed to tend to hisdisinterest, not considering of those disadvantages she becamethereby obliged to sustain.
Her son-in-law, from Newcastle, unsatisfied with the share hisfather had left him, was at York at that time, and, as I heard,incited her to the completion of it, either, I presume, not carefullyreflecting on the danger, or, perhaps, not caring how much his kindstepmother, (if I may so use the epithet for she was more kind, Ibelieve, than he deserved,) might be oppressed, so that he mightwickedly profit by the ruin of her and her grandson, whose name wasjoined with hers in the said printed paper, though, as I wrotebefore, she acted as entire mistress, by agreement. This publicationof the late prisoner's last sayings so wounded the reputation of MrKing amongst the people in general, that he sent his wife to complainof the same to Mrs. White, and to persuade her to ask pardon aspublicly in print, by way of recantation. But madam was rather tooobstinate, and indeed, I think much to blame, (since so small amatter would have prevented what followed,) in refusing to yield tobe in any error, or give the least satisfaction by owning that shehad been imposed upon. Matters growing to a ferment, there wanted noadvice to her enemies, who had little to lose, and so much to expectby suing her, to take the advantage of the law, which quite gave itssentiment against her. (Mr Bourne being cleared by the judge, as aminor under tuition), by which judgment she lost near fourscorepounds.
This success to her adversaries emboldened them to attack MrMorphew, the publisher at London, in whose monthly pamphlet the samespeech, or words like it, had been inserted. But he was so wise as toprevent their sinister design, by applying himself to the judge, who,no doubt, gave him that advice which he took by submitting to arecantation; by which means he pleased Mr Serjeant, and saved hispurse from their mercy. But the unfortunate Mrs. White's troubleswere not ended; for now, Jackson began to send his puffs abroad, howhe would bring her once more under the lash, for wounding thereputation of so honest a man! And, 'tis not to be doubted but,pushed on by his ancient hatred, the action had certainly beenbrought against her, a second time, for the same paper, if his handshad not been palmed with twenty guineas, paid him by Mr MartinLantro, barrister at law, nephew to Mrs White, who was uneasy toleave his aunt, being her heir, till she was freed from this vexationalso, and then he returned to Lyon's inn, at London, where hereceived his learned education. He was a worthy gentleman, who, at mywriting to him of the poverty that the sister of Mrs. White wasfallen into, and but indifferently used by a snarling husband, heallowed this poor aunt of his six guineas a year, which I paid to herby his order, till death released her from all care and necessity.
As to King and Jackson, they gloried awhile with the money theygot as a reward for taking up highwaymen, and with what was obtainedthrough Mrs. White's misfortunes. But they were often twitted with itnot withstanding their threatenings to any that should tell them ofit. One of them did not long survive, but the other did, till afterthe time that Bower was condemned for the robbery of Mr Harris, ofGiggleswick; at the pardon of whom, and his being defended by alearned pen, (in consideration that Garbut, one of the high party,had before been cleared,) his son being employed in printing forBower's side, in his newspaper, an answer was put up at the CommonHall gate, which complained that Jackson was believed for an actiondone at twilight, as he said, by men who robbed them of three halfpence, for which they had been hanged, and had not the money neither;and that it was strange as plain testimony of the young gentlemanagainst Bower, the verdict of a jury, and just sentence of the law,should be questioned, through a partial defence of such a wretch whomore richly deserved hanging, by all appearance. This so nettled oldJackson, who indeed was not to be blamed for what his foolishmean-spirited son printed, that he did not long survive it.
I assure my reader that I have related the case with the greatestimpartiality; and as I believe the unfortunate sufferers who died atTyburn, through his evidence, were happy as to the enjoyment of theirfleeting souls, so I wish that of Mr Jackson, through a secretrepentance, may appear without any accusation against it at the greattribunal.
I should not have mentioned this shocking digression, if I had notbeen ascertained how much Mrs. White was affected at my absence.Often would she say to my dearest, "Alas, had poor Gent been with me!though young, he was adorned with prudence, and I am sure would nothave done any thing whereby I could have been hurt in this barbarousmanner: how does he do? does he never write to you? I wonder what'sthe reason he never lets me know so much as how he lives." Afterthis, her illnesses came on apace, and she suffered extremeafflictions, though she had all the assistance that learned doctorsor other skilful persons could afford. Her first husband was aclergyman at Wakefield, and she was very happy in her last. She wasof comely stature, pretty features, and generally good-conditioned,but of too great passions when put out of quiet temper. However, hercharity to the poor could wipe away a multitude of faults that way;so that, when she sickened, none could be more deservedly lamented bythem. She continued for a long while in a languishing pitifulcondition, attended carefully by my dear, whom she looked upon littleless than if she had been her own daughter. All this while I was ascareful in saving what I earned as possible, but yet could notperceive a prospect of settlement, whereby to maintain a spouse likeher as I judged she deserved; and I could not bear the thoughts tobring her from a good settlement, without I could certainly make usboth happy in a better.
In the year 1717, I had the great happiness of being made freemanof the company of Stationers, at their spacious hall, in Warwicklane; and afterwards, on the 9th of October, in the same year,commenced citizen of London, at Guildhall, notwithstanding the falseobjection raised against me in the court, by one Cornish, that I hadbeen married in my apprenticeship; but my master, Midwinter, provedhim a notorious liar, and he was reprehended by the warden andothers. We dined at a tavern that day, and my part of the treat, withother expenses came to about three pounds. A little time after, myparents sent me word that they had given the five pounds I orderedfor my first master Powell's discharge, if he would accept thereof;which, at length, he received with a willing heart, and wished me allmanner of happiness. Thus I became absolutely free, both in Englandand Ireland, which made me give sincere thanks to the Almighty fromthe inward recesses of my soul.
And now, thinking of my kind usage in the Isle of Man, Iendeavoured, in the following lines, to give it the best character Iwas able to do.
BLEST, happy isle! of thee I now must write,
And for thy kindness, in these words requite:
When threatening storms did drive me to thy shore,
Thy sight was pleasing more than golden ore;
With languid eyes thy lofty rocks I viewed,
With rapturous joys our fainting hearts renewed,
Sickness, and grief, and want, relief did find,
Joys pushed us on, whilst terrors stalk'd behind.
Life of our souls! who gave me life near death,
Prolong'd my days, to find a grave on earth.
In ancient manner for to treat thy worth
Requires a skilful pen to set it forth;
I only as a traveller indite,
And in peculiar manner mean to write.
Thou hast a power, and unerring law,
Within thy bounds, to hang, or burn, or draw;
And tho' thy king's a subject, from thy land,
Yet, I am certain, he's a king in Man.
Thy parliament consists of twelve, 'tis known,
Whose wisdom by their government is shown:
Thy priests and church like ours. This you may boast
That, from all sects, you are unmixed most.
No Papists here, or Presbyterians dwell
Within your isle, as I am informed well.
Religious strictness, sure, in thee is found,
And innocence and honesty abound.
Let other nations never call thee poor,
Thou hast God's blessings,-what can they have more?
What though thou hast not silver much, or gold,
Provisions for the cheapest rates are sold:
Good bread, fish, butter, and meat, though the least,
Is sweet, and very pleasant to the taste:
Fourteen-a-penny eggs, the drink most clear
And smooth, to relish down your harmless cheer.
These, sure, the meanest want not,-are not scant
Of that which many, in some places, want.
Their coin, which way you turn it, always stands,
And ever goes, but not in foreign lands.
No noisy factions or divisions be,
And war or tumult scarce is found in thee:
Thy people honest, tho' some count 'em mean;
Yet they by nature wholesome are, and clean:
Their children, too, (who need not give me thanks
For this just praise,) can English speak, and Manx
What tho' they barefoot walk upon the sand,
To save their shoes,-How pleasing is the strand!
How beautiful the waves, when gliding on!
How soft are not the paths they tread upon!
With homespun garments, they in winter dress;
Make honesty, not pomp, their happiness:
A good old age they see, are blest with health,
Which do exceed the greatest pomp or wealth.
Lo, Nairne! 'tis said that lordly Scot is sent,
For rebel's act, there to meet banishment.
But is this exile, when that he can see
Not only Man, but likewise kingdoms three?
Scotia the north, Albion the north-east,
And fair Hibernia, too, upon the west.
Not punishment he, for his sins, can call,
Or if it be, there's mercy mix'd with all.
Let him, then, bless King George. Nairne cannot crave
What's fit for man but he in MAN may have:
Doth he want liquor that is strong and stout?
No better brandy in the world throughout:
There good and wholesome beer and ale is found,
There foreign products plenteously abound;
That lord with pleasure circle may the isle,
And new ships sailing many a distant mile;
From town to town on little horses ride,
Or should he tumble off, scarce hurt his side;
Live near the bishop, in fam'd Castle Town,
And, acting well, not value mortal's frown.
Farewell! adieu! thou pretty happy isle,
Peaceful and just, which causeth heaven to smile,
Relief of ships, and passengers distress'd,
By both made happy, may you still be blest;
No spunging there, but Christian pity shown
To sick or weak, as I have truly known;
Not like Park Gate, where liv'd a griping race,
Enough to eat the nose from off your face.
If e'er in storms I'm on the surging main,
May I be driven to Manx' isle again!
Thus I diverted myself in expressing my gratitude to God and manfor benefits received; and now no place of good business was deniedme, neither wanted I that diligence that was necessary for my profit.But still it was my fortune, though I entirely loved the young woman,to dread wedlock, fearing so great an expense as that state of liferequires, especially from a servant to become superior to others.However, I kept correspondence with my dear, my intent being, sometime or other, to set up ill a proper place in the country, for asyet my purse was far from being sufficient; nor would it have beenfor a long time, had I stayed with Mr Midwinter, for the maintenancehe allowed I should take at York, which were but the same as heafforded till I became a citizen, when I thought I could provide formyself, and perhaps others, in a much better manner. In short, as Itold him I was for going, he took it so much to heart that, to vexme, I was ordered to depart immediately, without a fortnight'swarning in such cases, which fixed in my mind as deep a resentment.What I acted, I modestly judged to be agreeable to reason, though hecalled me a jesuitical dog, for carrying myself so humble till I hadgained my ends: but I told him that I had learnt that submission fromnone but Jesus, who took on him the form of a servant for our sakes;and if he wished me ill, it was more than ever I should suppose ofhim or his spouse, both of whom, I hoped, would ever be blessed withperfect happiness; that whatever they thought of me, I imagined mycase was the harder, since I knew they were not unprovided withservants, though their anger would not allow me time to seek a newmaster; however, I would not aggravate them by more words. " Sir,"said he, "have you no copies of mine in your trunk, which you maythink to get printed in another place?" "Well, master!" answered I,"this wounds me more than the worst action you could have done by me;here's the key,-open it; take them if you find such, and seize everything I have, for a just forfeit for my infidelity." At which MadameMidwinter said "My dear, don't be too hard, neither, upon the youngman, since he will go; perhaps he may repent first, when he finds thewant of business; don't spoil what you have done for him, nor hinderhim from getting a living in the best manner he is able." Hereupon Ireturned her my dutiful thanks, and meekly departed.
Some hours had not passed when I waited on Mr Watts, who promisedme business upon the first occasion he had for a new journeyman.Thinking it would not be long I took a lodging at the King's Headcourt, in Drury lane, at eighteen-pence per week, and had a bed inthe first fore room, a pretty sort of a parlour, to myself, for Icared not to have any man as a companion, through cheapness, butwould give more to lie alone. After some days, the landlady, who tooknotice of that deep melancholy which afflicted me for being out ofbusiness, proved very kind, and said a great many pretty things tocomfort me. I suppose to know my pulse, she asked me if I knew thepicture of the Chevalier which was in my chamber? But I had otherthings to think on, or I might, on play nights, have seen PrinceGeorge and Princess Caroline visiting the theatre. My notions werenot so much fixed on great personages, (though, in a politicalthought, I did not want the least sense of the most humble anddutiful respect to our superiors in church and state,) as how tospend my time well, and procure an honest livelihood in a troublesomeworld. I was obliged with sorrow to remove into the city, andconstrained to labour at the press, with jobs done at various houses,since work at case was not so brisk but what there were enough ofhands to perform. My strength was now put to its utmost stretch, tillit happened that I applied to the courteous and ingenious Mr Wilkins,in Little Britain; on his asking with whom and where I served mytime, he thought, as it was a ballad house, that I must, inconsequence, be insufficient for his polite business; but upon mydesiring him to try me, and if disliked, to discharge me withoutwages, he became, upon trial of me, so satisfied with my work andbehaviour, that he resolved I should be one of his constant servants.In his house I wrought alternately at press and case, the lattermostly on the Bishop of Bangor's Answer to the Convocation; but wasmuch maligned, without the least occasion, by Samuel Negus,* ajourneyman, who had been for a time apprentice with Mr Midwinter aswell as I: that invidious creature, wanting more homage than therewas occasion for, used often to twit me that it was through his meansI was kept in. How that was, I did not know; but I am sure hispeevishness made me long to be out again, to which I may add my greatfatigue at the press, furthered on such a desire when I could beemployed more suitable to my genius and constitution. My landlord, MrJohn Purser, the joiner, informing me one night, that the aforesaidMr Watts wanted a compositor, and would willingly accept me, which hecould not do before, I gladly waited on that gentleman, and gavewarning to Mr Wilkins, who, sorry to part, would fain engage me, thatif I left Mr Watts, I should apply to him again. So I went from him;but a little after, the same Negus quarrelling with an apprentice,"What!" said the lad, "will you drive me from my master, as I am sureyou did poor Mr Gent, that harmless young man?" which Mr Wilkinshappening to hear of, protested that if he had known it before,(which my generous temper scorned to take notice of,) he would nothave permitted him to order me to the press, but rather parted fromhim, and kept me entirely to the case, which would have prevented mygoing to any other; which grieved Negus to such a degree, that thebase wretch sent a complaint to the house where I was, by an oldprinter called Father Peyte, as if I intended to leave Mr Watts andreturn, and have the bringing up of an apprentice, to his prejudice;but his apprehensions appearing ground less, plainly shewed what heafterwards proved, for this very fellow composed a list of all themaster printers in England, (and, through malice, put me in amongstthem, at a time when I was not arrived at that careful degree, butactually working as a journeyman with old Mr Henry Woodfall,exhibiting the titles of "high" and "low," and those of which he wasuncertain as to their principles. This he sent to the secretary ofstate, in hopes to have a power as messenger of the press; a copy ofwhich, from the office, being given to Mr Watts, his petition andcatalogue were printed and distributed amongst the profession,especially the masters, among whom the wretch was one at that time;but the rascal being sufficiently exposed, lost his credit, and wasobliged to return into the condition from whence he came. OneClemson, whom he had made a pressman, as being brother to his wife,went as a common soldier to Gibraltar, the daughter of whom was apoor hawker, though, I believe, the most harmless of the family.
In the year 1718, the venerable Archbishop Dawes came to London,having either been indisposed the year before, or, as a good prelate,did not care to be present or concerned when the executions wereobliged to be performed on some illustrious criminals. This was onlyowing to the tenderness of his spirit, ever inclined to mercy, whilsthis loyalty, like the sun in glory, shone with conspicuous rays oflustre, and his piety soared even to heaven itself. As I heard himpreach in York, I was comforted to behold him in the pulpits of St.Magnus and St. Clements Danes, in London; and his discourses were soheavenly, his deportment so sweetly majestic, with so charming anelocution, that unusual transports could not fail to bless me, andall who heard him, with sincere devotion.
And now I thought myself happy, when the thoughts of my dearestoften occurred to my mind: God knows, it is but too common, and thatwith the best and most considerate persons, that something or othereither gives them disquietude, or makes them seek after it. It was mychance, one day, to be sent for by the Rev. Mr Smith, near Fosterlane, who told me he had heard of my character, and as Mr Crossgrovewas breaking off partnership with Mr Hasbert, of Norwich, if I wouldaccept of his place, or take so much standing wages as would subsistme, and part of the business for encouragement, he would recommendme: after some consideration, we struck up an agreement; and, a fewhours after, I had a letter of encouragement from Ireland, as also amournful one from my parents, that they were very infirm, and oncemore extremely desirous to see me before they died. On this Irelinquished my intended journey to Norwich, though the stagecoachwas ordered to receive me; but took care to recommend Mr RobertRaikes in my room, who is now settled master in Gloucester. I partedalso from Mr Watts; wrote a lamenting letter to my dear in York,bewailing that I could not find a proper place, as yet, to settle in;told her that I was leaving the kingdom, and reminded her, by whathad past, that she could not be ignorant where to direct, if shethought proper so to do; that I was far from slighting her, andresigned her to none but the protection of heaven. But sure neverpoor creature afflicted with melancholy that I was upon my journey!my soul did seem to utter within me, Wretch that I am, what am Idoing? and whither going? my parents, it's true, as they wereconstantly most affectionate, so indeed they are, especially in faradvanced years, peculiar objects of my care and esteem: but am I notonly leaving England, the Paradise of the world, to which, as anyloyal subject, I have now an indubitable right, but am I not alsodeparting, for ought I know, for ever from the dearest creature uponearth? from her that loved me when I knew not well how to respectmyself, who was wont to give me sweet counsel in order for my futurehappiness, equally partook of those deep sorrows which our tenderlove had occasioned, was willing to undergo all hazards with me inthis troublesome life, whose kind letters had so often proved likehealing balm to my languishing condition, and whose constancy, had Ibeen as equally faithful, and not so timorous of being espoused,through too many perplexing doubts, would never have been unshaken,and without question would have promoted the greatest happiness forwhich I was created. Thus were my agitations so great that, comingnear Chester, I fell so suddenly ill one night, that I expected deathbefore the morning; but recovering, and hearing that passengers hadwaited long at Park Gate for a passage, I would not stay to ask MrInce, a master printer, newly set up for business, but travelled toHolyhead in about four days, and sailed in the packet boat, commandedby Captain Avery. I was very wet, and much fatigued, but one of thesailors was so good, for a small matter, to let me have his cabin,dried my garments, and carefully attended me, for which I generouslyrewarded him. Early in the morning we took boat in the harbour; butnot being able to make up to Dublin, we crossed three leagues, to getto Dunleary, about five miles south-east of the city: we were sonumbed with cold, that when we landed, we could scarcely stand uponthe sands; but striving till the blood returned into its channelswith heat, we got to a house, awakened the people, had a fire lightedof furze bushes, and got some refreshments. The captain, and postboy,with some gentlemen, got horses, but I ventured on foot, withoutfearful apprehension; on the rising of the sun, I had almostagreeable prospect of the gentry's seats near the shore, and soonafter arrived once more at the house of my father.
None could be more kindly received by my friends than I was; ourneighbours used to plague me, in asking What news? Some time after,we heard of that wicked intention of John Sheperd, to slay the Lord'sanointed; the Irish are very loyal to King George and the royalfamily, and judged it well done to execute so strange a youth, whohad much better have minded his painting, than to harbour the leastunworthy thought of our gracious sovereign. So much do they honourthe memory of King William the Third, that it is punishable in theleast to traduce it, whose equestrian effigy, in brass, is fixed as agreat ornament, in College Green.
I had the pleasure here of visiting my sister Standish's family,when I pleased,-walking in the garden joining to their pleasanthouse, near the Strand, and conversing with my pretty nephews, andbeautiful nieces, as I often did; [With one or two of them and theirfather about the of May I rode to their estate in the countrynear Porth Town in the County of Meath. I visited Durnshoglin (whereJudge Cusick lies entombed) and Thomas Town, Ratos etc. in the samecounty of Meath. On the 6th I was in Rabegan in which church mylittle niece Sarah was interred] especially with my dear niece, Mrs.Anne Standish, many a pleasant hour by our selves, talking ofhistory, travels, and the transactions of the most illustriouspersonages of both sexes: but now and then, when she would touch oftheir love, I believe, to know if ever I had felt its unerring dart,my dearest in England quickly recurred to my wandering thoughts, andfilled my heart with such strong emotions, that my sudden sighs couldnot but reveal my inward trouble, which did not pass by unobserved,though I strove to hide them.
But indeed, after some time, I found cause enough to give meuneasiness, for the business, though I wrought with kind Mr Hume, whogave me what he could well spare, was not near so beneficial as whatI had at London; but the affection I bore to my dear parents, so Icould but obtain common subsistence, took all thoughts of furtheradvantages away, till Mr Alexander Campbell, a Scotchman, in the sameprinting office with me, getting me in liquor, obtained a promisethat, when he was determined, I should accompany him to England,where there was a greater likelihood of prosperity. Accordingly, heso pressed me, and gave such reasons to my dear parents, that it wasnot worth while to stay there for such small business as we enjoyed,that they consented we should go together; but alas, their meltingtears made mine to flow, and bedewed my pillow every night after thatI had lodged with them: "What, Tommy," my mother would sometimes say,"this English damsel of yours, I suppose, is the chiefest reason whyyou slight us, and your native country; well," added she, "the waysof Providence, I know, are unsearchable, and whether I live to seeyou again or no, I shall pray God to be your defender and preserver."
I thought it not fit to accumulate sorrows to us all, by returningany afflicting answers, but taking an opportunity whilst she wasabroad on her business, I embarked, with my friend, once more forEngland; but it was our hard fortune, through contrary winds, to getno farther than Holyhead. From hence, loaded with clothes, afterpainful steps, we ascended the high mountain of Penmaenmawr, apromontory of a prodigious height, which gave us a sweat to somepurpose; the narrowness of the passage, though made more safe thanformerly, as it might strike a terror, so its prospect was somewaypleasing, to behold so vast a space on the ocean, and contemplate thewonders of the Almighty on the deep. With greater joy we descendedthe hill, or rather a number of them contained on the large extent,as it were, like the Alps in France; but greater still, to find ahouse of good entertainment subsiding near the bottom thereof: theretaking refreshment, there luckily passed by some carmen with horsesnot over loaden, who, for four shillings or thereabouts, carried meand my goods to West Chester; and I must confess, the poor honestWelshmen took great care of me, so that we had a hearty drink atparting.
I left my friend as a journeyman to Mr Cook, the printer, (who hadbought the materials of the executors of the late Mr Ince,) andarriving at London, I applied myself again to Mr Watts, who readilyemployed me; but at a new lodging, near Long Acre, throughcarelessness of the landlady laying wet sheets on the bed, I had sucha terrible night, with pain all over me, that, what with the sweat ofmy body, and the dampness through moisture, the sheets were as wet asif newly washed in the Thames; for my part, I could scarcely walk tothe printing house, [of which Mr was the ] andwhen I came there, my ghastly appearance made the men desire me toreturn, for I was more fit for my bed than to work; but when Idesired them to let me stay, and told what I thought was the reason,they cursed my kind hostess: when I returned at night I found herdrying the sheets,-she was sorry for what happened, and ever aftertook special care of my safety.
After all, that I had undergone, I must confess, I thought werebut my just deserts for being so long absent from my dear, and yet Icould not well help it. I had a little money, it is very true, but nocertain home wherein to invite her. I knew she was well fixed; and itpierced me to the very heart to think if, through any miscarriage ormisfortune, I should alter her condition for the worse instead of thebetter; upon this account my letters to her at that time was not soamorously obliging as they ought to have been from a sincere lover bywhich she had reason, however she might have been mistaken, to thinkthat I had failed in my part of those tender engagements which hadpassed between us. But to proceed in my long narrative.
My friend and fellow-traveller, Mr Campbell, coming from Chesterto London, got into the same house with me, when there happened anaffair, soon after that, which entirely lost me that place. Near theoffice, it happened, that Mr Francis Clifton, who had a liberaleducation at Oxford, but proved a Roman Catholic, had set up a press,and printed a newspaper. His journeyman sickening, he was in greatdistress for a hand; so hearing of me and others, we were sent for toan alehouse, where, opening his want, I ventured to assist him for aday or two. But this being discovered, was very ill interpreted, andMr Clifton offering me largely, though himself was in poorcircumstances, made me resolve entirely to take my chance in hisaffairs; and so I did in that kind manner that, upon his beingarrested for debt, I attended him while under custody of one Earle,so named, a rascally and cruel bailiff, to get out of whose clutches,I paid the money, without expecting any interest, and only took, assecurity, some furniture he could spare for my lodging.
The usage he received whilst in hold, gave me such horrid distasteto that sort of vermin, that I never cared to have the least societywith them; for scarce one action was cleared, but another was readyto be clapped on, and a follower sent about to the creditors toprepare fresh ones. But Mr Clifton had not been long delivered whenhe became apprehensive that an extent was designed to be levelledfrom powerful enemies; to shun the merciless effects of which, hemoved his goods into the liberty of the Fleet, and there becameentered as a prisoner. Here an old Yorkshire gentlewoman who lived inSt. John's street, let him have whatever he wanted; the Catholicsoften relieved him; and he was equally as ready to oblige them in hispublications. He paid me honestly almost every week, as my constancyand labour deserved. Some time, in extreme weather have I workedunder a mean shed, adjoining to the prison wall, when snow and rainhave fallen alternately on the cases; yet the number of wide-mouthedstentorian hawkers, brisk trade, and very often a glass of good ale,revived the drooping spirits of me and other workmen. I have oftenadmired at the success of this person in his station; for, whetherthrough pity of mankind, or the immediate hand of Divine Providenceto his family, advantageous jobs so often flowed upon him, as gavehim cause to be merry under his heavy misfortunes. I remember once apiece of work came in from a reverend bishop, whose pen was employedin vindicating the reputation of Mr Ken-sley, an honest clergyman,who was committed to the King's Bench prison, through an action ofscandalum magnatum, though many thought the truth was, he had onlyhinted in private to a certain noble an heinous crime, that oncebrought down fire from heaven, and which was revealed to him by avalet de chambre upon a bed of sickness, when in a state ofrepentance. And, though I composed the letters, and think, if mymemory does not fail me, that I helped to work the matter off atpress, too, yet I was not permitted to know who was the authorthereof but, however, when finished, the papers were packed up, anddelivered to my care; and the same night, my master hiring a coach,we were driven to Westminster where we entered into a large sort ofmonastic building.
Soon were we ushered into a spacious hall, where we sat near alarge table, covered with an ancient carpet of curious work, andwhereon was soon laid a bottle of wine for our entertainment. In alittle time, we were visited by a grave gentleman in a black layhabit, who entertained us with one pleasant discourse or other. Hebid us be secret; "for," said he, "the imprisoned divine does notknow who is his defender; if he did, I know his temper: in a sort oftransport he would reveal it, and so I should be blamed for my goodoffice; and, whether his intention was designed to show hisgratitude, yet if a man is hurt by a friend, the damage is the sameas if done by an enemy; to prevent which, is the reason I desire thisconcealment." "You need not fear me, sir," said my master; "and I,good sir," added I, "you may be less afraid of; for I protest I donot know where I am, much less your person; nor heard where I shouldbe driven, or if I shall not be drove to Jerusalem before I get homeagain; nay, I shall forget I ever did the job by tomorrow; and,consequently, shall never answer any questions about it, if demanded.Yet, sir, I shall secretly remember your generosity, and drink toyour health with this brimful glass." There upon, this set them botha laughing; and truly I was got merrily tipsy, so merry, that Ihardly knew how I was driven homewards. For my part, I was everinclined to secrecy and fidelity; and, therefore, I was no wayinquisitive concerning our hospitable entertainer; yet I thought theimprisoned clergyman was happy, though he knew it not, in having soillustrious a friend, who privately strove for his releasement. But,happening afterwards to behold a state prisoner in a coach, guardedfrom Westminster to the tower, God bless me, thought I, it was noless than the Bishop of Rochester, Dr. Atterbury, by whom my masterand I had been treated! Then came to my mind his every feature, butthen altered through indisposition, and grief for being under royaldispleasure. Though I never approved the least thing whereby a manmight be attainted, yet I generally had compassion for theunfortunate; I was more confirmed it was he, because I heard somepeople say at that visit, that we were got into the Dean's yard; and,consequently, it was his house, though I then did not know it; butafterwards learned that the Bishop of Rochester was always Dean ofWestminster. I thanked God from my heart, that we had done nothing ofoffence, at that time, on any political account; a thing thatproduces such direful consequences.
During my stay with Mr Clifton, which, without my design, drewmany of Mr Midwinter's customers from him, I was often solicited bythe latter to return again, and he would allow the same premium asthe former did, of twenty shillings per week. But not only was Iafraid of an inducement to beguile me, and so turn me out, destituteof a friend, when his turn was again served, but also could not bewithout a just reprehension of acting a very dishonourable part, incauselessly leaving a person who had not, as yet, given me the leastreason for separation.
Madam Midwinter did often desire that I should return again totheir service; and, for that purpose, sent Mr Robert Turner, who wasformerly my fellow apprentice. But that awful reverence I knew Ishould be obliged to submit to, the fear of an alteration in theirtempers, or that I should offend them so as to feel theirdispleasure, as I had done before, made me resolve to keep, as longas I could, where I seemed to be more steadily settled. Thus ouraffairs continued, both persons opposing each other; of which therehappened this year, 1719, an unhappy occasion, through the executionof Mr John Matthews, a young printer, for no less than high treason.I think, eleven of the judges were upon the bench at his trial; hisown brother, happening to be in the court, proved his hand writing,as others did of his printing a work, called "Vox Populi, Vox Dei." Ibeheld him drawn on a sledge, as I stood near St. Sepulchre's church;his clothes were exceeding neat, the lining of his coat a richPersian silk, and every other thing as befitted a gentleman. I wastold he talked, like a philosopher, of death, to some young ladies,who came to take their farewell, and suffered with a perfectresignation. He was the son of an eminent printer in Tower-Ditch, whodied about three years before: and whose body, through favour of thegovernment, his corpse unquartered, was laid by in the church of St.Botolph, near Aldersgate. One Vesey, a journeyman, who was principalevidence against him, did not long survive the youth; at his burial,in an obscure part of Islington church-yard, many of the printers'boys, who run of errands, called devils, made a noise like such, withtheir ball stocks, carried thither for that purpose; the minister wasmuch interrupted thereby in the burial service, and nastiness beingthrown into the grave, far from shedding tears they besprinkled themold with their urine. But these indignities being taken notice of,what printers had been at Islington that day, had their names sentoff to the courts at Westminster, where it cost their pockets prettywell before their persons were discharged from trouble. Happily I wasinformed, at Wood's close, of the intended procession; but desirousto be out of harm's way, I shunned the crew of demons, with theirincendiaries to a mischief, and took another contrary way.
But, after some months, I went to the same town of Islington upona very dutiful occasion, inspired with pure gratitude in memory toher, whom I shall remember whilst the sense of thought remains withinme. It was occasioned by the much lamented death of Mrs. ElizabethMidwinter,* who departed this mortal life on Wednesday, February10th, 1720. Indeed, considering her former goodness, though it wassometimes mixed with severity, when she pleased to chastise herchildren and servants when she thought them deserving of punishment,yet being tempered with quick reconcilement, many times withpresents, that overbalanced our light sufferings, nay, when I thoughtof her subsisting me with board before I had gotten withal wherewithto maintain myself as I ought, and many good offices beside. Allthese threw me into such a tender vein of versifying, that quicklyproduced the following lines.
O were mine eyes a fountain, I should weep,
And make a river, nay, an ocean deep:
Or could the secret channels of my heart
Flow as I wish, they'd stream to every part;
Convey my grief to ev'ry distant shore
And tell my dearest mistress is nomore!
But, as they are, when I thy grave behold,
Sighs shall breeze o'er, whilst tears bedew the mold;
Sure 'tis a tribute that I justly owe
'Tis all thy servant can, alas! bestow.
If there be knowledge as I believe there must,
Beyond the tomb, where flesh but adds to dust;
And if 'tis possible of me, so vain,
That one least thought should in your soul remain;
Then this most humble sacrifice receive
To whom when here my reverence I gave;
Let me be honoured by thy sacred urn;
Be blest in sorrow, while for thee I mourn.
But vain I talk, 'tis woe betrays my sense.
You're gone, alas! You're fled forever hence.
The noblest thought, wherewith I am possest,
Is, that you're crowned in everlasting rest.
Where but in heaven? Since heaven's refulgent part
Did always shine, and glitter through your heart?
Where could it go to seek a brighter flame
But to that place divine from whence it came?
Where cares are ended. tears are flown away,
And night is swallowed up in endless day.
You who have known her worth, O speak and tell
But what ye knew, and how she did excel.
Comely in personage, in stature tall;
Stately in habit, courteous unto all.
Unto the poor could talk without disdain;
And yet was fit to speak to those who reign.
Her elocution soft, her wit refined,
And gen'rous actions graced her glorious mind.
Short her resentment, ready to forgive
E'en those from she injuries did receive.
Wise in her management she constant prov'd;
Hated by few, but by the most belov'd:
And those who lov'd her not, 'twas sure because
Their manners could not merit such applause.
Her grieving spouse with inward pangs doth mourn
So great a loss, now in the silent urn:
And sure just cause, since better cannot come;
Or scarce an equal to supply her room.
We, who, obsequious, us'd around to stand,
Did often share the bounty of her hand.
Her tender heart was always good to those
Whom torture had exposed to grief and woes.
