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THE worst was in leaving my dear parents, but that I hoped would in time be atoned for; in short, I told Arnold that I would accompany him: he promised to meet me on Aston's Quay, wherein he failed. However, as Captain Wharton was going to sail, I took some small provision, got a shilling of my dear mother, gave a farewell kiss to her and my loving father, (without any word or token of what I had in agitation,) and bought two or three penny loaves out of my stock, which, I think, was about seventeen pence, only that my habit was tolerable, having taken my best suit. And so, on the 9th of August, 1710, as we entered the mouth of the bay, a great storm ensued, which obliged the sailors to cast anchor.
I had crept into the hold, where I lay very sick, by which means I was secure from the searches of my indulgent father, one Mr. Charles Harris, a tidewaiter, and my master aforesaid. On the third day from my being on board, the wind and weather permitting, we set forward, and the day following came opposite to the shore, on the eminence of which is a place called Park Gate; here, knowing my poor stock would not half amount to the payment of my passage, I offered my waistcoat as a recompense to the master, who, I was previously told, would order me to be severely striped for presuming to enter the ship without money. But, indeed, contrary to what was thought, he let two or three others pass free: when I came to make my offering, "Pretty lad," said he, "and is it so poor with you? Why, if I should strip you of your raiment, you might happen to be starved to death, which I know not but might be left at my door; but, child, had my sailors told me you were hid in the ship, upon my word you should have been delivered to your friends when they searched for you. What will your tender parents say, when they come to hear that you are in a strange land, without support? for my own part, I grieve for your condition. Here, young man, take this sixpence with you, endeavour to get employment, and take to good ways; for I have children of my own and that makes me pity you the more, seeing you are but young, and as yet so helpless a creature, for want of friends to assist you, and advise you for the best." Such kind expressions coming, as I thought at first, from a rough sailor, drew flowing tears from the full sluices of mine eyes; and while I thanked him the more, with promise if ever I met him knowingly, and was of ability, I should more than recompense him for his timely generosity, it melted him also, that he could speak but little more than bidding God bless me, who was able chiefly to support me, as he had wonderfully many other faithful travelling adventurers. He ordered one of the sailors to help me into the boat, as being myself very weak, through the violent tossing of the waves; so then, when I landed, the world seemed to turn round, through the giddiness that possessed my poor brains, and really had almost deprived me of any thought. I had like to have fallen backwards into the water, but was kindly supported by some in the company, till a walk or two occasioned a due circulation, and restored me to my faculties.
And now, setting forwards towards Chester, in company with a jolly fat Englishwoman, and an anchorsmith, whom she seemed particularly fond of, also an Irishwoman, and her seeming husband, we arrived at that famous city in about three or four hours' time. I was agreeably pleased with the piazzas, under which it is pleasant to walk dry in rainy weather; the noble walls, from whence you have an agreeable prospect; the towers; spacious buildings; and the celebrated river Dee, where the famous king Edgar was rowed by eight tributary kings.
But then no printing press, as I could hear of, was set up in those parts; neither could my fellow-travellers find any encouragement in their way: thus, like distressed strangers, we were all obliged to push forward for London. At first, my companions called me Mr. Tommy, by way of eminence; but when they found the title did not agree with my empty pockets, they imposed some of their heavy burdens on my wearied shoulders. This was not very pleasing to my spirit: but their company was more detestable, when one of the men knocked down a goose that was swimming in a sort of lake near the road, and both them and their hussies obliged me to wade deep in the water before I could get it out. This gave me a terrible notion how unfortunate those unhappy people were who fall into bad company; in what a sad dilemma they are oftentimes engaged; and, without God's delivering providence, might be brought to suffer the very rigor of justice, 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 almost as tough as parchment itself.
Well, we journeyed still further and further, till we lit of a company of soldiers, travelling on foot, in order to embark for Spain. They had a serjeant with them, and an officer, who was mounted. They attacked my fellow-travellers, the two men, to take on with them; this made me like company the worse: so, delivering my bundle, I endeavoured to make off from them all; but Serjeant Kite, and the thin-jawed officer, from his lean Rosinante, ordered one of their young fellows nimbly to overtake me, and persuade me back again, to sup with them that night; but the honest youth, who had been entrapped himself, seeing me very weary, and, after some discourse, pitying my condition, laid open to me a scene of their honesty, 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 agree with what he says, by bidding you live, as his men do, along with them; but rise up early next morning, and make the best of your way from us." What he spake was really truth, and I acted accordingly; however, the officer overtook me next day, towards evening: "I perceive, young man," said he, "you did not like us, by giving us the slip; but you had as well be with us as shun us, for at London you will be pressed, in spite of your teeth, and meet with far more uncourteous usage." "Perhaps, sir," said I, "it may be so; but I pray you, at present, permit me to be of another mind to believe what you say, because I think I was never designed to be a warrior, but rather one who, by profession, should rather exhibit their glorious actions to future ages." "You'll be forced to it," said he, "whether you will or no;" and so rode from me in a huff, which plainly proved what the young soldier had told me, whose warning I honourably kept within my breast, in perfect gratitude, lest he should in anywise suffer for his goodness to me.
