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William Richards


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Title: The History of Lynn, Vol. 2 [of 2]


Author: William Richards



Release Date: June 11, 2020  [eBook #62372]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE HISTORY OF LYNN, VOL. 2 [OF
2]***

Transcribed from the 1812 W. G. Whittingham edition by David Price, email ccx074@pglaf.org

Book cover

East View of Lynn Regis, pub. May 1, 1812 by W. G. Whittingham,
Lynn.  Draw J. Sillett, engraved J. Hassell

THE
HISTORY
OF
LYNN,

Civil, Ecclesiastical, Political, Commercial, Biographical,
Municipal, and Military,

FROM
THE EARLIEST ACCOUNTS TO THE PRESENT TIME,
INTERSPERSED
With occasional remarks on such national occurrences as may serve to
elucidate the real state of the town, or the manners, character,
and condition of the inhabitants at different periods.

TO WHICH IS PREFIXED
A COPIOUS INTRODUCTORY ACCOUNT
OF ITS
Situation, Harbour, Rivers, Inland Trade and Navigation,
the Ancient and Modern State
OF
Marshland, Wisbeach, and the Fens,
AND
Whatever is most remarkable, memorable, or interesting, in other
parts of the adjacent country.

IN TWO VOLUMES.
BY WILLIAM RICHARDS, M.A.

Honorary member of the Pennsylvania Society, for promoting the Abolition
of Slavery, and the relief of free Negroes unlawfully held in bondage.

 

VOL. II.

 

LYNN:
PRINTED BY W. G. WHITTINGHAM,
AND SOLD BY R. BALDWIN; PATERNOSTER ROW; LONDON.

 

1812.

 

p. 623PART IV.
From the Reformation to the present time.

CHAP. I.

Miscellaneous remarks on the Reformation—its rise and progress on the continent—introduction into this island, and effects upon this town.

The reformation formed a new era in the history of the world, and was one of those mighty revolutionary events which have a most extensive and lasting effect on the affairs and destinies of mankind.  But men have been ever since greatly divided in their ideas and judgments concerning it.  While some have hailed it as a most happy, admirable, and glorious event, fraught with heaven’s choicest blessings, it has been deemed by others, and even by a large majority of the inhabitants of christendom, as an exceedingly unfortunate, pernicious, and execrable occurrence, which has produced all manner of mischief, and, like the opening of Pandora’s box, filled the world with calamities and p. 624miseries innumerable.  The learned and the wise, as well as the illiterate and fly foolish, have been found among each of these opposite and contending parties: their respective opinions and allegations must therefore be entitled to a serious and candid hearing.  But it is not intended here to go deeply or largely into this disputed subject: nor would it well accord with the plan or design of this publication.  Some cursory hints, however, on a few of the most prominent facts will not, it is presumed, be either impertinent or uninstructive.

Section I.

Statement of different and opposite opinions respecting the reformation—with brief remarks.

The information, like the French revolution, seems to have been too much admired by its friends, and too much vilified by its enemies.  The former, for the most part, perceive nothing in it but what is praise worthy and divine, and the latter nothing but what is detestable and devilish.  The truth, probably, lies somewhere about midway between these two extremes, as is usual in most of the disputes that divide and agitate the world.  The reformation had certainly some good points in it, as well as some very bad ones, that can never be too much reprobated and detested.  Had they been all bad, its friends would have defended them, for they have actually and unblushingly defended its p. 625very worst points; [625a] and had they been all good, its enemies, on the other hand, would not fail to condemn them, for they have really done so with its very best parts, whose intrinsic or essential goodness and beneficial tendency are most obvious and demonstrable. [625b]

The friends of the reformation consider the original and chief actors in that great revolutionary work as excellent men, actuated by a right apostolical and christian spirit, with a view to the restoration of primitive christianity, and the promotion of the best interests of mankind.  Their opponents, on the contrary, consider them in a very different light, and hold them up as persons of a disreputable character, who were actuated by very unworthy and base motives, from whose thoughts nothing could be further than the restoration of genuine christianity, or the promoting of real benevolence, philanthropy, or human happiness.  It will not be safe to give implicit credit to either of these representations.  There were, certainly, some good men concerned in the reformation, and there were also some very bad men concerned in it, whose misdeeds ought never to be palliated; and these were probably the most numerous and the most powerful, or the work, surely, would have been more worthy of our praise and admiration.

p. 626The reformation, in the judgment of its admirers, was eminently calculated to promote the cause of truth and virtue, and inculcate the practice of piety, morality, and all manner of good works.  All this, however, is flatly contradicted by the champions of the opposite cause, who positively affirm that the doctrines of the reformers were, in the very nature of them, of an evil, immoral and impious tendency:—alluding to the grand Lutheran tenet of justification by faith without works, [626a] and to the famous Calvinian notion of predestination, as extending to all the deeds of men, bad and good, or that all human actions, even the very worst, originate in the Divine decrees, or will of God. [626b]  This opinion of the evil tendency of the reformation, or of the reformed doctrine, they represent as further corroborated p. 627and established by undeniable facts, and authentic historical evidence; or in other words, by its immediate effects, or the very first fruits it produced wherever it did prevail.

Those who advocate the cause of the reformers say that their labours were abundantly fruitful of good works, and that their doctrine produced the happiest effects wherever it was received.  But their opponents flatly deny it, and positively assert that the very reverse was actually the case: and they support their assertion, not only by referring to those long and bloody wars which resulted from the reformation, but also to the express testimony of credible witnesses, who affirm, that vice and immorality greatly increased wherever protestantism became predominant.  Nor is it a little remarkable that these same witnesses are, for the most part, some of the very chief reformers; so that their evidence comes with a force that cannot well be resisted.  Some of them belonged to the continent, and others to this kingdom; but we shall in this place bring forward only the former, reserving the latter till we come to exhibit the rise and progress of the reformation in this country.

We shall begin with Luther, whose testimony on this occasion is very strong and remarkable.—“The world (says he) grows worse and worse.  It is plain that men are much more covetous, malicious, and resentful, much more unruly, shameless, and full of vice, p. 628than they were in the time of popery.” [628a]  “Formerly, when we were suduced by the pope, men willingly followed good works, but now all their study is to get every thing to themselves by exactions, pillage, theft, lying, usury.” [628b]  “It is a wonderful thing, and full of scandal, that from the time that the pure doctrine was first called to light, the world should daily grow worse and worse.” [628c]—The testimony of Bucer, another celebrated reformer, is to the same effect.  “The greater part of the people” (says he) “seem only to have embraced the gospel, in order to shake off the yoke of discipline, and the obligation of fasting, penance, &c., which lay upon them in the time of popery; and to live at their pleasure, enjoying their lust and lawless appetites without controul.  They therefore lend a willing ear to the doctrine that we are justified by faith alone and not by good works, having no relish for them.”—[628d]  Musculus also, another eminent reformer, is said to have borne much the same testimony. [628e]

Calvin’s evidence in this case seems also to be equally forcible and decisive: “Of so many thousands (says he) seemingly eager in embracing the gospel, how few have since amended their lives?  Nay, to what else does the greater part pretend, except by shaking off the heavy yoke of superstition to launch out more freely into p. 629every kind of lasciviousness?” [629a]  Thus said Calvin.  When the character of the reformation is duly and thoroughly considered, and especially that of Calvin’s own doctrine, it is no great wonder that such effects should follow.  It would have been much more wonderful if they had not followed; at least, when we further consider the abominable conduct, the vile and bloody deeds that were sanctioned by the same reformer’s own example.  Had he been a different sort of man, these unsightly fruits of his labours might have led him to doubt the soundness of his faith, or suspect that his creed did not altogether tally with the doctrine that is according to godliness.  But from him it could not be expected.

Another testimony of no small weight in this case, and which must not be here omitted, is that of the celebrated Erasmus, one of the greatest luminaries and most eminent characters of that age, who has been reckoned among the principal authors of the reformation as well as restorers of literature.  Let us listen then to his evidence on this subject: “What an evangelical generation is this?  Nothing was ever seen more licentious and more seditious.  Nothing is less evangelical than these pretended gospellers. [629b]  Take notice of this evangelical people, and shew me an individual amongst them all who from being a drunkard has become sober, from being p. 630a libertine has become chaste.  I, on the other hand, can shew you many who have become worse by the change.  Those whom I once knew to have been chaste, sincere, and without fraud, I found, after they had embraced this sect, to be licentious in their conversation, gamblers, neglectful of prayer, passionate, vain, as spiteful as serpents, and lost to the feelings of human nature.  I speak from experience.” [630]

Upon the whole, it seems impossible to evade the force of this evidence, or deny that vice and immorality increased where protestantism prevailed, and, consequently, that there must have been some radical and essential defect in that system from the very first: so that it must be the very height of folly, absurdity, and arrogance in our present pretended evangelical demagogues to attempt to hold it up to the people as a standard of unadulterated truth and model of christian perfection.  It is remarkable enough that these good people, almost to a man, are very loud in their reprobation of the French revolution, although it might easily be proved that that same revolution was nearly, if not quite as honourable in its origin, and respectable in its progress as that which was excited and conducted by Martin Luther, John Calvin, and their coadjutors, and which they seem so much to admire, and so ready to commend and justify.  While reprobating the Gallic revolution on account of the licentiousness and crimes it produced, they are not aware how much the protestant revolution is liable to the same imputation.

p. 631Section II.

The former subject continued, with occasional and brief remarks.

There does not seem on any point a greater difference of opinion between the admirers of the reformation and their opponents than that which relates to the real character of the reformers.  Volumes have been written on both sides of the question: one party extolling them to the skies, as if they had been all perfect beings or angels of light, and the other degrading them to the lowest point, as if they had been no better than so many demons.  Too much, no doubt, has been said both for and against them.  We must not believe them to be quite so bad as some catholic writers have represented them; nor yet, on the other hand, altogether so good and perfect as they have been described by the generality of our protestant authors.  What is unfounded on either side we wish to explode; but some apparently well established facts relating to the reformers, and not generally known among protestants, ought not here to be passed over unnoticed, as they are well calculated to correct the reader’s ideas, both as to the reformers and the reformation.

As to Luther, it seems to be the common opinion among protestants that he was convinced of the errors and corruptions of the church of Rome, and, of course, decidedly hostile to them before the appearance of Tetzel with his indulgences.  But this opinion appears to be untenable.  It is more likely that he had thought nothing about the said errors and corruptions p. 632before the arrival of that memorable vender of pardons; and that either wholly out of detestation of his extravagant and shameless pretensions, or partly also out of spite to the Dominicans, to which order he belonged, he then ventured to oppose that scandalous traffick, without any direct intention to declare against any others of the papal abominations, towards which it does not seem that he had yet begun to conceive any aversion.

Accordingly, he appeared for some years after, to have no mighty objection to any thing in the popish religion but the abuse of the traffick of indulgences; and even on that point he actually consented to observe in future a profound silence, provided the same condition were imposed on his adversaries.  Nay he went still further, and proposed to write a humble and submissive Letter to the Pope, acknowledging that he had carried his zeal and animosity too far: and such a Letter he actually did write.  He even consented to publish a circular Letter, exhorting all his disciples and followers to reverence and obey all the dictates of the Roman church.  He declared that his only intention, in the writings which he had composed was to brand with infamy those emissaries who abused its authority, and employed its protection as a mask to cover their abominable and impious frauds. [632]

Such was the hostility to the pope and his cause, and such the anxiety for religious reformation which Luther manifested for some years after he had assumed the character of a reformer, or rather after the commencement p. 633of his quarrel with Tetzel and the Dominicans.  Had Leo X. been wise and politic enough to accept his proffered submission, about the time of the conferences with Miltitz, he would, to all appearance, immediately and gladly have returned into the bosom of holy church, and, most probably, never have given his holiness or the world any further trouble on the score of religious abuses and corruptions.

The haughty pontiff, however, instead of embracing the golden opportunity, and receiving readily and kindly his rebellious, but now repentant son, had recourse to the very opposite mode of proceeding.  He fulminated his anathemas against him, had him solemnly excommunicated, declared an enemy to the church, and even to the holy Roman empire.  Luther having now no alternative, was obliged to make virtue of necessity; and it is easy to see that he was actually forced to take that course which he afterwards pursued, and in the pursuit of which he displayed such wonderful address, and such extraordinary talents as have really immortalized his name.  But as to real virtue, it seems hard to see or say how much of that there was in his opposition to the pope and church of Rome, except what is implied in the law of selfpreservation.  Cromwell too, had that law on his side, to the full as much, perhaps, as Luther, even while engaged in what has been deemed the most criminal parts of his conduct, the dethronement of the king and attainment of the supreme power.  But which of these two men was the most virtuous or most vicious, was the better or worse man, is a point that p. 634will not be presumed or attempted to be made here a subject of investigation.  They certainly had, both of them, great talents and great defects.

Lutheran and other protestant writers have appeared not a little anxious to have Luther acquitted from the imputation of having opposed Tetzel out of spite to the Dominicans, or from resentment for the preference shewn them in the distribution or traffick of indulgences.  We pretend not to say that that was the sole cause of his opposition; but that it might be partly the cause seems not at all improbable from what he himself has owned on other occasions.  Thus he acknowledges that he had tried to persuade himself of there being no real presence of Christ in the sacrament, “on purpose to spite the pope, but that the words of scripture were too plain in favour of it.”  Likewise, in his letter to the Vaudois, he says, “I have hitherto thought it of small consequence whether the bread remains in the sacrament or not, but now, to spite the papists, I am determined to believe that it does remain.”  Thus also, writing against those who had presumed to alter the public service without his authority, he says, “I knew very well that the elevation of the sacrament was idolatrous, but 1 retained it out of pure spite to that devil Carlostadius.” [634]  p. 635A very glaring and most odious trait in Luther’s character was the ungentlemanly and foul language in which he used to address his opponents, than which nothing could be more unbecoming in one who pretended to be engaged in, or anxious for the reformation of mankind, and the revival or restoration of genuine and primitive christianity.  We have just now seen in what style he could speak of his quondam friend Carlostadius: “that devil Carlostadius:” and it seems he could be sometimes equally uncivil and foulmouthed when he had occasion to speak of Zuinglius and the rest of that party, who did not receive his favourite doctrine of consubstantiation, or the real presence; for whom he had no mercy, but consigned them all to everlasting perdition; just as his modern disciples, our present evangelicals, do to the poor Arians and Socinians.

As to the papists, it was not to be expected that he should be more civil or polite to them than to the Zuinglians.  Accordingly, we are told that “the usual flowers of his speech, when addressing the pope and other catholic prelates, were: villain, thief, traitor, apostle of the devil, bishop of sodomites: and that the extent of his charity to them was to wish that their bowels were torn out, that they were cast into the Mediterranean sea or into the flames, and that they were hurried away to the devil.  His treatment of the king of England, Henry VIII, with whom he had at one time a theological controversy, (though afterwards they grew into a better understanding with each other,) was not more respectful than his treatment of the pope.  Luther makes no p. 636difficulty to call his royal antagonist, a Thomistical pig, an ass, a jakes, a dunghill, the spawn of an adder, a basilisk, a lying buffoon disguised in a king’s robe, a mad fool with a frothy mouth and a whorish face.  He even addresses him as follows: You lie, you stupid and sacrilegious king.” [636a]

Another very unamiable and disgustful trait in Luther’s character was his assuming an extraordinary and apostolic dignity and authority, under the name or title of Ecclesiastes: “Martin Luther Ecclesiastes of Wittemberg.”—“It is not fitting, (said he,) that I should be without a title, having received the work of the ministry, not from man, or by man, but by the gift of God, and the revelation of Jesus Christ.” [636b]  This was evidently putting himself upon a level, at least, with Peter and Paul, and the rest of the apostles, and claiming from professing christians the deference or submission due to them.  Accordingly, “he plainly proclaims to the whole body of protestants, in case they presume to consult together and determine about their common belief, that he will return back to the ancient church, and revoke every word he had ever written or taught against it; telling them that even in acting right, when they acted without his authority, they were plunging themselves into the jaws of hell.” [636c]

p. 637It is not a little remarkable that this reformer pretended to have some extraordinary intercourse, not only with the Deity, but also with Satan.  Accordingly, he has published to the world, not only that he held frequent communications with the devil, but also that he learned the most material part of the reformation, namely, the abolition of the mass from him.  In his treatise on that subject there is an account of Satan’s appearing to him by night, and of a long dialogue that passed between them, in which Luther defends the mass, and the devil argues against it.  The conclusion is that this new apostle yields to the motives suggested by his internal antagonist, and adopts the important reform which he proposes.  We are also informed, that Luther in one of his Sermons, according to Cochleus, affirmed that he had “eat more than a bushel of salt with Satan;” and that in his Colloquies he describes himself as constantly haunted by the devil, who, he says, “sleeps nearer to me than my wife Catherine.” [637]

Luther bears testimony to the unfavourable effects of the reformed religion, not only upon his followers, (as we have seen before) but also upon himself.  He says that whilst he continued a catholic monk he observed p. 638chastity, obedience and poverty; and that being free from worldly cares be gave himself up to fasting, watching, and prayer: whereas, after he commenced reformer, he describes himself as raging with the most violent concupiscence, to satisfy which he broke through his solemn vow of continency, in direct opposition to his former doctrine, by marrying a religious woman, who was under the same obligation.  He then proceeded to teach what most people deem shameful and licentious lessons, such as the permission, in certain cases, of concubinage and polygamy, and that pestilential doctrine, which is the utter destruction of all morality, that there is no freedom in human actions—and that when the scripture commands good works, “we are to understand it to forbid them, because we cannot do them; that a baptized person cannot lose his soul, whatever sins he commit, provided he believe, inasmuch as no sin can damn except infidelity.” [638]

Section III.

Further remarks on the reformers and reformation—tenaciously adhered to, and retained the very worst part of popery, its intolerant, persecuting, and bloody spirit—the very first thing whose reformation or expulsion they ought to have attempted—its omission rendered their whole undertaking illfavored, preposterous, and ineffectual.

Defective in many parts as Luther’s character really was, he appears to have been, nevertheless, one of the p. 639best among the original and leading reformers.  There seemed to be a frankness or unreservedness about him that was somewhat pleasing, and which it is not easy to discover in many of his coadjutors.  He was also apparently not so bloodyminded as some of them were, at whose head, it is presumed, we may venture to place the apostle of Geneva, Calvin.  This man (as is evinced by the tragical case of Servetus,) when his favourite dogmas were opposed, and his wisdom, learning, and infallibility set at naught, nothing would satisfy but the obstruction of his opponent: but Luther, (as appears from the affair of Carlostadius,) would be pretty well satisfied with the banishment only of those who happened so to offend him.  The spirit of Luther, however, though less vindictive and diabolical than that of Calvin, was yet very dissimilar to that of Jesus Christ, whose followers they both professed themselves to be.

It seems to have been then the case, that those reformers who had gone the furthest from the church of Rome in doctrine, such as Calvin and the Swiss divines, who denied the real presence, were yet the nighest to that church in spirit: for they seemed more addicted to the practice of consigning to destruction those whom they deemed heretics than the Lutherans, though the latter did not depart near so far as the former from the grand popish doctrine of transubstantiation.  Odd as this may be considered, it appears to be a fact; though to account for it may, perhaps, be attended with considerable difficulty.  It cannot however, be supposed, that the denial p. 640of the real presence could have any tendency to make people more bloodthirsty, vindictive, or intolerant.

The reformers, in retaining the bigotry and intolerance, or the spirit of popery, retained in fact its very worst part, and what may be called its marrow and substance; which the world had most need to get rid of.  All therefore that they did, or could do, in such a case, was only like giving a new edition, or an abridgment of an old and bad work, which still contained the essence of the former, and must, of course, have the same defective and evil tendency.  They appeared like people undertaking the cure of a demoniac without casting out the demon, or pretending that the evil or scrophula may be healed and eradicated by the royal touch.  In short, they began the work at the wrong end, and never meddled with that part at which they ought to have begun.

Their first work ought to have been to exhibit to the religious world the meekness and gentleness of Christ, and endeavour to bring those who professed to be his servants back to the spirit of his religion.  Had they done so, and succeeded, their work would have beep more than half done.  The rest would have followed of course, or, at least, with little comparative difficulty.  For when men have once imbibed the spirit of the New Testament, it will not be very hard to persuade them to renounce such doctrines or practices as are not enjoined or countenanced in that sacred volume: and if any errors or misconceptions happen still to remain, they will p. 641become in a great measure harmless, through the influence of that divine spirit by which they are now led and governed.

The reformers in foisting into their system the impious and horrid principle of intolerance and persecution, gave it a most monstrous and shocking aspect, even more so than that of the centaurs, or minotaurs of ancient fable; for it was like joining God with the devil, or Christ with Belial.  But nothing better, perhaps, could be expected from men who knew so little of the temper which christianity produces; and who never discerned the difference between the wisdom that is from above and that which is from beneath; or considered that Jesus Christ came not to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.  For men who knew so little of the genius of christianity to take it upon them, as they did, to lord it over the faith of professing christians, was certainly a most gross and iniquitous piece of presumption.

The power which the reformers acquired was very great and formidable, and the authority which they sometimes assumed and exercised was not a little remarkable and extraordinary, as appears not only from the permission of concubinage, &c. already mentioned, but also from the Dispensation granted by Luther, Melancthon, Bucer, and five others, to the prince of Hesse Cassel to have two wives at a time, and which was afterwards published by a descendant of that prince.  This was certainly taking a great deal upon them, and placing themselves, not indeed upon a level with the p. 642apostles, as was before observed, but much above them, even with the pope himself.  Yet they seemed very angry with his holiness, calling him antichrist, and many other bad names.  They appeared very desirous to pull him down, but had no manner of objection to do his work, or act the pope themselves when it suited them, and that was not unfrequently.

It is curious enough to hear these men inveigh against the intolerant and persecuting spirit of the church of Rome, at the very time when they themselves were manifesting the selfsame spirit, and pursuing the same tyrannical and murderous course which they so much condemned in the papists.  In our own country, John Fox, the martyrologist, was employed in writing huge folios to describe the horrors of popish persecution, while his own protestant sovereign and her bishops and clergy were persecuting the poor puritans with unfeeling and relentless rigour.  Protestants can see the hatefulness of persecution in the papists, but very often are quite blind to it in themselves, or those of their own party. [642]  They can discern what is bad in their opponents, but overlook what is equally so in themselves.

p. 643Christianity, in its first aspect and fundamental principles, is a religion of peace and good will towards men, which forbids any to domineer over their brethren, or exercise authority over their consciences, and requires, in all things whatsoever, to do to others as we would they should do to us.  But the reformers overlooked all this, and discovered either an entire ignorance of, or a fixed aversion to these godlike principles.  In either case they must have been wretchedly qualified to reform and christianize the world, or form a religion worthy the reception of mankind.  A religion, however, they would and did form, and never rested till they got it established by the civil power, and enforced by penal sanctions; and this rendered its native intolerance doubly pernicious and detestable.

“No religion” (says an excellent writer) “can be established without penal sanctions, and all penal sanctions in cases of religion are persecutions.  Before a man can persecute he must renounce the generous tolerant dispositions of a christian.  No religion can be established without human creeds; and subscription to all human creeds implies two dispositions contrary to true religion, p. 644and both expressly forbidden by the author of it.  These two dispositions are, love of dominion over conscience in the imposer, and an abject preference of slavery in the subscriber.  The first usurps the rights of Christ; the last swears allegiance to a pretender.  The first domineers, and gives laws like a tyrant; the last truckles like a vassal.  The first assumes a dominion incompatible with his frailty, impossible even to his dignity, yea even denied to the dignity of angels; the last yields a low submission, inconsistent with his own dignity, and ruinous to that very religion, which he pretends by this mean to support.” [644]

It is very remarkable, and no less true and disgusting, that protestantism was ushered into the world in the very spirit of the religion it strove to supplant.  Yet its authors expected to be thought commissioned by heaven to do what they did, and clearly entitled to the gratitude and reverence of mankind, as well as their ready submission to their dictates and authority.  But to one who has carefully examined the New Testament, they appear so very different from the first disseminators or propagators of christianity, that they can hardly be supposed to belong to the same cause or family.  When Luther is seen banishing conscientious people who differed from him, and Calvin, and the Swiss reformers, burning or hanging them, and the French protestants, or Calvinists of France solemnly soliciting their popish sovereign to inflict severe punishment on those whom p. 645they were pleased to deem heretics: [645]—when one recollects these acts, and that they were all done in the name of the Lord, one is ready to sicken at the thought of the pretensions of the actors, to reform the world and restore christianity to its original state.  Nor is it less disgusting to hear our flaming advocates for modern orthodoxy extolling these men, as models of christian sanctity, and unexceptionable or safe guides to pure, undefiled, and evangelical religion.

Section IV.

Brief account of the rise and progress of the reformation in this kingdom.

No sooner had the reformation begun to gain ground and spread on the continent than its effects began to be felt in this country.  The court, or government was at first so far from being disposed to countenance it, that it seemed, on the contrary, quite determined to oppose and crush it.  The sovereign himself appeared exceedingly hostile to it: which, from his known character, must have rendered the prospect of its admission and success here very dark and hopeless.  So inimical was p. 646his majesty then to the cause of the reformers and so hearty in that of their opponents, that he actually took up his pen and wrote a book against Luther; for which important performance and acceptable service the pope thought proper to reward him, by conferring on him the dignified title of Defender of the Faith; a title which all his protestant successors have tenaciously, if not proudly retained to this day.  This was the book which Luther answered in the rude and uncourtly manner before described. [646]

Our royal polemic did not long continue to be that fond and dutiful son of his holy father at Rome of which he had at first exhibited so fair and hopeful a promise.  His Holiness not readily favouring his inclination, or gratifying his wish to be divorced from his first wife and marry another Lady, whom he liked much better, he disdainfully threw off that paternal yoke, renounced his connection with Rome, and became himself a great and violent reformer; so as to deserve to be placed in the very first rank among his contemporaries of that denomination.  A mighty revolution ensued throughout his dominions: and though we cannot boast of the purity of the source whence it sprung, or of its being distinguished, (at least in the outset,) by much, if any, real virtue; yet it proved eventually of no small advantage and benefit to these nations: and Henry ought to be commemorated as one of the chief and most meritorious of all our royal benefactors.

p. 647One of the chief objects of Henry’s reformation, like that of Lather, seems to have been to spite the pope.  He had also in view, no doubt, the gratification of his ambition and caprice, which in a mind like his must have been very powerful springs of action.  Nor did he miss his aims: he fairly expelled the pope, obtained full scope for his caprice, boundless as it was, and actually acquired far more power than ever, for he now became a complete and uncontrouled despot in temporal, and a pope in spiritual affairs.  The two other branches of the legislature, from whom alone any effectual or legal opposition could have arisen, were so far from daring or attempting to check his soaring career, or cross his capricious humour, that they readily and obsequiously concurred in constituting him supreme head both of church and state.

Having reached the utmost point of elevation, or pinnacle of power, he set about reforming the religion, and rectifying the faith of his subjects, after the example of his brother-reformers on the continent; and a most curious, grotesque, and strange piece of work he certainly made of it.  Yet it is supposed to be the true foundation or groundwork of our present national establishment, and that Henry himself was the father, or first patriarch of the English protestant Hierarchy.  Nor has our established church any just ground or reason, apparently, to disown him in that character, for he was perhaps as holy and good a soul as most of her succeeding patriarchs.  But this point we pretend not to determine.

p. 648King Henry made his own faith or creed the standard or model for all his subjects, male and female, young and old, learned and unlearned.  It was at the utmost peril of any of his subjects if their religion did not exactly tally with his; at least, if he happened to find it out.  If shorter or narrower than his, it was at the peril of their lives; and the same again if it proved longer or broader.  It must not vary a single inch, or even a hair’s breadth from his, or his majesty would deem it a most grievous offence, and a crime deserving capital punishment.  Hence he is known to have put some to death for not going so far from Rome or popery as he did, and some again for going further; and both were occasionally burnt in the same fire, or at the same time.  In short, it was then a sad and dismal time in this country, and Henry’s reformation must have been a most strange and terrible work.

Even the bishops and other religious functionaries, who generally fare better than most other people, could not then have a very pleasant time of it; especially the better sort of them, who could have wished to lead honest lives and act somewhat conscientiously, had they been quietly permitted so to do.  To that class bishop Latimer is supposed to belong.  He seemed more simple and downright than most of the rest, which might involve him in difficulties which his more wary brethren would naturally escape.  Accordingly we find the correctness of his creed repeatedly called in question, and he got frequently into heretical scrapes, which he generally p. 649managed to get out of by abjuration: [649]—a method which some would be apt to deem not very creditable to his virtue or integrity, though in general looked upon as unimpeachable and of the first order.

“Admitting him” (says Milner to Sturges) “to have been conscientiously persuaded of the truth of the Reformation, was it consistent with christian integrity and virtue to dissemble his religion for twenty years together, and repeatedly abjure it, as he certainly did as often as he found himself threatened with any serious danger by adhering to it?  Was it consistent with integrity and virtue to accept of one of the highest offices, the bishopric of Worcester, in a church which he so much reprobated, and even to take an oath of opposing, to the utmost of his power, all persons who dissented from, or were p. 650disobedient to it?  But supposing you inclined to overlook all this, what will you say to the share he took in the religious persecutions both of Henry’s and of Edward’s reign?  What excuse will you make for him when you find him sending christians and protestants to the stake for the very opinion which he himself holds?” [650]  These are serious charges, and all apparently well-founded; but the chief and heaviest of them is his being a bloody persecutor.  He was moreover one of our chief English reformers, on which account the above brief sketch of his character has been here introduced, along with the rest of his most conspicuous associates, to give the reader an opportunity to judge what veneration is due to their memory, or how well or ill they deserved of their contemporaries and of posterity.

Ridley is another of our protestant prelates that appeared at the head of our English Reformation.  Dr. Sturges describes him as “active in the conduct of ecclesiastical affairs.”  To which his keen and able opponent replies: “I think, sir, you will grant that he shewed rather too much activity in these affairs, to be consistent with integrity, after I shall have reminded you, that when bishop of Rochester in Henry’s days, and when bishop of London in those of Edward, he was as forward in persecuting protestants and anabaptists as p. 651Cranmer, Latimer, and the rest of the prelates were; and that he was one of the most zealous and forward of Dudley’s partisans in endeavouring to interrupt the regular succession of the throne, and in raising that rebellion which was attended with the loss of so much blood.” [651]

Hooper, another of our chief reformers, was much less active than Ridley in the conduct of ecclesiastical affairs.  He was somewhat scrupulous about certain vestments and ceremonies; and he might have some scruples too on the subject of persecution: at least it is not in the present writer’s recollection that he was very forward, like the others, in harassing those who were called heretics.  His character, however, seems not so indefectible as to entitle him to be held up as a mirror of evangelical soundness, or an object of universal admiration.  He has been charged with being the founder of the sect called puritans, which proved so troublesome to our rulers in church and state for a whole century or more: but this is not mentioned here as a blemish in his character.  The following circumstances are of a more blamable nature: 1.  His obtaining and holding the bishopric of Worcester, in addition to his former bishopric of Gloucester, after having inveighed very strongly in his sermons against pluralities: 2.  His consenting to wear the vestments, after having engaged the young king to write to Cranmer that they “were offensive to his conscience;” and his taking the oath of supremacy, after p. 652having made his patron, Dudley, write to the same prelate that “it was burdensome to his conscience,” when he found that he could not get promotion otherwise. [652a]

But in our English reformation, under Henry VIII, and Edward VI, the chief agent was confessedly archbishop Cranmer, whose character, as exhibited by eminent protestant writers, abounded with great and glaring blemishes.  “The first remarkable circumstance we meet in the life of Cranmer is his privately marrying a woman of low condition, whilst he was fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge, [652b] contrary to the engagements of his admission.  He afterwards, when a priest, [and while his first wife was alive] married a second wife in Germany, by a much more flagrant violation of his vow of celibacy, and having brought her privately into England, he continued to live with her, in equal opposition to the laws of the church and of the land,” [and though he had assured the king that he had sent her home to Germany.]  “Being a Lutheran in principle, as far back as the year 1529, he afterwards accepted the office of pope’s penitentiary, and when named to the archbishopric of Canterbury he was content to accept different bulls from the pontiff to take upon himself the character of his legate in England, and even to make a solemn oath of obedience to him, [652c] with an obligation of opposing all heretics and schismatics, that is to say, according to the received sense of the words, all persons of his own religious persuasion.  p. 653In like manner he must have said mass, which, in his opinion, was an idolatrous worship, both at his consecration, and frequently at other times, during the fourteen years that he governed the church of England under Henry.  He must also necessarily, from time to time, have ordained other priests to perform the same worship, and imposed upon them the obligation of that continency which he himself did not observe.  In a word, we see his subscription still affixed to a great variety of doctrinal articles and injunctions, issued during that reign, which we know to have been in direct opposition to his real sentiments.”

“Every one knows that Cranmer owed his rise in the church to the part which he took in Henry’s divorce from queen Catherine of Arragon.  Henry tired out with the opposition of Rome, and impatient to be united with his beloved Ann Boleyn, privately marries her Nov. 14, 1532, and Cranmer himself is one of the witnesses of the contract. [653a]  On the 11th. of the following March this same prelate writes a letter to Henry, from “pure motives of conscience” as he declares, [653b] but from a preconcerted scheme as the fact proves, representing the necessity there was of determining the long depending cause between him and his queen, and demanding of him the necessary ecclesiastical jurisdiction to decide it. [653c]  This being granted, he on the 20th of May pronounces a sentence of divorce between the royal pair, and authorises Henry to take another wife; [653d] six months p. 654after he himself had officiated as witness to his marriage with Ann Boleyn, and only four months before the latter was delivered of an infant who was afterwards queen Elizabeth. [654a]  What a scandalous collusion in so important a matter of conscience and public example!”

“In less than three years however [his sacred majesty] grows weary of the consort whom he had moved heaven and earth to gain, [654b] and becomes enamoured of a new beauty.  Nevertheless appearances must be saved; and therefore Cranmer presents himself as the ready instrument in smoothing the way to the gratification of [his sovereign’s] passions.  After a feint effort to save Ann, p. 655to whose family he had such infinite obligations, in a cold adulatory letter to the king, which he wrote on the occasion, [655a] he lent all his aid to ruin and oppress her, permitting, if not persuading, her, (standing as she then did upon the verge of eternity) to confess what he knew to be false; [655b] and pronouncing a sentence of divorce, which contained that she had never been validly married to Henry, at the very time when she was lying under sentence of death for violating his bed by adultery!” [655c]

In the transactions relating to Ann of Cleves, Henry’s fourth queen, Cranmer’s conduct appears scarcely less dishonourable than in those relating to Ann Boleyn.  Nor does it seem that the death of Henry produced in him any real or material amendment: so that there can be no validity in the excuse usually made for his former misconduct by ascribing it chiefly to that monarch’s despotic will.  He appeared just as obsequious to the will of the protector Seymour as he had been before to that of Henry.  “To gratify this he consented to set aside in a great measure the last will of his old master, of which he was the first-named executor. [655d]  Having raised this ecclesiastical no less than civil idol to undue power, he was ready to pay homage to him with all the essential authority of the church, taking out a new commission p. 656for his archbishopric, under the pretext that his former power had expired with the deceased king, and professing to be a prelate no longer than the child Edward, or rather Seymour himself, should acknowledge him to be so.” [656a]

“Cranmer concurred no less in other [misdoings] and disorders of this infant reign, than he did in those stated above.  He gratified Somerset by subscribing to the death warrant of his brother.  He was afterwards as forward as any of the other courtiers in paying his homage to the rising power of Dudley, when he found the interest of the latter growing stronger than that of Seymour: and he carried his ingratitude to his deceased benefactor Henry, and his infidelity in the discharge of that prince’s last will, to such a length as to concur in excluding his two daughters from their lawful inheritance and right to the crown, in order to place it on the head of Dudley’s daughter-in-law, the lady Jane.  If Elizabeth [therefore] had succeeded to the throne immediately after Edward, she would no more have spared Cranmer and Ridley than Mary did.” [656b]

“In conclusion, if Cranmer was burnt to death for heresy, instead of being beheaded for rebellion, [his advocates ought to] reflect, how many persons he himself, whilst he had power in his hands, had condemned to this punishment, on the selfsame accusation.”  For it is undeniable that be was instrumental in the execution p. 657of many persons for religions opinions, and that some of them held the very tenets for which he himself afterwards suffered.  “Though this part of his conduct has keen kept out of sight as much as possible, yet we have certain proofs of his having been one of the chief instruments, under Henry, in bringing to the stake John Lambert, Ann Askew, John Frith, and William Allen, [657a] for denying the real presence of Christ in the sacrament, besides a great number of anabaptists, &c. for their respective opinions.”

“In the reign of Edward VI, besides other most severe persecutions which he carried on against Gospellers, Anabaptists, and other sectaries, amongst whom two at least were Sacramentarians, he was the active promoter and immediate cause of the burning of Joan Knell, [657b] and George Paris or Van Parr, [657c] for certain p. 658singular opinions.  Amongst those who escaped with their lives, a great part of them were forced to recant, through the fear of torments, and to carry lighted tapers and faggots, in testimony of their having merited burning. [658a]  As to the fate of Joan Knell, or Butcher, commonly called Joan of Kent, (and whose innocent blood was evidently shed by the procurement of Cranmer,) Dr. Milner thinks that when it is considered with all its attendant circumstances, a more cruel and wanton act of persecution (he might have said murder,) is not to be found upon record. [658b]  “The doctrine for which she suffered (he adds) was of an abstract nature, not calculated to gain proselytes or to occasion any public disturbances.  p. 659She was barely accused of maintaining, that “Christ passed through the blessed Virgin’s body as water through a conduit, without participating of that body through which he passed.” [659a]  For no other cause than persisting in this opinion, she was convented in the church of St. Paul, before archbishop Cranmer and his assistants, convicted and delivered over to the secular arm.  We have the sentence that he pronounced on the occasion, which is rigorous beyond the usual terms; and we have a certificate of it, addressed to the king, in which instead of petitioning for mercy, in the usual style of such instruments, the convict heretic is expressly recommended “to receive due punishment.”  Nor is this all, for the royal youth being unwilling to sign the warrant for her execution, Cranmer employs all his theological arguments to induce him to comply; amongst other things telling him that “princes, being God’s deputies, ought to punish impieties against God.”  In the end Edward sets his hand to the warrant, but with tears in his eyes, telling Cranmer, that “if he did wrong, he (the said Cranmer) should answer for it to God.”  At length, by a change in circumstances, the archbishop himself being condemned as a heretic to suffer that cruel death, to which he had condemned so many others on the same account, “he was far from imitating the firmness of the greater part of them.” [659b]

His recantation of his former or protestant principles, at Mary’s accession, is well known.  The prevailing p. 660notion is, that it was the effect of “a momentary weakness,” or the act and deed of “an unguarded hour:” but that appears very far from being correct or true.  On the contrary, “he is proved to have deliberately subscribed six different forms of recantation, at so many different periods, [660a] each one of which was more ample and express than the preceding one; and he remained during the whole five or six last weeks of his life, and until the very hour of his death, either a sincere catholic or an egregious hypocrite.  At length finding that, notwithstanding so many retractations, he was upon the point of being executed, he revoked them all, and shewed a resolution at his death which he had exhibited in no one occurrence of his life.” [660b]

Section V.

View of the first fruits of the English reformation, or its immediate and subsequent effects on the public manners and morals—system defective—reasons for introducing these subjects into this work.

We have seen already what were the first fruits, or immediate effects of the continental reformation; and as our own reformation was only the counterpart of that, or, as we might say, its offspring, it was hardly to be expected but that the effects or fruits of both would be similar.  We accordingly meet with undeniable evidence p. 661that that was really the case.  Among those competent witnesses who describe the effects of the reformation in this kingdom, the first place or first hearing, no doubt, is due to that memorable prince who laid the foundation of it, Henry VIII.  His majesty speaks very plainly and pointedly upon this subject, in a speech which he delivered to parliament the year before his death.  Having then complained of the abuse which the people made of the permission he had granted them to read the scriptures in the vulgar tongue, by “their own phantastical opinions and vain expositions,” instead of consulting him their spiritual head, he goes on: “I am sure that charitie was never so faint amongst you, and vertuous and godlie living was never less, nor God himselfe amongst christians was never less reverenced, honored, or served.” [661]

“That the state of morality was not rendered better, but rather infinitely worse, in the following reign, when the protestant religion was fully developed and established, we have abundant and undeniable evidence in the confessions of the most zealous advocates and abettors of that cause.  The following is bishop Burnet’s account of the state of morality under Edward VI: “The sins of England did at that time call down from heaven heavy curses on the land.  They are sadly expressed in a discourse that Ridley wrote soon after, under the title of The Lamentation of England: he says that “lechery, oppression, pride, covetousness, and a hatred and scorn p. 662of all religion were generally spread amongst all people, but chiefly those of the higher ranks.” [662a]

Ridley’s fellow-bishop, Latimer, speaks still more openly as to one particular vice, in a sermon preached before the king, and quoted by Heylin.  His words are these: “Lechery is used in England, and such lechery as is used in no other part of the world.  And it is made a matter of sport, a trifle not to be passed on or reformed.”  To remedy this he begs that the church may be reinstated in “her right of excommunicating notable offenders, by putting them out of the congregation.” [662b]  In another of his court sermons he seems to glance at corruption in high places or offices—such as judges taking bribes: “I would wish,” (says he) “that of such a judge in England now we might have the skin hanged up.  It were a goodly sight, the sign of the judge’s skin.” [662c]

“The laborious collector Strype, though a most zealous advocate for the cause of the reformation, yet draws the most frightful picture of the wickedness which prevailed throughout the nation after its first establishment that is to be met with in history.  The account is too long to be here inserted at length, but it is comprised under the following heads: “The covetousness of the nobility and gentry; the oppression of the poor; no redress at law; the judges ready to barter justice for money; impunity of murders; the clergy very bad from the bishops to the curates; and above all, the increase of p. 663adulteries and whoredom. [663a]  The historian Camden’s description of these times agrees with that of the former writers.  He says, “The sacrilegious avarice of the times rapaciously seized upon colleges, chantries, and hospitals, under the pretence of superstition: whilst ambition and jealousy amongst the great, and insolence and sedition amongst the people, swelled to such a pitch that England seemed to be raging mad with rebellions, tumults, party zeal, &c.” [663b]

During the reign of Elizabeth, when Camden wrote, and when the reformation had arrived at full maturity, though the civil state of the realm was better regulated, yet in private life, as Dr. Milner observes, “the vices of individuals in every rank rose to the same height of profligacy as before.”  In corroboration of this he refers to contemporary protestant testimonies.  Stubbs, the author of a piece entitled “Motives to Good Works,” with an epistle dedicatorie to the lord major of London, an. 1596, asserts, among other things, that the observation of Luther, (quoted above, p. 628,) still holds good: and he further says; “For good works who sees not that they (the papists of former times) were far beyond us, and we far behind them.” p. 44.  To the same effect speaks R. Jeffery, in his sermon at Paul’s Cross, an. 1604.  Many other writers, particularly of the puritan party, have given similar testimonies in reference p. 664to the reign both of Elizabeth and also of her successor James. [664]

From the preceding facts or premises we may venture to affirm that the effects of the reformation on those who first embraced it were not such as might be expected, p. 665or such as would have appeared, had the religion which the reformers introduced been of divine origin, or the same with that which the apostles promulgated, and which is contained in the New Testament.  The latter, like a good tree, produced good fruit; and its effects, wherever it prevailed, or was heartily received, were very different from those above described, and of the very opposite character.  It must follow therefore, that the religion of the reformers was so radically and materially defective as not to be adapted to answer some of the chief or most important ends which the religion of Christ was designed to promote—and even that its whole scope and tendency were actually subversive of those very ends.

This will not appear very wonderful when it is considered what manner of spirit the reformers were of, or how their religion was constituted, and that they appear to have paid far more attention to the sayings and dictates of Athanasius and Jerom, Ambrose and Austin, and the rest of those old women called fathers, than they did to those of the apostles and evangelists, or even of Jesus Christ himself.  Nothing therefore very good and excellent could be expected from them; nor indeed any thing superior to, or better than such a farrago as they did produce, or such articles, creeds, confessions, directories, formulas, &c. as they thought proper to impose on their disciples and followers.  To have produced what was right good, and excellent, they must have drawn from a purer fountain, and partaken of another and very different spirit.

p. 666The reformation being destitute of the spirit of christianity, and full of that of popery, which constituted its grand defect, it could not possibly prove that blessing to mankind which it otherwise would have done.  It usurped the same dominion over conscience as the old religion did, and persecuted with equal bitterness and violence those who dared to think and judge for themselves, and refused to yield obedience to its authority, or submit to its usurpation.  It is difficult therefore to see on what that mighty reverence claimed for the names and memory of the reformers can be founded.  Had they actually published and granted liberty of conscience to the people, and allowed every honest man to think and judge for himself, and to serve and worship God according to the conviction of his own mind—then, indeed, might love and gratitude and reverence be justly claimed to their memory, and their names be enrolled among the best and most eminent benefactors of their species.  But such was not their conduct.—In fine, considering the spirit which they breathed and the effects which their doctrines produced, it seems impossible to look upon them as promoters of the religion of the New Testament, or promulgators of the genuine gospel of Jesus Christ.

But it may, and probably will be asked, Why introduce these subjects into the present work?  To this we beg leave to answer: 1.  Because they are in general ill understood, and supposed to be so by many who will probably peruse these sheets, to whom an attempt to place them in a right and true light would be, as it was thought, a reasonable and acceptable service.—p. 6672.  Because we are now entering upon that part of the work which commences at the reformation, in which of course, many things will occur which have resulted from that event; an introductory sketch of which therefore seemed necessary for the right conception or illustration of such occurrences.—3.  Because the discussion of these subjects here will enable the reader to perceive the living image and offspring of the original reformers in those of the present day who assume the character of evangelical, and sole promoters of vital religion.  Their principles and spirit evince the stock whence they are sprung: and so also do those filial feelings so very visible in their readiness at all times to defend or palliate the very worst actions of those reformers, and even the murderous deeds of a Calvin and a Cranmer.—4 Because it afforded the author an opportunity to bear his testimony against some of the greatest existing evils that have sprung from the reformation, bigotry and intolerance; which have ever since, even in this protestant country and town, and among most of our tolerated sects, usurped the place of religious liberty, and trampled upon the sacred rights of conscience.

Section VI.

Further remarks on the effects of the Reformation, especially as they appeared in this town.

The effects of the reformation were very great and remarkable, not only on those who were rationally proselyted to it, or who received it upon conviction, but also p. 668on them who went with the tide without exercising their reason or troubling their heads at all about the comparative merits of the two religions.  Neither party had their morals improved, but on the contrary rendered much more dissolute by the change, as we have already seen.  The same event had likewise effects no less visible and remarkable on the very aspect or appearance of both town and country; as must necessarily have been the case from the dissolution and demolition of so many religious houses, and the suppression and expulsion of such a multitude of monks, friars, and nuns, who must have had no small influence in preserving social order, regulating the morals, and restraining many of the vicious propensities of the community.

In fact, the licentiousness which appears to have resulted from the reformation is seemingly to be ascribed to the three following causes—1. The real, apparent, or supposed loose tendency of certain leading doctrines of the reformers, as was observed before.—2. The suppression of the religious houses, whose inhabitants used to be the means of promoting public decency, and checking the influence of licentious principles. [668]—3. The revolutionary character of the reformation.  All great revolutions, from their very nature, tend to weaken the ties, and loosen the bands which preserve the good order of society and strengthen the moral habits of its members.—It may be reasonably concluded that each of these causes had a material effect on this p. 669town and country at the memorable era of reformation, and long after.

We can discover no appearance or indication that the character or disposition of the Lynn people was further christianized, mollified, or any way improved by that extraordinary event; but rather the contrary.  Among the principal transactions left upon record as having taken place here since the reformation, one of the first is “the burning of a Dutchman in the Market place for heresy.”  This is said to have happened in the year 1335, and so at an early period of our protestantism.  It is remarkable enough that the only instance that occurred in this town of putting a man to death for heresy, or burning him for his religion, happened after the reformation, or since the town became protestant; which shews that people may bear that honourable name and at the same time be very far from humanity and righteousness.

The poor hapless sufferer had probably fled to England and made choice of Lynn as a place of refuge from the persecution which then raged in his own country.  He might be induced to take this step from the favourable reports he had heard at home of the generosity and hospitality of our nation towards strangers, and particularly the oppressed and friendless.  If such was actually the case, he found himself at last miserably disappointed, and learnt by dear bought and bitter experience, that however abundant the liberality and tender mercies of England and of Lynn might be towards some descriptions of oppressed or distressed people, yet that p. 670they by no means extended to those called heretics:—an appellation which has too often meant no more than that those branded with it differed from the ruling or predominant party, and were consigned by them to the ill opinion and detestation of the public.