Thus I may speak; speak what I well have known:
To me, she has parental kindness shown:
For when oppressed, through the want of friends,
Her goodness more and more would make amends:
And, though sometimes at variance, spoke of me,
In wishes kind, that I might happy be.
Alas! I can't well write what I conceive;
Do more or less, than for her sigh and grieve
This I can do, while thought in me doth last;
And think, with dear remembrance, what is past.
Sweet the memorial is, although it brings
A melting grief, like death's most cruel stings.
Alas! 'tis plain; our dearest friends must go;
But where, or when, there's none alive can know.
Ye sacred angels! tell me, what desire,
Near joys seraphic, should my soul inspire!
To see her happy, midst of angels bright,
What more ecstatic, than the source of Light?
And yet another:* Fain I would behold
Before her tender body's laid in mold.
But ah! in having hope, I now despair
Lo here to meet here, though I may elsewhere.
Could I but view them both in future state,
New joys would bloom, and transports fresh create.
It would reward me for my grief and pains,
More than Æneas, or the Elysian plains,
When he his father lost, Anchises found,
And Pulinure beheld, who late was drown'd.
Tell me, bright angels! now my mind ye prove,
Shall I enjoy, what I could wish above?
Shall these my second thoughts not God offend,
As if my wishes should not these transcend?
Ah! no - desires like mine not sensual giv'n
Must please, since gratitude inspires from heav'n.
"Tis there I fix, where dwells the sacred three:
Where shining thrones display divinity:
Where ev'ry order shows a lovely charm;
And where ALL's blest, there can be nought of harm.
God loves his saints, and places them in view;
And is, no doubt, pleas'd we should love 'em too.
When men perform'd the sacred rites of dead,
'Twas thought their souls would be reposited.
Achilles for his lov'd Patroclus hurl'd
A sight of Trojans to the unseen world,
Young Troilus did by the hero bleed;
Nor Hector's force could save him, or his speed.
He fled in vain. Alas! the sacrifice
To his dear friend would scarce the man suffice.
Himself at length is by an arrow slain;
And Iphigenia feels a mortal pain:
At once the priest lifts up the glittering knife,
Which turns to red, and robs the maid of life.
Sanguine and fearful were these cruel rites,
When slaughter'd victims seem'd false gods' delights!
She fell a victim to appease the shade
Of him, who her, and her's unhappy made.
Those funeral honours, never to be prais'd,
Were to the honour of the low deceas'd.
A nobler way we use to make them bloom,
Whilst to their mem'ry we erect a tomb.
But as no mausoleum I can raise,
Lamented shade! let this be to thy praise;
That though no marble speaks, yet times to come
Through me shall know your much lamented doom;
My eyes shall often fill, my breast shall swell;
And mournful accents seem my passing bell;
[Eliza's name my soul shall oft respire,
With various warblings like the æolian lyre.]
My broken heart, through reverential love,
Shall visit every lonely place and grove.
[My pencil, as bright art improves, shall draw
Those features in my mind that once I saw.]
The rinds of trees I'll carve to open view;
And as they grow, so shall thy memory too.
[Harp, viol, voice, in harmony to me,
Melodiously shall sound and sing of thee;
Tears will bedew my cheeks, like falling streams,
And gentle sleep be bless'd with wand'ring dreams.
Waking, I'll mourn, though bid not grieve too much,
I cannot help it, for my love is such.]
My pen shall write, if not in learned style,
Yet in smooth lines, devoid of flatt'ring guile:
And if the powers should ever raise my fame
To write a volume, you shall be my theme.
For in my panting breast thy tomb's erected,
Which cannot fail awhile, 'tis so perfected;
And here 'twill last, in beauty fair remain,
Till conqu'ring death dissolves my fatal chain.
[* Ne dubites pericula et afflictiones tuas hos spiritus scire,quia semper vident faciem clestis patris, ad omnia promptissimeei præsto su[nt] ministeria. Gosh. Medi `sacr p.129. Mrs S. G.my dear mother]
Thus did I ease my heart, I thought, by giving vent to sorrow, andwas resolved to attend at her funeral though uninvited, were Iobliged even to walk on foot ten miles from London. I procured a lockof her hair, which I intended to have curiously set in a neat stonering, and so have worn it as a dear memorial. Her body, within a finecoffin covered with black cloth, was respectfully placed in a hearse,attended by her spouse in a mourning coach, by himself, who wasfollowed by two or three more, filled with relations or friends.Arriving at the parish-church of Islington whilst the office for thedead was reading, many tears were shed, particularly by afellow-servant, accompanied with mine, with the greatest sincerity, Iam sure, for my own part. People of whom she had taken countrylodgings in that town, and others, were not wanting in tender respecttowards her. She was deposited on the west side of the churchyard,near her first husband, Mr James Walker; and when the minister hadended this mournful solemnity, and the company departed, I concluded,upon a tombstone adjacent to her remains, the following
Lo! underneath this heap of mould,
My mistress dear is laid;
A wife, none better could behold,
None chaster when a maid.
Weep, passenger, when you pass by
This little space of earth;
And think the same death you and I
Must pay, with loss of breath.
In certain hope to rise again,
'Tis here her body lies,
'Till it ascends, with Christ to reign
In Heaven, above the skies.
So, reader, meditate your state,
And let your thoughts prepare
To meet, with solid joys complete,
Your Saviour in the air.
My behaviour whilst attending her funeral, did not pass unobservedby Mr Midwinter, or his friends; he sent for me that night, and wouldfain have persuaded me to have given lawful warning to Mr Clifton,and come to him. He told me that his daughter-in-law's [Mrs BettyWilkinson] unhappy marriage with a mean fellow had gone a great wayto break the heart of his late spouse. He now urged his heavy griefand great distress; how honourable it would be to me, and acceptableto him, if I would but comply, or if not, to do it as soon as I couldwith convenience. Thus knowing the impetuosity of his desires, Isoothed him as much as I could with obliging words; but inwardly wasresolved to keep my station, till I had a juster reason than aninvitation, which I thought, as before, somewhat precarious; though Ijudged wrong, I need must confess, as by what hereafter will appear.Nay, such was my strong attachment, that it made me also resist thearguments of some of the profession, against working for such aforeigner as Mr Clifton was styled, and, as it were, slight thatimminent danger which my master had vainly brought upon the familyand particularly touched himself, for bold touches on politicalaffairs.
Thus estranged, from certain hopes of quietude, I so continued forseveral months; in which time, I confess, I was willing to part fromhim, if I could gain his consent. But his averseness was beyondmeasure, even when I told him I could procure him a servant equal, ifnot superior, to me. His temper was very obstinate in relation, butthis I looked upon as proceeding from respect and impartiality,though I afterwards found the contrary from him. As he had a desirefor those goods that were in my hands, I let him have them without apenny interest; and thought it a particular satisfaction that I wasable to relieve him in his extremity. He had, besides, obliged me inprinting a little book I wrote, intitled, "Teague's Ramble," [Printed1719. Reprinted in 1743 by Owen Univ. Mag. Vol I, p. 194 it isadvertised if not the same yet this title] a satire I had written onsome of our profession, who richly deserved for their unmercifulusage to me and others, their fellow creatures; wherein only theguilty were made to feel its sting, and the innocent commended. But,at length, an accident happening, and the strange violence of histemper therein, (contrary to the sentiment of the comic poet,) topreserve his reputation against the vile assault of a recordedvillain that could not hurt it, caused a final separation, and athorough annihilation of friendship; which, God knows, at least Ithink, I had never given the least occasion for. The matter was thus:There lived then a common hackney writer, named Richard Burridge, whosold written pamphlets, for about half-a crown each, to the printers.This man I had known from the beginning of my apprenticeship atLondon; for my master used to send me to him, in Newgate, for copies:whether, at that time, he was confined there for debt, or for writinga burlesque, called "The Dutch Catechism," I will not positivelyaffirm; but, to me, he appeared a cursing, profligate wretch, as anyof his fraternity in that woeful prison. He, afterwards, wasreleased; but, in a little time, came to be immured, for debt, Ithink, within the Gate house, at Westminster. So that it being toolong a walk, and Mrs. Midwinter being fully satisfied with my geniusat the pen, obliged me, in my apprenticeship, to turn author for themtoo; in which office, my harmless style in relating occurrences thatdaily happened, proved very acceptable to the public. This was notpleasing to Burridge, no more than he himself became agreeable tohuman and divine laws; for, whilst drinking Geneva to excess, hewould frequently quarrel with the other prisoners; and one time, incompany with George Taylor, he drank such healths, in a blasphemousmanner, that I almost think are too nefandous to be repeated, thoughin pious detestation thereof. But, by what they said, it was plainthey owned the power of Beelzebub as their master, against divineomnipotency, to whom they wished confusion! and, to the souls of thedeparted, horrid condemnation at the resurrection; words, that insome places would have brought them to the flames, as diabolicaltestimonies of wickedness. It was thought by some, that this theirinfernal policy was thus wickedly exhibited to get free of thatprison, and to obtain a hole in Newgate, which they might think moreproper for their interest. Whether themselves thought so or not, itproved, however, true; for they were moved thither by virtue ofhabeas corpus, tried at the Old Bailey, ordered to be pilloried; andI once saw them exalted without Temple bar. They had gotten skullcapsmade of printing balls, stuffed with wool, which I was desired tocarry to them, but these proved but weak helmets to avoid the eggsand stones that were made to fly at them by the furious mob, who hadalmost knocked out one of Burridge's eyes, who was thought thegreatest villain of the two: but, with the other, he deeply markedthe person whom he thought had hit such an unlucky blow; so that,when he came down, he drew out his penknife, strove to make up to theyouth he mistrusted; and, I believe, would have stabbed him to theheart, were it not for the interposition of the attending officers ofjustice. Afterwards, he wrote a book, called "Religio Libertini,"giving an account of his past life, humbly desiring pardon of God andman, and professing that, from an atheist, he was become a convert.People who did know him were deceived, and likewise those who hadgiven him good advice; so that, what was said by the poet, of suchwho endeavoured to wash the Ethiopian, might have been applied:
"Abluis Æthiopem, quid frustra? ah, desine; noctis
"Illustrare nigræ nemo potest tenebras:"
for the same Burridge afterwards stole a book of mine from out ofMr Midwinter's printing house; and I lamenting and telling whom Isuspected, he so taxed the fellow with it, that he brought it back tome, and said he only took it in jest, and designed to return it whenhe had read the Epicurean philosophy contained therein. My easytemper went so far as to believe him still a convert: but my opinionchanged when invited to our weigh-goose; he following the course of adisloyal health, I scorned to pledge the monster, to the greatoffence of the company; but giving them the reason, that I had latelytaken allegiance to King George, on my commencing citizen of London,and that I should abide by my principle, without concerning myselfabout what they did, they appeared easy; other wise, I believe Ishould have been basely treated, only that my master told them, ifthey hurt me, they would deprive him of his best servant. Besides, intruth, I judged it very dangerous to pledge one, on such an occasion,who, without the least remorse, had shot his blasphemous speechesagainst Heaven to such an high degree as I have mentioned; a wretchwho valued not, for his ends, to turn informer against even those hehad a hand in corrupting. However, neither Mr Clifton or I wereshortened as to our kindness towards this unworthy scribbler;supplying him not only with money, but even necessaries of life, tillthe following piece of villainy set us for ever against him in ourdefence.
Burridge having sold a copy to Mr Clifton, likewise disposed of atranscript of the same to another printer, which is very unfairdealing, as it was done without consent, in a private manner; forthere should be no more proprietors but the first, to whom it isdisposed, since he that is first published will render the other'sendeavours of none effect, but rather a great loss to one of themthat is so deceived. And now, as Kingston assizes was approaching, mymaster would not trust him on another account, lest, in a carelessmanner, he should take the trials so as not to be acceptable to thepublic; therefore, by him, and the family, it was resolved that Ishould be sent on Saturday, when judge Eyre was to enter into thattown. I had not been long there before I perceived him, attended witha numerous company of gentlemen, and others, who, either in respector curiosity, besides business, compose such like grand appearances;whilst, on the other hand, the poor creatures, either through crimesor misfortunes, turn to our view the different scenes of infelicityand misery.
I heard the trial of one Carrick, a young man who looked like asubaltern officer, for killing one of his companions, at which asoldier standing by, said he deserved to he hanged: he came off with"guilty of manslaughter," but was afterwards executed at Tyburn, fora robbery of Squire Young, in Lincoln's Inn fields. I took notice ofa very pretty young damsel, of the town of Dorking, in Surrey, whohad unhappily given a lad a blow or two in a ditch, where she hadfollowed him, of which, it was presumed, he sickened and died; butshe was cleared, as having no intention of his death. There was alsotried Mr Reeves, whose wife kept an haberdasher's shop on the Strand,while he, with one Ryley, an Irishman, were unlawful collectors onthe highway. 1 Never did I hear a person plead for his life withgreater argument or eloquence: he got clear of about threeindictments, though one swore he had met him disguised in aminister's gown and cassock; and I well knew, by sight, the gentlemanhe borrowed them of, near St. Bartholomew's close, in Montague Court,after he had escaped from gaol, who was taken up and put there in hisroom, and irons put upon him: which so affected the good clergyman,that though his innocence soon cleared him, he died with grief, atthe very thoughts of the scandal that had been thrown upon him. Butat last, a gentleman, who had been robbed of about seventy pounds,and knew him, by the crape mufflers being blown from his face, sworeso positively that he was the very man that took it from him, when hecould ill spare it from his family, that the jury could do no lessthan find him guilty, and, according to his sentence for death, hesuffered with resignation: it was a pity a man, who understood theFrench and other tongues so well as he did, had not taken to goodways, whereby he might have been an ornament to his country. Anothertrial was of a wretched sexton, (who seems to have been imitatedlately by one Burton, a glazier, in York,) for stealing dead bodiesout of their graves, and selling them, as represented in the Beggar'sOpera, to those fleaing rascals, the surgeons: but he was cleared ofthe new indictment, in consideration that he had already suffered ayear's imprisonment on former accusations of the like nature. But apoor old man being brought to the bar for sheep stealing, loaded withage and infirmities, was as moving a spectacle as could demandcompassion: weeping and trembling, he was led to the bar, cravingmercy, saying it was his first crime, and that, if he was pardoned,he would not do so any more. It was so brought in, that the judgeordered him a smart whipping but not with too much severity, andimmediately after to be discharged, in consideration of his poverty.But a man, who had been a builder, had passed through several officesin the parish, was sentenced to be transported, because, having anhouse to repair for another, and there being goods locked up in oneparticular room, he and his servants mistook them for their own, anddisposed of them to make themselves merry: but I believe thisjudgment was in terrorem to others, lest they should happen to committhe like mistake, for I never heard that the prisoner was sent beyondthe sea. These, and other trials, too many to enumerate here, Icarefully wrote down, and sent to Mr Clifton, then in the Old Bailey,who took care to get them composed, till I should return with theirdeterminate acquittals, or condemnations. [I think it was Lent, forthe mornings were extremely cold.]
Whilst from the court, I had leisure time to take notice of theantiquity of the town-so called from an ancient royal castle, whichhad been the residence of the Saxon kings, and where the twoEthelreds, Athelstane, Edwin, and Edward the martyr, had theircoronation; [Some write that the famous King Edgar was also crownedhere] for several of their pictures, as also that of King John, arein the church, as benefactors. Abundance of pretty epitaphs ornamentthe stone pavement, one of which I particularly took notice of, wasthat of a pious young lady.
But one morning, rising very early, I passed over its statelybridge with twenty arches; and being told his lordship would not bevery early that morning on trials, I was resolved to see HamptonCourt. Never had I a pleasanter walk, of about two or three miles,between such lofty trees on each side of the road, while the birdswere singing their early matins, and every natural production lookedwith a solemn majesty, as became the work of the divine Creator ofthe universe; but art shone with a surprising perfection whilst Iviewed the three grand areas of that illustrious palace, the noblestaircases, the lofty stately pillars leading to the park, near thepleasant banks of the river Thames, that I thought myself blessedwithin a terrestrial paradise; neither did the stream, when all wasover, afford me less entertainment, whilst I returned in a largeboat, with several others, towards London: the shores on each sidebeing adorned with fair towns, with adjacent gardens, such asRichmond, Brentford, Thistleworth, and other delightful views, aswere sufficient to melt or raise the soul into various extacies orraptures; from contemplation of which, I am sorry to return to talkof the rogue who occasioned this excursion.
I had not been, I think, above two days at London after thisjourney and voyage, and happening to stand at Mr Clifton's door, butup comes Burridge, and called me many abusive names, telling me I hadtaken his property from him, and without much more formality, Isuppose through a previous knavish design, struck me over the face. Icould do no less, I thought, than defend myself, by kicking up hisheels, and laying him upon his back, just before the gate of Blackand White Court, in the Old Bailey; and for all his repeated blows,methinks I should have dealt pretty even with him, if my master hadnot come out of the house, to whom he had the greatest malice, forthen he left me, and I went in; but he flew directly at Mr Clifton,who laid him sprawling in the middle of the kennel, and then came inlikewise. The villain, quick at revenge, first broke the windows; andthen, in his mad fit, went directly to Sir William Withers, andunjustly swore that we had robbed him of half-a-guinea in the king'shigh way, or open street, at four o'clock in the afternoon: whereas,I never saw a piece of gold with the fellow in my life, but, on thecontrary, had often relieved him, as I wrote before. But themagistrate, who was suspicious that what he said was through malice,was very unwilling to grant such a warrant, till he violentlyinsisted upon it; and then he went about vapouring that as for him,he did not value his own reputation, but as he knew we did ours, hewould take it from us, by sending us to gaol, which then neither hewould not do, till the near approaching sessions was just past, thatso we might have the longer confinement before the succeeding meetingof the court. This I was acquainted of, by Mr Pollington, an Exetergentleman; upon which, I went to Sir William Withers, and when I toldhim the whole affair, to which he gave most serious attention: "Youngman," said he, "I thought, indeed, that the fellow was a merevillain, by his words and actions; and by your coming to me, whom hehas sworn against, I take you to be an honest person, and thereforewont secure you, which I might, if I pleased; and if he should getthe constable to serve my warrant, though I cannot free you fromprison, yet I shall be your friend so much as to acquaint the courtwith your behaviour." So I parted, between joy and sorrow; for as Idid not care to be falsely imprisoned on a rogue's account, if Icould avoid it, 1 got some of my friends to argue with the wretchhimself; nay, his wife and children cried " Don't hurt poor young MrGent, whatever you do with Clifton," they so wrought with the fellow,who, knowing his guilt, was for letting all cease, if Mr Cliftonwould do so too. But far from that, Mr Clifton insisted to have hischaracter openly justified, and, arresting him for breaking thewindows, Burridge was sent to the Compter.
Upon this, I represented to Mr Clifton, that the oath of a villaincould never affect his character, but imprisonment, though innocent,might hurt it, and mine, on whom my daily bread depended; formalicious persons would never then want matter of reproach when theywere evil-minded: if, as a master, he was above the frowns of fortunehimself, I besought him to consider me, and my friends, who would bemuch afflicted by such a report; that the trouble and expense wouldbe great on our side, and would be nothing to him, who had neithermoney nor reputation to lose; and that if he would not oblige me sofar, since I was sure I could make all envy cease, he must not wonderif he had obliged me to seek peace in another place, where I couldfind it. I could not help bursting into tears at our condition; butall was in vain,-he would scarcely listen to me; and a little after,Burridge, though in prison, got the warrant served upon Mr Clifton,stuck to his false oath, and sent him to Newgate, whilst I wasobliged to keep awhile concealed.
My neighbours and friends knowing that, if I was taken, I musthave been committed also, they thought it pity that I should sufferthrough the villainy of one, or the folly of the other; I visited thepleasant country towns, taking a useful book or two for mycomforters, when I fetched many a melancholy sigh; and when Ireturned, used to amuse my spirit with the antiquities of Westminsterabbey.
I received a letter from Mr Clifton, to visit him in hisconfinement; but as I heard he was enraged that the warrant had notreached me to bear him company, I had the less reason to trust myselfto a man of so ungovernable a temper, who thought his opinion wasalways to be preferred. I then considered the axiom, "Non fidendumiis, qui impetu voluntatis, non ratione feruntur," and he seemed tobe one of those whose will would grasp at more power than reasonsometimes allowed; besides, I did not care to come to a jail governedby keepers little inferior to so many infernal devils, who, likeDemocritus's head on a mopstick, were laughing at the miseries ofmankind, living by the crimes, and, too often, the deplorablemisfortunes of others. And thus wandering from place to place,thinking the meanest wretches in a far happier state than myself, asI sat one evening taking a pipe in a pleasant arbour, I called forpen and ink, when my muse dictated to me by way of relief thefollowing lines.
Lord! In this great affliction stand,
And lead me safely by the hand.
Thou know'st my innocence in this,
Though from my duties oft remiss.
Bless my chastisement to me so,
That after, I may better grow.
My flesh consumèd is with grief;
From none but thee I seek relief.
My enemies now at me smile;
But in their joy do them beguile;
I know thou art not so severe
To weigh more weight that man can bear.
Sweet Jesus! view my wounded soul,
And troubled body, how I rowl!
My dreams proceed from cares and fears;
My pillow's wet, but wet with tears.
Succeeding sorrows cause sad groans,
And day and night I spend in moans.
My friends, lo! here, they are but few;
And some, when tried, may prove untrue.
While int'rest gives them base pretence,
Guilt may prevail o'er innocence.
What friend can I but thee implore?
And having thee I ask no more.
Prisons and chains to flesh and blood,
Are hard to be full understood!
With thieves to be amidst the throng,
To guiltless youth is greatest wrong,
But Christ, I'm sure, felt much the same.
Ah me! I find I'm much to blame.
If such my cruel fortune be,
To lie incarcer'd, woe is me!
Sustain my life amid sad cares,
At least till innocence appears;
That to the world the shining light
Of virtue shall appear in sight.
But if my prayers do thee offend;
It is more, Lord! than I intend.
Thou knowest what's fit, and I know, too,
That I am bound to pray to you.
O save me, and thy servant own;
And let thy will, not mine, be done.
Whilst I remained in this melancholy condition, Mr Midwinter seton some persons to find my retirement, and to persuade me now toleave Mr Clifton; who accordingly represented to me, that he deservedit for his obstinacy, and for his desire to have me in prison withhim; that I could never expect to live safe with such a manhereafter, who taxed me with ingratitude for deserting him, when,with greater reason, that bad vice might have been applied to him;that I should have eight weeks' payment beforehand, for working solong a time, which would be some comfort, though a futuredisagreement should happen, which should not be Mr Midwinter's fault,and hoped it would not be my own.
These pressing reasons, added to my distress, prevailed with me tocomply; and then it was I became loaded with reproaches from MrClifton and his friends God knows if I deserved them, for I am not myown judge in that case; but many said that I had chose the better wayin such a dilemma. Still I escaped the warrant, though sought afteras if I had really been a highwayman. But the sessions being come, asMr Clifton was brought to the bar, the court (who well knew the vilecharacter of the prosecutor,) smiled upon the prisoner; and thelearned judge, having heard of the villain's malice, seemed angrythat such a cause should be brought before the bench, commandingimmediately that Mr Clifton should be set at liberty; by whichjudgment I became released from any apprehension on account of thewarrant. Nor was it long before Burridge, by some flaw he found, oradvantage taken, by omission in the law, got clear of hisimprisonment for breaking the windows; so, being equally malicious,they were thought the fittest persons to deal with one another. Butmy greatest friend was Mr James Read, a worthy master printer, who,in a manner, obliged Burridge to forbear hurting of me, however heused his mortal adversary, Mr Clifton, who was ill respected; and,indeed, I soon after found, that the latter deserved the usage inpart, that he had received; for it was contrived, that some of hisfriends should get into my company, and, to extort money, draw wordsfrom me that might bring me under the lash of the law, though theyperjured themselves by this combination. Clifton's wife was once ascotch cock at a tavern, and someway disobliging the sparks thatwanted their supper dressed nicely, they turned her upwards withoutwhipping her as some have done to women of late [in Petergate, York]but they thrust a lighted candle at the cold end thereof into a placeI care not to name. This certainly was a wicked action for whichClifton managing a suit against them got a fortune for the woman,which encouraged him to take the slattern to wife. But to strive totrepan me was as highly criminal in him as what she had suffered fromthose I have mentioned.
When they could not get their vile ends as they would of me, aScotch rascal, with a vile harlot, and himself, heinously contrivedto terrify me, by asserting I had abused their characters, which,truly, then was not worth mentioning; aye, and revenge they wouldhave, if they ransacked the common law and ecclesiastical court forjustice; and to such an amazing height of impudence and nonsense werethey grown, that they abused me in the open streets. But I, bearingtheir vile usage with utter silence, and yet resolving to spend thelast farthing in my just vindication, they never durst attack me,fearing I might bring them to open shame.
Afterwards, the same Clifton proved himself a villain, in movingoff to France with the money of a brewer, to whom he was steward, andleft his bondsmen to answer for what damage he had done thereby.There he died, but his family returned to London; and his son, Ibelieve, though he did not discover himself, visited me, as awretched traveller, at York, some years after, whom I kindlyentertained, as my general custom is to strangers.
I continued with Mr Midwinter, happy enough, till such time thathe was resolved to marry again: his choice was of Mrs. ElizabethNorris, a young widow, daughter of Mr Thomas Norris, a very richbookseller, on London Bridge, whose country seat was at Holloway,about a short mile from Islington. Mrs. Ann Desternell,* a poetess,used to carry his letters, under pretext of being a customer.
His presents were extraordinary, as I heard, proportionable to hisexpectations: he presented her with a fine necklace, worth thirtypounds; and so much got the master of her affections, that sheresolved, at all hazards, to be married to him, though her father wasrather against it, but, being his only child, and fearing her loss,would not lay any absolute commands upon her; in short, she obtainedher desire, and our new mistress was brought home, who, indeed, was avery meek, goodnatured gentlewoman. Both the dwelling house andprinting-office, in Pye Corner, were made larger, by addition of thenext tenements thereto; and a lease being granted, my master, at hisown expense, had employed workmen, in a manner, to metamorphose thewhole. They told him, at first, a less charge, by half, than whatthey wrote in their bills; and I know not how, from being thoughtrich a little before their courtship, there suddenly appeared avisible alteration to the contrary. I was much grieved thereat, andfain would have gotten another place, as thinking my wages were tooextraordinary for him to pay; and I ever was for having good hands,good hire, neither more nor less than what I honestly had earned,which would be good both to master and man. But while I was in thistottering condition, I was sent for by a young man, of late marriedto a widow, to the Fortune of War alehouse, near the entrance intoWest Smithfield and being seated, he told me, he was sure that I wasa kinsman of his, for he had often inquired for me amongst thesaddlers, thinking I had been one, as my father was, but happilyheard, by a lodger of his, one Mrs. Mickle, that I was a printer, forher husband had been fellow-workman with me at York. He also declaredthat his name was Thomas Gent, as well as mine; that his own father,Ralph, once a creditable baker at Uttoxeter, came up to London afterhis mother deceased, and died at his house, the sign of the Unicorn,in Kent street, Southwark; was own brother to my dear father inIreland, who, long since, had visited his English relations, with hisdaughter [in law, Deacon by my mother's first husband], Rebekah; andgiving other plain testimonies, desired me to write to my dearfather, if it was not true. I was very glad to see him, believed whathe said authentic, because Mr Mickle, then dead, had been myfellow-workman at York, and an honest Scot he was, if ever there wassuch; and when I wrote to my dear father of these things, he answeredhe was sufficiently satisfied that I might own him for my kinsman.Accordingly, I often visited Southwark; and his spouse, he, and I,respected one another as kindred.
A little after, I happened to take lodgings at a widow woman'shouse, opposite Sea-Cole lane; there I had a bed to myself, because Inever cared, after my 'prenticeship was expired, to lie with any manwhatever. The landlady, it seems, made a journeyman barber in theplace to lie in another room, that I might have a little one fittingfor me, which I knew nothing of, or had any desire after what wasanother's property. The fellow owed me a grudge, however; and the oldjade, I believe, was a very wicked woman, as may appear, by thedanger that I fell into. It happened, that one Sunday, being invitedto dine with Mr Dodd, a master printer, (whose wife, the daughter ofMr Bliss, from Exeter, I knew before he married her,) I was shewn,afterwards, the beauties of his house, and turning the last stairs,which went a different way from the rest, and not minding them,through talk of the pictures on the staircase, I fell slanting overthe bannister to the bottom, and bruised my side in a very sadmanner. I soon, upon that accident, took my leave, and went fromthence, which was opposite the ancient palace of St. Bride's Well, toa brandy shop, near the stairs ascending to the Black Fryars, where,in as proper spiritual liquor as they gave me, I pretty well bathedmyself, and then went to tell the misfortune to my kinsman and hisspouse. At night, as I returned by water, I had scarce landed fromone boat, but a person was brought in another, who had been taken outof the river, where he was cast by the oversetting of one of thosevessels, by which his companion was drowned, and the waterman hadswam to shore. "Lord! thy name be praised," said I, privately, "thatthrough thy providence I am yet preserved, though worthy, for myomissions, to be punished with thy heavy displeasure!"
Coming to my lodgings, who should I see, but my landlady and thesaid barber drinking Geneva, or drams, together, which I did notknow, till then, she had sold: the fellow asked me how I did, and ifI would keep them company, but I innocently told them my misfortune,got a candle, and so went to bed. I had scarce got between thesheets, but the rogue came up, and whilst he was bursting open thedoor, I slipt out, and stood on one side in the dark, trembling,whilst he struck violently against the boards at the bed's head: thecowardly scoundrel, for aught I know, designed to ruin me, and tookthe advantage by my illness; but as I was escaping down stairs, hegot hold of me, at which, finding my life was at stake, I fellfuriously at him, and brought him down to the lowest room. The hussy,taking his part, would have had me up again, but calling a watchman,I would not return, but lay in her bed, while she ascended with thevillain, whose whore she might have been, as her daughter provedafterwards by having a bastard. In the morning, I ordered my trunk tobe carried away: and, by ten o'clock, she waited on me at theprinting office, to excuse the matter; she offered to fall on herknees, to beg pardon for herself and the fellow, knowing that if Ihad catched him by a constable, I might have sent him to Newgate; buther crocodile tears proved vain; I paid the wretch what I owed. Shelost a good lodger; and that day, or next, I purchased a bed, whichcost me forty shillings, with a chair, table, candlestick,earthenware, and other little necessaries, till, by degrees, I hadmany pretty things to fill a larger room than what I had taken fromMr Franklin, watchmaker, in Fleet lane; and found great comfort thatI could live as I pleased, whilst master of my own habitation.
Happening, at a lucky time, to meet my old friend, Mr Evan Ellis,who printed the bellman's verses at Christmas, for which, sometimes,I had the honour of being the poet, and used to get heartily treated:"Tommy," said he, "I am persuaded that, some time or other, you'llset up a press in the country, where, I believe, you have a prettynorthern lass at heart; and, as I believe you save money, and canspare it, I can help you to a good pennyworth, preparatory to yourdesign." Accordingly, they proved to be some founts of letters thatMr Mist designed for the furnace, of which I bought a considerablequantity: that gentleman using me very courteously, in regard of apaper I wrote, which was printed and sold, concerning his misfortuneswhilst under the government's displeasure, before his news became, asit were, lost in a Fog.* For, as I treated his moral character withgreat tenderness, as indeed he deserved, so he was now pleased toremember it, in a very kind manner, in the price that he set me togive for them. Some time after, I purchased a fount of Pica, almostnew, of the widow Bodingham, resolving to venture in the world withmy dearest, who, at first, gave me encouragement; but my purse beingmuch exhausted by these two purchases, I still worked on for furthersupplies: after which, I bought my little press, with which I did,now and then, a job of my own, for diversion, though thesepreparations, I found, were not very pleasing to Mr Midwinter, whichwere not bought with a design to hurt him; but it was purely theeffect of Providence, that seemed to push me forward in thiscontinually transient life. Having a promise of business from abookseller, when I did set up entirely, I bought of Mr James a newfount of Small Pica, which cost, one time or other, above twentypounds, and several other materials, of various people, till my stockbecame much enlarged: but still I worked with Mr Midwinter.
I hope it will not seem downright enthusiasm if I mention astrange dream that I had one night: it was, that being seized by somemen, I was conducted by them to a small room, shaped like an oblong,at one end of which seemed a smoky hole, wherein they told me washell itself, but that they had not commission to put me therein. Idesired to peep if I could spy Elysieum, but thought I perceivednothing but vapours and flames mingle together; that then I was takeninto another apartment, rather larger, where they consulted awhile:and then they locked me in a third, as though I was, by its awfulgloominess, to prepare for death, where were a bed, chair, table,book, and candle. Being left here to meditate, as I thought, the faceof a fine grey haired old man, I remember, much like a grandfather ofmine, appeared on the wall, with his eyes moving, that I wassatisfied could be no image or picture; that, in amazement, I tookthe courage to ask, Why he seemed to visit me in that melancholysituation? He answered, It was through Almighty goodness and power."If so," said I, "I pray you then assist me:" at which, smiling, heseemed to vanish in a gliding manner; and I awoke, much surprised,about the deadtime of the night. I slept little after, till towardsthe morning, and the clock struck seven before I awakened, when,rising, I went to work; but about ten, a deep oppression seized myspirits, and my body was affected with an unusual trembling. I leftthe printing office, and returned to my lodgings, where, complainingto my neighbour, I was advised to take something that might make mesweat; and telling them my dream, "I pray God," said Mr Parry to hisspouse, "that nothing soon befalls the poor young man, for I do notlike it."