When I reached the ancient town of St. Alban's, so called from the famous protomartyr of England, I took up my lodgings in the first street, at the sign of St. Catherine's Wheel. The good landlord observing me very lame and tired, asked me what I would have got for supper; 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 drink nothing but water, till I got to London; but what was a greater trouble, there were soldiers on the road, who thought to ensnare me, and from whom I had travelled prodigiously hard, to escape their intended destruction. This open plainness touched so much the hearts of 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 the narrative proceeds, we find him in the employ of Mr. Midwinter, and having recently made acquaintance with a Dublin schoolfellow, a son of Sir Richard Levintz. JH]
--When we walked out, I declared the naked truth in every circumstance. He told me his father, Sir Richard Levintz, who was a judge in Ireland, had sent him thither to be educated in St. Paul's school, where he had been for some time; but of late was ordered to travel into the eastern countries; that he was soon to go on board; and that he was provided with several suits of apparel for that purpose. He did not know, he said, as he was going up the Mediterranean, but he might see Jerusalem before he returned; that his ambition was to behold many parts of Asia, if he could; to visit Constantinople, Greece, and Rome, and every noted place. But how fortune would favor him in that respect, he could not tell "however, Tommy," said he, "while I stay in London, I will enjoy your company now 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 me from Madam Midwinter: he was tall, exceedingly beautiful, and had a fine address. So much was she attracted with the youth, that she soon called me from work, and bid me dress myself to go along with him. Never was a friend more endearing; "Tommy," said he, "whilst we were lads at school, you often obliged me at marbles, at which, I remember, you was a great bulker; also with tops, flying kites, and other sports, for which you was the most excellent in St. Mary's parish. Now let us walk out to the fields, towards Islington, Newington, Pancridge, or any other towns, and once more talk of our juvenile actions." Accordingly we did so, and in many pleasant arbours he treated me with wine, cider, ale, and cakes, and indeed whatever I had a mind to. At night, returning, I parted with him at his lodging, near Christ's Hospital; but he had me abroad with him once or twice more, till he began to enter upon his travels; and though I often inquired of him, by my friends, to whom I repeated his goodness 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 country folks, she began to have a greater respect to me than usual, though (as her circumstances then were not so great as might be wished,) it abated nothing of my hard labour, working many times from five in the morning till twelve at night, and frequently without food from breakfast time till five or six in the evening, through our hurry with hawkers. My fellow servants would often give me great uneasiness through their authentic nonsense, and unreasonable contempt, which obliged me, now and then, to have some skirmishes for my quietude, in which, I have heartily thanked Providence that I was enabled, though with strong reluctancy, to bring them at last into good manners.
When I was about twenty years old, I think I had been seven years at the business, from my first apprenticeship in Ireland, when my master, Midwinter, exhibited a glorious spirit of generosity: he called me one night to sup with him; his daughter-in-law, Betty Walters, told me there was a fowl prepared for me. It was not long before that I was severely beaten for sending him a letter to Islington, complaining I was in a poor philosopher's condition, for want of a pair of breeches; and though, upon my writing Dr. Sacheverel's sermon after his suspension, for which I waited from morning till evening to hear him, he had given me what I wanted, and a crownpiece beside, because he took near £30 that week by it; yet still, as he had taken it as a great affront, I imagined resentment continued in his breast towards me. "No, indeed, Mr. Gent," said Betty, (and that was the first time she gave me the title of Mr.,) "my father has quite contrary apprehensions, for he respects you, and I am sure you will find it so." However, I could not help trembling, thinking myself undone if he proved now unkind to me; but entering the room, "Take a chair, Mr. Gent," both master and mistress kindly said. They cut me victuals, which, God knows, in reverence to them, I could hardly taste, and the cup shook in my hand as I pledged their healths, which my master pitying, smiling, said, "I believe, Mr. Gent, I know your thoughts; because I have treated you as a servant, perhaps now and then with correction, only to make you better, you may think I shall carry myself with ill-nature to you for the future. No, my lad, I scorn it; and so does your good mistress, too, whatever you may judge of us both; and, as I am sensible you have been full seven years at the business, you may, from this night, work with whom you please, under my protection; as yet, I believe, you are utterly unprovided, therefore, I desire you would neither want board nor lodging, such as you have had already, whilst I have a house to come to. So you see I do not prefer my interest to your good; and though you came an almost stranger to me, God forbid that I should send you as such abroad; at this time, as I am not so full of business but what our hands can do, you may make use of this opportunity by improving more with others: so that take a good heart, be diligent if you are employed, and patient if you are not; and never fear but every thing will answer for your good at last, as so far it has done already." And so they both drunk my health, and bid me be cheerful.