The deplorable fate of this friendless stranger must stamp indelible disgrace on the memory of his brutal murderers? and it shews what little reason Lynn then had to congratulate itself on its change from popery to protestantism.  We have no account what the dreadful heresy was, with which this unpitied victim to protestant bigotry and persecution was charged, and for which he suffered.  Whatever it was, it could not be very dangerous or alarming; for as he was a foreigner there could be no danger of his disseminating it here among a people of whose language he can be supposed to have little or no knowledge.  In short, every feeling heart must be shocked at the aggravated atrocity of this diabolical deed.

It is sad and mortifying enough to think how much this town has been under the influence of religious bigotry and intolerance, and the most pitiful narrowmindedness almost ever since.  The harmless Quakers were here imprisoned and cruelly treated, and the Baptists were harassed in the most unjust and shameful manner even after the revolution.  Poor creatures, most wrongfully branded with the odious name of witches, were here also for no short period since the reformation, subjected to rigorous prosecutions and capital punishments.  These facts are now just glanced at, but shall be more fully related hereafter in the course of the work.

p. 671Unfavourable as some of the reformed doctrines undoubtedly were to moral improvement, it cannot be said to be the case with all of them.  Some were evidently of the opposite tendency, as were also some of the romish doctrines.  But they could not be expected to produce the desired effect unless they were extensively promulgated; and that does not appear to have been the case in this country, at least till a long while after the commencement of the reformation.  It was one of the great and glaring defects of the reforming system in England, that it did not provide a sufficient number of religious or public instructors in lieu of those of the old religion who had been suppressed and silenced at the dissolution of the monasteries and other religious houses, or in consequence of their aversion to the new order of things.  These are known to have been very numerous, but the number of the reformed ministers, or protestant clergy, who were appointed to succeed them and supply their places as public instructors, appears to have been very inconsiderable; comparatively at least: and, what is not a little remarkable, they were also, for the most part, far less competent than their predecessors for the charge they undertook.  In such circumstances, and with such a ministry, it might be expected that vice and licentiousness would increase and abound.

The state of things at Lynn, at, and long after the reformation, does not appear to have been at all favourable to moral and religious improvement.  Before that period the town abounded with religious and moral instructors, p. 672such as they were, who certainly contributed in no small measure to preserve social order and public decency; and when they were afterwards superseded, their successors did not appear to greater advantage.  They were not their superiors in abilities, and they were far inferior to them in number, and probably no less so in the public estimation, and the weight and extent of their influence over the minds of the inhabitants at large, especially those of the middling and lower orders, who constituted the main body or majority of the inhabitants.  For among these there did not appear to be many then, as there had been formerly, who were dissatisfied with the old order of things, and anxious for a religious revolution. [672]

Before the reformation the number of ecclesiastics or religious functionaries at Lynn was very considerable, amounting perhaps to sixty or seventy at least.  Of them fifteen belonged to the Austin Convent, twelve to the Dominican, ten to the Franciscan, and eleven to the Carmelite: making in all forty eight.  To these may be added the monks of the Benedictine Priory, those who belonged to the Convent de Penitentia, and p. 673to the College of Priests, amounting, it may be supposed, on a moderate computation, to twenty or thirty more.  Such a number as seventy or eighty, or even sixty clergymen, or public teachers of religion, for this town, would now be thought too large of all reason and conscience.  But they were no fewer here before the reformation, if indeed they were so few; and the influence of such a number of ghostly guides and instructors, to restrain immoral excesses, and preserve public decency and social order, must certainly have been very considerable.

At the reformation they were all silenced and suppressed.  They were also succeeded, when successors could be found, (which was not always the case) [673] by men who had renounced the spiritual supremacy of the pope, and acknowledged that of the king, which was always an indispensible requirement and qualification.  But very generally, it seems, throughout the nation, the protestant successors of the priests, monks, and friars, were poor hands, and ill qualified to instruct p. 674and enlighten the people; [674] and such, it is probable, were those who succeeded in this town.  There is reason to think that their number too was very small, not exceeding perhaps three or four, or half a dozen at most, which, considering also their deficiency in other respects, was not likely to render them in the eyes of the public of any thing like equal consideration with their expelled predecessors.  The state of society therefore could not be expected to be much benefited or improved, or the progress of the reformation facilitated and advanced by their ministration.

To supply the wants or defects, and remedy in some measure the insufficiency of that new race of clergy, the Book of Homilies was composed and introduced; portions of which were directed to be read in the churches instead of sermons.  This seems to have been a wise and commendable contrivance, as things then stood.  The generality of the clergy were not allowed to preach, owing, it is presumed, to their known or supposed incapacity, or insufficiency to perform that task properly, or to edification.  Those of a superior class, who were judged equal to that task, were allowed to take out licences to empower or authorize them to preach to the people.  Their preaching was extempore, or without book, as had always been the case before, in this p. 675as well as every other country.  They could not therefore be objected to on that account.

But it so happened that their preaching did not give general satisfaction; owing, perhaps, partly, if not chiefly, to its containing what Burnet calls “very foul and indiscreet reflections on the other party;” [675a] (meaning the papists;) a party which still contained a large majority of the nation, with not a few of its first families.  However that was, the sermons gave great offence, and the preachers were much blamed.  Complaints against them were made to the king, “by hot men on both sides,” [675b] as the writer above mentioned expresses himself.  On what ground those of their own side, the protestants, objected to their preaching, it is not easy to discover: nor does it appear to be very material.  They must however have been rather unfortunate, to incur the displeasure of their friends as well as their enemies.  But what makes this of most importance is what resulted from it, and which we will now proceed to relate.

Of the charges and accusations brought against those preachers it is very probable that not a few were utterly unfounded and false, the offspring of envy and malice.  Others might be mere misrepresentations or exaggerations, proceeding from unintentional mistake or strong prejudice.  But as the discourses referred to and complained of were delivered extemporaneously or off hand, the accused could not easily and effectually disprove what their accusers had alleged against them, as they p. 676could do little more than oppose their own word or testimony to those allegations, which was not likely to prove always satisfactory to their superiors.  In order therefore to justify themselves, and be secure in future from misrepresentation and false accusation, they came generally to write and read their sermons. [676]  This was the beginning of preaching from notes, and thus was the reading of sermons introduced among the clergy of the church of England, which has universally prevailed there ever since, with the exception of the puritans in former times, and those called evangelical clergy in the present day.

This practice seems to be still confined to the clergy of the church of England, and the English presbyterians; which may account for the small effect the ministry of either has on the lower orders of the community.  By the Scotch Presbyterians, or the church of Scotland it has never been adopted, nor would it be deemed, beyond the Tweed, worthy the name of preaching: all there is extempore, or from memory; yet the common people there are of far superior morals, and infinitely better informed than those of this country; which furnishes at least a strong presumption that the ancient practice is abundantly preferable to the other in its tendency, aptitude, or adaptation to attract the attention, impress the minds, improve the manners and character, and promote the moral and religious proficiency of the lower ranks of society, which constitute the great body of the nation.

Such was the practice of the Lollards, or Wickliffites p. 677formerly, when they brought half the nation over to their way of thinking; such also was the practice of the puritans and nonconformists afterwards, whose success was by no means inconsiderable, notwithstanding the grievous opposition and persecution which they had to encounter: and such, we all know, has been and is the practice of the popular dissenters and methodists of the present day, who seem to bid fair soon to bring two thirds of the thinking and serious part of the nation to enlist under their banners.  In short, we know of no preaching, but what has been extempore or without book, that has ever made very deep impression, or produced any mighty and salutary effect upon the minds of the common people.  If therefore this kind of preaching were to cease, or be discontinued among us, there is every reason to believe that the lower orders of our countrymen would soon become heathenized, barbarized, and brutalized to a most deplorable degree; and that the profession of religion would ere long be confined within narrow limits, and to a comparatively small party among our middling classes.

This modern device, or, as it may be called, the English mode of promoting religious knowledge by reading sermons, which excludes half the nation from almost any chance of receiving instruction, has yet had its warm admirers and encomiasts among us, who have not failed most lavishly to congratulate or compliment their dear country on the important result of this contrivance, in the unequalled number of English printed sermons, of a cast and merit superior to those of any other nation.  Now allowing all this to be true, and p. 678that the generality of the clergy have aimed at excelling in the same way in all their unprinted discourses, must it not follow that they have taken pains to compose such elaborate productions as will be, after all, of little or no use to the greatest part of those who have been committed to their charge?  This seems to be one reason why so many are seen to withdraw from the church and resort to the conventicle.  May it not be said therefore, that the practice in question, or this change which commenced at the reformation, has proved unfavourable, not only to the interest of the common people of this country, but even to that of the established church itself?

As to this town, at and for some time after the reformation, it does not seem likely, from the character of that event, and the complexion and small number of the reformed successors of the priests, monks, and friars, that it derived much, if any, moral or intellectual improvement from that change.  Its few officiating protestant clergymen, with their humdrum reading of homilies or illsuited sermons, could prove but poor substitutes for the numerous friars that preceded them, whose preaching, like that of our modern methodists, &c. was always animated and energetic, directed chiefly and powerfully to affect the feelings, and move and rouse the passions of their auditors: and it was delivered in a plain familiar style, and a language suited to the weakest understanding and meanest capacity.  Here the friars excelled, and here the preachers of our modern popular sects excel also, and succeed abundantly, like their prototypes. [678]

p. 679It seems very probable, though it may be thought not a little strange, that the impression and influence of moral and religious principles have never been so general or extensive among the common people of this town and country since the reformation, as they were before, in the time and by means of the friars.  They used to go about unweariedly, and dispense their precepts to all ranks of people, in a language suited to every capacity, so that those of the lowest condition appear to have been as much the objects of their attention, and as completely under their discipline as any of the rest.  This cannot be said to have been the case at any one period with our established protestant clergy.  One half, if not two thirds of those committed to their charge have generally lain beyond the range of their ministry, with little chance of deriving any benefit or advantage from their labours.  They would therefore have remained from generation to generation in a state of mere barbarism or heathenism, but for the laudable exertions of some of our religious sectaries, who yet have been always viewed by our rulers with an evil eye, when they certainly ought to have been looked upon with approbation and gratitude, as richly entitled to their good opinion and encouragement.

We know of no period in the history of this town, from the reformation to the present time, when a great majority of its population was not involved in deplorable and heathenish darkness.  Nor do we know of any period when the town was favoured with a more respectable p. 680clergy than those who officiate in the churches here at present.  Yet the state of the town, even now, appears to answer to the above description; though there are here several dissenting chapels, besides the established places of worship, which are all well attended.  In fact, more than two thirds of our population, at this very time, notwithstanding all the labours and efforts of our established and dissenting ministers, appear still to remain as destitute of any sense of religion as if religion had been actually abolished, or as if a law had passed to prohibit the public profession of it.

As to our churches and chapels, though they may be thought by some too numerous and too spacious, yet they are certainly very inadequate to the want or accommodation of the inhabitants, in case they were generally disposed to attend the public worship.  The present writer has lately learnt and ascertained, that but little more than one third of our population could be held or accommodated for the purposes of religious worship in all these places. [680]  How very unreasonable therefore p. 681must those little jealousies be which our religious parties too often manifest towards each other, as if religion had been no more than a trade, and they thought it allowable to vilify their brother-tradesmen in order to draw more customers to their own shops.  This evil spirit has been more manifest and predominant here of late years among Dissenters than among Churchmen.

Section VII.

Effects of the reformation at Lynn further exemplified—dissolution of the convents, chapels, and gilds—suppression and expulsion of the monks and friars—the consequences.

It seems very probable, and even morally certain, that all the inhabitants of this town, before the reformation, were in the habit of paying attention to religious institutions and observances, or to the externals of the religion that was then in vogue.  The numerous friars and other religious functionaries would not fail to keep them to that, as they had, without doubt, sufficient inclination, influence and power so to do.  From this state of things we may reasonably conclude that a change for the worse would, and actually did take place after the reformation, when so many convents and chapels were shut up, which were before much resorted to: in p. 682consequence of which the bulk of the people were necessarily deprived of any fair chance or opportunity to attend upon, and profit by the public ministrations of their new or protestant pastors: and this, as was before observed, has really been the case here to this day.

The shutting up and demolition of the chapels must have been a very strange, impolitic, and unaccountable measure; and the suppression of the gilds was perhaps not much less so.  The former measure deprived more than half the inhabitants of an opportunity to receive public instruction, or to attend public worship; and the latter dissolved and abolished a number of fraternal institutions, or friendly societies, of long standing, most of which, if not all, seem to have been very harmless, and many of them apparently of the same useful tendency as our modern benefit clubs, whose general utility is unquestionable, and universally acknowledged.  Were our present government to abolish or prohibit these, it would certainly be, not only an unjustifiable deed, but a real and very serious grievance.  How much less so the suppression of the Gilds may have been, it is perhaps not very easy to determine.  Though the possessions of some of these Gilds were very considerable, yet they were all sequestered, and no part of them, that we know of applied to any public advantage, or real benefit to the community. [682]  As it was with the sequestration of the possessions of the gild companies, so it was also with that of the possessions of our convents, or different religious orders.  They were lavishly bestowed p. 683and thrown away on a certain royal minion, or court favourite, of the name of Eyre, from whom they soon passed into different hands as regardless as himself of the public welfare.  Had a due regard been paid to the public good, these possessions might have been laid out, or applied, so as to form such foundations and establishments as might have proved of great and lasting benefit to the community, and amply compensate for any detriment that accrued to the lower ranks of society, or to the public morals, from the expulsion of the friars, or shutting up of their houses.  But Henry was not the only sovereign of these realms who appeared more bent upon the gratification of his own caprice and waywardness than the promotion or advancement of the public weal.

The poor of this town must have sustained a most serious loss by the expulsion of the monks and friars and the sequestration of their revenues; which deprived them of their best friends, at whose houses they were entertained, not only with moral and religious instruction, but also with food for their bodies.  For it is well known that the monasteries and convents were eminent for their hospitality, and furnished the poor with their chief support in those days.  The friars also were very remarkable for the attention which they paid the poor and the rest of the common people, over whom they maintained no small influence, even in seasons of public commotion, distraction and anarchy.  It is no wonder therefore that those of the lower orders long regretted their disappearance, and had songs composed p. 684to celebrate the superior felicity of the times when the country was honoured with their residence. [684a]

We know of but two periods at which Lynn appears to have materially suffered from the circumstance of unoccupied or empty houses.  One of those periods is the present, when the number of such houses amounts to some scores, owing to the extreme pressure of burdens brought upon the inhabitants by the inexcusable misdoings of some of their own townsmen. [684b]  The other p. 685period was at the reformation, or after the dissolution of the monasteries, when all the convents in this town with many chapels and other religious houses were shut up, and afterwards demolished; so that the people, for the most part, were left without places where they might attend public worship and receive religious instruction; which must have proved very unfavourable to the public morals, from its obvious and powerful tendency to deprave and barbarize those who were so situated.

Previously to the actual dissolution of the monasteries, &c. a formal surrender and resignation, and also a confession, generally took place.  This was solemnly declared to have been done voluntarily, though the contrary was well known to have been the fact.  These deeds of surrender are still in being, with some also of the confessions; but most of them are said to have been destroyed in Mary’s reign: it being then, probably, in contemplation, if circumstances would admit, to restore those places to their former occupants.—The instruments or deeds of surrender from Lynn are supposed to be still extant in the Augmentation Office.  But as the present writer has not seen them, he can only guess what their tenor was from such as have fallen in his p. 686way, which he has met in Burnet’s History of the Reformation, and Martin’s History of Thetford.

The work last mentioned contains a copy of the surrender of the Dominican Convent at Thetford, addressed “To all the Faithful in Christ,” and solemnly declaring that “the Prior and Convent of the House or Priory commonly called The Black Friars and Convent of the same, with unanimous assent and consent, with minds deliberate, and with our free will and certain knowledge, and for certain just and reasonable causes, our souls and consciences in a special manner moving, freely and of our own accord have given, granted, and by these presents do give, grant and restore, release and confirm to the most illustrious prince, our lord Henry VIII, by the grace of God of England and France king, defender of the faith, lord of Ireland, and on earth supreme Head of the English church, all our said Priory or House called the Black Friars, in Thetford aforesaid, together with all and singular the messuages, gardens, tofts, lands, tenements, meadows, feeds, pastures, woods, rents, reversions, services, mills, &c. &c.”

This Surrender was dated 30. Henry VIII, and subscribed by the Prior Richard Cley, Robert Baldry, Edward Dyer, Edmund Palmer, and two more.—“Those mercenary monks (says Martin) were obliged by royal authority to resign what they valued most upon earth, and declare the will of their sovereign to be the motion of their own minds; whereas their possessions were extorted from them contrary to their wishes p. 687and inclinations.  They acquired their wealth by hypocrisy, and parted with it under the influence of the same principle.” [687]  But he should have remembered that hypocrisy of much the same sort was displayed by the corporations, or the different cities and boroughs, in the reign of James II, in the surrender of their respective charters: and the hypocrisy of the latter was perhaps much less excusable than that of the poor friars, because they were in much less peril.—The mayors and aldermen ran no risk of hanging, but several of the others were actually hanged, for refusing to surrender and play the hypocrites.

A copy of the Surrender of the Carmelites in Stamford has been preserved by Burnet, and is as follows—

“Forasmuch as we the Prior and Friers of this House of Carmelites in Stamford, commonly called the White Friers in Stamford, in the County of Lincoln, do profoundly consider that the perfection of Christian living doth not consist in some Ceremonies, wearing of a white Coat, disguising ourselves after strange fashions, dockying and becking, wearing Scapulars and Hoods, and other-like Papistical Ceremonies, wherein we have been most principally practised and noseled in times past; but the very true way to please God, and to live a true Christian Man, without all hyprocrisy and feigned dissimulation, is sincerely declared to us by our Master Christ, his Evangelists and Apostles; being minded hereafter to follow the same, conforming ourselves to the will and pleasure of our supreme Head, p. 688under God, on Earth, the King’s Majesty; and not to follow henceforth the superstitious traditions of any forinsecal potentate or power, with mutual assent and consent, do submit ourselves unto the mercy of our said Sovereign Lord, and with the Like mutual assent and consent do surrender,” &c. [688]—signed by the Prior and six Friers.

The poor monks and friars and nuns, previously to their expulsion, were forced to play the hypocrites and tell lies to save their necks, which was certainly very hard upon them.  But rulers have seldom minded or p. 689commiserated hardships of that sort.  With whatever they ordain or impose they always expect a ready compliance, however unreasonable in itself, or however hard it may bear on the consciences of their subjects.  The above religious orders, by falsely declaring that they surrendered voluntarily and of their own accord, saved their lives, but lost their livelihood.  A few abbots &c. were provided for; but thousands of friars and nuns were turned out into the wide world pennyless; which must have been very inhuman and cruel.  We are assured that the arts flourished in the convents to the last.  Many of the abbots and other heads of houses had been terrified, persuaded, or bribed, as it is said, to surrender their trusts.  Three only (those of Colchester, Reading and Glastonbury) resisted to the last, and fell by the hands of the executioner. [689]

With respect to Lynn, it does not appear that the heads of the houses or convents, or any of the brethren, made the least difficulty to surrender in the form and manner prescribed to them.  They therefore ran no risk of the gallows: they saved their lives, but lost their living; for they were turned adrift and thrown upon p. 690the wide world.  Many of them, and of their fellow sufferers, had a pretty good chance of obtaining subsistence by their own ingenuity; for they had among them some excellent penmen, some notable carvers, some admirable embroiderers, some intelligent gardeners; and, in short, some that excelled in every useful art, and in all handycraft employments.  There they had greatly the advantage of our modern clergy, many of whom, it is to be feared, know little beyond what appertains to the occupation of sportsmen or foxhunters, which would afford but a poor prospect of subsistence, if they had nothing else to depend upon.

Moreover, we must reckon among the most striking and memorable effects which the reformation had upon Lynn the very visible and degrading change it produced in the aspect or appearance of the town, reducing it, as it evidently did, to a most mean and paltry object, compared to what it was previously to that event.  For the demolition and disappearance of so many stately edifices, which had long been the pride and boast of the inhabitants, must have had a most strange, humiliating and transforming effect upon the place, both with respect to its external aspect, or as it appeared without from the adjacent country, and also as it looked within, to those who passed through its streets, or observed it internally.  It must have looked somewhat like a town that had undergone a close and successful siege, and which had been left half demolished and ruined by a victorious and exasperated enemy.  In short, the present Lynn, or this town since the reformation, p. 691must have always made a far inferior, or much meaner figure than the former or papal Lynn, with its four large and stately convents, adorned with lofty towers, and ranged along the whole town from south to north.  Besides them we must also reckon the Benedictine Priory, the convent of the friars de Penitentia, the College, the churches or chapels of St. John, St. James, St. Catherine, St. Anne, those of our Lady at the Bridge and on the Mount, and undoubtedly other venerable structures, whose sites and very names are now forgotten and unknown.

In fine, there were perhaps not many towns in the kingdom, if indeed there were any at all, whose appearance underwent a greater change than this, at, and in consequence of the reformation.  Had two persons, a papist and a protestant, who remembered the town in its former state, now visited and jointly surveyed it, one would have been apt to take up his lamentation and pronounce Ichabod! its glory is departed! while the other would be no less apt exultingly to exclaim “Babylon is fallen, is fallen!”—But a third person, accustomed to view things with the eyes of a christian philosopher, would have given way to neither lamentation nor exultation, but would have considered the whole as the natural effect of a mighty revolution, and an additional proof of the changing and perishing nature of all human productions and sublunary magnificence.

p. 692CHAP. II.

History of Lynn for the first hundred years after the reformation; or rather, from the dissolution of the monasteries to the meeting of the long parliament and commencement of the civil wars.

In the preceding account of the immediate effects of the reformation upon this town little or nothing occurs that appears of a very pleasing or favourable nature.  No symptoms are discernable of either moral or intellectual improvement.  The town had become protestant, but superstition and ignorance still remained, and licentiousness and barbarism seemed rather to increase than diminish.  The former religious functionaries or instructors were expelled, and they were succeeded by men less competent than themselves for the tuition or instruction of the people: and therefore it was not to be expected that the latter should be better taught, or further enlightened under their guidance and management.  On the contrary, we may suppose them to have gone in a retrograde rather than in a progressive direction: and so it seems really to have happened.  In p. 693fact, very little appears to have been done here of reformation work, or for the advancement of protestantism during the long period now under consideration, besides the expulsion of the monks and friars and demolition of their Houses.  Of that little, some account shall be given in the following section.

Section I.

Statement of the progress of protestantism, or of the most remarkable and memorable acts or works of reformation which took place at Lynn during the first century after its renunciation of the papal supremacy.

The first fruits of the reformation at Lynn seem to be the burning of the Dutchman before mentioned, and hanging, sometime after, a certain friar, of the name of William Gisborough.  The former suffered for what was called heresy, but we cannot find what the crime was that was laid to the charge of the latter.  It seems most probable however, that it was denying the king’s spiritual supremacy, or maintaining that the pope, and not his majesty, was the supreme head of the church.  This was a crime, or heresy, which Henry never would tolerate, after he had set up for himself in competition with the Roman pontiff, as a kind of antipope, or pontifex maximus of England.  Many a luckless wight was put to death, during the latter part of his reign, for no other fault, or offence, but that of being p. 694unconvinced of his majesty’s right and title to be on earth the supreme head of the English church.  They could not, it seems, help their scruples; and therefore it was, surely, very hard and cruel to put them to death.  But kings and courtiers are seldom disposed to be very tender, or shew much mercy to those who do not think well of their pretensions, however doubtful, unreasonable, or absurd they happen to be: and they come not unfrequently under one or other of these denominations.

In Edward’s reign, very little if any reformation work appears to have been carried on at Lynn.  At his death we are told that Lord Audley came here and proclaimed Lady Jane Grey queen of England; which seems to imply that this town was favourable to her succession.  However that was, her succession was frustrated, and she came soon after to an untimely and tragical end, though she appears to have been worthy of a better fate.—Mary succeeded; in whose reign the very name of reformation was exploded: its favourers were persecuted with the utmost rigour, hundreds of them suffered at the stake, and a still greater number fled their native country, and found an asylum in foreign parts, where they staid till the storm was blown over, or, in other words, till Mary was no more.  She was succeeded by a sovereign that was more favourable to a certain description of reformation and reformers, though in other respects of an equally intolerant and unamiable character.

At the accession of Elizabeth the pope was again discarded, and her majesty assumed the character of reformer and supreme head of the church.  The protestant p. 695exiles now returned home, and resumed the arduous task of reforming their countrymen, though from what is known to have been the conduct of too many of them while abroad, it would seem that they ought first of all to have reformed themselves.  They rapidly obtained preferment in the church, and many of them were promoted to the vacant sees, some of whom soon became most bitter persecutors of the poor puritans and other protestant sectaries:—so little good effect had their former sufferings upon them, and so far was their experience of the bitterness of persecution from disposing them to refrain from being themselves concerned in the same bloody and detestable work.

The effect of the new order of things was soon felt at Lynn, and the inhabitants were furnished with convincing proofs that the new was once more to supersede and triumph over the old religion.  In the first year of this queen’s reign, “the rood lofts,” we are told, “and the images that were upon them, were taken down from all the churches in this town.”  There surely could be no great harm in this.  The harm, if there was any, must lie in its being done before the people had been convinced of the inutility and impropriety of setting up such images and retaining them in their churches.  The work certainly should have succeeded and not preceded the people’s conviction of its reasonableness and propriety.

At the same time, or in the course of the same year 1559 “The steps,” as we further learn, “were taken from p. 696the altars in this town, and the ground, at the upper, or east ends of all the churches levelled with that in the other parts of them.”—All this seems to have been a courtly or royal mode of reforming: for it appears to have been done before the inhabitants were convinced of its necessity, or knew any thing about the meaning of it.  It was done, no doubt, by royal authority; and that is reason enough for any thing, in the eyes of most courtiers and statesmen.  It was, however, a preposterous mode of proceeding, as it was beginning the work at the wrong end, and treating the people as if they had not been rational beings, but were to be brought under discipline and made to obey their masters or managers just like all other cattle.  But mankind have been treated pretty much in the same way in all ages.

The year following, (1560,) “several gentlemen came here,” (as it is said,) “by order of the privy council, to take the state of St. James’s church, but were opposed and resisted by the corporation.”  Whether the object of those gentlemen, in taking the state of the said church was to have it repaired and refitted for a place of worship, or something else, we are not told.  If the former the corporation was probably to blame in resisting them, as there seemed to be need enough for an additional place of worship, if it was thought desirable that the inhabitants should more generally attend at such places.  Nor is it very easy to conceive how the corporation durst resist them, if they were indeed authorised by Letters from the privy council to do what they proposed.  In short, the circumstance is involved in too much obscurity p. 697and uncertainly to allow our hazarding any decided opinion upon it.

The next year, (1561,) “many popish relics and mass books are said to have been burnt here, in the market place.”  This, probably, was also premature; being done, in all likelihood, before the inhabitants were sufficiently enlightened and satisfied of the inutility or perniciousness of those books and relicks.  The articles thus destroyed were seemingly such as had belonged to this town, and had been, till then, carefully preserved here.  It is not very clear that the destruction of them could be of any material advantage to the cause of the reformation: it only serves to shew the spirit and complexion of Elizabeth’s reforming system.—About seven years after the date of this last transaction, another very similar to it occurred here: for we are told under 1568, “This year several vestments, popish relics, strings of beads, and crucifixes, were brought from Tilney to Lynn, and burnt in the open market.”  This seems to indicate that Tilney was a very noted place for that kind of ware before the reformation: but it was now, as we may suppose, entirely deprived of them, so as to be reduced, in that respect, upon a level with the rest of its neighbours.  This, however, would not have signified much, had the people been carefully instructed and rationalized.  But that really appears have been exceedingly and shamefully neglected at Lynn and the parts adjacent for a very long period after the accession of Elizabeth, as we shall endeavour to shew in the following Section.

p. 698Section II.

Observations on the slow progress, or low state of protestantism, and of intellectual and moral improvement at Lynn during the period under consideration.

During no one part of the long century which we are now reviewing does it appear that this town had any great taste or desire for reformation.  It was forced upon it at first, rather than sought for or desired; and it was submitted to out of pure loyalty, or profound deference to his majesty’s royal will and better judgment, as would, probably, have been the case had he appointed Mahomet, instead of the pope, or himself, to be the Head of the church.  Be that as it might, it seems pretty evident that Lynn remained in a very dark and unimproved state from the era of the reformation till towards the middle of the seventeenth century, if not much longer.  It bore indeed the name of a protestant town, but its faith, its morals, and its manners, appear not to have been at all superior, or more estimable than they were when it was a popish town, or remained under the papal jurisdiction.  Thus it has often happened, that large communities as well as individuals have borne the honourable names of christians and protestants while they remained as far from the kingdom of heaven, or from the light and influence and spirit of the New Testament as the most superstitious romanists, or blindest heathens.

In the early part and near the commencement of this period, Baret, a native of this town, as was before mentioned, renouncing popery, embraced protestantism, and p. 699became a very laborious and famous preacher.  But it was Norwich, and not Lynn that reaped the benefit of his labours; a pretty plain indication of the very low estimation in which eminent protestant preachers were then held among our ancestors.  Had they highly appreciated the labours of such instructors, there can be little doubt but they would have invited and encouraged him to settle here: nor is it less probable that he would in that case have preferred his native town to any other place.  But as there is not the least appearance of its being thought of getting him to settle here, it is very natural to conclude that Lynn was then no way zealous in the cause of reformation, and felt no kind of anxiety for introducing and establishing an able protestant ministry: and the same we presume continued to be the case for a very long season afterwards.

About the latter part of the reign of James I, or the beginning of that of his successor, the pious, learned, and memorable Samuel Fairclough became lecturer of this town: and he is the only protestant preacher that we know of among the Lynn clergy, during this long period, who set himself in good earnest, and with any prospect of success, about civilizing the town or reforming the inhabitants.  But a host of enemies rose against him, which soon obliged him to desist and retire.  The whole body of publicans and sinners, (and among the latter, without doubt, the manufacturers of strong beer, or the brewers, [699]) became decidedly hostile p. 700to him; for it was found that great numbers of those who formerly used to spend their Sundays at the alehouses, now discontinued that practice, and attended Fairclough’s ministry.  This was very alarming to the votaries of the great goddess Diana, of Lynn.  Like the Ephesian craftsmen, they perceived that their beloved craft, by which they got their wealth, was in imminent danger, and therefore it was high time to bestir themselves, and make such an outcry and uproar against this troublesome preacher as would oblige him to desist and decamp.

What greatly promoted and insured the attainment of their wishes was, that the diocesan, Dr. Harsnett, with his spiritual (or rather diabolical) court took the same side.  The other clergy of the town were also supposed, out of envy, to do the same, underhand.  The pretext for this spiritual interference was, that the preacher did not use the sign of the cross in the ceremony of christening; which, however disorderly some might deem it, had certainly nothing in it of moral turpitude.  Had the whole ceremony been omitted, as well as that idle appendage, there would have been, perhaps, no mighty loss to any body, except to the preacher himself, who, in that case, it may be supposed, would have sustained some loss.  In short, this preacher of righteousness was driven away by the violence and threatening aspect of the opposition that had been raised against him, and which to him and friends appeared irresistible.  He removed to Clare in Suffolk, a more christianlike place, where, and in the adjacent parts, he long continued p. 701eminently useful, as well as greatly and deservedly respected.  The Lynn people by expelling him prolonged the duration of their own blindness and barbarism.

Section III.

The fast of Lent rigidly enforced and strictly observed at Lynn to the very close of this period, a further proof of the dark and unreformed state of the town—additional observations.

That the observance of Lent was rigorously enforced and religiously regarded here as late as the reign of Charles I, admits of no manner of doubt.  None, but those whose cases absolutely required it, were allowed here to taste of flesh meat during all that season.  In such cases licences were applied for to the parish-minister, and obtained, provided the cases came well attested.  But a strict charge was given not to exceed the bounds, or time, specified in the licence, without acquainting the minister, in order to have the licence renewed and continued.  Of this we have sufficient evidence in the old parish-book of South Lynn, where, under the date of 1632, there is the following memorandum, in the hand writing of Mr. Man, who was then the minister of that parish.

“A Copy of a License for eating flesh in time of childbed, to the wife of goodman Sowell of South Lynn, blacksmyth, according to law, during the time of her p. 702sickness, granted the 14. of March 1633, and now eight dayes after, her sicknes still continuing, registered hereunder as followeth”—

“Forasmuch as the wife of goodman Sowell of South Lynn (being a member of the Borough of King’s Lynn) in the county of Norfolk, blacksmith, now lying in childbed, is by the testimony of the midwife and her said husband and others, testified to me to be very weak and sick; these are therefore, upon her and friends very earnest request, so far as in me is, and according to the statute in that behalf provided, for the better recovery of her former health and strength again, to signify that by me the minister of the said parish, she is licensed, the time of Lent notwithstanding, to eat flesh: Always provided that the said license continue no longer in force than only for the time of this her present sicknes: And if this her present sicknes shall continue above the space of eight days next after the date hereof, that then I be certified thereof further to perform and do therein as law requireth.  In witness whereof the day and year above written I have hereunto sett my hand and seale

By me John Man cler. minister ibid: [702a]
In the presence of me Tho. Lilly churchwarden.” [702b]

p. 703The duty of the Lynn Clergy must have been much greater then, especially during the time of Lent, than it is at present; for it may be supposed that these applications for licences were not few or unfrequent: and if they were obliged to do this work for nothing, it must have been still harder upon them.  However that was, this practice seems to have continued till the civil wars broke out, or till the town was besieged and taken by the Earl of Manchester, when it was strongly garrisoned by the parliament, and made to undergo a civil as well as religious reformation.  This appears to have been the greatest and most thorough reformation this town ever underwent, or experienced; at least, since the days of Henry VIII: for the long parliament, like his majesty, seldom did things by halves, but generally carried on with energy and effect whatever they took earnestly in hand.

It may very safely be concluded that the religious observance of Lent was discontinued at Lynn from the time referred to till the restoration, when it seems to have been again revived, both here and throughout the kingdom, among all true churchmen.  For it appears to have been one of those choice and invaluable blessings which Charles II, (that most sacred, and most religious sovereign, as his bishops and clergy used to call him,) restored to us at his return from exile.  Accordingly, we find, by the public prints and records of that period, that his majesty from the beginning of his reign, or first arrival, was attentive to this point.  Among p. 704other plain indications of this is a striking passage in the Mercurius Publicus, of February 21, 1661, (a flaming weekly court paper of that time,) which is worded as follows.

“London Feb. 16.—We are commanded to give Notice of a malicious Slander against the good government of the city of London for observation of Lent according to law and his Majesties Proclamation: some malecontents suggesting that the company of Fishmongers have confessed they are not able to supply the market with fish sufficient for this occasion; (and therefore that the late proclamation will be recalled) which is so false and bottomles a fiction that the most vigilant Lord Maior hath assured the Lords of his Majesties Privy Council how the company of fishmongers do not only undertake to furnish the market with plenty and variety of good and wholesome fish, but to sell fish cheaper by twopence in a shilling; which is more than sufficient to stop the mouths of all that are averse to our good and wholesome laws (made upon so long experience, and so necessary for the common good and safety of this Island) which yet deprive none of the benefit of dispensation, whose condition really requires other dyet, such as are aged, or infants, women with child, sick persons, and such whose health and constitution is known to be prejudiced by continuall eating fish; for all whom the Law hath provided Licences and Dispensations to eat Flesh.” [704]

p. 705Here Charles appears in the character of a religious king, to which he, of all men living, had, perhaps, the least pretension.  Yet his bishops and clergy unblushingly gave him that title, and would frequently mention him, even in their addresses to the Deity himself, under the same appellation, and under one still stronger—“Our most religious king!”  So much for the bishops and clergy of those days.  But it was in Scotland that his majesty’s religious and reforming character, at least in respect to the strict observance of Lent, was exhibited in the most striking light.  This may be inferred from the following curious document in the above mentioned Court-newspaper of Feb. 26. 1662, which, though somewhat extraneous and out of place, the author hopes the reader will excuse his introducing it here, as he knew of no fitter place for its insertion.

Edinburgh 12. Febr. 1662.—Forasmuch as the not keeping of Lent and Fish days, conform to several Acts of Parliament and late Act of Council of the sixth of February 1662, hath been occasioned by not exacting the penalties therein contained from the contraveeners, who, upon hopes of impunity, may still continue disobey the saids Acts, to the great prejudice of the kingdom: Therefore the Lords of his Majesties Privy p. 706Council have thought fit to cause intimat publickly at the Mercat Cross of Edinburgh, that none presume nor take upon hand to contraveen the saids Acts; with certification if they failize, the pains and penalties therein contained shall be exacted with all rigour: and that they will crave an account of all Magistrates and other Ministers of Justice, who are intrusted to procure obedience to the saids Acts, and give notice of the offendors within their respective bounds, as they will be answerable; and for that effect to cause, of new again, intimat the aforesaid Act; whereof the tenor follows—The Lords of His Majesties Privy Councill taking to their consideration the greatest advantage and profit will redound to all the Leiges of this kingdome, by keeping the time of Lent and the weekly Fish dayes, viz. Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, and discharging of all persons to eat any flesh, during that time and upon the saids dayes; or to kill or sell in the Marcats any sort of Fleshes which are usually brought at other times, whereby the young brood and store will be preserved; so that hereafter the hazard of scarcity and dearth may be prevented, and the fishes, which by the mercy of God, abound in the salt and fresh waters of this kingdome, may be made use of for the food and entertainment of the Lieges, to the profit and encouragment of many poor families who live by fishing; the improvement whereof hath not been looked to these many years by gone, which hath been occasioned by the universal allowance of eating flesh and keeping of Mercats at all ordinary times without any restraint, against which many laudable Laws and Acts of Parliament have been made, prohibiting p. 707the eating flesh during the said time of Lent or upon the saids Fishdays, under the pains therein contained.  Therefore, Ordains and Commands, that the time of Lent, for this year, and yearly hereafter, shall begin and be kept as before the year of God 1640, and that the saids weekly Fishdays be strictly observed in all time coming.  And that no subject of whatsoever rank, quality or degree (except they have a special Licence) presume to eat any flesh during the said time of Lent, or upon the saids three weekly Fishdayes; and that no Butchers, Cooks, or Hostlers, kill, make ready or sell any flesh, either publickly in Mercats or privately in their own houses, during the said time or upon the saids dayes, under the penalties following, to be exacted with all rigour, viz. For the first fault 10l; for the second 20l; and for the third fault 40l; and so to be multiplied according to the oft contraveening of the said Act, to be exacted and payed, the one half to the king’s Majesty, and the other half to the delators.  Likeas, for the surer exacting of the said pains, they give power and warrand to all Magistrates within Burghs, and all Sheriffs, Stewards, and Bailies within their several Jurisdictions, to enquire after the contraveeners and to pursue them before the Lords of Privy Council, or such others as shall be appointed or delegat for that effect.  And ordains Heraulds, Macers, or Messengers at Arms, to make publication hereof at the Mercat Cross of Edinburgh, and other places needful, and that these presents be printed that none pretend ignorance.

Pet. Wedderburne Cl. Sti. Concillii.”

p. 708The above may serve as a sample of the manner in which that father of his people, king Charles II, managed, disciplined, and educated his Caledonian children.  It was severe enough; but he sometimes far exceeded this specimen of his paternal attention; especially when he had some of the most obstreperous of those children of his hunted with bloodhounds, like wild beasts.  This, as we learn from Laing’s excellent History of Scotland, was sometimes actually the case in that memorable reign.  Having been naturally led to these digressions by the circumstance of the strict and religious observance of Lent in this town till near the middle of the 17th century, (which shews the small progress protestantism had made here down to that period,) we shall now resume the thread of our history.

Section IV.

Observations on other occurrences relating to Lynn during the period under consideration.

Lynn appears to have been several times visited, during this period, by the plague and other destructive diseases; and there is great reason to be thankful that it has not in more modern times experienced the like awful visitations.  In 1540 the town is said to have been so severely afflicted with hot burning agues, (or intermittent fevers) and fluxes, that no Mart was kept here that year; which shews that the disorder must have p. 709raged to a terrible degree, and proved a most severe scourge to the town.  The plague also was here three or four different times within this period.  The last of them was in 1636, when it raged so violently and dreadfully that the markets were discontinued, and wooden houses or sheds were set up under the town-walk for the reception of the diseased, especially those of the poorer sort.  It must have been a most awful season, and the present generation ought to rejoice in having escaped such calamities.—In 1598 also there was here a very great and destructive sickness: but it is not said of what sort or description it was: only we are told, that the mortality was so great, from March to July, that three hundred and twenty persons were buried in St. James’s Church Yard.  To whatever cause it is to be ascribed, it seems to be a fact, that this town has been much healthier for the last 140 years than it was during the period of which we are now treating.  There is a natural cause, no doubt, for that difference, though it may not be a very easy matter, perhaps, to discover it, or point it out.

It may be here further observed, that it was within this period the parish of All-Hallows, or All Saints, otherwise South Lynn, became a part or member of this Borough; being before a separate parish or hamlet, subject to the jurisdiction of the sheriff of the county.  This union, or incorporation was first effected in 1546, by a Licence from the king, and afterwards fully confirmed by the Charter of Philip and Mary, in the fourth year of their reign.  From that period it has ever been p. 710under the jurisdiction of the mayor, as an integral or indivisible part of the borough.  Yet it has been long after, (if not down quite to our time,) treated by the corporation somewhat like a step-daughter, or as regular governments (as they are called,) are too apt to treat ceded or conquered places.  Of this some remarkable instances have occurred at different times, and especially in the reign of Charles II, when the South Lynnians were very wrongfully involved in a most vexatious law-suit with the mayor and corporation, about the Long Bridge, which ended unfavourably to the latter, as has been also the case with our corporation law-suits, not unfrequently since that period.  The above cause was tried at Thetford in 1672 before Sir Matthew Hale, who was exceedingly severe on the conduct of the mayor and corporation in that affair.

Many events are mentioned as having occurred at Lynn, during this period, of whose circumstances we are left very much in the dark: among them are the following—in 1562, Sir Nicholas Le Strange (according to one old MS.) “began a suit against Lynn for the House of Corpus Christi:” but we are not told either where that house stood, or what was the ground of that knight’s claim to it, or yet how the suit terminated.—In 1567 St. Margaret’s spire is said to have been shot down by a Dutch ship that then lay in the harbour, as were also several little crosses and ornaments on different parts of the church.”  But we cannot learn how all this happened; whether designedly, or otherwise, or what was its result.  In 1575 Henry Wodehouse, vice admiral p. 711of Norfolk is said to have arrested two Fly-Boats at Lynn, by process, which he delivered to the mayor, who refusing to serve them, brought great trouble on himself and several others.”  This also is related so baldly, that it is impossible to form any adequate idea of the affair.  Of much the same sort is what we read under 1587, “Sir Robert Southwell, being admiral of Norfolk, with several commissioners and justices, sat at Lynn and held a court of admiralty, at which sixteen pirates were condemned, and most of them executed at Gannock.”  It is in vain we enquire into the particular case or circumstantial history of those pirates: all we can learn is that there were so many then tried and condemned here, and that Gannock was in the mean time the place of execution.

The following Lynn occurrences of this period are somewhat more luminous than the preceding ones.  In 1576 queen Elizabeth visited Norwich; but it does not appear that her majesty deigned to honour Lynn with her royal presence.  The corporation, however, went to meet her majesty.  It is not said where, but we may suppose it to have been at Norwich, where her highness appears to have made some stay.  At that interview, wherever it took place, our corporation presented their gracious sovereign with “a rich purse, finely wrought with pearl and gold, containing an hundred old angels of gold;” the whole valued at 200l. a sum equal, perhaps, to 2 or 3,000l. of our money.  This, no doubt, was very handsome, and a proof of the sterling loyalty, p. 712as well as of the wealth and liberality of our corporation.  What our virgin queen thought of this specimen of Lynn loyalty and homage, we are not told: but if the same had been done to her renowned grandfather, Henry VII, when he visited this town, we may be very sure that it would have proved highly acceptable and gratifying, as he is well known to have been a most ardent lover of money.  His grand-daughter was in some things very different from him.  Nor are we quite certain, though the gift was very handsome, that her majesty did not on this occasion laugh in her sleeve at the vanity and ostentation of the donors, who appear to have given her too much reason for so doing.  She is also understood as not entertaining, in general, a very exalted opinion of the sagacity of her corporations, or the wisdom of the ruling and leading men of her cities and boroughs, who in her different excursions would sometimes sadly expose their folly, and excite in no small degree her contempt and derision. [712]

p. 713In, or about 1582, it is said, “that certain lusty young fellows began to set up ringing again, which for sometime had been disused; divers of the aldermen, meaning to silence them, occasioned a great disturbance, which turned to the mayor’s disadvantage, and was the cause of spending a great deal of money.”  For aught we know, the mayor and aldermen might be very right on this occasion.  Where there is a great deal of ringing it is certainly a very serious nuisance to the inhabitants, especially those who live near the steeples.—It is probable that those lusty young fellows belonged to some wealthy families, which enabled them to make so effectual a stand against the mayor and aldermen.  Be that as it might, this circumstance may serve to shew what serious results may proceed from very frivolous causes, and how easily a parcel of idle fellows may sometimes disturb the tranquillity of a whole town, and bring every thing into the utmost confusion.

In 1587 the wife of one John Wanker and the widow Porker were both carted here for whoredom: and we p. 714further learn, that the sin of whoredom was deemed so detestable then, both at Lynn, and Norwich, that whoever were guilty of it were publickly exposed fastened to a cart and driven through the whole town.—This must be highly honourable to the moral character of both places at that period, and furnishes a favourable idea of the state of society here in the mean time.  But alas! how very different must have been the character of Lynn then, from what it is at present, when it is said to abound with that sort of sinners more than any other place of its size, and when that vice seems no longer detested, or thought to have any moral pravity or turpitude attached to it: and as to the interference of magistrates, that seems to be entirely out of the question.  After all, it seems to be a fact, that the unexampled burdens under which the people now lie, have contributed in no small degree to bring things to this sad pass.

The year 1558 was rendered remarkable in the annals of this town, by an order, as it is called, which was then made, “that on every first Monday in the Month there should be a meeting at a certain house, consisting of the Mayor, some of the aldermen and common Council-men, and the preachers, in order to settle peace and quietness between man and man, and to decide all manner of controversies: and it was called, The Feast of Reconciliation.”—This certainly looks well, and seems to reflect honour on the memory of the projector or projectors of it, as well as those who afterwards devoted their time for so useful and laudable a purpose.  It is p. 715certainly much to be wished that every town and district was furnished with a similar institution; which, if properly conducted, would not fail to prove of very important benefit to the community.  This therefore is here recorded as forming a favourable trait in the character of the magistrates and ministers of this town in the latter part of the reign of Elizabeth.—But, alas! those very people, at the same time, were persecuting, burning, and hanging, (and we may add, murdering) poor ignorant, friendless and harmless old creatures, under the name of witches!—Of this very dark shade, (which together with the preceding favourable trait exhibit so deplorable an inconsistency of character,) we shall take some further notice hereafter.

In the next reign, (that of James I,) the obtaining of a royal Charter, and the recovery of the alienated revenues and possessions belonging to the Gaywood hospital, (of the latter of which we have spoken already) seem to have constituted the principal and most memorable transactions that appertain to this history.  Besides which scarce any thing occurred worthy of being here recorded, unless it be the erection or establishment (in 1617) of a Library in the Vestry of St. Nicholas’s Chapel: which appears to have been the first institution of the kind in this town since the dissolution of the convents. [715]  So that for about eighty years, or ever since the p. 716reformation, the character of the town as a literary, or bookish place, must have been at a miserable low ebb.  We need not wonder therefore at the extreme ignorance that seemed to have prevailed here in the mean time.  This library is said to have been founded by the mayor, burgesses, &c.  The library in St. Margaret’s Church is said not to have been founded till about fourteen years after.  How extensively useful these bibliothecal collections proved we have not the means of ascertaining.  At any rate, they were creditable to those by whom they were projected and promoted.