When I went to bed, and they concluded I was warm, they sent whatthey had prepared I should take, by their young daughter, of abouteleven years of age: after I had supped it, the child locked thedoor, and returned to her parents. I was blessed with fine slumberstill, about one or two o'clock in the morning, I was alarmed by astrange thundering noise at the door. I asked who was there; and whatthey would have? They answered they must and would come in; and,without assigning any other reason, they violently burst open thedoor. Being undrest, and all over in a sweat, in miserable pain, Ilooked in a woeful condition; when Mr Crawford, one of the king'smessengers, took hold of my hands, and seized a pretty pistol thatlay near me, a pair of which I had procured, from Holland, as adefence against thieves or housebreakers, which was never afterreturned me: but the insolence of Kent, his companion, I could scarcebear, when, helping on my clothes, he went to search my pockets forwhat written papers he could find therein. I called him blockhead,and told him, had I been in another condition, I might, perhaps, havelaid him by the heels; at which he scornfully said, he never shouldfear a ghost, intimating that I seemed little better than a Spirit atthat time. Being obliged to submit, I only besought them to let meknow if their warrant specified any crime that I had done, for I wastruly insensible of any that could occasion such usage? They thentold me of an information lodged at the Secretary's office, before MrDe la Faye, about some lines concerning the imprisoned Bishop ofRochester, that had given offence, and which I should be, in time,made sensible of; but as I knew it was a notorious falsity, and, as Ithought, contrived by some wicked enemy, whom I partly guessed, Iinsisted no further, only desired, whilst I was fully dressingmyself, that, as they beheld me defenceless, without a family to lookafter my effects, they would be so good as to see the door fastenedwhich they had broken, so that I might not be robbed, during myconfinement, of what I had so honestly and painfully earned. This,indeed, they complied with, and descending the stairs with them, Ifound the passages below and the court-yard filled to the very gatewith constables, watchmen, and others, which called to my remembrancemy injured Saviour's apprehension in the garden of Gethsemane, whereHe, all innocence and divine, sweat drops of blood; but I, a poorsinful wretch, thought much, at this time, to feel what only seemedlike water. They made me get into a coach, which they ordered todrive towards Newgate; and coming near St. Sepulchre's church, I wasbrought to the pavement on the east side, into a public-house, andplaced in a room with a guard at the door, so that I could not stirto the necessary house, but I was carefully attended by agrim-looked, illnatured fellow.
My pains came to that extremity, that I was obliged to alleviatethem with a quartern of brandy; after which, I was amazed to find mymaster, Mr Midwinter, brought in as a prisoner, and left with mealso. "What, sir," said I, "have they made me appear greater thanyou, by placing me first in the warrant for our apprehension? me, whoam but your servant, and, you know, has wrote nothing for you thislong time, except an abridgment of the three volumes of 'Crusoe' intoone, or being otherwise employed in the affairs of printing only?"But we had not long communed, before others were brought in, and who,amongst the rest, but my beloved friend, Mr Clifton, also, uponwhich, I observed a profound silence. But when we were to be carriedto Westminster, I besought the messenger that I might not be seatedin the same coach with him, but accompany Mr Midwinter, which hegranted.
At length we arrived at Manchester court, where we found a veryfine house, with a sentinel at the door; but within, though veryspacious, we felt the fusty smell of a prison. When I came into myapartment, it answered exactly, in the bigness and form, to that Ihad imagined in my dream: in the morning, I viewed on the staircase afine picture of St. Augustine, which, I judged, had once been theproperty of some state prisoner; I could, from the high window,behold the spacious river Thames, and hear the dashing of the flowingwaters against the walls that kept it within due bounds. Such apleasant prospect appeared from my humble back apartment, where I hada bed without curtains, a table, with a little looking-glass, and achair to sit on; but in the next room, forward, was confined thatunhappy young Irish clergyman, Mr Neypoe: unhappy gentleman indeed!through the reflections of the Bishop of Rochester, (how deserving Icannot tell,) as well as of the noted Mr Dennys Kelly, then bothprisoners in the Tower. I used to hear him talk to himself, when hisraving fits came on; and now and then would he sing psalms with sucha melodious voice as produced both admiration and pity from me, whowas an object of commiseration myself, in being awhile debarred fromfriends to see me, or the use of pen, ink, and paper, to write tothem.
But scarce two days were past, when I was ordered to have myapartment changed to one below, more gloomy, but larger, where I hadopportunity to inquire, of the genteel and handsome maiden, Hannah,what was the reason of Mr Neypoe's confinement: she told me it wassomething in a high degree relating to the Bishop of Rochester. Heremy friends were allowed to visit me, my bed was decently curtained,and softer, and my table handsomer spread. I had, afterwards, furtherliberties in the house and yard; and, after three days more, asnothing could be proved against me, I was honourably discharged.Immediately I took boat, I think it was from Palace-Yard stairs, inwhich my head seemed to be affected with a strange giddiness; andwhen I safely arrived at home, some of my kinder neighbours appearedvery joyful at my return. My poor linnet, whose death I very muchfeared would come to pass, saluted me with her long, pleasant,chirping notes, and, indeed, the pretty creature had occasion to bethe most joyful, for her necessary stock was almost exhausted, and Iwas come just in the critical time to yield her a fresh supply.
I had not been long at liberty before Mrs. Hannah, the messenger'smaid, by whom I was used very courteously, made me a visit, andacquainted me that the Rev. Mr Neypoe was found dead in the Thames,as though he had been drowned. "When you left us," said she, "thehigh room you first was in was judged, by the messenger, to be thesecurest place to keep him from making an escape." "It's very strangeto me," said I, "if that was the reason; because I think no apartmentwas stronger than where he was confined, through the nails that I seedriven into some of the boards; nor any place fitter, from which hemight have been secured by the sentry at the door of the house, hadhe attempted to break from thence: but proceed, I pray." "Why," saidshe, "the evening before, I went up to wait on him, as usual, andfound him sitting on the bed in a very melancholy condition: he hadon his hands a new pair of white gloves, which, he supposed, wouldserve him till his funeral; and that he thought his death wasapproaching: that same night he tied the sheets and blankets fasttogether, and made all to the stancheon of the window; descending,without noise to wake us, from that vast height into the paved yard.He then must have climbed over the high walls, and passed over two orthree others, till he came to the river, into which descending,hoping, no doubt, it might not have been out of his depth, heexperienced the contrary, for there he was immerged and lost! Theneighbouring justice," added she, "made inquiry as if he had been onpurpose made away with; but it coming to nothing but a noise, thecorpse was interred." Thus ended the maiden, Hannah, whom I went tosee afterwards, but never could find her. But I often pitied the poorgentleman's fate, because, if he had lived, he might have defendedhis reputation, which was so bitterly inveighed against by thelearned Bishop I have mentioned, as well as by the speech of hiscountryman, Mr Kelly, the year after; for a nation has a right to besatisfied on such important occasions.
My stock of goods growing larger by my careful industry, I movedinto the next house, where I set up my press and letters in a lightroom that was adjoining to the garden of the Fleet prison, where thegentlemen prisoners took their diversion; and here I published,truly, some things relating to the Bishop, worked by hired servants,that made some amends for what I had suffered through wronginformation on his account; and whilst I pleased the people by anartful taking title, I strove to instil into them the principles ofloyalty, love, and obedience. Thus I helped an under class of myfellow-creatures by keeping servants on occasion, and Mr Midwinter,as a servant, by my constancy in his business; though, I confess, thefatigue was exceedingly great, and almost above what I could manage.I imagined that, after some little time, things would so fall out,that I should have occasion to invite my dear to London; but oneSunday morning, as my shoes were japanning by a little boy, at theend of the lane, there came Mr John Hoyle, who had been a long timein a messenger's custody on suspicion for reprinting " Vox Populi,Vox Dei," under direction of Mrs. Powell, whom he wrought with asjourneyman: "Mr Gent," said he, "I have been to York to see myparents, and am but just, as it were, returned to London; I amheartily glad to see you, but sorry to tell, that you have lost yourold sweetheart, for I assure you, that she is really married to yourrival, Mr Bourne." I was so thunderstruck, that I could scarcelyreturn an answer: all former thoughts crowding into my mind; theconsideration of spending my substance on a business I would not haveengaged in as a master but for her sake, my own remissness that hadoccasioned it, and withal, that she could not, in such a case, bemuch blamed for mending her fortune: all these threw me under a verydeep concern, and occasioned me to misjudge on many occasions. My oldvein of poetry flowed in upon me, which gave some vent to my passion;so I wrote a copy of verses, agreeing to the tune of "Such Charms hasPhillis," etc., then much in request, and proper for the flute, thatI became acquainted with.
THE FORSAKEN LOVER'S LETTER TO HIS FORMER SWEETHEART
What means my dearest, my sweet lovely creature,
Thus for to leave me to languish alone?
Why so preferred, if not to be greater,-
Must a strange lover then take what's my own?
How did you promise, when we were walking
In the sweet meadows and gardens so fair,
That you were blest in me, as I was blest in thee,
And ever, till death, we should be as one pair.
Fate, most unkindly, you know it, has parted,-
And forced from you some years have I been;
It is long absence makes me broken-hearted,
Yet I adored you as much as a queen;
And ne'er ambition could make me slight you,
So much devoted was I to your charms:
My heart rends asunder, to think this world's splendour
Should make you fly to a rich lover's arms.
How could you slight me, your only sweet jewel,
Ready to die when this news he did hear!
Surely you cannot, cannot be so cruel,
But, when you think of me, to shed a tear.
Think of those treasures for you I have slighted;
Think of my travels, by land and by sea:
Little I thought your love would, my dear, so remove,
Or that mine heart should be changed away.
You wish me happy! pray keep back your wishes;
Give them to him that you have made your own;
Number them, dearest, amongst all your riches,
And only think of me when dead and gone!
Or, if I live, grief will be my portion,
Rambling about, like a poor distressed swain;
Strangers do kinder prove than my false-hearted love,
Whom I am never for to see again.
When we embraced with circling sweet pleasure,
Who would have thought that so soon we should part!
True love is better than Indian treasure,
Curse on the gold which has broken my heart;
For none on earth I, like her, admired,-
Whom I desired most loyal to be;
But, like a treacherous maid, she has poor me betrayed;
Proving there's none can be falser than she.
Had I my heart, that once I could boast on,
Ne'er would I give it to woman again,
'Tis like a vessel, that on a rock's lost on;
False womankind is that rock I do mean.
Winds of ambition, glory, and splendour,
Set their sweet, beauteous hearts all on fire;
Make them true lovers' scorn, and leave 'em quite forlorn,
Bleeding and dying for love they expire.
Now to the woods and the groves I'll be ranging;
Free from all women, I'll vent forth my grief;
While birds are singing, and sweet notes exchanging,
This pleasing concert will yield me relief.
Thus like the swan, before it's departing,
Sings forth its elegy in melting strains,
My dying words shall move all the kind pow'rs above
To pity my fate, the most wretched of swains.
However, once more, farewell, thou dear creature!
May you be bless'd, 'till life pass away;
But may it ever be in your sweet nature
To think upon me, though laid in cold clay;
And often sigh,-alas, my true lover,
What have I done, my dearest, to you!
Ever I shall deplore, if we must meet no more,-
For though you fly from thought, thought will pursue.
When I had done, as I did not care that Mr Midwinter should knowof my great disappointment, I gave the above copy, except the laststanza, to Mr Dodd, who, printing the same, sold thousands of them,for which he offered me a price; but as it was on my own properconcern, I scorned to accept of any thing, except a glass of comfortor so, and became so gracious with him and his spouse, that if I didnot often visit them, they were offended. Yet here I perceivedsomething in matrimony that might have weaned me from affection thatway; for this couple often jarred for very trifling occasions, as Ithought; she would twit him with a former lover of his, and thisjealousy of hers would just drive him to madness. Once he threw athing at her, which struck me in the forehead, and set me bleeding,with which they both appeared mightily concerned, and craved pardon,which I readily granted, though I came not so frequently afterward;but one time, taking notice of a stone ring on my finger, in whichwas some of my dear mother's hair, she requested, that if I diedfirst, I might bequeath it to her: "Pray, madam," said I, "and what,on the like consideration of death, will you please to leave me?""This pretty picture of Narcissus," answered she, "which my own handspainted on the glass." To this we agreed, only speaking to herhusband: "My dear," said she, "if I die first, pray let it behandsomely framed, and delivered, for my sake, to Mr Gent." The dearcreature shortly after fell ill of a miscarriage; so bad that,expecting death, she earnestly desired that I would receive theblessed sacrament with her; though unworthy, I could not refuse it;but the parson, being brought from a coffee-house, was extremelyillnatured, quarrelled with the nurse about the cleanliness of a cup,and, having administered it, hoped that she would die in pleasure,without giving him much more trouble. Her devotion in receiving itwas extraordinary; she embraced the heavenly viaticum in a degree oftransport, and she had the goodnature not to answer his indifferentspeech at departure. It was not long before she sweetly departed thislife: I saw her coffin when brought home, which indeed was veryhandsome; but I thought it strange that her lovely corpse (for shewas a beautiful young gentlewoman,) should be laid therein by thejoiner's servants, whilst the unconcerned husband and his relationswere joyfully carousing below-stairs. She was buried in St. Bride'schurch-yard; and before my acquaintance ceased with him, he deliveredme the picture, handsomely framed, which I now keep in my bedchamber.I made him no more visits, because I did not know if they might beacceptable; especially I thought it prudent to omit them when I heardof his sudden new marriage, little thinking that I should afterwardsbecome her servant: she was a neat person, daughter to a sea captain,who had her educated at the boarding-school at Hackney. She was awidow, left with a pretty son, when Mr Dodd married her, who onlylived till he also had a child by her; and on his death-bed desired,if possible, she might procure me as a journeyman to manage thebusiness, which came to pass, as towards the sequel of the first partof my life will appear.
It was, as near as I can remember, about the beginning of the year1723, when Mr Midwinter ordered me to paper up all the printingletters, in so extraordinary a manner that is seldom or never donebut with a design of removal to move off, and prevent a seizure fordebt. I implicitly obeyed, without the least inquiry why he did it,but I was not so blind as not to perceive the drift, nor well pleasedthat others were acquainted with the secret, and my fidelitymistrusted; but as I had a sincere respect for him, I kept all withinmy breast, till I knew the carts were to come in the night time, andcarry all away into the Mint; then it was I took my little box, inwhich I had my own necessaries, and several pounds in silver, for Inever trusted all my money in one place,-I had put an hundred poundsout to use in Ireland, the interest of which I allowed to my dearparents, who were my faithful stewards; but Mr Midwinter falling outwith me, as I had it privately under my coat lap, fearing it shouldbe lost, gave me some uneasiness, before I could get liberty toconvey it to my own lodgings. "Sir," said I, "you never need fear anydiscovery through me: your misfortune becomes mine, since, I know, Iam never to serve you any more; but I always dreaded such a parting,which never was through any fault of mine, nor do I impute it toyours, but your misfortune, not to be described, since, by thismeans, our mistress is separated from you too, in being sent home toher father, or, as I hear, will soon be." He looked fiercely sullenat me, neither paying my accustomary wages, or requiring myattendance the next day, as he had done others. This I took veryunkindly, but thought it my duty to submit, except in privatelymoving off my own, without the least intention of hurt, nor was therein that the least occasion of fear, it being a very dark night.However, I waited upon him at his new habitation in the Mint, onMonday, where I found him so strange that he would scarcely speak tome: God forgive the wretch who made the difference! I think I haveguessed him; and if so, I lent him what he never had the honesty topay. As I found my master not willing I should so much as look intothe house, for fear, I suppose, I should learn how to order my ownmaterials, as I afterwards heard, I turned about to depart; but toldhim, that his coldness was more grievous to me than any woefulprospect I could conceive. He said it could not be helped: I said Iwished him and his all imaginary happiness, and that what I came forwas, purely to crown our separation in a friendly manner. "Nay," saidhe, "rather for the money I owe you." "For that," I answered, "youare heartily welcome to, and more, sir, if you please, since I haveearned sufficiently in your service." "Why then," said he, "it shallnot be said that your old master, though now a Minter, shall now beout-done in point of generosity:" and so, obliging me to go into analehouse, he gave me my money to a farthing, with as kind wishes as Iused to him; "Though," added he, "I must act against you in trade, asthe world, through necessity, obliges most people to do, even amongstthe nearest relations." Thus parting, I became quite out ofsubjection to any master. [Mr Edward Midwinter, my master, died May24, 1736]
Being near Kent street, I thought it proper to visit my newrelations: but alas! they, too, were flown in the Mint, from whence Iwas but just come. Strange vicissitudes in life! and happy asylum,thought I, for the distressed! I sought and found my poor cousin sickin bed of a fever, his spouse attending him, and their numerous goodshuddled together in very little room: having mutually comforted eachother, I went to my apartments, and put my goods in better order. Iprinted a collection of songs proper for the summer's entertainment:a little book of Emblems, and a "Preparation for Death," kept me atwork for some months after, with bills for the cockpits, which weredone twice a week; but business failing, and journeywork being briskin great houses, I applied to Mr Henry Woodfall, who readily acceptedme, and I helped to finish the part that he had of a learnedDictionary.
Whilst with him, I got servants of my own to print, at my press,"the Bishop of Rochester's Effigy," to which were added someinoffensive verses that pleased all parties, which sold very well.When I finished what Mr Woodfall had to do, I kept at home a littlewhile, and was sent for again, with whom I continued till thebanishment of the aforesaid prelate, and the execution of CounsellorLayer: on whose few dying words I formed observations in nature of alarge speech, and had a run of sale for about three dayssuccessively, which obliged me to keep in my own apartments, theunruly hawkers being ready to pull my press in pieces for the goods.After the hurry was over, I returned to my master, and continuingsome time, he, one morning, told me that, the night before, being inthe club of master printers of the higher class, he laughed heartilyupon my account. "Pray, why so, sir!" said I; "how came I to be thetheme?" "Why," said he, "has not that fellow, Sam Negus, put youamongst the catalogue of masters, and placed you in Pye Corner?"*"It's like his blunders," said I; "but how came he to print such acatalogue?" "Why," replied he, "the creature, who is now set up as amaster himself, is not satisfied, but wants to be messenger of thepress; so that he has exhibited what printing houses there are inEngland to the Secretary of State, to shew his readiness to visitthem, provided he is furnished with authority and profit; he hasmentioned who he thought were of high or low principles, but is sadlymistaken, for he has called whigs tories, and tories whigs, aswretched in calculations as Sir John Wronghead in his vote; and I'llassure you, Mr Gent, that you're amongst the tories." "'Tis throughsuch a rascal as him," answered I, " that I was made a stateprisoner; but has he obtained his ends?" "No," said Mr Woodfall, "theSecretary, laughing at the list, bantered Mr Watts with what ahopeful company there was of the profession, and gave him a copy,which being brought into Wild court, the men joyfully put it to thepress, and dispersed the paltry petition, too much honoured by thenames of creditable persons he had traduced, throughout the membersof the profession, that so the vile wretch might be justly exposed.""He well deserved it!" thought I, and so dropt him.
Our business not being so brisk as usual, I returned to my ownapartments; and, joining in work with a master in the Fleet, printedsome small pieces on religion. An old schoolfellow, who had studiedphysic in foreign parts, and really commenced doctor,-John Greer,M.D.-having found me out, invited me to his house, near the Minories.I dined with him and his spouse, who had lately borne him a prettyinfant: and King George the first returning from Germany, I printedfor him this year (1724) an ode thus intituled, " Ad CæsaremBritannicum e Germaniâ redeuntem Ode; Londini, typisThomæ Gent, in vico vulgo dicto Fleet lane, pro usu Authoris,ann. 1724." After this, Mr Woodfall was so kind to recommend me tothe ingenious Mr Richardson, in Salisbury court; with whom I stayedto finish his part of the Dictionary which he had from thebooksellers, composed of English, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. On myreturn home, I adventured to do a book of Emblems, in duodecimo,imitating the learned Hermanius Hugo, of the order of the Holy Jesus;and Mr Hotham, on London bridge, being partner, we ventured to printoff a thousand, which, at this time, seem to be near sold off. This,I think, was the last work I did of any great consequence in London:and, having little to do at home, I wrought in the house of Mrs.Susanna Collins, an ancient gentlewoman, who lived near me, in Blackand White Court, in the Old Bailey. For some weeks, I lived in greatfelicity, for I found the art of gaining her temper. She had a wickedson, called Master John, a lusty foolish fellow, who greatly abusedher, calling her a b-tch, madam monkey, and such opprobrious names,quite contrary to filial duty. To correct whom, some neighbours,disguised like spirits, and one as a doctor of physick, broke openhis chamber door to feel his pulse; but he swearing like a man thatwas frantic, they pulled from out of their ghastly robes the whipsand birchen rods provided on purpose, and very handsomely gave himdeserved discipline till they brought him on his knees, and made himpromise never to do so any more, but be obedient like a dutiful childto his own dear mamma. But no sooner were these pale ghosts departed,when the old madam cries out, Son John! What's all this noise for! -Aye, d-mn you, you old b-tch, said he, you well enough, and be d-mnedto ye, what's it for: Plague, rot ye, it is all through your owncontrivance. Here's a pickle indeed they have left me in, with a pox- That's true enough, said madam, for the pox you have, and hadbefore they came; but hush, child, for fear they should come again.Madam had her door made fast, and master John was in a state ofpenance with the smart of their severe lashes, else dismalconsequences might have followed; but the next morning, fame of thiscorrection was published abroad in the penny post. Notwithstandingthis, the hopeless child, continuing to give great uneasiness to hismother, and, contracting debts by his extravagant living, was throwninto the Counter: she, good gentlewoman, forgetting how he once suedher for some legacy, almost to an excommunication, had pity for him,who had not the least regard for her. She gave me money to releasehim, which, with some difficulty, I did, from that close prison; andtook the loathsome wretch from his filthy bed on the ground, in acoach with me home. It was great Providence that, in the unpleasantaction, I became not smitten with the jail distemper that he was thenafflicted with; considering that, a little afterwards, it fell to hisaged mother's lot,-and then a wicked maidservant took opportunity tomake off with some of her riches, and particularly a gold repeatingwatch, with all the costly trinkets about it; but, whilst sailing ina boat, towards Gravesend, the striking thereof alarmed a gentlemanthat was therein, who, perceiving her person nor habit to agree withso rich a prize, command the boatman to land near the next town,carried her before a justice, to whom she confessed the wholematter,-was, by habeas corpus, brought to Newgate,-at the sessionsreceived condemnation to death, but through the goodness of hermistress, languishing on her death-bed, she was sent beyond the sea;after which, Madam Collins departed this mortal life, it was onSunday the 2nd of June; and about two days after, was interred in thewest end of St. Sepulchre's church, near the north aisle; I believe,near the body of the deputy of the ward, her once affectionatehusband. The executors continued me in their service, at twentyshillings per week, in bringing the materials from their confusedcondition, and helping to weigh the letters, in order to make adivision of the substance amongst them, and cease their jarringdisagreements. After which, I was paid very honestly, and honourablydischarged, which set me once more at liberty, either to contrivebusiness in my own habitation, or else to work as a journeyman withothers.
And now it happened, that the widow of the late Mr Dodd, who haddesired, on his death-bed, to get me to assist her wheneveropportunity served, wanted a person to manage her printing business.Mr Richard Purser, whom I used to employ, informed me of it; and thatshe was willing to allow what others had given me. Indeed, I hadformed an intention to dispose of my materials, since I wasdisappointed of my first love; and, therefore, was more willing toenter into the service of this gentlewoman. Accordingly, I made myapplication, to which she readily consented. I found the printingoffice in great confusion; but, by hard working, convinced her thatshe did not part with her money in vain. Indeed, she was a mostagreeable person, and I thought her worthy of the best of spouses:for, sure, there never could be a finer economist, or sweeter motherto her dear children, whom she kept exceedingly decent. I have dinedwith her, but then, as in reason, I allowed what was fitting for mymeals; and her conversation, agreeably to her fine education, almostwounded me with love, and, at the same time, commanded a becomingreverence. What made her excellent carriage the more endearing was,that I now must never expect to behold my first love at York; thoughI heard, by travellers, that not only she, but her husband used toinquire after me. Indeed, I was sensible that Mr Bourne, though alikely young man, was not one of the most healthful persons, but farfrom imagining otherwise than that he might have outlived me,who thenwas worn almost to a shadow.-But see the wonderful effects of DivineProvidence in all things!
It was one Sunday morning that Mr Philip Wood, a quondam partnerat Mr Midwinter's, entering my chambers, where I sometimes used toemploy him too, when slack of business in other places, "Tommy," saidhe, "all these fine materials of yours must be moved to York:" atwhich, wondering, "What mean you?" said I. "Aye," said he, "and youmust go too, without it's your own fault; for your first sweetheartis now at liberty, and left in good circumstances by her dear spouse,who deceased but of late." "I pray heaven," answered I "that hisprecious soul may be happy; and, for ought I know, it may be as yousay, for indeed I think I may not trifle with a widow, as I haveformerly done with a maid." I made an excuse to my mistress, that Ihad business in Ireland, but that I hoped to be at my own lodgings inabout a month's time; if not, as I had placed every thing in order,she might easily, by any other person, carry on the business. But shesaid, she would not have any beside me in that station I enjoyed;and, therefore, should expect my return to her again: but,respectfully taking leave, I never beheld her after; though, I heard,she was after very indifferently married. I had taken care that mygoods should be privately packed up, and hired a little warehouse toput them in, ready to be sent, by sea or land, to where I shouldorder; and I pitched upon Mr Campbell, my fellow-traveller, as myconfidant in this affair, desiring my cousins to assist him; all ofwhom I took leave of at the Black Swan in Holborn, where I had paidmy passage, in the stage-coach, which brought me to York in fourdays' time. Here I found my dearest once more, though much altered towhat she was about ten years before, that I had not seen her: therewas no need for new courtship; but decency suspended the ceremony ofmarriage for some time. I wrote to her uncle, Mr White, at Newcastle;but he, having more his own interest at heart than our good, not onlywas very much against us, but did all that was in his power to keepus asunder: however, acquainting my parents with my design, they didnot think fit to contradict my inclinations, but sent me theirblessing. And my beautiful niece, Mrs Anne Standish, thinking I wasspoused before indeed I was, sent me the following letter, for whosedear sake I thus record it.
Dublin, October the 27th, 1724
I congratulate you most heartily upon your happy settlement with avirtuous wife, in which I sincerely wish you both all joy andhappiness this world can afford. I am sorry the distance of place hashindered me from dancing at your wedding, and getting gloves. I wouldnot have troubled you with a post-letter, only to beg you favour mewith another as soon as possible. I had an invitation from agentlewoman to go to Wales, but the weather, and my own weakness,won't permit me now. If I were able, I am not fond of going amongstrangers. The doctors say crossing the sea would be of great use tome. If you please direct to me to my dada's. Nobody knows of mywriting to you but mama, who gives her love to her spouse and you.Pray give my duty to my aunt, who I am sure must be worthy, being thebetter part of you. There is nobody has a better opinion of yourjudgement, than,
Sir, your obliged niece and humble servant,
[Died December 11th, 1724]
I answered that lovely damsel in the softest manner, gave her akind invitation if her strength would permit, though our marriage wasnot yet accomplished, but in all likelihood would be in a littletime.
My goods being safely arrived from London, added greatly to theformer printing house; but very bad servants occasioned greatuneasiness to me. However, I continued peaceable against allopposition of her uncle, or those who unjustly cast reflections uponmy being a stranger; till my dearest, at length, considering the illconsequences of delay in her business, as well as the former ties oflove that passed innocently between us, by word and writing, gavefull consent to have the nuptials celebrated, which were performedthat very day of the late Archbishop's [Lancelot Blackburn DDformerly Bishop of Exeter] installation, by the Rev. Mr Knight, beingthe 10th of December, in the stately cathedral, dedicated to St.Peter. [December 10, 1724, the same day was interred my spouse'sfather, Mr Richard Guy, schoolmaster at Ingleton, Yorkshire.
THE END OF THE FIRST PART
The learned Bishop Pearson has given a rhetorical abridgment ofthe life of man, from the time of weaning till under the rigiddiscipline of the rod, either by parents at home, or teachers in theschools; and might have added, the often too severe usage in longapprenticeships; above which, he ascends to that of a master, whom hewittily styles but as a servant-general to his family: an office fullof trouble, not to mention all those griefs that accompany usbesides, through the strange vicissitudes that attend it,intermingled especially with the most serious thoughts of futurity,according as we do our duty.
From the late condition of a servant, was I changed to be amaster! from a citizen of London, so much esteemed for urbanity, wasbecome, through the virtue of twenty-seven pounds, the like at York;but over such servants that, becoming reluctant to my new authority,gave me exceeding great trouble in my proceedings, as they had donebefore to their too kind mistress, by neglect, in the time of herwidowhood. What concerned me too was, that I found her temper muchaltered from that sweet natural softness, and most tender affection,that rendered her so amiable to me while I was more juvenile, and shea maiden. Not less sincere, I must own, but with that presumptive airand conceited opinion, like Mrs. Day, in the play of "The Committee,"that made me imagine an epidemical distemper reigned among the goodwomen, which too often unreasonably prevailed, even to ruinthemselves and families, or if prevented by Divine Providence,frequently proved the sad cause of great contention and disquietude.However, as I knew I was but then a novice in the intricate laws ofmatrimony, and that nothing but a thorough annihilation candisentangle or break that chain which oft produces a strangeconcatenation for future disorders, I endeavoured to comply with asort of stoical resolution, to some very harsh rules that, otherwise,would have grated my human understanding. For as, by this change, Ihad given a voluntary wound to my wonted liberty, now attacked in themaintenance partly of pretended friends, spunging parasites, andflatterers, who imposed on good nature to our great damage; so, inthis conjugal captivity, as I may term it, I was fully resolved,likewise in a Christian sense, to make my yoke as easy as possible,thereby to give no offence to custom or law of any kind. The tenderaffection that a good husband naturally has to the wife of his bosomis such, as to make him often pass by the greatest insults that canbe offered to human nature: such, I mean, are the senseless provokingarguments that can be used by the latter against the interest of theformer, who is mostly concerned in defence for her safety, who willnot be awoke from delusion till poverty appears, shews theingratitude of false friends in prosperity, and brings her to sadrepentance in adversity: she then will wish she had been foreseeingas her husband, when it is too late; condemn her foolish credulity,and abhor those who have caused her to differ from the sentiments ofher truest friend, whose days she has embittered with the mostundutiful aggravations, to render every thing uncomfortable to him.
My dear's uncle, White, as he called himself, kept a printingoffice at Newcastle-on-Tyne, where, having had no opposer, he heapedup riches in abundance; and yet so greedy of more, that, before ourmarriage, he offered my dear, his niece, fifty pounds a year toresign the materials and all that she was worth in stock to hismanagement. The wretch (for so I call him) was formerly so muchmistrusted by his own father, that he would not trust my predecessorto his proffered courtesy, but provided for him in his will: soobnoxious to his mother-in-law, Mrs. White, that she left him butlittle, or next to nothing; so disregarded by his nephew, that mydear could scarcely, through her good nature, prevail with him,whilst dying, to bequeath him his watch, cane, and about sevenguineas, which she thought, perhaps, might induce him to futurekindness towards her; but she ungratefully found the contrary, andhad better reason to have kept it. He had done all he could toprevent our marriage, and breathed forth little else than the mostdestructive opposition against us; giving, as it were, a sanction tohis malice, that what he intended was truly for the good of hisfamily, which every honest man ought to regard antecedently superiorto all other motives; that nieceship was now inconsistent with hisinterest: and told me plainly, that he would oppose me in all mydoings to the very utmost of his power: though I had made it plainlyappear that he need not esteem me so contemptible a person as he did,being sprung from reputable people, was a citizen of several cities,that I was not only free from debt but, by my great industry, hadcleared about two hundred pounds. But what I said was disregarded;and nothing but a melancholy prospect of future diskindnesses wasplaced before my eyes; though my circumstances, I think, were as goodas those of his niece, my spouse, who had a house, indeed, -thateastward, next the bookseller's in Stonegate, held very precariously;which was, very unhappily, in the year 1723, the remainder of aprebendal lease, in the possession of Joseph Leach, a singing man,maker of starch, and sheriff of this city; which cost above twohundred pounds, (I think two hundred and two pounds ten shillings,)which was daily in danger of being lost, through the falling lives ofpeople, whose names had been long inserted therein. An hundred poundswas borrowed of Francis Barrowby, an attorney, who drew the deeds,and who proved himself either fool or knave, or both, in promotingsuch a bargain; because, being prevented in the renewal, there wasgreat danger of losing the whole in a little time; and did not getwhat was laid out during the fifteen years, etc. it was enjoyed, theinterest of which would have yielded about one hundred and fiftypounds, and their principal secured; not to mention the variousrepairs, which cost considerable sums, and the disappointment ofdwelling therein, to be freed from those wicked landladies thatendeavoured to distress them by raising their rents.