It cannot be imagined what great satisfaction these words of my master gave me. I desired both of them not to think I should now think hard of any usage I might have received by correction, often, I believed, through misrepresentation of others; but if not, I owned that youth must either be under discipline, or entirely lost; that I had rather cause to rejoice they had been my defenders, and now were become a greater blessing than even my natural parents; but, at present, I could do no more than return my most humble thanks, for whose prosperity I should pray as long as life continued to make me sensible of so incumbent a duty.
Upon their asking me what money I had, I told them, my poor stock amounted to no more than a tester; that indeed I had a shilling, but sixpence of it went to pay for a letter that my dear mother happily sent me, wherein, considering my condition, she had ordered me forty shillings and half a dozen shirts, to be received of Mr. Gurnell, merchant, in Throgmorton street. This was great comfort in so particular a time.
So the next day I went to wait on him, but he was neither at home, nor on the Exchange; I took a walk into Moorfields, and looking over the booksellers' stalls, I spied Ayre's Arithmetic, which buying, I parted with my last sixpence, thinking it would not be long before I had a fresh recruit. I went back again, but not finding my merchant, I was obliged to dine with Duke Humphrey: that I might not return empty, I had patience to fast till about four o'clock, and then it was, with great joy, that I found him in his habitation. The good man delivered me what was ordered, with a pious exhortation how to behave myself in the world; that I should carefully endeavour to shun the paths of wickedness, and strive to live such a pious life, as might not only be conducive to my health and reputation, but be the only means, after death, to obtain a state of felicity which is eternal in the heavens above. I found, by his modest habit, that he was a sort of Quaker, and returned him thanks for his care and advice, as he richly deserved. However my craving stomach was pained for want of temporal food, I so well digested this heavenly sustenance that my tender nature could not refrain from tears; and so, humbly taking leave, I went directly to seek a place of business, when luckily, I happened to engage with Mrs. Bradford, a quaker, and widow, in Fetter lane, who ordered me to come the next morning. With great spirit and elasticity I flew, as it were, homewards, to the great satisfaction of my kind master and mistress, who asked me, why I did not come to dinner? if I was not almost starved? or if I lit of the merchant, and dined with him? I told them the whole truth; and, going to work the next day, I continued so briskly, that by Saturday night I had earned near seventeen shillings: so that, having near three pounds in bank, and a new suit of clothes, of about three pounds price, which Mr. Midwinter had given me, exclusive of my other apparel, I thought that I might do pretty well in the world; in order to which, I furnished myself with a new composing iron, called a stick, because anciently that useful material was made of wood; a pair of scissors, to cut scaleboards; a sharp bodkin, to correct the letter; and a pretty sliding box, to contain them, and preserve all from rustiness; I bought also a galley, for the pages I was to compose, with other appurtenances that might be of service to me when occasion should require.