Upon the accession of Charles I, one of the first and most remarkable circumstances that appear to have occurred here was the erection of St. Anne’s Fort, on which were mounted, as we are told, “several great pieces of ordnance, sent from London and planted here for the defence of the town.”  This some, perhaps, would be apt to construe as ominous of the subsequent troubles of that reign, of which this town appears to have had its full share: for having declared against the parliament, it was by their forces closely besieged p. 717and taken, and afterwards laid under contribution, and strongly garrisoned.  As to the Fort, we cannot find that it proved of any material use to the town in that time of danger: nor does it appear to have been ever calculated for the defence and protection of the place, or for any other purpose but to please little or full-grown children, who are naturally fond of ribands and rattles. [717]

A view of the Pilot Office, St. Ann’s Battery etc.
Published Dec.r 1809 by W. Whittingham, Lynn

About the beginning of 1637, “an order came from the archbishop (Laud) to this town, that the ground at the east end of the churches should be raised; the communion table (or altar) placed at the upper end of the churches, under the east windows; and that they be decently railed in, and steps made to ascend thereto.”—This was evidently undoing what Elizabeth and her reformers had done at the beginning of her reign; for the ground at the upper or east end of the churches was then ordered, as we have seen, to be levelled with that in the other parts of them.  That queen and her prelates were certainly quite high enough in their notions about these matters, and yet we see that they come not nearly up to Charles and Laud.  Neither of these had any dislike to popery, provided they could be themselves at the head of it.  Nor would it be a very easy matter to point out the time when the spirit of popery was more predominant, than it was in the church of England p. 718in the detestable reign of the first Charles, and under the vile administration and superintendence of archbishop Laud.  The latter was a sworn and mortal enemy to both civil and religious liberty, as the whole tenor of his conduct shews.  In short, he was no less superstitious, than intolerant, tyrannical, and cruel, as this order which he sent to Lynn, and many other parts of his conduct clearly evince: and he may be very safely said to have contributed largely to accelerate the ruin of the cause which he had espoused, and the downfal of the church of which he was unworthily the chief metropolitan.

Laud has been often represented as very learned: but it was paying learning but a poor compliment, as it appears to have done little, or rather nothing at all towards humanizing him, or softening his hard heart, and subduing the bigotry, intolerance, and unfeelingness, which were in him so preeminently conspicuous and predominant.  Severities and terrors which most of the vulgar or unlearned protestant persecutors would have deemed sufficient, could not satisfy him: cropping or cutting off the ears, and slitting the noses of those who openly objected to his proceedings, were among his favourite forms of discipline, and what passed with him as justifiable and wholesome severities.  His atrocities at last recoiled upon him with a vengeance, and he became the unpitied victim of his own system of terror and tyranny.

p. 719CHAP. III.

Account of reputed Witches, of this and subsequent periods, at Lynn and some other places—inexcusable severity of their sufferings—brutality of their persecutors—barbaric stupidity and infatuated credulity of the people and their rulers.

The existence of witches was formerly a part of the creed of the good people of Lynn, as well as of the rest of their countrymen.  It was not a mere mental error, which would have made it, at least in a great measure, harmless, but it was a practical error of a most horrid nature, for it issued in the persecution and murder of not a few wretched, friendless, and innocent beings, who were no more in league with satan and the powers of darkness than their persecutors and judges, or even half so much.  These legal murders were once very common in this country, even since the reformation: so that many hundreds, if not thousands of them have been perpetrated under the sanction of our protestant government, and in the sacred name of justice, and of our sovereign lord the king.  This town, as was before observed, p. 720is among the places where this innocent blood has been spilt, and where the names of law, justice, and royalty, have been shamefully prostituted to justify those foul and murderous deeds.  We shall now proceed to give a sketch of the part which our townsmen of other times appear to have taken in this detestable business.

Section I.

A sketch of the history of the prosecution and murder of divers poor harmless creatures, falsely denominated witches, at Lynn, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Before the reformation, and since in popish countries, the cognizance of reputed witches, and suppression of what is called witchcraft, pertained to the inquisitorsLuiz de Paramo, a Spanish inquisitor, who wrote a most curious book in defence of the holy office, [720] declares p. 721that in the course of 150 years, (from 1485, if we are not mistaken) the inquisition had burnt 30,000 witches, which he evidently thought a most meritorious deed, for which the pious actors were entitled to the gratitude and veneration of posterity, and himself, who had been very active in the same way, to the praise of having deserved well of his country and of all Christendom.

After the reformation, the business, in these kingdoms, was taken up by such zealous protestants (conformists p. 722and nonconformists) whose spirit pretty much resembled that of the Spanish Inquisitors, and who appear to have been equally unchristianlike.  Their zeal against what they called witchcraft was unbounded; and whenever they could fix that stigma upon any one, he could have little chance of escaping with his life.  This country has therefore been highly infamous for the punishments inflicted, and the barbarities exercised upon those hapless beings whom our ignorant, superstitious, and savage ancestors used to brand with the odious names of witches and wizards.  We might well be called to blush for those execrable deeds of our forefathers, if there were not others belonging to ourselves which no less loudly call for blushing.

Lancashire, it seems, has been noted for its reputed witches, and so has Warboys and other places in Huntingdonshire.  Nor has this town been unproductive of persons who bore the same name, or had the hard fate of lying under the same imputation.—The first of these, that has fallen within the knowledge of the present writer, was Margaret Read, who is said to have been burnt here for witchcraft, in 1590.—Poor creature!  She was certainly murdered! by the magistrates! by what was called the law of the land, and in the venerable and sacred name of justice!  Such acts, however, have been but too common in all ages, in all countries, and even in what are called protestant states.  England was then such a state, but that did not always secure the people from injustice and oppression, or prevent in all instances the rulers and magistrates from shedding innocent blood.

p. 723About eight years after, that is, in 1598, one Elizabeth Housegoe was executed here on the same account: but whether she was put to death by burning, or by hanging, does not appear.  Whichever it was, it was a most horrid and detestable deed, and would lead one to shudder at the barbarous character of our ancestors, but for certain existing circumstances, which seem too clearly to indicate that we are not yet got so far beyond them in civilization and humanity as we are apt sometimes to conceive.  Our boasted superiority in those respects over all modern nations, may also be suspected to be much less real than imaginary.

Mary Smith is the next name that occurs among this description of hapless sufferers at Lynn.  She is said to have been burnt [723a] here, on the 12th. of January 1616, for witchcraft, which she was accused of having practised upon divers persons by means of a vocal contract with the devil.  The poor creature, who no doubt was insane, acknowledged the truth of these foolish accusations; which acknowledgement, probably, formed the chief, if not the only proof of her guilt: and Alexander Roberts, styling himself preacher of God’s Word at King’s Linne, in the same year published a treatise on Witchcraft, in which the story of this Mary Smith, this pitiable victim of the stupid ignorance and savage superstition of our ancestors, is related. [723b]

p. 724While their hands were still red and poluted with the innocent blood of this poor defenceless woman, our magistrates went about establishing a Library in the town, which seems indeed to have been very much wanted among them: and we have already given them credit for that undertaking.  But its inconsistency with the other part of their conduct is so manifest and glaring (especially if we join with it their laudable feast of reconciliation,) that one is apt to wonder that they should be capable of acting such different parts, or of being the performers of actions so totally dissimilar and heterogeneous.  It must however be owned that the inconsistencies of the human character are sometimes very strange, unaccountable, and surprising.

After the last mentioned affair we hear no more of these horrid doings at Lynn till 1645, when Dorothy Lee, and Grace Wright, as Mackerel informs us, were hanged here for witchcraft.  But we suspect that this is misdated, and that this bloody scene did not take place till the following year, (1646) as it appears, from the Town Records, that on the 11th. of May, that year, it was “ordered that alderman Thomas Rivett be requested to send for Mr. Hopkins, the Witch-discoverer, to come to Lynn, and his charges and recompense to be borne by the town.”  We may presume that he did not hesitate to come, and that it was in consequence of his coming the prosecution and execution of those poor unhappy creatures took place.  It must have been a sad time when such arch-villains as this Hopkins were caressed by the magistrates, and employed to assist them in the administration p. 725of justice!—Of him we shall hereafter give some further account.

Those two women were probably the last that were put to death here for witchcraft: but great numbers suffered afterwards for the same imaginary crime in other parts of the kingdom, to the great disgrace of both the makers and the administrators of our laws.  Even till within these sixty or seventy years, if we are not mistaken, there have been instances among us of poor defenceless beings doomed to capital punishment for the same pretended offence: and though our legislators and rulers seem no longer to have any faith in the existence of witches, yet the common people in many places are as much in that belief as ever, and would be very glad, no doubt, to have the old sanguinary laws still put in execution.  A melancholy instance of the present existence of such a superstitious belief among our country people occurred but about two years ago at Great Paxton in Huntingdonshire, of which we shall, perhaps, in another place take some further notice.

Section II.

Brief account of some of the principal witch-finders, or witch discoverers, as they were sometimes called, those pests of society, who were a disgrace to the country and to the age in which they lived.

It would appear perhaps incredible, that those infernal beings called witch-finders should ever have been tolerated p. 726and encouraged in any country calling itself christian and protestant, had we not seen characters no less detestable and diabolical countenanced, caressed, and patronised in such countries.  The execrable reign of Charles II swarmed with Spies and informers, whose talents were employed to promote religious uniformity, and suppress liberty of conscience.  Like the witch finders, they were countenanced by the magistrates, patronized by the gentry, and enriched by the wages of unrighteousness, and the ruin of innocent persons and families.  Our own time has seen such wretches, and poor Ireland has been not a little prolific of them.  Even among our financial or revenue agents some of the same family have made their appearance, which some are apt to consider as an evil and a grievance of no small magnitude.  If our own time has abounded with such characters, and if they have been really countenanced and cherished by rulers and magistrates, we must not be too severe upon our ancestors for the course which they pursued in regard to those called witches and witch-finders: for we do not seem to have yet gone so far beyond them in wisdom and virtue as we are sometimes apt to think.

Among those called witch-finders, the first place seems due to Matthew Hopkins, of Maningtree, in Essex, who has been already mentioned, as invited here by the magistrates, to assist them in the discovery, or detection and conviction of witches, and the suppression of witchcraft.  This man, as we are told, was witch-finder for the associated counties, (Essex, Suffolk, and Norfolk,) and hanged in one year no less than sixty reputed witches p. 727in his own county.  The old, the ignorant, and the indigent; such as could neither plead their own cause nor hire an advocate; were the miserable victims of this wretch’s avarice and villany.  He pretended to be a great critic in special marks; which were only moles, scorbutic spots, or warts, which frequently grew large and pendulous in old age, but were absurdly supposed to be teats to suckle imps.  His ultimate method of proof was by tying together the thumbs and toes of the suspected person, about whose waist was fastened a cord, the ends of which were held, on the banks of a river, by two persons, in whose power it was to straighten or slacken it.  Swimming, upon this experiment, was deemed a full proof of guilt; for which king James, (who is said to have recommended it, if he did not invent it,) assigned the following sage reason: “That as such persons have renounced their baptism by water, so the water refuses to receive them.”  Sometimes those who were accused of diabolical practices were tied neck and heels and tossed into a pond.  If they floated they were consequently guilty, and therefore taken out and burnt: if they were innocent they were only drowned.  The experiment of swimming was at length tried upon Hopkins himself, in his own way, and he was in the event condemned, and, as it seems, executed as a wizard; [727] an end or retribution which he appears to have richly merited.  But how far he was (if at all) convinced of that, at his exit, we are not informed.  If we are not p. 728mistaken, there was also, about the same time, a noted witch-finder at Ipswich, who found pretty full employment, but as we have no account either of his mode of proceeding or exploits, or yet of his exit, we can say no more about him.

At the time when the belief and detestation of witchcraft were universal in this country there can be no doubt but the number of our pretended witch-finders was very considerable.  It may be fairly supposed that there were more than one for every county, and even that they were no less numerous than our modern mountebanks and quack doctors.  Some of them, however, would, in the natural course of things, outshine the rest, or far excel them in point of reputation or celebrity.  Such a one was Hopkins, and such a one was that famous Scotchman, whose name we cannot at present make out, who found so much employment, in the way of his vile vocation, on this, as well as on the other side of the Tweed.  Of him a curious account is given in a book entitled, England’s Grievance, &c. by Ralph Gardiner, Gent. of Chirton, in Northumberland.  London: printed in 1655.  Reprinted in 1796.  Where we have the following information.

“In or about the year 1649 or 1650, the magistrates of Newcastle upon Tyne sent two of their sergeants, namely Thomas Shevel, and Cuthbert Nicholson, into Scotland, to agree with a Scotchman, who pretended knowledge to finde out witches by pricking them with pins, to come to Newcastle, where he should try such who should be brought to him, and have 20s. a-piece p. 729for all he could condemn (or convict) as witches, and free passage thither and back again: [i.e. have his expenses borne to and fro.]  When the sergeants had brought this witch-finder on horseback to town, the magistrates sent their bellman through the town ringing his bell, and crying, all people that would bring in any complaint against any woman for a witch, they should be sent for and tryed by the person appointed.  Thirty women were [accordingly] brought into the town-hall and stript, and then openly had pins thrust into their bodies, and most of them was (were) found guilty by him, and set aside.

“The said reputed witch-finder acquainted colonel Hobson that he knew women, whether they were witches or no, by their looks; and when he was searching a personable and good-like [or good looking] woman, the said colonel replied and said, Surely, this woman in none, and need not be tryed: but the scotchman said she was, for the town said she was, and therefore he would try her; and presently, in sight of all the people, laid her body naked to the waste, [waist] with her cloaths over her head; by which fright and shame all her blood contracted into one part of her body, and then he ran a pin into her thigh, and suddenly let her coats fall, and then demanded whither she had nothing of his in her body, but did not bleed?  But she being amazed, replied little.  Then he put his hands up her coats and pulled out the pin, setting her aside, as a guilty person and child of the devil, and fell to try others, whom he made guilty.”

p. 730“Colonel Hobson perceiving the alteration of the foresaid woman, by her blood settling in her right parts, caused her to be brought again, and her cloaths pulled up to her thigh, and required the scot to run the pin into the same place, and then it gushed out of blood, and the said scot cleared her, and said she was not a child of the devil.  So soon as he had done, and received his wages, he went into Northumberland to try women there, where he got of some 3l. a-piece.  But Henry Ogle Esq. a late member of parliament, laid hold on him, and required bond of him, to answer the sessions, but he got away for Scotland, and it was conceived, if he had staid, he would have made most of the women in the north witches, for money.”

The poor Newcastle women, whom this wretch had set aside and pronounced guilty, were put in prison till the assizes, when 14 of them, and one man, were condemned, and afterwards executed: all solemnly protesting their innocence.  Their names are mentioned at page 115 of the said book.  The truth of the above account is attested by three persons, whose names it is needless to insert here.—As to the infamous witch-finder himself, we are told that “he was afterwards taken up in Scotland, cast into prison, indicted, arraigned, and condemned for such like villanie exercised in Scotland: and on the gallows confessed he had been the death of above 220 women, in England and Scotland, for the gain of 20s. a-piece, and beseeched forgiveness, and was executed.”

The author of the work from which this account is extracted, indignantly inquires, “by what law the magistrates p. 731of Newcastle could send to another nation for a mercenary person to try women for witches? and set the bellman to cry for them to be brought in?—and give 20s. a piece to the former to condemn them?”  These queries we know not how to answer, but by supposing that the whole was a lawless, as well as a most iniquitous, barbarous, and scandalous business.  The magistrates of Newcastle certainly appear on this occasion a vile and infamous crew, whose memory ought to be held up to the horror of perpetual detestation.  How much better the magistrates of Lynn would have appeared, had we so particular an account of their proceedings, when they sent for Hopkins, it is impossible now to say.  Their conduct, to say the least of it, appears sufficiently dark and despicable.

While we feel and express a just indignation against the witchfinders, as well as against the spies and informers and such like miscreants, we ought not to forget how much the existence, sufferance, and employment of them reflect on the character of the rulers and magistrates of those days, and even of the nation, or public at large; for had these been sufficiently enlightened and humanized, those detestable wretches had never been encouraged and employed, or even endured in the country.  How baleful and deplorable therefore must intellectual blindness or ignorance be in any community? how desirable, important, and necessary for all descriptions of men, is the true knowledge of their respective rights and duties!  Had our magistrates and legislators always possessed that knowledge, and acted accordingly, our p. 732annals had never been disgraced, as they are, with the recital of so many acts of injustice and oppression, or with such shocking accounts of the torturing, burning, and hanging of so many reputed criminals, under the misapplied and odious names of witches, heretics, and blasphemers.

Section III.

Additional observations on Witchcraft, and on the absurd and superstitious notions entertained by our ancestors concerning witches, as well as their deep-rooted and deadly antipathy against all those whom they considered as such.

That the world abounded in former ages, and from the remotest periods, with jugglers and other sorts of artful impostors, who pretended to the knowledge of future events and other secrets, and so supported themselves and acquired great names by working upon the weakness, or imposing upon the credulity of mankind, is well known.  Being of different sorts they went under different names, according to their respective pretensions, or peculiar, apparent, or professed modes of proceeding.  Hence we speak of them under the various appellations of magicians, sorcerers, diviners, conjurers, witches and wizards, &c. each, or most of which denote a certain distinction of character or operation. [732]  There were p. 733among them from the earliest times ventriloquists and consummate jugglers, well skilled in the arts of dexterity, or slight of hand tricks, and their operations served, (as real miracles did with the true prophets,) to gain credit to their declarations and pretensions.  Thus their high and solemn professions, with the aid of gastriloquy, legerdemain or juggling, obtained credit in the world, so as to establish their character or fame, and perpetuate the delusion.  Falshood assumed the name or place of truth, and fiction that of reality: and those who were thus taken in, or imposed upon, have always with difficulty been undeceived.

Formerly the names of magicians, sorcerers, witches, &c. were appropriated to those only who avowed or professed themselves to be such; but latterly, or in more recent times, they seem to have been chiefly, if not entirely appropriated to those who did not make such an avowal or profession, and who even disclaimed any such imputation or pretension.  And, what is exceedingly remarkable, those who were uncommonly knowing, and those who were uncommonly ignorant became p. 734now equally the objects of suspicion, and were of course included under one or another of those appellations; as if extraordinary intelligence and extraordinary stupidity equally indicated an alliance or confederacy with the devil.  Such men as Roger Bacon and Galileo, the most enlightened of their species, were more than suspected to be sorcerers, and multitudes of poor creatures, mostly old women, who were no way distinguished from the rest of the community, except by their extreme poverty, or extreme ignorance, have been treated in the most brutal manner, and in the end burnt or hanged, under the opprobrious name of witches—in the infamy of which conduct, as we have shewn, this town is deeply implicated.

Before the reformation there was, it seems, in this country a regular board of justice, for the constant apprehension and conviction of magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, witches, &c. and a warrant is said to be still extant for the seizing of one Thomas Northfield, professor of divinity, and sorcerer, with all his books and instruments. [734a]  This double character, of conjurer and divine, exhibits the poor fellow in a queer kind of light, as a sort of amphibious animal.  What he was as a divine, it is impossible now to ascertain.  He might be eminent, or he might not. [734b]  But his being also a sorcerer or conjurer, in the usual acceptations of those p. 735words, seems no way entitled to credit; so that his lying under that imputation, or his being so reputed, was merely the effect of the blind superstition which then prevailed, and which usually ascribed every appearance of superior genius or intelligence to a diabolical inspiration.

After the reformation, the rage against witches and sorcerers underwent no abatement.  New laws were enacted against them, and reputed offenders were prosecuted with the utmost rigour.  The most learned of our sovereigns, (Henry VIII. and James I.) not only strongly believed in the existence of such offenders, but likewise held them in the greatest abhorrence: Hence by statute 33 Henry VIII, c. 8. witchcraft and sorcery are made felony without benefit of clergy; and by statute 1 Jac. 1. c. 12. it is enacted, “that all persons invoking any evil spirit, or consulting, covenanting with, entertaining, employing, feeding, or rewarding any evil spirit; or taking up dead bodies from their graves to be used in any witchcraft, sorcery, charm, or enchantment; or killing, or otherwise hurting any person by such infernal arts; should be guilty of felony without benefit of clergy, and suffer death.  And if any person should attempt by sorcery to discover hidden treasure, or to restore stolen goods, or to provoke unlawful love, or to hurt any man or beast, though the same were not effected, he or she should suffer imprisonment and pillory for the first offence, and death for the second.”  These acts (judge Blackstone says) p. 736“continued in force till lately, to the terror of all ancient females in the kingdom: and many poor wretches were sacrificed to the prejudice of their neighbours and their own illusion; not a few having, by some means or other, confessed the fact at the gallows.  But (he adds,) all executions for this dubious crime are now at an end.  Accordingly it is with us enacted by statute 9 Geo. II. c. 5. that no prosecution shall be carried on against any person for conjuration, witchcraft, sorcery, or inchantment. [736a]  But the misdemeanor of persons pretending to use witchcraft, tell fortunes, or discover stolen goods by skill in the occult sciences, is still deservedly punished with a year’s imprisonment, and standing four times in the pillory.” [736b]

Thus it appears that it was not till the last reign that the sanguinary laws against witchcraft &c. were repealed in this country; so that we had enjoyed the light of the reformation full 200 years before we discerned the injustice and bloodguiltiness of those laws, or even the folly and absurdity of believing that those poor, ignorant, defenceless women, whom we were pleased to call witches, had actually sold their souls and bodies to the p. 737devil, and had in exchange obtained from him the power of working miracles.  For we always imputed to our witches a supernatural power, which we deemed one of their essential characteristics: and we firmly believed that they could fly, or ride in the air upon broomsticks, change themselves into the form of other animals, injure their neighbours in their persons or property, by their looks, their thoughts, or their wishes, &c.  Now, if not only the public at large and the juries, but even the judges and legislators could believe all this, what wonder is it if some of the poor old women could do so too, as they are said to have sometimes made such a confession?  Their confession, however, appears to have been often, if not always, the mere effect of terror and confusion. [737]  Poor hapless creatures! without a friend in the world to take their part, or speak a word in their behalf; terrified also and confounded beyond measure by the presence of their judge and the awful apparatus of a court of Justice, they would confess any thing that might be urged upon them, and all without thought or reflection, or even knowing what they said.

It is not unworthy of observation that witches were formerly, even by our legislators, classed with heretics, and witchcraft went under the name of heresy, being p. 738deemed a species of that offence, and subjected to the same punishment, that of burning.  It might quite as well have gone under the name of rebellion or high treason, or any other crime, for it has as much affinity with them, to the full, as it has with heresy.  It is astonishing how often, or how commonly it is that human laws and governments are characterized by ignorance, absurdity, injustice, cruelty, folly and madness.  So unfortunate in general has the world been in its rulers, that most of them have proved its greatest enemies, though often extolled to the skies, for every imaginable excellence, by the vile sycophants that surround them, and the vermin of every province and district who live and fatten on their oppressive and rapacious devices.

Section IV.

Summary view of the whole subject—account of proceedings against witches in this country till the repeal of the laws that chiefly affected them—hints on the present state of the nation in regard to this and its kindred delusions.

The proper idea of witchcraft, it is presumed, has been already very plainly suggested; but lest it should not seem sufficiently clear to our readers in general, it may be proper to attempt here a more explicit definition.  We say therefore that witchcraft is a supernatural power p. 739which persons were supposed to obtain the possession of by entering into compact with the devil.  It was believed that they had given themselves up to him body and soul; and that he engaged on his part that they should want for nothing, and that he would avenge them upon all their enemies:—also, that as soon as the bargain was concluded, the devil delivered up to the witch an imp, or familiar spirit, to be ready at a call and do whatever it was directed.  By the assistance of this imp and the devil together, [that is, of both the young devil and the old one,] the witch, who was almost always an old woman, was enabled, as it was firmly believed, to do very marvellous feats—even to transport herself in the air, on a broomstick or a spit, to distant places to attend the assemblies or meetings of the witches; for, according to this belief, or way of thinking, the witches, (like some of our modern sects,) actually had their assemblies, associations, or general conferences, at which the devil himself always presided.  It was also believed that they were enabled to transform themselves into various shapes, particularly to assume the forms of cats and hares, in which they most delighted; to inflict diseases on whomsoever they thought proper; and to punish their enemies in a variety of ways. [739]  These ideas of witchery could not obtain belief among the heathens, as they had no knowledge of our devil.

p. 740Under popish darkness and delusion these views of witchcraft universally obtained in Europe till the 16th century, and the doctrine maintained its ground with tolerable firmness till after the middle of the seventeenth, and even till the former part of the eighteenth century, when it was obliged to give way to more rational views of things.  Vast numbers of reputed witches were here, in protestant and evangelical England, convicted and condemned to be burnt every year; and a man who had the hardihood to deny the doctrine, or doubt of its truth, would be at once suspected of atheism, and perhaps run the risk of being burnt, if not for downright witchcraft, yet at least for advocating the cause, and being the agent of his Satanic majesty. [740]

Of the methods of discovering witches, one was to weigh the supposed criminal against the church bible, which, if she was guilty, would preponderate.  Another method was by making her attempt to say the Lord’s Prayer; this no witch was able to repeat entirely, but would omit some part or other: all witches did not hesitate at the same place; some leaving out one part and some another.—It was also believed that witches always said their prayers backwards.—Teats, though which the imps suckled, were indubitable marks of a witch: these were always raw, and also insensible; and, if squeezed, sometimes yielded a drop of blood.  A witch could not weep more than three tears, and that only out of the left eye.  This want of tears was, by p. 741the witchfinders, and even by some judges, considered as a very substantial proof of guilt.  Swimming a witch, as was before observed, was another kind of popular ordeal generally practised: for this she was stript naked, and cross bound, the right thumb to the left toe, and the left thumb to the right toe.  Thus prepared, she was thrown into a pond or river, in which, if guilty, she could not sink; for having, as was said before, by her compact with the devil, renounced the benefit of the water of baptism, that element, in its turn, renounced her, and refused to receive her into its bosom.

The trial by stool, another method for the discovery of witches, was thus managed: having taken the suspected witch, she was placed in the middle of a room upon a stool or table, cross legged, or in some other uneasy posture; to which if she submitted not, she was bound with cords: there she was watched, and kept without food or sleep, for twenty four hours; for it was believed that they should within that time see her imp come and suck.  A little hole was therefore made in the door for the imp to come in at: and lest he should come in a less discernible shape, they that watched were taught to be frequently sweeping the room, and, if they saw any spiders or flies, to kill them; if they could not kill them, then they might be sure they were imps.

If witches, under examination or torture, would not confess, all their apparel was changed, and every hair of their body shaven off with a sharp razor, lest they should secrete magical charms to prevent their confessing.  p. 742Witches were believed to be most apt to confess on Fridays.—The two following expedients, or fiery ordeals, are also mentioned, as used to extort confession: the first, burning the thatch of the house of the suspected witch; the other, burning any animal supposed to be bewitched by her, as a hog or ox.  These, it was held would force a witch to confess, [742] in spite of her teeth, or of the devil.—Our ancestors, strange as it may seem, persisted in the belief and practice, or observance of these horrid monstrosities till within the memory of some of the present generation.  Nor had they perhaps relinquished or abandoned them quite so soon, but for the laudable exertions of such men as Locke and Addison, and their enlightened contemporaries.

Our kings, courtiers, and legislators were all believers in witchcraft, and hearty approvers of the existing laws against that reputed crime.  One of the former, and deemed the wisest of that sacred order, and the Solomon of his day, (James I,) wrote a book in defence of that belief, and of subjecting witches to capital punishment; and when Reginald Scott, the first of our countrymen who ventured to dissent froth the popular creed and write on the other side of the question, published his book, his majesty ordered it to be burnt by the common hangman.  The whole nation approved of the royal and p. 743magnanimous deed, and poor Scott passed for a notorious heretic.—It is not a little mortifying and humiliating to the dignity and pride of man, that the same stupid and absurd notions about witchcraft were among the articles of the creed of the great lord Bacon and his most enlightened contemporaries, as well as of their wise sovereign, and the whole body of the mobility or national rabblement.  The poor witches, of course, had then almost terrible time of it; as much so, probably, to the full, as in the darkest days of popery.

Under Charles I, the Common-wealth, and succeeding reigns, the public opinion on this subject continued unchanged, and the judicial proceedings against witches went on as before.  If they exceeded at any particular period, we presume it must have been under the Common-wealth, when the witch-finders appear to have been in full employment, and at the height of their prosperity.  But we can hardly give credit to the account which Dr. Zachary Grey said he had seen, of between 3 and 4000 persons who suffered death, in the British dominions, for witchcraft, from the year 1640 to 1660.  The spirit which then predominated and reigned, was certainly violent enough, and bore cruelly hard on the poor creatures who were accused of witchcraft: but such a number of victims in so short a space of time, is surely too excessive and extravagant to be credited.  It is however greatly to be regretted that the leaders of that interesting period adhered in this particular to the creed of their ancestors, and were so stupidly in the dark as they appear to have been on this and some other subjects.

p. 744It does not appear, as far as the present writer has discovered, that any of the judges, till after the revolution, shewed the least inclination to discountenance the prosecution of reputed witches, or the prevailing and popular notions about witchcraft.  Even Sir Matthew Hale went with the stream of public opinion, and was among those oracles of the law who passed, without hesitation, the sentence of death on those whom the verdict of a jury pronounced guilty of that reputed crime.  Sir John Holt and Sir John Powel, to their immortal honour, appear to have been the first of our English judges who viewed this pretended offence with minds superior to vulgar prejudice.  The conduct of the former, on a certain trial for that offence, is said to have been such as put an end to all similar prosecutions in that part of the country, and even throughout the kingdom. [744]  But the law was not repealed or altered in his time.

p. 745As to the latter, (Judge Powel,) we hear of two different trials for this offence before him.  At one of them, a witness gave evidence that the prisoner at the bar could fly: on which the judge asked the poor woman, if it really was so, and she answered in the affirmative; p. 746when the judge, with a promptitude of expression which evinced the superiority of his understanding, told her, so she might if she would; he knew of no law against it.  How this trial ended we are not told; but we may be very sure that his lordship did all he could to get the prisoner acquitted.  The other trial for witchcraft before him was that of Jane Wenham, at Hertford, March 4. 1712.  The prisoner was charged with having bewitched several persons, and had the weakness, it seems, sometime before the trial, to confess herself guilty of the alleged crime: and though she afterwards accounted for this confession, as arising from terror, it appears to have had considerable influence on the minds of the jury, in spite of the endeavours of the humane judge to explain and invalidate the evidence brought against her.  She was accordingly brought in guilty; but the judge reprieved her, and the queen soon after pardoned her.

One of the principal witnesses against the prisoner on this trial, as well as one of the principal writers in the controversy to which it gave rise, was Mr. Bragge, vicar of Hitchin.  This gentlemen, in his evidence on the trial, declared, on “the faith of a clergyman,” that “he believed the prisoner to be a witch:” whereupon the judge told him, that, therefore, “on the Truth of a Judge, he took him to be no conjurer.”  After she was pardoned, a gentleman in the country provided her an apartment over his stables, sent her victuals from his table, and suffered her to attend on his children: and we are informed that she was ever after looked upon p. 747by the family as an honest, good natured woman. [747a]  Here we will venture to add that the conduct of the judge and the queen was as just and commendable as that of the prosecutors and the jury was vile and infamous.

In 1716, about four years after the above trial, came on at Huntingdon, for the same offence, before judge Wilmot, the trial of Mary Hicks and Elizabeth her daughter, nine years of age.  They were, it seems, the wife and favourite child of a substantial farmer, who had them apprehended, and became himself, most unnaturally, the principal prosecutor.  The child had practised some silly illusions on her father’s weakness, and the mother had had recourse to the antiquated folly of killing her neighbours in effigy.  On this the suspicion of their being witches was founded.  A confession on their part, not only corroborated that suspicion, but was taken as a full proof of their guilt: “and judge Wilmot suffered them to be hanged, upon that confession, four years (says Mr. Gough,) after his wiser brother, (judge Powel,) ventured his own life to save that of the old woman at Hertford.”

About twenty years after the date of this disgraceful and tragical trial, the 9th. of Geo. II, the old laws which made witchcraft a capital crime were happily repealed.  How many more of such prosecutions or executions took place within those twenty years we are not able to say. [747b]  But it does not appear that the inhabitants p. 748in general, or the lower orders of the community which constitute the bulk of the nation, have ever yet been fully satisfied with the repeal of those laws.  Hence they have been often ready to take the business into their own hands and proceed in a summary and very savage way against those whom they have thought proper to deem or denominate witches.  A shocking case of this kind occurred at Fring in Hertfordshire as lately as 1751, when one Ruth Osborn, a reputed witch, fell a victim to the stupid credulity and abominable prejudice of a frantic mob: and though several of the ringleaders in that bloody and brutal transaction were afterwards hanged, yet the blind and superstitious belief that produced it remained still in the country, and is, even now, in many, if not in most parts of the kingdom as strong as ever.

But little more than two years ago, as was observed before, one Ann Izzard, a poor, honest, industrious woman, of Great Paxton in Huntingdonshire, was very near meeting the same fate with the above Ruth Osborn.  Two or three young women in the neighbourhood having fits, some people there gave out, that they were bewitched, and the suspicion fell upon Ann Izzard: a loaded cart sometime after, oversetting on its return from St. Neot’s market, while the same woman was in company, that accident was ascribed to her witchery.  This confirmed and established the public opinion of her being actually a witch, and immediately set the whole parish in an uproar: “She has just overturned a loaded cart with as much ease as if it had p. 749been a spinning wheel,” was echoed from one end of it to the other.  Men, women, and children raised their voices and exclaimed, “we have now sufficient proof of her guilt—this last act in open day speaks for itself—she is the person that does all the mischief; and if something is not done to put a stop to her baseness there will be no living in the place.”—Nor did this fit of phrensy terminate till they had made two attacks upon her, which, atrocious as they appeared to rational and enlightened people, where considered, by themselves as not only justifiable but highly meritorious.  They were proceeding to still greater atrocities, which she escaped through the interposition of some of her more humane neighbours, who took her under their protection, and had the offenders prosecuted. [749]

p. 750But let us not suppose that it is only in Hertfordshire and Huntingdonshire that this stupid belief in the existence of witches still maintains its ground among us: there every reason to conclude, for all our boasted advancement in knowledge, that a large majority of our population is still subject to this stupidity, and strong in the faith of witchcraft.  It is much to be wished we could here make an exception in favour of Norfolk, and particularly of Lynn.  But it cannot be done.  A great part of this county is known to be exceedingly dark and heathenish; and the vicinity of this town may be said to be much in the same predicament.  Even of the town itself the majority of the population appear to be in a miserable low estate, in point of moral as well as religious cultivation.  It is therefore not to be wondered at if a belief in such things as witchcraft and conjuration should be here still very common and prevalent.

p. 751The author presumes that there is no need to apologize for the length of these historical strictures on witchcraft; the belief of it being, even now, so general among us.  As he deems it a vulgar error, or popular delusion of a most disgraceful character, and pernicious tendency, he wished to expose it with effect, which he thought he could not do more briefly.  He has long observed, with regret, how tenaciously a large proportion of the population of this town and country still adhere to their old blind prejudices; and he would gladly contribute, as far as he can, towards weakening that adherence.  The success, indeed, of all efforts in this way seems almost hopeless; our countrymen’s progress here, from darkness to light, having been hitherto so exceedingly slow and sluggish.  A belief in the existence or reality of conjuration and witchcraft, and in the almost boundless power and dominion of a malignant being, called the devil, is yet, even now in the nineteenth century, among our deep-rooted delusions.  That it is really so, might be exemplified and proved from many undeniable facts, as well as some very recent and striking occurrences. [751]  But we will p. 752now dismiss the subject, and proceed to another division of the work, where new scenes will present themselves to our view.

p. 753CHAP. IV.

History of Lynn, from the meeting of the long parliament, and the commencement of the civil war, to the Restoration.

The long parliament, during the first years of its existence, exhibited, perhaps, a body of national representatives, the most respectable in point of talents and integrity, that this country could ever boast of, or has at any time produced.  Between the patriotism of that assembly and the despotism of the court; there was certainly a most visible and striking contrast.  The difference between these patriots and the government, arose from the oppressive proceedings of the latter, and their flagrant encroachments upon the rights and liberties of the people.  The patriots heartily espoused the people’s cause; but as their oppressors would not listen to reason, or cease from their tyranny, and give security for their future good behaviour, an appeal was made to the sword, which produced the civil war, of which, together with its memorable effects or consequences, p. 754especially as they affected, or related to this town, we shall now proceed to lay before the reader a brief account, which will enable him to form some idea of the principal occurrences of that period.

Section I.

Hints relating to some occurrences here, anterior to the breaking out of the war—Lynn declares for the king—its previous conduct charged with duplicity—siege and surrender of the town—subsequent events.

Among the arbitrary measures of the government, which affected this town previously to the commencement of the war, was the levying of Ship-money.  In 1634, the town is said to have been assessed towards a ship of 800 tons, with 260 men; but it does not appear what was the amount of the assessment.  Two years after, however, (Nov. 6. 1637,) we learn, from the corporation books, that “the town was assessed 200l. for a ship of war.”  This sum may be supposed nearly, if not quite equal to 2000l. of our money.  We mean not to say that it was excessive or exorbitant: it was certainly arbitrary, and therefore illegal and objectionable.  But by the heads of the town, if we may judge by their subsequent conduct, it was not deemed a serious grievance, or perhaps any grievance at all; for they declared for the court, and against the party which opposed those lawless exactions.

p. 755In the succeeding years, previously to the commencement of the war, the town appears to have been closely and carefully guarded, so that none were allowed to enter without permission: hence we find in 1639, the mayor appointing “two warders for the day time, one to stand at the South, and the other the East-Gate;” and the same to continue, “so long as he shall think fitting these dangerous times.”  In 1640 and 1641, the town may be supposed guarded no less vigilantly; in the beginning of 1642, it was, it seems, further fortified, and furnished with seven pieces of brass cannon from London.  In the early part of the same year, captain Sherwood of Norwich, at the head of a troop of dragoons, came close under St. Catherine’s Wall, by the East-Gate, and demanded admittance, but was denied, says Mackerel, “by the mayor and townsmen”—but we presume it must have been rather by the governor; who, at that time, if we are not mistaken, was Sir Hamon L’Estrange, the father of the afterwards famous Sir Roger.

The three gates were now furnished with draw-bridges, and the town, from its situation and the repairs bestowed on its fortifications, must have been pretty strong.  The parliament also thought it a place of no small consequence, and therefore it was besieged and taken at an early stage of the war, by the earl of Manchester, one of their commanders, at the head of a very respectable and formidable force, well supplied with artillery.  The town held out near three weeks; for the siege began on August 28. and the place surrendered p. 756on the 16th. of September.  Of this memorable siege and surrender, the following account is extracted from Rushworth’s Historical Collections, vol. 5. p. 283, which it is hoped will not prove unacceptable to the reader.

“The town of Lynn Regis (says Rushworth,) advantageously situated on an arm of the sea, had for a long while fortified itself, on pretence of neutrality, and for their own defence; but afterwards shewed themselves wholly for the king: wherefore the earl of Manchester being made the parliament’s major-general, for the associated counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, &c. resolved to reduce it; and in order thereunto, seized the town of Old Lynn, and there planted ordnance, which much annoyed them in the other town.  And two approaches were made, one by the causeway that leads to the South, and the other to the East-gate.”  [Against the latter,] “The besieged made a brisk sally, and at once fired two houses in Gauwood, [Gaywood] intending to have destroyed the whole town, that the enemy might not have quarters there.  But that party were beaten in, and the rest of the houses preserved.  The besiegers summoned in pioneers, from all the neighbouring parts, and by degrees brought their approaches within half musket shot: and had begun from a battery on a hill, near to the end of the town, next the sea, and resolved upon storming the town, both by land and water, having provided many boats and ladders for that purpose.  But then received a letter from the town, intimating their willingness to capitulate: p. 757and so a treaty was agreed on, to be had by eight persons of a side.  Those for the earl of Manchester were, Sir John Pargrave, Col. Russel, Col. Walton, Mr. Philip Calthorpe, Mr. John Pickering, Mr. Gregory Gosset, Mr. John Spilman, and Mr. William Goodz.  For the town Sir Hamon L’Estrange, Sir Richard Hovell, Mr. Clinch, Mr. Dereham, Mr. Pallet their recorder, Mr. Hudson the mayor elect, Mr. Leek, and Mr. Kirby: Between whom, after a long debate, it was agreed to this effect,—1. That the town, with the ordnance, arms, and ammunition be delivered to the earl, and he to enter the town.—2. That the gentlemen strangers in the town, shall have liberty to depart, with every man a horse, sword and pistols.—3. That the townsmen shall enjoy all rights and privileges appertaining to them, with free trading as far as may consist with law.—4. All prisoners on both sides to be set at liberty.—5. That the desires of the town touching certain of their ships taken by the parliament frigates, shall be represented by the earl, to the parliament and the earl of Warwick.—6. That neither the persons nor estates, of any inhabitants or strangers now resident in Lynn, shall be molested for any thing past, or done by them since the earl of Manchester’s coming into these parts.—7. That, for preventing of plundering, the town shall raise and pay ten shillings a man, to all private soldiers under the earl’s command, and a fortnight’s pay to the officers.—8. and lastly, That Sir Hamon L’Estrange, Sir Richard Hovell, Capt. Clinch, Mr. Recorder, Mr. Dereham, and Mr. Leek, remain as hostages, until the conditions be performed.”

p. 758“The same night, part of the Earl’s forces took possession of the town; and the next morning his lordship made his entry, and sent 500 men to Hull.  Soon after be withdrew the rest of his forces into Lincolnshire, leaving Col. Walton governor of Lynn.”

Here it may be observed, that the forces that besieged and took Lynn, consisted solely of infantry: the cavalry attached to this army had remained in Lincolnshire, under the command of Cromwell, who was now beginning to distinguish himself as a soldier.  But neither he nor his cavalry, were present at this siege, though some people have thought otherwise, for no better reason, seemingly, than the idle presumption that Cromwell must have been concerned in all the notable transactions of that memorable period.

Among the remarkable occurrences which took place here during this siege, the following has been found in a certain MS. account of the town—

“On Sunday the 3rd of September, in the afternoon, and in the middle of the sermon, came a shot of 18lb weight in at the window over the west door of St. Margaret’s church, and took the middle pillar a great part off, and broke it in many hundred pieces, dispersing them in all directions, all over the church.  One piece of the stone, fell into a seat at the lower end of the church, where five men set, [sat,] and split the board before them, on which they laid their books; but no harm was done to them.  The preacher, a reverend divine, named Mr. Hinson, left his sermon and came out of the church, and all the people departed in a most confused manner; [759a] p. 759some leaving their hatts, some their books, and some their scarves; but, praised be God, no further hurt was done to any person.” [759b]

Near three months after the surrender of Lynn, the following order of both houses was issued, bearing date December 9th 1643—

“Forasmuch as the Earl of Manchester, in his articles of agreement with the town of king’s Lynn, remitted the offence in reference to himself and his array while they lay before the town; but touched upon no private injuries done by the malignants to the well-affected: it is this day ordered by the Lords and Commons that such persons as did take any of the goods of the well-affected, by themselves or such as they appointed, or did any damage to their houses or mills, or any other ways, shall make restitution to all such well-affected persons as have been damnified, according to the greatness of their losses.  And that Col. Walton, governor of King’s Lynn, Mr. Percival and Mr. Toll, members of the House of Commons, [for that town,] shall examine what damage hath been done to the well-affected, and appoint such as have done them injury to make them reparation accordingly: and if any of them shall refuse to make such reparation, that the said governor, Mr. Percival, and Mr. Toll, shall p. 760have power to sequester so much of the estates of such malignants as will make the reparation, and assign it to those that have been damnified.” [760a]

Hence it appears, that the town was then divided into two great political parties, the most powerful of which approving, and even admiring the corruptions and insanities of the Court: how far the case is similar or dissimilar at present, we need not say.

Sometime after the above order was issued by the two Houses, a party of royalists, at the head of which was young L’Estrange, afterwards the noted Sir Roger, formed a plan for surprising the town and recovering it for the king, who had granted him a commission, constituting him its governor, in case of success.  But the design was betrayed by two of his confederates, though both bound by an oath of secrecy: which shews what trusty and choice hands they were.  L’Estrange was consequently seized, tried by a court-martial, and condemned to die as a traitor.  The sentence however was not executed.  He remained in prison from 1644 till 1648, when he luckily escaped, and sometime after got out of the kingdom, where he remained, as was said before, [760b] till the autumn of 1653, when he succeeded in making his peace with the Protector: after which he lived in this country unmolested to the day of his death, when he was at a very advanced age.

About two years after L’Estrange’s adventure, we find the following notice taken of this town in a Public p. 761Paper, called “The Weekly Account,” of Wednesday May 6. 1646—It is an order of Parliament dated April 31. and thus worded—“Whereas the town of Lynn Regis hath suffered very much by the Lord Paulet, It is ordered that reparation should be made to the said town, according to their Petition, out of his estate.”—The Weekly account was a quarto news-paper, of one sheet, “containing certain special and remarkable passages from both Houses of Parliament, and collections of several Letters from the armies.”—We no where else meet with any account or intimation of damages sustained by Lynn from Lord Paulet: but the fact cannot be doubted.  The town, it appears, had complained to Parliament, and petitioned on the occasion.  Could that petition be found, it would, no doubt, cast some light upon this dark part of our history.

It is very certain that this town was no small sufferer during that revolutionary period, as appears from the Journal of the House of Commons in Rushworth’s Historical Collections, Vol. 7. p. 1217, where we find the following passage—“Saturday, August 5, 1648.  The House was informed that the town of Lynn Regis did want much repair, being ruined by these times of war.  The House ordered 2000 oaks for reparation thereof.”  This conduct of the parliament, or then House of Commons looked well, as it indicated some regard for justice.  We seldom, if ever, meet with similar instances in the conduct of the other, or opposite party.  It is not very usual with crowned heads, or p. 762their minions, to think much of making reparation for injuries, much and devoutly as it is to be wished, that it always formed a prominent and essential part of their character.

For the remaining years, down to the restoration, this town appears to have remained tranquil, and pretty loyal to the constituted authorities, or new order of things.  It seems also to have soon surmounted its former sufferings, [762a] and to have fast advanced in wealth and prosperity.  We discover no particular symptoms of disaffection here within those years, unless it was about 1650, when there was an insurrection of the royalists in this county, and a major Saul, a worthy gentleman, as an old MS. says, was hanged here in the Tuesday market place, for being concerned, it seems, in that affair.

About the same time, or within the same year, one Dorothy Floyd, (or Lloyd,) also was hanged here, as the same old MS. says, for Witchcraft: which we now just mention, as we had overlooked it before, in our account of those who unhappily suffered at Lynn for that reputed or imaginary crime. [762b]

p. 763Section II.

Cromwell in much request at Lynn about the commencement of this period—the reason of it conjectured—his visit here, and that of Fairfax—character or quality of the then parliamentary representatives of the town—how chosen—paid by their constituents—demur on that score—payment enforced by parliament: &c.

The reputation and influence of Cromwell appear to have been very considerable in these parts before the breaking out of the war.  In his native county of Huntingdon, and that of Cambridge, he was evidently well respected; and especially in the Isle and Fens and parts adjacent.  In the direction and management of the drainage and other affairs of the Fens his interest appeared scarcely inferior to that of the earl of Bedford, if it did not sometimes exceed it.  He appears to have been at the head of the opposition to that nobleman, to which party this town then belonged, as well as that of Cambridge, which Cromwell represented in parliament.  The service which he had rendered to his party must have procured him their good opinion: and this, together with his general reputation, might be the reason of his being treated here with uncommon distinction.

In the spring of 1643, and but a few months before the Siege we find him invited here by the mayor and corporation; and the following order is still extant in their books—“March 20th. ordered a free entertainment at the town charge, by Thomas Gurling Esq. mayor, for Col. Cromwell and those gentlemen of his equipage, according to the invitation of Mr. Mayor, in answer to a Letter he received from Col. Cromwell.”—In the p. 764same books, a few weeks after, was inserted the following memorandum—“April 17.  Mr. Mayor was allowed 5l. for his preparations for the entertainment of Col. Cromwell.” [764]  This was at an early period of the war, before the town had ventured to declare for the king, and when they appeared desirous of keeping fair with the parliament, or being treated on the footing of neutrality.  But whatever might be its policy, it was a very undignified conduct, as must always be the case where duplicity or hypocrisy forms the leading feature.  The event shews that a different conduct would have answered better:—agreeable to the old adage or maxim, that “Honesty is the best Policy.”

The burgesses or representatives sent by this town to the short parliament, which met in the spring of 1640, as well as those sent to the long parliament, which met the ensuing autumn or winter, were chosen from among its principal and responsible inhabitants; which seems to have been strictly proper and unexceptionable.—The representatives in the former or short parliament were Mr. Wm. Doughty and Mr. Tho. Gurlyn, the two senior aldermen; those in the latter, or long parliament, were Mr. John Percival and Mr. Tho. Toll; who were also chosen from among the aldermen.  To each of those representatives their constituents allowed five shillings a day for their trouble, while they attended p. 765their duty in parliament.  With this trifling allowance, while it was paid, the recipients appear to have been quite satisfied.  But their constituents soon grew tired of it, and withheld it from them, which occasioned the interference of parliament, as appears by the following order.

“October 15. 1642—It is this day ordered by the Commons, now assembled in parliament, that the mayor, aldermen, and common counsell of the town of King’s Lynn, in the county of Norfolk, shall pay and allow, out of the town stock, as formerly, unto John Percevall [765a] and Tho. Toll, their burgesses for this present parliament, as large an allowance, per diem, as they have hitherto [765b] allowed any of their aldermen that have been burgesses in parliament for that towne, notwithstanding the freemen [765c] of that town had their voyces in the choice of the said John Percevall and Tho. Toll to be their burgesses in the present parliament.  If the mayor of Lynn can shew any cause to the contrary wee shall be ready to hear him.”