Here I found a newspaper printed, but utterly spoiled by beingcompiled by a mean-spirited, self-conceited Quaker, whom Idischarged; but who had the wicked conscience to extort from me forhalf a year's service that way, pretending an engagement for it,though I performed the labour; and afterwards proved but a very sorryfriend, if not an enemy. The servants, who were almost ungovernablebefore our marriage, proved but very little better after, though Iused them with the greatest lenity; they loitered away the time, werequite idle in my absence, and betrayed their malignity by bitteraspersions, so unworthy to many of our London youth, that I becamesorry almost to death that I was ever placed over such incorrigiblewretches.
1725. My dear parents, who approved of my marriage, growing veryancient, desired once more to see me, and to deliver into my ownhands what money I had intrusted them with. I yielded to theirdesire, with the consent of my spouse, who was pretty far gone withchild; and, riding to Liverpool, I could find no ship but one, boundfor Ireland, a little vessel, commanded by a native of Portugal, whohad no other hands but those of a French lad, his apprentice, andanother tolerable sailor; in a vessel very tight, but too little andunfit, as she was heavy laden with earthenware, for those troublesomeseas. However, we sailed pretty well the first day; and, at night, Iwas mightily taken with the harmonious voice of the French lad, whowas guiding the helm, and singing really as delightfully as the poetshave feigned of the melodious sirens of the Sicilian seas. The nextday, as we approached nearer the Hill of Houth, a storm arose, whichput us in exceeding danger, for want of sufficient number of sailors.The captain feeling a terrible squall of wind, as he called it, saidhe, "if such another comes quickly, we shall be all overturned andlost!" and a little after, he called to us under deck to prepare fordeath. This caused tears to trickle down some of our cheeks; for,indeed, the ship so terribly rolled, with such violence, from oneside to the other, and the waters dashing in so fast, that we weremore terrified every moment with fear of being overwhelmed.
The passengers, beside me, were two women, one of them a Quaker,and a youth from Yorkshire, who said his intention was to apply for agentleman's service. "Captain," said I, "don't despair, in God'sname, and I'll help you as long as I am able." I got up, and did sohard labour at the pump, that I was in a lather with sweat, andfrequently nigh covered with the waves. At length, being near spent,I besought some of them to call the young man, to ease me a little;but they told me he was very sick in the bed, and could not rise, norwould he lay down his beads, but resolved to continue earnest in hisdevotions to the last: upon which, taking breath, I reassumed my latepost, till my hands were piteously blistered; but, unwilling to bewashed away, I was resolved that the ship should serve for my coffinas well as others. As I was descending, the good woman who owned theearthenware, desired me to have them thrown overboard, that our livesmight be saved; but we, more profitably for her, judged otherwise;and at last, our distress being espied from afar, some skilful pilotscame, in a large boat, to our relief. We then cast anchor, as theydirected; drank a cheeruping glass, congratulated each other on ourhappy deliverance, rallied the captain for his timidity, andpatiently heard the good Quaker woman deliver such a sermon as madeus conclude she was filled with inspiration.
Thus pleasantly we continued, till the tide began to flow towardsthe shore. "Captain," said the pilot, "had you persisted whilst thetide was against you, an hundred to one but, as night came on, youwould have certainly been lost, not knowing where to cast anchor; butnow, I thank God, you are safe for this voyage. I suppose you wasnever on this coast before; and I am very glad that it was my fortuneto help a stranger." Then we sweetly sailed into the bay; and,entering into a large river, walled north and south, we viewed thepleasant town of Ringsend; and, soon after, landed upon Aston's Key,from whence, once more, I visited the house of my parents. I wasinvited to lodge at my rich sister Standish's, but not thinking toleave my dear father and mother while I stayed, I had a bed spread onthe floor, near beside them. Besides this, as I heard that death hadremoved my beautiful fair niece, Anne Standish, [who deceasedDecember 11, 17244, soon after she had received my answer to herletter I have mentioned] I was less mindful of visiting the family;though I paid them all other respect that could be expected, and wasacceptable to my nephew, who belonged to Trinity College, and is nowa clergyman in the north of Ireland. My mother I found languishingupon her death-bed, and my poor father but in a weak condition; butwhat added to my grief was, that they were surrounded, as it were, bymy sister Clark's unruly children. I continued with them about afortnight, in which time I bought a quantity of linen cloth, asthinking it the best commodity I could dispose of in England.
Whilst I was thus employed, I received a letter from my spouse,that her villainous uncle being come again from Newcastle, wassetting up, against us, a printing office, with one Robert Ward; and,therefore, she desired my quick return. I was then truly amazed atthe knave's treachery, who, not long before, had desired mycorrespondence as a relation; which being granted, caused him, inwriting, to approve of my dutiful behaviour. I now perceived, as itwere, that the axe was laid to the root of my tree of life, to fellit down; or, at least, a wedge was driven that in time, by continuedstrokes, might split our needy affairs into pieces. I took shippingas soon as possible; but, while my goods were putting into stowage, Iwas much insulted, in a public house on the quay, by one Taylor, apragmatic, drunken, and quarrelsome tinner, without any occasion, forwhich God forgive him. I entered into a far better ship than before;the master a stout comely man, and furnished with able sailors. Ourvoyage was very pleasant till we reached High Lake; and being, bystress of weather, obliged to anchor against the town, a seizure wasmade of some brandy, by the hard-hearted officer; who took even whatbelonged to the poor apprentices, whose tears at that sad partingcould not cause in him the least remorse of conscience. But atLiverpool we met with kinder usage; where I was very fortunate ingetting my goods dispatched away by the carrier, who was just settingout for York, and left me a brave strong horse to ride home atpleasure.
I had not rode above a few miles from the town but, overtaking agood looking countryman, and falling into discourse, I asked him whatnews was stirring? who answered "Sir, l know of nothing more orgreater than that, this day, (November 3d, 1725), is to be hanged thegreatest rogue in England, called Jonathan Wild." I had seen thatthiefcatcher several times about the Old Bailey in London; andparticularly took notice of him when he rode triumphantly, withpistols before the criminals, whilst conveying to the place ofexecution; I hated him, because John Monk, my fellow apprentice, wasseduced to become in his book, whom, peradventure, he would havehanged also, if a violent fever had not sent him to IslingtonChurch-yard, to the alternate grief and joy of his aged father, as Ihave mentioned in the first part of my life. I thought the justjudgment of the vindictive hand of fate was fallen upon the guiltywretch, so characterised in the Beggar's Opera, by the name ofInforming Peachum, which will remain indelible to future ages; and Iheard that as he was pelted by the populace to the place ofexecution, so those fleaing rascals, the surgeons (as the same piecestyles them), stole his corpse from its grave, in St. Pancras'schurchyard, in which sacred ground it seemed unfit he should beinterred amongst many noble and pious personages.
The next day I continued my journey so briskly that, about twelveo'clock at night, I arrived at my house in York, to the great joy ofmy spouse, who told me that her barbarous uncle had dined with her inmy absence; which shewed the fellow was a perfect compound ofnonsense, villainy, hypocrisy, and impudence. His full maliceappeared a little after, for he actually joined with the aforesaidWard, who had been his father's footboy, but, having married a wifewith a fortune, had bought a press, with other materials, in order toset up a master printer. They published a newspaper, which whilstthey cried up, almost in the same breath they ran down mine with thateager bitterness of spirit which they had instilled into them, inwhich they were assisted by a relation, brother to his wife, withsuch a strange phiz, by a piked nose, fallen mouth, and projectingchin, that had he been likewise graced with a tail, would have madeas complete a monkey as Asia, Africa, or America, nay, the wholeworld could produce.
His business was to go to the houses of my customers, andsubstituting his papers in the room of what I sent; and the prices ofgoods were lowered by one third, supposing their riches in Newcastlewould support them through all expenses, whilst they endeavoured toruin me at York. A melancholy reflection, to find that my marriagehad made me as criminal as a person guilty of the greatest demerits;and that nothing appeared but a gloomy prospect of rage and power Iwas to struggle with, in order to preserve me and mine from seemingdestruction! What a vast disparity was now from my former condition:in London, enjoying plenty of business, and beloved by the best;oppressed in York, and, as it were, prosecuted by a tyrannicalvillain; and that, too, after I had paid for a freedom, in order fora settlement, to be turned out, with scorn, as the worst ofvagabonds! and this, too, by wretches that were inferior to me, ashave been since proved in various respects, as have been apparent tothe world. But it was not long before his partner, Ward, failed fordebt; and was glad to become my journeyman, whom I screened, thoughhe had threatened my ruin.
On Sunday the 10th of October, 1725, my dear spouse was happilybrought to bed of a son, whom I had gotten privately baptisedCharles, by the Rev. Mr Dingley, and publicly, in the cathedral, bythe Rev. Mr Knight, at the font which then stood at the west end ofthe nave, near the venerable remains of Archbishop Melton. MrLambert, a gentleman of the spiritual court, and Mr Dowbiggin,schoolmaster, of Thornton, near Pickering, were godfathers; thoughone Mr Bateman, another schoolmaster, stood for the latter, by proxy.It proved a beautiful child as possibly our eyes could have beheld;but, unhappily, was taken with convulsion fits. One Sunday, inparticular, as just going to eat our dinner, (to which Mr Ward andhis wife were invited,) the child was suddenly taken, and turned asblack as ebony itself; but, on its recovery, like the sun appearingthrough a cloud, all the charms of infant loveliness returned, andthe features of an angel, which he was soon to be, resumed theirwonted place in his amiable countenance. The Sunday following, havingsuch another fit, all the assistance possible was administered on somournful an occasion. I wished for its life, and yet I scarce knewwell why; I was not very sorry to think of its death, consideringwhat it might have been exposed to, through oppression of its woefulparents by the villain aforesaid, who was plotting our ruin to hisutmost power, as that of his partner, my journeyman, Ward; whom Itook, on horseback, August l9th, 1726, privately behind me to Hull,where I saw him on board a ship riding in the Humber.
A servant of mine, being corrupted to print an unstampednewspaper, one that had been stamped was taken from a customer'shouse, and the spurious one put into its place; of which, informationwas made to William Thompson, Esq. that I had acted contrary to actof parliament, and incurred a penalty of fifty pounds. A search wasmade after more of them, but they were found stamped; yet I was sentfor, and, knowing my innocence, my just anger rose in proportion tomy sudden surprise. Mr Carty, the lord mayor's clerk, perceiving meabused, examined the matter with the greatest scrutiny; and, onstamped paper, the following testimonials were exhibited [Civil.Ebor. In Banco Regis]:
William Bradley, apprentice to Thomas Gent, of the city of York,printer; John Macferson and William Nost, printers and journeymen tothe said Thomas Gent; and Mary Pybus, spinster, his servant; jointlyand severally make oath: and, first, the said William Bradley andJohn Macferson, for themselves, say and depose that they wereservants to, and lived in the house of, the said Mr Gent, someconsiderable time before he received the instructions from the Stampoffice, to print his news upon stamped paper; and that, since hisreceiving the said instructions or orders, he was very exact, notonly as to himself, but also in giving these deponents frequentorders and strict charge to yield all due obedience to the saidinstructions, by printing the news upon stamped paper. And,accordingly, these deponents never printed any newspapers for thesaid Thomas Gent, to be sold or published, but what were duly stampedaccording to the directions contained in the said instructions.Neither did he himself print or publish any news, to the privity orknowledge of these deponents, but what were duly stamped, asaforesaid.
And this deponent, William Nost, deposeth that, since his enteringupon the said Mr Gent's service, he has observed the said Mr Gent'ssingular care and vigilance was very extraordinary, lest that anynews should pass the press unstamped, and his frequent givingdirections, as aforesaid .
And this deponent, Mary Pybus, heard her said master, Mr Gent,frequently repeat his directions concerning the said news, asaforesaid; so great was his care in relation to the stamping of them:from all which, all these deponents, William Bradley, John Macferson,William Nost, and Mary Pybus, verily and sincerely believe that thesaid Mr Gent never printed any news other than upon stamped papersince he received the foregoing instructions; and that he neverdefrauded, or intended to defraud his majesty of any part of the saidduty; and that if a single sheet escaped, or came out of the pressunstamped, it was intended for a proof sheet, and for no other use;and that if any such sheet came out of the printing house, itproceeded from the indiscretion of some of the servants at the press;who, through inadvertency, may carry the same in their pockets, whenuseless to Mr Gent. And the deponent John Macferson, saith that hehath frequently carried such sheets in his pocket, with no other viewthan to light a pipe of tobacco; and that one night, meeting withTelpha, servant to Mr John White, printer, he believes he gave himone of the said proof sheets, or other sheet, which this deponentprinted for his own use, to keep for the use aforesaid, or to disposeof it as he thought fit, a thing too common with journeymen.
[Jur' coram me apud Civil. Ebor. 2do Die Februarij Anno Dom.1725º; Darcy Preston, Cl. et Comiss.]
By this it very plainly appears that Scotch Macpherson, myjourneyman, printed the paper unstamped, unknown to me, and gave itto Telpha, the Scot, White's journeyman. The two latter, the alehousewoman Mrs. Reynoldson told me, came to her house, and White asked fortheir newspaper, and privately changed the unstamped one for it; nodoubt burning the right one, and making an information with what wasas false as themselves were villainous.
White denied his having all hand in it; but Mr Thompson told me,it was from one that was related to me, and yet my greatest enemy!And who could this be but White? in which, if he had proceeded, Imight have brought the fellow's ears to prove my innocence, whothought to have forced me to London, before the commissioners. Suchalmost nefandous usage, stirred up Mr Carty to write the followingparagraph of my vindication, in the news, which I thus exactlytranscribe.
YORK, Feb. 6th, 1725. From an attempt lately made upon me, I thinkmyself obliged to beg my pardon and attention whilst I inform them ofthe misfortune which I am now likely to labour under; and which, Ihope, may be applied by them severally, in some degree, to afavourable sense of me. Since I came into this city, I do not knowany person I have offended in word or deed; and such was, and stillshall be my desire and inclination to preserve and keep myself freefrom offence. Yet one dangerous and designing enemy unjustlyendeavours, as much as possible, to circumvent me in my business, andtransplant me from my place of settlement. And his efforts herein,not subsisting altogether with his emulation, he had recourse to animaginary and more powerful frightful remedy, to terrify me with theapproaching or ensuing fatal effects of it; and, consequently, makeme fly, and thereby gain his ends. And in order to this, has beenvery dexterous and artful in the contrivance of his malicious andpreconcerted design, by charging me with an information of havingdefrauded his majesty of a duty of one halfpenny, imposed byParliament upon the single newspapers, or mercuries, sold andpublished by me; and this, with a view of drawing upon me thedispleasure of the government, and subject me thereby, to the penaltyof fifty pounds, limited by Act of Parliament, for such fraud. Imust, therefore, acquaint my readers and the public that, since theprohibition I received in this behalf, I have complied, and stillshall comply, with the tenor and meaning of the Act aforesaid; so asnot to print, or direct to be printed, or knowingly suffered orpermitted to be printed, or sold, or received money for, or publishedany newspapers since the receipt of the prohibition above mentioned,any other than what were duly stamped, according to the meaning ofthe said Act.
And for the truth whereof, I appeal to Heaven, and to the personswho are pleased to favour me with their custom, and who, when theways by tempestuous storms, were rendered unpassable, were deprivedof being supplied with the news by me, for want of stamps beingbrought to me, according to my expectation, as well as the depositionof my servant and journeymen, taken before a proper person, recitingmy constant charge and direction to them, from time to time, to becautious and exact not to print any news but upon stamps; and whichthey have sworn they have accordingly. And yet, after all this, mydesigning adversary, has found a single sheet unstamped at a publichouse, as he says, which may be a proof sheet, carried by one of myservants, inadvertently, in his pocket; or, by chance, misplaced; or,by corruption, obtained by him; which could not be very difficult,when the integrity of servants is not altogether to be relied on inthis age. And thus is the thundering bolt of his prosecution foundedand balanced. And as none but my adversary, who by the foregoingmatter, may be easily guessed, and hereafter shall be fully known indue time, could discern or find out this fraudulent contrivance ofmine; I hope his judicious observation will furnish him with betterreasons, and arguments more prevalent, than his quickening spirit ofspleen and malice can suggest to justify him. From what has beensaid, I hope it will appear that the ruin of me, my wife, and family,is the only scope and design aimed at by this information; all hisother underhand means proving weak and abortive.
Lastly, I humbly beseech my readers, to prevent this designingman's gaining more of his ends over me, to secure the person whoshall bring, sell, or publish any news unstamped in my name; and thathe, my said adversary, would seriously consider how every honest manwill censure him for endeavouring to force an innocent person fromhis spouse and family by such unaccountable ways, and unchristianproceedings.
P.S. Any other might, notwithstanding the utmost precaution, bemade liable to the same unhappiness in the like manner and occasion.
Thus concluded Mr Carty's kindness for me.
But, afterwards, I found Macpherson a corrupted villain to others;and well, by a perverse rascal, might be made a rogue. For he washired by Woodhouse, a bailiff, to betray his fellow-servant, Ward,aforesaid, into his clutches; for which he was obliged to run awayfrom my service, with fiddlers and pipers, before I returned fromHull, fearing my just resentment for his knavery, in August 1726.
I would not have made this digression, were it not to lay open thecruelty of our barbarous uncle, who yet had some periodical fits ofgoodness, in considering what he had done to us, when too late to berecalled.
One time he vouchsafed to visit the nurse, gave her a shilling,and blessed my child, who, he said, was a lovely creature. But, alas!better had it been for his interest and ours, that he had notcommenced so great an enemy. The child having its continuance offits, my spouse caused the nurse to bring it home; but its cries andsighs being so piercing to our souls, she returned with him to herhouse.
The last fit came on it on the 12th of March, 1725, just as it wasfully dressed in its perfect beauty, which overcame that sable colourthat was wont to shade its lovely countenance in those terribleattacks; but then it was conquered by death, who left its body in sosweet a condition, that any spectator might have imagined it an angelasleep, newly arrived in this transitory world. It only gave a sigh,as the nurse told me, and then parted for ever.
I paid the church funeral expenses to that covetous priestBradley, who did nothing for it, though I buried its pretty corpse inthe church of St. Michael le Belfrey; where it was laid, on thebreast of Mr Charles [Bourne], my predecessor, in the chancel on thesouth side of the altar.
I continued, though without profit, but rather loss, to print thenews, that our adversaries should not suddenly triumph over us. Butthe apprentice John Mudd with indeed a very miry countenance, havingby leaps on the kitchen heart-stone gotten our female servant withchild, who was an experienced hussy in having had another by a sorryjourneyman called Walter Baker, like him ran away to London, to thevexation of my spouse, who had put up with the jade for her firstenterprise, and took her again little thinking she would haveperformed a second. I, too, being tender of my reputation waslikewise so grieved, that I followed him as far as Tadcaster, wherehe perceived me, but hid himself from being seized. He had baselyused me, and I expected little else that for his secession he wouldhave brought for his defence abroad that he had not been welltreated. And though his loss of service was some grievance to me, yetit was some ease of mind when I received from him, dated at London,the following letter, which I here exhibit entirely in his own words.
Sir, I am sorry that I should receive your civility with so muchungratefulness, as to leave you in so dirty a manner as I have done,but now it cannot be helped. There are many reasons to be given formy flying away from my apprenticeship or else I should scarcely havedone so. Some perhaps you may find out, others I shall hint to youshortly. As son as I am settled I shall send you a letter of myproceedings, for doing which I hope you'll not think it amiss. Praybe easy and civil as possible and hereafter I shall be the betterservant unto you. And if you don't think it proper it should be so,then I shall pay anything in reason for my indentures to satisfy.From the time that I left you have I a year and fourteen weeks toserve; which, when matters are over, I shall serve out faithfully, ifyou are willing. So at present I conclude, and rest your undutifulapprentice, John Mudd
When I recollected the benefit of his quick hands, and idlebehaviour in contrast, I answered his senseless impertinent letterjust as I thought it deserved, for when, as I was informed, indisdain of me, his new master, or vexed to think he could not obtainhis mistress as I was informed he had the presumption to suppose,which might have been one of the reasons for leaving his service, andhis folly another, when he had but so short a time to serve in aneasy manner; it is very certain he did not perform a third part ofthe business he ought to have done, and so like a dead weight proveda great impediment to my soaring undertakings for the good of thefamily. But however I let him know in mercy, that considering humanfrailty I would freely forgive what was past, so that he would returnand serve more faithfully to my satisfaction as well as to his ownfuture credit and advantage. His provoking reply was, that if Ipleased he would serve me but half a year, which would be better tome than nothing. But I told the unmannerly rustic that I had betterbe without such a vile object of scorn and indignation; who wouldprove but a bad example to others his betters, in stimulating them tobe a silly good-for-nothing coxcomb like himself, who might feel intime the effects of justice according to his demerits. So that if hecould not write to better purpose, it were better his nonsense keptshop in his own thick-pated skull than to send it by post abroad,unless directed to one of the filthy water lanes, where he sprungfrom Mudd, and might very possibly increase his stock of mire. Such anettling sting made the scoundrel quite forget all duty or respect,by sending the most abusive letter that his black soul could forgeout against me, which gave no further uneasiness, than to tell hisfellow sinner, the wench being near her time, and resolved forLondon, that she might find her sable spark, knight of the dismalcountenance, at Lloyd's Ale House in D"Evereux Court without TempleBar. And there it was, whilst he was carousing with severaljourneymen, that she brought the constable with the bantling to him,which he was obliged to care of. The fellow, horribly vexed, accusedme of letting her know where to find him. But I leave it to thereader, if his vile usage deserved any favour from me. I shallconclude therefore what I have more to say of the fellow, that I amcreditably informed that he died at last of morbus gallicus, the mostfashionable disease of that mercurial country. He died before ArthurClarke went to London, which was in 1736.
William Bradley, his fellow 'prentice, was much of the samekidney, and gave more trouble by his presence. He got a bastard also,delivered from one Elizabeth Newman; though, to do me an injury, hehad complained the Right Honourable Charles Howard, Earl of Carlisle(beneath whose celebrated castle his parents lived as tenants) that Idid not allow him that common sustenance as nature required. Hereuponmy lord ordered Mr Etty, one of his principal architects, to enquireinto the matter, and make report thereof. When for that purpose MrEtty visited me, he found a good sirloin of beef roasting at thekitchen fire, and the poor hungered creature lying in bed at thattime of day, by reason he had been as it were caterwauling till fouro' clock in the morning. Upon asking him, if he was in want ofvictuals, which he thought could not be, by what he perceiveda-dressing, the wretch owned, he had coarse fare enough, such as goodbeef and mutton, but his tender stomach could not always bear suchcommon diet, too gross for his refined nature. You see, sir, thefellow wants chickens and dainties; and yet does not care how littlehe earns to help me procure such choice nutriment! Mr Etty'sastonishment was rather greater than my resentment; which hislordship's learning, and being convinced that I kept a special tablefor one in my condition, it was in vain for the scandalous lyingvarlet to complain any more against me his innocent master. This baseservant at length being apprehended with James Christian, a newapprentice, and others, for robbing Mr Knapper's cellar of somebottles of wine, he would have received condign punishment were itnot through the great favour and mercy of the court upon particularreasons. He had seven weeks then to serve, but rather than be plaguedwith him, I gave him up his indentures. He went to London, where hemarried a far less handsome woman than her he had debauched; leavinghis mother to keep the bastard as the dearest pledge of love andduty. Some years after he died obscure and unlamented. Thus ended thelives of two sorry fellows, who never wished me any good, or took theright way to make themselves happy.
1726. In these times, I printed some books learnedly translatedinto English by Mr John Clarke, schoolmaster, in Hull; the columns ofthe two languages being opposite one to the other, for the greaterease of young tyros in learning, as well as those who had obtainedsome indifferent proficiency therein. Two editions I did of Erasmus.To my journeyman I had Mr Whitburne Wells, nephew to the celebrateddoctor in divinity of that surname, who wrote a book in geography, inGreek and Latin; but having no goodwill to his kinsman, he listed inthe army, where his merit and wit obtained him the honour of being asergeant at Gibraltar. Another journeyman was John Brooker,originally from Ireland; little better, when mellow, than a lunatic,and, quite drunk, a perfect madman. Another was called ThomasDickenson, a sort of interloper, but a good workman, considering hislameness; saucy, sly, conceited, and very offensive when there was noother occasion, but only requiring him to be cleanly, and notoffensive to others by his rubbish, which his unreasonablecovetousness would not allow time to make away. I think it took myservants near a week to clear those heaps of filth that surroundedthe press he worked at. He had been long in Scotland, where hemarried; became a stroller; was sent from constable to constable, toBelfrey's parish; afterwards wrought at Doncaster with Mr Ward; and,at length, died in or near London. I had also for my journeyman, MrPattison, a goodnatured, honest Scot, the best that ever I knew ofthe sort; and Smith, of the same country, but I think as false a loonas ever came out of it. I was often grieved that my necessity shouldoblige me to employ some of those ungrateful vermin, and others,particularly one Jackson, a mean senseless wretch, to whom yet I gavethe best London prices.
About the time of our marriage our tenant Mrs Horncastlecomplained of the dirty passage into our precarious house inStonegate, that it was impassable for genteeler sort of lodgers, anddesired to have it repaired. It was done so with handsome paisstones, which cost me about four pounds. But I was grieved to thevery heart, not knowing how soon I should be separated from it by thedeath of a weak old gentlewoman, or through the treachery ofdesigning persons. Pray, my dear, said I to my spouse, before ourmarriage you seemed very desirous to have this estate to dispose of,or part of it, at your death, which for ought I know may not be yoursat that time. What did you buy it for! She answered, to be rid ofimposition where she lived, and to dwell therein. But, said I, howcan you do that with safety, when a life is fallen, and I don't seeall concerned in the prebendal estate seem as willing as you toassert their common right? Whence, pray, do you derive yours? Shesaid, her writings were from the right of Sheriff Leach, who hadnew-fronted the house; and that it was for about thirty-four yearsyet to come of a grand lease from the church, at the expiration ofwhich all persons were obliged to renew, or yield way to newer andbetter purchasers, and that it had cost her £202 10s besides thewritings and repairs. I considered here that the interest of themoney, at £5 per cent for £200 would amount in thirty-fouryears to above £340 with certainty of the principal forfuturity; and told her it had been better laid out that way. Butstill the case was far worse. For even while these thirty-four yearslasted, there was the danger of three falling lives, a certainty ifallowed of paying a fine for every life that was fallen; and ingreater danger still if they missed the opportunity should it beoffered. What a confounding jargon was here of knavery laid as a baitone would think to defraud honest people! A right; and no right; thatwhile an offer should be made on the one hand, it might throughcorruption be evaded on the other, to make way for a great r- to getthe whole into his greedy paws. By this I found that should the tworemaining lives fall even in a week's time, all would beirrecoverably lost, as I could almost foretell would probably be insome space if not renewed, which I perceived to be delayed for thatpurpose. An entanglement like that of a weak fly in a spider's web,beside, though uncertain in enjoyments, yet surely bound to make goodall dilapidations for knavish underminers. That Barrowby, thatshort-sighted or dishonest attorney had either shown his shallowignorance, or blinded with lucre played his cursed pranks to thealmost ruin of my dear, and her first husband, whom it wounded to thevery soul, as it has since given to me the greatest uneasinessconsidering my deep distresses, in regard to common preservation. Heused to set up at Mr Matthew's inn, where I plainly took the courageto ask him, how he could be concerned in such an unhappy purchase,encumbered with uncertainties, unsafe to enter into, and liable tosuch dangers? Unreasonable passion seized him, while he answered butshortly, and if I did not like the estate, in which he thought he hadacted well, I might if I pleased endeavour for a better. Sir, said I,for so far of my life my labours have been very great, which haveenabled me to keep a press of my own at London, and I think I haveacted very judiciously hitherto, and may do for the future ifcoercive methods do not deprive me of my judgement and reason, andconsequently the use of both, as years come on, when our abilitiesgrow weaker, through the course of nature. Especially when thedelightful prospect of happiness is removed from our sights, by analmost certainty of evils that may happen to us, or devolve on ourposterity, should we be blessed with issue, by careless neglect, oroversight, never to be sufficiently repented of, or amended. Sir, itis your duty and your honour to examine what you have done, that sothe intentions of what you thought is the bargain might be fulfilled.It is my duty also to impel you to it by the ties of love and virtue.For it is not a trifling concern that must either by deprivationplunge us into ruin, or alter our situation, to the glory of ourenemies who will triumph in our confusion, nor shall I be easy tillanother life is renewed in the writing as usual for that which isgone, while it may lawfully be done by agreement.
These words I perceived by his countenance stung him to the quick,either conscious of his weakness or knavery, or both. For when hevery officiously lent my predecessor an hundred pounds to lay aslippery hold on his purchase, that poor young man had no goodopinion of the bargain, which either did or seemed to get Barrowby ina huff, and say that he had a great mind to buy it for himself. Wouldto God he had done so, rather than have brought the innocent into sodeep a gulf of future misery, which truly capped the very foundationof most comforts in life. Well, said he, it is but £25 for yourpart to renew the lease for what is past; and I shall see about itwhen I come again to town which will be in a little time I hope tosatisfaction.
According one morning he called, and took the money of my spouse,who was purse-keeper, to renew. I went to the toyman alderman'shouse, and abode in the shop whilst he went into an inner apartment.But when he came out again he gave me the money, and said nothingcould be done at that time, neither could he tell when. It was, Ithought, no difficult matter to portend future sufferings on thisdelay, which poor Mr Bourne on his dying bed had felt already addingto those agonising pains that attend thereon. And afterwards, when mydear went to market, where she would see the alderman, and speak tohim about it, earnestly requiring it might be done, the wretch wouldsay, Mrs Gent, it is better let alone till a grand renewal, for ifyou renew it now, it must then be done again, and the present chargesmay be saved by the lives that remain, which may hold out at thattime. But this was all froth, whilst he had other thoughts to graspat our loss that like a slow greedy beast at the bottom of a tree, hehoped in process of time would fall between his devouring jaws.
With heavy sighs and bitter anguish, did I bemoan our totteringcondition. As to my own path, had I been single, such a misfortunewould not have so mightily disturbed me, having some sort ofphilosophical apathy on many contingent occasions. But to be ruled byothers who had villainously led my spouse to an implicit obedience,without consulting her own reason; to think of such a stiff, coarsewretch of a rustic attorney, filled with a complication of blackdemerits in a woeful soul, as well as distempers in body, that Ishould not examine into a dying right on the one hand, and on theother its revival be lost through the wit of calf-like alderman,whose character is equal to his deserts, and his deserts meritoriousof h- itself, though an attendant at church, where the vile hypocriteif he could, would mock even the deity, were he not all-seeing boththe just and the unjust, I say, when I considered my heavy dilemma,either to quit all that was dearest to me, or else, to wait forpoverty with its gloomy attendants, and God knows what might happenbesides, though I strove all I could to support my family withdecency as I had been brought up to. All these deep considerationsflung me frequently into a pensive condition, sometimes with sighsand heavy complaints.
On the twelfth of June, 1727, I took apprentice James Christison,whose father was a bailiff at Wath near Ripon. He proved a verydebauched fellow and a most vile thief; who, after he had served morethan half his time, ran from his service, listed for a soldier, tookup with a common Irishwoman by whom he had two children, whom he leftin want on being commanded away into foreign parts.
The same year, on the first of November, I also took a nephew,named Arthur Clarke; a lad of an agreeable shape, but of a morosetemper; highly disobedient in his (or rather my) servitude, that Iwas heartily glad when his time was expired. He acknowledged hisfaults by some humble letters from Ireland, which, because I did nottake that notice of as he expected, he most outrageously abused me inanother heap of confused and crooked lines, that were a shame to beseen. [His father in law [stepfather] Mr Kettell was a weaver inGreat Strand Street, Dublin. I only mention this in remembrance of mysister Mary's second husband.] Upon serious examination I found in myconcience that I did not deserve such unparalleled insults, neithermy spouse, who discharged him handsomely with good clothes and linen,besides money, sufficient for any modest young man to begin the worldfor himself. He came to York afterwards in sorry apparel, and went tomy enemy's house instead of mine first; but after falling on hisknees before me, I took him up, kissed, and freely forgave his wickedfolly in that respect to me. He stayed some time, but I would notaccept the least piece of workmanship from him, though he was welcometo bed and board. He parked at his pleasure when my weakness appearedthrough tenderness of nature. But upon his account I think I couldnever be prevailed upon to take a relation again.