But as inconsiderate youth is, too soon, over fond of novelty, being invited to another place, under Mr. Mears, in Blackfriars, I very indiscreetly parted with my mistress, which entirely lost me the favour of that knowing gentlewoman. On my entrance amongst a number of 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 Don Quixote seemed to be when he thought himself a knight, and that the innkeeper was lord of the castle, in the yard of which he judged that the honour was conferred: though the insipid folly thereof, agreeably to their strange harangues in praise of the protecting charms of cuzship, which, like the power of Don Waltho Claterbank's infallible medicines, would heal all evils, whether curable or not, was not very agreeable to my hearing; yet, when the master himself insisted it must be done, I was obliged to submit to that immemorial custom, the origin of which they could not then explain to me. It commenced by walking round the chapel, (printing rooms being called such, because first begun to be practised in one at Westminster Abbey;) singing an alphabetical anthem, tuned literally to the vowels; striking me, kneeling, with a broadsword; and pouring ale upon my head: my titles were exhibited much to this effect, "Thomas Gent, baron of College Green, earl of Fingall, with power to the limits of Dublin bar, captain general of the Teagues, near the Lake of Allen, and lord high admiral over all the bogs in Ireland." To confirm which, and that I might not pay over again for the same ceremony, through forgetfulness, they allowed me godfathers, the first I ever had before, because the Presbyterian minister, at my christening, allowed none at his office; and these, my new pious fathers, were the unreverend Mr. Holt and Mr. Palmer. Nay, there were witnesses also, such as Mr. Fleming, Mr. Gibbins, and Mr. Cocket, stanch journeymen printers. But after all this work, I began to see the vanity of human grandeur; for, as I was not yet a freeman, I was discharged as a foreigner in about a fortnight or three weeks' time. This was like a javelin to my soul, especially when I thought how vainly I had left Mrs. Bradford, in whose house I had lived without envy or danger; I imagined myself in a worse state than the prodigal, and judged that I was highly guilty of incivility, if not ingratitude. But though I believed my capacity for her business might induce her to accept me once more, yet, fearing her just contempt, I durst not adventure again to offer my service; therefore I sought for a new place, and instead of one, got several; in short, I obtained smouting-work, that is, labouring here and there without settlement, which affording a tolerable subsistence, made me endeavour to prove an excellent smouter, 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 had set 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, by his usage,) that I did not shew the least respect, but scorn, and would never work for him after.
Some months past, when Mr. Midwinter had a letter from Mr. White, at York, that they wanted a young man at the business; and my answer being thought too pert or unsatisfactory to the proposal made me, I was rejected for a season; but one Isaac, a hawker, happening to travel in the country, went to that city, and being asked questions, if he knew Mr. Midwinter; or me, gave such a character of me, as turned the scales in my favor. Another letter came from Mrs. White, that I might, if I thought fit, have allowed me eighteen pounds a year, besides board, washing, and lodging. Mr. Midwinter consented I should go, since London was to me uncertain, and would be, till the time should come when I might have the same freedom as others; and indeed, though unwilling to leave so magnificent a city, I thought my consent became necessary. A guinea was allowed to bear my charges, twenty shillings of which I offered to Crofts, the carrier, a very surly young fellow as ever I conversed with, but he would have five or six shillings more; finding him so stiff with me, I was resolved to venture on foot. He set out with his horses on Monday, which I employed in taking leave of my friends, and particularly, that evening, of Mr. and Mrs. Midwinter.
The next morning, being Tuesday, the 20th of April, 1714, I set forward, and had not, I think, walked three miles, when a gentleman's servant, 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 was the period of his journey. On Wednesday, with difficulty, I reached Stamford; on Thursday, got to Newark, famous for the ancient castle near Trent, built by Alexander, bishop of Lincoln; Friday, having lost my road, I got no further than Bawtry; on Saturday, reached Sherburn; on Sunday, was much delighted with the stream of Wharf, near Tadcaster, and the same day arrived at York, about twelve o'clock. The first house I entered to inquire for my new master was in 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 to his door, which was opened by the head maiden, that is now my dear spouse. She ushered me into the chamber, where Mrs. White lay something ill in bed; but the old gentleman was at his dinner, by the fireside, sitting in a noble armchair, with a good large pie before him, and made me partake heartily with him. [Mr White had printed the Prince of Orange's Declaration when it had been refused by all the printers in London, and was made king's printer for York and five counties. See Literary Anecdotes, &c. by John Nichols, vol. iii. p.688. JH] I had a guinea in my shoe lining, which I pulled out to ease my foot, at which the old gentleman smiled, and pleasantly said, it was more than he ever had seen a journeyman save before; I could not but smile too, because that my trunk, with my clothes, and eight guineas, was sent, about a month before, to Ireland, where I was resolved to go, and see my friends, had his place not offered to me as it did.
I lived as happy as I could wish in this family, and as I earned money, I bought me clothes, to serve me till I either went to visit my parents, where my trunk was carried to, or that I could get it sent me over sea; for Mr. White had plenty of business to employ several 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 most part, now abound.