The Corporation appear to have been pretty much at a loss how to act in this affair.  No public notice appears p. 766to have been taken of it from the middle of October till the beginning of January.  On the 2nd. of that month the Corporation had a meeting on the occasion, when the above order was taken under consideration.  On the next day they met again, when it was resolved and ordered that the following Letter or address should be presented to the House of Commons, by way of answer.

“We the Mayor, Aldermen, and Comon Councel, whose names are hereunto subscribed, doe in all humbleness represent unto your grave wisdoms, That as heretofore no parliamentary wages have been paid before the parliament ended, [766] nor then out of the town stock, but by the Freemen and Inhabitants, saving that of late time, meerly of bounty not of dutye, the burgesses were diversely rewarded by the representative body, so in like humbleness we represent the now impossibility of performance of the said order, in respect wee have not at present (nor had at any time since notice of the said order) any Town-Stock at all, nor are likely to have any for many years to come, for that our revenues are not sufficient to defray the necessary charges wee annually disburse for the ordinary maintenance of the town, whereunto wee are tyed, besides the extraordinary expences which unavoidably do and will daily fall upon us for the safety of our town in especiall, and of the kingdom in generall, all which wee humbly refer to your high Justice and Honorable Consideration.”

p. 767As this address was a mere shuffle, it was not likely to impose upon parliament, or prove ultimately of any avail to the corporation.  They affected however, to be still desirous of keeping fair with that body; and accordingly treated Cromwell and his company, when they visited the town, two or three months after, with marks of most respectful attention. [767]  But that was probably a piece of downright finesse on their part, to gain time and bring the plot which they were forming, or their plan of future resistance to greater ripeness and a fairer chance of success.  Even their withholding from their two members the usual allowance for their attendance in parliament may be naturally supposed to have resulted from the design of declaring for the king and against the parliament: and this design was put in execution the ensuing summer, which brought on the siege and other events already noticed.

The Corporation evaded the payment of the said daily allowance to their two members for a whole year or more: but it was not forgotten by the parliament, who sometime after the siege, appear to have put them again in mind of it.  Accordingly we find that the following memorandum stands yet in the corporation-books—“Nov. 24. (1643,) ordered that five shillings per diem be paid to John Percevall and Tho. Toll, burgesses in this parliament, from the time they went to parliament to this day.”  Thus the affair ended; and our representatives, it is presumed, continued to receive the like p. 768allowance afterwards, till the restoration.  But it does not appear, or is at all likely to have been the case any longer, as to this town, though it might elsewhere. [768]  At the period of which we are speaking, it was, probably, pretty general.  Had it been universal, and so continued to this day, it would, no doubt, have been a very happy circumstance for these kingdoms.  Our House of Commons, in that case, would have felt more for the country than it has generally done in these latter times: not to say that the people too had been then more careful in the choice of their representatives.

As to the two last elections, already glanced at, that for the short and that for the succeeding long parliament, they appear to have differed from each other in this, that the former was the act or deed of the corporation alone, and the latter that of the whole body of freemen, as is the case (at least nominally) at present.  Succeeding elections seem to have exhibited similar diversity.  In Cromwell’s first parliament, that of 1653, it does not appear that Lynn had any representatives.  It is therefore likely that there was here then no previous election.  In the second protectoral parliament, which met in 1654, this town was represented as usual; but how the election was conducted does not seem very clear, though it appears most probable that the freemen at large had no share in it, as may perhaps be concluded from the following memorandum in the town-books—

“1654 July 21.  Ordered that 4l. 15s. expended by p. 769Mr. Mayor on the day of the election of the burgesses to serve in parliament for this corporation be paid by the chamberlain.”

That the election for the members sent to the 3rd protectoral parliament (that of 1656,) was managed by the corporation solely seems pretty evident from the following note in the town books—

“1656.  August 18th.  This day general John Desborow and major general Philip Skippon are chosen in this house to serve as burgesses for this borough in his Highness next parliament upon the 17th September next, according to a precept directed to Mr Mayor from the Sherife, and ordered that their charges be paid by this House.”

In the election of the members who represented Lynn in the protector Richard’s parliament the corporation appear to have exercised the same arbitrary power as before, of being sole electors.  Several of the other freemen at the same time desired permission to poll, but were not allowed.  At the election which took place in April 1660 the freemen again applied for permission to vote which, after some hesitation, was acceded to, and the members were then chosen by the general body of free burgesses. [769]

p. 770Thus we see how things formerly stood in this town, as to the state of political liberty, or the freedom of election.  Former times appear not to have been very p. 771pure in those respects, any more than the present.  In looking to our ancestors for much political rectitude or public virtue, we are often most sadly disappointed.  It is now frequently made a subject of complaint or reflection, that our present members are chosen, in fact, by two or three individuals; but the same seems to have been almost always the case ever since the reformation, and revolution, as well as before.  The freemen at large are indeed said to have a voice in the election of our members; but it is all a joke, while freedom of acting, or voting without constraint or control is totally out of the question.  It is well known at what risk most of our pretended freemen would vote freely at our elections, p. 772and how much it has cost some of them before now for presuming so to do.  All this however must be very wrong, if our constitution ought to be in practice what is it in theory.

Section III.

Maintenance of the clergy—state of the public morals and manners—mode and progress of reformation at Lynn, under the Common-wealth and Protectorate.

Of the Lynn clergy during this period Dr. Arrowsmith and Mr. Horn appear to have been by much the most eminent.  The former we think was one of the ministers of St. Margaret’s parish.  That his character, as a divine, stood very high, appears from his being appointed one of the Assembly of Divines, which was convened in 1643, and which appointment put an end probably to his residence here.  He became afterwards Master of Peter-House in Cambridge.  Mr. Horn must have settled here after the departure of Dr. Arrowsmith; not as his successor, however; for he was the minister of South Lynn, and held that situation till after the restoration, when we find him among those two thousand worthies, commonly called the “Ejected Ministers.”  As minister of Alhallows or South Lynn, he laid his income at 80l. a year, a sum equal to 5 or 600l. at p. 773least, of our money.  This comfortable situation and ample income he gave up, to preserve a good conscience; an instance and a proof of integrity which must endear his memory to all honest and good men.

The clergy of St. Margaret’s parish had probably as good an income as their brother of Alhallows, but the exact amount of theirs we have not the means of ascertaining.  But in the town-books there is the following memorandum dated December 18. 1637 “Lionell Gatford minister to have 50l. yearly and a dwelling house, provided he agree not to meddle in the election of church wardens or parish clark.”—This 50l. was equal to 3 or 400 of our pounds, so that the liberality of the corporation to their minister at that period must have far exceeded what we understand it to be at present.  As the said 50l. was over and above, or exclusive of the vicarial dues, and what we call surplice fees, the minister’s income must have been what may be called very decent and handsome at the period of which we are now treating.

After this town had been reduced under the dominion of the parliament it soon began to put on a religious and puritanical appearance.  The publicans and those who frequented their houses were now obliged to be very particularly upon their guard, and at their peril to observe a decency of behaviour.  Those who were guilty of tippling were fined, as were also the occupiers of the public houses where those offences were committed.  Profane swearing was also punished in like manner, as well as p. 774loitering in the time of divine service on the Lord’s day. [774a]  A strict attention to these matters began to be paid by the magistrates very shortly after the reduction of the town; and they appear to have pursued the same course pretty regularly thenceforward till the restoration.  The town accordingly, soon assumed a decorous and respectable appearance.  It was no longer disgraced as before by drunkenness, riot, or profane swearing.  In fact, it was in a manner regenerated; and might with a good deal of propriety be denominated a christian town.  The Lord’s Day was observed with remarkable decorum and solemnity; and on the Thursdays, in lecture time, the shops were kept shut up, to the end the people and their servants might the better attend the hearing the word of God. [774b]  On the whole, this town appears to have been for the greatest part of this period as well governed as at any one time either before or afterwards.

p. 775The love of tippling appears to have been then in Lynn one of the greatest obstacles to the reformation of the people.  The town was full of petty pot-houses, a great many of which were private and unlicensed.  Even as late as 1657 we find no less than 40 or 50 of these private and unlawful places of resort heavily fined by the magistrates.  This was, at the time, complained of, as a grievous oppression, and is so still represented in some of the existing MS. accounts of that period; which shews how unwilling the people were to forsake their immoralities, tho’ their rulers obliged them to do so outwardly.  The restoration followed soon after, and we need not wonder that the profaneness and profligacy, then introduced and restored, proved highly acceptable and pleasing to the majority of the Lynn people, who now found themselves pretty well freed from most of the former troublesome checks upon immorality and licentiousness.

Of the persevering exertions of our magistrates, during this period, to check the prevailing propensity of the lower orders to tippling, profane swearing, and the like irregularities, many instances occur in our old records.  Of several of those instances, in 1644, some notice has been taken already.  Others are recorded as having occurred in 1645, [775] but a far greater number in the following p. 776year, (1646,) [776] which seems to indicate the uncommon zeal and vigilance of the then chief magistrate, or chief magistrates, for they seem to have occurred p. 777partly in the mayoralty of Edward Robinson, and partly (but chiefly) in that of Thomas Toll, one of the members for the town, who appears to have stood high here then in the public estimation.

In some of the succeeding years the attention of our magistrates appears to have been no less engaged in these corrective measures.  1651 was one of those years.  Bartholemew Wormell was then mayor; at least for the first nine months of it; and he seems to have trod pretty much in the steps of his brother Toll.  The offences that came under his cognisance seem to have exceeded in number rather than fallen short of those committed during the mayoralty of the latter.  They were of various sorts; such as swearing, tippling, excessive drinking, keeping unlicensed alehouses, travelling on the Lord’s day, &c.  By the distance between one and another of the years of remarkable delinquency and coercion, it would seem that the irregularities were checked for a time, but would afterwards break out afresh, with increasing force, like water pent up, or impeded in its course by a dam.  At the distance of five or six years the vigorous interference of the magistrates appears always to have become necessary.  1645, 1651, and 1657, were the most remarkable years for the interposition of the municipal power to correct the existing abuses.

p. 778The last of those years (1657) was exceedingly remarkable for the number of petty pot-houses, or private drinking places then discovered in the town.  They amounted seemingly to near fifty, for such a number of persons appear to have been then fined, “for selling beer without licence.”  Vice seems to have then skulked into those places of private resort, and no longer cared to shew its face in public.  Most of our misdoings appear to have been then confined to those petty and private pot-houses, and but one misdeed occurs within that year which would seem to have been committed elsewhere; and the same is recorded in these words—“Received of Mr. James Davey, which he levied upon an offender for prophaneing the Lord’s day, 10s.”—In short, one cannot help concluding that the town was then, in point of outward decency, much superior to what it is in the present day.  We are not quite sure that there were then any common breweries here: and if there were, it is not probable that they were the property of magistrates.

Nor did the improvement which then took place in the town consist merely in the outward deportment or appearance of the inhabitants, but it seems to have also extended to the temper and disposition of a great many of them; as appears from the numerous acts of humanity and deeds of charity which are found to have been then promoted and performed here, beyond any preceding or subsequent period that we know of.  The sufferings and distresses of their fellow creatures, far and near, at home and abroad, were then viewed, or listened to, at Lynn p. 779with sympathetic and commiserating attention, as is evinced by the numerous collections which then took place here for the relief of such sufferers and objects of distress and misery.  The statement below in reference chiefly to the years 1653 and 1654, will give the reader some idea of the good character of our ancestors at the time of which we are treating. [779]—In short, we know p. 780not of any period when Lynn abounded more than it did then, in acts of charity and humanity, in works of mercy and fruits of righteousness; or when it made, on the whole, a more christian-like appearance: notwithstanding the immoral propensities of many of the inhabitants, and the adherence of not a few of the rest to superstitious or fanatical delusions.

Section IV.

Miscellaneous remarks, or a cursory view of divers other matters relating to this town, within, or about the same period.

Nothing, perhaps, exhibits more strikingly the wide difference between that time and the present, than the then defective state of postage, or letter-carriage, between this town and London.  Had any one then foretold that we should ever have a mail-coach or mail-cart, or any other conveyance to bring letters from London, or carry them thither daily, it would have passed as an idle tale, no more credible or probable than bishop Wilkins’ notion or supposition of the probability of future intercourse between our world and the moon.  The former fact, p. 781however, has been realized.  But at the period of which we are speaking Letters used to arrive here from London or were conveyed thither from this town once a week, and that by a foot messenger.

Accordingly we have the following article, or memorandum in the corporation books, No. 8. under the year 1638, 9—“Feb. 11th. Richard Harrison and Richard Smith are chosen to be two foot posts for this town of Lynn to London interchangeably by turns every week, and to have 30s. each, from the town, per annum.”  From the then mode of carrying on trade one may easily conceive that the intercourse between the two places was very small, and the letters conveyed to and fro very few, compared to what is the case at present.  But the wages or salary of these postmen is not a little remarkable:—sixty shillings a year for going afoot every week to London!  Neither the generosity nor even the justice of the town seems to shine here.  Who would undertake such a service now for sixty guineas a year?  Yet we are not sure that the shilling of that time was altogether as valuable as our guinea.  It must however have been pretty nearly so: and within our own memory, even in this best of reigns, the guinea’s value has been reduced to seven shillings, if not lower.  But on this subject we need not to enlarge.

In 1642 a measure was adopted, in the Hall, which must needs be creditable to the memory of its then members.  The affair is thus expressed in the corporation books, under that year, or rather in the book of Extracts p. 782before mentioned—“October 9th.  Ordered that the Charters shall be read by the town-clerk, in English, that those of this House may the better understand what they are sworn to maintain.”  This seems very reasonable and very right, and indicates something like an earnest wish in the body corporate to avoid perjury, and to act conscientiously and honorably in their official capacities, or as municipal functionaries.  How expedient it might be at this present time to have a motion made in the Hall to the same effect, or to have a similar measure adopted there, it is not for us to determine.  But we cannot help suspecting that some, if not the majority of our present corporate body are to the full as ignorant of the contents of their charters, and of what they are sworn to maintain, as ever their predecessors were, who adapted the measure, or passed the order in question.

Our body corporate at the period of which we are treating, and long after, entertained very different ideas on some points from those of their successors of the present day: and that difference was not, perhaps, more remarkable on any point than on the course to be taken with such of their own members, or brethren, who ceased to be residents in the town, or became absentees.  Formerly the non-residence of members was on no account allowed, or connived at.  Aldermen, common-council-men, and even the recorder, as well as town-clerk and chamberlain, were required to be all residents: and whenever they ceased to be so, or happened to become absentees, they were always forthwith discharged, or cut off, as rotten and useless members.  The necessity p. 783of this our corporation used formerly to insist upon, as what a due regard for the good government and prosperity of the town, as well as the very nature of their respective oaths and offices rendered indispensible.  In short, it seemed to be their unanimous and invariable opinion that the nonresidence of any one of their fraternity was insufferable, and inconsistent with both honour and honesty, and of course with the character of a gentleman.

Their successors of the present time view the subject in another and a very different light.  Our absentees are now very numerous, and seem to be daily on the increase.  They consist already of several aldermen and common council men, with the recorder himself at their head—[783] all honourable men, no doubt: though we cannot help suspecting that their predecessors, of other times, would have bestowed upon them another and a somewhat more degrading appellation, and especially upon the rest of the brotherhood who quietly suffer their nonresidence, or allow them to retain their membership p. 784while they remain absentees.  It is now a common complaint, that, owing to these absentees, the corporation business is much obstructed, so that it is often very difficult, and sometimes impossible to get what is called a Hall: yet no one, it seems, has the honesty, or the courage to move for the expulsion of those worse than useless members, as would always have been the case heretofore.  This obvious symptom of declension and depravity in this corporation, may serve, perhaps, to illustrate what is said to be also actually the case on our great national theatre, or throughout the empire.

How these matters, or this case, stood formerly will appear from the following samples, out of the corporation books—“February 17th (1644, 5)  This day it is agreed by order of this House, that Gregory Turnall, late one of the common-councell here, by reason of his absenting himself from the Hall (tho’ he hath often been required) be discharged our society.”—again—“1647, February. 14.  This day it is agreed upon, that for that Mr. Richard Davy, late one of the common-councel of this House, is now gone to live at Yarmouth, therefore this House doe discharge him of the same place.”  again—“March 16th. 1659.  Nathaniel Atwood discharged from the office of a common-councell-man, having long absented himselfe, and being employed in the navy.”—again—“1661, October 25.  Forasmuch as Mr. William Keeling, one of the aldermen of this burgh, hath a long time absented himselfe from this burgh, and from attending the service as alderman of this burgh, although he hath been thereto often requested, and is p. 785now at present absent out of the town, whereby the service of this burgh is very much impeded, to the great damage of the said burgh; it is thereupon this day ordered, that the said Wm. Keeling be discharged from being an alderman of this burgh.”—again—“November 28. 1673.  This day Mr. Giles Alden (by reason of his being very much absent from this society, whereby the business of this corporation is much impeded and neglected) is by the mayor and aldermen discharged from being one of the common-councell of this burgh.”—again,—“September 29. 1728.  Ordered that Robert Britiffe Esq. Recorder of this burgh, be discharged of his attendance as Recorder, for his neglect of duty and nonresidence.”—These extracts plainly shew what was the practice of our corporation formerly, in regard to such of their members as happened to become nonresidents or absentees, and how very different that practice was from that which prevails at present.  The reader is now left to judge which is the most proper or reasonable, the former or the present practice.

At the period we are now reviewing, a roasted swan seems to have been in great request at our Lynn entertainments: hence we read under the date of Sept. 24. 1649—“Granted to John Bird, a lease for seven years of three ferry rights, at 10l. per annum, and a brace of swans well fatted to the mayor.”  But the ferryman, probably, found it difficult sometimes to get, or to fatten those large birds; in which case the mayor might be expected to condescend to accept of an equivalent.  Something p. 786like this accordingly occurs under the date of March 15. 1657, “Ordered that the chamberlain pay to the mayor for the time being 40s. on the 1st of January yearly, in liew of a brace of fatted Swanns usually delivered to the mayor by the person who hired the Ferry rights.”—The taste of our countrymen has undergone a great change since; and the Swan no longer appears upon our tables.

South Gate Lynn.  J Sellett del.  Jukes & Sargent fecit

At the beginning of this period there were here no more than six corn-meters, but on the 14th.  November 1653 they were increased to ten, which seems to indicate our trade, and particularly the corn trade, as well as the agriculture of the country to have been then in a state of progression.—The town seems also to have had then a greater intercourse with the country on its eastern than on its southern side; which we may infer from the following article in the corporation books, dated April 4. 1653: “Ordered that Henry Bloye, the Southgate porter, shall have the Tolls of that Gate at 1l. 5s. a year; and James Browne, the porter at the East-gate, shall pay for the Tolls of that Gate 1l. 15s. a year, during the pleasure of this House.”—The East gate is supposed still to retain a similar superiority.—It is somewhat remarkable that in those days the town-clerks of Lynn, as well as the recorders, were regular barristers: accordingly we find it noted in the corporation records, “December 6. 1652—This day Thomas Ulber Esq. councellor at Law is chosen Town-clerk, in the room of John Williamson Esq. councellor at Law, discharged.”—Our corporation must have been then p. 787well furnished with legal knowledge.  In later times all our town-clerks were below the degree of barristers. [787]

On the 3rd of July 1657 the tolls of the East and South Gates, (as appears from the town-books,) were let for 15l. a year, which seems to shew that they were now much more productive than in 1653, when they were let for only 3l. a year.  It is very natural to infer from this, that the trade of the town, or its intercourse with the country had much increased during those years.—On the 18th of July in the next year, (1658, as we learn from the same source) St. James’ church yard was ordered to be a burying place for the parish of St. Margaret’s, for one year, “there not being room in St. Margaret’s church-yard:”—but it seems rather unaccountable how making St. James’ church yard the parish burying-place for one year could materially alter the case as to the want of room in St. Margaret’s church-yard, or furnish more room there for burying at the end of that term than there was at the beginning of it.  It might however be here suggested by way of query, if it would not have been quite as well, on a recent occasion, and far better in point of expense, to have made use again of St. James’ church p. 788yard (including the south side) instead of forming the new burying ground?—at least, till the times proved more favourable; which, it is to be hoped, will be the case in the next reign, if not sooner.

The period we are now reviewing, and the review of which we are now about to conclude, was perhaps the most remarkable of any in the history of this town, as well as that of England and of Britain.  Nor does it seem to have been more remarkable for any thing than for the exertions then made to reform the morals and manners of the great mass of the people.  But those exertions were generally too rough and violent, and therefore more calculated to make hypocrites than sincere converts, as must always be the case when such works are carried on by coercive means, rather than by rational persuasion, or upon right christian principles.  Accordingly our reforming magistrates, by way of reclaiming their townsmen from their tippling propensities, and bringing them from drunkenness to sobriety, had recourse to fines and imprisonment, which as was before observed, fell sometimes very heavy upon the publicans, no less than six and thirty of whom were imprisoned in the course of one year, as we learn from one of our old MS. accounts.  These measures excited a violent prejudice against our reformers, and against the reformation itself.  Fining was called plundering, and imprisonment, passed for persecution and tyranny.  But the restoration brought things back into the old channel, and relieved our publicans and tipplers from these hardships.

p. 789CHAP. V.

History of Lynn from the Restoration to the Revolution.

Between the period which we have been last reviewing and that which we are now entering upon there was confessedly a very wide and glaring dissimilarity: no two periods could well exhibit a more obvious and striking contrast.  The spirit of puritanism predominated in the former, and that of libertinism, or, in other words, of licentiousness and profligacy in the latter.  The rulers of the nation, in the former period, were men of sobriety and gravity, in the latter they were dissipated and dissolute.  The former appeared to have for their aim the amendment or improvement of the national manners and morals, the latter the very reverse, for they were actually the promoters and patrons of all manner of depravity, of every thing that was vile, profligate, or flagitious.  The two brothers, Charles and James, and their ministers, were certainly some of the p. 790vilest wretches that providence ever sent to punish and plague and curse a sinful nation.

As to Cromwell, it is pretty much the fashion to decry and vilify him, as a dissembling villain, a base hypocritical knave and usurper: but no one need to envy the discernment, penetration, or sagacity of those men who cannot perceive that his moral character was not below that of either the first or second Charles, and that his character as a statesman, and his talents for government, were infinitely superior to those of either of them, or of any of their kindred.  No proof has ever been produced that he was a greater dissembler, or a more unprincipled wretch than those two princes; and it might perhaps without much difficulty be shewn, that, in comparison with either of them, he was really an honest, virtuous, great and good man.—As to what is deemed his greatest crime, that of compassing the king’s death, the great law of self-preservation will certainly plead much in extenuation of that act; for it is now very well known that Cromwell was previously in possession of good and absolute proof that it was the king’s intention to sacrifice him, in case he could bring the treaty then on foot between him and the parliament to a successful termination.  The intercepted Letter to the queen convinced Oliver that he had no chance for his life, if the king reascended the throne.  He therefore resolved to prevent that, and save his own life by sacrificing that of the king. [790]  This was very natural, and few men would have done otherwise.

p. 791Section I.

Cursory remarks on the Restoration—its memorable effects—great joy manifested here on the occasion—several remarkable rejoicings at Lynn in the course of this period.

The Restoration was one of those revolutionary events which occur in the history of this country.  It was effected, says one of our historians, “without any effusion of blood.”  But what is more to be wondered at, is, that whereas so much blood had been spilt to compel Charles I. to come to terms with his people, towards which it is certain he at last made large concessions, Charles II. should be received without any conditions at all.  Upon this bishop Burnet, in the History of his own times, observes, that Hale, afterwards lord chief justice, did move that a Committee might be appointed to look into the propositions that had been made, and the concessions that had been offered by the late king, and from thence digest such propositions as they should think fit to be sent over to the king.  As such a motion was foreseen, Monk was instructed how to answer [or overrule] it.  He accordingly told the House, that he had information of such numbers of incendiaries still in the kingdom, that if any delay was put to the sending for the king, he could not answer for the peace either of the nation or army: and as the king was to bring neither army nor treasure with him, either to fright or corrupt them, propositions might be as well offered to him when he should come over; so moved for sending commissioners immediately.  This was echoed with such a shout all over the House, that p. 792Hale’s motion was no more insisted on.  To the King’s coming without conditions, says the bishop, may well be imputed all the errors of his reign. [792a]  To allow him so to return and ascend the throne was certainly a flagrant proof of the folly and pusillanimity of the convention parliament, and of the baseness of that spirit which then predominated among out ancestors.

Such a tide of extravagant joy overspread the nation upon the king’s arrival, as in the end very much hurt and debased the morals of the people, and introduced an almost universal dissoluteness of manners, which was encouraged and propagated by the ill example of the king and the court.  From the enthusiasm and fanaticism, which prevailed in the former period, the nation fell now into the opposite extreme of licentiousness and immorality; one or the other of which extremes being always the consequence of men’s not governing themselves by reason. [792b]  Thus the country had no great cause to congratulate itself on the blessed effects of the restoration of royalty, or the revival of the old order of things.  No nation in Europe could be more depraved and licentious than the English in the reign of Charles the second.

Much pains were taken, before his majesty’s arrival, to represent his character in the most favourable and respectable light.  Though the first born of profligacy and scoundrelism, he was reported, by his faithful and thorough-paced agents, as the very mirror of wisdom, of virtue, and of piety.  These reports were not more p. 793industriously or artfully circulated than they were readily and generally believed, so that we need not wonder if the country in general looked upon the arrival of Charles as the commencement of the golden age, or of the reign of a heaven-born prince.  Such seems to have been actually the case.  The confidence the people had in the king, says Kimber, from the extraordinary good opinion they had been prepossessed with in his favour, and their transports of joy at being delivered from the late confusions and distractions, by means of his restoration, will account for the excessive complaisance that was shewn to the court at the beginning of this great event, so that the parliament could scarce deny the king any thing.  To the ill use made of this confidence is to be imputed the opposition which the court met with afterwards.

Our ecclesiastical historian Neal, speaking of the restoration, says,

“Here was an end of those distracted times which our historians have loaded with all the infamy and reproach that the wit of man could invent.  The puritan ministers have been decried, as ignorant mechanicks, canting preachers, enemies to learning, and no better than public robbers.  The universities were said to be reduced to a meer Munster, and that if the Goths and Vandals, and even the Turks, had overrun the nation they could not have done more to introduce barbarism, disloyalty, and ignorance.  Yet in these times, and by the men who then filled the university chairs, were educated the most learned divines p. 794and eloquent preachers, such as the Stillingfleets, Tillotsons, Bulls, Barrows, Whitbys, and others, who retained a high veneration for their learned tutors after they were ejected and displaced.  The religious part of the common people have been stigmatized with the character of hypocrites, their looks, their dress and behaviour, have been represented in the most odious colours; and yet one may venture to challenge these declaimers to produce any period of time since the reformation, wherein there was less open profaneness and impiety, and more of the spirit as well as the appearance of religion.  Perhaps there was too much rigour and preciseness in indifferent matters; but the lusts of men were laid under a visible restraint; and though the legal constitution was unhappily broken, and men were governed by false politicks, yet better laws were never made against vice, or more rigorously executed.  The dress and conversation of people was sober and virtuous, and their manner of living remarkably frugal.  There was hardly a single bankruptcy to be heard of in a year, and in such a case the bankrupt had a mark of infamy upon him that he could never wipe off.  Drunkenness fornication, profane swearing, and every kind of debauchery, were justly deemed infamous, and universally discountenanced.  The clergy were laborious to excess in preaching and praying, and catechising youth and visiting their parishes.  The magistrates did their duty in suppressing all kinds of games, stage-plays, and abuses in publick-houses.  There was not a play acted on any theatre in England for almost twenty years.  The Lord’s day was observed with unusual reverence; p. 795and there were a set of as learned and pious youths training up in the university as had ever been known.  So that if such a reformation of manners had been obtained under a legal administration they would have deserved the character of the best of times.”

“But when the legal constitution was restored, there returned with it a torrent of debauchery and wickedness.  The times which followed the restoration were the reverse of those that preceded it; for the laws which had been enacted against vice for the last twenty years being declared null, and the magistrates changed, men set no bounds to their licentiousness.  A proclamation indeed was published against those loose and riotous cavaliers, whose loyalty consisted in drinking health and railing at those who would not revel with them: but in reality the king was at the head of these disorders, being devoted to his pleasures, and having given himself up to an avowed course of lewdness; his bishops and chaplains said, that he usually came from his mistresses apartments to church, even on sacrament days.”

Yet he was, on earth, the supreme head of the church, and that church the best constituted in the world.  It must need, surely, be well, extremely well constituted (and so must any body) not to be contaminated, disordered, or distracted with, or by such a head.

“Nothing was to be seen at court but feasting, hard drinking, revelling, and amorous intrigues, which engendered the most enormous vices.  From court the contagion spread like wild fire among the people, in so p. 796much that men threw off the very profession of virtue and piety, under colour of drinking the king’s health: all kinds of old cavalier rioting and debauchery revived; the appearances of religion which remained with some, furnished matters of ridicule to libertines and scoffers.  Some, who had been concerned in the former changes, thought they could not redeem their credit better than by deriding all religion, and telling or making stories to render their former party ridiculous.  To appear serious, or make conscience either of words or actions, was the way to be accounted a schismatick, a fanatick, or a sectarian; though if there was any real religion during the course of this reign, it was chiefly among those people.  They who did not applaud the new ceremonies were marked out for presbyterians, and every presbyterian was a rebel.  The old clergy who had been sequestered for scandal, having taken possession of their livings, were intoxicated with their new felicity, and threw off all the restraints of their order.—Such was the general dissoluteness of manners that attended the deluge of joy which overflowed the nation upon his majesties restoration.” [796a]

As to Lynn, at and subsequently to the restoration, it appears to have largely shared the general joy and other effects produced by that memorable event.  When we consider the extreme rigour of the former government or governors of this town, [796b] in attempting fines and p. 797imprisonment to restrain the tippling and other vicious and licentious propensities of the inhabitants, we cannot much wonder at the excessive joy which the restoration excited here, as it was very natural to expect that that event would effectually remove those severities, and introduce a more lax and indulgent system.  How long the first transports of joy lasted we are not able exactly to ascertain; but that they were at their height on the first royal birth day, the 29th of May 1660, we may very reasonably presume.  On that day the town was all festivity and triumph.  Among the curiosities that graced that memorable carnival were 300 young maids, or lasses of the town, dressed all in white, and parading through the principal streets. [797]  Whether this may, or may not be considered as an emblem of the predilection of the sex for Charles, or that of Charles for the sex, we will not take upon us to say.  That it was a whimsical contrivance seems very evident; and that it was peculiar to this town appears more than probable, as we do not recollect having heard of any thing like it elsewhere on that day, or on that occasion.

p. 798This was certainly one of the most gladsome seasons that Lynn ever witnessed: but it was not the only season of that description that occurred here during the period now under review.  There are others of the same kind that ought here not to pass unnoticed.  One of these was in the spring of 1680, on account of the arrival of the duke of York from Scotland, and the discomfiture of the Whigs or petitioners, (or the king’s rejection of the petitions of the people for the assembling of parliament,) and, of course, the success and triumph of the Tories or court party, then called Abhorrers, as they professed to abhor such petitioning, and approve of the king’s governing without parliaments.  On these interesting accounts there was much rejoicing at Lynn; and

“on the 30th of April that year, the following Address was read in the Hall, and signed the same day by every one of that House: and the mayor, (Giles Bridgeman) was desired to commend the same to the hands of the right honorable the Earl of Yarmouth (Lord Lieutenant of the County) to be presented by him to his Majesties.”

“To the King’s most excellent Majestie,

Dread Sir,—Wee your Majesties Dutifull and Loyall Subjects, the Mayor, Recorder, Aldermen, and Common-Councell of your Majesties ancient burgh of Lenn Regis, on behalf of ourselves and other the free Burgesses and principal inhabitants here doe in all humility prostrate ourselves at the feet of your most sacred Majestie, and in all duty acknowledge the infinite benefits wee of this burgh, with all other, the liedge people p. 799of this your Majesties Kingdom of England by your happy government and royall conduct next under God enjoye, and more particularly wee give your Majestie an oblation of our duty and thankfullness in your pious and resolute support and maintenance of the religion established by the Lawes of this kingdome in the Church of England in your couragious conserving the Regalities of your Crowne against insolent petitions, and protecting the lawfull liberties and freedoms of your subjects.  And with our souls we bless Almighty God in the return of your royall brother, the Duke of Yorke, to your Majesties most Gracious presence, and doe cheerfully profess to maintaine and defend your Majesties most Royall person your Heirs and lawfull successors in your and their just rights,

May it please your Majestie

Your natural Liegemen.”

In this remarkable and curious Address to the Throne, what choice matter of joy, thankfulness, congratulation, and triumph is exhibited on the part of the Addressers!  The King appeared resolved to govern despotically, or without a parliament.  Many of his subjects had petitioned and prayed him to call or assemble a parliament.  He had rejected those petitions and prayers with disdain.  The Lynn Corporation address him on the occasion, congratulating, praising and extolling him to the skies for acting the despot and turning a deaf ear to the prayers and supplications of p. 800his aggrieved subjects.  For such royal doings, and for the arrival and presence of the Duke of York at court, which presence had always been a curse to the nation, the corporation of Lynn congratulated their profligate sovereign, and offered to stand by him at all events.  Moreover, they exhibit, all the while, a most sanctimonious appearance, and profess with all their souls to bless Almighty God for what was one of the greatest curses of their oppressed country.—So much for this royal and notable Address from Lynn. [800]

p. 801As to the accession of James to the throne, it appears to have been contemplated at Lynn with no small pleasure and satisfaction, and the day on which that memorable event was announced here to have been a day of uncommon rejoicing.  We accordingly find the following note in the Town Books, “Febr. 10th. (1685) King James II. proclaimed with all due solemnities and signalls of Joy and Gladness.”  Four days after was “ordered an Address to the King’s Majestie.”  But having never seen a copy of this Address the present writer cannot give a particular account of its contents.  He cannot however doubt but it was in the usual style of Lynn Addresses to that monarch.

Another season of extraordinary festivity and exultation at Lynn occurred in 1686.  It was on no less interesting an occasion than the erecting of the statue of the sovereign in the Tuesday Market place.  We accordingly read, in Mackerell’s “Chronological Account” of the town, of “great rejoicings here that year, at the setting up of the statue of king James II.”  His majesty (as well as king John) seems to have been long the object of the admiration of the Lynn people.  They admired him while Duke of York, and after his accession to the throne they never rested till they had set up his image or statue in the most public and conspicuous part of their town.  Of this royal and memorable affair Mackerell has given the following information in another part of his work—

An account of King James IId’s statue, and the Rejoicings at the setting up of the” [same.]

p. 802“On the 13th day of April 1686. which was the anniversary of their majesties coronation, the same was kept with all due solemnity; the mayor, aldermen, and the rest of the body, meeting in their formalities in the Guild-Hall, after Divine Service at the church, proceeded from thence attended with musick, to the great Market-place; in the middle whereof, by the Gentlemen and other Loyal Inhabitants of the corporation, was then erected the Effigies of his Sacred Majesty upon a Pedestal, with several carvings and embellishments, inclosed with a Pallisade of Iron, under inscribed,

Non Immemor
Quantum Divinis Invictiss. Principis
Jacobi II.
Virtutibus debeat
Hanc Regiæ Majestatis Effigiem
Æternum Fidei et Obsequii
Monumentum, Erexit
S. P. Q. L.
Anno Salutis 1686.

In English

“Not forgetting how much is due to the Divine Virtues of the Victorious King James the Second, the Senate and People of Lynn, as a lasting Monument of their Faith and Loyalty, have erected this Statue of his Royal Majesty, in the year of our Lord One Thousand Six Hundred and Eighty six.

p. 803“N.B. The King, Queen, and the rest of the Royal Family’s Healths were drank; and the Day was concluded with Ringing of Bells, Bonfires, all sorts of loud Musick, Fire works, discharging the Great Guns, with all other Demonstrations of Joy and Loyalty.” [803]

Such is Mackerell’s account of the extraordinary festivities and rejoicings at Lynn on this great and important occasion.  It was, no doubt, worth recording, and it may still be worth preserving here, if it were only for this special reason, that it may help to give us just ideas of the general character of corporations, and of their proceedings.  Here is a Statue erected to one of the vilest of human beings; and here are virtues, and even Divine Virtues! ascribed to one who was as devoid of every thing of that kind as the very devil: and here is an Inscription denominating the erection of the Statue a Lasting Monument of Faith and Loyalty; and yet this boasted faith and loyalty, and lasting Monument, lasted only about three or four years.  The Statue was pulled down mutilated, decollated, disfigured, dismembered, and buried in dirt and rubbish, where it remains to this day.

There was here also a remarkable exhibition of joy and gratitude, as well as loyalty, in 1687, excited, it seems, by his majesty’s royal and memorable Declaration, and the consciousness of its being the duty of every member of the Church of England to defend and support him with their lives and fortunes.—The following Address to the Throne was accordingly agreed p. 804upon and ordered to be sealed with the common Seal, September 19. 1687.—

Great Sir,—The known principles of the Church of England being such as oblige every member thereof with their Lives and Fortunes to defend and maintain your Majestie Your Royall Prerogative with all other rights belonging to your Majesties Imperiall Crown, makes us at this time humbly to begg your Majesty to receive this further attestation, not in the least doubting of the peaceable enjoyment of our religion under Your Majesties most sacred protection, returning our most hearty and humble thanks for Your Majesties late repeated Assurance thereof, expressed in Your Majesties late gracious Declaration.”

Such was the Address which was sent at that time from Lynn.  But his sacred majesty soon found that the boasted principles of the Church of England were not sufficient to secure to him the attachment of his subjects and the quiet possessions of his throne, unless he relinquished those favourite projects of his which appeared hostile to that church.  For the very next year a very alarming defection took place, and the majority of those of that communion became inimical to his government.  Even the Life and fortune men forsook him, and beheld his downfal without concern or commiseration.  So false did that description of his subjects prove to him, and so unavailing also in the end did he find even the great orthodox doctrine of passive obedience and nonresistance, which had been the favourite doctrine of the Church of England during the whole of his brother’s reign.

p. 805A few months after the last mentioned affair took place in January 1688, a fresh occasion of rejoicing was presented to the Lynn people.  This was the annunication of the queen’s pregnancy; which proved not a little satisfactory and gratifying to our corporation, as appears from the following note in their books:

“January 26.  Ordered and agreed that Sunday the 29th Instant being appointed by his Majestie a day of Thanksgiving for her Majesties being happily with child, the several members of this House doe attend Mr. Mayor (Robert Sparrow Esq.) in their formalitys at morning and evening service, to render thanksgiving to Almighty God for so signall a blessing, and after evening service to repair to the Custom House to drink the king’s health with a Bonefire.”

On the 2nd. of the following July, the Gentlemen and good people of Lynn were furnished with matter of still higher gratification, by the knowledge of her majesty’s safe delivery, and the birth of a prince [805] who would be likely to inherit his royal sire’s faith, piety, sapience, and sublime virtues.  This important intelligence, as might be expected, was very joyfully received, and occasioned the immediate assembling of the corporation.  In that assembly, or meeting, was proposed and voted an Address to his Majesty, of which the following is a copy:

Great Sir—Wee Your Majesties Dutifull Subjects crave leave of Your Majesty and your Royall p. 806Consort that we join with Your Majestie in offering our most humble and hearty thanks to God Almighty in sending Your Majestie a Sonn and a Prince, and farther we begg of your Sacred Majestie to accept our Cordial thanks for your Majesties late favor to the body of this Corporation, [806] and also for your Princely condescension and affection by both your gracious Declarations, not only extending to the Church of England but to all other your peaceable and loyall Subjects, Assuring us by Your royall word you will stand by us, whereby we are not only obliged but resolved, when your Majestie shall think fitt to call a Parliament, wee will endeavour to elect such members as shall make your Majesty happie and Your Subjects easie, and shall pray for Your Majestie’s long and peaceable reigne over us.  In witness whereof we have fixed our Town Seale the 2nd of July in the 4th year of your most gracious reign, Anno Domini 1688.”

In conclusion, it is presumed that we are fully warranted to affirm, that Lynn has never been more attached to any of our sovereigns than to King John and King James the second; and that even his present majesty, with all his shining virtues, is not more, if so much beloved here as those two monarchs were.  It may perhaps be difficult to account for it, yet it seems unquestionably to be the fact, that of all the princes that ever p. 807swayed the British Sceptre, none ever shared more largely in the affection admiration, and veneration of the good people of this town than those three potentates.  Nor have there been any other reigns under which our townsmen seemed more ready to congratulate themselves on the superior happiness they enjoyed, or the transcendent benefits and blessings they derived from the throne.

Section II.

Brief account of divers other remarkable circumstances relating to Lynn during this same period—decay of trade—increase of poor—Anmer coal, &c.

After Charles’ restoration, or accession to the throne, it was not to be expected that he should remain long unaddressed by this town.  Accordingly we find that within the very first month of his actual reign, (June 16. 1660,) a congratulatory Address to him was voted and ordered in the Hall; and moreover, “that the Fee farm rents formerly paid from this town to the Crown, and lately purchased by the mayor and burgesses, amounting to 41l. 6s. 2d. be restored to his majestie.”  Having never seen this Address, or any copy of it, we can give no particular account of its contents; but we need not to doubt but it teemed with servility, or was in no small degree of a fawning, crouching or cringing cast.  As to the Feefarm rents which belonged to the p. 808Crown, but had been lately purchased by the Mayor and burgesses, and were now restored to his majesty, they appear to require no comment, or farther elucidation in this place.  The restoring of them to his majesty was a matter not of choice but of necessity: and in purchasing them the Corporation evidently gained a loss; but to what amount we cannot say, having never learnt how much was paid for them.

A week after, (on the 23rd of the same month,) our Corporation agreed and ordered, that Oliver’s Charter confirming the priviledges [of the town] be cancelled.  This also appears to have been a matter of absolute necessity; but whether so or not, that charter would be of no further use to the body corporate.  Oliver’s day was now past, and whatever had sprung from him, if it did not actually disgrace the character of the holder or owner, yet was no longer held in any manner of estimation.  That there is a copy now extant of this Charter of his we have not learnt.

Soon after the restoration this town began to suffer considerably from the decay of trade and consequent increase of the poor, which did not seem very well to accord with the excessive rejoicings that had then taken place.  Within two years after that event those effects had made so alarming a progress, and the complaints of the sufferers had become so loud, that the body corporate found it necessary to take the affair into their immediate and most serious consideration, in order to check as much as possible the growing evil, and alleviate p. 809in some degree the sufferings of the poor inhabitants.  The truth of this statement, and the mode of proceeding adopted then in the Hall in order to relieve or mitigate the distresses of the poor will appear by the following extract from the Corporation books.

“May 12. 1662.  Forasmuch as the Poor of this Burgh thro’ great losses and decay of trade are grown very numerous, and the charge of them greater than can be well born by the inhabitants, and a great part of the coal trade carried on by Strangers and Foreigners, which bring their coals hither to sell in Ships and Vessells belonging to other Ports, who tho’ they reap a profit bear not the least part of the burthen, to the great discouragement of the Navigation belonging to this town and the impoverishing of the inhabitants thereof, It is thereupon [at the earnest request of the most considerable freemen Burgesses and Inhabitants of this town] this day ordered that every freeman or burgess of this burgh that shall from henceforth buy or cause to be bought of any stranger or foreign person not being free of this burgh any coals called Newcastle, Sunderland or Sea-water being lading or freight in any Ship or Vessell belonging to any such Stranger or outward Port whether the same be to sell again or for there (their) own expense shall pay for every chalder of coals so bought as aforesaid to the use of the mayor and burgesses of this burgh and their successors the sum of 12d. to be employed for and towards the necessary reliefe and maintenance of the poor of the said borough, the p. 810same to be levyed of every such freeman or burgess so buying the same as aforesaid by distress and sale of their Goods, or by such other ways and means as shall be thought most fitt and meete—And it is further ordered that no burgess or inhabitant of this burgh shall take any such coals out of any such strangers’ Ship or Vessel with intent to sell the same again untill the end of three working days next after the arrivall of such Strangers’ Ship within this Port, to the end the inhabitants of this town may be served with coales in that time for their own firing, according to severall former orders made to that purpose, and publication of this order to be made by the bellman.”

How long this law remained in force, or this impost continued to be paid does not appear; but it is not very likely that it ceased, or was discontinued till the arrival of better times, and the removal of those evils which led to its adoption.  Fourpence a chalder, if we are not mistaken, is still charged on the coals brought by strangers, and applied in like manner to the relief of the poor.  Why should it be no more, when thrice as much was charged so long ago? and a shilling then was worth a great deal more of our money.  Surely the present pressure of the poor rates, which so large a proportion of the householders so severely feel, would justify the adoption of such a measure now, if it be allowable.

Towards the close of the year when the above transaction took place this town was visited by Lord Townshend, Sir John Tracy, Sir Edward Walpole, John p. 811Spelman and Roger Spelman Esqrs. as commissioners under a late act of parliament for the well-governing and regulating of Corporations.  This act seems to have sprung from the narrow and arbitrary policy of the Stuart princes, who aimed at having corporations as much as possible under their direction and management, or subject to their immediate and absolute power and control.  These commissioners were entertained here at the expense of the mayor and burgesses.  They were, it seems, invested with large powers, so as to be authorized to displace any they happened to dislike of our municipal functionaries, and put others whom they thought better of in their room.  In this town they expelled alderman Robert Thorogood and appointed one Lawrence Withers in his stead.  A few weeks before “Mr. Fr. Rolfe was discharged from his office and place of Town-clerk, and Mr. Owen Barnes was elected in his room.”—This is said to have been done by the mayor and aldermen; but it is probable that the Commissioners were privy to it, and that it was a step taken in compliance with an intimation from them, for the time of their visit had been previously fixed.  Those appear to have been the only changes which then took place in the Hall.

Under 1663 a circumstance has been recorded which casts some light on the ideas or sentiments which the Lynn people then entertained of their parliamentary representatives; and though they no longer allowed them daily wages, as formerly, yet they evidently considered the honest and diligent discharge of their trust or service p. 812as entitled to more than mere thanks.  Had they on the other hand failed in the performance of their delegated functions, their constituents undoubtedly would have deemed that failure censurable.—The circumstance alluded to is explained in the following extract from the Hall books: “June 13. 1663, It is this day ordered that the Chamberlaine remitt to London 40l. to buy two pieces of Plate, of the value of 201. each, to be presented as a gratuity from this House to Sir Edward Walpole and Sir William Howell (Hovell) [812] burgesses in parliament for this burgh, for their faithfull services in behalf of this burgh.”  What were those services in behalf of this burgh, which are here glanced at, and were deemed so meritorious, we are not told; but it is very clear that these representatives had acquitted themselves entirely to the satisfaction of their constituents.  It is much to be wished that the same could be said of all our present national representatives.

Under the same year an occurrence is mentioned in one of our MSS, which leaves a foul stain on the memory of our ancestors of that period, and shews how much they were then the slaves of bigotry and intolerance.  This was the persecution and imprisonment of several members of that pacific and respectable sect called Quakers, which seems to have been the only description of p. 813sectaries, except the Presbyterians, that had then attempted to introduce themselves into this town.  But they were bitterly opposed here, as they were then also throughout the nation; and their sufferings were very great and grievous during almost the whole reign of Charles and James the second, to the lasting disgrace of a pretended christian and protestant government.  It is to William and the Revolution that we owe, under providence, the adoption of a wiser policy and the enjoyment of better times.

In 1664 the high price of coals was severely felt here.  That commodity advanced that year from 17s. a chalder to 30s. and upwards.  This seems to have been owing to the late impost of 1s. a chalder laid by the Corporation on all coals brought by strangers, who consequently discontinued their visits.  It seems rather probable that that impost or tax was now abolished, for we are told that the coal afterward, by reason of strangers’ resort, came again to the old price.  It may therefore be concluded that the Lynn ships alone were not sufficient at that time to supply the town and all the inland country with that article.  The same would probably be still the case, if this port was not frequented by any coal ships but such as belonged to the town.  We are therefore, probably, much more indebted to strangers for our plentiful supplies of fuel than we are apt to imagine.

In 1665 Lynn was visited by that grievous scourge the Plague, which made great ravages here.  “Wardsmen were appointed, one at the East and the other at p. 814the South-gate to keep out all Mackerell Carts from coming into the town:” the communication with the county was cut off; no Mart was kept that year, and the very markets were for sometime discontinued.—In the Summer of the very next year, 1666, which was a hundred and forty five years ago, a cart, (as is recorded in one of our manuscripts,) came hither from Anmer, loaded with coals, which were here sold by the mett or bushell.  It seems therefore that there is coal somewhere about Anmer; but to what extent we cannot pretend to say.  Nor does it appear what search or trial was there made for it, or why the attempt was given up.  A good Coal-mine in that part of the country would, no doubt, be very desirable.