1727. About this time (the second life of our estate being fallen)a strange attempt was made to get the whole from me, no doubt throughdiabolical impulses in the Devil's Tavern by a Scottish loon, namedBulmer, who seemed to me to be set upon it by that black growingcalf, whose sable deeds seemed to imitate those of destruction, likehis infernal majesty of the sulphurous dominions. This fellow sentfor me under the pretence of having some business to part butsuddenly changing his tune from imperious questions, he seemed as ifhe would defer it till another time and then began to enquire of myhealth forsooth? How I felt myself? If I went on well in the world?And - at last - Had I not a house on Stone Gate? The latter I quicklythought his principal business. Nothing to pass through my press andprint, but to print deeper in my heart, what was but too deeplyprinted therein already! So foreign to my interest, or satisfaction,that gave me but too much reason to judge him as perfect a coxcomb,or designing a vintner, that I had ever seen! Especially when thesewise, drivelling speeches displayed his Scotch elocution withharmonious accents, in Porkmanly eloquence - Why mon, (quo' he) as Ihave a value for ye, what if I cou'd help to thirty or forty poun',wou'd not that do you good in your occupation? What say ye, mon? - Tobe sure, sir, said I, but upon occasion can you do so; for I am notas yet sensible how I can deserve in this place such unexpectedkindness, who am but little better than a stranger. O! quoth he, MrsWright at Stamford Brigg, on whose life your estate depends, is nighgiving up the ghost; and had you not better take a small sum thanbeing in sudden danger of losing the whole. So sensibly stricken wasI at this almost fatal news, that I could not readily answer. Butrecovering myself, Sir, replied I, if this be all that incited you tosend for me, I think you guilty of a very mean presumption. For whatbusiness have you to interfere about anything concerning me? Or whohas put you on as it were to triumph over my misfortunes? Whilst Ihave existence, and can but subsist, I shall not tamely yield up myright at that rate. Or if, through hard fortune, I must at last partfrom it, I intend however to wait for that hapless day. Not likeParkinson, who sold his part lately in the same condition for littlemore than the value of a year's rent. Whoever has put you to makethis motion to me (for I cannot think this dart proceeds from yourquiver) I know not; but be he whom he will, you may tell him if youplease that I think him an errant blockhead, and a mean villain;however screened by riches or power. A wretch thus to watch for myruin when he cannot be insensible what opposition we have met with,and what great losers we are like to be, through the vile actions ofsuch like himself, who strive to devour the innocent. Nay, Sir, saidthe Scot, I beg pardon. I thought it was for your good that I spoke.And nay, again, said I sharply, I will sooner resign myself to thedivine will than consent to you, or any like you. So I left him fullof just resentment as I think I had sufficient occasion.
1728. The opposition continuing still against me by our unmercifuluncle, I was obliged to contrive some business, rather than go backin the world; and, by an almost unheard of attempt, to seek a livingby recalling the dead, as it were, to life, to afford me and minethat sustenance which the living seemed to deny me. The thoughtsprung from some curiosities that I had found, and by what I waslikely to procure, relating to the antiquities of York. My resolutionbecame so riveted in me, and being spurred on by necessity, that Ipublished the proposals of my design in the year 1729. It was veryfar from real pleasure when I heard that some people had scrupled myreal ability, and that others feared to trust me with thesubscription money. [1729. This year on the 8th of May (Thursday) mysister Rebekah Standish departed this life.] I was one time, Ibelieve, for half an hour, very indecently abused at a merry meeting,by a fellow who reflected on Mr Gent, as he called me, though he knewnot I was the very person he was talking to; and should, for me, havecontinued ignorant, through my innocent nature, if one of thecompany, who had suffered him to prate a long while, could bear nolonger, but discovering his mistake, called him a blockhead for hisvile imprudence; and obliged him to leave the place. But what most ofall astonished me was the usage of old Hildyard, a neighbouringbookseller, who sent to my shop his then simple son John, to tell methat, if I printed any thing relating to the city, he would sue me inan action of two thousand pounds damages. I asked why, and for what?The silly fellow told me that his father had printed a book of themayors and sheriffs of York already, and would have no other to bedone. So had the impudence to mark out those periods of my proposalsthat had given him offence, by clashing against his interest. Thisput me upon viewing that book; and, upon inquiry, I found that hisproduction was mere theft from a lawyer's copy, only with an additionof a fulsome dedication or two, as much for instruction to thereaders, as the almost bare catalogue of names it contained. Uponwhich, being provoked a second time by the said simple coxcomb, Ireturned word to the old fellow that, if I copied after such awretched threadbare piece, he might arrest me in a sh-tten action,and carry me away in a t-d cart; so turned the blockhead out of myhouse. I still went on and received subscription money, though mytimorous spouse, for some time, would have had me desisted, becausethe old man was powerfully rich; and, beside, had stood as a fatherwhen we were married. Thus was I tormented with her whimpering noteof, perhaps, sincere love, on the one hand, and on the other, withreproaches and threatenings, which were all counterbalanced with themerry subscribers that displayed their goodness on my pious design.As a grateful recompense, I took, indeed, great pains in everychurch, having many of the sepulchral monuments washed and cleansed,to come as perfectly as I could to the characters; many of which werealmost delible, and diurnally conveyed them to my press. It sohappened that Lord Percival and Mr Scawen, [He came to the dignity ofsheriff in 1744. But in the year 1746 November 20 being at a f(ight?)a fray about precedency began between him and one Youlton, an officerin the army, which was burlesqued in St James's Evening Post, nº5749, November 25. "York, November 20. This day a duel was foughtbetween Jack the Giant-Killer, (coxcomb general of all theshop-compterbeans, and curled puppies of the city) and Don FranciscoHackum, who after a great deal of clashing of swords, blustering andbullying had passed between those drawcansirs, the same was happilyended without bloodshed, to the great satisfaction of both sides."The quarrel between him and the said Don was in Merchants Hall.]viewing the antiquities of the Minster, were informed by Mr Moon, theverger, what I was upon; and that it was a great pity if my generousproposals did not meet that encouragement that was due to so worthyan undertaking. And who should they inquire of me, but of old MrHildyard, where I lived, that they might subscribe! Unquestionably agreat mortification to him, who had thus insulted me, a citizen asgood as himself; and who should he send with them but theempty-brained, huffing, puppy-like fellow his son, to shew them theway, and to examine what I had collected for that purpose. And thoughall seemed in embryo, by the many divided pieces and interlineationsof what I had written, they were pleased to give my price for sixbooks; and promised, if I enlarged more than I then intended, theywould reward me in proportion to my industry. While I was upon thework, Hammond, the Quaking bookseller, who reported he had somemanuscripts relating to the purpose, in a manner pretended to obligeme to take him in a partner. He told Beckwith, his half brother,being a running stationer, that he would print a book of York too, ifI did not let him join with me. I was not willing at first, butthinking him a fit antagonist against old Hildyard, I returned wordby old Tom, he should have his desire, provided he had no part ofwhat I had received from subscribers. Upon this, agreeing, theimpression, which I only designed to be five hundred, was augmentedto one thousand, with a clause that, whoever was out of books first,should sell for the other, paying two shillings each in sheets, tillthe whole number were disposed of. [I took Hammond in partly also toease me in the great expense I had been at; but the wretch wouldnever communicate to me any of his manuscripts, which might have doneme some good, but reserved them for sale to Dr D-ke, my contemporaryhistorian: so that the whole weight lay upon me, which made meventure to ascend the most lofty dangerous places, to explore thecurious paintings in glass; as well as into gloomy cemeteries, torestore the long dead to recent memory.]
1730. When I had published the work, my joy was inexpressible, tobe told what a kind reception it met with from persons of both sexes,and all ranks and conditions. I returned thanks to Heaven that I hadwritten what was thought worthy to be read; and not misjudged, by themost learned, to have treated that church with the least want ofrespect, which our ancestors had raised to the glory of Almighty God;and which, I believe, for a fine Gothic building, is not to beexcelled by an illustrious piece of architecture in the wholeuniverse. That I had done my best, was taken as candidly as the mostbeautiful work of the ablest artist; so that, as I was sensible of myown inability, I held myself to be under the highest obligation tothe public. In a particular manner, I could not but reverence thatnoble lord, my generous subscriber, who wrote to me the followingletter.
Charlton; June 23, 1730.
Your three books of the History of York were delivered meyesterday in London, on my return from the Bath. I have not had timeyet to peruse them, but I perceive there is a great deal of curiousand uncommon matter laboriously collected, which cannot fail toentertain and instruct. I thank you, sir, for your care in sendingthem so punctually and safely, and am,
Your very humble servant,
[That lord in August 1733 a viscount of Ireland (being then memberof parliament for Harwich) an earl by the style and title of Earl ofEgmont in that kingdom.]
But I had a very merry epistle on a serious subject, concerning anomission; the author thinking I was quite in the wrong to entitle mywork a sacred history, since, as he said, only evangelical writingsought to be termed such. But yet he kindly seemed to excuse me, asthinking I did it purely in honour of Almighty God; and desired me,if ever I reprinted the book, not to omit a memorial of the Rev.Anthony Wright, who was interred beneath the great lantern, orlargest tower; which I took notice of when I came to publish a secondvolume of antiquities, as hereafter will be mentioned.
I had several admirers, who were surprised to think a person soobscure as I was generally deemed, should have the courage to ventureon so noble and pious a design; nor was I free from the sarcasticscoffs of others, whose envy was far superior to their judgments:for, at a perambulation, one Mr Wiseacre reported, in ridicule, whata parcel of stuff I had collected, such as old illegible monumentsand inscriptions in churches, before the days of their ancientgrannams. "Aye," said the Rev. Mr Knight, "has he done so? And doyou, sir, call these affectionate memorials only wretched stuff? Iassure you I think quite contrary; that, instead of base reflections,he deserves commendable praises; and, please God, I will buy one ofthem for my serious perusal:" which the good gentleman accordinglydid, and was pleased to tell me that, what I had collected deserved alarger volume, and worthy of a better price. Mr Hildyard, from anenemy turned my friend also, bought and sold many, and continued inkindness to his dying day; being sorry, I had reason to believe, forthe great trouble he at first had given to me and my family, by hisunreasonable threatenings: so that I had an almost generalapprobation, which so grieved our silly uncle, and those people underhim, as to presume to disgrace my works in their newspapers; but Ireturned them such smart usage as cured the Scotch vermin of theircacoëthes scribendi, as much as brimstone and other ingredientscould cleanse those inherent scabs that infected their lousy bodiesand made them so ill-natured.
[August 10 (Tuesday) This day I took possession of [a] house inPeter Gate; the writings were executed, and gave [a] note for£70 which afterwards faithfully paid at Leeds. The predecessorthere was Alexander Dr[ ] belonging to one of the courts atWestminster.]
It was in this year, on the 3d of April, that I took Henry Addisonfor my apprentice. He was nephew to the Rev. Mr James Addison, vicarof Bishopsthorpe, near this city, who gave me with him fifteenpounds. The lad was brought up at Sedberg school,* proved veryskilful in the business, honestly served his time, and handsomelyprovides for his wife and three lovely young daughters, brought up byan affectionate mother. About the time of his first coming to me, Iprinted Suetonius in Latin and English, for the aforesaid Mr JohnClarke, of Hull, in a demy octavo, closely exhibited. [*Under SamuelSaun[ders] who was married to his predecessor Posthumous Wharton'sdaughter. The said Posthumous was ripped out from the belly of hispoor travelling mother who died near the side of a wood. She wasscented by the Duke of Wharton's hounds, and found by the rangersnear Wharton Hall, about seven miles from Sedberg, and four fromKirkby Stephen. The duke took care of the infant, [sending?] it intime to the university so that at length he became master of Sedbergschool.]
In 1731, having printed a translation of Oppian's Cynegeticks, forDr. Mawer, the Supplement for the Polyglott Bible passed through mypress. And then my dear and I, considering our woeful purchase inStonegate, in which we durst not enter lest, if the old gentlewomanshould die, we should fall into the mercy of the great R-, who waitedfor that melancholy period to us; we bought the house where we nowlive, in Petergate, opposite Mr Shaw's, which we let to the ingeniousMr Henry Hindeley, clockmaker, for seven pounds a year.
1732. I printed a book for Mr Thomas Baxter, schoolmaster, inCrathorn, Yorkshire, intituled, "The Circle Squared," but as it neverproved of any effect, it was converted to waste paper, to the greatmortification of the author. A different reception Mr Clarke's Justinreceived this year, which was learnedly translated. [This yearJackson t[ ] printer publishing those who presumed to print[ ] paper beside him should [ ] prosecuted and Iknowing that considering the Stamp Act he had as little right as Iventured notwithstanding with a merry [ ] at the end, by way ofb[ ] to the fellow. And being insulted by another br[ ]wretch, called Ascom[ ] for mentioning his m[ ] bull inCamplesham [ ]shire by way of analo[ ] I shewed a justresent by verser mentioned at the end of this book.]
1733. My nephew, Arthur Clarke, aforesaid, was sent with materialsto furnish a printing office in Scarborough; from which we had a fairprospect of the ocean. The gentry from the Spa used to visit us, tohave their names, and see the playhouse bills and other work printed;and, at York, I published my History of Rippon, with the antiquitiesof the most noted towns in the county. An eminent and learnedclergyman reading my Treatise of Christianity, with the sufferings ofour blessed Saviour and his apostles, was pleased to tell MrKnowlton, that he had never perused a more instructive and patheticabstract, that melted him even into tears. Too great an approbation Imight, in modesty, justly suppose; however, it gave me infinitesatisfaction to find those things approved, which some vile wretcheshad condemned.
In 1734, I printed "Miscellanea Curiosa," for Mr Thomas Turner; awork which got credit both to the author and to me, for the beautifulperformance thereof: it was published quarterly; but for want ofsufficient encouragement, the work ceased in less than a year's time,when the mathematic types ceased also to be of any use to me. On the7th of June this year, I took Francis Hildyard, grandson to the oldbookseller aforesaid, to be my apprentice, but so dull and slow afellow I never had before or since. I oft repented I had such anunprofitable servant, and had little redress upon my complaint to MrLambert, his uncle, who put him to me, or his poor father, of meancondition, who having lost a place, for wrong voting, in thegovernment, was at length glad to be clerk to the company of thesmiths; whose fate it was to fall down dead in the open street. Hisunfortunate son, to me, on King Charles's day of martyrdom, as he wasfowling, missed his mark, and shot his fellow-apprentice, StephenClarke, into the thigh, to my great loss; but, providentially, nobone was broken, and the most dangerous parts untouched; so that, bythe skill and care of that ingenious surgeon, Mr Shipton, he becameperfectly sound again, in about a quarter of a year's time. ButHildyard, though sensible of my damage, never exerted himself in hisduty to me; but, instead thereof, worked in my absence some senselessreflections upon election matters, for his own profit, which my goodnature passed by; and I assure my reader that, at the expiration ofhis time, I delivered his indenture with great satisfaction.
In 1735, a Scotchman, whom Mr White had owned for a servant sevenyears, seceding from the newspaper as to the name which wasmentioned, young Mr Alexander Staples, son to my old back friend, MrRobert Staples, at London, the celebrated disposer of Dr. Daffy'selixir, was instigated by White to do good in York, which he was notable himself to accomplish with satisfaction. The young manaccordingly arrived, took a gallant house in Coney street, printedthe news, and really was as great a puff as ever I had seen before. Ireally judged him to be a goodnatured youth, till I inserted thefollowing lines in my journal which gave some umbrage; as though hispretty advertising pictures and Daffy's elixir were reflected upon,though his name or paper were not mentioned therein.
To the Author of the Original Weekly Journal
Venienti occurrite Morbo
(Written on recovery from sickness)
Your news I like because it tells of Swift,
Whose noble writings high our souls do lift;
And now, and then, our loyal hearts do win
To approve your conduct by inserting Prynn.
But - get some funny pictures by advertisement
A capering ass to frisk like any stallion:
An house to let to any tatter-d'mallion.
Two fighting hens, for female battles fought;
The brewer's barrels for a morning draught:
A coat and crest for your renownèd Daffy
Though Teague's a shentleman - perhaps - as Taffy:)
Then tell of what advantages we gain,
By shining more than once, or more than twain.
Children will to Pap-pà and Mam-mà cry,
To buy the pictures for their lot-ter-y!
To will the country folks to find each beast!
Daffy! though dead, will rise to see the crest -
Assumed by you - Bottles will gain you wealth,
And fill your pockets - by the nation's health.
But - to be serious - really, sir! I have
Such virtue found, as kept me from the grave.
When raging wind was in my body pent,
So that my bones seemed most in pieces rent:
When spreading pains had banished all delights
With easeless days, and more uneasy nights;
Your famous Daffy, styled of Four-Square Yard,
(For which, whilst living, shall I have regard)
Open'd the door behind, and let me free:
Or else, I think, I'd never have writ to thee;
Removed the sedimentals from my heart,
With equal force as paracelsian art.
Long may you live, sir! for the public good:
Daffy and Bostock purge corrupted blood.
May no ingratitude their arts defile;
But happy fortune ever on you smile.
While sense shall reign that ever good could do,
Auspicious heaven bless what you sell, and you.
When I printed these lines, I did not imagine they would be takennotice of by Mr Staples, or his friends; who I heard boasted theywould drive the Irish fellow out of the country, not considering Iwas a citizen of London as well as his father. But I was mistaken: Iwas charged with being the author; the shorthand writer of Turpin'sLife [This fellow Kyle, notoriously known] fell into a passion, andproceeded to lying interpretations: A mathematician who had actedwith another man's wife in a stallion-like manner, took boggle at oneword, and, in striving to ride over me, his poor Pegasus dropped of asudden, and have like to have broke his neck. - Staples was, likeHudibras, going to the lawyer to find out in what manner he coulddeal with me: but after full consultation at a club, a resolution wastaken to wound, and, if possible, jolt my brains out with English andLatin verses; and truly, such jargon was printed against me, that wasenough to infect a man with Scotch scabbado, but not in the least toimpair his understanding. I never took notice of their unlearnedfilth, or such like cannibal vermin as Dugdale writes of in theMonasticon, in various centuries, utter enemies to our natives ofEngland or Ireland, especially to the latter, and even false tothemselves. But, by the by, in a future work, I compared thesedevourers of people's reputations to those cannibals whom theConqueror, William the first, punished: "Pictura vitrea quæ,est in claustro de Strenshale monstrat Scotos, qui prope finesAnglorum habitant, fuisse vel ad Gulielmi Nothi temporaanthropophagos & hanc immanitatem à Gulielmi gladio fuissepunitam." But as Mr Staples, I knew, was born in England, and seducedby Mr White, I had a respect for him as a youth, that wasunacquainted with my nature. We after became friends, and did mutualkindnesses for each other; and as he became more entangled in theworld, and found the cruel deceit thereof, he treated me the moreobligingly in his requesting letters. To his great expense, hecourted a young lady at Newcastle, in which being unsuccessful, hiscircumstances became more suspected by discerning people.
This year I published my History of Hull: soon after which mypublisher, Mr Wilford, failed in London. I comforted, instead ofafflicting the man, under his heavy misfortunes, which he aftergratefully remembered in mentioning my work in his "Lives ofIllustrious Personages," in folio, and generously ordered one of themto be given, as a present, as some small atonement (the utmost he wasable,) for the loss that I had sustained by him.
In 1736, Mr Francis Drake published his "Eboracum," or YorkHistory, in two volumes: a noble work, to give him his due, as myfriend, Browne Willis, Esq. styles it in his letter to me, whichcontains also most curious and entertaining accounts of the adjoiningAynsty. But, amongst other writers, he has thus exhibited these wordsof me and my humble performance: "The last thing," saith he, "which Ishall mention, is to inform the public, that I have seen and read asmall octavo printed tract, the title-page of which bears thisinscription, 'The Antient and Modern History of the Famous City ofYork, and, in a particular manner, of its magnificent Cathedral,commonly called York Minster, etc.; the whole diligently collected byT. G.: York, printed, etc., 1730.' I have nothing to say to thiswork, but to assure my contemporary historian, that I have stolenlittle or nothing from his laborious performance, wherein Mr T. G.,as author, printer, and publisher of the work himself, endeavouringto get a livelihood for his family, deserves commendation for hisindustry."
I could expatiate very justly and sharply on the whole of thisridiculous paragraph, unbecoming his character as a gentleman: but Ishall touch on it a very little; for he proved a threatener, too, bytelling me, that authors had already treated of the Minster, and thatif I did any thing to border on their copies, I should incur thepenalty of an Act of Parliament. What he uttered in terrorem I couldbut inwardly smile at, which, no doubt, he perceived well enough;and, being ascertained of my resolution, lent me Willis's Book ofCathedrals, which I accepted of, but would not copy after, having thechurch so near me, and perceiving the wretched mistakes of thatpublication. Besides, Mr Drake was a subscriber to, but a reflectoron me to Mr Samuel Smith, when he perceived a discourse I had made,introductory to History, in my newspapers. As to the smallness of thetract, I am sure the book was multum in parvo, and it should havebeen larger, if the city had but blessed me with one fourth of fiftypounds which he received, which, with other contributions from awilling party, and the generosity of others, could not but impel himforcibly to make a shining work, whether otherwise he would or no.And as to his stealing any thing of mine, that expression, soexceeding vulgar, might well have been spared in a polite doctor,since such are seldom charged with theft, except stealing people outof their graves; besides, he was very welcome to any thing that I hadpainfully collected. I never called any a fool in folio, as theinveterately provoked Sam Smith did, before an assembly inScarborough: and if any of my friends had said that he was obliged towhat I had performed, their offence was none of mine. And therefore,thinking his character like his commendation, and both veryludicrous, I esteemed myself under no obligation to thank him, in theleast, for what he had written; but much rather those gentlemen andladies who pleased to approve of my performance, and took it as apocket companion in their pleasant journey on the roads, whilstriding in their coaches, or as an entertainer in their closets.[There is no vindicating the manner in which Drake speaks of thisperformance of Gent; which was not, like too many modern books oftopography, a mere bundle of pillage from the works of ingenious andpainstaking authors, but consisting, for the most part, of matterhonestly collected, and not, before his time, made public by thepress. The passage, therefore, deserves to stand; but it must not beconcealed, as a trait of good feeling in Gent, that he has cancelledthis passage, and, with a hand enfeebled with age and misfortune, hasadded this note: "1766. The Doctor has proved, since, a great friendto me,-I pray God bless him most sincerely, and shall do, I trust, tomy life's end." JH]
This year, on the 4th of May, I took Stephen Clarke for myapprentice: he was the son of the Rev. Mr Stephen Clarke, M.A.,rector of Burythorpe, near Malton, who gave me with him twentypounds. The youth honestly served his time, and went to London, whereI wish him all the good fortune that he can expect or desire,according to his merits.
1737. Having but too much time to spare, rather than be indolent,I studied music on the harp, flute, and other instruments. And, onthe 15th of August, I took apprentice Robert Moon, nephew to Mr Moon,one of the vergers, who gave me twenty guineas with him: he servedhis time, and is now a master in Preston, Lancashire, where he wed ahandsome young woman, who brought him an agreeable fortune. [QueenCaroline deceased November 12] [On the 13th of August this year, ayoung handsome person (Toby Goodwill) was executed for the highway;[ ] pitied because he treated [ ] mercy and civil than now[ ] robbed, contrary to [ ] ruffians.]
1738. This year I wrote and printed a pastoral dialogue on themuch lamented death of the Right Honourable and illustrious CharlesHoward, Earl of Carlisle, who died the 1st of May, at Bath; whichpoem was universally received with kindness and approbation, more, Imay well think, in regard to the merits of the deceased, than to anyof mine in the performance, though I dressed it up in as soft amanner as I could wish; with which a most learned doctor in divinity,Dr. John Mawer, rector of Middleton Tyas, near Richmond, and anexcellent poet, was graciously pleased to send me his kindapprobation, to my no small consolation.
About the 13th of January, 1738, Mr Alexander Staples was quitebroken up by Dr. Burton; and, not long after, the Messrs. CæsarWard and Richard Chandler became possessors of his printingmaterials: besides, they carried on abundance of business in thebookselling way, having had shops at London, York, and Scarborough.The latter collected divers volumes on Parliamentary affairs, and bythe run they seemed to take, one would have imagined that he wouldhave ascended to the apex of his desires; but, alas! his thoughtssoared too high, and sunk his fortunes so low, by the debts he hadcontracted, that rather than become a despicable object to the world,or bear the miseries of a prison, he put a period to his life, bydischarging a pistol into his head, as he lay reclined on his bed. AsI knew the man formerly, I was very sorry to hear of his tragicalsuicide, an action that for awhile seemed to obumbrate the glory ofCæsar, who found such a deficiency in his partner's accounts,so great a want of money, and such a woeful sight of flowingcreditors, that made him succumb under the obligation to a statute ofbankruptcy; during which time he has been much reflected on by aScot, who had been his servant, and obnoxious for a while to manypersons, who were not thoroughly acquainted with him. But he nowbrightly appears again, amidst the dissipating clouds of distress, inthe publication of a paper, that transcends those of hiscontemporaries as much as the rising sun does the falling stars.
In January 1739[/40], the frost having been extremely intense, therivers became so frozen, that I printed names upon the ice. It was adangerous spot on the south side of the bridge, where I first set up,as it were, a new kind of press, only a roller wrapt about withblankets. Whilst reading the verses I had made to follow the names,wherein King George was most loyally inserted, some soldiers roundabout made great acclamations, with other good people; but the icesuddenly crackling, they almost as quickly run away, whilst I, whothen did not hear well, neither guessed the meaning, fell to work,and wondered at them as much for retiring so precipitately as they atme for staying: but taking courage, they stoutly returned back,brought company, and I took some pence amongst them. After this, Imoved my shop to and fro, to the great satisfaction of younggentlemen, ladies, and others, who were very liberal on the occasion.
But in a little time an heavy stroke of adverse fortune befell me.For about Candlemas Mrs Wright died at Betheren, whose life was thelast that preserved my estate; which instigated Alderman Read notonly to forbid my tenants to pay me almost half a year's rent thatwas due, but with horrid insolence to rap with his cane at my shopdoor, and tell my sorrowful spouse, contrary to his former words,that her own did not belong to her. For me, I did not hear thebrutish fellow; (for, saving the honour of magistracy, I esteem thewretch no better) which, if I had, I could not have forebore a properresentment, though I had suffered for it. For I look upon a trickingdesigning rich rogue, as I would do upon the meanest errant thiefthat becomes right worthy of a hempen chain; as it were cotemporarywith the worshipful knave that is encircled with gold. Nay, worse;for a rich villain, whilst playing the hypocrite in church, where hisauthority perhaps causes him to be prayed for keeps you lingering inmisery till life almost becomes a burden, insomuch that the sun'sbrightness proves not the least comfort to the oppressed mind. TheReverend Mr Wilkinson opened the matter to me, to prepare to bear it;as if an innocent person were to fit himself for death by order of acruel tyrant. No less than tears of bitter anguish could fall from myeyes, to find my dear spouse so inevitably tricked, and that therewas no opportunity for just satisfaction: instead of which, some ofmy tenants insulted me; particularly Barwick, who had been anunmannerly skip-kennel, and who after broke his back, which ended hisdays. Nay, a report was raised, that I had not offered to renew intime; which is plain the contrary by what I have written and shallendeavour to make appear by the following letter that I wrote to thegreat r-- on this sad occasion, which was faithfully delivered tohim.
My letter to Alderman R--
I was less surprised at the death of Mrs Wright, which it wasreasonable to expect through her years, and by what the writings ofmy estate have long informed me, than I was to hear from myungrateful tenant, who sells liquor, that you had forbid him to paythat just rent, which you must know is my rightful due. I confessmyself innocent of law or contention; yet if I may judge as areasonable creature, I think my case and circumstance in this affairas hard as could befall any innocent person. Death is, I know, whatwe all must expect, sooner or later, which will level our dustwithout distinction of birth, power or fortune. And I wish the Churchof England may ever flourish in her estate, whatever I suffer inmine. But I cannot do otherwise than blame the person, who advised MrBourne and his tender spouse to almost fatal a bargain, which hascaused anxious trouble for so many years; and might have proved farworse, were it not for divine providence, which preserved thegentlewoman so long as it did. For what has been expended is not byfar received. Nor was it interest so much proposed in the purchase asthe conveniency of an house to enter into; which we never dareattempt after we knew the jeopardy and restraint that followed theloss of any life mentioned for its security. Far, very far, am I fromcharging you as being instrumental in the sale thereof: Butworshipful sir! I am sensible that £25 were offered to renew byMr Barrowby after a life was fallen; I am feelingly sensible that Iemployed Mr Taylor the attorney in College-gate to rep[ ] forboth the fallen lives whilst the third was living. And my spouse cantake the blessed sacrament that you told her frequently, that it wereneedless to renew till all were deceased or the lease quite dropt;and that all the present possession that would be further concernedmust or might renew at the same time. Some of them I understand tooby their willingness to part from theirs, are no great friends ofours: and makes the misfortune greater, that their should be acommixture of uncertain enjoyments which are often made worse throughcorruption. For houses purchased, that one person cannot lawfullyensure a right upon account of the carelessness or perhaps bribery ofothers, when such a right appears plainly published at the sale, andinserted in the writings; seem, in my humble opinion, but precariousestates, not to exhibit worse titles. At least in justice it may bemercifully supposed that people obedient, and led into mistakes,should be used very tenderly. I do not presume to dictate how faryour goodness shall flow that way, only hope you'll forgive my beingsurprised at my said tenant's refusal, so contrary to an act of ourlegislation, which allows the rent should be paid to the very lastday that any life remains that keeps the owner from dispossession.Now this prohibition of yours I take to be exceeding hard on me,especially as it proceeds from a magistrate or a gentleman, as Ithink you are both. I ever thought the rents were due for the term oflives, so that half a year's rent, deducting for a fortnight, isstill my own; a thing different from spiritualities: because, as Isaid before, the rights of the purchase continues to the day of totalexpiration.
And, worthy sir! let me further tell you, that several things inthe house we paid for are to be considered: the hangings, ranges etc.As to the former, the adornment of but two rooms cost me £4.Besides, I may mention how handsomely I caused the long entry to belaid with flag stones, at my first coming to York, which before wasalmost impassable for broken bricks, dirt, and rubbish, whichamendment cost me almost the like sum. I wish I never had occasion tohave mentioned any of these things. But since misfortunes will come,(which are more to be lamented when provisions for age through animprudent purchase are thus snatched away, and like to fall heavierthat it yet does on me and mine) I hope you will [ ] that losersmay have a liberty of pleading. And if, as my spouse tells me, thatyou often assured her, that we are to be considered in any kindmanner as the latest purchasers, the latest in enjoyment, andgreatest in sufferings: we hope, we desire, that you will be so goodas to inform us. If not, we doubt not of being allowed what isequitable that we may have our hearts replenished with blessings tocomfort us at the separation of an estate, which has supported us inour station against many misfortunes.
Your respectful humble servant,
Thomas and Alice Gent
Any person that had the least education or manners, the leasttenderness or compassion for a fellow-creature, I think might havegiven me an answer. But no notice being taken of me; lest at thisperiod I should be used with underhand dealing, as I had reason tojudge that I was before; after enquiry for the prebendary, to whomthe right of renewal appertained, I found that he resided at theMarquis of Caernarvon's in Grosvenor Square, London. Upon which Iwrote a letter to him in these words.
York, February 24, 1739/40
I would have written to you before, but could not get rightdirections till your sister was pleased to inform me; and I beseechyou to let me have a line directed to me, Printer, near Stone Gate,that I may be satisfied that you have received this letter on thefollowing great concern. No doubt but you have been informed of thedeath of the third person, mentioned in the lease of your prebend ofNorth Newbold. My predecessor, Mr Charles Bourne, was the lastpurchaser of an house in Stonegate, next the booksellers, throughmeans of an attorney now deceased, by which we have been greatsufferers and not received the money expended. I fear it wouldtrouble you too much to mention our great hardships, as many in Yorkcan witness. I do not care now to meddle with such under-renewers,who would farmingly parcel it out at second hand: And therefore Ihope you will not only take care of your own interest in its renewal,but also that you will not think it inconsistent with reason andgoodness, that I beg your favour as a sufferer to be kind to me inthe first lease to come, since I have been so extremely unfortunatein the last. Sir, my loss as a tradesman with a family is very great;and I expect little kindness by what I find from any purchaser thatmay offer here, having sufficient reason to think so by bad usagesince the last life dropped. I thought fit to apply to you as theprincipal person; and I trust in God, that you will be well disposedtowards me, I imagine you would be was my care but truly statedbefore you; and then perhaps you might compassionately think meworthy of the first offer, and that I ought not to be utterlyrejected or more depressed if I can but find friends to help me.
Reverend Sir, your entire humble servant,
The answer I received was as follows.
London, February 28th, 1739
I have received yours of the 24th instant: Accordingly acquaintyou therewith by the first post; that you may from this judge myreadiness to favour you in any reasonable request. But before I cangive a direct answer to yours, I must desire you will send me aparticular account of the whole affair, that I may the better see, aswell what injury you have suffered, as how far it may be in my powerto give you relief.
I have not got the counterpart of the lease by me. I left inBerkshire, where I shall not go till the breaking up of theparliament. And as I do not think to see Yorkshire soon, you maytrust all you have to tell me by letter. The more immediately thisaccount comes, the better opportunity I may have to serve you; andam, though unknown to you, an enemy to oppression and a friend to thedistressed.
Upon which I wrote this long epistle.