The death of Queen Anne, at Kensington, on the 29th of July, occasioned the proclamation of King George I., on the 3rd of August following, at York; it was on the steps of the magnificent cathedral that I perceived the comely tall presence of that most illustrious prelate, Sir William Dawes, the archbishop, in company with the lord mayor and chief citizens, when the ceremony was performed. On the 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 the 13th of December, Mr. Andrew Hind and Archibald Ashburn, (the former a broken master printer, the other a journeyman,) came from their journey from Ireland to York; they received assistance from some of the Scots printers, and me in particular, though the latter proved so proudly ungrateful as not to regard me when I saw him afterwards at London. The year following [in April 1715 TG] came another of the fraternity from thence, and though I had obliged the man in what lay in my power, whose name was William Sudworth, yet the wretch discovered me to the full in such a vile manner, that I thought him such a drunken mad enemy, more worthy to be prayed for than resented, because from secret, while I heard him, I found he knew not what he did, or, at least, had no reason from me for such inhuman treatment. But my mistress, who knew how to catch at cheap advantages, let me know that I was little better, and in fact, no other than an apprentice lad; which, considering I had already served seven years, I must needs confess, cut me to the very soul. And in this melancholy humour being given to versifying, when I had given over business in the evenings, I attempted to invoke the muses, whilst I wrote some lines of what, so young, I had undergone in this mortal life.
Having thus vented the diversity of my flowing passions, I made myself as easy as possible with Mr. White, till the year expired that I was hired for; though offered to be continued, I would not agree to stay another year, till I had seen my friends in Ireland. Yet what made my departure somewhat uneasy, I scarce then well knew how, was through respect of Mrs. Alice Guy, (the young woman who I said first opened the door to me,) upper maiden to Mrs. White, who, I was persuaded to believe, had the like mutual kindness for me: she was the daughter of Mr. Richard Guy, schoolmaster, at Ingleton, near Lancashire; had very good natural parts, quick understanding, was of a fine complexion, and very amiable in her features. Indeed, I was not very forward in love, or desire of matrimony, till I knew the world better, and, consequently, more able to provide such a handsome maintenance as, I confess, I had ambition enough to desire; but yet my heart could not absolutely slight a lovely young creature, as to pretend I had no esteem for her charms, which had captivated others, and particularly my master's grandson, Mr. Charles Bourne, who was more deserving than any. However, I told her, (because my irresolution should not anticipate her advancement,) that I should respect her as one of the dearest of friends; and receiving a little dog from her, as a companion on the road, I had the honour to be accompanied, as far as Bramham Moor, by my rival, on Saturday, the 15th of May; being attended also with my late companions, Mr. John Mickle, Mr. Penman, Mr. John Harvey, and others. In Yorkshire I travelled through Leeds, Brighurst, Ealand, and over Blackstone Hedge; in Lancashire, through Ribondale, Rochdale, Bury, Bolton, Ashton, Prescot, and Liverpool. As I could not readily meet with a ship bound for Ireland, I thought to have worked with Mr. Terry, the printer of this latter town, but, the man seeming to have no more business than he thought he could manage, and not in the least, as I thought, courteous to me, a stranger, I made no hesitation, but directly crossed the river, in the ferry boat, to Estham, and so travelled to Park Gate; the Betty galley, with colours displayed, commanded by Captain Briscoe, was ready to sail with the first fair wind: I called to mind how much I was indebted to Providence in the state I was in, compared to that when I first beheld that place. The inns and public houses being full, I lodged at Nesson, a mile from the shore: at first I did not like the house, on account of the ordinary travellers I 'spied there, which the landlady perceiving, " I see," said she, "you are not a common traveller, young man, by your habit and linen, and therefore you shall have a clean bed to yourself:" and indeed it was so, in a little snug room, where, next morning, I was wonderfully pleased with the reflection that the sun, rising, made on the counterpane, being complete patchwork, like Joseph's coat, and, for aught I know, made up with as great a variety of colours. As I had formed a resolution to hire a fisherboat to carry me over the estuary, into Wales, my good-natured landlady agreeably called me to arise, with news that the captain was immediately preparing to sail, and that his streamers and ensigns gave indications that now the wind was fair for the voyage: quickly I dressed myself, took some refreshment, returned her thanks, with generous payment, refreshed my little dog, and so set forward to the vessel, wherein I joyfully entered with him; the flowing tide coming to its fulness, and turning upon its ebb, the anchors were quickly weighed up from the sand. The waves were very boisterous along the Welsh coast, according to the violence of the wind: we got into a creek near Holyhead that night, which is the most extreme point of Wales that lies opposite to Dublin; and here our captain, being hailed, went ashore, and brought along with him the Rev. Mr. Dubourdieu, a clergyman, who belonged to the Episcopal French church in the cathedral dedicated to St. Patrick, in Dublin. He was a tall, swarthy, venerable, and pious gentleman; but the sailors terribly swore that they thought that they should have no good, for they would as lieve see the devil as a parson, to stop them in this manner in the middle of their voyage: and indeed, as it fell out, they seemed to be frightful prognosticators