We know of no very remarkable event that occurred here afterward till 1670, when the town was honoured with a visit from the duke of Richmond and Lenox, of which the following notices are extracted from the Hall books—“July 23.  It is this day ordered that his Grace the Duke of Richmond and Lenox upon his request shall have his Freedome of this Burgh gratis: and hereupon his Grace the said duke of Richmond and Lenox did this day come into this House and did take the Oathes of Aledgiance and of a Free Burgess; Mr. Thomas Greene and Mr. Benjamin Holly being his Suretyes.”—again—“July 28th.  Ordered that the Chamberlain pay Mr. Mayor’s bill of Disbursements for the entertainment of the duke of Richmond and lord Townshend, 21l. 6s. 8d. and 13s. 4d. for his Cook, and for a hogshead of French Wine sent aboard the duke’s Vessell.”—p. 815Hence it appears that the duke came and departed by water.  But the Sum of 22l. would go then much further than it would at present.  It would go now but a very little way in entertaining brace of peers, with their retinue, and purchasing a hogshead of French wine.

Towards the latter part of this year the Corporation was presented with a plan or map of their town, as appears from the following note in the Hall-books—“October 14. 1670, This day alderman Edmund Abbott brought into this House a Topographical Draught of the town of King’s Lynn, which was given to the town by Sir Algernoon Payton; and Henry Bell Esq. mayor, is desired to peruse the said draught, to be mended and put into a Frame, for the use of the mayor and burgesses.”  The same, we presume, was done accordingly; but we are not quite sure that this draught is still in existence: if it be, a sight of it might help towards forming a pretty just idea of the then state or lineaments of the place.  The principal Streets and Lanes, however, must have been then much in the same situation as at present.  In other respects the town must be now very widely different from what it was then.

In the same year we find Lynn to be in a great measure a manufacturing town, especially in the worstead line, and to have many hands employed in that branch; as appears from the following note in the Hall-books.  “December 2. 1670, The worstead weavers petition to procure an Act of Parliament for the liberty of a Dyer p. 816and Callender to live in the town for the better [or the benefit of the] trade.”  Those weavers must have been pretty numerous, and their trade hopeful and promising, to warrant or justify such an application.  Still it must seem rather odd that they should think the obtaining of their object required the aid of an act of parliament.  It does not appear, however, that an application was actually made to the legislature on this occasion.

Section III.

Account of the king’s intended visit to Lynn, in 1671, with divers other occurrences relating to this town, in that and some of the subsequent years.

The king, who used frequently to visit Newmarket, where he had it royal Lodge or Palace, purposed in the autumn of 1671 to make an excursion into Norfolk, and to visit Lynn in the course of his tour.  This appears from the following Note from the Hall-books—“1671, August 11.  Ordered that 100l. be paid into the Chamberlain’s hands for defraying disbursements on account of his Majesties entertainment, who Sir Robert Stewart writes intends to visit Lynn next month, in his progress.”—Great preparations were accordingly made by our Corporation for the reception and entertainment of their sovereign.  But it so happened that our good townsmen were disappointed at last, for his majesty p. 817never came; so that the great expense they had been at, in preparing for his reception was, in a manner, all thrown away.

It is not said what it was that prevented his majesty’s coming, or frustrated his royal intention of visiting his Lynn subjects at that time.  But it seems most probable that the very foul weather which happened in that month, and the terrible inundation which then overwhelmed the country about Lynn, were the principal, if not the sole causes of the relinquishment of his purpose.  The tide rose so high on the 17th. of September, as we learn from one of our MSS. that the country about Lynn was all under water, “the haycocks swam about the fields to the first house in Gaywood, and several boats were rowed from the East Gate to that Village, many Ships were lost, Marshland was all overflowed, great numbers of sheep perished, and an immense loss sustained.”  In short, it seems to have been here such another disastrous flood as that which lately devastated the Lincolnshire Coast.  The roads must, in many places, have been broken up, so that the approaches to the town must have been rendered difficult, if not impracticable.  On the whole, therefore, we cannot wonder that this royal visit was given up.  As to the whole of the provisions and dainties that had been prepared for the intended august visitor, it does not appear how it was disposed of at last; but as to what had been procured from the Metropolis, its final disposal is plainly enough suggested by the following Note from the Hall books:—p. 818“November 10, 1671.  Ordered that the mayor have the whole banquet lately sent from London, he paying tenn pounds.”—So much for this intended royal feast at Lynn.

In the same year, we find Lord Townshend tampering with the Corporation, with a view to the introduction of one of his friends to be chosen one of the Lynn representatives in parliament: hence we find it thus noted in the Hall books—“1671.  August 7.  Whereas Lord Townshend hath by his Letters to this House recommended Sir Francis North knight, his Majesties Sollicitor General, as a person of great worth and honor, and upon all occasions fitt to be usefull to this burgh in their most important concernments: It is therefore this day ordered, that the said Sir Francis North Knight, shall have his freedom of this Burgh gratis.”  He soon after became, as had been previously projected, one of our parliamentary delegates.

Early in 1672 an order was issued from the Hall, which shews that the occupiers of houses in the Tuesday Market-place were not then allowed to let their shops during the Mart, unless they paid rent for the same to the mayor and burgesses.  The following note in the Hall books will serve to elucidate this circumstance—“January 19.  Whereas severall persons (who have usually lett their shops in the Tuesday market-place during the time of the Mart, and have therefor paid a rent for the same to the mayor and burgesses) have of late refused to pay the accustomed rent, it is this day ordered p. 819that the chamberlains doe demand the arrears, and in case of refusal to cause blinds or bootes to be built up against the Shops.”  Such appears to have been the case formerly; but this claim, we apprehend, is no longer made.  We have not learnt, however, how it came to be relinquished.

In July 1675 Mr. John Turner was admitted or chosen into the Hall, as common-council-man.  Of him it is said that “he was chosen common-council-man, alderman, new-elect mayor, parliament-man, and captain of the trainbands, all in the course of two years.”  From him sprung the family of that name which afterwards bore great sway in this town for a whole century.  It is no disparagement to this family that it arose from a low origin; for where is that great family that has not so arisen?  The noble, the royal, and the imperial not excepted.  Many of whom are known to have sprung from and owed their rise to desperate Adventurers, captains of bands of robbers and ruffians, men, or rather demons, who defiled themselves with the foulest deeds, and made their way to power and greatness in defiance of all laws human and divine.  To the founder of the Turner family no infamy has been imputed.  Report has said that he was originally a waiter at an Inn at Cambridge, which cannot justly be considered as any disgrace to his descendants.

In 1676, according to one of the MSS. were first erected the new buildings, in Broad Street, designed for an Almshouse for twelve poor men, “at the cost and p. 820charge of one John Heathcote of Lynn.”  Mackerell calls this person Helcote.  Whatever his right name was, it is now almost forgotten, while that of Framingham is in everybody’s mouth: and yet the poor men owe, perhaps, as much to the memory of the former as they do to that of the latter, who has engrossed all the praise and credit of this charity.  For had not this Helcote or Heathcote erected these buildings it is very doubtful if Framingham, rich as he was, had ever thought of endowing an almshouse.  He was a man of low birth, [820] and became afterwards rich and ostentatious.  The death of the founder gave him an opportunity to become the endower of this almshouse, and transmit his name to posterity, which he took care to ensure by having his Will publickly read, and a commemorative Sermon preached annually.  Upon the whole, it is highly probable that vanity and ostentation had a larger share than charity, or pure benevolence, in the endowment of these Almshouses.  That, however, cannot lessen the comfort or enjoyment of the poor men there admitted.  The endowment does them as much good as if it had sprung from the worthiest motive, or most virtuous principle.

“On the 29th of August, 1677, Ben. Holly Esq. one of the aldermen, was fined 40l. for refusing to accept of the mayoralty, being thereunto chosen.”  The reason of this refusal is not mentioned; but the alderman was not poorer, probably, at the end of the year than he p. 821would have been had he accepted the office.—About the close of the same year, (or early, in the next, as we reckon,) a step was here taken, the result of which the present writer has often wished to ascertain, but without success.  The step or circumstance alluded to is thus expressed in the volume of extracts from the Hall books so often referred to in this work—“February 4th.” (1677, 8) “Ordered that a Letter be wrott to Th. Goddard, Son to Guybon Goddard Esq. late Recorder of this Burgh, to confer his Father’s labours about the antiquities and antient priviledges of this Corporation, and that he have a gratuity of 21l.”  This shews that Mr. Guybon Goddard had collected materials for a history of Lynn: the same has been also affirmed by his brother-in-law, Sir William Dugdale, in some part of his works; so that the fact is beyond all doubt.  But the question is, what became of those materials?  If our Corporation obtained them, they seem to have been lost long ago.  No one now in the Hall, it seems, not even the town-clerk himself, knows any thing about them.  It is probable Mr. Th: Goddard did not choose to part with them.  What became of them after his time, or whether they are now in existence or not, there is perhaps very little chance of discovering.  Had they fallen in the present writer’s way, there can be no doubt, from the known character of Guybon Goddard, but he would have found them of considerable use in this undertaking.

In the autumn of 1678 a pretty strong antipathy to popery appears to have been prevalent in this town, and measures were adopted to secure the inhabitants from p. 822such dangers as might arise from that quarter.  Accordingly we learn from the Hall books, that it was ordered on the 11th of November that year, to have “a watch kept every night to prevent dangers from Popish Recusants.”  This seems to indicate that the Corporation and people of Lynn were now inclined to side with the patriots or Whigs against the Court; which appears somewhat corroborated by their resolving sometime after to elect two of their own townsmen, in preference to court candidates, to represent them in the ensuing parliament; as is evinced by the following document from the Hall books—“January 29th (1678, 9.)  This day upon reading in this House a Letter from Robert Wright Esq. late one of the burgesses in parliament for this town, intimating his desire of being again elected here, it is ordered that thanks be returned for services received, and to acquaint him that this House taking notice of the generall averseness of this corporation to choose any other than an inhabitant of this town, and two of the Society having declared themselves to stand, this House cannot with any assurance incourage his coming down for that purpose.  But that they doe and shall retain a true sense and opinion of his former performances.”  The candidates they now returned were Messrs. Turner and Taylor, afterwards Sir John Turner and Sir Simon Taylor.  How patriotically they discharged their respective duties we are unable to say.

On the 28th of the following April, 1679, an occurrence took place here which is well worth recording.  It did so much credit to the moral feelings of one of the p. 823then members of the Hall, and does so little to those of certain members of it in more recent times, (namely, the absentees, or nonresidents above noticed,) that it ought by no means to be here passed over in silence.  The person first alluded to was one of the aldermen, and he was also a physician.  He perceived, upon serious reflection, that the duties attached to the office of an alderman were incompatible with those that belonged to the exercise of the medical profession; and as he was not disposed to relinquish the latter, he felt himself bound in conscience to withdraw from the Hall and resign his municipal function.  This occurrence is thus noticed in the volume of Extracts from the Hall or Town Books—“April 18th. 1678, William Bassett having sent a Letter insinuating the inconsistence of his place in this House with his Profession of a Physician, and how that he is necessarily compelled to be criminal in the one whilst he endeavours to discharge his duty in the other, begs most heartily to be discharged,—[this House] doe consent that he be discharged, &c.”—This singular transaction gives us a very favourable idea of the character of this alderman, or doctor Bassett: it certainly deserves to be remembered; and it is now earnestly recommended to the serious consideration of the present members of the Hall, and especially the absentees, whose nonresidence must be more incompatible with their municipal duties than that gentleman’s medical profession was with his.  If there be really any municipal factions or duties, that are any way useful or interesting to the community, attached to the appointment p. 824of common-council-man, or alderman of Lynn, the due discharge of them, without all doubt, must be utterly incompatible with the absence or nonresidence of such functionaries.—These hints, it is hoped will not fail to have their due weight with those individuals to whom they are applicable.

Section IV.

Danger incurred by the corporation on account of the issuing of farthings—third part of the duty levied on coals brought by strangers and landed in South Lynn, allowed to the South-Lynnians—difference and great lawsuit between them and the corporation about the Long-Bridge—the consequence, &c.

Towards the close of 1670 our corporation appeared in no small fear of danger from their gracious sovereign’s displeasure, on account of their having issued farthings, which was deemed an encroachment on the royal prerogative.  They accordingly took measures forthwith towards appeasing the Monarch’s wrath and obtaining his forgiveness.  This memorable affair is thus stated in the Town books,—“November 4th 1670, Forasmuch as Mr. Mayor, (Henry Bell Esq.) did this day present to this House two Letters, the one from Mr. Recorder, the other from Mr. Wright, for and about the danger the Town is lyable too, (to) for and concerning their putting out of Farthings, Mr. Mayor is desired to answer the said Letters and let them know this House doe p. 825desire that they would both effectually take care to use all means to prevent the Quo-ranto (Quo warranto) issuing out against the Town, and to petition his Majesties pardon, and to doe whatsoever else they shall judge necessary to prevent any trouble that may fall on the corporation for the putting out of these farthings which are out on the corporation account.”

The recorder therefore and the other gentleman, (who was also another great lawyer and one of the members for the town) appear to have exerted themselves faithfully and successfully on this occasion.  We accordingly find that his sacred majesty’s pardon was actually obtained; but it seems to have taken up a long time, no less than two years, to effect this.  It may be supposed to have cost a large sum of money, and we may presume that our corporation did not deem that money ill spent, though it might far exceed all the profits they had derived from their coinage.  Both king and courtiers might deem it good policy to seem to be in great wrath for sometime, which would make the corporation the more ready to part with their cash.  The successful termination of this business is thus noticed in the Town-books—“November 2nd. 1672, Ordered the Town Seal to be fixed to an instrument acknowledging his Majesties grace and favour in pardoning the Corporation for making of farthings.”

How many of these farthing coinages were undertaken by this corporation, it does not seem very easy to ascertain; p. 826nor are we able to discover when this measure was here first resorted to, or adopted.  The present writer is in possession of several Lynn farthings, but they appear to have been all issued either in 1668, or in 1669.  Whether or not any have been issued here before 1668 he is not able to say.  He has seen farthings of other towns of a much earlier date, and has himself a Bristol farthing of 1652, which is the earliest of these town tokens he remembers to have met with.  It is likely that Lynn was led into this coining adventure by the example of other places, and especially Norwich, which may be presumed to have been previously concerned in this business. [826]  The same offence had been committed earlier, oftener, and later, by many, if not by most of its neighbours, so that it must be somewhat odd that the resentment of the court should appear so bitter towards this town, beyond what it seems to have been towards other offending places.—Norwich, Yarmouth, Diss, Thetford, Bury, Ipswich, Lowestoft, and other towns, all, if we are not mistaken, coined and issued farthings, and Wisbeach halfpence; yet we do not find that they were brought into any mighty trouble, or alarm, like Lynn, on that account.  However this might be, these private coinages seem to have been discontinued every where soon after 1670, and never more resumed till within these last twenty or thirty years, when they became again very general, in consequence of the example of the Paris-mountain copper Company, in the Isle p. 827of Anglesey, who issued large penny pieces, which were for some years very common, and in extensive circulation.  They have been latterly suppressed, with all the others to which they had given rise.  Government seem resolved to prevent or discourage any thing of the kind being again attempted; for which we impute to them no blame, and sincerely wish we had no greater grievance to complain of.

Between the borough, or corporation of Lynn, and the parish of Allhallows, or Allsaints, alias South Lynn, there has been for ages, at times, no very good understanding.  That parish has been too often treated like a younger brother, or a weaker neighbour, though we know not that it ever appears to have advanced any unreasonable claims.  About the year 1672, some difference seems to have arisen between the two parties, about the participation or distribution of the benefit derived from the duty of 12d. in the chalder upon coals brought by strangers and delivered in South-Lynn parish.  The borough, or great parish of St. Margaret, claimed the whole, as their exclusive right, but affected to condescend, at last, to allow a third part of the same to the South-Lynnians, as an act of generosity.  The latter, by their agent, Tho. Hugins, consented to this, in consideration that their poor rates were moderate and easy, compared with those of Saint Margaret’s parish, which were said, even then, to be very heavy.

The South-Lynnians, however, as appears by their old Parish-book, considered that there was here some p. 828over-reaching, or foul play, on the part of the mayor and burgesses, and that their agent, Hugins, had been taken in on this occasion.  So they really appear to have viewed this business.  But the mayor and corporation viewed it differently; and the following is their representation of it, as given in the Hall-books—“October 17. 1672: Whereas there is due unto the mayor and burgesses, from Mr. Thomas Hugins and others of South Lynn, divers sums of money, arising upon the duty of coales bought by them of strangers, and whereas they have earnestly requested, forasmuch as the said duty doth arise for coales landed or sold within the said parish of South Lynn, that a third part of the said moneys may be allowed unto the said parish of South Lynn for the benefite of the same parish, to be employed by the paritioners according to the meaning of the order for that purpose, in regard of their present great charges.  Thereupon this House doe think fitt to order that the same be allowed accordingly.”  Thus we see that the corporation did not appear disposed to acknowledge that their South Lynn neighbours had any direct right to this allowance.

The mayor and corporation were very culpable, not only in granting their neighbours of South-Lynn, with such ill grace, a third part of the duty on coals delivered there by strangers, but also in refusing to accede to any such measure till now; which appears to have been really the case.  To have been a little more neighbourly and accommodating would have been much more to their credit and their interest.  But nothing better, p. 829perhaps, could be expected from them, as things then stood.  Could they have foreseen the humiliating and mortifying condition, into which their illtreated neighbours would bring them in the course of a few months after, there is reason to believe they would have used them with a greater degree of gentleness and condescension.  The fact is, they had been at bitter variance with them for several years, about the obligation of keeping up and repairing the Long Bridge, which they would fain throw entirely upon them.  But that they were not able to effect, though they actually went to law with them for that very purpose.  This memorable law-suit forms a prominent feature in the history of Lynn at that period: an account of it has been preserved in the old Parish-book of South Lynn, and is given as follows—

South Lynn Allhallowes, March 25 1674.—At a Congregation met and assembled to take the report of Tho. Hugins concerning Long Bridge and other business treated about and considered of by him with the mayor and burgesses of Lynn Regis as followeth hereunder.”—

Memorandum: That whereas the bridge commonly called Long Bridge, standing over Sandringham Ea, (alias White Friars Fleet,) is and hath been long time in great decay, and contest hath long time been between the mayor and burgesses of King’s Lynn, and the inhabitants of South Lynn, which of them should repair it: We the inhabitants of South Lynn taking it into consideration and not being very willing to contest with the said mayor and burgesses, if that by a way of treaty p. 830with them the difference might be composed, did, upon the 13th of April 1669. make our request to Samuel Barron Esq. Thomas Spencely gentleman, and Thomas Hugins, inhabitants of this parish, that they would treat with the mayor and burgesses concerning the premisses: what they, or any two of them did agree concerning the same we would condescend unto, as it is recorded in this book the said 13. April 1669.

“Now this daie one of the said Committee, named Thomas Hugins, (the other two being lately dead,) doth make report unto us, that notwithstanding they oft made request unto the mayor and burgesses to treat about the same, they commonly did refuse to meet, and the bridge being much in decay the country did indyte the mayor and burgesses and inhabitants of South Lynn at the country Quarter Sessions held in Lynn 16. January 1671.  We traversed it against the mayor and burgesses, and then and there by verdict of the Jury the mayor and burgesses, were found guilty, and the court did set but a small fine upon them of 3l. expecting they would forthwith repair it.  But they still continued refractory, and said they would try it at the assizes: Whereupon we prepared for tryal, and I Thomas Hugins did attend at the next assizes held at Thetford, 12. March 1671, 2; with five witnesses, and did retain three counsels, and was at the charge of two copies of the charter of K. Edward VI. and one of Q. Mary to the mayor and burgesses: and notwithstanding their former word, that they would try it there, and Henry Bell alderman, and Mr. Farrow their recorder, and p. 831Mr. Francis Rolph (Rolfe) their town-clark were there, they did then refuse to try it, nor did not but put us and themselves to further cost and charges; The Bridge being more and more in decay, the country did still complain, and in the month of July, 1672, the mayor and burgesses did appoint a committee to treat with us, and we did meet at the house of Mr Samuel Barron, but still they did wholly refuse to be at any cost or charge, notwithstanding we did offer them that if a rate were made for the repair thereof through the whole borough, of which we are part, that we of this parish would willingly have paid our proportion, which would have been a fourth part, if not more; and this they would not accept of neither: And then it was proposed to refer it to four men in the country, two for them and two for us; and when they had nominated two for them and accepted of by us, all the gentlemen in the country would not afford two for us that they would accept of; but they had always something or other to object against them: so jealous were they of the men, and indeed of their cause.

“So nothing [being] done, and the assizes at Thetford drawing towards, I Thomas Hugins, by request of the above-said Samuel Barron and Thomas Spencely, (they not being in health, nor in capacity to go abroad) did make address to Mr Seth Hawley, mayor, desiring him to use his interest that his committee would once again meet and treat with us, to see if it might not be determined between us.  The said mayor did acquaint p. 832the Hall with it, and then they added Mr Farrow, their recorder, to the committee, but after that no meeting; for the mayor did once in place where I was present desire the said Mr Farrow, that he would meet and treat with us: he did peremptory reply to the mayor, he would not meet, and said to the mayor, it was but spending of 20l. at the assizes, and there would be an end of it; and so it fell out [as] to the end, tho’ not the end as he dreamt of: for at the assizes held at Thetford the 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7th. of March 1672 [832a] it was there tried, and the mayor and burgesses were found guilty; which trial was after this manner”—[832b]

“Messrs. Farrow and Rolfe, recorder and town-clerk, retained three counsels to plead for them.  The South Lynnians, by their attorney, Jacob Wrag, retained also three counsels and a serjeant at Law.  When they came to the indictment, it lay against the inhabitants of King’s Lynn and those of South Lynn.  But lord Chief Justice Hale, [before whom this cause was tried,] understanding by our attorney and counsel, that it was the mayor and burgesses we complained of, and producing to my lord the true copies of the aforesaid charters, whereby it appeared that Edw. VI. had granted lands and tenements in King’s Lynn and South Lynn, amounting to the value of several 100l. a year, for the purpose of their maintaining of bridges, and jetties against floods, &c, Q. Mary’s charter also concurred with this; as did likewise the verdict of the jury in 1671, which was then also produced.

p. 833“His lordship taking these things into consideration, and regarding the obstinacy of the mayor and burgesses, notwithstanding the former verdict; and he having then in court advised the bridge being repaired by a rate through the whole town, [as the South Lynnians had before proposed] which they [of the opposite party] there in court refused:—His lordship then said, if we and they would join issue to traverse it, he would know who ought to repair it, and he would take such course in the recording that it should never come before a judge of assize again to determine it.  After some discourse [the cause went on.]  But one witness for the mayor and burgesses, Thomas Williamson, carpenter, who swore that he had done some repairs to the bridge in 1654 with his master Robert Hart, and were paid by two of the inhabitants of South Lynn: but they appeared to be tenants of the mayor and burgesses, and had got the money from them to pay the carpenters, as far as Williamson knew.”  [His evidence therefore could be of no avail; and he seems to have been the principal and only witness on the side of the corporation.]

“Thus [adds the MS.] the proud were infatuated in their own wisdom by their book, paper, and witness! that we of the poor parish of South Lynn had not one witness examined; the court thinking it needed not: for their charters, the verdict as aforesaid, their own books and papers, and their witness there was enough.  Upon which judge Hale said to the jury, they must bring in their verdict in three parts; for they must answer p. 834him three questions he should ask them.  The jury went out, and when they came in again, his lordship asked them, Whether the inhabitants of King’s Lynn were guilty, or not guilty?  They answered, not guiltyRecord that, said my lord.  He queried 2ndly, Whether the inhabitants of South Lynn were guilty, or not guilty?  They answered, not guiltyRecord that saith my lord.  He asked 3rdly, Whether the mayor and burgesses were guilty, or not guilty?  They answered, guiltyRecord that, saith my lord.  Then he asked the jury, Why they found the mayor and burgesses guilty? and they said, for that the mayor and burgesses had many lands and tenements, the gift of K. Edward VI. to the yearly value of some 100l. given to them for that end and purpose.  Record that also, said his lordship.” [834]

Thus was this vexatious dispute put to rest and settled beyond the possibility of being ever after litigated.  The mayor and burgesses appear on the occasion in a very unfavourable and unamiable light.  That great and good man, and most upright and eminent judge, Sir Matthew Hale, before whom this cause was tried, must have thought, and evidently did think very indifferently p. 835of them, as no better than a nest of oppressors and tyrants.  Who but they would have run the risk of being thought ill of by such a man?  But corporations are seldom deterred from evil by the fear of disgrace, for they consider the odium of their misdoings as greatly diminished, if not quite annihilated, by being shared among so many: and when a member is reproached for any corporate or municipal misdeed, he generally contrives to excuse himself and lay the whole blame upon others of the brotherhood, whom however he will seldom condescend to name.

Section V.

History of Lynn continued from 1680 to 1688—Addresses to the throne—Quo Warranto proceedings—surrender and restoration of the charters—the revolution.

The years 1680 and 1681 (or 1682) were distinguished here by two notable addresses to the throne.  Of that of the former year an account has been given already at pages 788 and 789, and a rare piece of curiosity it certainly was.  Of the address of 1681 (or 1682) we cannot speak so positively, having never met with a copy of it; but there is great reason to presume that it was pretty much of a kin, or not at all dissimilar to the former.  Relating to this memorable document the following article has been extracted from the Town-Books—p. 836“March 2. 1681, 2; Ordered that Mr. Recorder (Henry Ferrour Esq.) be desired to draw up an Humble Address to his Majestie in abhorrence and detestation of that late designed traiterous association lately produced at the Old Baly.”  This evidently alludes to a circumstance that transpired in the course of the proceedings that had then lately been carried on against the earl of Shaftsbury, at the instigation, it seems, of the sovereign, of which an account has been given by Rapin, Burnet, and other historians.

“The king (says Rapin,) passionately wished to be revenged of this lord, who for sometime had shown him little regard: To this end he granted a special commission of Oyer and Terminer to all the judges of the kingdom to sit, the 24th of November, with the Lord Mayor and Aldermen, at the Old Baily, on the Earl’s trial.  Eight witnesses were heard against him, who deposed upon oath many things from his own mouth, which discovered pernicious designs against the king’s person.  But the greatest crime objected against him was, the copy (or plan) of an Assosiation (found in his study) against the enemies of the king, of the protestant religion, and of their country.  But notwithstanding the hopes conceived by the Court, of being freed from this enemy, the Grand Jury, consisting of one and twenty of the principal citizens of London, considering that the paper containing the association was only a copy, and not writ in the earl of Shaftsbury’s hand, and observing very great improbabilities in the depositions of the witnesses, found no sufficient ground for the Bill, and returned p. 837it Ignoramus.  Immediately the whole city testified their joy for the earl’s deliverance, by bonfires in all the Streets, and other marks of satisfaction; and the witnesses against him were in great danger of being torn in pieces by the mob.” [837]

Arbitrary and vindictive as these proceedings of the Court were, they appear to have been entirely approved of by our corporation.  Of the conduct and principles of Shaftsbury and the country party they evidently had no opinion.  They were ready to condemn them without hesitation and without mercy: and as to the very idea of an association to counteract or check the tyrannical measures of the Court, it was looked upon by them as truly horrid and detestable.  Yet it was to something of that kind, a few years after, that we owed our glorious revolution, our deliverance from popish superstition and despotism, and the establishment of civil p. 838and religious liberty. [838]  This Corporation afterwards seemed no less pleased with the proceedings of William and the revolutionists than they had been before with those of Charles and his cabal, or of James and his popish counsellors: and had the pretender succeeded in 1715, or in 1745, they would probably have been as joyful on that, as they had been on any former occasion, and addressed the new sovereign with a zeal no way inferior to what they had expressed or manifested towards the most favoured and patriotic of his predecessors.  In short, like most corporations, their conduct would have been regulated by circumstances or self interest, rather than by truth or genuine patriotism.

Great and notorious as had been the obsequiousness and devotedness of this corporation to the two last of the Stuart princes, it did not give them entire satisfaction.  They wanted to have this, and all other corporations that sent members to parliament, completely in their own power, so as to have their parliament-men to consist solely of such as they should please to appoint; that is, of the tools or minions of the court; which would bid fair always, to insure a parliamentary majority.  To accomplish this, it was necessary to abolish, or disannul all the Charters, and grant new ones on such terms as would enable his majesty to appoint all the leading men or municipal functionaries, and remove at any time all such as he should find unfit for his purpose, and replace them with such as would prove perfectly ductile and manageable.  This, no doubt, was deemed by many a p. 839deep and well-laid scheme, which entitled its projectors to the reputation of being endowed with uncommon sagacity.  But they never could bring it to bear, so as to realize the hopes they had conceived from it; and it was at last abandoned: when the former charters were restored, and things reverted again into their old channels.  Of the process or trial of this notable experiment here, the following, it is presumed, is a fair and correct representation.

Lynn had not the honour of being the first of our corporations that was made to experience this mode or description of the royal touch.  The precedence, as on other occasions, was given to the corporation of London, against which a Quo Warranto was issued in 1683; in the event of which the judges of the court of King’s Bench declared, that the liberties and privileges of the city of London were forfeited, and might be seized into the king’s hands.  It was not till the following year that it came to the turn of Lynn to be questioned on a similar account.  Accordingly we find the following notice of it in the Town-Books—“May 26. 1684.  This day the mayor, (Benj. Keen Esq.) aldermen, and common councell of this Burgh, with one assent and consent, have ordered, consented, and agreed, that all and singular the powers, franchises, liberties, priviledges and authorities whatsoever and howsoever granted to the mayor and burgesses, or to be used or exercised by or under them, by virtue of any charters, letters patents, custome or prescriptions now p. 840in force, of or concerning electing, nominating, or appointing any person or persons into any the offices of magistracy or places of trust within this Burgh, Be fully and freely surrendered unto the King’s most excellent Majestie, and that an Instrument for that purpose be forthwith drawn and prepared to be sealed with the common Seale of this Burgh at the next Hall: and it is ordered that a committee be appointed and empowered, as deputies and attorneys for the mayor and burgesses, to attend the King’s Majestie, with the instrument of surrender aforesaid, as the act and deed of the mayor and burgesses.—May 29.  This day the Letter from Lord Townshend, High Steward, resigning his Patent, being read, was delivered to Mr. Mayor till the same be further considered.—This day the Instrument of surrender was sealed.—June 9.  This day the Instrument of deputation to surrender the Charter and Liberties was signed; and the deputies are ordered and authorized to petition his Majestie to regrant, renew, and confirm such liberties, franchises, and powers as his Majestie in his princely wisdom shall think proper for his service, and the good government, profit and interest of this burgh. [840]—July 24.  This day the charter p. 841of our most gracious Lord and King, renewed and confirmed to the mayor and burgesses, dated 9th. instant, was read in the outward open Hall. [841]—August 6th.  The Duke of Norfolk by his Majesties Charter being appointed High Steward, 10l, the ancient annual Fee, is ordered to be paid at Christmas yearly.”

Such a change was now effected here as thoroughly corresponded with the royal policy.  Our Corporation p. 842continued subject to this new order of things afterwards, for several years; even till within a few weeks of the Revolution.  The king, dying a few months after he had granted his second Charter, had little opportunity to act much upon it, or give it its full operation.  All that was left for his brother and successor James, who took special care that it should be rendered sufficiently operative.  He, accordingly, in the Summer of 1688, thought proper to set it in motion, and play it on our body corporate with full and terrible effect.  Fifteen of that body, not thought well of by his majesty, and including the mayor himself, the Town-Clerk and five aldermen, were then expelled the Hall in one day, and replaced by others who were more to their sovereign’s liking.  Of this memorable event there are the following memoranda in the Hall-Books.—

“June 11th. (1688) Whereas by order of Councell at White-Hall, dated 1st.  June 1688, for the discharging severall members from their respective places in this Corporation, those words following—“By the King’s most excellent majestie, and the Lords of his most honorable Privy Councell, whereas by the Charter lately granted to the town of Lynn Regis in the county of Norfolk a power is reserved to his Majesty, by his order in Councell, to remove from their employments any officers in the said town, His Majestie in Councell is this day pleased to order, and it is hereby ordered that Robert Sparrow, mayor and alderman, Sir John Turner, Benj. Holly, Willm. Hadfield, Robt. Pain, Giles Bridgeman, aldermen; Hen. Bell, Wm. Holly, p. 843Chas. Turner, Hen. Pope, Sam. Bridgeman, Ja: Greene, Tim. Priest, and John Bradfield, Common Councell, and Edmd. Rolfe, Town-Clerke, and Mayor’s Clerk, and Clerk of Guild-Hall Courts, and Courts of Sessions, Court Leet, and Court of Pyepouder, Be, and they are hereby removed and displaced from their said offices in the said Town of Lynn Regis.

John Nicholas.

[Then it immediately follows] “And the said severall persons in the said order mentioned were and are by the Hall this day accordingly displaced and discharged.”  [Next after which it is added.]  “June 11th.  Att a further congregation the same day, before Sir Symon Tayler Kt. Th. Robinson, John Kidd, Benj: Keen, Th. Lemon, Edwd: Hooke, Edwd. Bodham.  A mandate under his Majesties Hand and Seale read before the members above mentioned to remove severall therein mentioned, and to require to elect John Davy to be mayor, Wm. Linstead, Cyp. Anderson, Hen: Framingham, Charles Peast, Wm. Blyth, to be aldermen; and Th. Buckingham, Sym: Tayler, John Hall, Wm. Thompson, John Tidd, Pet: Busby, Seel Peast, and St: Tayler to be Common Councell, and Math: Oufande to be Town-clerk, without administering to them any Oaths but for the execution of their respective offices, with which wee are pleased to dispense in their behalfe. [843]—By his Majesties Command.

Sunderland.”

p. 844The king appeared now bent upon persevering in these arbitrary measures; and in the following month of September, he issued his royal mandate for continuing as chief magistrate, during another year, the above mentioned John Davy, who seems to have been highly thought of by his sovereign, and, but for the revolution, might, perhaps, have been appointed mayor of Lynn for life.  Of the said royal mandate the following notice is taken in the Hall-Books.—“Sept. 29. 1688.  This day a madat [mandate] under his Majesties hand and seal was read, to elect and continue John Davy mayor for the ensuing year, without administring any oaths but of office.”  Then it is added—“This day John Davy Esq. is elected mayor for the next year, by the common councell.”

Dark and humiliating as was the aspect of this new order of things, it continued only between four and five p. 845years.  The last charter which reduced the corporation to so degrading a condition was granted in June 1684; and it was cancelled, in effect, or disannulled in the autumn of 1688, when the old Charters were again restored and the former order of things reestablished.  Of these events the Hall-Books contain the following memoranda—“October 20. 1688: This day his Majesties Royal Proclamation for restoring Corporations to their antient Charters, Liberties, Rights and Franchises bearing date 17th. October being read in this House, and thereupon the several members of this Corporation being members at the time of the late surrender made of the Priviledges of this Burgh being now assembled did proceed, viz.—The Common Councell have elected Ed: Hooke, Robt. Sparrow, and Cyprian Anderson, aldermen; and chosen Cyprian Anderson, alderman, mayor till Michaelmas next.—Oct. 26. the Duke of Norfolk is elected and confirmed Lord High Steward of this Burgh.”—Under the same date the following memorandum is inserted—“In pursuance of an order from the office of Ordnance, signifying his Majesties Commands to send all the Guns to Hull, it is agreed to remove the same accordingly.” [845a]—“Nov. 2. Ordered the Seal to be affixed to the Patent for the Duke of Norfolk being High Steward. [845b]—Also the Seal to one Letter p. 846of Attorney giving authority to sundry persons therein named to receive from his Majesties attorney general the late Instrument or Deed of Surrender of divers franchises p. 847and liberties.”—While things were going on thus at Lynn, the prince of Orange arrived; which brings us to the happy era of the Revolution, and to the close of this chapter.

p. 848CHAP. VI.

History of Lynn from the Revolution to the present time.

The change which took place at the accession of William and Mary we denominate, by way of eminence, The Revolution, and sometimes, The glorious Revolution.  It was certainly a most happy change for this nation, and very different from that which took place at the restoration of Charles II.  The nation behaved now like people in their senses; but they behaved then like madmen, and were accessary to all the enormities of that detestable reign, and of the whole period from the restoration to the revolution.  Had the people, or their leaders, done their duty at the Restoration, neither Charles nor James would have found it so easy a matter as they did to tyrannize over their subjects, and enslave their country.  They were placed on the throne, like all other despots, not only without any terms or stipulation in favour of the people, but even with those p. 849lofty notions which they inherited from their predecessors, and in which they were confirmed by their priests and courtiers, and other sycophants, that they were absolute princes, who ruled by right divine, and so were not amenable to any human tribunal, or accountable to any earthly being for any of their actions.  With such notions we need not wonder at the arbitrary measures they pursued, or at their wishing to be as absolute or uncontrolled here as their cousin, Lewis XIV, was in France, or the grand Seignior in Turkey.  It was very natural for such men as they to be or to do so, and for their fawning and time-serving courtiers to encourage them in it: but for the whole church and priesthood to act herein as abettors, till James, rather impoliticly, proceeded to take some undue liberties with the hierarchy, is somewhat more remarkable.  As to Charles, he took special care to keep fair with the prelates and mother church, and play into their hands to their utmost wishes, which enabled him to rule as despotically as he pleased, with or without a parliament: they on the other hand complimented him, by calling him most sacred majesty, and telling, even the Almighty, that he was a most religious king.  But James departed from this wise policy of his brother, by presuming to encroach upon the sacred prerogatives of the church, and order the very bishops to read, and cause their clergy also, in all the churches, publickly to read his Declaration of Liberty of Conscience to all his subjects; which, certainly, was, in itself, no very unreasonable demand.  Yet this was the rock on which he split, and the occurrence p. 850which most of all contributed to facilitate and hasten the Revolution.  For it caused such an accession to the patriotic party as rendered it predominant and irresistible.

Section I.

A sketch of the Revolution, or brief observations on that memorable and interesting event.

The English Hierarchy, or national priesthood, is that body, of all others, which it most behoves a tyrant king to secure its attachment and cooperation.  Nor will he find this attended with much difficulty, provided he take care not to encroach on the ecclesiastical department, and let the ecclesiastics tyrannize as much as they please in their own province.  Charles II understood this subject well, and by that means could act the tyrant with perfect safety throughout his whole reign.  The alliance between church and state was by him preserved inviolate; and consequently none of the enormities of his vile government were able to shake, or endanger his throne.  But James, by violating that alliance, deprived himself of his chief support and bulwark, and lost every thing.  Had he kept fair with the church, or the ecclesiastics, he might venture to play the despot, persecute the nonconformists, and other descriptions of his subjects, as much, and as cruelly as he pleased: they would once have remonstrated p. 851against that sort of conduct.  But being himself a non-conformist, and assuming a dispensing power, and issuing a Declaration for liberty of conscience, and withal, interfering with the dignities and revenues of the church and universities, they were alarmed beyond measure, and all at once forgot, even their favourite doctrines of passive obedience and nonresistance, for which they had so long contended, and the disbelievers of which they had so often represented as vile miscreants, unentitled to the common comforts of society, or the natural rights of men.  While the nonconformists and the laity were the only sufferers from the oppressions of government, they blamed them for complaining, and preached up passive obedience and nonresistance, and the divine right of kingship; [851a] but when those oppressions began to affect them, they immediately changed their tone, and appeared among the foremost to complain, and even to disobey and resist.—Such was the character of the English clergy, before and at the Revolution; and it deserves to be noted and remembered.

In imprisoning the bishops, James filled up the measure of his folly and infatuation.  It converted a large majority of his subjects into enemies, and hastened that crisis which blasted all his prospects, and transferred his kingdom to another family.

“The imprisonment and trial of the seven bishops, (says an excellent historian, [851b]) were the last measures of infatuation that remained.  When a second indulgence was issued, and ordained to be read in the church, the bishops petitioned p. 852against an order calculated to reduce the clergy, on their compliance, to the contempt and reproach of becoming accessary to their own destruction; or to subject the disobedient to the penalties recently inflicted by the high commission.  The whole nation was agitated at the imprisonment of the fathers of the church.  The same violent agitation was excited by their trial; but their acquittal resounded through the capital, and was received with tumultuous joy by the whole kingdom, as a religious and even a national triumph over the sovereign.  From the public ferment, which was not likely to subside, that dangerous crisis had at length arrived, to which despotism and bigotry conducted James.

“The eyes and expectations of men had been long fixed on his nephew, the prince of Orange, whose marriage with his eldest daughter had opened a near prospect of obtaining the crown.  Religion, as well as interest, had connected William with the popular party, as alike adverse to the ambition of France, and impatient for a protestant successor to the English throne.  The discontented found a secure asylum in Holland, and an honourable or secret reception at his court; and his connexion with every party was preserved and enlarged by their correspondence with their friends.

“While the chance of a protestant succession remained, the prince was averse to a premature rupture, and the nation was desirous to await the natural course of events.  But the birth of a son, during the ferment excited by the imprisonment of the bishops, consoled James with p. 853the prospect of a catholic heir, and accelerated every preparation for his ruin.  The most injurious surmises had been entertained of the queen’s conception; and from some mysterious circumstances, the report of a supposititious child, however improbable at present, was eagerly propagated and implicitly believed.  From the prospect of an hereditary religious despotism the invitation of the prince of Orange was no longer deferred.  The whigs, who had urged the exclusion, were indifferent to the hereditary line of succession, from which the tories, who had no view beyond a parliament, were unwilling to deviate.  But as every political and religious party deposited their animosities during the common danger, a secret conspiracy was formed by their coalition, the most extensive perhaps, and the best concerted which history has preserved.

“The secret, although entrusted to many thousands, transpired only from the preparations of the prince of Orange.  Although his declaration announced that he was invited over by divers of the temporal and spiritual lords, the king was unable to discover the lines of conspiracy with which he was surrounded at home.  The declaration issued on the embarkation of the prince, enumerated the grievances of the three kingdoms, the suspicious birth of the prince of Wales, and the necessity of interposing to establish the religion and liberties of the people on a secure foundation.  Terrified at the approaching danger from abroad, and at the contempt and hatred which he had incurred at home, the king endeavoured, when too late, to retract his former illegal p. 854measures; but when the Dutch fleet was dispersed, and driven back by a storm to Holland, his confidence in the protection of heaven revived.  But the expedition was renewed in a few days.  While the English fleet was confined to its station off Harwich, the prince, with six hundred transports and ships of war, passed with an east wind through the Straits of Dover, in the presence of wondering multitudes, who gazed at the sublime spectacle from either coast; and disembarking at Torbay, afforded a signal proof to the nation, that its navy will not always prevent an invasion, nor a standing army ensure stability to the throne.

“For a few days the prince of Orange was joined by none; but when the first example was given, the extent of the confederacy was announced by a rapid and universal defection from the king.  The gentlemen of Somerset and Devon hastened to the prince, who had advanced to Exeter, and entered eagerly into an association for his support.  The earl of Bath admitted his fleet into Plymouth.  The earl of Devonshire and the gentlemen of Derby and Nottingham declared for the prince and a free parliament.  Lord Delamer took arms in Cheshire; and in the northern counties lord Danby and his associates surprised Newcastle, York, and Hull.  Cornbury, the earl of Clarendon’s son, was among the first to desert; but when a petition for a free parliament, signed by nineteen peers and prelates, was evaded, he was followed by Churchill, Kirk, Trelauny, Drumlanrig, the dukes of Ormond and Grafton, prince George of Denmark, the king’s Son in law, while a p. 855greater number of inferior officers refused to fight against the prince of Orange.

“The king, who had arrived at Salisbury to give battle to the prince, was overwhelmed with misfortunes.  All England appeared in commotion.  The capital was full of discontent; the very fleet declared for a free parliament; and surrounded, as he believed, by a disaffected army, he knew not in whom to confide.  He withdrew his army, and retired to London; but when informed of his daughter the princess Anne’s escape, “God help me,” cried he, with tears of anguish, “my own children have deserted me.”  Every new disaster increased his perturbation.  He summoned a council of peers; issued writs for new parliament; dispatched commissioners to propose a treaty: but as the prince, amidst the acclamations of all ranks, continued to advance, he was bereft of all fortitude and strength of mind.  His conduct was irresolute, pusillanimous, absurd; and unable to submit to necessity, yet incapable of a single effort of generous despair, he sunk, without dignity, beneath his misfortunes.  His father’s execution was still present to his desponding thoughts; and he listened credulously to every suggestion of personal danger, without reflecting either on the difference of the characters or of the times.  His terrors were flattered as the result of political wisdom, and he was easily persuaded that his departure would produce a scene of anarchy to accelerate the recovery of absolute power.  His hopes were absurdly placed on the public confusion, p. 856to increase which he recalled and burnt the writs for a new parliament; directed Feversham to disband the army; threw the great seal into the Thames; and with a single attendant, embarked in a small vessel at midnight for France, whither the queen and his son had before been secretly conveyed.  When he was intercepted at Feversham and brought back to Whitehall, the returning affections of the city might have convinced him that the nation was not yet lost.  In this delicate extremity he attempted to resume his authority by an indiscreet proclamation against the late excesses; [856] but was required at midnight to remove from the palace, and permitted to retire to Rochester, with an obvious design to connive at his escape.  He was convinced himself that his departure would prove acceptable to the prince; and the few friends who adhered in adversity to his fortunes, urged him to remain.  But the despair of life returned.  An expression of his father’s was remembered—that ‘short is the distance between the prison and the grave of kings:’ and by the desertion of his kingdom, which he was destined never to revisit, he left his rival an unbloody victory, and a vacant throne.—The revolution was accomplished in Scotland with the same ease and success.”

A convention was assembled in each kingdom, to manage their respective concerns, and settle their future government.  In England the revolution was accomplished p. 857by a coalition of whig and tory; but in Scotland, where the same distinctions prevailed under different names, the parties kept separate and opposed to each other; the episcopalians siding with James, and the presbyterians with William.  The latter, however, in the end prevailed, and the convention adopted a plan, prepared by a committee, for the settlement of the crown.

The deliberations had degenerated in the English convention into verbal disputes between the two houses, whether the late king had deserted or abdicated the vacant throne.  In Scotland there was neither the same necessity to gratify the tories, nor the same propriety in declaring that the king had abdicated the government, by the desertion of a country wherein he did not reside.  But the opposite genius of the two nations was never more conspicuous than in the result of their deliberations on that important event.  The English convention declared that James II. having endeavoured to subvert the constitution, by breaking the original contract between the king and people, and having violated the fundamental laws, and withdrawn from the kingdom, had abdicated [857] the government, and that the throne was thereby vacant.  The Scots, on the other hand, instead of p. 858attempting by an ambiguous fiction to reconcile hereditary right with a change in the succession, placed the vacancy of the throne on its true basis, the religion and mal-administration of James.  The same oppression which the English apprehended while yet distant, they had long endured.  Their loyal attachment to the Stewarts, which survived the civil wars, had been effaced by their sufferings since the restoration.  From the same national ardour which rendered the reformation so complete, or destructive in Scotland, they proposed and passed a bold and decisive vote, that James had forfaulted [forfeited] the crown by his misconduct and crimes.

When the throne was declared vacant, the convention, of both nations, resolved that the crown should be tendered to William and Mary, as joint sovereigns.  The prince in an agreeable and obliging manner accepted of the crown in the name of them both; and the same day, (Feb. 13. 1689,) they were proclaimed king and queen by the named of William and Mary, at which a general joy appeared among the people.  On the 11th. of April the new sovereigns were crowned in London, and proclaimed in Scotland on the same day.  From the latter Argyle and others were deputed by the three temporal estates to present the crown, and administer the oath to the king and queen.  The instrument of government and the grievances were first read; to which an Address to turn the convention into a parliament, was subjoined.  When the coronation Oath was administered to William, at the obligation to root p. 859out heretics, he paused, and declared that he did not mean to become a persecutor; and on the assurance of the commissioners that such was not its import, protested that in that sense only he took the Oath.  This must be extremely honourable to William’s memory, and is a rare instance of princely virtue, wisdom, and patriotism.  If all kings were of his sort the objections to monarchical government would lose most of their strength.  With this sketch of the British Revolution, so much talked of, and so ill understood by most, the reader, it is hoped, will not be displeased. [859]

Section II.

History of Lynn continued to the accession of Q. Anne—example of William and the revolutionists did not liberalize our townsmen—persecution of nonconformists here within this period—stocking trade, and complaints of the hosiers—petitions to parliament—addresses to the throne—law-suits—water-works—affair of the coal-meters—and of the noblemen, knights, esquires, clergy, &c.