My grief and cares have so confused my thoughts and actions, thatI am almost dread to exhibit my complaints before you,notwithstanding your kindly offered readiness to receive them. For ifI should trace my fortune and circumstances in every minute affair,that leads to the manner how I came to the estate, I am afraid theymay be deemed as so many impertinences derived from such a sorrow,that is little inferior to a distempered mind; and if I omit theseparticulars, which however may show I have not so lived in the worldas to deserve inhuman treatment from any person whatsoever, I thenmay tremble at the consequence of not finding favour in your sight,since that which has supported me under great difficulties being liketo be snatched from me for ever, must either make me very despicable,from what I have been, or bring me into a poor melancholy condition.
It will be needless, I imagine, to inform you of the tediouswritings in my possession. They shall be delivered to you on yourarrival hither. However, in short, they mention an old indenture fromthe Rev. Mr John Hicks to Richard Remington of Leckington Lodge,Yorkshire, anno 1622. But to come nearer the purpose, there is anunder-lease of sixty-six years, granted by the Rev. Tobias Conyers,prebendary, in the year 1676, to Roger Wilberfoss, haberdasher,during the lives of Elizabeth and Leonard Wilberfoss: the two firsthaving been his children, and the latter I suppose a nephew. The sameRoger soon after farmed his right to Mr Nicholas Rayner, upon a smallacknowledgement, if demanded. He left it to his spouse upon thepayment of £4 per annum. Next the estate came to John Stamperand Peter Dawson; the former of whom sold it to Joseph Leach andRoger for £110. Mr Wilberfoss, as I take it, entirely quitted itall to Mr Leach, except the £4 yearly. Mr Leach finding thehouse much decayed, and to yield but a small rent to what it doesnow, pulled down the front entirely and built up that handsome onewhich appears at the present day. But his misfortunes proved so greatthat though he had ruled over the city prison as a sheriff yet hehimself became confined as a debtor. In the year 1704 (as what I havein possession makes clear) it was mortgaged to Alderman Redman for£150 - I pass by mentioning the copies of wills, conveyances,counterpart deeds, and releases, which I suppose will neither be ofuse to you or me; but if they be, shall be at command. Neither do Ipretend to tell you any certainty of what belongs to all your prebendin York, much less in the country, humbly presuming you must knowbetter than any other: while I rather choose to hasten to my ownaffair, with a strict regard to truth, as I hope to do for yourinterest, that[?] my fortune prove as it shall seem good toprovidence.
And as I am entirely unknown to you, the affair will require thatI mention some things which hard temper may think foreign to thepurpose; but may find attention from a gentleman of such a family asI hear you are, and of so sacred a function, to one of whom in theestablished church I have the honour to be an uncle. The house inwhich I now dwell was long inhabited by Mr John White, printer, inwhose latter days I came from London, of which I am a citizen, toserve him as a journeyman. I stayed with him about two or threeyears, when triumphant death, with glory to that ancient man, for hewas above eighty, brought him to his grave, as the most patient manis said to have been, like a full shock of corn, with acclamations,in its due season. His surviving spouse, as well as he, had beenattended many years by a fair and virtuous maiden, then one of thebest of servants. They were not wanting in reciprocal love, as if shehad been their only daughter, for they were exceeding kind, andintended their grandson for her husband. And knowing that if I lovedher, they discharged me from their service, which obliged me toreturn to London. You know, sir! the ways of the most high areinscrutable. For though I had obtained the young woman's favour, yetbeing disappointed in fixing a place for settlement, and her mistressdying, the said young man obtained her. Far from ill thoughts, as Iloved them both, I transacted business for them in London when theyrequired. Since I had not the first virgin I loved, I was consoled tolive single: In the meantime, I proved pretty successful in mybusiness. About ten years after I left York, her husband (who indeedwas seldom an healthful person) died of an asthma. When I heard of itI took coach for this city in order to renew my pretensions and inabout a year's time was married in the famous cathedral, where youhave your prebendal stall.
Alas! I thought I was come to the remarkable era, from whence Imight date my happiness. In relation to my dearest, indeed I seemedas blessed as many others: But either through her false friends, andthe opposition of the most malicious uncle to her and to her latehusband, it proved otherwise. For the latter taking advantage,through her unwillingness to transfer the business to him, senthither a press; and to ruin us, lowered the prices of goods to athird part. We had no remedy but patience, with an uncommon industryto anticipate his fury; so that after some years, with assistance ofdivine providence, some of his business failed, and he was forced toretire to his rich habitation in the north. But such a wound wasgiven to our circumstances then, and with as little good to ourenemies, as kept us from making any progress in the ways of life;being well contented we could stand on the defensive path from theraging fury of such a Goliath as threatened to drive us from thecountry.
And what augmented our grief, was, our great unhappinessproceeding from the landlady of the house where we dwell, and whichwas worse in Mr Bourne's time. For she had formerly raised the rent,because she thought they could not easily move through the greatexpense that attended the re-fixing the printing materials; and wasgoing to reiterate the oppression. And Mr Bourne having a legacy leftby his grandfather, with what his spouse had saved in her longservice, they resolved to spend most of their all to buy an house,where they might be freed from such tyranny. This house in Stonegatebeing advertised to be sold; that was, the remaining twenty years ofthe lease to come, with the right of renewal, which indeed has provedno right at all; they employed Mr Barrowby of Thirsk, a rough countryattorney, on the affair. Because it lay contiguous for removal theysnatched at the hook, which ensnared them; not considering that thethree lives inserted were now upon the decline; and upon failure,whether the owners of other houses concerned in the estate would bewilling to renew, without which their single right would signifynothing; neither thinking what opposition they might meet with fromdesigning persons to obstruct their honest intentions; or how eventhe attorney himself might be corrupted to agree to such a wretchedbargain for them: they opened their purses, and let out those vitaldrops that they could never afterwards recover. I am satisfied thatthe then young couple understood little or nothing of the matter; butimplicitly trusted the whole management of their affairs to that foolor knave of an attorney: So little my spouse at least, that at ourmarriage she desired leave at her death to bestow some profits of itto her relations. It was not long before the unspeakable folly ofthis purchase, or the treachery of some concerned in its disposal, bythe sudden falling of one of the lives, awoke my dear and her spousefrom their state of delusion. The denial of a quick renewal on thatoccasion grievously added to Mr Bourne's illness, and never partedfrom him till his innocent life also ended. I took care to have£25 carried by Barrowby; but it was returned without effect,which plainly indicated there was a trick to be played for our utterdeprivation. There was little reason now to enter into thosedwellings, when treachery seemed to have taken possession to the ruinof the temporary owners. The second life dropping, rendered all ourutmost efforts in vain. Two hundred and two pounds, ten shillings,were given for the house, exclusive of the hopeful or cunningattorney's charges: beside the hangings, ranges, and other matters,all bought of Mr Leech, who seemed a sucking leach indeed, as if hehad pulled for blood itself. So that with lesser rent at first,sometimes the want of tenant, several additions and frequent repairs,we have for the years we enjoyed it but gotten part of the principalmoney, losing all the interest, which otherwise we might haveenjoyed, or an annuity, for the remainder of our lives. Besides, sir!the last life might have dropped several years ago, so that most ofthat substance had been lost. You may judge what anxieties we havefelt this long time; especially since the time, I think about tenyears ago, the vintner of the devil tavern, I believe set upon me bya wretched mortal not much better than his infernal majesty, proposedto me a trifling sum for my right, at the same terrifying me with theapproaching death of the old gentlewoman! But my soul abhorring suchbaseness, and justly filled with indignation, I rejected thepragmatic fellow with scorn; who is now gone to another world, whereI wish him an happier state, than I believe he did to me. Instead ofsuch a concession, I employed an eminent person to speak to the greatr-- to know if I could not get my right renewed, and to make an offerfor the same; but my fee was in vain as his answer, which was, thatit would not be granted, and that my sole dependence was on thegentlewoman's life! Reverend sir, if I could have done it, I wouldhave willingly removed therein, which I never durst attempt before,fearing I should be swallowed up through the avarice of an oppressor,characterised as black by common report as any that I ever heard of:And if it is still my happiness to renew for my life in the grandlease, (if such a thing there be) or any other safe and lawfulindenture, with a certainty of ensuring what I am now denied; in sucha case I would re-enter therein as to my right and property; and thenmy whole delight would be to improve the premises to the very utmostof my power.
The house, with what expensive additions I made to it, lets atabout £20 a year, which at my coming to York was taken but at£18 or thereabouts. Out of which near £4 a year was paidyearly to the said alderman; 20s window money; 20s land tax when itwas 2s in the pound. The poor less 21/2d per week. Watch money 3s perannum; with other contingencies in repairs or improvements as mightbe wanted.
To draw to the death of Mrs Wilberforce, who was the widow of MrWright. She departed this life the 19th or 20th of January 1739/40.The alderman himself, as it were in a triumphant manner, proudly, incompany with B-r-d, as great a coxcomb as himself, rapped with hiscane on my shop counter, and brought the fatal message to mytrembling spouse. (Not his brother alderman T-con could be more cruelto me, who had been a servant of mine, and unfortunately mounted onan unruly horse had rode over his worship; for which he sent him tothe house of correction, than this calf-like fellow appeared on somelancholy occasion to poor sufferers. ) My dear could speak but veryfew words, which she uttered with flowing tears, and as she know howgreat a participation I was like to have in her grief, she got theRev. Mr Wilkinson to open the occasion of her sorrow in the mosttender manner; and indeed used all the arguments of a good divine tocomfort me, as my spouse did of a good wife, who that night washed mybosom with her tears. I confess I was terribly shocked, because Iknew she had always lived in a plentiful manner; and that I could notsuddenly reduce my family to a less compass, having threeapprentices, one a clergyman's son, and others, for whom I wouldrather die than desert, and was resolved to strive to my utmost forthem. But hearing afterwards that the alderman had contrary tojustice as I thought prohibited my rent from being paid, I wrote himas follows.
[Here I transcribed the letter, or the sense thereof, as insertedin page (*), all in a large sheet of demy paper. After which I addedto Mr Hitch these succeeding lines.]
To this day, reverend sir! I received no answer from thatworshipful person. Some of my tenants, to whom I was continuallyobliging, are troubled they know not who to pay their rent to withsafety. Even one of them, turned to the alderman's side, owes thesame obligation. The taxes too, as I used to pay for them all. I knownot well how they are to be managed since my seeming deprivation: Andthough I am used as totally ejected, I have offered, and willcontinue so to do, the assessments during the hopes of enjoying myright for it seems unworthy to have the proper officers usecompulsion, or be put to needless trouble.
I am astonished that any great man whatever should covet the wholeproperty of a grand lease, when he knows there is a lawfulprobability of mercy and justice to others concerned. I would noteven now act so by the worshipful R--, were it in my power, for allthe riches of the world; for what are they in comparison to the soulthat is polluted by them! I may well guess that I am undeservedlyhated, because I rejected Bulmer's scandalous offer to part withpossession and title, much I think about the time, when one of theprebendal houses was sold to the alderman by Parkinson an attorney,who parted with the possession of the remainder of the lease forlittle more than a year's rent which it was afterwards let for. Isuppose he was terrified at Mrs Wright's sickness; but if he had beenresigned as I was, and kept from selling, he would have received thesum several times over, and might have been an assistant in assertingour rights.
And cannot the immense of some great men content them, withoutgreedily seeking after the neat improved vineyard of their inferiors,when such deprivation, by pretended flaws or omissions, open thegloomy prospects of ruin and desolation? But my little vineyard, lesscontiguous to his greater; and the whole, at a small price to him,will be a fat estate, when parcelled. This I suppose the argument. Ilay these things before you, sir, to judge your own interest. And asI trust you with my all, I doubt not your keeping secret, that Ibecome not a sacrifice in person to unreasonable fury. However, Ishall never fear my enemies in a just cause, as my consciencehonestly bears me witness, however I may be mistaken in some smallmatters. Next God, I rely upon you.
Far be it from me to desire anything to your disadvantage. May youabundantly be blest with the fair inheritance which providence hasbestowed upon you! And from the most inward recess of my soul,whatever may be my success, for your gentleman- and mostChristian-like letter to me in favour of the distressed, I wish youaccumulated happiness on earth, and a blessed state of eternal gloryhereafter.
Till you consider further of what I have written, I only beg thefavour of a few words, that you have received [I remember I had sentall this in two first letters] this too long and, I fear, troublesomeletter: or if you require an answer to anything that I can give, youmay command me. If I err in any expressions, I shall endeavour torectify them. A person would not easily part with a right, which injustice, mercy and pity might be restored through proper application.And since the worshipful man has not answered mine, did not, since itwas sent, afford to speak to a lay gentleman, and one of the reverendclergy, who were pleased to visit his house on my behalf; and since Ihad reason to expect, that he would for himself renew my house, whohas been so long a time unworthily excluded; these things, reverendsir! have incited me, through God's direction I trust, to write toyou.
And as to my designs, if the church (by which I mean the clergy,and you in particular) shall think fit to favour us in considerationof our heavy loss, and long anxiety, in a lease where my life or thatof my tender spouse may be included; and at a fine agreeable to yourthoughts, and my circumstances, with a right of renewing our part ofthe state at the expiration of every life, as I suppose usual,whatever others do by theirs whom I have no concern with; I willendeavour, to the best of my power, to renew the purchase, and keeppossession. And when this is accomplished, that we are out of thedanger of oppression, as I shall then with possible security dwell onthe premises, which we never durst attempt before; I will, to theutmost of my ability, improve the whole to the best advantage, thatwhenever it reverts totally to the church, my remembrance may beblessed by you or your successors. Thus having vented the cares ofme, and my tender spouse; still more comes on, that we have put youto so much trouble in the perusal. To conclude which at present, wehumbly beseech your pardon, and subscribe ourselves
Sir, Your most devoted and humble servants,
Thomas and Alice Gent
The answer of Mr Hitch was as follows.
London, March 15th 1739/40
Your two letters of the 5th and 7th instant are come safe to hand.The length of them was no ways troublesome to me. But I am concernedthat they don't point me out any method in my power to relieve yoursufferings; for I apprehend not withstanding Mrs Wright's death thereare yet two surviving lives in the last lease from my predecessor toMr Read.
You mention a promise given that you should be kindly used in thegrand lease. I suppose that promise was made before the above renewalwith Mr Bell; and I should be glad you would recollect when that was,and who the lives then inserted.
I have sent for the counterpart of the lease, and shall have it intown next Thursday or Friday. By comparing your answer with it, I maypossibly bear light whereby I may be serviceable to your request. Inthe meantime you may rest assured, that I shall let nothing of thisaffair pass me to your prejudice. I would desire you to inform me,which are the other two houses belonging to my prebend, by whomtenanted, and how conditioned. I have desired my brother when he goesto York to call upon you, to whom you may speak as freely as youwould to,
Sir, your very well-wisher and humble servant,
If I could not point to you any method for my relief, yet you haveindicated what I never so much knew before, a R-- to full perfection,who will be completer when he has gotten the third life renewed forthat which is fallen, by which for a time he will grasp the whole,and then I must either submit to his mercy, or my hopes must ceasefor ever.
Now I find his former talk to my spouse of staying for a grandlease forsooth seems all of a bubble, as it appeared before butleger-de-main; a mere shuffle to put her off from renewing her right,whilst he sought his own vile interest to her great prejudice;jockey-like, as it were to kick us out of the saddle, and so disableus from ever rising any more! And, no doubt, in time he or hisfriends, to excuse such nefarious usage, may report, that the faultor misfortune lay in ourselves by not taking care to renew, thoughput out of our power! What gentleman besides could have done so vilean action? What scoundrel do worse? What villain could more deprivethe innocent? I have heard common people style him AldermanNicky-Nocky, as though a fellow half fool and half knave; [R. Turpinwas executed at York April 7, 1739] but how deserving, let his ownactions appear. But as he has served us in such a manner, by what youmention, of a new lease granted to him by Mr Bell your predecessor,which I protest I never knew before; I hope, reverend sir, you willkeep him from quite triumphing over us; Or, if it must be so, thatyou will however make him pay heartily for the life he is yet torenew. I may very justly here lament my hard fate, for leaving Londonand coming to York, to have designing men thus, without anyprovocation but malice and covetousness, to clash against theinterest and rights of me and mine; which I fear at length will endin our ruin: So that I can say little else, if it must be so, againstall my honest and just endeavours for my family, than God's will bedone.
As to the time when the promises were made to my spouse by thegreat R--, he was frequently in the same story when she expressed heruneasiness to him in the market; now doubt before or after suchrenewal: All but puffs as it were to lull her senses asleep, that hemight the easier come by his wicked ends; for I can at present givethem no better appellation. Dear sir, I cannot recollect, how shouldI? What I never knew, when that renewal was; much less tell the namesof those lives that you say are inserted: But I shall make enquiry ofa friend belonging to the spiritual court, whether the alderman hasdone such a thing to renew with Mr Bell without giving me notice? Andyet by what you have written I really believe he has acted such afraud; of which I am the more confirmed while I compare sosurreptitious an action with the denials that on my part werereceived from him to those strenuous applications I have mentioned.
As to the houses of your prebend, they are contiguous to ourpurchase. That, which was formerly an inn, seems much decayed; butyet was let to Mr Hudson, joiner, for about £17 a year, as muchI believe as what the attorney Parkinson aforesaid had sold it for:It was afterwards possessed by the widow Hudson, who lately died: Atthe said rent their daughter would have enjoyed it; but the poordamsel was rejected. And now I hear that more rent is given for it,being much improved by a cabinet maker, who lives therein. The otheris a small house, but some way enlarged by taking in a parlour, etc.,from the former house. It is inhabited by Mr Bower; whose wife wasever suspected by me and my wife to favour the alderman, as toforfeit their right, equal to ours, by not being willing to itsrenewing, and saying that they had their house long enough, whichmore than sufficiently brought to them what was laid out for it, sothey would be no more concerned; which was hard on our side, sincetheir assistance for themselves was necessary for us, who had enjoyedours but a small time in comparison to what they had done. I latelysent (since your letter) a gentleman to her (for the husband islittle better than an idiot, and is accounted little less, but anhonest man) and she told him, that she had drank tea with thealderman, and might have renewed with him when he did, and so might Ihave done. As to herself she knows best why she did not; or if thetea, with fair promises to keep off in order to hinder me had notcorrupted her. But as to me, she was sensible she never informed ofsuch a piece of black treachery; and I assure you, sir, that I neverheard thereof till your last letter. I mistrust them as concerned themore their unwillingness to renew, because their house seems in verygood repair, but hoping to have a better opportunity of examininginto it, I shall send you a better account, with the rent, hereafter.
I shall be heartily glad to see any person that comes from you. Ihave no words sufficient to thank you for that assurance you havegiven me in your most obliging letter, that nothing shall pass to myprejudice. And I will not doubt but providence will put in your powersomething to my favour, to extricate me from my heavy difficulties,and no way hurt your own happy fortune.
I am, good sir, with all imaginable respect,
Your humble servant, whilst
His brother Henry Hitch Esq. sending for me to Marsh's CoffeeHouse, asked me several previous questions necessary to acquaint hisbrother therewith: He treated me with wine in a very courteousmanner; and would not let me pay for any, though I willingly offeredto do it.
Another letter to Mr Hitch
I think myself obliged to write so quickly, and cannot avoid somerepetitions; though the wished for effect is founded on no greatcomfort in this place, but purely proceeds from the comfortable hopeswhich your innate goodness has administered in what you have kindlysent to me. The gentleman, whom I employed to search the registeroffice, sends me word, that as yet he can find nothing relating tothe renewal, as required in such cases: And all that I could sincelearn from this dull but seeming intricate matter, was from yourjudicious brother; who, in discourse with me at the coffee house,said, I think there was such a renewal, of which what you had inpossession he supposed was the counterpart; That one of the persons,whose life was inserted in Mr Bell's lease, was Mr Read, near Malton,the alderman's relation; but the other he did not know. Neither sincethen could I find it, though his worship's hopeful servant, worthy ofso rare a master, came in pretence to buy something at my house, butI believe purely to pump out our hones designs: To further which myspouse dryly asked him several questions: As, Why his master shouldso unworthily stop my rent, contrary to act of parliament, since hehad not better grounded authority? Or how could he be so barbarous totake our right from us when he knew we were sufferers; and as suchmight expect a re-possession according to his many promises ofkindness? Besides, that the better title was in a gentleman in London(meaning you, dear sir) from whom we might expect to renew our ownhouse, for we were not given to seek after our neighbour's goods?With several other pretty expressions belonging to the sex, who aresometimes very necessary in giving a lift upon such dead occasions.To this the fellow, (who sometimes acted a clerk's part, as well as askips, though he could scarcely spell a true word) had the seeminggoodness to own, it was very true, all this was very hard upon us.That his worship would be in town the next week, (when he was notthen out, for one of my servants had seen him but a few minutesbefore) and would be at home the next;* when he would have us meet toreconcile matters, at my tenant's house; who was once the fellow'sbrother skip-kennel, and who had so ungratefully insulted me, as wellas denied my rent; though I had helped him to great custom, not onlyfrom my own family, but recommended his liquor to several otherpersons. [*The great R-- gets £70 of the widow Ware opposite toMr Martin's. for rent for seven years after her husband's death whoserved him with [ ]: so it strange if [ ] never accountednot Haynes.]
Now, dear sir, let me observe to you a few things. First, that asI know myself to be very unjustly used, and roughly handled; I shouldvalue his concession to meet me at that place no more than if anarmed thief should send me a summons weaponless to meet him on alonely highway. I have not so read the fable of Æsop as toforget the lion inviting the goat from its safe though loftymountain, or the brazen and earthen pots sailing down the river, whenthe latter rejected all near communication, wisely fearing it mightbe dashed to pieces. [*In April 1743 Mr Sel[ ] and his spousedied almost the same minute. Buried at Langton in one grave, but diedat Sutton upon Derwent. [ ] Alderman R- would not [ ]outwith, to their great prejudice. Mrs N-ckson]
2º As to the value of my rent, or goods, so unjustly withheldfrom me, I shall endeavour for the while to be the less affected attheir loss; since divine providence which has allowed them to beseized by others, may restore them to me again; especially sincejustice, as I imagine, is on my side, whatever, malice, prejudice, orpower, may stand unfortunately against me. [*A young man [ ] inprison by him was soon after murdered by one of the prisoners. MrSetter abovesaid dying in one room sent word to his dying wife inanother, that he desired [ ]]
And hence I infer, that supposing a right of renewal, whichdestroys every lesser claim, may without reprehension for bad usagedestroy wherever it comes like devouring senseless waves of theocean; surely no great person however can be counted good, who takesall the sly advantages he can over the weaker part of human nature byhis preventatively cutting of their titles, and thereby often in oldage bringing them to ruin and misery; which is more to be lamented,when such heavy oppressions happen upon persons who have lived wellin the world, and whose study, actions and fortune have been appliedto common benefit in the improvement of arts, sciences or anycommendable occupations: as well as beneficence to human nature inthe works of hospitality, mercy and charity.
Whether I shall be allowed in relation to what I think myequitable right, and am determined to stand by, at least in myjudgement, whilst I have life; it is you, dear sir! that must knowbest. I rely upon you only. I shall concern myself with none others,no, not so much as to come into their company, without great caution,and your consent. If I am re-possessed in what I but lately had, theintent of all this trouble I have given you, I doubt not but it willprove to your satisfaction. I am sure many in York who know me and mydear spouse, will constantly pray for you: And I think a method maybe found, if such a renewal cannot be granted by you to me inparticular; at least you may oblige another not to impose upon us inso miserable a manner. We beseech you will advise us for the best,and comfort us, if it be only with a single line: And when I know thetime of renewal, if it comes within my compass, I shall apply to somefaithful friends, who have promised to assist me.
When I intimated some strange things to your good brother, thatwere reluctant to be heard of, on account of intended imposition tobeguile the prebendaries, he was pleased to tell me in effect, thatyou would not be overhasty in signing. I was glad to hear him say so;which agreed with your words of preventing what you could that mightturn to my prejudice. I desire such goodness no longer than I deserveit from you, either in justice or mercy. We are,
Reverend Sir, Your devoted humble servants, whilst
Thomas and Sarah [sic] Gent
After this, to strengthen what I had sent, I wrote the following.
There is an order, I am informed, that an entry should be made inthe register office upon the renewal of any lives: so that as thiscannot, or is not as yet found out by the gentleman that promised tomake a search for it, you need not wonder why we cannot come to thediscovery of those two lives granted by your predecessor. A furtherscrutiny shall yet be made: But have you read carefully thecounterpart of your lease, which you said was in Berkshire, andordered to be sent to London? Surely, I may imagine, that will informyou; since generally what is mentioned in the one is recorded in theother. Hoping you will find it so, in that clandestine piece betweenMr Bell and the alderman, I shall make but a few remarks, and thenleave my fortune entirely at your disposal.
Really, sir, I never thought such a renewal could or would begranted to any, except the present possessors: In some courts, suchare summoned in time, whereby they have notice to prevent impendingdangers. Quite different was our case, who felt the corroding painsof a lingering wound in our fortune, applied for a cure, but werewithheld from a remedy. We ought, I think not only to have beenfavoured in any under lease; but instead of being tricked, thoughtworthy of a place in a grand one, as the latter and betterpurchasers. I never imagined if a renewal had been allowed, it couldhave been for a longer time than the expiration of the grand lease,which would have ended in a few years, had not the lives I firstmentioned have dropt so soon as they did. After the first and secondwere past, every time the alderman used to be spoken to by my spousein the market, that toyman (as Mr Drake calls him in his History)used to tell her, that nothing could be firmly done without too greatexpenses till the death of Mrs Wright, for then would commence thegrand lease, a new one, to supersede the old: But then he took careto conceal what he had acted with your predecessor to trick us of allright whatever, except what he might have in the power of granting,which no doubt would be dearly purchased by those unhappy people thatmight be drawn into a snare through uncertain possessions. I sent toMrs Bowes to know if she was sensible that such a renewal was made,and when? Truly, the answer was, neither she nor her husband couldtell for certain: But if it was, it was not right, since they had aright to be concerned: But as for that matter, added they, they weregrowing old, had gotten enough, and did not care; yet pitied us,forsooth, because we were great losers. But we made theseprevaricating people sensible, that had they been so good to haveinformed us in time of what they knew, or we had been sensible anyother way, we should have done our endeavour to have discouraged hismeasures with Mr Bell, and not have suffered our part to have been asit were swallowed up by him, as though we had been to deal with thedragon of Wantley. Here, I think, the fraud appears: the alderman hassurreptitiously purchased the right which I had to renew; and foraught I know at a poor price of the needy prebendary, who no doubtthought his own interest preferable to that of the church; and thathe might not live till Mrs Wright's death, which if he had would havebeen considerably to his advantage. But the alderman, having adifferent prospect, has lived to see it; but I hope not to suchadvantage as he might propose to himself for what he has done inrelation to me and mine. I hear the house and land belonging to thewhole prebend is about £300 a year; so that renewing this timethe third life ought not to be a trifle, however, it may berepresented to you. I was informed that my house will be continued tobe let, but that the other, which all is eager to desire, will berebuilt, no doubt to special advantage, which he can afford, as hegot it so cheap from Mr Parkinson. And now how to point to you, kindsir, a method for my relief: I really know not, without the influenceyou have may oblige him to do me justice. I trust myself into yourhands, not his: The sly attempt made by Bulmer to get me separatedfrom my right long before by an unknown authority; his depriving meby prohibiting my tenants from paying their rent contrary to an actof parliament; his strange contempt in not answering my harmlessletter for which he had given me too just an occasion to write; norordering a restoration of my goods, that I had plainly made sensiblewere mine, and not his, having been purchased exclusive of thepremises: All these melancholy oppositions seem to me of the blackestdie; and make me fly towards you both for refuge and relief. Surely,though some men may assume an unbounded authority over their fellowcreatures, there are others far more excellent above such tyrants forvirtue and probity: Superiors who can view the frauds committed underthe umbrage of justice, and bring the most worshipful sinners torepent of their miser-like actions: And not only assert the power ofdivine providence, which stimulates the good, by anticipating all thewicked designs of the mighty unjust against their weaker but morevirtuous brethren; but also snatch those hurtful wretches from theirill-got power, and by that means point out to them a way ofrighteousness they scarcely knew before, and keep them from the bondsof covetousness, hypocrisy and uncharitableness, I would be satisfiedwith barely my own; but to be tricked, or undone by such vermin, fewcan bear the like without just indignation.
I am sorry to dwell so long upon such an unpleasant subject,sufficient to engender horror and destruction. I could be willing tobear any affliction from my maker through sickness, need, or anyother adversity appointed by his more immediate providence. There ismercy with his justice, and comforts unspeakable: Never should Idesire to fly from his correcting hand; but from the woeful effectsthat may proceed from a most griping, miserly, wicked alderman, Godof his infinite mercy deliver every good Christian. Amen, amen, amen.
We are, reverend sir, your humble servants,
Thomas and Alice Gent
P. S. Your counterpart will also tell you the time of renewal.
[*Verba innocenti reperire facile est modum verborum misero teneredifficile i. e. It is an easy matter for the innocent to find words;but it is hard for a person in distress to be moderate therein.]
To which I received the following comfortable epistle.
London, April 22 1740
Your letter of the 7th instant came safe to hand: But having beensome time in the country, I could not answer it so soon as you mighthope, and as I would have done, had I got it directly.
The counterpart of the lease in my possession expresses, as mybrother informed you, a relation of the alderman's, one Mr Read, tobe a life in the lease; as also Robert Leadley of Bessal, the othersurviving one. Why this lease has not been properly recorded, Icannot pretend to say; but your sufferings will oblige me, at aproper time, to make enquiry into it. For you must be sensible, fromwhat you have already received from me, that any kind of oppressionis contrary to my way of thinking and acting; and your accounts makeme believe you have been injured: therefore, be assured I will notadd to your hardships, but endeavour all in my power to restore youto whatever is your right, and to preserve you in it. What I havesaid is not proper at present to be repeated by you. I acquaint youwith my intentions for your own satisfaction only. I am at too greata distance to scutinize into the matter; but when I come intoYorkshire, I hope it will be in my power to relieve you. In the meantime it will be your advantage to send me whatever light you can getinto the affair, the receipt of which I shall not look upon either astrouble or expense.
I am, sir, your very humble servant,
Upon receiving this kind letter, though I had very little more totell him, than what I had done; yet gratitude obliged me to write thefollowing words.
May 1, 1740
I return you my sincerest thanks for your letter of greatconsolation. Since which I have sought out what I could: But thoughby previous discourse with enemies, or no true friends at least, Ihave done what I thought probable to obtain further light; yet stillI am in the dark except what twilight my imaginations afford me. And,really, sir, though some think here what has been done is in thenature of a Go and Lease; yet, to common judgement, and by mywritings of the estate, the three depending lives are dropt: Or hadthey been surviving, the virtue of which would have ceased to be ofany effect in a few years. Or else, how comes it mentioned in what Itold you of Tobias Conyer, that that lease was only granted forsixty-four years to come. This antecedently implied a limitation thatthe prebendary could not grant further, or his successors either,till that time was expired. And what could found these limits but aprior lease or grand entry? So the argument is in my opinion thus:the estate might have been kept by possession while any of the liveslasted that were mentioned in the lease; b[efore] all were droptanother grand lease might commence the sooner. I fear I shouldmistake, as I could from another supposition, so shall leave furtherenquiry to you when you arrive hither. But I cannot from such a sceneof darkness, help supposing, that some who would lull theirneighbours asleep, whilst they invaded their right, would make noscruple of conscience to attack their betters, if they could do it ontheir weaker side. Now though Mr Bell had granted two lives to theaddition of the old, I can think it no other than for the remainderof the grand expiration, that so a title might be ensured to beginagain. For otherwise, those under-leases might supersede the grandfoundation, and damage succession. And if so, why then, as the twolives were in, only by applying for a third, the three lives might ata small price become grand indeed! Now that he has not yet got hisends, I think his power as little as mine; though looked upon asquite dispossessed, the officers not coming to me as usual for theassessments. I pray God defend you from the force of any treacherousapplication made by my enemy; that you may not be abused as I havebeen, because of those two new added lives. perhaps you may outlivethem, one of whom I hear is a great runner of horses; and you are not(thank God) in necessity to clap up too hasty an agreement, tillthings turn better to your advantage; and I shall endeavour tocontent myself in the mean time under my heavy affliction.
A grave gentleman, none of my friend I thought, told me, I hadbetter be without the house, than to renew to discompose my serenethoughts. In return I besought him to throw his money out of hispockets, lest he should wear away his breeches. Such folly andpartiality require a return for what they afford; though I am themost unfit to act with the least contempt, or ill nature. My enemy ispowerful, his friends many, whilst I have little comfort but in you.I hope to find favour with another gentleman in holy orders of thechurch, to whom I have the honour of being an uncle. It is theReverend Mr John Standish, who I trust will answer me with equalcomfort as you have done, and assist me to the utmost of his power.Assure yourself that whatever I can find out I shall let you know. Inthis affair I neither care nor dread the collusions and threateningsof my adversaries. Though they triumph over me on the one hand, andseem to dig the pit wherein I may be swallowed up quick on the other;like one, whom a clergyman told me, had really felt the cruel powerof such tyranny, suddenly surprised him into a gaol, wherein he wassoon after slain by a quarrelsome prisoner, as likewise others towhom money was lent, and their effects quickly seized upon. Yetneither hopes nor tears shall bias me from you; I think I may say,nor even the terrors of death itself. I beg your pardon I did notwrite sooner. And though I give you no farther light than what youhad before, yet let it satisfy you that I am the same in yourinterest as I was, and with all sincerity shall prove so while I amin being.