indeed, for, a little after, awful phenomena darkened the elements, succeeded by such a terrible storm that confounded all the passengers, and made the sailors pray, curse, and labour without intermission. For some days we were tossed about in this dangerous manner, that (as I heard afterwards,) many in Ireland had concluded our gallant ship and all her crew were utterly lost; for we were driven considerably towards the north, and not far from Scotland, but from thence made hard shift to shelter in the harbour of Douglas, in the Isle of Man, about a quarter of a mile from the town. That day the quality thought fit to go on shore and refresh themselves; whilst we that remained espied a funeral procession solemnly walking to an adjacent village, where the corpse was interred. Towards night, as the boat was returning with the captain and the rest, the pilot told the great danger they were in by the high winds, and was afraid he could not attain the ship. "Row on," says the master, being drunk; but the man still representing 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 repent striking me before a few moments pass." Upon which he pulled up as commanded, but of a sudden the boat was almost over turned, and the company decently washed more than they expected. "Turn, my lads, to the shore," said the captain: " Pilot, I will make you amends, and am heartily sorry for what I have done." So they lodged at Douglas, with a resolution to stay for better weather; and, the next day, the boat was sent for those who were willing to come ashore, with a relation of what happened: I gladly embraced the opportunity, as being very sick with the tossing of the vessel. We continued here about eleven days: at first provisions were very reason able, but more ships being driven to the harbour occasioned a scantiness while they continued. Some were much put to it for beds; but it fortunately happened that I met with an ingenious Irishman, Mr. Thomas Kendall, who was a lastmaker, and employed in the family of the Right Reverend Father-in-God Dr. Wilson, Bishop of Sodor, in that island; and besides was very acute in making viols: and letting him know that I was going to my dear parents, he was so good as to allow me to take share of his bed, which was large enough for both of us. For my board he recommended me to the family of Mr. John Corris, who dressed me any thing I wanted at a very easy expense, so that I could not expect to find better usage in any strange part of the universe. I might have had at first a good pullet for four pence, and a quart of strong brandy for an English shilling, which went there for fourteen pence.
I often used pensively to walk along the shore, the sands being very smooth, except the outward margent, where lay pretty stones and shells. The passage towards the north is terminated by a high rock, that falls gradually into the sea, and, I believe, lies for a great way beneath the surface of the water. One day I 'spied a small passage, 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 ancient hermit; for on the apex there was a seat too, that gave me a vast prospect of the ocean, and the place seemed to me as romantic as Calypso's island, where she would have enervated the vigour of divine Telemachus, had he not been defended by Minerva, under the shadow of Mentor. Here it was that my melancholy thoughts inspired me with a sort of poetical genius to contemplate on the unsettled affairs of this transitory life.
Upon Sunday following I went to hear divine service in the church of the village, where the corpse had been carried, as I mentioned before: and there I heard the Reverend Mr. Lancaster, an English gentleman, preach a funeral oration on the much lamented death of that gentlewoman, Mrs. Anne Stacey, who was spouse to one of the twelve senators there that rule in the nature of a parliament. I think, as well as I could hear or remember, the minister insisted that none of his auditors should too absolutely judge, that all suicides were in a state of damnation, for that many good and virtuous people had been overcome through a strange melancholy and other wild disorders, not readily to be accounted for: that as to the deceased, they knew it was the effect of a high fever that occasioned her to call for a knife to pare an apple, which was as foolishly given her, and excessive pain that incited her to rip open her bowels, which issued forth with her life; that her former innocence and virtue, with her many charities to the poor and distressed, would no 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 to the never failing refuge of powerful prayer, to be delivered from the horrid temptations of the devil, who sought all opportunities, especially in adversity and sickness, to ruin our precious and immortal souls, whom he would not have protected by holy angels, that, however, often snatch them from the dragon's power, and convey them to eternal rest beyond all sin and danger.
Another remarkable thing was at the visitation of the clergy. The good Bishop, I think, sat as judge, when a young fellow was cited for seducing a young damsel, to whom he had promised marriage: his lordship most piously laid before him the heinousness of his crime; that even the restitution he should be obliged to make was not a sufficient retaliation, or expiation of his guilt, without a thorough repentance for what he had committed against God; but if a just sense and detestation of his faults plainly appeared by his future behaviour in being a good husband and truly reformed Christian, why then he could give him assurance that he should recover the favor of Heaven and his fellow creatures, to the salvation of his soul and body. The trembling youth, melting into tears, (which set several of the spectators weeping also,) made not the least hesitation to marry his deluded creature, whose fair cheeks were also pitifully bedewed, as a token of her affection; and I make not the least question but that the holy prelate took speedy care that the solemn rites of the church should be soon performed between them.