William’s ideas of civil and religious liberty, though perhaps, not perfectly correct or unexceptionable, were yet far more so than what was generally entertained by our countrymen at that period—and probably, even what is generally entertained among us at this time: p. 860for civil and religious liberty seems not to have been of late years among our favourite studies.  William and his consort would gladly have placed the liberty of protestant Dissenters on a broad and liberal footing, but it was not approved by the majority of the two houses of parliament.  They however readily passed an Act, in the summer of 1689, for exempting their Majesties Protestant Subjects dissenting from the Church of England from the Penalties of certain Laws; which is commonly called the Act of Toleration.  But toleration is a word not to be applied to honest and virtuous men, in a land of liberty; for it implies some unworthiness in the objects, or their being unentitled to what is granted, and that the magistrate grants it by way of favour, indulgence, or connivance; whereas religious liberty is the natural and inalienable inheritance of every human being, and should be claimed as a right, and not as a boon or favour.  The Toleration Act received the royal assent May 24. 1689, and the protestant dissenters have sat under the shade of it, mostly, but not always unmolested, ever since.  Tories and high churchmen have often attempted to disturb them, but by this law they have been in a great measure protected.  Had it not passed in the reign of William, it is doubtful if it had passed at any subsequent period.  Even at this time some great men are proposing to have it revised, as being too comprehensive, and requiring certain restrictions.  What the event will be, time will shew: but it will be a sad thing if the rights of conscience, or the enjoyment of religious liberty should be curtailed, now in the 19th century.

p. 861Lynn is a notable instance of a town declaring for the revolution, without entering at all into the spirit of it: for it continued still as bigoted and intolerant as before.  This was remarkably exemplified in the bitter and violent persecution that broke out here about 1690, against a society of protestant dissenters of the Baptist denomination, and especially against James Marham, their minister.  He appears to have been a very worthy man, zealous and diligent in propagating that sort of religious knowledge which he thought most useful and interesting to his fellow-creatures.  Some of the great ones, or heads of the town became his chief persecutors.  What they affected to take most umbrage at was, the denomination to which he belonged.  They pretended that it was a new religion; and they would not suffer it to be disseminated in the town, but were resolved to break up the meeting.  They first proceeded against him under the Conventicle Act, and employed two men, named Robert Whitehead and Henry Oseincraft, as informers; who having been at the meeting, laid their information before the justices, or aldermen, [861] who forthwith issued their warrants to levy 20l. on the house, 20l. on the preacher, and 5s. on each of the hearers.  Marham owned that he hired the meeting-house, but produced p. 862the licence, or certificate, which shewed it to have been regularly registered as a place of worship, according to the Toleration Act; but that they over-ruled, and caused their levy to be executed, both upon him and others.  And finding afterwards that he persisted in continuing the meeting, they resolved to ruin him, by charging him with some heinous crime, which the account does not specify.  They got one person to swear against him, intending then to commit him to prison; but the witness could not substantiate the charge; so that they were obliged to drop the proceeding.  Marham now getting a copy of their levy, found that the informers had sworn, that when they were at the meeting-house one John Marham was preaching; whereas there was no preacher of that name.  The preacher that was speaking when they were at the meeting was a minister from London, whose name was Wm. Lang, but he was only praying, and not preaching, at the time.  They had also sworn, that one Francis Robinson was then at the meeting, which was not true.  Having made these discoveries Marham was advised to proceed against them at common Law, which he accordingly did; and the two informers were put into the crown office.  The great men now interfered, and prevailed with Marham’s attorney to desist from further prosecution, “as he would answer it, (says the account) in the hands or custody of a messenger.” [862]  These threats inducing the attorney p. 863to stay the proceedings for a time, the informers, advised by their patrons or employers, took advantage of that to remove the cause from common law to chancery.  A notice or subpœna was then served upon Marham to answer their bill of complaint, which bill consisted of 31 sheets.  “Though the substance of it, (our account says) will be proved utterly false, yet it will cost more money by far than Marham is able to disburse, without evident ruin.”  An appeal was therefore made to the whole denomination for assistance; and they are thought to have come forward pretty liberally on the occasion, the particular as well as the general baptists, to the latter of which Marham belonged.  He was up in London and gave in his answer in February 1693; but when or how the affair ended does not appear, for our account was published before it was brought to its final issue.  As a chancery cause it might remain long undetermined, perhaps for some years.  But how or whensoever it ended, here is enough to shew very clearly with what illiberality, intolerance, tyranny, and villany, the gentry or chief men of Lynn were capable of acting at that period.  Much of the same spirit continued here very long after, even down to the memory of the present writer.

p. 864About the beginning of 1690 (or 1689–90) the hosiers of this town appeared much concerned and alarmed, (as had indeed been the case for some time before, [864]) at the prevalence of the weaving method, by which that of knitting was much discouraged and fallen off, to the great injury of vast numbers of the poor, who were consequently left without employment.  They therefore now petitioned the Hall to have the case brought before parliament, which was readily acceded to.  This affair is thus memorized in the Town-Books.—“Jan. 17. (1689–90)  On petition of the Hosiers of this Town in behalf of the poore, against the new invention of weaving worstead hose; whereby many thousands of the poor are destitute of employment; It is ordered and agreed that a Petition from this House to the Honorable House of Commons representing that grievance, now read, be sealed with the common seal of this burgh.”

It may therefore be presumed that this petition was actually presented to the House of Commons, but what was there made of it, or what reception it met does not appear.  It must, however, have indicated a very contracted idea of trade, or the rights of manufacturing adventurers.  Near seven years after a different sort of petition was presented by this town to the same house; of which the p. 865following notice occurs in the Hall or Town-Books—“Oct. 26. 1696; Mr Mayor, Mr Recorder, Sir Henry Hobart baronet, Sir John Turner knight, Sir Charles Turner knight, Robert Walpole, Maurice Kendall, Esquires, Mr. Bell, Mr. Holly, Mr. Turner, or any five of them, to manage and present a petition to the parliament to remove obstructions, and for preserving navigation—[and] for removing the Dam and Sluices near Salters load.”—The obtaining the object of this petition might probably have proved very beneficial to the country; but it does not appear that the application succeeded.

Our corporation, as might be expected, did not neglect during this reign to send some loyal addresses to the throne.  How many they actually did send we have not the means of ascertaining.  One was probably sent upon their majesties accession, though we have not met with any particular account of it.  We are indeed informed in our extracts from the Hall-Books, that Thursday, the 11th of April 1689, the day of the coronation of King William and Queen Mary, was appointed to be kept here with all due solemnity: whence one might pretty safely infer, that an Address did soon after follow.  Such was the case, we presume, with all the rest of our corporations.

Another address was sent from Lynn in 1696, occasioned by the discovery of the assassination plot, and the intended French invasion.  One of our historians [865] p. 866speaking of that horrid plot, thus adds—“At the same time there was to be an invasion from France, for which purpose king James was come to Calais, and the troops, artillery, and stores, were immediately ordered to be embarked; but by the news of the assassination plot having miscarried, and the speedy sending of a formidable fleet under admiral Russell, this other part of the design was frustrated; and Calais was not long after bombarded by the English.  The king on February 21. acquainted parliament with the discovery of the plot; upon which both Houses addressed his majesty to congratulate him on his happy preservation: and the House of Commons drew up and subscribed an association to stand by one another in defence of his majesty’s sacred person and government, against the late king James and all his adherents.  The Lords also agreed to the same association; and the example of the two Houses was followed by all the corporations in the kingdom.”—The part which Lynn took in this memorable business is thus noticed in the book of extracts from the Hall records—“March 11th. (1695–6) sign’d an Address to his Majestie in the nature of ane Association to stand by and assist his Majesty against all his Ennemys whatsomever.”—We have seen no copy of this address.

On the king’s return from the continent, in the autumn of 1697, another address went to him from this town, of which the following is a copy—

“Great Sir.  Wee your Majesties most dutifull and loyall subjects, the mayor, aldermen, and common-councell, and chiefe inhabitants of the burgh of King’s Lynn in the p. 867county of Norfolk, crave leave to prostate ourselves at your Royall feet, with sincerest joye and most devout thankfulness adoreing the Divine Goodness for watching over your pretious life (in all the Dangers it has been exposed to by sea and land) upon the safety whereof the fate of so many nations did depend.  The comfort is too bigg for us to express, To behold your sacred person with happyness and honor retorned to these your dominions after the vast toyles of a war ingaged in for the security of your realms and the tranquillity of Europe.  For no sooner had your princely tenderness secured to us the inestimable blessings of Lawe, Liberty, and Religion, but injured and ruined provinces abroad implored your ayd.  Then it was you awakened the slumbering genius of this warlike people, and with matchless conduct, courage, vigilance, you led forth the British forces to fame and great atchievements in forreign lands.  Let other chiefes and potentates of your allyance have their deserved praise; but it is your majesties right for what by your councell and armes has been done in accomplishing the great worke to remain possest of the brightest share of the glory that attends it, will outweigh the pomp of all other triumphs to be the chosen instrument of Providence to calm a stormy world, to make wars and desolation to cease, and to restore repose and peace to christendome.  May the same propitious providence make these blessings durable and perpetuall, may your sacred Majestie be still the charge of the Life Guards of Heaven, may your royall cares be sweetened, though they can never be requited, by the constant loyalty and duty of a gratefull people; may your days be p. 868long and prosperous, and your renoune increase; may your Realms flourish in virtue, union, plenty and peace; and when you shall be called to a heavenly crowne may generations to come rise up and call you blessed.”

This Address, no doubt, was drawn up by one of our first orators and ablest hands of that day, and in his very best manner.  But our augustan age does not appear to have commenced till after the accession of Q. Anne.  Our addresses to the throne became then long and frequent; and they were all penned in so striking a style of eloquence as clearly evinced the abundant confidence the compilers had in their own parts and powers.

In 1697 our corporation had a law-suit with one Hulton, before Lord Chief Justice Holt, which by the following hint in the Hall-Books they appear to have gained—“March 29. 1697, Recovered, on a tryall before Lord Chief Justice Holt, of Leonard Holton a Quitt rent of 23s. 6d. per annum, and arrears for 38 years to Michaelmas 1694, on his house, late Th: Toll Esq: and also a rent charge of 6s. 8d. per annum.”—In the same year they had also a suit in the court of Exchequer, with one Vinckeson, of which the following notice occurs in the Hall-books—“June 16.  Ordered that Hubert Vinckeson be prosecuted in the court of Exchequer for the duty of Lastage of great quantities of corn and graine belonging to fforreigners and strangers to the liberties of this burgh, which have been unjustly coloured and own’d by him, contrary to his aath of ffreedome.”—It does not appear that there was any thing unjustifiable in this prosecution.

p. 869About this same period our water-works appear to have been a losing concern to our corporation; which they seem to have felt so far as to have the following notice of it inserted in their books—“April 20. 1696.  It is reported that the charges and disbursements of maintaining the water-rents for ten 10 years last past, as per particulars is 1427l. 7s. [869] 8d. the rents and profits thereof for the sametime is 1338l. 14s. 2d.—Lost by the water account in ten years 288l. 13s. 6d. which divided by ten years is 28l. 17s. 4d. per annum.”—How this concern turned out afterwards, or how it stands at present, we have not had hitherto the means of ascertaining.

At this period which we are now reviewing the whole body of our coal-meters and head-porters brought themselves into most sad disgrace, by certain dishonest and fraudulent doings.  The customhouse complained against them and had them all turned out at once:—but some weeks after, on profession of contrition or promise of amendment, they were again restored.  Of this unpleasant affair, so disreputable and humiliating to these meters and porters, our Corporation have preserved the following memorial in their books—“July 11th. 1701; Upon Information this day made to this House by the chief officers of his Majesties Customes of this Port against the whole body of the Company of Head Porters and Metters of the Port and Burgh, that they have severally received deputations and instructions from the Right Honorable the Lords Commissioners, p. 870as metters, weighers, and measurers, in pursuance of an act for granting to his Majesty severall duties upon coales and culme, have every one of them taken and received bribes, and made short and false certificates and retornes, and been guilty of other corrupt ill practices contrary to the said trust and the oath and duty of their offices of Head Porters and Metters, and to the defrauding his Majestie of the said Duties; which upon examination they have this day severally confest: it is therefore this day ordered that all and every of them be and stand discharged from the said offices of Head Porters and Metters of this burgh and port.”—Then we read as follows—“August 13.  Upon the humble application and submission of divers of the corne and coale metters, head porters, this House hath reestablished them, and ordere’d that beside the accustomed oath they give security by bond with one surety in 20l. for the just performance, and so to continue for the future.”—This regulation is probably still in force.

About the same time our corporation appeared to claim kindred and fall passionately in love with gentility and high life, or the titled classes of the community, as contradistinguished from the unprivileged orders or swinish multitude; which is evinced by the conclusion of the following passage in the Hall-Books, on the regulation of Tolls,—“Nov. 24. 1701; Ordered that the present Tables of Petty Tolls, taken by water and at the gates, be regulated according to the alterations now made, and such as are now marked be exchanged, and that new tables thereof be made to be hung up at the p. 871gates, and delivered to the wharfinger; and that all Noblemen, Knights, Esquires, and Clergymen be from henceforth exempted from all Tolls for goods bought by them.”  One can perceive in this neither justice nor charity; and it was probably the offspring of mere caprice.

At the period now under review our clergy were, seemingly, treated, or provided for by the corporation more liberally and handsomely than they are at present.  In 1702 the minister and lecturer had their Stipends augmented to 100l. a year each; which must have been equal to 3 or 400l. at least, of our money.  Before that time they had but 50l. each, as appears by the following articles in the Hall-Books—“Aug. 29, 1701; Ordered that Mr. Th: Pile be appointed minister or preacher at St. Nicholas Chaple to preach once every Sunday, and to read divine Service once every day in the week, except Sundayes, at St. Margarets Church, and he shall be allowed 50l. per annum.”—again—“March 18. 1701; Dr. Th: Little chosen Lecturer at St. Margarets Church, in the room of Mr. Fysh deceased, and to have 50l. per annum.”—again—“Nov. 20. 1702; Mr. Th: Pyle and Dr. Little’s stypends augmented more 50l. per annum each, on Mr Jaggard’s decease.”—If we are not mistaken, there has not been afterwards any further augmentation for 60 or 70 years; when 50l. more were added to the minister or vicar: and the same has been added lately.—Being now brought to the close of William’s reign, and the accession of Anne, we shall here finish this section.

p. 872Section III.

History of Lynn from the death of William to that of Anne—her majesty’s accession—address to her from Lynn—dangerous state of the Boale or World’s End, and measures adopted for its preservation—the great storm in 1703, and its effects on this town—address to the throne in 1704—petitions to parliament the same year, from the counties of Bedford and Huntingdon, against unreasonable and exorbitant exactions at Lynn—constructive disloyalty of our corporation—minister’s house in Webster’s Row.

On the death of King William, Anne, the younger sister of his late queen, succeeded to the throne, by virtue of the act of settlement, which had passed in the preceding reign.  She was proclaimed on March 8, 1701–2, a few hours after the king’s death; and her accession gave entire satisfaction to all her protestant subjects.  Those of this town appeared on that occasion very conspicuous, as they were actually among those who addressed the throne within that selfsame month. We have never seen a copy of this address, but have learnt from our book of Extracts that it was dated March 30, 1702.  Whether it was long or short, we know not; but there can be no doubt of its being very loyal: and, in point of style or diction we may take it for granted that it bore no small resemblance to those of succeeding years, of which we shall not fail by and by to exhibit some fair specimens.

About the time of which we are now speaking, Lynn was thought to be in some danger from the encroachment of the tide upon that point called the Boale, or world’s end; and the most effectual means that could p. 873be thought of were therefore adopted for the safety of the town.—This affair is thus noticed in the Hall books:—“Sept. 24. 1708; In pursuance of a late order wee have considered Robert Elsden’s Petition to us referred, and taken a view of the ground called the Boale or World’s End, and the lands and houses on either side, and are of opinion, that there is an absolute necessity that the said ground as it now is be preserved from being lost to sea, and for that purpose that some present meanes be considered by Jettys and Counter-shores to repell the flow and reflow the sea, without which the houses on the north side of the Mill ffleet, and consequently the town will be in great danger of ruin; and considering how necessary it is that present care be taken of the defence of the town so incumbent upon this House, which the said Elsden is in no wise able to performe, and also considering the advantage it will be to this corporation to have the duties of wharfage and groundage, stakes, mooreage and other dutys claimed and long enjoyed the owners of that ground united and made entire to this port, Wee have treated and contracted with the said Robert Elsden for the absolute purchase of the said ground and all profits and advantages thereunto belonging for the sum of 130l. and 20l. more at the end of five years if the said ground shall continue so long preserved from sea without considerable diminution.”—Then it is added—“Said Report and Articles are read and well approved by this House.”  This was, no doubt, an advantageous bargain to the corporation; and as might be expected, they p. 874now set themselves in good earnest about effectually preserving their new purchase.  They laid out upon it a good deal of money; of which the following memoranda occur in their books—“Sept. 29. 1704: Ordered 100l. to be taken up for reimbursing the chamberlain’s charges about the Jetties and defences against the sea at the Boale, or World’s End.”—again—“Jan. 12 1704–5: Ordered that Mr. Hainsworth chamberlain’s account audited at 347l. 8s. 9d. relating to the Boale be allowed, and that he have 10l. 10s. for his extraordinary trouble.”—This spot, we presume, has been ever since the property of the corporation, which we cannot find to have been ever the case before.

About this same time happened that dreadful national calamity, commonly called the great storm, the most tremendous and most disastrous, perhaps, ever experienced in this kingdom.  It continued for several days but was at the highest on the 27th of November 1703.  No place escaped its fury, but in some places it was most awfully terrible and destructive.  It blew from the west, and therefore could not so much affect this coast; and at Lynn the loss it occasioned was comparatively inconsiderable; amounting to seven or eight ships, twenty or thirty hands, and damage to the houses, or buildings, computed at about 1000l. and the whole including the shipping to about 3000l, [874] which was but a p. 875trifle, compared to the losses which some other places had then sustained.

On the western coast the ravages of this storm far exceeded what they were in these eastern parts.  At Bristol it occasioned so high a tide as did above a 100,000l. damage to the merchants goods only.  It also caused the Severn to break down its banks, and overflow a vast tract of land, by which 15000 sheep, besides other cattle were drowned.  The famous Eddystone Lighthouse also, which had borne several storms unmoved, was not able to stand this.  It was swept off on the tremendous night of the 27th. and nothing was to be seen the next morning but the bare rock.  Winstanley too, its ingenious projector and constructor, who happened then to be there, perished with the rest. [875]  Soon after, on that very night, the Winchelsea, a homeward bound Virginia-man, split on the same rock, and most of its hands were lost.

It was computed that no less than 300 sail of ships, some of them belonging to the royal navy, were lost p. 876on different parts of out coasts, and that there were drowned then in rivers and at sea, at least 8000 persons.  Between one and two hundred lost their lives by the fall of houses, chimneys, &c. and a still greater number were grievously bruised and hurt from the same causes.  More than 800 dwelling houses were blown down, and barns and outhouses without number.  Above 400 wind-mills were overset and destroyed; upwards of one hundred churches were uncovered, and the lead from some of their roofs blown to an incredible distance: many of their steeples and battlements were also demolished.  In addition to all which, above 250,000 trees were said to be then torn up by the roots.  In short the whole country for sometime after exhibited the appearance of dejection, dismay, and desolation.

The public feelings being greatly affected by this national calamity, we need not be surprized that a general fast was soon after solemnly proclaimed and devoutly observed throughout the kingdom; and though we may not very readily fall in, or coincide with every idea suggested in the royal proclamation, [876] yet we cannot p. 877help looking upon that fast as much more proper and justifiable than most of those that have been observed by our countrymen ever since.—After all, what were the deplorable ravages of that great and mighty storm, compared with those of a single campaign in some of our modern wars, when myriads of human beings have miserably perished, entire provinces cruelly laid waste, and whole nations involved in utter ruin?  Yet these most calamitous scenes are seldom looked upon by governments and nations as the judgments of Heaven, or what ought to lead men to serious reflection, religious humiliation, and repentance.

In the course of the following year, (1704) our national feelings were very differently affected.  The dejection of the preceding year was no longer felt, and the public mind became suddenly elated in a wonderful manner, and to an extraordinary degree.  This was occasioned by the battle of Hochstet, or Blenheim, as we most commonly call it.  That surprising victory filled the nation with such vainglorious triumph as to throw it almost into a state of atheistical intoxication.  Addresses p. 878to the throne came in thick now from all quarters, and our corporation appeared conspicuous among those memorable addressers.  Our address was not a little remarkable; but whether most so for its piety, good sense, and elegance, or for its loyalty, adulation, and fustian, or bombastry, may be left for the reader to judge. [878]

p. 879But however loyal or patriotic we seemed at this period, and elated with the idea of our military successes and national glory, we yet lay at the same time under some very unfavourable and disreputable imputations from some of our neighbours, on the score of extortion, or unwarrantable and exorbitant exactions in our commercial dealings.  Nor is it at all clear that the charge was absolutely or entirely groundless.—These circumstances appear from the following document in the Hall-books.—

“Jan. 12th. 1704–5.  Whereas Petitions have been lately exhibited to the Honourable House of Commons in Parliament by the Deputy Leuftenants, Justices of the Peace, Gentlemen and Inhabitants of the Countys of Bedford and Huntingdon, complaining of great duties and payments exacted by this town of Lynn by force of pretended By-Laws on all such sea coales brought into this port as are not consumed in this town, and for that under a pretence of a certain custome of Foreign bought and foreign sold all masters of ships and others not free of this corporation who bring in coales are compelled to lye three market days after arrival before they are permitted to sell their coales to any person whatsoever; and after they have layn such time yet they are permitted to sell to non but Freemen and p. 880inhabitants of the burgh at their own prices, whereby all other traders in Sea coales are discouraged, that trade monopolised there, and the prices raised to an excessive rate, and that the freemen and inhabitants thereby make exorbitant gains to themselves, to the great oppression of the petitioners and diminution of the queen’s revenue, which custom and practices are contrary to divers laws and statutes, viz. 9th of Ed. 3 and 25th. Ed. 3. and 11th. Rd. 2. and therefore pray to be relieved against them.—And whereas the matters in said petition are referr’d to a private committee it is ordered that Councell be taken in said case, and that such concession and disclaims [880a] be made before the committee or otherwise as by our Burgesses in Parliament with advice of such Councell shall be thought reasonable touching the duty of 8d. per Chalder and compelling Strangers ships to lye 3 days mentioned in the said case, and to act farther therein as they shall see cause, saving to this corporation the ancient custome of fforeign bought of foreign sold, and the duty 4d. per chalder time out of mind received and injoyed.” [880b]

How this affair terminated we have not been able to ascertain.

Soon after the affair just now mentioned another circumstance transpired which had a still more serious aspect on our corporation, as it seemed to involve them p. 881in a kind of dispute with the crown itself, and to threaten them with a repetition of former alarming regal procedures, or another deprivation of their charters and municipal franchises.  A process was accordingly commenced against them on the part of their sovereign, for the embezzlement, or non-payment of certain royal dues; and it is thus noticed in their own records—“June 13th. 1705; upon reading a writt directed to the sheriffe of this county, for seizing into Her Majesties hands the liberties of this Burgh, for default of entering claims, and answering and accounting for the debts, fines, and forfeitures due to Her Majestie arising within this Burgh.  It is this day ordered that the Town Clerke forthwith take care to cause appearance to the said writt, and such other matters be performed as are incumbent on the mayor and burgesses.”—It is not said what was the result, but it may be supposed to have ended favourably, though, probably, not without absolute submission and great expense.  But for any disloyalty that might be alleged against them in this instance, they seem to have made ample amends by their memorable address to the throne in 1706, which shall be given in the next section.

Among the advantages enjoyed formerly by the minister of the town, or the vicar of St. Margaret’s parish, was that of a parsonage house for his habitation.  This house was situated in Webster’s row, or Broad street.  For sometime before the period of which we are now speaking there seems to have been some doubt, whether p. 882this house belonged to the corporation, or to the Dean and Chapter of Norwich.  But now, during the deanship of the celebrated Dr. Prideaux, the Dean and Chapter expressly relinquished their claim in favour of the corporation.  But this is supposed to have proved to succeeding ministers an unfortunate relinquishment: for it does not seem that they had any longer an appropriate mansion in the town, but were obliged to shift for themselves, and procure a dwelling as they could, like the rest of the inhabitants.  How the corporation came to deprive the minister of his parsonage house we have not learnt.—Of this affair the following notice occurs in the Hall-Books; “August 29. 1705; It appeareth by old deeds that the minister’s house in Webster’s Row belongeth to the mayor and burgesses, and Dr. Prideaux, Dean of Norwich, by his Letter produced doth disclaim the same, as never in possession of the Dean and Chapter of Norwich.”

Section IV.

State of Lynn under Q. Anne continued—pompous address to the throne in 1706—cut made the same year from Kettlewell to Gannock gate—state of the Middleton river and water-mills—another notable address to the throne—execution of two children—state of the harbour—Dr. Hepburne and other doctors—the medical as well as clerical profession supposed to be more highly esteemed here formerly than at present—reasons for that supposition—law-suit—Walpole’s expulsion—death of Anne and accession of George I.

p. 883In the summer of 1706, our corporation distinguished themselves by another most elaborate and pompous address to the throne, which might well compensate for all that constructive disloyalty, or treasonable delinquency which seemed imputable to them the preceding year.  Indeed, as far as words could do it, this address must have placed them among the most loyal, most zealous, and most devoted of all her majesty’s subjects.  Whether she herself deemed it to have completely white washed them from their former foulness, or not, we are unable to say.  But if she did really condescend to bestow upon it any thought at all, she could hardly avoid considering it as an extraordinary production: and the reader will probably view it in much the same light. [883]

p. 884In the self-same year, and soon after the date of the said addresses to the throne, there was here no small stir made about the corn water-mills, which were situated close by the present Lancastrian school.  From those mills the fleet from thence to the harbour was called mill-fleet, and the lane adjoining had the name of mill-lane.  Those corn water-mills appear to have been here long noted, and of great use to the town.  But about p. 885the time of which we are now speaking they were falling into decay, and so continued till they were at length entirely laid aside, and every vestige of them has long ago disappeared.  The wind-mills now supply their place and do their work, at least so much of it as is wanted to be done here; for the chief of the meal and flour consumed in the town is brought from other parts.  When Lynn depended for its bread entirely, or almost so, on its water-mills, they must have been of great consequence, and the laying of them by must have been much felt by the inhabitants.  At present our situation is very different, and we perceive and feel no need of water-mills. [885]

p. 886In the spring of the very next year (1707) another flaming address to the throne went from Lynn; and as it is not inferior to the former in point of eloquence and sublimity, it may be desirable to have it preserved, for the entertainment of the rising generation.—It was dated April 25.—The following is a correct copy of it, as it stands in our volume of extracts—

“May it please your Majestie, Nothing could ever equal your Victories in the field but your Councells in the cabinet: thus happily in spite of all the Jesuiticall contrivances of your and our Ennemys to vanquish nationall and hereditary prejudices, to reconcile so many jarring and different pretensions, and to unite England and Scotland into one kingdome and interest, hitherto by all in vain attempted, will together with the Blenheim and Ramilies remain everlasting monuments of your Majesties glory.—Our Protestant succession is hereby extended thro’ the British Isle, Our Legislature, Trade, and Interest one, and all Jealousies and differences being removed, that p. 887strength which has often been a weakening to us, to the mutual endangering our constitution and safety, is now become a real security to both, and formidable to our enemies.  Thus the hopes of our divisions, fomented by a popish Pretender and his heedless abettors, will be now extinguished, and wee shall always think it our dutie, as what is most agreeable to your Majestie and beneficiall to ourselves, to be unanimous with one another, and to pay a friendly regard to our united Neibours, as becomes fellow protestants and fellow subjects.—May your Majestie, seated on the throne of your united Britannia, long hold the ballance and arbitrate the peace and safely of Europe, and be as great and happy here, as your memory will be immortall and glorious hereafter.” [887]

We now take our leave of the Lynn Addresses.  This and the two former are probably to be classed among the prime productions of our augustan age.  Our volume of Extracts contains no more copies of addresses to the throne; which seems to indicate that a great tailing off took place afterwards in their style and composition, so that the succeeding ones were not worth preserving.  However that was, these samples have been here inserted upon the supposition that they p. 888were some of the best written and most eloquent that any of our sovereigns ever received from this borough: and it is in that view chiefly they are now recommended to the perusal and consideration of the reader.

In 1708, according to one of our MS. accounts of that time, two children were hanged here for felony, one eleven, and the other but seven years of age; which if true, must indicate very early and shocking depravity in the sufferers, as well as unusual and excessive vigour on the part of the magistrates in the infliction of capital punishment. [888a]—In that also and the succeeding year, the wretched state of the harbour appears to have occasioned considerable disquietude and alarm in the town; and the most effectual means that could be thought of were adopted to remedy the growing evil, and tranquillize the minds of the inhabitants. [888b]

p. 889At the time now under review, two of the most prominent characters in this town were the elder Pyle and Dr. Hepburne.  Of the former some account may be expected hereafter.  The latter was a North-Briton, and of the medical profession.  At what time he settled here does not very distinctly appear; but it is supposed to have been about the latter part of king William’s reign.  Be that as it might, he soon became eminent as a physician, so as to stand at the head of the profession, in all this part of the kingdom, for near half a century.  Walpole, with our principal nobility and gentry, held him in high estimation, and his practice became in time so very extensive that he was seldom to be found at home, so that the town was obliged then to have recourse for medical advice solely to Browne and Lidderdale the two other physicians.

On the 3rd. of February 1709, the Hall voted Dr. Hepburne the freedom of the town gratis; and he took up that freedom on the 12th. of the next ensuing August.  Browne is supposed to have had the same compliment p. 890paid him: so had Lidderdale on the 29th. of August 1737. so also had Tayler on the same day of the same month, ten years after.  The last of our physicians, if we are not mistaken, who have been thought worthy of the honour of being made free of this ancient and renowned borough, was the late Dr. Hamilton.  He was not, like Paul, free-born, nor did he, like most of his predecessors, become free gratis; but might say with the Roman chief captain, “With a great sum obtained I this freedom,” for it cost him at least 30l. which was a great deal more than it was worth to a mere medical man, fifty years ago.  His being obliged to purchase it, and so dearly too, seems a pretty plain indication that a change of disposition towards the physicians had then taken place in the Hall, and that they were actually sinking in the estimation of that worshipful body.  That same body is supposed to have been no less determined ever since, even from the commencement of this jubilee reign, against making any more of the physicians free, than his majesty is said to be against making any more of his subjects Dukes, except those of his own family.  So remarkable a coincidence between the humour of our corporation and that of their beloved sovereign must, no doubt, be very curious to contemplate.  As to the two physicians that are now, and have long been resident here, the present writer positively disavows any knowledge or suspicion of either of them being in the least uneasy in their state of villanage, or at all desirous of obtaining their freedom.  On the contrary, he supposes them to be perfectly indifferent about that matter; even as much so as he is himself, who has not the least idea p. 891that the freedom of Lynn, or of any other town, would be worth to him a single groat, or what would afford the smallest gratification.

Not only the medical profession, but even the clerical also seems to be in lower estimation here now than what it was a hundred years ago.  The heads of both professions were then, and long after, we presume, invariably admitted to their freedom, which is not the case now.  The very Lecturer, if we are rightly informed, is at present unfree, as well as the physicians.  The Vicar also, as was before noted, had here then a parsonage-house, which he has not now.  Nor is his present stipend, or income, any way equal to what it was at that period.  Yet for all this seemingly declining credit of these two learned professions among us, it is more than probable, that both physic and divinity are as well understood, and as rightly and judiciously administered here now, as ever they were in the days of Thomas Pyle and George Hepburne.

In 1713 our corporation, in conjunction with some others, engaged in a law-suit about Sir Thomas White’s benefaction, [891] but it does not appear how it terminated.—About the same time, and somewhat earlier, Lynn must have been much agitated by the affair of Walpole, who was one of its parliamentary representatives.  Because he would not join with the new ministry, they resolved p. 892to be revenged, by accusing him of a breach of trust and corruption.  They finally succeeded, though by small majorities, and had him committed to the Tower and expelled the House.  Lynn re-elected him, but it was declared null and void: so he was kept out of parliament till after its dissolution, which took place on the 8th. of August 1713.  Lynn then again re-elected him, and he sat in the new parliament which met on the 16th. of February 1714.  The queen died a few months after, and was succeeded by George I. which opened the way and was the prelude to Walpole’s future elevation and prosperity.

Section V.

State of Lynn under George I.—sketch of his character—attachment and wishes of the people divided between him and the son of James II commonly called the Pretender—our accounts of this town, during this reign, very barren of interesting or memorable incidents—enumeration of some of the most remarkable—the king dies and his son succeeds.

No prince, says Coxe, ever ascended a throne under more critical circumstances, and with less appearances of a quiet reign, than George the First; whether we consider the state of the European powers, the situation of parties in Great Britain, or his own character.  As to the latter, he was ill calculated by nature, disposition, and habit to reconcile the then jarring parties, and p. 893remove the unfavourable impressions which it was natural for all people to entertain of a foreigner, destined to rule over them.  He was already fifty-four years of age, and had been long habituated to a court of a very different description from that of England, and to manners and customs wholly repugnant to those of his new subjects.  He was easy and familiar only in his hours of relaxation, and to those alone who formed his usual society; not fond of attracting notice, phlegmatic and grave in his public deportment, hating the splendour of majesty, shunning crowds, and fatigued even with the first acclamations of the multitude.  This natural reserve was heightened by his ignorance of the language, of the first principles of the English constitution, and of the spirit and temper of the people.

It was currently reported, before his arrival, that measures were preparing to evade the laws which excluded foreigners from honours and employments.  He had several mistresses, of whom two the most favoured were expected to accompany him to England, with a numerous train of Hanoverian followers, eager to share the spoils of the promised land; to set up a court within a court, and an interest opposite to the true interest of England.  It was also maliciously circulated that he was indifferent to his own succession, and scarcely willing to stretch out a hand to grasp the crown within his reach.  “But, adds the same writer, he had excellent qualities for a sovereign, plainness of manners, simplicity of character, and benignity of temper; great application to business, extreme exactness in distributing p. 894his time, the strictest economy in regulating his revenue; and, notwithstanding his military skill and tried valour, a love of peace; virtues, however, which required time before they were appreciated, and not of that specious cast to captivate the multitude, or raise the tide of popularity.”—Such was our first sovereign of the present family. [894]

A great part of the nation was hostile to the Hanover succession; but it was a divided party, and could never be brought to act in concert, or with whiggish energy.  The Tories were then a very powerful body, and mostly in favour of the Pretender, but not so decidedly as the Jacobites, who were to a man violent for his restoration.  These two parties were then more numerous and powerful than the Whigs, or adherents of the House of Hanover and the protestant succession.  But they wanted the talents, the unanimity, and the decision of the latter, and therefore proved unable to gain their point, or introduce the pretender and place him on the throne.  An attempt, however, was made, chiefly in Scotland, to bring him in, in 1715, and again in 1745; but they both miscarried, so that the present family in the end got firm and undisputed possession of the sovereignty of these realms; and the pretending or rival family is now extinct.  Considering the many adverse appearances, at and before the queen’s death, George’s quiet accession was not a little remarkable and surprising.  His success, it has been thought, “was principally owing to the abilities, prudence, activity, p. 895and foresight of the great Whigs, and to the precautions which they had always taken, and now took to promote the succession in the protestant line, with whom the Hanoverian agents in London concerted their mode of conduct, and to whom George, from the first news he received of the queen’s death, wholly resigned himself and his cause.”  In nothing did he discover so much discretion and wisdom, as in acting under the guidance of such able and trusty adherents.

The history of Lynn during this reign, seems remarkably barren of interesting, or very memorable incidents.  Scarce any thing that we know of, relating to this town, occurred within that time that is worth recording.  The town no doubt, or at least the members of the corporation, derived many good things from the high station then occupied by Walpole, their great patron and representative; and this circumstance would hardly fail to render Lynn the envy of most other corporations, who would naturally be desirous of obtaining so powerful a patronage.  But upon this subject we will not here enlarge.

Among the principal objects that engaged the attention of our corporation during this reign, was an inquiry into the extent and limits of the estates in Dunham and East Lexham, belonging to the Gaywood Hospital, of which they were the trustees or guardians.  This inquiry commenced as early as 1710–11. as appears from the following note or hint in our volume of Extracts—“March 23. 1710–11; St. Mary Magdalen p. 896estate to be surveyed and new buttal’d.”—Afterwards, under the year 1715, we read as follows; “July 27. upon reading the report of the Comittee, ordered to inspect the Estate in East Lexham and Dunham, belonging to Gaywood Hospital, It is ordered that a Letter be sent to Edmd. Wodehouse, Esq. to request and demand a new particular and abuttals of the lands there late in his possession, and that the Town Clerk attend the persons employed to new abuttal the same, as occasion shall require.”

This work appears to have been attended with considerable difficulty, and therefore to have made for a great while but very slow progress; but our gentlemen still persevered, and seemed fully determined to effect their purpose, in spite of all obstacles.  Accordingly the affair is thus further noticed under 1718: “April 7th. Ordered a Letter be wrott to Edmd. Wodehouse, Esq. to desire new abuttals of the lands in Dunham and East Lexham, belonging to St. Mary Magdalen’s Hospitall, which he and his predecessors have holden 99 years by lease lately expired.”—A month after (i.e. May 7. 1718.) it was further “ordered that Mr. Mayor, (Ja: Boardman Esq.) Mr. Turner, Mr. Berney, Mr. Bagge, Mr. Rolfe, Aldermen; Mr. Robotham, Wm. Allen, Tho. Allen, Town Clerk, and Chamberlains, be a Comittee to inspect the Hospitall lands belonging to St. Mary Magdalen, at Dunham and East Lexham, and settle the schedules, and treat for a new Lease thereof; likewise to consider of the regaining the foldcourse at Dunham.”

p. 897Somewhat more than a year and half after the last date, we find the same business still employing the attention of our gentlemen.  Hence, in our volume of Extracts, the following passage occurs.—“December 23rd. 1710.  Order’d that alderman Bagg, with the town clerk, be desired to wait upon Mr. Wodehouse at Lexham, and endeavour to ascertain the lands late in his lease from St. Mary Magdalen’s Hospitall, and enquire after what other lands there are in Dunham and East Lexham for which no rent is paid.” [897]  How they succeeded, or how the inquiry finally turned out, does not appear.  But it is pretty certain that the Hospital and poor pensioners there, have never owed much obligation to the Wodehouse family; and but for the interference of the corporation, this charity, in all probability, had long ago been alienated and lost.  Let this therefore stand on record among the good and worthy deeds of our body corporate.

The origin of the appointment of Watchmen for this town, is a circumstance that seems to be very little known here: but from the following hint in our volume of Extracts, it seems to be now of near 90 years standing.—“Feb. 3. 1719–20, Order’d that a Letter be sent to the members of parliament, to gett a clause incerted in the act now about passing for night watches for the city of Westminster, in favour of this corporation p. 898to have the like regulation.”  It seems probable therefore, that Lynn had its night watchmen as early as the city of Westminster, and of course earlier probably, than most other places in the kingdom.  Somewhat more than two months after the last date, the following circumstance is memorized in our book of Extracts—“April 6. 1720, Mr. John Cary junr. is elected Master of the Writting School, and aldermen Berney and Scarlet, governors and inspectors of the said schoole.”  This school still exists; but who are its present governors and inspectors we have not learnt.  They may be supposed to be expert penmen, or good judges of penmanship.  On the 23rd. of the following December, it was “ordered that a book be prepared to register all the Acts of our Common Councell that pass the seale.”—This book of the Acts of our Common Council, though not quite so interesting as the book of the Acts of the Apostles, may nevertheless contain some very curious passages, which might be very useful for this work, could we have been favoured with a sight of it.  But it is supposed to be a book of secrets, and so not accessible to the uninitiated and unprivileged.  Containing now the acts of near 90 years, it may be presumed to be, by this time, rather bulky.

In the spring of 1722, our book of Extracts speaks of the Blockhouse being let on lease to one Quash.  The reason of noticing this here, is, because the passage alluded to shews that one of the gates of the town anciently stood there, and bore the name of St. Agnes.—The passage reads thus:

“April 4th. 1722, Ordered p. 899that a lease be made to Wm. Quash, mariner, of the messuage called the Blockhouse, in North End, being formerly St. Agness Gates, for the terme of 99 years, at 10s. per annum, from Lady Day last, he putting the same into repair, and so keeping it as a dwelling house during the said terme, and leaving the same in tennantable repair at the expiration, excepting to this corporation the common way and passages as usual through the same.”

On the 23rd. of the following November, according to the Hall Books, it was “ordered that the tolls for the carriage of goods through the two gates be suspended for one year, from Lady Day next.”  This shews that toll was formerly paid for the passage of goods through our gates; but we have not learnt the reason of the suspension of that payment now for one year.  It was a measure, no doubt, which some circumstances were thought to render necessary, at least by way of experiment.  Its country and commercial connections had long given Lynn a bad name, for its extortioning spirit, and exorbitant exactions; and it is probable that the town had suffered on that account: this might therefore be an expedient used, along with others, for the purpose of retrieving its character.  Whether it promoted that object in any degree, or proved of any material benefit to the town, we have not been able to discover.—Under the date of March 1. 1722–3, (or 1723, as we reckon) the following short note or hint occurs in our book of Extracts—“Market Tolls declared to be the Mayor’s.”  By which it would seem that there were p. 900before some doubts entertained here upon this subject, and that it had never been fully settled, till now, to whom those tolls belonged.

In the following August, the resentment of the Hall, was excited in a very high degree against Dr. Browne the physician, for having set up, on some occasion, a kind of competition for precedence with the very Mayor himself.  This daring deed is thus memorized in our book of Extracts—“August 29. 1723, Ordered that a Letter be written by the Town Clerke to Dr. Wm. Browne, to acquaint him with the resentment of this corporation of his affront to the mayor (Richd. Harwich Esq.) justices and gentlemen of this corporation, by an undue precedence he assumed and persisted in, on Monday last.”  [also] “that the Letter now written by the Town Clerke, on that occasion, be sent to Doctor Browne.”—Things must have been then queerly situated at Lynn; especially between the mayor and Dr. Browne.  What effect the Town clerk’s Letter had upon the doctor, we have not been able to discover.  But we have always understood that there was never any great cordiality between him and the corporation.  He resided here long after this, and afterwards removed to London, where he received the honour of knighthood, and became president of the Royal College of Physicians, to the no small gratification of his vanity, of which he had a most enormous portion.  He has been spoken of as a good physician, but beyond that, or out of the line of his profession, he is not known to have acquired much respectability.  In one thing he seemed p. 901more fortunate than his contemporary Hepburne; for he died rich, and the other poor.  Hepburne’s numerous patients were, it seems, more liberal in feasting than in feeing him; whereas Browne would not have been satisfied with that sort of liberality.  He was the grandfather of our present parliamentary representative, Sir Martin Browne Folkes, baronet. [901a]

In 1724 and 1725, the decayed, unsafe, and dangerous state of the river and harbour, which had been much complained of for many years before, continued still to engage the attention of our rulers, as appears by the following memoranda in the Hall records—“August 3. 1724; this day Col. Armstrong’s Report concerning the river, with severall maps, &c. were brought into this House.”  again—“Jan. 4th. 1724–5; To apply to Parliament for reviving the Extinct Powers for Commissioners concerning the navigation of the river Ouze.”  again—“Febr. 3. appointed a Comittee to state, settle, and consider of proper ways and means, by tonnage upon goods imported, to raise 2500l. per annum, stipulated to be employed in amending and restoring the navigation of this harbor.”—again [901b]—“June p. 9027th. 1725; Ordered that Mr. Badslade be paid 20l. for his disbursements for printing the severall schemes, cases, and answers, relating to this navigation.”

In the latter part of 1726, an affair came on between the corporation and one Henry Southwell, a freeman, which ended rather disgracefully to the former.  They seized a quantity of coals belonging to him, under pretence of their being foreign bought and foreign sold; for which he brought an action against the Town Clerk, which the corporation defended.  They proceeded further, and actually disfranchised Southwell.  Upon which he procured a mandamus, and obliged them to restore him to his freedom.  This must have been not a little mortifying to them.  They thought they had him entirely in their power, and could master him; whereas the mastery, in fact, belonged to him, and it so turned out that they were in his power: so that like the Irishman, [902] they caught a Tartar, and thereby brought p. 903themselves into a most humiliating dilemma, and exposed themselves to the ridicule and derision of the whole country.  The Hall-records notice and memorizet his affair as follows: “Nov. 16th. 1726; ordered that the suit brought by Henry Southwell, a freeman, against Edw. Bradfield, Town-clerk, for seizing a parcell of coales, fforeign bought and fforeign sold, which came into this port in a ship, Wm. Coverdale, master, a foreigner, for Wm. Taylor, fforeigner, be defended, at the publick charge—and that Hen: Southwell be disfranchised for his collouring bargains and sales, contrary to his Oath of ffreedom, and using opprobious words (in his Letters) to the corporation, unless he shews good cause to the contrary, upon due notice to him for that purpose to be given.”—again—“Febr. 3rd. 1726–7.  Ordered that Mr. Hen: Southwell, appearing and shewing no sufficient cause to the contrary, be disfranchised the freedom of this burgh, and he is disfranchised accordingly.”—again—“April 29th. 1728.  Ordered that the former order, made for discharging Hen: Southwell of the freedom of this burgh, be made void, and that he be restored again, according to the direction of a peremptory mandamus, issued out of his majesty’s court of King’s Bench, to the mayor, aldermen, and common councell for that purpose directed: and the said Hen: Southwell appearing, was sworn, and found pledges.”—This might have taught our corporation a very useful lesson, and been a standing warning to them never more to act in so arbitrary a manner, or attempt to extend their power beyond its due bounds.

p. 904Being now come to the close of this reign, it may be proper here just to mention some of the principal events by which it was distinguished.  Among them the first in order of time was the rebellion in 1715, in favour of the pretender; which, though it was suppressed early in the ensuing year, was far from being eradicated from the minds of the people.  The malcontents were long after very numerous in the kingdom, and ever busy in forming new plots against the government, of which that wherein bishop Atterbury was concerned seems to have been the most formidable.  The seasonable discovery of it prevented its being productive of much mischief, except to the conspirators themselves, some of whom paid very dear for the share they had in it; particularly Layer and Atterbury.  The former was hanged and quartered, and the latter banished his country for ever.

But of all the occurrences of this reign the South Sea scheme, or grand bubble, as it is sometimes called, was that which proved most disastrous and calamitous to the nation.  This memorable scheme was laid before the House of Commons by the South Sea Company, along with another from the Bank of England, in 1719, for reducing all the public Funds into one, in order to discharge the national debt, on some valuable consideration to be granted them, &c.  After much debate and contest, it was determined in favour of the South Sea Company, and their proposals were accepted on Feb. 1. 1719–20.  An Act afterwards passed both Houses for that purpose, which received the royal assent in April following.  Upon the proposals being accepted, stock rose gradually p. 905to a prodigious height; to 310 per cent. even before the bill received the royal assent; in a few days to 340, then to 400, and before the end of May to 500.  In short, what by the artifices of the managers, and the credulity of the people, eager to grasp the riches now held out to them, by the 2nd. of June it got up to 890, and continued rising and falling till it amounted to above 1000.  Nothing was now minded but the business of stock-jobbing.  Exchange Alley, where these affairs were transacted, was in a continual hurry, and thither crowds of all ranks and qualities daily resorted.  The desperate, who ventured first, were generally gainers, whilst the more wary, who came in later, were many of them great sufferers: so that the wrongheads, (as the saying then was,) had the better of the longheads.  A spirit of gaming thus prevailing in the nation, many projects were set on foot, which obtained the name of bubbles, and were evidently the progeny of the grand bubble.  They were near 100 in number, and it was reckoned that almost a million and half was won and lost in them.  A proclamation was issued against them on the 11th. of June, and they were soon after entirely suppressed by order of the Lords Justices.

As to the South-Sea Stock, it continued to rise till about the end of August.  It then began to fall, and fell faster than it rose; so that by Michaelmas-day it sunk to 150.  In December it underwent a parliamentary enquiry, which induced Knight, the South-Sea Company’s treasurer to abscond.  In the end, parliament p. 906applied to the relief of the sufferers the estates of the sub-governor, deputy-governor, directors, &c.  And also that of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Aislabie.  They were also incapacitated from sitting or voting in either House of Parliament, or holding any office or place of trust under his Majesty, his heirs, or successors.  The following Summer an Act against the directors received the royal assent, and shortly after another for restoring the public credit.  The share Walpole had in settling this distracted affair, and restoring public credit, brought him into great favour at court, and facilitated his promotion.  He was now made chancellor of the Exchequer, and first Commissioner of the Treasury, and continued prime minister to the end of this reign, and fifteen years after; to the no small benefit, no doubt, of many Lynn freemen, whatever may be said of the nation at large.