I am, sir, Your most humble servant,
Thus ended my epistolary correspondence with the Reverend MrHitch, who I heard was one of the chaplains to His Royal HighnessFrederick Prince of Wales. I knew he was such to General Churchill'sRegiment and Prebendary of North Newbold, belonging to St Peter'scathedral in York; to which city he came about July following, andpreached an excellent sermon in the minster against the rich who byvile methods oppressed the innocent. He visited me and my spouse twoor three times before he required to see my writings; and when hesent for me to Micklegate, where he lodged, he returned them, saying,You have been badly abused. For the alderman, instead of giving youtimely notice, has in short renewed for himself. You are reallytricked, nor I can well tell how to manage him, for with those twolives I am also kept at defiance. However, I shall still keep fromsigning, but am heartily sorry as yet that I cannot be serviceable toyou, by easing your sufferings, which I think are very hard. I thankyou sir, said I, for your goodwill however. The loss, if it did notaffect my family would not half so much trouble me. I am littlebetter than a stranger here, though at the expense of being made acitizen, but I think I deserve this treatment for leaving London tocome under such vile oppression, without the least pity or mercy tomy condition. So I left him with a sorrowful heart, but his goodnesswas such that he would still come to my house with pleasant freedom.The rector of Bossel dying, he obtained that living, where our friendMr Wilkinson became his curate. In October I presented him with mytwo volumes, intituled Historia Compendiosa Anglicana.* [*Concerningwhich Dr Mawer a learned divine thus wrote to me from Middleton onTyne November 8th 1745: "Good Sir, I received your two volumes withPigot the [ ] must congratulate you on finishing your labours.They will be very useful, and I heartily wish you may find allencouragement answerable to the great pain they must have cost youand the merit of your undertaking. I only received them yesterday andhave had little time yet to look over such a variety of materialwhich I dare say will be so informing to most readers. You willreceive by the bearer 6 s which I suppose is the price of the bookand very reasonable. I shall be ever ready to subscribe and encourage[ ] labour of yours of the same useful and entertaining nature,and am, sir, Your faithful friend and humble servant, John Mawer.]But he would oblige me to accept of half a guinea, and was pleasedwith what I had mentioned in the preface relating to the loss of myestate, which had disabled me from ever doing any more workconcerning antiquity. I believe indeed he much resented thealderman's wretched usage, for I heard he refused a considerableoffer, between two or three hundred pounds, no doubt expecting tohave served him in his kind, but with perfect justice, according tothe rightful advantage that might befall him: And I have reason tobelieve that he had not forgot me, by the words wrote by Henry HitchEsq. to the Reverend Mr Wilkinson (who gave me the letter), which Ishall exactly transcribe in its proper place and period of time.
1741. Having printed the news for several years, for want ofencouragement, I was obliged to give it up about this time: I hadstudied and endeavoured, to my utmost ability, to make it bear, butthe strength of the Craftsman, with my misfortunes, had now quiteovercome me. I peaceably dropt into oblivion, without any ludicrousanimadversions of my contemporary brethren. I lost, by death, one ofthe best of lodgers, in room of whom I got one of the worst; but,what grieved me not a little, was the death of that fine tallpersonage, my patron, the Rev. Mr Hitch: he had, I believe,overheated himself at the strife about obtaining votes for members ofParliament, that threw him into a mortal fever, which, on the 26th ofDecember, conveyed his precious soul, I hope, into the blessedregions of a glorious immortality.* Now all my hopes were arrived attheir final period; what my late patron might have gained, had herenewed, was entirely lost to his friends. But he was of a honourabledisposition, and scorned that the church or his successors shouldsuffer through any base compliance: he well knew how I was served,and what the alderman intended, as well as his right interest, not tobe imposed upon. I am told, had he lived longer, such was the favourhe found at court, that he was in a fair way of getting a bishopricin Ireland, but God thought fit to take him to himself; on whom Imade the following lines:
Lamented shade! thy kindness done to me,-
But, what was dearer, pity shewn to mine,-
Though now amongst the shining saints you be,
Thy fate we'll mourn, and venerate your shrine!
Till heaven, like you, who stops our streaming tears,
Shall, through death's summons, free our souls from cares.
Mr Laurence Sterne, nephew to a doctor of divinity of thatsurname, having obtained his prebend, how he agreed with the aldermanI cannot tell; but I found it was in vain for me to make applicationto him, since Mr Hitch could not relieve me; however, it was somecomfort to see how Henry Hitch, Esq. wrote of me from London to theRev. Mr Wilkinson, in the following year: [April 10, 1742]
"By your directions," said he, "given me to you, I find you arewith Mr Gent, the printer: that honest man had hard treatment fromAlderman Read. If my dead relation had had longer days, he would haverelieved him; I wish you would recommend him to Mr Sterne."
But as I perceived I was for ever ejected, my friends thought itvain to make fresh application. God forgive the alderman! with thesame breath I pray, sincerely, that none of my concerns may have anyentanglement with such a great r- like him, that so I may be freedfrom utter destruction.
But to the increase of my misfortunes, the then steward, as hecalled himself, Jeremiah Rudsdell, a presbyterian baker (whosebrother a dissenting parson at Gainsborough suffered in his purse fordealing with another man's wife) began to assert a right to receivethe rents of the house I lived in in Coffee yard, though, on the 15thof June, the year before, he disclaimed all right, for the future, ofbeing concerned, before Mr Thomas Oliver, and told me to pay it toMrs. Atkinson, (widow of John Atkinson, vulgarly called Sir JohnCheese,) for she only was empowered to receive it, not only as partof her own share, but to take the share of her daughter and Mr Gouge,to whom she was to be accountable. After this, he troubled himself nofurther about repairs, which were left entirely to the said Mrs. JaneAtkinson, who lodged in my house about a year, or a year within twoor three days, and owed me for board, and attendance given her by myservants as a gentlewoman; but she, and her sister, andbrother-in-law, Gouge, falling out, Rudsdell gets, I suppose, a newpower, and (when I least expected any such matter,) seizes part of mygoods in the shop and kitchen, and claps bailiffs into my house,through the direction of Yawood, an attorney. My house in Petergatebeing then empty, I was repairing it for another tenant, in the roomof the ingenious Mr Hindley, who had given me warning, and wasremoved into Stonegate. Meanwhile Mrs. Atkinson repleving the goods.But a little after my spouse, fearing a fresh seizure, through whatshe had heard, consented I should repair our own, so as to be fit fora printing office, and leave our former abode for ever. Through itswretched owners, that unhappy estate was purchased in Stonegate,which the alderman before mentioned had gotten possession from us. Itwas fresh oppression that, in 1729, had so provoked us, that we werevery near taking a lease of Mr Sheriff Lambert's house, in Petergate;and now this last insult which had flown about, that I was nearbroke, besides other dangers, were sufficient reason to give ourlandlady warning to seek a new tenant, if she pleased: Mr Blanchard,of the Spiritual Court, was present when I spoke, and more fullyrepeated after I had ceased, and then I presented her a paper, inwhich was written-
May 1, 1742.
To Mrs Jane Atkinson
This is to give you notice, and your daughter, likewise yourbrother and sister Gouge, and Mrs. Remmington, or any who are, or maybe concerned, as landlord or landladies of the house in Coffee Yardand stable adjacent, that I shall leave entirely your or their houseand stable, and be no more a tenant to any of your or their agents,in anywise, after Martinmas next: and as I have with you (althoughwith some reluctancy,) been, as it were, obliged to sign a bond forreplevin of my seized goods, I shall, God willing, clear them of alldemands, where appears a right upon balance, when the law of thekingdom shall settle matters according to justice and equity. Youhave been set over me as a landlady, and yet is my lodger andboarder, notwithstanding, indebted to me, which, you know, must beallowed.
I am, madam,
Your humble servant,
She said she accepted my warning, and I might go when I pleased: Itold her I blamed not her so much as I did others, and gave her softexpressions to please her. But I heard, when we were departed, shefell into tears, and so alternately into other strange passions.
After this, I was at great expense and labour ill moving my goods;and, I remember, my new building was but just covered with the leadsand surrounded by a wall, when it was told me, that the house I wasleaving was advertised to be let, in the public newspaper, which Ipurchased of Thomas Wilson, baker, in Stonegate. It was in the "YorkCourant," Number 868, printed for Cæsar Ward, bookseller, datedTuesday, June 1, 1742, viz.
TO BE LET
The house where Mr Thomas Gent, printer, now lives, in CoffeeYard, York, to be entered on at Martinmas next: inquire of Mr BernardAwmonds, grocer, in Castle Gate, York.
N.B. It hath been a printing office above an hundred years.
About the latter end of August I received a letter from my nieceMary Clarke, whose brother had been my apprentice, and was at London.Out of affection she accused me of forgetting my friends in Ireland,and begged I would direct a letter to her in Bridge Street, at MrOwen's house, the sign of the Morning Star. That her mother wasafraid that I was no more, but was rejoiced when her brother wrote toher that I was in being. That she writ to me not with any view ifinterest, but through the force of consanguinity. That she gave herduty to her aunt my spouse, and that if it was in her power to serveher, it should not be wanting. That my nephew the Rev. Mr JohnStandish often enquired about us, and was surprised that I thought nomore of my friends. That he (resolving never to marry himself) hadsettled his brethren well in the world, and had given to his youngestsister Ally between five and six hundred pounds on her marriage witha rich grazier, who was worth two thousand, on the 8th of October1741, who was exceedingly fond of his lovely bride, and sadly grievedwhen she was delivered before her time of a dead child. She likewiseinformed me, that Henry Standish [an engraver], another of mynephews, brother to the clergyman aforesaid, had been the father ofsix children, three of whom were living; and that Deacon Standish (ajeweller), a third, continued a bachelor. But that their sister, myniece, Rebekah, who was married to the Rev. Mr Payne, died on the 2ndof April in the year 1741 last mentioned. And concluded with tellingme, that Dean Swift was become disordered in his senses, insomuchthat the chancellor had taken an inventory of his effects, and was sofar gone, that he had used Mr Brent's daughter very ill, a youngwoman whom I well remembered that waited upon him, whose father wasmy old friend the printer that persuaded my dear parents to put me tothe business, and whom I mentioned in the first of the book, and hadvisited him in his blind condition, when he lived upon the charity ofthe gentry, till happily removed by death, with the character of agood master in his time, as of a most ingenious workman.
To this letter I could do no other than kindly thank her, andwould have invited her over were my circumstances suitable to hereasy reception. In my letter I gave her a full account of all my manymisfortunes, and having at that time near-printed my History of StWinefred by subscription, I dedicated it to my nephew the clergyman,and printed the dedication, which I sent by post to him. I told him Ihad been unused to borrow money, but that my heavy misfortune, withmy removal and buildings, had most necessarily obliged me to it. ThatI would rather pay interest to him, than privately be obliged to anyother, and that I would take all imaginable care that the principalshould be safely restored. I remembered him, that when he was achild, I had lent the like sum to his father who, though a gentlemanof estate, then stood in need to borrow it. But I need not tell himof the vicissitudes of life, of which he well knew how to preach, butrather would move him to think of an uncle brought low at present notthrough any fault of his own, but the vile treachery of others, whomI hoped at length to overcome, not withstanding the difficulties thatI sustained, and was obliged to wade through before I could think meor mine in safety.
To this I had the following answer.
I had a letter last week from cousin Molly Clarke with oneenclosed from you, which was very acceptable, but the pleasure thatgave me is greatly allayed by my inability of complying with therequest you make in the latter part of your letter. I assure you I am£600 in debt myself, for which I pay an interest of 6%, andbeing so circumstantiated, you may believe it is not in my power togive you that assistance I should so gladly afford you were I clearin the world. This great debt however I have not contracted tosupport any extravagance or idle expenses of my own, but have done itfor the provision and comfortable settlement of one who had a verygood right to such assistance and deserved it very well from me.
I am much obliged to you for your kind intention in my favour, andwish I had it in my power to make a suitable return. But in yourdedication, your encomiums are far beyond my deservings. However, asI am satisfied they were intended as marks of your favour and regard,I am full of acknowledgements. I have been for some years pastsettled at Maralin, near Dromore. It is in the north of Ireland, andsixty miles from Dublin. So that I could not in any reasonable timebe able to write Molly Clarke's thoughts to you, but (which may do aswell) I shall send this letter to her, and desire she may add whatshe has to say to it. She is a very good girl, and worthy of yourfavour. My brothers and sisters I hear are well, and are not wantingin proper regards for you. Pray make my compliments to my aunt, andbelieve me to be, dear uncle,
Your most affectionate humble servant,
Moralin, Feb 5 1742/3
Till now I thought I could have confidence in a rich relation, butthis letter made me sensible of the weak dependence we have of anypersons living. Yet I would not blame him, whom I intended to haveleft something at my death, if worthy acceptance, because he gave mea reason of his inability by his own involvements. So I cast my eyeson my niece's epistle, which was in the same sheet with his.
My dearest Uncle!
The sixth of January I got a letter from you for my cousin Johnny,which I forwarded to him as you ordered. But no answer came till the9th day of February. I had despaired of having a letter from you, butwas greatly overjoyed at the receipt of one the 11th day of February.And when I read it was surprised to find it was sent before his,which came a good many days before mine. I had the Post Officeenquired into, but all declared they brought it as soon as it came toIreland. And indeed, I believe, they were both opened before I gotthem. I need not say anything about your demand on Johnny, since helets you now sincerely the train of his circumstances. I do assure mydear uncle, that nothing ever gave me half the trouble, since thedeath of my dear grandfather and grandmother, than reading yourletter; which I could not do without shedding a good deal of tears,to hear of all the troubles and grievances you have gone through,enough to break any stubborn heart, much more one that was always ofa tender nature. But the great God will never forsake the righteous,or them that put their trust in him. which I am sensible you do. Hehas brought you through a great deal of troubles before now; and Imake no doubt but in his good time he will make your enemies fly, ashe has done before now. And perhaps that great r-- Mr Nicknock may behumbled when he little thinks of it. Dear sir, when I came to Atty'sbehaviour, you can't be a judge of the sting it gave my heart, whichI can't let out of my mind, nor I believe ever shall. Forungratefulness is a sin before God and man. But dear uncle! impute itto his youth and folly.
Pray give my duty to my aunt, and tell her it gives me infinitepleasure to hear she escaped that misfortune which had like to havebeen her end. I pray God keep you both from sudden death. I am sorryto hear she was disfigured, but if it has hurt the beauty of herbody, I hope it cannot that of her mind. Johnny has let you know hisplace of settlement. The rest I'll inform you. Harry married while hewas very young. His spouse is a very good sort of woman, but olderthan him. They kept a shop till my uncle Standish died, but it didnot do very well with them. So Johnny bound him for one year to MrStanley a seal cutter, and gave £50 with him, and kept his wifeand two children. After that he gave him a little more to buy toolsto work with, and now he maintains his family very well. He has twochildren alive, four dead, and another a-coming. Then Johnny remitted£60 to Deacon to bring him to settle here, and he does verywell. He lives with Harry on the Strand beyond the shop buildings.George my brother is 'prentice with Harry, and has but a year toserve. My dear mother gives her love to you and my aunt. Dear uncle,if you had seen her tears with joy and sorrow, first to hear of yourhealth, and then of your heavy troubles, you would have equal concernto behold her, who is but in indifferent health at present. Youcannot think with what joy I should have answered, had but cousinJohnny complied with your desire. But I hope my love will be stillthe same, who am, dear uncle,
Your ever affectionate and dutiful niece,
Whilst my niece thus kindly expressed herself, her brother Arthurseemed to forget his former repentance, when he owned me and myspouse to have been as his chief parents in taking care of him in hisinfancy, when our indulgence was greater than his perverseness[according to his letter December 6th 1736 from Dublin]; and thankedthe Almighty who had made us his guardians. But I believe his disgustwas, because I would not give encouragement to a work he was about[July 4th] anno 1741, of a moral nature, concerning the passions ofthe mind, whilst he was at London, because I imagined his venture ofdoing such pieces, in two volumes, if they did not answer tosatisfaction, might involve him in debt and danger. It was this, Ibelieve, so offended him, as not to write to me for a long time. Andthinking he might, as I had done, have saved some money, which I hadoccasion to borrow, I wrote the following letter to him.
Mr Arthur Clarke,
By your very long silence, I know not whether I might style you mynephew, or you think me worthy the name of an uncle. Your manyconscious letters formerly extorted my last to you, which perhaps,though displeasing, was salutary and beneficial, in discouraging fromrunning hazards in publishing a book of morality, that in my opinion,through the little or no encouragements your proposals met with,which I ordered my servants carefully to disperse, you might havebeen a much greater loser, or at least no great gainer to answer yourexpense and time spent in the publication thereof. It is enough whennecessity forces invention to be on the rack for common defence inlife, without plunging ourselves in ambiguity. In a single state, itwas ever my conduct to search out for the surest grounds; suchexploration being absolutely necessary. And my excursions inpractical adventures were very small; within that opulent city ofLondon, where so many celebrated printers, I well knew, would darklyeclipse anything that I could ever pretend to do. And as an itineranttypographer, who said he served his time with Mr George Falkener, theother day told me, he knew of Mr Addison at Mr Woodfall's, and thatyou was heartily working at Mr Bower's on a dictionary to your greatadvantage; and that your aunt here was kind to the poor man, beyondothers in this town, who did not vouchsafe to show Christiancompassion, in making him eat or drink: you cannot imagine how much Iwas pleased to hear that you was living, and happy in a good master,whose sufficient wages I believe reward your activity and industry.Let not my example, which necessity, not choice, has led me on to astrange invention, misconduct you in your present certain state;whatever it may oblige you to when you come to provide for a family.I should be glad to hear, that what good you have seen in me youwould imitate at proper seasons; and that what you or others mightdeem the contrary, you would endeavour to correct in the passions ofyour mind, and conduct in behaviour. Prosperity, however glorious itseems, proves often deceitful, without divine assistance. And if youonly think of adversity, of cares that have, I know not how todescribe, attended my condition; perhaps, if no gratitude should nowlodge in your breast for my bringing you up, and excusing everythingyou deserved of me, it may at least, without tie of consanguinity incommon in his mind, make you still own what you have not denied andexcuse the most you ever could conceive of an uncle who desiredchiefly your happiness. But I think it very strange that my sisteryour mother, who in one of her letters has ingenuously owned myformer kindnesses to her, in what I shall not mention, when I had itin my power, should now seem to slight me as I think she does invarious respects I could mention. But I shall ware giving you or herany trouble about what perhaps has not been thought a duty ofgratitude; and wish you both that happiness we may not have beenimagined worthy of. Possibly you may have heard of what was publishedin Mr Ward's Courant, by one of the landladies I suppose, that thehouse I live in, which she says has been a printing office above anhundred years, is to be let and entered at Martinmas. It was nowonder I gave warning, when the goods of others, and mine also, wereseized the other day, through the falling out of the two sisters;when I denied paying rent without balance for board or safety; yetjoined in a bond for £20 for replevin. Their inability to me(who I think has been a special tenant, and my past misfortunethrough my predecessor's weakness, which has occasioned an aldermanto prevent my right of renewal) has forced me I believe to my lastshift, to my house in Petergate, which happened to be empty, throughMr Hindley's removal into Stonegate. But as the highest room forwardwas with some alteration not only convenient for two presses, butfour frames beside, I have built backward to a pretty case room, withan handsome intermediate passage, which contain four other frames, mylarge octagonal imposing stone that you used at Scarborough, with arack for cases. [The work began Monday, April 12th 1742. About themiddle of October I new laid the cellar which, by Richard Newthrop'snote came to £16.] I ordered a pair of stairs to ascend to anuseless loft, which now being illuminated becomes an handsome placeboth for composing letters and study. From this is a passage to theleads over the new composing room, on which platform I have placed mytrough for the washing of forms, and cistern of water, to wrench andwet paper, which, when thrown out, run into the yard by a convenientspout, and so into the street towards the common shore, which leadsto the river. This building saves me so much room below, as to sparea lodging or two to bring in the expense, besides a good shop andkitchen; the former graced with a fair sash window, and the latternew laid with bricks. All these have so exhausted me, that I must beobliged to borrow about £60, because I cannot suddenly get in mydebts, and if you have saved so much I would rather do it of you, andgive you interest, than be obliged to apply to a stranger. I'll giveyou any security you can desire. I can have it on my bond withoutmortgage, as the cheapest way; so leave it to your consideration. AsI have attended the workmen, to assist them in my contrivances, thelime and dust have much impaired my sight, and so much disordered wasI in the fatigue, particularly in the removal, that I was very nearbeing thrown into a fever. But I trust in God I shall recover againthrough his mercy. I had a letter from our uncle at Newcastle, whohas lately buried his spouse.
[The letter run thus in his own words, viz
Newcastle June 21 1742
Mr Beckwith told me he was at your house and that your spouse andyou were enquiring after my health, for which I am mightily obligedto you. The loss of my good wife has turned my affairs upside down,and my health has been very indifferent. I can't say that I amunwell, as I can write, but am heartily thankful for the health Ihave. As the printer [?] Richard Gregory was recommended to me fromScotland for a good pressman, and having no work to employ him, hetold me he was for York; so thought proper to send this by him toenquire after your health. I received the cuts from John Gilfillan,and will take care to return them to your hand very soon. If you cangive him work I believe he is a good pressman. I shall be glad tohear of both your healths; and I shall drink your spouse's health the23rd instant as usual and wish her many happy days. I heartily wishyou both health and happiness, and am
Your ever-loving uncle,
I was afraid to answer him with my own handwriting for aparticular reason that I could tell you. Besides, as he somaliciously set up against me soon after our marriage, fell theprices of goods to ruin our business, with other mischief through thefalseness of Scots his strong agents against us, by whom we receivedsuch damage as much discomforted us in our proceedings; I shall notrely on his pretended kindness, which I have had sufficient reason tojudge may be treacherous and designing. However his compliments donot want the like return from those friends who answer him in ourbehalf. But by what I
About August, anno 1743, my hopeful nephew Clarke, falling outwith the overseer of Mr Richardson's printing house, left his place,and came to York, uninvited by me or my spouse. He paid his respectsto the family of Jackson, before he thought proper to visit me, hismuch insulted uncle: But, when he did, as I was upon the leads of myhouse, he kneeled down; which I could not suffer a moment, but raisedhim up with tenderness; slightly reprimanding him for his offensiveletter, which I as quickly forgave upon his submission, which I noways required. I had it not in my power then to do for him, as Imight have done, had not those sad misfortunes befallen me, as I havementioned; but as he was employed in another place, I bid him make myhouse his home while he stayed. he had an invitation to Ireland, andin a few weeks took his leave of me, who could not help falling intotears, to see how poorly he was clad, and yet complained when he hadsuch good apparel from us; in such want, notwithstanding his being asmart workman, that my dear spouse gave him what money she couldspare; and what grieved me more, that I could not accompany him amile or two, because I was threatened with an arrest upon the cruellandlady's affairs before-mentioned, and dare not safely leave myhabitation. At his desire, I gave him Mr Hunt's manuscripts in folio,concerning the geography and history of the world, and so hedeparted, with my hearty reconciliation, which I think was all hecould require of me. It was some months after that I had a letterfrom him by the Reverend Mr Payne, who had buried his spouse mytender niece Rebekah Standish, who passed by my door towardsScarborough in a chariot drawn by four horses, with a rich gentlemanof the county of Kildare, whom he accompanied as a companion to thespa. My nephew told me he was got into card business with Mr GeorgeFalkener in Dublin, where I wish him happiness, greater perhaps thanwhat he wishes me.
[3 lines]room of the house with attendance suitable to agentlewoman such time as Rusdell had (without everacquainting them with any you mention) employed a set ofbumb-bailiffs to seize their goods, which was done as soon asdemanded. If you fell out amongst yourselves, forsooth about sharingthe profits of an estate; what occasion was there, for such vile,scandalous and rascally usage to Mr Gent, whom you own has paid therent honestly for several years, (I am certain more than the rottenhouse was worth) and wanted not to defraud any person upon earth? Wasnot this enough to destroy his credit, by the ill fame of yourproceedings reaching London, and other places, which it certainlydid? And who would not be grieved at such wretched treatment, whichcarried horror in the very action! Nay, who would not fly from suchtyrannic power as soon as possible? Why, then, should anybody wonderthat Mr Gent gave lawful warning to his deputed landlady Mrs JaneAtkinson, who readily took it before an attorney, who was presentwith his servants? Besides, as Rusdell had left off repairing, aswell as resigned his office, so little care was taken indeed wastaken by any landlord, landlady, or agent, that the rainwater damagedgreat quantities of paper in the warehouse and shop, and almostflooded near to the kitchen. Nay, the floor of the highest garretbackward would have fallen I believe on the printing presses for whatRusdell cared, who had left off caring for Mr Gent's house; but thathe urged Mrs Atkinson to send for a joiner, who under-propped thesame with a suitable support, which prevented impending ruin: So thatMrs Atkinson acted and was acknowledged for the true landlady inbeing; and the warning was given by word and writing, both to her, asshe can't in truth deny, with mention of all who might pretend to beagents, landlords, or landladies; for you could not expect, as youdid not before inform us, that we should know where to find you; or,supposing it was so, that my friend should travel from York toHorseley Down in Southwark on such an unpleasant errand. And at aproper time, the keys were delivered to, and accepted by Mrs JaneAtkinson; though afterwards, contrary to the known dictates of truthrelative to her acceptance of the warning given, she ordered them tobe thrown by an ill-natured hussy backwards or forwards; but howeverMr Gent would not suffer them in his dwelling, but shut his dooragainst the trumpery that thought to have cast them in the house; sothat probably the woman lost them in the street. Nay, after warningwas given to Mrs Atkinson, she or her friends advertised in the newsthat at such a time the house where Mr Gent dwelt was to be let,which had been a printing office for above an hundred years. [Besidesa paper stuck up, to enquire of that known publican,Tom Howlden.] Nowif you or any r-- thinks fit to charge for rent after that time (andit's a question if anything can be due from the time of seizure) youmay be assured, that it will be as vain, as knavish: For Mr Gent willgave bail to an action of such a scandalous nature, as I believescarce is attempted in any Christian country. Surely, if you had beenhere, you would have known better than to drive away tenants aftersuch a cruel manner, as to force them to extremities. As to yourthoughts of Mr Gent, he is not concerned; for whatever may be toldyou, or you imagine, the world knows him to be an upright honest man,who would suffer any hardships for the sake of his family. And letnot your now-sham-steward Rusdell, since he has left off baking,think still to keep an oven to hatch mischief, lest his ears bebrought to the pillory. He thought once Mr Gent should never findmoney to move my goods away, when he scoffingly told him, he wouldlend him his cart to move off his heavy trumpery; but thank God it isdone without his assistance, and his cart would better become his owndear person under the inanimate beams of the triple tree, beneathwhich many such tenants as he have fallen. His actions, in employingan attorney, with an hopeful clerk whose straight flaxen hair becamea black ribbon excellently well, with four or five bailiffs,followers at his arse, seizing fire prongs and tongs, pots, pans andpipkins, would make a worthy history, which might be dedicated toyour old aunt Remington, the hopeful patroness of you all, who mightbe moved at the dying prayers of the baker of Hewith; whose example,if she did not care to follow, yet might find some spiritual benefitthrough his melting ejaculations, for his informing you so wrongly ashe has done, who I believe is not so ignorant as you pretend to be.Instead of your desiring intelligence of Mr Gent, you had betterapply to Ridsdell, and bid him wash his face, and say his prayersbefore he goes to bed; especially on Saturday nights, that withclearer eyes and understanding he may be more fit the next day toreceive instructions from his pious parson. Tell him, what Mrs JaneAtkinson has often told us at table, of his attempts to seduce her;and of his malice because she would not agree, neither to be hiswhore or even his spouse: Tell him, he has mended the matter finelyfor you all, by oppressing the tenants; like the ravenous devil, who,impatient to set his wife's dislocated leg, seriously broke it inpieces for a
did but a blundering piece of work. But I suppose he might becausehe kept out of harm's way, I mean from the bailiff, who showed theaction or writ to his servant. I wish you would have that cautionlikewise to think that his pretence may in time make you see hownecessary it is to take any power he has from you out of his hands,lest at length you should be left without any to defend yourselves.he keeps I hear a booby-hutch or chaise for himself and his dory-likewife; but let it not be upheld by your pockets. When Mr Gent left thehouse he paid the glazier for mending the windows, according toagreement made with your mother-in-law a little before she died; andin other respects left the place better than he found it, as he canplainly prove. But we believe, that nobody takes care of the rottenhouse, so that in a little time it may chance to drop to the ground.My friend will know, whether he can balance with safety, and, if allparties are agreed, things shall be rectified. In the meantime shouldany of you proceed to injustice, or vilely wrest the good laws of ourgracious lord and sovereign King George the Second, security shall begiven to stand trial before an impartial jury. For the fellow tocharge him with such a sum as forty pounds is a rascally action, forhe might as well say he owed him forty thousand pounds. [I was oncecharged the like sum; but the case was different through the want ofcertainty in the executors of Mr Parker, a stationer. For Mr parker'sson dying soon after his arrival in London, the book was not crossedby him. But upon his son-in-law Mr Tanner's coming to York anddemanding new payment I was sadly surprised. But looking into myspouse's breast, there I found the receipt; which if I had not, hewould have insisted on my paying it over again.] People may bemistaken in their villainies; though they show their teeth, they maychance to be filed down. It is not very long since Baynton anattorney was hanged at York for forgery; which ought to be a warningto all perfidious people whatever: So far is Mr Gent from paying whathe does not owe, that now he would not return to live in the rottenhouse, if it was given him; though, probably, had he been used withbetter manners, he might have continued longer in it; because youknow, or may at least, that moving printing materials is extremelychargeable. The just laws of England surely do not countenance badpossessors, agents, or attorneys, to oblige honest people to abide inunrepaired houses, and to be used with such rigour as to destroy allcredit in the world; perhaps turn them helpless into the street. No,Mr Gouge, I don't believe you think so; and by your manner of writingyou seem to show a better temper. And therefore I may well put thequestion: Is it not, think you, a barbarous thing than an unjust sumshould be charged to the harmless Mr Gent, without any offering topay for the landlady's board, and usual, allowed assessments, besideshis suffering such damages as have been done to him? Is thisChristian? Or rather is it not nefandous usage? We know that equitywill not suffer long that the innocent should be trampled upon.Enough has been said already; and if my friend should be unjustlyimprisoned, it is to be hoped that he will never perish there likethe well-known Sir John Cheese, alias Atkinson, late spouse to theworthy landlady; but, through the benignity of providence, and thejustice of the land, he will in time be freed, to the confusion ofhis wicked enemies. For all that has happened was not through anyfault of his, but the cruel contention of others. You have now onlyhints of what will be fully proved before a just judge in animpartial court: For my friend is neither willing nor able to paymore than his due, nor ever will; and thinks it happy, if through allhis sufferings he can do but that according to his power, for thetime that he lived in the house. He wishes he had occasion to thankyou for any civilities; but for manners sake I style myself on hisaccount,
Your humble servant,
Petergate, July 28 1744
P. S. If you write again, direct to Mr Gent in Petergate, if hedoes not see you before at Horsley Down, before he settles in theLiberty of the Fleet. As for his late goods, they are now mine,havinggotten full possession. Seize them any of you if you dare; I'llrelease 'em with a witness, etc.
After the aforesaid long letter, I never received another from MrGouge, who either was well satisfied how ill I was used, or thoughtthat of a sudden he could not well get his ends of me, since I wasresolved to dispute his authority. But still I kept myself as aprisoner in my house, not caring to plunge myself hastily in sorrow;and, indeed, my lameness on the account of falling off the chairconfining me chiefly to lodging-room that lay backwards. I gotworkmen to remove an inconvenient door, which was next the publichouse, and placed it as an entrance to and from the pantry. Thenwalling up the former place, my little yard became useful, especiallyby removing the coals to the darker corner, over which I erected aplatform, which I turned to a little garden, that led to a littlewooden building like a summer house that I had before erected, andwhich is now adorned with woodbine (on the outside) that was kindlysent me by my patron Mr Knowlton, who was never wanting herein tooblige me.