I had a very willing mind to have seen Peel, Ramsey, and Castle Towns only that I dreaded to lose my passage; and as it was, I had like to have lost it, from going on board that ship on this occasion. As I sat one rainy evening at a publichouse, an exciseman was also at the fireside near me: when I was innocently praising God for his preservation of our ship's company, he deridingly mocked and hinted as if Almighty God had no hand in human concerns that way, and our escape might only be imputed to the mere effects of chance; for what were we better than, probably, many good people that the same seas had swallowed up? had we greater reason to expect greater favors? and if not, was it not (though we might shew our gratitude by sundry highest indications,) an imputation upon the divine mercy and benignity that they were not saved as well as we? "No, no," said he, "think not that your preservation was any concern of his, whose sphere only obtains that happiness which we fondly imagine, through excess of fear or devotion, doth also descend to us."
" Sir," said I, " why God suffers some to die sooner, or by more uncommon deaths, than others, I think becomes not any mortal too curiously to inquire. He may be willing at one time to take us from a more evil day, I mean from committing more evil, whereby our sad destruction might become inevitable. Perhaps, too, it might be, by immediate death, to bring them to speedy punishment for crying iniquities: and, for ought we know, through unbounded love, to call them to his happiness, as a quick reward for having done their duty to him in the best manner they were able. His pleasure in these cases is to be submitted to, and well thought of; but your argument is far from being so, which robs poor and afflicted travellers of their greatest comfort on earth, by making them of all men most miserable; that is, by denying the hope of God and Christ, with the assistance of the Blessed Spirit, in their greatest distresses, when they know not how soon their precious souls may be demanded of them. What can be more wicked than to hear you deny this? What more piercing to me under such circumstances, when I know my chiefest consolation is in the Lord; when I know there is nothing in the shadow of death can revive our sorrowful spirits more than the glorious thoughts of everlasting life; and nothing more strong to support us here than the love 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 to engage with a man of his age and capacity, with a sort of mathematical genius, yet I argued as well as I could from the Holy Scriptures, wherein so many miracles abound, to prove not only his Divine existence, but those admirable attributes intermingled with love and compassion towards those of the large household of faith who place their confidence in him. That all our properties of goodness, aptitude, agreement, beauty, virtue, and reason centred in Him who gave us being, and from whom we derive all celestial improvements that will reinstate the soul in greater glory. And I reiterated that his care and love became manifested chiefly in giving his own son to die for our salvation, and sending his Holy Spirit to guide and comfort us in all the contingences of this mortal life, as well as to free us from sin and misery. Not to mention, from Eusebius, Justin, and others, those indubitable miracles that were performed in several ages of the church, especially in regard to saints, martyrs, and confessors, who owned Christ's divinity and assistance in their very last moments, and expired with joy in the midst of the most cruel torments.
Upon this he seemed to laugh heartily at me, and called me a poor pious philosopher; but I gave him such language, in the spirit of meekness, as I thought the case required, considering a text I had read "Not to provoke a heathen lest he sin," and such that I had no occasion to repent of. The company round us seemed mightily pleased with what I said, called him an atheistical, foolish, unmannerly fellow, and told him that he had now met with his match. Upon this he flung away in a huff, and then I told them, I was far from public disputation, if he had not occasioned by words which I thought were very impious, especially to a stranger, but was sorry lest I had trespassed too much to hinder their discourse on other matters.
But they were very well pleased at his absence, willingly treated me, and told me he was continually affronting innocent persons. They added, they would speak of me to the Bishop's Gentleman, who was then in Douglas, and that he would take me to Castle Town, where I should want no assistance, till some ship or other was ready to sail for Ireland. Besides, that his lordship would be respectful to one of my profession, as he was a friend to the press, and greatly contributed to the printing of the Common Prayer in English and Manx, for the benefit of the people of the island. With this pretty talk of theirs, and the benefit of the sparkling liquor in clear glasses, we were all exhilarated to an high degree, and sat rather too long, as I felt by an aching head the next morning.
The sailors not knowing where to find me, had hoisted anchor, and when I arose about eight o'clock, the ship was vanished from my sight, behind a rock that screened me from its view; my concern was very great, till coming to the brink of the water, I found two other passengers, who had been left as well as I, agreeing with a boatman to follow the ship, with whom I gladly included myself into their bargain; but just as I was going to step in, my little dog, I suppose, not well pleased to venture again on the ocean, looked strangely 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 rock that jutted into the sea stopt him, the boatman crying most of the time, "we'll go without you, if you don't come quickly!" but when I got him, I threw him over my shoulders, as one would do a sheep, and so run, panting, to them, whom I found had too tender hearts to leave me behind them. When I came aboard, I was accosted by the minister, the gentlewomen, and one Mr. Harvey, a student designed for Trinity College, with "Where have you been, young man? what was you afraid of, that you could not tell us where you lodged? all of us have been in sad concern about you; however, we are glad you have overtook us in so good a time." I heartily thanked them for their well wishes, and so we got into Dublin Harbour that very 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 had before been in terrible consternation, fearing the long expected ship was entirely lost, and now their hearts were filled with transporting joy.