This reign was also distinguished by those memorable religious controversies which sprung from the novel or unfashionable opinions advanced and maintained by Clarke, Whiston, Peirce, Hoadly, and others, and which wrought a considerable revolution in the minds of a great many, both in the church and among the dissenters.  The athanasian trinity was given up by numbers of our most learned countrymen; the nature of the kingdom of Christ, with the measure and extent of the obedience due to the civil magistrate, became better understood; the injustice and iniquity of imposing human creeds, or articles of faith, were more fully evinced; in short, the English nation is supposed to have p. 907been thenceforth more generally and accurately acquainted with the principles of civil and religious liberty, the claims of conscience, and rights of man, than at any former period.  Of late years, however, we are thought to have made no advances on these grounds, but rather to have been moving in a retrogressive direction; so that our favourite word liberty itself would seem to be in danger of losing its wonted meaning, and becoming a vague, or rather an obsolete term in our language.  Nor will the violent hubbub lately raised, by Lord Sidmouth’s illiberal, illconditioned, illfeatured, illdigested, and deservedly reprobated bill, be sufficient to invalidate this opinion.

The effects of the above-mentioned controversies extended even to this town; and the elder Pyle, who was then at the head of our established clergy, as well as the elder Rastrick, who was at the head of the dissenting interest here, were both actually brought over to what was deemed the heterodox side of the question.  They were men of considerable eminence and learning, and had been both educated at Cambridge; for Rastrick was originally one of the established clergy, and had been for sometime vicar of Kirkton near Boston, before he left the church and joined the dissenters.  But we will say no more of them here, as we shall have occasion to bring them forward again in our biographical sketches.  The king died suddenly, at Osnaburgh in his German dominions, on the 11th of June 1727, and was succeeded by his only son, George prince of Wales, which brings us to the end of this section.

p. 908Section VI.

A view of the state of things in this town during the reign of George II.—his accession attended with no inauspicious circumstances; and his reign, on the whole, happy and prosperous—recital of some of the most notable and prominent acts of our municipality in the earlier part of it—account of certain subsequent proceedings and occurrences.

The reign of George II. commenced upon the arrival of the news of his father’s demise, which was very shortly, and within a few days after that event had taken place.  He was proclaimed in London on the 15th of June, and at Edinburgh and Dublin on the 19th of the same month.  His accession was attended by none of those untoward appearances which beclouded that of his predecessor.  All the lords and others, the late king’s privy councellors, were sworn of his privy council, the former ministry retained their places, and Walpole held the premiership for fifteen years longer; nor was he displaced at last through any dislike or prejudice which the king had imbibed against him or his service, but by the persevering and prevailing exertions of the opposition party, headed by Pulteney, who forced him to resign, contrary to the desire or inclination of the sovereign.  His administration has been much censured, for its systematic corruption.  But that corruption never extended so far as that of certain heaven-born ministers of more recent times; and it was certainly employed for much better purposes.  His aversion to war, and constant endeavours to avoid it, cover a multitude of his sins: and it was probably not so often as most people imagine that this country has been favoured with better ministers than Sir Robert Walpole.

p. 909The reign of George II. may safely be pronounced, on the whole, one of the most happy and prosperous in the annals of this country.  The principles of civil and religious liberty were then favoured at court, and recognized by the sovereign, as what had seated his family on the throne.  Protestant Dissenters he considered as some of his best friends and most faithful subjects; nor did his ministers and courtiers ever presume to treat them with coolness and disrespect, or pretend to entertain any doubt or suspicion of their loyalty, or their attachment to the king and constitution, according to the principles laid down at the revolution.  In short, this reign will be contemplated with no small pleasure by the sons of freedom, as a period when an open attachment to civil and religious liberty, or the real rights of man, subjected no one to the suspicion, or imputation, of being a traitor to his king and country.  How far the same may be said of our situation for the last twenty years, is a question of which we shall not at present enter upon the discussion.

One of the first notable acts of our municipality, after the commencement of this reign, may be presumed to be that of addressing the throne, by way both of condolence and congratulation; the former on the death of the late sovereign, and the latter on the happy accession of his successor.  But as no copy of this address has fallen in our way, we cannot form any judgment of its tenor or merit: only we are informed that our cities and boroughs, in general, did then actually send up such addresses; and it is not to be supposed that the same was p. 910neglected or omitted at Lynn, especially as the prime minister himself was one of its representatives.  This address, no doubt, was sufficiently loyal, but whether or not so eloquent and sublime as those sent up in the reign of queen Anne, must now be left among the uncertainties, or, perhaps, even among the inscrutables.

Not long after, or in the course of the autumn of that same year, as it would seem, the mayor, (Mr. Tho. Allen) according to one of our manuscript narratives, issued an order to prohibit the barbers to shave on Sundays; for which we may be pretty sure his worship had not many thanks from that fraternity.  How far this order was obeyed, or did contribute to the reformation and benefit of the town, we have not been able to discover.  The wisdom and utility of such measures appear very questionable, and it is doubtful if they have ever answered any very good purposes, as they seem to be ill, or not at all, calculated to convince people of the evil of the conduct or practices against which they are directed.  Some of our mayors, of more recent days, have taken upon them to issue similar orders, at the commencement of their mayoralty, but they have seldom, or never, thought it proper or expedient to enforce them throughout, or to the end of the year.

Mr John Goodwin, the mayor of the ensuing year, (1728–,) distinguished himself, according to the same narrative, in another way, by setting down a stone-cistern at the end of the Fish-Shambles, and also endowing one of the Almshouses in broad Street for one poor p. 911man with two shillings a week.—His successor, Mr. Andrew Taylor, distinguished himself still differently: for, as the same narrative words it, “He did abundance of good, as he thought, by taking away guns and killing of dogs; but was a friend to the Church, which he seldom troubled.”  That is, if we rightly comprehend the meaning, he was, in talk, a mighty zealot for the Church, though he seldom would condescend, or deem it worth his while to honour it with his presence: which, to all thinking and discerning people, was a sure sign and clear proof that all his noisy zeal was nothing but mere pretence, to answer some mercenary or hypocritical end; and but for which he in reality cared no more for the church than the most heathenish or irreligious of his neighbours.

How many such churchmen as this Andrew Taylor have been mayors of this town since his time, it is impossible to say; but that numbers of them have pretended to be very stanch and zealous for the Church, while they seldom attended its stated service, or public worship, is very certain.  That there were none of this description among the present members of the Hall seems much to be wished; and especially that a truly and christian spirit towards those of other denominations was more visible and predominant among them; which yet is suspected not to have been altogether the case at the formation or establishment of the Lancastrian school, and in some subsequent circumstances relating to that event.  But this is not the proper place to make these p. 912matters the subjects of inquiry, investigation, or animadversion. [912]

The successor of Taylor, Mr. Charles Harwick, who obtained the mayoralty in 1730, had most painful scenes to engage his attention, owing to the most shocking murder of a Mrs Ann Wright, which had been perpetrated in the town that year, by one George Smith, aided by Mary Taylor, Mrs Wright’s Servant, who had let him into the house in the dead of the night.  For this black and horrid deed Mary Taylor was burnt alive in the market-place, and Smith was hanged at the same time, on a gallows erected, as Mackerell says, seventeen yards distant from the stake.  This happened, it seems, in 1731, the latter part of Harwick’s mayoralty.  The superlative atrociousness of that bloody deed, and the dreadful abandonment, dereliction, or depravity of mind which it discovered, called, undoubtedly, for the most exemplary and terrible punishment, in order to deter those of the like character from the p. 913commission of similar crimes, as nothing else can be expected to have much effect on such, in restraining their flagitious propensities.  A virtuous principle, however, after all, is the most powerful and effectual of all preventives against vicious or criminal excesses, and far beyond all the terrors of penal laws, or punitive justice.  It is a great pity more care is not taken to instill this principle as much as possible into the minds of the rising generations

About the time last mentioned, one John Rudkin, a member of our municipality, fell under the sore displeasure of his brethren, and was eventually expelled from among them.  The affair is thus related in the Hall books—“April 26. 1731, Ordered that John Rudkin be discharged from the office of common Councell man, unless, next Hall-day, he can shew cause to the contrary; he having disclosed the councells of this assembly, and the secrets of this corporation, and hath behaved contemptuously towards the mayor (Charles Harwick Esq. [913]) and other members, justices of this burgh, and charged some of them with pyracy.”—again—“June 16. 1731, John Rudkin’s answer being insufficent, he p. 914was expelled and discharged from the office of a common councell.”  This shews that our corporation, as such, have counsels and secrets, that are deemed very improper and criminal to disclose; which seems to look somewhat dark and suspicious; for if all their proceedings were fair and just, honestly and solely directed for the public good, what need could there be to care if the whole world knew all about them? [914]—Corporations might be beneficial in their original institution, and in feudal times, to protect the inhabitants from baronial domination and tyranny; but they have become long ago (for the most part, at least,) grievous nuisances, rather than real benefits, to the British public.

At the period we are now reviewing, Lynn was by no means in a flourishing state, as may be pretty safely concluded from the following passage in our book of Extracts—“Dec. 23. 1731; Ordered that a memorial be sent to the Representatives in Parliament, touching the heavy burthen upon them, from the Land-Tax Act, and from the decrease of traders among them, praying reliefe.”—Things must have gotten to a sad pass to p. 915bring our high-minded corporation to so dejected and supplicating a posture.  For sometime previous and subsequent to the date of the above extract, as the present p. 916writer has heard from ancient people who remembered the time, the indigence of Lynn was a matter of general notoriety; so that poor Lynn used to be the common appellation of the town, in the language of the country people.  It seems now to be the prevailing opinion that the late conduct of our rulers, in subjecting the small houses to taxation, and otherwise so unconscionably burdening the town, will soon bring things here again to the same pass, and restore to us the humiliating name of poor Lynn once more.  Our many empty houses would seem to corroborate this opinion; but we would fain hope their number will soon decrease, and that some favourable events, or happy turn of things will prevent such an opinion, or the fears entertained on this head being realized.

In the times we are now exploring, our mayor was allowed to confer the freedom of the town, on some one person whom he should think proper to select for that purpose: hence such notices as the following occur in our book of Extracts—“Dec. 8. 1732; Rd. Hawkins made ffree, as the mayor’s, John Farthing’s ffreeman.”—p. 917again—“May 8. 1733; Wm. Langley, mariner, made ffree, upon Andrew Taylor’s recommendation, not having had a ffreeman chosen for his mayoralty, as accustomed.”—again—“May 23. 1733; Edmd. Harwick, of Wiggenhall St. Maries, to have his ffreedom upon recommendation of alderman John Goodwin, he not having had a ffreeman chosen for his last mayoralty as hath been accustomed.”—About three months after, however, our Hall suddenly resolved to discontinue this custom, as appears from the following passage among our Extracts—“Aug. 29. 1733; Saml. Browne chosen mayor, and to have 150l. viz. 50l. for the better carrying on the mayoralty; 50l. for the entertainment on Michaelmas Day; and 50l. on St. John’s Day”—Then it is added—“And that no succeeding mayor have the liberty of naming, or making a ffreeman, as his ffreeman, for the future.”  But they did not long adhere to this order, or resolution, or persist in so self-denying a course, as we find by another note among the same Extracts, which is expressed thus—“May 22. 1739; The revd. Mr. Edmd. Keene had his ffreedom gratis, as his father’s ffreeman.” [917]  Whether or not it was very wise to discontinue this custom, or afterwards to revive it, after it had been so expressly and formally abolished, we will not now stop to inquire, but shall here close this section.

p. 918Section VII.

Great chancery suit here about 1738—violent storm or hurricane in 1741—its effects here and in the adjacent country—the damages here repaired—perilous state then of the river and harbour—rebellion breaking out in 1745—its effects in this town—its progress—suppressed after the battle of Culloden—reflections thereon—subsequent events relating to Lynn to the end of that reign—state of the nation—accession of George III.

About the time of which we have been speaking, our Corporation had a great suit in Chancery with one of their own principal members; and however justifiable or unjustifiable it might be, a falling out among brethren must be allowed to be, at any time and on any occasion, a very unpleasant occurrence.  Our knowledge of this unlovely affair is derived from the following luminous passage in our book of Extracts—“Dec. 22. 1738; Whereas there was lately a suit depending in Chancery between the mayor and burgesses and Robt. Britiffe Esq. their trustee, against alderman Thomas Allen, (which was the 7th.  Octr. 1738, agreed that Mr. Serjeant Urlin, Chas. Clarke Esq. and Mr. Tho. Nutting be appointed Referees to arbitrate) for the recovery of the ancient customary payment of 1d. per quarter for corn sold by the said Tho. Allen, upon contracts made by him with other merchants, not being freemen, for shipping such corn at a price certain, clear of all charges.  Said Mr. Allen hath agreed to pay not only all the arrears for all corn he shipped off out of this port, where the same was not really his own risque and adventure, but in all future times to pay the said p. 919dues for all corn which he shall contract for and sell to any persons not being freemen of the said borough, which shall be exported out of the said borough by water.”  In this suit the corporation evidently got the better of their opponent; but this is far from having been invariably the case in all their law-suits, as has before appeared in the course of this work.

The year 1741 was rendered very remarkable and memorable in this town and country, on account of a violent storm, or hurricane, which then happened, and did great damage to the churches and other buildings.  It arose on the 8th of September O. S. and blew down the spires of St. Nicholas’ chapel, and St. Margaret’s Church, and demolished a great part of the body of the latter.  The following memoranda, written at that period, will further describe the awful effects of this disastrous visitation.  Among our Extracts, so often quoted, it is noted as follows under the date of Sept. 9. 1741; “The Hurrycane yesterday blew down the spire and body of St. Margaret’s Church; also the spire of St. Nicholas’s Chappell.”  And in another place, but of the same date, it is thus noted—“That whereas the Hurricane yesterday blew down St. Margaret’s spire and part of the Church, application be made to Sir Robert Walpole to procure ane act of parliament for rebuilding the same.”  But a more particular account of the effects of this furious tempest we have found written on a blank leaf, at the end of a copy of the history of the great storm in 1703.  It is in the handwriting of a Mr. p. 920Tho. Peirson, a clergyman, if we are not mistaken, whose property the book probably was, and it runs as follows—

“M E M.  That on Tuesday 8. Sept. 1741, about 20 minutes after 12 at noon, was a most violent storm of wind and rain, which blew down St. Margarett’s Church Steeple and St. Nicholas at Lynn Regis, with the Weather-cock, &c. of All-Hallows Church in South Lynn, [920] Norfolk.  Also the great West gabble-end, with a very large stack of chimneys, and the Weather-Hand of Middleton-Hall—And a great barn belonging to Henry Whiteman’s Farm at Tilney, with a small barn belonging to Thos.  Cricks Farm at Outwell, in the Isle of Ely, the property of Me.—Besides divers other buildings in Marshland; and great damage was done to the Timber and others Trees in the country about Lynn and Downham.

Ita TestorTho: Peirson.”

The damages sustained here from this storm were all in time repaired: those of St. Margaret’s Church, it seems, by virtue of an act of parliament.  One of our MS. narratives informs us that the rebuilding of that church was begun in 1742, during the mayoralty of Edward Everard, and completed in 1747, during that of Walter Robertson; so that it appears to have been p. 921about five years in rebuilding.  But the new, or present church, like Ezra and Nehemiah’s new temple at Jerusalem, is said to be much inferior to the former, in point of dimension, as well as beauty and magnificence.  It may be supposed however, that the pardons or indulgences offered to the contributors towards the old edifice, procured ampler funds for its completion than the act of parliament that was obtained for completing the new.

It would seem as if our very river and harbour had not entirely escaped the effects of that storm, and even that it did, or occasioned some very material damage to them; at least, there were great complaints made just after, of the bad and very perilous state to which they were then reduced.  This will appear from the following passage, extracted from the Town Records—

“Sept. 9. 1741 agreed that the defences in sundry places of the Harbour are become insufficient to confine the fflux and reflux of the Tide, so that the Port and Harbour will soon be lost—That the two points of land on the east and west side of the river about a mile below the town are worn away by the rage of the sea, so that Marshland on one hand, and Gaywood and Wooton and all the low-lands thereabouts on the other, are in danger of being swallowed up by the sea—That, to guard against the flux and reflux, Piers are conceived to be absolutely necessary to be placed both above and below Lynn, for the preservation of the Town as well as the Port and Harbour.”

p. 922Shortly after another meeting was held at the Hall on the same occasion; which is thus noticed in the same Extracts—“Octr. 15. 1741, Sir John Turner, bart. is desired to write to Sir Robert Walpole, to recommend a Surveyor to view the Harbour, and to draw a report thereof, in order to have the same laid before parliament.”—Three weeks after, the result of this application to the minister is thus announced—“Nov. 5th.  Sir John Turner acquainted that he had received a Letter from Sir Robt. Walpole, recommending Mr. Roswell, then at Hull, to survey the Harbour; and he is accepted and approved of to be Surveyor, and B. Nuthall Esq. or his Deputy, Mr. Recorder, aldermen Goodwin, Allen, Farthing, Bagge—Mr. Hulton, Everard, Langley, or any five or more to be a committee to prepare instructions for him.”—again—“Dec. 14. 1741; Ordered 21l. to be presented to Mr. Rodwell [so the name is spelt here:] for his trouble and advice in matters relating to the Harbour and South Marsh.”—Furthermore—“Febr. 24 1741–2;—Mr. Wm. Reynolds presented his report touching his survey of the Harbour, together with ane estimate of the charges in the erecting of two Piers which he proposes for the restoration and preservation thereof, which is approved off.”

Afterwards we hear no more of this business, for nine months or more.  Then we find it further noticed as follows—

“Novr. 29th. 1742; Ordered that application be made to parliament for the preservation of the channel and harbour of this Port and Borough, which are in danger of being lost.—The schemes of Mr Rosewell p. 923and Mr. Reynolds being read and approved of, it is agreed that the same be carryed into execution, and this House hath agreed to resolve itselfe into a Committee of the whole House, to consider of ways and means for raising moneys, by laying such rates and duties on goods and merchandizes imported into, and exported out of this Port, or by such other ways as they shall think proper for the effectuall carrying those schemes into execution, for preserving the channel and harbour aforesaid and rendring the same usefull and safe for navigation.”

What beneficial effects resulted from the above measures we have not been able to discover.  Nor do our Extracts afford us any further information relating to the subject, except what is suggested in the following passage—“Dec. 19. 1744; A Committee [was appointed] to view the state of the banks, in Gaywood and Wooton, lying against the sea—and to view the breach made in the South Marsh bank, by the rageing tides, and enquire if the corporation may desert the lands lying upon the banks, and whether by such desertion the corporation will be discharged from the repairing said banks.”—This passage discovers more selfishness than public spirit.  They seemed disposed to let the banks remain unrepaired, and take no further care of them, whatever might be the consequence to the country, provided they could be sure it might be done with perfect safety, or without any pecuniary risk to themselves.  This is in the true corporation character.

p. 924The next year (1745) was very memorably distinguished by the rebellion, which then broke out in Scotland in favour of the pretender, or the son of James II.

“On the 6th of August this year some notices having been communicated to the government of such an attempt, aided by the French Court, a proclamation was published, offering a reward of 30,000l. for apprehending and securing the eldest son of the pretender, in case he should land, or attempt to land, in any of his majesty’s dominions.  On the 17th. an account arrived, that several persons had landed between the islands of Mull and Skie, one of whom it was supposed was the pretender’s Son.  On September 5, his majesty sent notice to the lord mayor of London, that the pretender’s eldest son had landed in Scotland, and that several persons had assembled there and broke out into open rebellion.

“Soon after advice arrived, that the rebels had marched Southward.  On the 13th. they passed the Forth, five miles above Stirling, and on the 17th. took possession of the city of Edinburgh.  By that time general Cope with his army landed at Dunbar, and began to march towards that capital.  The rebels did not wait to be attacked by him, but came out to meet him, and on the 21st. at daybreak, they attacked him at Preston Pans, seven miles east of Edinburgh, and totally defeated him, making most of his infantry prisoners.  The dragoons made their escape to Berwick, with little loss, save that of the brave Colonel Gardiner.  These advantages on the side of the rebels spread a general p. 925consternation throughout the kingdom; but all ranks and orders, as we are told, vied with each other in displaying their loyalty, and abhorrence of this unnatural rebellion.”

Many associations were now entered into for the support of his majesty’s crown and dignity, and the constitution in church and state.  A large body of British, Dutch, and Hessian troops were brought over from Flanders: and the success of the rebellion, and dread of a threatened invasion from France, having caused a great run upon the Bank, 1100 merchants and eminent tradesmen met, and subscribed their names to an agreement, not to refuse bank-notes in any payment to be made to them.—On Oct. 18. the duke of Cumberland arrived from Flanders, and set out on Nov. 26. to take upon him the command of the army, then on its march into Lancashire.  For the rebels, having increased to 8,000, had left Edinburgh, on October 26, and on November 15. the city of Carlisle was surrendered to them.  On the 24th. without any molestation, they arrived at Lancaster, and on the 29th. took possession of Manchester, where they formed into a regiment those who had joined them in England.  In the beginning of December they left Manchester and advanced to Congleton, as if they intended to meet and engage the Duke of Cumberland, whose advanced guard was then at Newcastle-under-Line.  But they suddenly turned off to the left, and marched into Derbyshire, seeming to have an intention to slip by the duke, and take their way directly to London.

p. 926When this news reached the metropolis it occasioned the greatest consternation imaginable; the run upon the Bank and depression of the public Funds became very great and alarming; but recourse was immediately had to such measures as were thought most proper towards remedying those evils, and frustrating the supposed intention of the dreaded enemy.  On the 4th. of December, the rebels entered the town of Derby, and soon, after contrary to expectation, began to retreat northward by the rout they came.  Such was the panic with which the nation was then seized, that it was thought if they had proceeded straight to London, they might have entered and mastered it with little or no opposition.  There were then no bands of armed citizens, as at some other periods; and the troops stationed there and thereabout, were now ordered to march and form a camp upon Finchley-common: but had the rebels appeared, they would probably have behaved no better than their brethren had done at Preston Pans and Falkirk.

In the meantime, the general panic and alarm, as might be supposed, extended even to Lynn, and produced here very remarkable and whimsical effects.  No sooner was it known that the rebels were at Derby, than it was concluded, by our wise men, that they certainly meant to visit this town, in their way to the metropolis.  And as it was judged that they would attempt to enter at the South-Gate, or that the town was most vulnerable on that side, it was deemed necessary to strengthen that part by constructing there some new outworks.  In p. 927this service great numbers of the inhabitants cheerfully engaged.  The late Mr. Philip Case was then mayor.  His worship and the whole corporate body turned out on this occasion, and took their places among the numerous workmen, with spades, shovels, and pickaxes in their hands, assisting with all their might towards the completion of what was supposed so necessary a measure for the effectual defence and preservation of the town.

But these extraordinary exertions of our patriotic townsmen did not long continue, being soon rendered unnecessary, by the arrival of undoubted intelligence, that the rebels had no immediate design upon these parts, and were actually in full retreat towards Scotland.  All our fear and consternation now vanished, of course; the project for fortifying the town was instantly relinquished; every thing, in short, reverted to its usual channel, and resumed its former undisturbed and tranquil appearance.  But, if our traditional information may be relied upon, there occurred here, during the bustling and alarming interval, some very queer and ludicrous incidents, which some of our ancient townsmen often relate, with much pleasantry and good humour, as what would seem less creditable to the wisdom, the sagacity, and the fortitude of their good forefathers of that period, than to their loyalty, or their patriotism. [927]

p. 928The rebellion existed for several months after its dread had ceased to be felt in this town.  As soon as the duke got notice of the retreat of the rebels, he set out in pursuit of them, with all the horse in his army, and about a thousand foot soldiers mounted on horseback.  Marshal Wade also, who commanded a separate corps, detached a considerable body of cavalry, under general Oglethorpe for the same purpose.  On December 18th. the duke came up with the rear of the rebels at Clifton, in Northumberland, where he obtained some advantage over them.  On the 30th. he retook Carlisle, after a siege of nine days, making the garrison prisoners.  Their main army had by that time reached Scotland, to which kingdom the rebellion was thenceforth entirely confined till its final suppression after the battle of Culloden.

On Jan. 5, 1746, the duke returned to St. James’s; and on the 17th. of that month, the rebels defeated the king’s forces commanded by general Hawley, near p. 929Falkirk, though the latter were much superior in numbers.  Upon this misfortune, it was thought expedient the duke should take upon him the command of the army in Scotland.  He accordingly left London for that purpose, and arrived at Edinburgh on the 30th. of that month.  The rebels, who had laid siege to the castle of Stirling, then retreated, and the duke followed them, as fast as the severity of the season and badness of the roads would permit, and arrived at Aberdeen on the 27th of February.  Meantime the rebels reduced the Castle of Inverness and Fort Augustus, and laid siege also to Fort William, and Blair Castle, of Athol, but failed in both those attempts.  On the 8th. of April the duke left Aberdeen, and on the 14th. arrived at Nairn; and being there assured that the rebels were encamped at Culloden House, near Inverness, he rested the whole of the 15th. at Nairn, to refresh his men.  That night the rebels marched, with intent to attack him before daylight; but failed, through some mismanagement; whereupon they returned to Culloden, resolving, in that station, to wait for their pursuers.

The duke, on the 16th. left Nairn, between 4 and 5 in the morning; and at two in the afternoon the engagement began.  The rebels obtained some advantage at first, but were soon thrown into confusion and totally defeated, with great slaughter, and circumstances of unusual barbarity, which exposed the duke to much censure, especially from our northern countrymen, and procured him the reproachful appellation of the bloody butcherp. 930Others, however, hailed him as the saviour of the country, and a pattern of every patriotic and princely excellence; and he ever after possessed, especially in these southern parts, great and unrivalled popularity.  The battle of Culloden put an end to every chance or hope of restoring the Stuart family, and the evils of rebellion and civil war have never since been experienced in this island.

Of the numerous prisoners taken in the course of the rebellion, some were pardoned, and a considerable number executed, but a far greater number of them were transported to America, where they largely contributed, by their sobriety and industry, to the increasing population and prosperity of that country.  The duke continued in Scotland sometime after the battle of Culloden, when some further severities were exercised, but whether just and wholesome, or not, we will not now take upon us to pronounce.  Agreeably with those severities, an act passed that same year for disarming the Highlanders, and restraining the use of the Highland dress; which must have reduced those people to a must humiliating and degrading situation.  A more liberal and enlightened policy, towards that country, was adopted by our government some years after, under the administration of the elder Pitt: since which time the Scots have ranked invariably among the most loyal and zealous of the adherents or subjects of the House of Hanover.  A similar policy adopted towards Ireland would, no doubt, produce similar effects there, and place that whole nation among the most estimable subject of the p. 931British empire.  But it is to be feared that we shall not be very soon blessed with a ministry endowed with so much virtue, or so much wisdom.

From the termination of the rebellion to the time of the king’s death, the affairs of the nation went on prosperously, as did also those of this town.  The years 1747 and 1748 were here much distinguished by the uncommon number of persons who were then made free gratis—Such as Joseph Tayler M.D.  John Wilson Esq.  Chas. Townshend Esq.  Rd. Hammond Esq.  Rev. Wm. Everard; Rev. Dr. Edm. Pyle; Rev. Robt. Hammond; Robt. Hammond Esq.  John Nuthall Esq.  Chas: Cooper Morely; John Partridge gent.  John Davis Esq.  Rev. John Daville, and Rev. Chas. Phelps.—Such a batch of new burgesses must, no doubt, have greatly augmented the consequence and respectability of the town.

The year 1749, or, at least, the mayoralty that began that year, exhibited here a most sad catastrophe, attended with most shocking circumstances.  It was the condemnation and execution of one Charles Holditch, for burglary in his own father’s house, and an attempt to murder the old man in his bed, which he was prevented from perpetrating by a child, who was then in bed with the old man.  This was certainly an instance of enormous and almost unexampled depravity; and may, perhaps, be considered as an indication of the wretched state of morals then in this town among the common people.  The clergy, as it is too often the case, cared, probably, little or nothing about instructing the p. 932lower orders; and there were here then but few dissenters to supply the lack of service, or deficiencies of the established ministry.

In 1751, or during the mayoralty which then commenced, another shocking scene occurred here, which is thus related in one of our MS. narratives—“This year Wm. Chaplain was hang’d on a gibbet upon South-Lynn Common, for the murdering of Mary Gafferson—being the first ever known to be hung in chains in this town.”  This seems to corroborate what was said before, of the wretched state of morals here then among the lower orders of the community.  And the present writer can easily conceive, and is very confident that such must have been then the case, from what he knows it to have been somewhat more than twenty years after, (or 35 years ago,) when he first came to reside here.  In point of morals, manners, and outward decency, the town is much improved since that period; and yet there is much room still for further improvement.  The change for the better which has already taken place, and which is hoped to be still in its progress, must be ascribed partly to the superior character of the church ministry here of late years, and partly to the unwearied exertions of the methodists and our other dissenters: [932] and as the numbers of those who have p. 933been reformed and converted from their former rudeness and heathenism have already much increased, and are still increasing, it may be hoped that the influence of their example will also increase in equal proportion, till our whole population becomes thoroughly reformed, civilized, and enlightened.

Among the most memorable and important of the recorded acts of our municipality in 1751, are to be reckoned the choosing of Dr. Joseph Tayler, a physician, into the common-council, and enrolling the name of our respected townsman, Thomas Day Esq. among our free burgesses.  From that time nothing worth notice occurs till 1755, when the following passage is noted among our Extracts—“1755, July 7th.  Ordered that his Majesties grant 8th May 1755, to Henry Partridge Esq. Recorder, in trust for the Mayor and Burgesses, of the fourth part of the Tollbooth and Tolls in the Village and Port of Lynn, and the Tolls for weighing Wool, mensuration, and Love Copp, and also the Water of Wiggenhall and office of Bailif there, with the profits of Courts, &c. and also the office of gauger in the Village and Port afforesaid, and the profits of the fyshery of the said waters, &c. to hold for 31 years from Lady Day 1755, and expires at Lady Day 1786, to be laid up in the Treasury.”—These advantages seem to have been conferred by the corporation on the Recorder of that day, in consideration of the slenderness of the Salary annexed to his office.  Whether there be p. 934any similar appendage to the Salary of the present Recorder, we are unable to say.—Under the same year the following note occurs—“August 27.  The Mayor’s Sallary to be 100l. from Michaelmas next.”  It seems to have been before unfixed.  It surely ought to be now 300l. at least.  Yet we cannot find that to be the case.

Nothing of any consequence appear to have occurred here during the remainder of this reign.  The last recorded acts of our municipality before the expiration of this period, as far as we can find, are the following—“August 29. 1760, Mr. Th. Day chosen Common-Councell-man—Honourable Geo. Townshend ffree gratis.”—again—“Sept. 29.  The Mayor for the time being to be indemnifyed from all charges, &c. occasioned thro’ any neglects of the Goaler or Serjeants at Mace.”  The king died on the 25th. of October that same year, at Kensington, in the 77th. year of his age, and the 34th. of his reign, the close of which was distinguished by what has been generally deemed very glorious events, and a most happy harmony among his subjects.

Before we close this section and take our final leave of George II, some notice may and ought to be taken of a circumstance, the most important and interesting, perhaps, in its effects, or consequences, of any that occurred in that reign: and that is, the origin of methodism, or of that popular religious sect, whose votaries or constituents are denominated methodists, and which is now become the most numerous body of protestant dissenters in the British dominions.  Their numbers and their influence p. 935are now so great, and so rapidly increasing, as to have evidently excited no small alarm among our higher powers, in church and state, and even among the Wilberforce party, or that class of churchmen which assumes or bears the name of evangelical; [935] as we learn from the late memorable Bill of Lord Sidmouth, together with certain circumstances which it was the means of bringing to light.

This Sect, like most others, sprang from a small beginning.  Its founders were a few young men of the university of Oxford, of the names of Morgan, John and Charles Wesley, Kirkman, Ingham, James Harvey, George Whitefield, &c.  A young gentleman of Christ Church named them methodists, in allusion to some ancient physicians, so called.  Others denominated them the Holy Club; but this name soon died away; whereas the other remained, and became permanent; and the sect is known and distinguished by it to this day.  Oxford could not long contain, or retain these birds of paradise.  They soon got out of the shell, quitted the nest and flew abroad; and by the time of the birth of our present sovereign, their voice was heard, and much listened to, in London, and a great many other places.  Since that time they have been ever on the increase, more or less; p. 936and of late years prodigiously so; which may account for the doubts and fears entertained in certain quarters, as to the consequence.

John Wesley and George Whitefield being by far the most active and eloquent of the original methodists, soon came to be looked upon as the oracles, or proper chiefs and leaders of the sect.  They went on harmoniously for sometime; but, after a while, these extraordinary men imbibed opposite opinions, and became attached to different creeds.  Wesley declared himself an arminian, and Whitefield a calvinist; which occasioned a separation among their followers, and produced two distinct sects, under the expressive denominations of Wesleyan or arminian methodists, [936] and Whitefieldian or calvinian methodistis.  But the worst of it was, that from being warm and sworn friends, they now became bitter and deadly foes, and declared open war against each other, which was carried on with unabated rancour for many years, to the no small amusement and gratification of the enemies of both parties, and the just and lasting reproach of their own arrogant pretensions to superior goodness and sanctity.

Nothing could be more uncharitable, illiberal, and unchristian than the behaviour of these two sister sects, for many years, towards each other.  The champions p. 937on both sides generally treated their opponents as the vilest miscreants and reprobates; and such enemies of God and man as had scarcely any chance of salvation while they retained their professed and respective principles.  At length their bitter animosities subsided, and the fierce contest ceased: a sort of alliance took place between them; and ever since the utmost efforts of their malevolence, and whole energy of their intolerance have been employed in calumniating and persecuting other religionists, called unitarians, universalists, &c. whom they now treat in a manner much like that in which they formerly treated each other.  This is a remarkable circumstance, which we ought not to lose sight of, as it will enable us to form a proper estimate of the respect that is due to the hostile and clamorous conduct of these domineering sects towards those illfated religionists who are, at this present time, the chief objects of their jealousy, their malevolence, and their opposition.

At the commencement of the present reign this sect was become very considerable among the religious denominations of this kingdom; and it has been ever since rapidly increasing, so as to cause no small alarm in some quarters.  At present, it seems to be the prevailing opinion that methodism will soon acquire unrivalled preponderance among us, and perhaps become, at last, and at no very distant period, the established religion of England. [937]  Should it so happen, it is to be hoped p. 938that it will previously undergo a kind of regeneration, so as to prove (among other things) less illiberal and intolerant than it is at present; otherwise neither the dissenting sects, nor the nation at large will have any mighty cause to congratulate themselves on the occasion.—But we will dwell no longer upon this subject at present, as we may have occasion to resume it in another part of the work.—Having now made our way to the year 1760 and the commencement of the present reign, we shall here close this long section.

Section VIII.

Accession of George III—flattering aspect of British affairs at that period—general expectation then of the commencement or approach of halcyon days and a golden age—those expectations have not been yet realized—on the contrary, the nation has witnessed and experienced a very different order or state of thingsViews of the affairs of Lynn for the first twenty years of this reign.

Upon the demise of the late king, he was succeeded by his grandson the prince of Wales, under the name of p. 939George the third; who was immediately proclaimed, with the usual ceremonies, when he made a most gracious declaration to his privy-council, which gave great satisfaction, and was much applauded.  On the 8th of September 1761 he was married to the princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg Strelitz, and on the 22nd. of the same month their majesties were crowned at Westminster Abbey.  The issue of this marriage is more numerous than that of any of our former sovereigns; at least, for many ages past; so that it is not likely that there will happen here soon any dispute about the regal succession.

No prince ever ascended the throne of these realms more with the approbation, or to the satisfaction of the nation at large than did George III; nor do we know of any other of our sovereigns at whose accession there was so fair and bright a prospect of a happy and glorious reign.  The people universally expected it, and thought they had a right so to do, on account of that proud and unrivalled preeminence which the nation had lately acquired among the powers of Europe, and of the world.  In this expectation, however, we have been disappointed; for those fond and sanguine hopes which were once so confidently entertained and cherished have never yet been realized; and it is not very likely now that they ever will.  We live at a most eventful period, so that it is no great wonder that our disasters and disappointments were not foreseen fifty years ago.

Our miscarriages have been so numerous, and the wrongheadedness of our Statesmen and public functionaries p. 940so notorious, as to give no small countenance, if not entirely to justify, the opinion of those who assert that the Evil Genius of Britain has presided in its councils, and has had the sole direction of its affairs, with very few exceptions, for the last fifty years, at least.  Strong symptoms of political wrongheadedness and ministerial depravity appeared as early as the time when the machine of government was committed to the management of lord Bute, with his coadjutors and underlings.  The affair of general warrants, and the project for taxing America, rendered those symptoms still more visible and alarming, while our persisting in our dispute with the Colonists, and undertaking to answer their arguments and silence their complaints by the mouth of our cannon, demonstrated our despotic character and boundless infatuation, and prepared the world to behold, without surprise, the folly and insanity of our subsequent projects and undertakings.

It was hoped by many that the disastrous result of the American war would have brought us to our senses.  But it did not so happen.  Our subsequent conduct has been for the most part as unwise and senseless as ever it was during our dispute and war with America.  Had we been capable of serious reflection, the American war would, doubtless, have brought us to it.  Dear-bought experience is said to have been of great use to some people; but it has been in this case quite useless to us; though experience has seldom been more dearly bought than that which Britain has acquired by the American war.  In fact, it does not seem that experience is of so p. 941much use to mankind, as is generally supposed; not because it is useless in itself, or incapable of making us wiser, but because most people are no way disposed to avail themselves of its aid, and choose to follow their passions rather than their reason.  They seemingly hate to look back and recollect former mischances, or to profit by past experience.  Both the past and the future appear to be by them equally disregarded.  The present employs all their thoughts; and whatsoever errors they may have committed, or inconvenience experienced on that account, little care is generally taken to guard against their repetition or recurrence.  Such is the case with nations as well as individuals.  So the world goes: and thus, in spite of past experience, every age performs its own folly, and re-acts or repeats the absurdities and crimes of its predecessors.

Sometimes the national errors and follies of one age appear to exceed those of the preceding age, and even of many preceding ages.  This has been thought applicable to the present period.  Our domestic grievances from different administrations, for the last fifty years, our treatment of the Caribbs of St. Vincent, [941] together with our American and subsequent wars, and also the affair of the Spanish frigates, and of Copenhagen, seem to exceed tenfold all our internal grievances and public ministerial enormities for the preceding fifty, or even seventy years.  What addition will be made to this catalogue during the remainder of this reign, it is impossible to foresee; but it is to be hoped that things ere p. 942long will take a more favourable turn, as it is surely high time they should.

These observations we shall now conclude, in the words of one of the historians of this reign—“In comparing (says he) the brilliant and auspicious commencement of the reign of the present monarch with the dark and dreadful scenes which ensued (and, it is painful to add, with those which at [this] advanced period seem yet impending) the imagination is led forcibly to advert to the sublime symbolical representations introduced by a poet of the highest order, Mr. Gray, in his celebrated Ode of The Bard, in allusion to the catastrophe terminating the reign of Richard II. in the splendor of its opening dawn, and its subsequent fatal indiscretions, bearing no very distant analogy to the present. [942]

   “Fair laughs the morn, and soft the Zephyr blows;
   While proudly riding o’er the azure realm
   In gallant trim the gilded vessel goes;
   Youth at the prow, and Pleasure at the helm;
   Regardless of the sweeping whirlwind’s sway.
That hush’d in grim repose expects his evening prey.”

Of the transactions and occurrences that constitute the history of Lynn for the first twenty years of this reign we know of none that can be deemed very interesting or important.  Some of them, however, are no less so than many of those that have been already related, and therefore cannot be silently passed over, or omitted, without departing from the plan which has been hitherto pursued.  In regard to this period, as well as the preceding ones, it is much to be wished we could throw some p. 943further light on the internal state of the town, or what relates to the domestic character, social habits, or lives and manners of the inhabitants.  Here, however, our materials have always proved very scanty; and the same has been generally the case with other historical writers.  This work, accordingly, often appears as a history of the corporation; rather than of the town at large, or of the whole community; because our materials relate chiefly to that chartered body, placing all the rest far in the back ground, and often quite out of sight.  This is to be regretted.

Among the memorable events which took place at Lynn about, or soon after the commencement of this reign, was the falling of the tower or steeple of South Lynn church.  This happened, according to one of our MS. narratives, during the second mayoralty of Walter Robertson, which commenced at Michaelmas 1761.  This is said to have been a strong square tower, about 82 feet high, with stone battlements; having thereon a shaft and vane 30 feet high.  It had in it also, as Parkin says, five tuneable bells: and it appears to have in its fall demolished a good part of the west end of the church.  The damage, as to the church, was soon repaired, but the tower was never afterwards rebuilt.  South Lynn makes now a much humbler appearance than it did in former days, when it was adorned with two lofty towers; that which we have now mentioned, and that of the Carmelite convent, which stood a little way off, adjoining to that convent, in what is now p. 944called The Friars.  This tower is said to have fallen in 1690: so that the tower of the parish Church stood above 130 years longer; owing, perhaps, to its being kept in better repair; though it may be supposed to have been, like the other, neglected afterwards.

Much about the time of which we have been speaking, another remarkable event occurred within our municipal or admiralty jurisdiction.  This was the taking of a large whale, near Beverley creek, according to one account, or near Darsingham, according to the Norfolk Remembrancer; which further says, that it was 56 feet 9 inches long, and 34 feet 4 inches in girth; and moreover, that it was taken on the 27th. of March 1762.  If we are not mistaken there was some dispute about it between our mayor of that time and Mr. Styleman, or some other gentleman of the vicinity of the place where it was taken.  But we believe that the former’s right to it was, in the end, established.  There have been other instances of whales being taken on this coast, though it happens but rarely.

On December 2nd. 1763, a dreadful high wind and tide made great ravages here: many ships were wrecked on the coast, and an incredible number of cattle and sheep were drowned in Marshland, &c.  Among other sufferers, a Mr. Barrell and a Mr. Corfe, of Snettisham, lost 800 sheep each, as we find in the Norfolk Remembrancer.—In the following year, during the second mayoralty of Philip Case, the town, according to one of our MS. narratives, was served a trick which p. 945could not possibly redound to the credit of our rulers.  “Purfleet Fleet was then cleaned, from the bridge to the clough adjoining to Kettle Mills river; and the filth and mud carried away by boats into the haven, to the great annoyance of the harbour and the forming of a bar there.”  This was certainly bad enough, but the worst is still behind.  The charge of scouring or cleaning the Fleets, it seems, belonged to the corporation: but, in this instance, it was contrived to throw it on the inhabitants, who were accordingly subjected to an assessment, or tax, which amounted to a sum of no less than 2000l.  This, to say the least of it, seems to have been a very shabby affair; but some will think it much less so than our famous paving jobb.

In the third mayoralty of John Cary senior, which commenced in 1765, a shocking murder was committed here by one John Rudderham, (commonly and ironically called honest John) for which bloody and horrid deed he was soon after tried, condemned, and executed.  Such, it has been said, was the deplorable depravity and ignorance of this unhappy wretch, that he appeared not to have any sense of moral evil, or any idea of the existence of a Supreme Being, and of a future state.  Though born and brought up in a christian country, and even deemed a member of a christian church, yet he was utterly ignorant of every thing belonging to christianity, as appeared from the first conversation he had with a person who attended him while under sentence of death.  Being asked by that person, if he had p. 946ever heard of the Lord Jesus Christ?  He seriously answered that he could not positively say whether he had or not: “and yet (said he) I do rather think that I have really heard something of such a gentleman, though I cannot now remember what it was.”  It is to be feared there were a great many more here at the same time in a similar predicament, or equally ignorant.  Yet, if we are not misinformed, a motion made, about that period, to establish here a school for the instruction of poor children, was actually negatived, as a needless and useless measure, and what might prove inimical to social order, and destructive of all intellectual distinction between rich and poor, gentlemen and plebeians.  It is pleasing to contemplate that our higher powers were actuated by better and nobler ideas latterly, when the Lancasterian school was proposed and established.  May this prove the dawn of a more liberal and brighter day.

In 1768, during the mayoralty of Charles Turner, which commenced the preceding year, the town was much agitated by a very violent contested election, chiefly between Sir John Turner bart. and Crisp Molineaux Esq; for the honourable Thomas Walpole Esq. the other candidate, was apparently pretty sure of gaining his election.  He was accordingly returned, and Sir John along with him, owing, as one of our MS. narratives suggests, to the bribing exertions of a certain eminent merchant, who expended 7000l. and upwards on the occasion.  It was, however, the last time Sir John was returned for this town: Molineaux was returned along with Walpole at the next general election.  After p. 947all, it seems to have been a very foolish business; for this same candidate does not appear to have been a person of any character, or who was endowed with such talents or qualifications as could recommend him for a senator in preference to Turner.  Such has been, however, too often the case in our contested elections.

This is supposed to have been the greatest of all our Contested Elections, except that very memorable one in 1747, which probably far exceeded every thing of the kind ever known here.  As the particulars of it were little known to the present writer, till his observations on the preceding reign had been printed off, he hopes the reader will excuse his giving some account of it here, though somewhat out of place.  The opposition was chiefly aimed against Sir John Turner, the same, seemingly, that was opposed in the last mentioned contest, and father of the present Lady Folkes.  His opponent was William Folkes Esq. father of the present Sir Martin.  He is said to have been a very respectable man, though he was charged on this occasion with breach of a promise made to Lord Orford, not to stand candidate at that time for this town.  What foundation there was for such a charge, or how the case really stood, it may be now difficult, or, perhaps, impossible to determine.

Though the prejudice against Turner was strong and extensive, and the opposition fierce and violent, yet he gained his election; but he was thought to owe it less to his own interest and management than to the favour p. 948and influence of the Walpoles, who were supposed to have greatly befriended him in that instance.  At the close of the poll the numbers were—for Walpole 199; for Turner 184; for Folkes 131.  The following Extract of a Letter written at that very time by a person of much wit and shrewdness, and who was an eye witness of the whole scene, will give the reader a striking, and we presume a just idea of the state of this town during that turbulent contest.  Whether or not we are still capable of the like excesses, or extravagances, is a question that may not be unworthy of very serious consideration.  It is to be wished it might he answered in the negative.

“Since you left us,” (says the Letter-writer alluded to,) “we’ve had a Contested Election, and perhaps as violent an one as any in England where the affair was not carried to bloodshed.  I will be very particular in my account of it because ’twill amuse you.—The sudden bringing on the Elections all over England was a wise thing.  As soon as ’twas known here that members were to be elected in about 3 weeks time, people of the lower sort got together in the Evenings in clusters, talking, how little good *** did to the town, &c.—This set a spirit agoing, and in 2 or 3 nights, they met about xxxv of ’em, at an alehouse, with C— P—t drunk at the head of them, whom they would fain have for a m—r of p—t.  C—s treated the company, and the next morning gave them a whet, met ’em again in the evening, and the next evening, and then had shewn spite enough to *** whom he hates, to make it necessary for p. 949them to look about ’em.  But where should they look?  *** was in Gl—rshire with his wife, who was every moment expecting to cry out, and had sent a Letter, hoping to be chosen without coming at all.  L—d O. was at H—n and his cousin H—’s son being the person that was to stand with S—r J—, my L—d was applied to, by our gentlemen, to let him know that the people grew rude and clamorous, and that unless somebody appeared, and care was taken of them, they feared Mr. F—s might be induced to give ’em some trouble, by becoming a candidate.  My L—d told them there was no fear of that, for he had a Letter from Mr. F—s the post before, utterly disclaiming any design of that sort, which Letter he shewed them.  So they all came away satisfied.  Notwithstanding their satisfaction, and the good grounds any body would have thought they had for it, within 4 days after this F—s came down, and was introduced by A. T—, Dr. B—, H. F—, J. F—, J—n M—r, and several more, in coaches, chaises, &c. several 100 horsemen, Flags, Guns, Drums, and all the Racket that could possibly be made.  Neither T— nor W— were here, and all were in distraction.  Expresses were sent.  L—d O. got here that night.  S— J— could not possibly get here of two days and half.  So on the Saturday night he came, and the Election was to be on the Monday.  From the time of F—s setting out from London, the Public Houses were opened, and continued so; so that here was nothing but men and women and children drunk, old women especially, wallowing about the streets, and half of ’em with their backsides exposed to public view, and fellows a clapping of ’em.”

p. 950By this time every one must clearly see what a Bedlam of a place Lynn was, during this electioneering bustle.  Our Letter-writer, no doubt, gives a pretty faithful and correct picture of what then occurred; on which account some of our readers will be desirous of hearing him further: but as his description now occasionally becomes somewhat coarse, if not indelicate, we shall place the remainder of the extract below, that those who wish to see more of it may have an opportunity to gratify themselves. [950]  We shall now return from this digression, and resume the thread of our history.

p. 951Though Sir John Turner gained his election, as one of our parliamentary representatives, in his contest with Molineaux, and was sometime after chosen mayor of p. 952this town; yet his influence here soon appeared to be fast declining.  His friends in the Hall resigned and withdrew, one after another, till the interest of that family became at last quite annihilated, after having been very great, and almost unrivalled, for a whole century.  But there is nothing strange or wonderful in this.  It is the usual course of things in this world.  Families, as well as nations and empires, have their day, beyond which they cannot extend their power, or their greatness.