Whilst I was thus employed on the one hand, and overseeing mybusiness, on the other, I was strangely surprised with a letter frommy nephew of London, so full of insolence, impudence, stupidity andabsurdity, that I could do no less than secure it from future view.He seemed angry that I did not give due encouragement to hisaforesaid proposed design, though I took care to have the proposalswell dispersed concerning it. He said he was informed by one Ilive, atravelling printer, that I had talked very ill of him; which, if Idid, it was only for his perverseness because he would not send me ananswer to what I had so meekly required. He remembered how I hadchastised him some years ago whilst he was apprentice, which waspurely to make him expert in his business, and once I remember forcalling his aunt by very ill names. He threatened me with law if Ioffered to speak against his present good character; when, God knows!that was what I wished for, and had often endeavoured to conceal hisfailings. I had long stifled my anguish for his ingratitude; (for Ibelieve my taking him through mere love, finding him apparel,schooling and other necessaries, cost me in comparison with othersnear £100), and I feared if I resented his usage in any sort, itwould only make him the worse. He heartily grieved my spouse too, byreflecting on the suit of clothes given him when free of hisservitude; for linen, that was as good as that bought for me; and forso small a sum as three guineas, far exceeding my poor stock, whichwas only one poor sixpence when I was to begin the world at London,as I mentioned before. Even notwithstanding this new provocation, mycure was not to vex him overmuch. But as he told me, he believed Icould not live without him; and that I ought to have encouraged him,as I had sent for him to a strange country, in order to have gotten awife with fortune, which might then have enabled him to help me inage, sickness, or infirmity. I seemed to make a joke of the matter,by causing the following letter, as though from a young woman, to besent him.
For Mr Clarke, a journeyman printer from Ireland, at Mr Burrill(or Burritt's) at the Barley Mow in Salisbury Court, near FleetStreet, London
After long silence my friend Mr Gent received an unexpectedletter, crookedly wrote, in as perverse a temper, as could beexpected from any iron-hearted creature; which, after perusal, wascommitted to its proper use. Whoever had wrote it, except you, mighthave merited a place more deserving. However, it has had no othereffect with your superiors, than to smile at the wonderful wit itcontained, beyond the ravings of Moorfields, or the fair palace nearthe sable streams of Fleet ditch. For your fellow servants, who areout of their time, have used their master like a gentleman who hasdone not only good to the deserving, but showed compassion to thoseof a contrary nature. He never wanted your ill-natured assistance asto work for him, nor will accept of it on any account, so far is hefrom being uneasy at your separation. Since you mention Cambridge, heonly wished you had better minded the Latin school he was so good tobe at the charge to put you to; the necessary usage of which from itsnow reverend master he wonders is not also put into your wisearticles against him of ill usage. Nor reflect how much at a dancingseminary your heels were taken care of, more than you did yourbrains, at the expense of your mistress, who bought clothes for youat 17 s per yard, and whose brother lent you an horse to the seasideto ease your pretty tender feet. She also says, the shirts given youwere finer than your master's, though unadorned with ruffles. Ah!would your ruffled temper but in the same condition! not to insultyour old master, who only took it amiss, that you did not answer whathe had required in reason, about you lending him a certain sum; ifyou had but given him a line or so, whether you had been of abilityor no, he would have been equally pleased. But now he neither valueswhat you can say, or do, nor has he the least occasion. Whenstrangers come, he hardly thinks it worthwhile to remember you, muchless to mention your name. You see by this letter he scorns to writeto you: And only ceases to bear you ill will, because the terms ofsalvation are against all sort of envy, and not for your sweet sake Iassure you. But, sure, Monsieur! It is reasonable you should pay thepostage for your learned and rhetorical figures of unparalleledeloquence; and so rejoice at your own dear absence (would you hadbeen at the West Indies, where you said you had like to have beenemployed as a printer) lest your presence in this city shouldoccasion another sort of resentment, or none at all in hishabitation, where you would be unwilling perhaps to enter. And was myfriend ever to meet you, I believe he would give you the way, ratherthan contend with so rationable a person as you seem to be. In short,your wit surprised your old mistress; only, as she is partly onrecovery from illness, occasioned by the knave's cruelty, who hasbasely tricked her out of her estate; it had like to have thrown herback again into very affecting raptures. But of what sort is left foryou to guess. But as you have made apparent what you was; have beenand are at present, which neither of them declare; I can answer, theyneither can, or will, desire to see you more: And as a friend, mywitty, cunning boy! I would have you pay postage for your letters, orno more will be received. As for your prayers, if worthy thanks, ingood manners you may think will be accepted: But pray, goodgentleman! don't forget your own, more ardently, to offer up for yourfuture behaviour to God, your overseer, and the rest of the world.So, monsieur, it is no harm I hope to bid you farewell: A goodjourney directly to West Chester, and safe voyage to Hibernia, which,I hear, for butter, milk, etc. is now as plentiful as Lubberland.
From your old friend, with a Whitechapel portion,
However, though I vented my grief this way, yet I could not helpwriting to my friend the Rev. Mr Wilkinson of these affairs, whoreturned me this answer.
Coxwold Sunday night 12 o' clock
I received your long letter, and return you many thanks for whatyou was pleased to communicate to me. I can assure you sincerely, Iam very sorry to hear the usage you have met with: Yet as to thatpoint I hope you have philosophy enough to make yourself easy underany misfortunes that can possibly ensue. As for my part, I dosincerely promise you, that no crosses or afflictions can eitherbefall you or Mrs Gent, but what will be of equal concernment to me.I acknowledge myself indebted for a hundred obligations that I havereceived from you both, and gratitude and friendship will, as long asI live, ever tie me to return the favours already received. I thankGod I have always been true to my best friends, amongst whom I reckonyou both the chiefest; and think myself now more hopeful than ever tomake a satisfactory return, at least shortly will be in my power soto do. As for your nephew's usage to you, you may comfort yourselfwith this reflection, that you have discharged the duties of amaster, an uncle, and relation to him in the highest degree, and thatif he prove ungrateful for kindnesses received, the blame lies uponhimself, and consequently will one time or other turn out to his owndisadvantage. As to your landlady that was, etc. what reason have youto be troubled? You always paid your rent to the person empowered forthat purpose. If they who received it had no power, why was not aproper caveat delivered in? As to that article, you may make yourselfcontented, and have not the least reason to avoid them. This is myopinion, and must be a sufficient evidence against themselves. Be notion the least dismayed about their foolish quarrels, or afraid thatyou'll be obliged to pay twice over. Both reason, equity and law willbe against such a foolish proceeding. My dear friend, you know yourown circumstances; you know you have no occasion to heap upsupernumerary penances, or disquiet yourself with imaginary thoughtswhich never I hope will happen. If such things happen, they shallfall upon me. Use my ale, my purse, my council, nay my sword, andwe'll fight 'em with their own weapons. My humble service attends MrsGent, and yourself. I have sent this letter by Mrs Bayne's servant,who lives at Kilburne. He is come to town with a chaise for MrsStamford at the far Minster gates, and stays all night. Be so good asto send fifty instructions for confirmations, and fifty quartocatechisms by him.
I am your affectionate and sincere friend,
I shall here mention two letters of Mr White of Newcastle to us:One before the death of his first wife, dated October 3 1741 asfollows.
I some time since advised John Gilfillan, that I would write toyou about some blackletter. Therefore as that sort of letter is nowof little use, I desire that you would spare me thirty or forty poundweight of the Great Primmer Black, English Black, Pica Black, SmallPica Black, and the long Primmer Black. There was a quantity of eachsort designed me by my father; but how I was prevented knows not. Itis of no use but now and then for a word; and as it is of no greatvalue, I hope you will comply with my request; or I will pay you forit what John Gilfillan agrees to.
My poor spouse has been obliged to keep her bed, and is so veryweak that I am of opinion she will not recover her strength again.She is very much afflicted with pains, and God only knows how longshe may continue. I should take it kind if either you or your spousewould write to inform us of your health, and that there might be afriendship carried on. For if my spouse should be removed, I have norelations here but her two brothers. She has now kept her bed theseten weeks, and can hardly sit up above a quarter of an hour till herbed is made. Be so kind as to give me a letter as soon as you can. Myspouse joins in service to you both.
I am your affectionate kinsman,
I had great reason, by a job that I used to do, and was gone fromme through means of an executor, that my blackletter was designed forthat use; or if not there was no obligation that I should part withmy materials to oblige him, who had proved so severe against me, asto set up others who had long done the like; and therefore, my spouse(for I would write nothing) sent this answer:
If you was in York, you might perceive, that having only reservedperfect so much of our black characters from metal etc. it couldnever be sufficient for two houses, and quite destroy its utility forone. And this you might see in a clergyman's book printed last year,by way of question and answer, the former being in English, my dearwas obliged to make use of the little of each different from smallcases he had contrived on purpose, in sort of drawers, like to letterboards, that they might be less cumbersome. But as little as we have,we shall willingly send you any words you may want, to the quantityof a page, not doubting but you will return the same.
The kind expression of future friendship is to us an inconceivablesatisfaction. Would to God we had never occasion to have seemedotherwise, to the great uneasiness we have had in life, which yourhappier station has freed you from. For, sir, you may now perceive byyour first setting up against us now printing is made a common art toevery interloping invader, no less than threatening the utterdestruction of its true professors. So disencouraging to my dear,that had my late illness removed me, he would scarce have stayed inthis country: For what comfort can any have, to be circumvented intheir common subsistence, and deprived of their efforts dearly earnedby honest industry! However better though we could have wished ouraffairs, yet we shall ever carefully endeavour, and rely on God'sgood providence. You know that my dear is constant to what heprofesses; and I have heard him say, that if he was as fullysatisfied that your friendship could be as firm to him, as hisharmless thoughts would be determinate to your good, scarcely humanpower should alter his sentiments: That however hard his fortune hasbeen, or may be, his good wishes are still the same: One is, thatMadam White may happily recover! And should it please God to take herto his arms, you may not want all possible consolation in this world,till you meet the like happy translation. With my dear I combine; andam, in particular, Dear Sir! Your affectionate niece,
The other letter was after his marriage, with his present spouse.
Newcastle, January 25 1745
Mr Clark being to set forward to York, has told me several timesyou and spouse has given your services to me; for which I alwaysdesired him to present my compliments to you both. I shall at anytime be glad to hear of your healths; and if Mr Gent or you wouldmake a journey to this place, would make you heartily welcome: And ifyou could not both be spared at one time, it might be a pleasure toMr Gent, such a journey, both for his health, and a satisfaction tome to see him in this place. He may command my house for his ownentertainment, and his horse; and it may be a means to renew our kinmore stronger, seeing I have no children at present. And if you wouldnow and then favour me with a line, would make the same return. Iheartily wish you both the compliments of the season; and my wifejoins with me in our kind respects and services to you both. I am,
Your humble servant,
The answer by my spouse was as follows.
York, January 30 1744
We received your last letter from our late apprentice who did wellin presenting our services to you and your spouse. Since then yourexpressions I imagine seem principally to me, I may assuredly tellyou, it revives, sir, an old affection, and inspires a gratefulspirit to return thanks for so kind an invitation. But I think inthese years it is a little too far for me to rove; yet in room of mycompany I would have you accept of my sincere wishes, that you andyours may enjoy all that happiness that is commensurate to everystate, or that is possible your souls can desire. My dearest (poorman! who has done, and does all he can to oblige me, has sufferedmuch, and been lately at death's door, but happily recovered) returnsyou most humble thanks for your obliging expressions. We do not nowkeep an horse; but, he says, he would not value, some time or other,to walk on foot to see you, without any other expectation but that ofcommon humanity, or of putting you to scarce any trouble. He hassorted all his cuts, whilst he was looking for what you seemed towant, which if this sent you will do, you are heartily welcome to it:Or if you do not care to be at the fatigue, and will send a copy, ourapprentice Joshua Nickson, who draws very prettily, shall cut it tothe best of his skill, though he is not so expert at the engraver, asat his pencil. I think I can write no more at present, but that I am,sir,
P. S. My dear had a tolerable sale for his last volumes; but wassadly used in the paper for thinness and coarseness: Yet still it'senquired for. He sends you a present of one, because in the prefacehe has respectfully mentioned your dear father. About nine hundredhave been sold of the History of York; and we hope to have a secondedition. Mr Hammond the bookseller died lately, who was partner inthe first.
Thus ended our correspondence with Mr White, with the samecomplaisance as he seemed to show; though all was but of very littleeffect.
One day a lad came to me with a note, at which I was very muchsurprised, because innocent. The contents of which were as follows.
As you are the only printer in York that would meddle withHarrison's scrub hand-bills, I am the less obliged to your goodintentions, the contents whereof being apparently intended to woundin the dark; but notwithstanding both his and your cunning to evadethe law, I believe you'll find yourselves mistaken.
I am yours not well used,
Edward Gale Boldero
You may tell your friend Harrison (as I never had any dealingswith him) I think he had as little reason to publish as you had toprint anything relating to my character, etc.
Soon as I read it, I bid the boy tell his master, that if I wasemployed to print his dying speech, and paid for it, I should veryreadily oblige the public upon such a remarkable occasion. MrHarrison going to set up an Intelligence Office, without extortion orcruelty, I suppose gave the too officious fellow that offence whichin his conscience he must know he deserved. For I having had occasionfor fifty pounds to pay the workmen (being scant of money through theloss of my estate in Stonegate) the Rev. Mr Wilkinson procured it ofhim at £5 per cent, for which he demanded a guinea, which heaffirmed, through his fine education, was the nature of his office,forsooth! besides the bond: But I scarce had it half a year, when helet me know that the owner wanted the money to carry with him toAmerica. To call it in before the year's end I thought was a rascallyaction, and supposed the fellow wanted another guinea, etc. whichwould be almost £10 per cent. He sent letter after letter, by aslobbery booby of a clerk, insomuch that to make him easy MrWilkinson unknown to me gave him half a guinea out of his own pocket,as he told me: which he thought exceeding cruel. Thus the vile wretch(who never paid me about £50 which he owed me long before)thought I was the readier to print Mr Harrison's bills, though indeedI had no such thought when I took them in. This usage occasioned thefollowing words, though for peace-sake they were not sent him. [Ilost £30 by Braithwait the spiritual court man, whose son wouldnot pay his father's debts.]
You sent, I perceive, a mere balderdash scrubby letter to myfriend Mr Gent, whom you tell is the only printer in York that wouldmeddle with Harrison's scrub bills. It is you that makes yourself onefor saying so, since he pays honestly for them, which is more thanyou have done to Mr Gent, for there is an old debt owing, which hewould be glad to receive. But prithee, fellow! what was your intentby such a letter? Was it to take away the liberty of the press fromhim, whom you made pay a good fat guinea for borrowing £50 at£5 per cent for a year, and call it out of his hands before thetime, taking half a guinea more for continuance money, exclusive ofbond, etc. according to the fine education you boast of! It is true,you was once the city clerk; but what good did you do in your office?Were any of your masters the aldermen the wiser or better for you? Ifthey had, I believe you would have scarce have been put out of thatbeneficial place. What! would you hinder Mr Gent of being employed byhis neighbour? Or the city, by having an Intelligence Office set up,without spunging, but employing those attorneys chiefly, whose honourset them above all rascally doings that are so very pernicious toinnocent people. Or, do you, like a silly dunghill cock, think tofrighten my friend with the dreadful weapons of the law, wherejustice perhaps may be found most of his side, and make such a wretchas you grin with vexation, and gnash your teeth, like a voracious oldrotten dog deprived of his hungry prey, or to sum up yourunparalleled impudence, as well as ignorance to bid my friend deliveryour scandalous message to Mr Harrison, are not you the pitiful scrubthat ought to do it in propriâ personâ?
Now, as to the first of your charge, you ought to have written tothe publisher of St James's Evening Post, who first inserted theadvertisement that you say I printed; or rather not have supposedyour pitiful character any way related to in the least. But if youwill act your own way, in your own legal method, you should firstdemonstrate to the world, in a more mathematical manner than acertain doctor did by a certain condemned highwayman, that you are adownright (or if you can an upright) honest man; and this you may do,if you can prevail with those that have borrowed money in your officeto set their hands to so fair a testimonium; and be sure let myfriend Mr Gent set his name also as a witness. Why should you grumblein the gizzard at but one true intelligence office more than yoursshould satisfy the curious that way. I tell you if there were twentybetter, they would do greater service. And as there are no doubtseveral in the world, it is very probable that there may have beencomplaints made by poor sufferers concerned in one or more of them.Now there must be damned knaves as well as fools to own charactersthat are not particularly alleged [and] from which ingenuity theywould be very far from, were their hands held up at the bar. And whyshould you, sir, (unless you are like a galled horse that winces atan old sore) who by your wise education, and be p-- to ye would bethought a sage and worthy personage, imagine your bright reputationstruck for printing a few handbills concerning a new and honestintelligence office, encouraged by as honest gentlemen I hope as E.G. Baldero! Why should you, I pray, discompose your sweet sleep byordering Mr Harrison to print five hundred bills of your ownpoor-witted paltry composing, who by your writing does not spell theword character in the English, concerning his squirting water whichdoes more good backwards, than your too-brazen forward education. Youmean dunce! how durst you reflect or banter his music of which youare no way a master of; except that dull sort, the noise of employingbailiffs, bums, and such like vermin, which make many places on earthalmost a resemblance of hell itself? Or, why should his liquor bemade your game, which (you hound!) upon your cursed occasions youwould be heartily glad to be treated with. His exhilarating bottlescan cure those gaping wounds which such rascals as you endeavour tomake by bribery and extortion, more than is reasonable, or can beanswered for. But if he has some imperfections, as no man is without,should you not rather tacitly smile at them as a foil to set off thesublime skills of your own superior excellencies; such as excusingyour own bonds, commanding your own time, your contribution-money,attendance-money, advice-money, continuance-money, and thedevil-knows-what-money, that you can possibly drain from the unhappypeople who are obliged to apply to you for money, quæ radix estomnium malorum except your own dear person, so fond of greatsecurities and heavy mortgages. What need you fear, unless you willbe an ass indeed, when your authority is fixed on such a basis, thatneither Mr Harrison's back gates, which you defile with yournonsensical invective, or even the just satires on you in my friend'spress, can ever prevail against you. Prithee, then, don't let yourwit run in so poor and low a strain as to banter poor folks on theone hand, and menace them with your own law on the other. Puppy!neither of them will evade your learned pleadings against them.Consider how Baynton threatened the impartial Baron carter with theforce of justice; but remember also that the villain was notforgotten when brought before him for forgery, for which I see thecoxcomb deservedly hanged at Tyburn.
If you should have in good time the same fate, I am sure never aprinter would think it a dishonour to print, nor running stationer tocry, The Last Words and Dying Speech of Edward Gale Baldero the latefamous promulgator of cash in Stonegate, who was executed for hishonesty at Tyburn near York. A halfpenny a piece. With an excellentprayer of his own composing fit for all miserable sinners, whetherheathens, Jews or Christians: And if your life was prefixed, writtenby yourself, what a lovely piece of biography would it exhibit,beyond those who cheat people of their estates, and swallow them upas the dragon of Wantley has been said to do with poor children,chickens, geese, houses and churches! Till then, adieu.
When Baldero became satisfied about the money lent me, at the sametime he came with Mrs Mary Conyers, who lent me the like sum in theroom thereof, with £10 more to my friend. This woman had longattended her rich aunt in Beverley in the nature of a servant ratherthan a kinswoman, while her mother lived in but a mean conditionopposite my house for many years. The old woman was much befriendedby my wife, who very often made her in pity partake of her table; andto my certain knowledge what I enjoyed, or comforts could afford, shewas exceedingly welcome to till she died; a few hours before which Ivisited, whilst a clammy sweat bedewed her aged brows. Now thisdaughter, as she pretended, lent us this money in consideration wehad been so good to her mother: But her sister Magdalen, havingmarried John Jackson, (the son of him that had sworn so positivelyagainst the two poor creatures that were executed as aforementionedfor three halfpence) she furnished him with money for new materialsto push on the business. This fellow was formerly my journeyman,though extremely ignorant at that time; but getting instructions, Iallowed him London prices. He was also an auctioneer, and as such Irecommended him to Mr Ferraby at Hull, where for his egregiousblunder he became remarkable. But now, helped up by his sister, heseemed above his old master. He accompanied when she lent me themoney, along with Baldero, who was immediately to receive it. Such aspectacle made me privately sigh, to think I should be beholden tothe courtesy of such wretches, and pay damnably for it too, as if Iwas to be led to suffer a fatal execution. However, I stifled as wellas I could the grief that had taken possession in my panting breast;so much wounded before by deceit and wickedness of those I havementioned before.
During my troubles, I received two letters from Browne Willis,Esq. which I beg leave to mention here, as a grateful memorial ofhim.
To Mr Thomas Gent, in the City of York.
Whaddon Hall, near Fenny Stratford, Bucks.
November 22, l 740.
I am concerned to let a brother antiquary's letter lie near threeweeks unanswered; but the truth is, I wanted some of my relations,members of Parliament, to frank my scroll; and also hoped to have hadyour new work sent me down hither, and have wrote two letters to mybookseller to dispatch it to me: but he is in so bad a state ofhealth, and not like to live, that it is neglected, and so I sent toa gentleman to take it at Mr Overton's. If I am pretty well, asindeed I am very much otherwise, I hope, at Christmas, or soon after,to be in town, and shall be glad to recommend your performance. Ithought you proposed another edition of the History of York; if youdo intend it, exhibit one, perhaps I may help you, as I would havedone had you put any queries to me. Cannot you give any dedicationsin Yorkshire, etc. not printed already by me? Any corrections orimprovements to what I have published will be very acceptable, andshall rejoice if any forward your laborious designs, as being, goodsir, your most assured friend and devoted servant to command,
P. S. I hope Mr Selby and Dr. Drake are well. If you find anything, you may send in this manner:
In Ainstie Deanery.
Rufford Capella. Billborough Cur. Fenton V. Burley Chapel. BraytonV. Garforth R. Horseforth and Rawden, Chapels to Guiseley.Stainborne, Chapel to Kirby Overblows. Leathley R. etc.
If you can send me any tradesmen's halfpennies would beacceptable, especially seven or eight marked thus, with a stroke-. Iwant also those of Wetherby, Tadcaster, Sherburne Co. York, Tuxford,Blith, Worksop Co. Nottingham, cum multis aliis.
To Mr Thomas Gent, Printer, in the City of York.
Whaddon Hall, near Fenny Stratford, Buckinghamshire;
January 18, 1743.
I received yours, the 7th of last month, not till a week ago, andam very willing to purchase your new book, as I have all the others,though I am sorry you go out of your own county for matter, as thereis so much in Mr Torr's manuscripts, that the world would be glad of.Suppose you described all the churches in the market towns, and gaveall the epitaphs in them before 1600, viz. all the brassplateinscriptions, with the Orate, as in Mr Torr's MS. Your account ofYork City is, in my opinion, a very useful book, has multum in parvo;and as you talk of a new edition, I could give the names of membersof Parliament omitted in Dr. Drake, whose book is a nobleperformance, and it is surprising where he could get together somuch. I wish I could see Lincoln, or any other city, wrote half soparticular: he seems to have omitted nothing of labours or pains inhis searches, except about the city members, which I sent him fromthe returns at London. These I supply were by the kindness of MrStrangways, deputy town-clerk, when I was at York. I had not time tolook after the 6th of Edward the Sixth, if they are entered in theChamberlain's book, who paid their wages. Pray describe the fabricsof York churches: as, for instance,-All Saints' church has a body andtwo side aisles, leaded and embattled, with a tiled chancel; at thewest end is a tower with an octagon dome on it, in which hang threebells. This is by way of specimen, to shew what I would say, and Idon't put it down as an exact account or description.
I expect to be in town next week, and if you go on with your newedition of York, shall be glad to recommend it, who am
Your assured friend and servant,
P.S. I hope Mr Selby is well, and goes on with his collection ofcoins. When had you the account of Archbishop Montaigne? of hisparentage, etc.?
Page 359, in 'Drake's History of York,'
Names of members of Parliament to be added, omitted in Drake:
22. Parliament at Westminster: Richard York, Miles Metcalfe.
1. Par. West. Richard York, Thomas Wrangwich.
1. Par. West.: John Feriby, Robert Hancock.
1. Par. West.: Richard York, Robert Hancock.
3. Par. West.: Nicholas Lancaster, John Gilyot.
4. Par. West.: Richard York, Sir William Todd.
6. Par. West.: William Chimney, Thomas Scotton.
7. Par.West.: Thomas Scotton.
11. Par. West.: William White, Thomas Gray.
12. Par. West.: George Kirk, John Metcalfe.
1. Par. West.: William Neleson, Brian Palmes.
3. Par. West.: William Neleson, Thomas Drawsword.
6. Par. West.: William Neleson, William Wright.
23 } In Drake both these returned.
36. Par. West.: John North, Robert Hall.
The aforesaid letter, with those above-collected names ofParliament men, was the last I received from Browne Willis, Esq.,who, I hear, is departed this mortal life, happy for him, I trust,though much lamented by others who, with pleasure, have perused hisindefatigable labours.
About August 1744, I built a tower upon my house, which very muchstrengthened the whole building and platform, by joining the chimneywith a communication to the southern wall, so that there appeared aregular conjunction and uniformity; besides, the floor of the tower,was a shelter to the door of the leads, which, before, let in therain, and rotted my new stairs. By this addition, my house seems thehighest in the city, and affords an agreeable prospect round thecountry: we have an wholesome air whenever we please to ascend,especially the mornings and evenings, with great conveniency for mybusiness, when over-crowded in the narrow rooms below; and severalgentlemen have, occasionally, taken a serious pipe, to talk ofaffairs in printing; as well as neighbours, to satisfy theircuriosity, in viewing the flowers that grow almost round about uponthe walls. One of my apprentices, Joseph Nickson, cut the followingsketch hereof, which I here place as a memorial, to be rememberedwhen I am in the grave, should the building, by some futurepossessor, happen to be demolished.
[This cut, which like too many of Gent's book embellishments willnot bear to be copied, is at the head of an advertisement, of which acopy is pasted on the last leaf of the manuscript. It ischaracteristic of him.]
A person descended from the Gents in Staffordshire, freeman ofLondon, York, and two other remarkable cities, lawful printer andstationer; a lover of these English northern parts, in which, as aright master, he has brought up several reputable servants; and,under God's divine providence, hitherto protected his family, to thecomfort also of some needy, but honest deserving people. Within hisnew well-contrived office, abovesaid, printing work is performed in acurious and judicious manner, having sets of fine characters for theGreek, Latin, English, Mathematics, etc. He sells the Histories ofRome, France, England, particularly of this ancient City, Aynsty, andextensive County, in five volumes; likewise a book of the holy lifeof St. Winifred, and her wonderful Cambrian fountain. He hasstimulated an ingenious founder to cast such musical types, for thecommon press, as never yet were exhibited; and has prepared a newedition for his York History against the time when the few remainingof that first and large impression are disposed of, wherein willappear several remarkable occurrences and amendments, if it pleasesthe Divine Majesty to grant him life at the publication thereof.
Psallite Domino, in citharâ, in citharâ et vocePsalmi: in tubis ductilibus, et voce tubæ corneæ.
Ipsi vero in vanum quæsierunt animam meam, introibunt ininferiora terræ: tradentur in manus gladii: partes vulpiumerunt.
Friday, September 7, 1759. I sold some carriers' lists. One to agardener near Clifton. One to the Well House [ ] to MrsJohnson's husband in the town. Then went to the next ale-house, wherethe landlord or landlady's daughter, as informed (though she told meat first she was landlady) refused. And as I happened by chance onlyto look on a door near the stairs, which I did upon seeing someprinted race papers, observe what happened. Leaving the hose, I soldanother list to a watchmaker's spouse. Called at other ale-houses,and so left the town.But had not gone far on the road, before I heardthe voice of the daughter aforesaid, who bid me stop, and told me Ihad stolen a handkerchief, worth half a guinea, or about fourteenshillings, but she would not take a guinea for it. I never was moresurprised in my life; especially when with rash and indiscreetimpudence, she said, I had better deliver quietly, for she would haveit, and so fell to search my pocket etc. Upon seizing on me with bothhands I tried to open my bosom, she telling me the constable wasnear. I told her I did not value him nor her either; my person wasready to surrender. I laid about eight pence, near all that I hadbefore her, was willing to be stripped to the skin; but her search atpleasure, upon which she hasted from me. On that I followed her toher house; told her, she had very much wronged me; and that as Ishould answer before God and his angels at the resurrection I knewnothing of the matter. She went backward; and returning said she wastroubled to lose her handkerchief, and to have grieved me; forindeed, I sweat with anguish, though my heart and conscience wereserene. God forgive you, mistress, said I: But assure yourself Iwould not commit such a crime for the whole world; and that I hadinnocently taken my flute with me to try the sounds of it in thegr[ ] of Pyking Well: Upon which I played a tune; and she gaveme a gill of ale, though I offered payment. On my parting I told herI would report my innocence at the watchmaker's, who had bought alist of me and generously gave me some meat for my dinner: Where Ihad stayed some small time, which if I had been guilty of such a factI should not dare to do: That I had enjoyed estates formerly, andthough now reduced, it was full beneath my soul to be guilty of suchmean baseness.
As I was going home again, some on the road, who had seen thewoman so furiously attack me, asked me how I got clear of her? Imodestly told them, well I might, for I had not so much as lift up myeyes to the place where she said the handkerchief hung: And that sheherself owned she did not know but her mother (who was at York) mighthave taken it from thence, and laid it by: But however it was, Inever beheld, much less took, any such thing.
I was advised to get a warrant for her from the worshipful MrOates; but thought it unworthy to do so, because of the mildness withwhich I treated her on [ [eption of her concern for what she haddone.
However, was I ever to be (as I have been) on the higher and lowerjuries, I should be very careful how I believed such rash evidenceagainst the injured subjects of the best of kings.
Monday the 10th. Went to the house of the higher [?] to [bes]eechhis subscription to my History of the East Window, who could not bespoken to, being no well. Afterwards to Toforth, complained of my illusage; was advised to call at the house, and complain thereof to thewoman's father and mother; but told Parker Duffield [ ]that if he would go in with me, I would; but caring not to do it,though I offered to treat him with a pint of ale, I said I would nottrust myself alone there for ever so much. So went to Duffield'swife, called for a gill of ale, and left the scrubby town; wheredrunkards I saw, if not villains, and mad people.
To A[ ] Heslington I went, [ ] payment for my book[ ] Humpleby's sp[ ] gave a glass of drink; so did MrsDavies, Mrs Veale, and H[ ]le Pye. Then came home to York.
On Wednesday Sept 12, 1759, I wrote Mr Maxwell's last will at hissister Hudson's.
I sing the fall of trees, from hapless grove,
Once thought to view, and witness tender love.
Diana! chaste, do thou my muse inspire;
And warm my tender soul with sacred fire;
In mournful wise of two tall trees to tell,
Their long-since birth, and how of late they fell!
When fountains wept, and silvan shades were heard;
And lofty rocks there pungent woes declar'd;
Two stately oaks did flourish in their prime;
But at the length sap march'd devouring time:
Who told them near three hundred years were past;
So long they liv'd, and they must part at last!
Says one, dear sister, don't you plainly see
[Gent's affairs, we may perceive, were beginning to decline at thetime when this narrative is closed. It does not appear that he evercontinued the story: it would, it is to be feared, have been but anarrative of a course of life which was bound in shallows and inmiseries. He continued, indeed, to reside at his house in Petergate;but new and more enterprising printers arose in that northernmetropolis; till, at length, Gent's press became in little request.His topographical resources were exhausted in his three works onYork, Rippon, and Hull; and it is little of valuable information ofany kind that is to be derived from his "History of the East Windowin York Minster," which he published in 1762, when, as Mr Gough says,he was sinking under age and necessity.*[* British Topography, vol.ii. p. 428., 93;
Still he had friends who respected him, and were willing to assisthim. A portrait was painted of him by one of the Drakes, a family whowere particularly attentive to him in his old age. This portraitappears to have been exhibited for his benefit; and there was amezzotinto engraving from it by Valentine Green, of which a copy isprefixed to this volume. It is said by some who knew him, to be anadmirable resemblance of him, with his fine loose flowing silveryhair, and wanting only the fresh and ruddy appearance of hiscountenance. A play was twice performed for his benefit. These thingscontributed "To smooth the harsh severities of age;" one of his ownlines, and not the worst, in perhaps the latest of his compositions.
Were any one to attempt to make a catalogue of the works of Gent,he would find it a harder task than ever bibliographer performed. Allhis principal writings have been mentioned: but beside them, he whocould be at once author, printer, and publisher, and who was drivenby necessity to make every exertion, must, we are sure, have producednumerous smaller tracts, some with his name, and some without;neither, indeed, is it a very tempting inquiry.
But the writer of this little supplementary notice possesses oneof the later tracts of Gent, which deserves to be taken notice of, asbeing the longest of his attempts in verse, and on account of thesingularity of its mode of publication: it is a translation intoEnglish verse, with some additions, of the "ReliquiæEboracenses," an elegant poem, on the Roman affairs in Brigantia, byDr. Heneage Dering, sometime Dean of Rippon. It is printed on thecoarsest paper, and in the rudest manner; it has no title-page, butthe following note is prefixed, in the handwriting of Gent himself:
Designed to be advertised and published, soon as proper paper canbe afforded, either through beneficent subscription, or generosity tothe laborious well-known author, whose Icon was lately exhibited, togeneral satisfaction.
This must have been about the year 1772. He died at his house inYork, on the l9th of May, 1778, in the eighty-seventh year of hisage; and was interred in the church of St. Michael le Belfrey.