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 knew thee." My mother being at my sister Standish's, near the Strand, I went thither and found her in the parlour; and she as little knew me, till falling in the same posture, I discovered her wandering son. The children, my nephews and nieces, ran out of the pleasant garden to behold their uncle; and, in short, I was as much made of as my heart could desire. But the most fond of me was my dear niece, Anne Standish, a perfect beauty. Often did we walk till late hours in the garden; she could tell me almost every passage in Cassandra, a celebrated romance that I had bought for her at London. She was beloved by a gentleman of the same college where her brother, Mr. John Standish, was educated, and her countenance was so amiable, as if the rose and lily met together, that I think the young gentlewoman might have charmed the greatest personage on earth; but above all, which graced her modest behaviour, she was a most pious young creature, and exceedingly charitable to the poor.
After this, it was not long before I engaged myself as journeyman with Mr. Thomas Hume, in Copper alley; one whose mother was well acquainted with mine, and had her son brought up very prettily in the Blue Coat Hospital, much like that of the famous St. Bartholomew, in London. Being put out to Mr. Francis Dickson, who kept a printing office, he became enabled at length to set up for himself, and printed many good books. But here I met with a sad persecution from my old master, Powell, [In Dunton's Farewell to Dublin, this first master of Gent is thus described: "His person is handsome, I do not know whether he knows it or no, and his mind has as many charms. he is the very life and spirit where he comes, and it is impossible to be sad if he sets upon it; he is a man of a great deal of wit and sense, and, I hope, of as much honesty; in the mean time, he is neither scurrilous nor profane, but a good man and a good printer, as well as a good companion." JH] who employed officers to seize me for leaving my apprenticeship with him. This was a cutting stroke, though I 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 I became the ludicrous sport of common Irish journeymen, and particularly of the scamperers from London, which usage I afterwards remembered in an Hudibrastic poem, of which I shall take notice in its proper place. In this melancholy situation, being forced to keep out of harms way, I received a comfortable letter from Mrs. Midwinter, in London, (who knew nothing of my trouble,) that if I pleased to return to her spouse, I should never want a home while she lived: meanwhile my dear father, my brother-in-law Mr. James Standish, and another gentleman visited Mr. Powell, and offered a certain sum for my releasement; but this obsequiousness made him insist the more on higher matters, so that, upon due consideration, finding there was no other, and indeed no better remedy, that the best of men had their troubles, nay, that King George himself just then, had an unnatural rebellion raised in his kingdom, which, on my coming thither, I had not as much as heard of, that no inclemencies or dangers could be worse to me than Powell's tyranny, joined, for ought I could tell, with cruel revenge, and to frighten others through my example, and that I had a good kingdom to return to at pleasure; I say when I considered all this with my friends, a resolution was formed and agreed to, that I should privately leave my native country once more, and wisdom taught me to keep all a secret within my own breast till times proved better with me. About that time I received a letter from my dearest, at York, that I expected thither; and thither, too, purely again to enjoy her company, was I resolved to direct my course. I took leave of all friends, on the 8th of July, who seemed much concerned at our parting: but my unlucky whelp, that a little before, while taking a glass with Mr. Hume, had torn my new hat in pieces, seemed nowise affected at my taking boat, so I let the rascal 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 his tricks, to the neighbourhood, who called him Yorkshire, from the county I had brought him. Coming on the sea, we were becalmed, or if a breeze sprung out, it was rather contrary to our desires; so that it was the 12th instant when I arrived at Park Gate, where I had cause to thank God I was escaped once more from a man I was now sure had proved an inflexible enemy indeed. On the 13th, I hired a horse to Eastham, and took boat for Liverpool: it was of a market day, so that the vessel was mostly filled with a parcel of lovely damsels, who had baskets of provisions to sell, as any person, I believe, might see in the whole universal world; and the same encomium might be given those of Lancashire. After landing, who should I observe but my late friend Mr. Kendall, who had been so kind to me, in the Isle of Man. With joyful surprise I took him by the hand, led him to a publichouse, treated him, and gave him a thousand thanks for his humane and Christian carriage towards me in distress.