About the year 1769 our corporation had a great lawsuit with a Mr. Carr of Massingham, father of our late merchant of that name.  But they lost their cause; owing, as it has been suggested, to the perjury p. 953of one of Carr’s principal witnesses.  The suit is said to have been brought on to oblige the corporation to open and scour the Fleet from Salter’s Sluice to Littleport-bridge, which was necessary for the accommodation of the plaintiff, who had granaries contiguous to that fleet.  The corporation, on their part, pleaded that the flood-door of the bridge had been put down a hundred years before, and therefore that the requisition could not be binding upon them.  But the said witness, who was only 56 years old, swore that he had in his youth, for the sake of robbing an orchard, swam over, near Salter’s clough, when the water there was ten feet deep.  This satisfied the jury, and determined them to give their verdict against the corporation.  They were consequently obliged to clear and open the said fleet; and it has been kept so ever since; which seems very proper and necessary.  But supposing it really true, that the work had been neglected, and the fleet suffered to silt and fill up for a whole century; still, even that very neglect must have been the fault of the corporation, who are bound to keep the fleets open; so that they could not be justified in resisting Mr. Carr’s requisition.  To have removed the nuisance, at once, instead of going to law, had been far more creditable.

About the year 1770, a very unusual and marvellous phenomenon appeared here; which was no other than a violent patriotic spirit, or what in more recent times, or modern cant, would have been denominated Jacobinism.  Our Gentlemen seemed then, all of a sudden, p. 954to have become mighty admirers of liberty, and of John Wilkes.  That redoubted champion of freedom was soon invited to this town, and actually honoured it with his patriotic presence in February 1771, to the no small joy of our body corporate, who received him with open arms, entertained him most sumptuously, and conferred upon him the freedom of this ancient borough.  All this was very well.  We do not mean to blame them for it.  But it was very different from the treatment, or reception, which another patriot, of no less virtue and respectability, met with here at a subsequent period.  We mean Thelwall, who visited us some years ago, for the purpose of promulgating the principles of political liberty and genuine patriotism.  But those principles, by that time, were become so very unfashionable and disreputable here, that the patriotic lecturer could get no hearing; and he was glad to escape with a whole skin and unbroken bones.  The politicks of William Pitt had now completely superseded those of John Wilkes.  So the world goes: what is sound doctrine, at one time, is heresy and sedition, and even blasphemy and treason, at another.

At the time of which we have been last speaking, our dispute with the American patriots had made considerable progress: and it might be supposed that as this town appeared so decidedly and warmly in favour of Wilkes, it would have appeared no less so in favour of the Americans.  But it happened far otherwise.  We eagerly caressed Wilkes, and openly espoused his cause, but towards the oppressed and much injured Americans p. 955we appeared very differently affected.  During that long and unhappy dispute, and the unjust and bloody war that ensued, no measure was here adopted expressive of abhorrence, or even of disapprobation of the course taken by our government; or yet of concern and commiseration for the unmerited sufferings of our transatlantic brethren.  How much more honourable and dignified had it been to have acted differently, and boldly borne our testimony against the injustice and folly of our own government, and in behalf of the reasonable and well-founded claims of the colonists?  How respectable, in that case, would Lynn have now appeared among its sister boroughs, when the whole reasonable and enlightened world, with one voice, is reprobating that dispute, and that war, as the undoubted offspring of the most tyrannic disposition, or the most perfect insanity? [955]  Nor is it at all improbable that impartial posterity will consider our subsequent wars, and not a few of our public transactions, as having actually sprung from the same parentage.

Soon after the commencement of the American War the great maritime powers discovered a strong disposition to favour the resistance of the colonists, which gave us no small offence; so that by degrees things came to an open rupture between this country and those powers.  France, Spain, and Holland, accordingly, became p. 956parties in the contest; and the northern armed neutrality, with the general aspect of all other nations, pretty plainly shewed that there was scarcely a single state throughout Christendom, but what decidedly and heartily reprobated the part we were acting.  It was therefore no wonder that the American war did prove unsuccessful, and eventually terminate in the discomfiture and disgrace of this country; and even stamp upon our counsels indelible and eternal infamy.

The effect of the war with America, and with the European powers before mentioned, was severely felt at Lynn.  Our trade was much cramped, many of our ships were captured, our sailors were reduced mostly to old men and lads, by those guardians of the constitution, and demonstrators of the unalienableness of our rights, and reality of our freedom, the press gangs.  These myrmidons, when any of our young and best sailors fell in their way, if they did not tamely submit to be taken, would pursue them like wild beasts, and, when they came up with them, would knock them on the head, like dogs, with their bludgeons, and then drag them with the utmost indignity to the house of rendezvous, or on board the tender.  There the poor fellows were left to cool, and compose themselves: and the very next day, perhaps, would be heard singing, in the house of their captivity, “Rule Britannia;” and “Britons never will be slaves.”  It may be well for the nation, or, at least, for its rulers, that the ideas of our sea-faring people, respecting liberty and thraldom, are considerably different from those of some other p. 957people.—Being now come to the end of the first twenty years of this reign, we shall here close the present section.

Section IX.

Lynn armed Association—termination of the American War—independence of the United States acknowledged and confirmed—peace restored and established among all the belligerent powers—King’s illness and recoveryView of the state of this town from that period to the present time.

The situation of this country, engaged in a foolish, fruitless, ruinous, and infamous war with its own colonies, at the distance of more than a thousand leagues, and involved afterwards in a desperate struggle with its great maritime neighbours, became very critical, and excited considerable alarm throughout the kingdom.  Great fears were entertained of an invasion, and means of defence against such an attempt were resorted to.  The Irish, deprived of the military force that used to be stationed in their country, armed themselves for their own protection, at their own expense.  The like was done in many parts of England; and Lynn adopted the same measure.  The Lynn Volunteers, or armed association, amounted to about 120, [957] and were commanded p. 958in chief by Captain Thomas Day, whose name we have had occasion to mention more than once in some of the preceding pages.

This gentleman’s military knowledge and talents were generally allowed to be superior to those of any other of our townsmen, and his unassuming demeanor, and conciliating manners eminently fitted him for the chief command of this corps.  The officers and men, accordingly, became greatly attached to him, and the utmost harmony subsisted among them, to the very last.  During the whole time they were imbodied, the behaviour of the men, in the town, was very proper and commendable, and quite to the satisfaction of the inhabitants; which redounded much to the credit of the officers, and particularly the commandant, whose orders and example would not fail to contribute largely to the regularity or correctness of their deportment.  This respectable and memorable little band was formed and organized in 1779, and continued till sometime after the expiration of the war; for it was not disbanded till 1785, when its constituents, relinquishing the military character, mixed once more with the great mass of unarmed citizens; conscious, it may be presumed, of having so acquitted themselves as to merit the approbation and applause of their contemporaries, and of posterity.—Of these patriot-soldiers some further notice may be taken when we shall have to notice our more recent and more numerous volunteer armaments.

p. 959Peace was restored among all the belligerent powers in 1783, when the independence of the resisting colonies, now called the United States of America, was acknowledged and confirmed.  The American war ended, as all such unjust wars ought to end, in the disappointment and discomfiture of the aggressors.  But had our government, and our nation possessed a proper degree of virtue, or conscience, they would certainly have expressed both shame and remorse, after the contest was over, and when they had time calmly to reflect upon the part they had acted in that most unjustifiable and detestable business.  Nothing however of that kind did appear.  On the contrary we sat down very demurely and composedly, without the least apparent feeling of contrition, sorrow, or self-reproach; like Solomon’s adulterous woman, who eat, and wiped her mouth, and said, “I have done no wickedness.” [959]

The impenitent spirit which our government and nation manifested at the close of the American war, could furnish no reason to hope that it was the last scene of folly and iniquity in which our rulers would engage: and if any did actually cherish such a hope, they must long ago have been convinced that it was altogether vain and groundless.  All our subsequent wars, state policy, and maxims of government have but too plainly indicated that we have acted ever since, almost invariably, under the guidance of that same Evil Genius that so eggregiously misled, befooled, and governed us, during the whole American dispute and war, and which p. 960had before involved us in the guilt of exterminating the poor hapless Caribbs, as well as in that of other unjustifiable and criminal deeds previously to those events.

Some of our pretended longsighted, as well as long-headed politicians affected to foresee and foretell a very long season of uninterrupted tranquillity succeeding the peace of 1783.  But it proved all a dream: for we have been most of the time since at war; and such a war too as we never experienced before.  It has proved most miserably unsuccessful and disastrous; and is now in a fair way of saddling upon us at last an unexampled debt of a thousand millions! [960a]—Such an enormous sum as the whole coinage of the universe could not discharge.—This is a frightful prospect; but we will now turn to other objects.—But before we quit the year 1783 we may just observe that a most atrocious robbery was then committed on a Jew lad, about 16 years old, of the name of Isaac Levi, on the road between Lynn and Westwinch, by one Robert Fox, whoso ill treated the poor Jew as to leave him apparently dead; for which the robber was sometime after, (September 7th.) hanged on Hardwick common, near the place where the villanous and shocking deed had been perpetrated. [960b]

p. 961In 1784 we had here another contested Election, which, however, in point of violence was much inferior to those of 1768 and 1747.  Mr. Fountaine of Narford was now the new candidate, whose character, certainly, was no way inferior to that of either of his opponents.  But he lost his election, though he had a respectable number of voters, and the old members, Walpole and Molineux were again returned, than whom no two men had perhaps less distinguished themselves in the preceding parliament, or appeared less worthy to be re-elected.  But they suited the taste and humour of the majority of their constituents, and especially of some two or three or few men who had the chief share or influence in their appointment.  Our parliamentary representation is a very fine thing in theory, but in practice it is often found far otherwise.

But though this Election was conducted with decency and moderation, in comparison with those of 1768 and 47, yet it was attended with circumstances not a little disgraceful to the dispositions and characters of some of the leading actors, particularly on the victorious side.  The aristocratic spirit and malignant passions were but too apparent; and not a few of the minor or unsuccessful party were made long to feel the resentment and vindictiveness of their powerful opponents, who were not much disposed to suffer the infallibility of their judgment to be questioned, or allow any with impunity to disapprove the objects of their choice or nomination.  But this intolerance, and especially resentment and p. 962vindictiveness, must, most assuredly, be highly criminal and iniquitous on such occasions, since every voter, even the very poorest, has an undoubted right to give his voice freely for the candidate or candidates whom he deems most worthy of his suffrage.  Whoever deprives a freeman of this privilege uses him worse than a highwayman.

Not only the electors of the poorer sort, who had voted for Mr. Fountaine, and lived in the town, suffered in consequence of having exercised their just rights on that occasion, but even the richer ones did not entirely escape: for those of them who held lands of the corporation were now deprived of the same, as well as of every other privilege which lay in the power of their revengeful opponents.  This was carrying things with a high hand.  After all, it may be no great wonder that our corporation should be still tenacious of having the representatives of their town to be men of their own nomination and choosing, considering that no one formerly, or till within these 170 years, except those of the Hall, appear to have had any share or concern in the appointment or election of those who represented this borough in parliament. [962]

p. 963It is, indeed generally supposed that matters are now here on a much fairer and more rational footing; but that, perhaps, will not appear very clearly when we advert to the well known truth and fact, that out modern members for the most part, owe their senatorial honour and elevation solely to the will and pleasure, or power and influence of some two or three families or individuals.  Such, however, is but two often the practical character of our boasted system of parliamentary representation.

That of 1784 was the last contested election that has taken place here; though some faint attempt is said to have been made for something of this kind a few years ago, in favour of one of our military aldermen, who was supposed not to have been very much taken with the compliment, or, at least, did not choose to be very active in promoting his own election; not, however, that he was at all incapable of great, and even extraordinary p. 964electioneering feats in behalf of his friends, of which he is understood to have given, before now, unequivocal and convincing proof.  In short, it would seem as if he were, (in cases of that kind especially,) more ready to serve other people than himself; which, to say the least of it, is a conduct not a little unusual in this degenerate and selfish age: and it may serve as a proof that generosity and disinterestedness are not yet become totally extinct among us.

From the year 1785, when our volunteers were disbanded, till 1788, we recollect no very remarkable event that related to this town. [964]  In the last mentioned year, one of the Annual Registers of that period relates a most singular accident which then befel a captain Cook, master of one of our greenland-ships.  The account is as follows—“August 1788: Friday last arrived at Lynn in Norfolk, the Archangel, from Greenland, captain Cook, with two fish.  It was with much difficulty she got safe there, having received a deal of damage in a gale of wind, which drove her against a field of ice.  When this ship was in Greenland, captain Cook, the surgeon, and mate, went on shore, when the captain was seized by a monstrous bear, which immediately hugged him with his paws.  The captain called to the surgeon to fire at the creature, though at fifty yards distance, which he did, and fortunately shot the p. 965bear through the head, which instantly killed it, and captain Cook was by this means saved from being torn in pieces.” [965]  We cannot vouch for the absolute correctness or authenticity of this anecdote, which certainly savours somewhat of the marvellous.  It is inserted here entirely on the authority of the periodical work alluded to.  But it is certain that there was here a greenland captain of the name of Cook, about that period.

The 5th. of November 1788 was observed at Lynn, in commemoration of the landing of king William, and of the glorious revolution that ensued, by a party of the friends of civil and religious liberty, among whom were the late reverend and worthy William Warner, and the writer of the present work.  The party spent the evening at one of the Inns, where they supped together, and passed the time in the most perfect harmony and conviviality, and no way unworthy of the occasion, or of the great, glorious, and interesting event which they were then commemorating.  Holkham, the princely mansion of Mr. Coke, was the only other place in West Norfolk, as far as the present writer has ever understood, where the centenary of the revolution was thought worth celebrating.  That great event was there celebrated by a grand fête, ball and supper, display of fireworks, &c.  All in a manner worthy of the patriotic character, revolution principles, and noble munificence of the renowned master of the mansion.

In the latter part of the autumn and the winter of 1788, the good people of Lynn shared with the rest of their fellow p. 966subjects in the general solicitude, perplexity, and dismay occasioned by the sovereign’s alarming illness.  His majesty’s health had been for sometime gradually declining; which was then ascribed to overmuch exercise, too severe a regimen, too rigid abstemiousness, and too short intervals of rest, rather than to the freedom of indulgence and the softness of luxury.  As a remedy for the symptoms that discovered themselves, the king determined to visit the medical waters of Cheltenham, and accordingly set out for that place immediately after the prorogation of parliament, where he arrived in the afternoon of the 13th. of July, being the next day after he had left Windsor.  He was accompanied by the queen, the princess royal, princess Augusta, and princess Elizabeth: and in every town through which he passed, he was received by vast crowds of people, with every demonstration of affection and loyalty.  While at Cheltenham, he resided at lord Fauconberg’s lodge, on an eminence, a quarter of a mile from the town, and about 300 yards from the Spa. [966]

p. 967His majesty’s stay at Cheltenham was about five weeks.  He returned to the metropolis on the 18th of August.  But no benefit answerable to the expectations that had been formed, resulted from this excursion.  His health was still in a precarious state, and on the 22nd of October, symptoms [967] were observed by one of the royal physicians, of that alienation of mind which was afterwards the occasion of so many important and interesting transactions.  For some time it was thought proper to observe as much secrecy as possible respecting the nature of the king’s indisposition.  His retreat at Windsor was favourable to this purpose; and for several days an opinion was entertained by the people in general, that his indisposition was a fever, and that it had risen to so alarming a height as to threaten a speedy dissolution.  The real nature of the case however could not long be suppressed.  By the structure and practice of the English constitution, almost every species of public business is in some manner implicated with the royal prerogatives.  The administration of political government was by the present event virtually suspended from its functions; and, notwithstanding the critical situation of Europe, and the very active share we had lately taken in its concerns, it was now deemed impracticable to return any sort of answer to the dispatches of foreign courts, or of our own ambassadors.  In this situation the most p. 968natural expedient was to suffer the two houses of parliament, which stood prorogued to the 20th of November, to meet at that time, and either adjourn for a short interval, or immediately proceed to discuss the measures it would be proper to adopt at the present crisis.  Circular letters were accordingly addressed to the members of the legislature on the 14th, signifying to them, that the indisposition of the sovereign rendered it doubtful whether there would be a possibility of receiving his commands for the further prorogation of parliament.  In that case the two houses must of necessity assemble, and the attendance of the different members was earnestly requested. [968a]

Such was the outset of that memorable affair, which caused so much anxiety and agitation, at that time, in this town and throughout the kingdom.  The right of the heir apparent to assume the executive power, during the incapacity of the sovereign, was denied by the minister, [968b] and by a large majority of both houses of the English parliament.  Nevertheless they appointed him to exercise that power, under such restrictions as would secure to the ministers the possession of their places.  The prince reluctantly acceded to the appointment, and consented to act under those restrictions.  Ireland being then a separate kingdom, its parliament took a very different course, admitting the prince’s right, p. 969and resolving to offer him the regency without restrictions.  Having so done, a deputation was appointed to wait on the prince, and give their resolutions their full effect.  This deputation actually arrived in London; but before they had accomplished the end of their mission, symptoms began to appear indicative of the sovereign’s speedy recovery; and on the 12th of February 1789 he was declared by his physicians to be in a state of progressive amendment.

This put an end, of course, to all further proceeding in the regency business, on the part of either the English or Irish parliament, and filled all ranks of people with the utmost joy and exultation.  Nothing could exceed the gladness which was then every where expressed; and Norfolk came not a whit behind its most distinguished sister counties in the demonstration of its joy, and display of its loyalty.  Nor was there any place in the county where this was more manifest than at Lynn.  The 18th of March, if we are not mistaken, was the time when this was most strikingly and splendidly demonstrated.  We had then here a general illumination, and other public rejoicings, with such other corresponding exhibitions and grand doings as exceeded every thing that had been known among us within the memory of the oldest inhabitant.  In short we had, in miniature at least, something of almost every thing that the greatest cities, or even the metropolis itself could then boast of.

p. 970Had the regency then taken place it is impossible to ascertain whether it would have proved a blessing to the nation, or otherwise.  The people seemed much in fear of the intended regent, on the score of expensiveness and running in debt; but there is no reason to suppose that his government would have been more expensive, or more productive of additional taxes than that which has existed in this country ever since.  On the contrary it is highly probable that it would have been much less so, as it may be presumed that the prince would not have been quite so fond of war as the ministers and party that have been predominant for the last twenty years.  As the 18th of March was observed here as a day of rejoicing for the king’s recovery, so was the 23rd. of April observed as a day of thanksgiving on the same occasion, both here and throughout the kingdom.  Many years have been since added to the sovereign’s life, and his reign has proved far longer than that of any one of his predecessors, who was not an infant or minor at the time of his accession.  He has also lived to witness greater changes in the state of Europe than had taken place within the last thousand years:—and changes too which the measures of the British cabinet had a principal share in producing.  But we will now dismiss these subjects.

From the time of the king’s recovery to the commencement of the memorable coalition and grand crusade against revolutionary France, nothing very remarkable occurred here, except the dispute between this corporation and that of London, about the right of p. 971those who are free of the latter to an exemption from the payment of tolls in this port; which terminated in the full establishment of that right, and the disannulment of the objections which this corporation had set up against it.  The persons on whose account this dispute originated, were the Dentons, two of our merchants of that period, who obtained the freedom of London, after having long solicited that of Lynn in vain, and offered any sum for it which our gentlemen would choose to demand.  Being still required to pay toll, as before, they made their complaint to the corporation of London, which brought on a lawsuit between the two corporations.  The cause was first tried in the court of common pleas, where it was given against Lynn, and if we mistake not, with considerable damages; to escape which it was afterwards removed by writ of error to the court of king’s bench: of the result the following account is given in one of the periodical publications of that time.—

“Jan. 28. 1791, The case of the city of London against the corporation of Lynn, came on to be argued in the court of king’s bench.  It was a writ of error from the court of common pleas where a trial at bar was had on a de essendo quietum de theolonio (of being quit of toll) brought by the city of London, to assert the right of their citizens being exempted from a toll on corn, demanded by the corporation of Lynn.  A verdict had been given for the city, and the errors were assigned on the informality of the declaration.  After much argument by serjeant Le Blanc, for Lynn, and sergeant Adair, for London, the court reversed the judgment, on the ground that the declaration p. 972did not state that the city of London had received such an injury on which an action could be maintained, the corporation of Lynn having demanded, but not having received, or distrained for the tolls in question.” [972]

Though our corporation, by this last decision, seem to have been relieved from the payment of the heavy damages that would have resulted from the first verdict, yet the whole affair must have been attended with no light expence, which certain plans of economy subsequently adopted, and other attendant appearances pretty clearly evinced.  How much wiser had it been to grant those two gentlemen their freedom at once, to which they were so clearly entitled by the great benefit which the town derived from their extensive mercantile exertions.  Indeed the refusal of it was a piece of flagrant injustice, as persons who contributed so much as they did to the increase of our trade ought to have received in the town every possible encouragement.  The treatment they met with here, proves the defectiveness of our corporation laws and borough charters, and how ill adapted they are to the present state of society in this country.  Sheffield, Manchester, and Birmingham, where things are on a different footing, sufficiently evince the inutility and folly of our borough laws and establishments, and that they are, in fact, grievances and nuisances rather than national benefits.  Their abolition seems therefore an object or event to be wished rather than deprecated.

p. 973The year 1792 has been rendered memorable by the royal proclamation, issued on the 21st. of May, “for preventing of tumultuous meetings and seditious writings;” and by the formation of Reeve’s Association, on the 20th. of November, at the Crown and Anchor, “for preserving Liberty and Property, against Republicans and Levellers.”  These sapient measures had the desired effect, and operated mightily every where, as well as in this town.  Treasury or ministerial agents were appointed in every town and district, and Lynn was not forgotten.  Those agents were to observe what publications were in circulation, and to apprize the Treasury board of such as they were pleased to deem of dangerous tendency.  Not only the drift or scope of political publications were objects of their observation and watchfulness, but also the carriage, or conduct and conversation, and even the social and convivial intercourse of all such individuals as happened to disapprove of the politics of the court, or of the accession of this country to the grand confederacy and crusade against France.

A system of espionage was artfully formed and established, and the whole country being filled with spies and informers, exhibited a miserable scene of hypocrisy and dissimulation, instead of the blunt sincerity, and the boasted uprightness and downrightness of other and better times.  This new order of things was admirably calculated to bear down and overwhelm the minister’s opponents.  Some of the most eminent and respectable men in the nation were accordingly marked out as disaffected or suspicious characters, merely because they p. 974entertained different views from the minister and his associates, and endeavoured to prevent this country from joining the continental crusade, and even wished to see the blessings of liberty extend all over the world.

Most of the mobility as well as the nobility of the realm, and a large majority of both houses of parliament, being decidedly in favour of the minister, he carried every thing before him with a high hand, ruled for years with a rod of iron, and his little finger became heavier than the loins of any of his predecessors since the revolution.  A spirit was then by him awakened and set to work, which had lain fast asleep ever since the days of the Stuarts, and Lynn partook of it in no small measure.  The friends of peace and constitutional freedom, were here looked upon and treated as ill-disposed persons, and unworthy characters, scarcely entitled to the common rights of citizens, or the lowest offices of humanity.  Such were some of the rare blessings we derived from the administration of the last Pitt, who was at the same time hailed by multitudes as a heaven born minister, the saviour of his country, and the wisest and greatest of statesmen.  Nothing more clearly evinces the utter dissimilarity between his character and that of his renowned father, than the insatiate vindictiveness of his disposition towards those who opposed his measures; [974] of which there have been many very glaring, and numerous instances.

p. 975His reign terror was long and grievous.  It lasted during nearly the whole length of the late war.  His successor, Addington held the reins with a gentler hand, whatever may be said of his ministerial talents or capacity.  He also restored to us the inestimable blessing of peace, which Pitt seemed incapable of effecting.  That peace however, proved of but short duration, which yet might not be the fault of the minister.  We were not, it seems, sufficiently humbled, or really tired of the horrid game of war, bloodshed and devastation: and so, without taking time to breathe, we rushed headlong into a new war, which has already lasted eight or nine years, and is likely to prove the longest and most disastrous of any we have been engaged in for many ages.  God only knows when or how it will terminate.

Great complaints having for sometime been made of the sad state of fen-drainage in the parts above Lynn, much stir was made on that account about the year 1794, and a Cut from Eaubrink to Lynn-harbour was then proposed as a remedy for that growing evil.  The expediency of the measure being agreed upon, an act of parliament was obtained in 1795 for its accomplishment.  p. 976And though above fifteen years have since elapsed, during most of which time a heavy tax has been levied on the lands there, yet the projected cut, that was to produce such vast benefits, is not yet begun: nor is it at all certain, or even very probable at present, that it ever will, notwithstanding the vast sums that have been collected, and are still collecting for that purpose, from the respective land-owners. [976]  The act of parliament that was obtained, if not already renewed, must, it seems, be so soon, because of this excessive procrastination.  How many such renewals must hereafter be resorted to before the work will commence, it is impossible to say.  The promoters of this measure appear to have engaged in it before they were sufficiently aware of the magnitude and arduousness of the undertaking.  p. 977Their giving it up at last would therefore be no great wonder.

In 1794 serious apprehensions of a French invasion began to be pretty generally entertained in this kingdom; and in the summer of that year a new body of volunteers was formed at Lynn, under the command of alderman Edward Everard, junior.  This was more numerous than that which was formed here some years before, and it continued embodied till the summer of 1802.  The present writer being most of that time out of town, cannot say much from his own knowledge of the character of this corps, but he believes it was very fair, and no way discommendable, or discreditable to its worthy commandant: and this seems strongly corroborated by a paragraph which appeared in the Lynn Packet at the time when the corps was disbanded; [977] p. 978which also records the very day when that event took place.—Before we dismiss 1794, we may just hint that we had here then a violent thunderstorm, when a young girl was killed by the lightening.  (See Norfolk Remembrancer, p. 29.)

The year 1796 is rendered very memorable here by the fatal disaster which happened then at the ferry in the mart time.  On the 23rd of February, about 6 o’clock in the evening, many people, to the number of forty or more, got into the ferry-boat; and though the boat-men remonstrated with them, as being too many to be taken over at once, yet so anxious were they to get over without further delay that none of them could be persuaded to get out and wait for the return of the boat, it was a calm evening, but the tide was coming in very strong.  The boat however proceeded safely till it had almost reached the opposite shore, when passing across some ropes belonging to a vessel lying there, it received a violent concussion which laid it pretty much on one side: at that moment the passengers, instead of keeping their places, rushed headlong to the lower side, and thereby overset the boat in an instant.  Eleven of them lost their lives; among whom was a man and his wife and daughter; also two young persons on the point of marriage, who were afterwards found clasped in each others arms.  It is rather wonderful that so many of them were saved; but it was said p. 979to be owing to several boats being then very near the spot, which came almost instantly to their assistance, and succeeded in picking up and saving most of them.  Although the Lynn ferry be but an awkward kind of passage, yet this seems to have been the only very serious accident that has occurred there for a very great length of time.  Our ferry-men in general are somewhat more civil and decent than their brethren in other parts, who have often been classed among the most rude and brutish of all our countrymen.

In 1797 a whale measuring 44 feet, (according to the Norfolk Remembrancer,) was caught in Lynn channel.  In the course of the same year our farmers are said to have discovered cleansing seed-wheat by water only, (fresh water we suppose,) to be the best and most certain preservative against the smut or brand.  If it be really so, many have been at a great deal of needless trouble and expense in preparing their seed-wheat.  But such an imputation is by no means peculiar to our wheat growers.  It is commonly the case in a progress of investigation and experiment.  Many a highly and generally esteemed practice or usage, beside those that have obtained in the preparation of seed-corn, have been afterwards found far from deserving the high estimation they had acquired, and in which they had been long held. [979]

p. 980In the course of the year 1798, the fear of an invasion from France became very strong and general in this part of the kingdom; which occasioned our armed associations to be considerably multiplied.  Among the new armed companies which sprung up, or were formed that year in this country, we read of the Holkham Yeomanry Cavalry, commanded by T. W. Coke Esq. and E. Rolfe Esq.  The Freebridge Smithdon Yeomanry Cavalry, commanded by H. Styleman Esq.  The Freebridge Lynn Yeomanry Cavalry, commanded by Joseph Taylor Esq. and the Swaffham ditto, commanded by J. Micklethwaite Esq. &c. &c.  The very clergy discovered a readiness and strong desire to learn the use of arms, and one of them appears actually to have become commandant of one of these new raised corps; for among the military officers then enumerated p. 981the name of the revd. T. Lloyd appeared as captain of the North Walsham Volunteer company.  This clerical ardour for taking up arms was said to be sometime after checked by episcopal authority, otherwise we might have had before now a very great number of reverend captains, and majors, and colonels.  The Freebridge Lynn Yeomanry Cavalry remain still undisbanded under the orders of their original leader.—An Act passed this year for draining &c. the lands and fen grounds in Outwell, Stow Bardolph, Wimbotsham, and Downham; which it is to be hoped has answered much better than the Feltwell new drainage act, which we have already noticed.—On the 29th. of December this same year, at 11 P.M. the thermometer was said to be at 3 below 0: a degree of cold never before noticed in this island—if we may rely on the authority of the Norfolk Remembrancer.

The year 1799 was rendered somewhat remarkable here by an attempt to establish a Newspaper, under the name of the Lynn and Wisbech Packet; but it did not finally succeed, though persevered in for several years.  Lynn seems not favourably situated for the success of such an undertaking, placed as it is in a corner of the country, and the adjacent parts well supplied with provincial papers of established repute and extensive circulation.  It was therefore, perhaps, a rash and hopeless attempt, so that its relinquishment at last need not to excite any great surprise.  The projector hoped, when he resolved to try this experiment, that it would prove a source of much gain, but he found in the end p. 982that what he gained by it was only a pretty heavy loss, which placed him in the list of unfortunate adventurers. [982]

But what rendered this year still more remarkable and memorable, both here and throughout the kingdom, was the origination, introduction, and operation of the income tax, which now took place and will not be soon forgotten.  In former times this odious tax would have been very unwelcome in this country, and probably deemed intolerable by the whole nation.  The people would have thought themselves degraded to the lowest degree, in being obliged to appear before certain of their own neighbours, in the character of commissioners, and there disclose upon oath the amount of their property and means of subsistence, in order to empower the tax-gatherers to take from them a tenth part of their yearly income, for the purpose of supporting and pursuing measures which many of them utterly disapproved.  This vile impost was indeed doubly detestable, as it not only sunk the subjects below the rank of freemen, but also laid before them a strong incitement to falshood and perjury, and was, in all probability, the means of greatly increasing our national guilt and depravity.  But these were considerations that weighed p. 983but little with the minister and his associates.  An increasing revenue was with them of infinitely greater importance.—On the 2nd. of June this year, a pleasure boat going off from Heacham to a vessel lying in Lynn channel overset, and out of fourteen persons, who were on board, men women and children, twelve unfortunately perished.—This year also, from continued rains, the harvest was not got in, in some parts of Norfolk till the beginning of November; and in some parts of the kingdom some corn lay rotting in the fields at the beginning of December: a like instance had not occurred before for 40 or 50 years.

East Gate Lynn: taken down in 1800

One of the most memorable of the Lynn occurrences in 1800, was the taking down the East-gates, which had stood many centuries, and made a somewhat venerable appearance.  They had been for sometime a subject of complaint on account of the difficulty of entrance for highloaded waggons, by reason of the lowness of the arch.  This act of dilapidation therefore was a case of necessity, and the removal of a nuisance, and it rendered that entrance into the town much pleasanter than before.—But an occurrence of this year which far more affected the public mind, in this town, as well as throughout the kingdom, was the regicide attempt of the maniac Hadfield on the evening of the 15th. of May, at Drury Lane theatre.  The poor insane wretch fired a horse-pistol towards the king’s box just as his majesty entered it, but fortunately missed him, owing it seems to a person near him, with great presence of mind, raising p. 984his arm when in the act of firing, and so directing the contents of the pistol to the roof of the house.  This shocking deed occasioned no small consternation in the house; but it soon subsided, and the play went on to the entire satisfaction and amusement of the whole company, the royal family not excepted.

The news of this horrid attempt upon the king’s life, and of his happy escape, deeply affected the minds of his Lynn subjects, from whom no less than two addresses were soon after presented to his majesty on the occasion; one from the mayor and corporation, and the other from the mayor and the inhabitants. [984]  Both of them p. 985were penned in a language perfectly dutiful and loyal, which, without doubt, was expressed with the utmost truth and sincerity.  The same may also be said of all the numerous addresses which then reached the throne, from all quarters; which proves the sovereign’s great popularity, and how high he stood in the estimation of his addressing subjects.  His successor it is to be hoped will prove himself no less deserving of his people’s attachment.

Since the year 1800, and the commencement of the present century, nothing more remarkable is known to have occurred here than what has been produced by the operation of new taxes and new laws—especially our poor and paving laws. [985]  These certainly have borne and are still bearing hard upon a large portion of the industrious inhabitants.  Of these matters some notice has been taken already, and they will probably be further noticed when we come to give a view of the present state of the town.  Such remarkable occurrences as the author may be able to recollect, or any one else may put him in mind of, as having been overlooked in the preceding pages, shall be carefully inserted in a Chronological Table at the end of the work.—Having now brought this history down to the present time, we shall here close this section.

p. 986Section X.

Biographical sketches of some of the most eminent or distinguished personages among the natives or inhabitants of Lynn, from the reformation to the present day—Watts—Arrowsmith—Goodwin—Horne—Phelpes—Falkner—Goddard.

In the list of persons of real note, or memorable distinction who appeared since the reformation among the natives or inhabitants of this town, the first place, in order of time, seems to belong to William Watts, said to have been a native of this borough, or its vicinity.  The time of his birth is not recorded, but is supposed to have been about the close of the reign of Elizabeth.  He probably received the rudiments of his education in the Grammar school of this town, which was from 1597 to 1608 under the care of Mr. John Man, afterwards minister of South Lynn, and from 1608 to 1612 or 13, under that of Mr. Henry Allston.  He was afterwards sent to Caius College in Cambridge, where he appears to have made great proficiency, and to have finished his academical education.  He then went and made some stay at Oxford; after which he travelled, as Anthony Wood says, into several countries, and became master of divers languages.  In his travels he is supposed to have made his chief stay in Holland, where he became acquainted with the celebrated John Gerard Vossius, who entertained a very favourable and high opinion of him, and spoke of him as doctissimus et clarissimus Watsius, qui optime de historia meruit.  At his return, after the accession of Charles I, he was made one of the king’s chaplains, and preferred successively to livings and dignities in the church.  Being, as might p. 987be expected, a zealous royalist, and adhering firmly to the king’s cause, he was sequestered, plundered, and left without a shelter for his wife and children.  He was carried by his courage and resentment into the field with prince Rupert, during the hardiest of his exploits; and died, in 1649, on board his fleet, in the harbour of Kinsale.  He had an especial hand, says Wood, in Sir Henry Spelman’s Glossary; he edited Matthew Paris, and, exclusively of other treatises, he published, before the civil war of England began, several numbers of new books, in the English tongue, (more than forty,) containing the occurrences in the wars between the king of Sweden and the Germans.  When he returned from his travels, Newspapers were very little known in this country.  They had first appeared in the reign of Elizabeth, under the sage direction of Burleigh; but they were published only occasionally, and were all extraordinary gazettes.  They appeared frequently about the time of the armada, and are supposed to have then answered very important purposes.  Being no longer deemed necessary when that danger was past, they were discontinued.  The public curiosity having been much gratified by these publications, the people would be no longer satisfied without a newspaper.  It was therefore not long before publications of that kind began to make their appearance.  They were at first occasional, and afterwards weekly.  “Nathaniel Butter, at the Pyde-Bull, St. Augustin’s gate,” established a weekly newspaper, in August 1622, entitled “The certain news of the present week.”  How long he continued his hebdomadal intelligences does not appear.  He is said p. 988to have laid little before his readers, which could enlarge knowledge, or excite risibility; though his battles may have surprised and elevated, and his sieges may have alternately agitated the hopes and fears of his countrymen.  He had, however, competitors and imitators.  In February 1635–6 was first published a fresh paper of Weekly Newes.  The foreign intelligence of May 22, was conveyed in number 13.  This too was a small quarto of 14 pages; and it was printed in London, for Mercurius Britannicus; which proves sufficiently that that well known title had a more early origin than has been generally supposed.  Similar papers were continued, though they assumed different names.  Butter, who appears to have been the most active and enterprising newsmonger of his time, was influenced by his interest to tell—

“News, old news, and such news as you never heard of.”

He was thus induced to convert his Weekly News into half-yearly news, (two of which making a kind of annual register) which shews that he was a person of no common enterprize.  In order to insure success to so novel an undertaking, an able compiler seemed absolutely necessary; and Butter very judiciously fixed upon Watts for that department.  He accordingly complied with the projector’s proposal, and so became the precursor of Johnson, Burke, Kippis, Southey, and the rest of our distinguished literary characters, who have been since employed in similar departments.  How long he continued thus employed we have not been able to discover; but it is probably it might be till near the p. 989commencement of the civil wars: and as he was likely to have distinguished himself, in the mean time, as a warm, and perhaps violent advocate for the measures of the court, it may in some measure account for the hardship and severity which he and his family afterwards experienced from the opposite party, by the hands of the sequestrators.  Be that as it might, William Watts was certainly a person so distinguished in his day, as to deserve to have his name preserved among the most eminent characters that sprung up here during the period we are now reviewing.

2.  John Arrowsmith M.A. Fellow of Catherine Hall, in Cambridge, afterwards D.D., Master of St. John’s College, and member of the Westminster Assembly of Divines.  Where he was born we have not been able to learn; but he came to this town about Michaelmas 1630, being then chosen minister of St. Nicholas’ chapel, in which capacity he continued during the whole time of his residence here, which was fourteen years.  The town allowed him a salary of 100l. a year, which must have been equal to 6 or 700l. of our money.  He was also allowed a house to live in, or 5l. a year in lieu of it, which would pay a house-rent now of between 30 and 40l. a year.  It appears that he was treated here, during the whole of his residence, with singular and universal respect; from which it may be inferred that he came well recommended, conducted himself with great prudence and propriety, and that his ministerial labours were highly acceptable.  Yet Arrowsmith evidently belonged to the puritans, a party p. 990for which Lynn was never understood to entertain any particular predilection.  How far his ministry contributed to prepare the town for the new order of things which took place in consequence of the siege, and with which the generality of the inhabitants appeared very compliable, we have not the means of ascertaining.  But whatever might be the political tendency of his public labours here, their being highly acceptable to his hearers seems very clear and undeniable.  For though he and the principal cotemporary minister of St. Margaret’s had several assistants, [990a] who performed the parts assigned to them on Sundays and week days with good acceptance, yet the present writer has in his hands sufficient documents [990b] to prove p. 991that he stood above them all in the public estimation.  It is therefore presumed that we are fully warranted in placing him among the most eminent of the inhabitants p. 992of this town during the said period.  The historian Neal speaks of him as a person “of unexceptionable character for learning and piety;” and further says, that “he was an accute disputant, and a judicious divine, as appears by his Tactica Sacra, a book of great reputation in those times.”  He died before the restoration, and therefore his name does not appear in Calamy and Rastrick’s lists of ejected ministers.

Before we take our final leave of Dr. Arrowsmith, it may not be improper to apprize the reader of two persons p. 993whom the town successively fixed upon to occupy the vacant place of principal minister of St. Nicholas, immediately previous to their making choice of him.  These, as appears to the present writer, were no other than the two Goodwins, Thomas and John, who became so famous and distinguished afterwards among the English nonconformists.  In a document or record above alluded to, and extracted probably from the Hall-Books, the following passage occurs.—“1629, 12 June; Mr. Mayor and Mr. Tho. Gurlyn, aldn. travel to Cambridge to move Mr. Tho. Goodwin A.M. to come hither to (be) preacher in ys town, and Mr. M. A. CC elected sd.  Mr. G. if he will accept thereof.”  But he did not accept of their invitation, owing probably to his having been previously chosen lecturer of Trinity church in Cambridge, of which he afterwards became vicar. [993]

Having failed in their application to him, their next choice fell on John Goodwin, afterwards, if we are not mistaken, the noted minister of Coleman street, and the far-famed champion of arminianism and republicanism.  He also was a Cambridge man, and had been Fellow of Queen’s College ever since 1617.  He and Tho. Goodwin were both Norfolk men, and also near relations, if the present writer is not misinformed.  But surely no two p. 994relations—not even Herbert Marsh and William Frend, could be more unlike one another.  Thomas was a high supralapsarian Calvinist, and, of course, mortally hated Arminianism: John, on the other hand, was a decided Arminian, and one of its most redoubtable champions; and therefore held Calvinism in the utmost abhorrence.  His firm and successful opposition to that system is said to have saved him at the restoration from utter ruin, in which his antimonarchical and republican productions would have inevitably involved him, when one or more of his books, together with some of Milton’s, were burnt by the common hangman:—a poor way, by the bye, to refute their contents, or arguments.

3.  John Goodwin when invited to Lynn held the living of Rainham in the same county: yet he accepted that invitation, took up his residence here, and became the successor of Mr. Nic. Price, as chief minister of St. Nicholas’ chapel.  But his settlement here was not long, scarcely exceeding one year; for he was chosen July 31. 1629—acceded to that choice on the 10th of the next month, and within a year, or very little more, from that period, he was, as the MS. says, inhibited for preaching here, [by the bishop we presume; but on what account does not appear;] and Dr. Arrowsmith was appointed to succeed him, at the michaelmas following, i.e. 1630, for further particulars concerning him, the reader is referred to the historians of the succeeding period, and to our general biographers. [994]  With all his singularities p. 995and imperfections, he must have been in his day a very considerable and highly distinguished character.

4.  John Horne—was another of our townsmen of former times, whose name deserves to be rescued from oblivion, and retained in the memory of the inhabitants.  He was born at Long Sutton, Lincolnshire, in 1615; and educated at Trinity College in Cambridge, where he had Henry Hall B.D. for his tutor.  He probably went into orders before 1640; and we are told that he preached first at Sutton St. James, in his native neighbourhood.  It has been also supposed that he had afterwards a curacy at or near Bullingbrook, in the same county, and it seems somewhat probable that he married during his residence at that place. [995]  Be that as p. 996it might, it is certain that his stay there was not very long, for he took up his residence at Lynn in 1646, [996] where he continued ever after to the day of his death, p. 997which was full thirty years.  His coming hither was in consequence of having obtained the living or vicarage of Allhallows, or All-saints, in South Lynn, where he succeeded Mr. John Man, whom we noticed before, at p. 702 of this work, and who had resided here, first as usher, then master of the Grammar School, and afterwards as vicar of South Lynn, for the long space of between 50 and 60 years. [997a]

Having obtained the vicarage of South Lynn Allhallows, in 1646, Mr. H. continued in the faithful and diligent discharge of his duty there till 1662, when the act of uniformity, which took effect on Bartholomew day that year, [997b] rendered his situation there no longer tenable.  He was then ejected from his vicarage of Allhallows in this town, as were also above 2000 worthy clergymen in different parts of the kingdom, to the great discouragement of integrity and piety, and the eternal disgrace of the rulers in church and state.  A very respectable biographer and memorialist speaks of Mr. Horne as follows—“He was an Arminian in the point of redemption, and contended earnestly for the universality p. 998of it; but did not either believe or teach, that men may therefore live as they list, because Christ died for them; but taught that Christ therefore ‘died for all, that they which live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto him that died for them and rose again.’ 2 Cor. v. 14, 15.  He was a man of most exemplary and primitive piety, and blameless conversation; very ready in the scriptures; excellently skilled in the oriental tongues, and very laborious in his private capacity after he was cast out of his living.  He went constantly to church, and yet preached thrice at his own house every Lord’s day; first, in the morning before sermon; then after dinner, before church-time; and again in the evening.  On the other days of the week, beside lecture-sermons, he constantly expounded the scriptures in order twice a day, to all that would come to hear him, as some always did. [998]  He was a man of great charity, commonly emptying his pocket of what money he had in it amongst the poor, when he went into the town.  He was of great compassion and tenderheartedness towards such as were in any affliction; a man of wonderfull meekness, patience, and dispassionateness; and was generally very much honoured and esteemed for his goodness, both in town and country.”  We need no further proof of his being held here in high and general esteem, than that he was suffered to live in the town, and exercise his ministry, for the whole fourteen years he resided here after his ejection, and which was perhaps the very worst p. 999part of the persecuting and detestable reign of Charles II.  Some old people used to say some years ago, that his lecturing or preaching place was in some obscure alley about Black-goose Street.  However that was, Mr. Horne may justly be considered as the father of the Lynn Dissenters: nor need they be ashamed to own him as such.  Beside his other labours, which were so very abundant, his labours as a writer were by no means inconsiderable.  Mr. Palmer has preserved the titles of near thirty publications, of different sizes, of which he was the author; [999] which shews how active he was in employing his pen, as well as his tongue, in promoting what he deemed useful and profitable instruction.  On the whole, it may be pretty safely concluded that such a union of laboriousness, conscientiousness, and piety, as appeared in the person of Mr. Horne, was scarce ever witnessed in any minister of this town, either before or since his time.  His memory therefore ought to be very highly honoured.  He died here on the 14th of December 1676, aged 61.  His wife survived him near ten years.  She died May 24. 1686, aged 73.  p. 1000What family they had we are unable to say.  One Son, named Thomas, died about two years before the father, at the age of 28: and we are inclined to think there was another son, of both the father’s names, who long survived his parents, and that this son was no other than the afterwards famous master of the Lynn grammar school, who may be justly called the Dr. Busby of this town.  That he exercised over his pupils so severe a discipline as that of the celebrated master of Westminster School, is what we will not take upon us to affirm—nor yet that he educated an equal number of eminent men; but in the assiduity with which he executed his charge there must have been a strong resemblance, and especially in the length of time he continued at the head of his seminary, for he held the mastership of the Lynn grammar school upwards of fifty years.  He must therefore have been notable and eminent in his day among the inhabitants of this town.  On which account, whether he was the son of the former John Horne, or not, he is entitled to some notice in the present list.

5.  John Horne junr. A.M. (of the University of Cambridge, as it is supposed) was born in 1644.  So that in case he was the son of the former, he must have been born about two years before his father settled in this town, which will very well agree with the former supposition, of his being previously married, while he resided at, or near Bullingbrook.  After he left the university, the subject of the present article was for some time usher of the Grammar School at Norwich, p. 1001whence he was invited to become master of that at Lynn.  This was in 1678: whereupon he removed hither, and continued at the head of this school above 50 years; so that it may pretty safely be concluded that he educated a far greater number of pupils than any other master in this town.  He died in 1732. aged 88, and was buried in St. Nicholas’ chapel, close to the grave of the other John Horne; which, together with his refraining from going into orders, may corroborate the opinion of his being the son of that worthy and memorable man. [1001a]  However that was, he appears to have been a person of a very respectable character, who faithfully served his generation, and deserved well of his cotemporaries and of posterity; [1001b] which, it is to be feared, is more than can be said of all, or every one of his successors.

6.  Charles Phelpes.  In point of time he ought to have been placed before the last, being his senior, by near twenty years.  But as the former was supposed to be the son of the preceding, it was thought proper to let his name immediately follow.  The subject of this article, if not a relation, was yet an intimate friend of the elder Horne, and perhaps an occasional assistant to him in the ministry; but of this there is no clear proof.  Nor is it at all certain that he afterwards ever p. 1002officiated in the congregation as a public teacher. [1002a]  All we know of him is, that he was a person eminently distinguished here in his day for his religious knowledge, his benevolence, and his piety, which he strove unweariedly to promote by his example, his conversation, and his writings. [1002b]  In short, he was a blessing to the town, and one of that sort of men that may not improperly be called the “salt of the earth,” to whose benevolent and pious exertions we owe almost every thing truly good and valuable that is to be found amongst us.  He was therefore clearly entitled to a place in this list, or biographical sketch.  He died on 3rd of January 1711 in the 85th. year of his age, as we learn from his grave stone to St. Nicholas’ Church yard, over against the great South door, where it is said, and said truly no doubt, that he was “a person of exemplary piety and goodness.”  We have heard that he was great uncle to the late vicar of South Lynn of the same name, who, though of inferior worth, was yet far from being one of the worst sort of clergymen.

p. 10037.  Guybon Goddard.  We hear of him first as Deputy Recorder of this borough, in 1645, under the memorable Miles Corbet, who had been chosen Recorder the preceding year.  Goddard continued his deputy till 1650, or rather till the beginning of the ensuing year, when he succeeded to the recordership, as appears from the following passage in the Hall-books.  “Jan. 31. 1650, 51; This day Mr. Mayor and aldermen have elected and chosen in the place of Miles Corbet, Esq. (called by the Parliament to the service of Ireland) Guybon Goddard Esq. Recorder, provided always, that he, accepting of the place, shall come and inhabit in this town, for the better assistance of the succeeding mayors with his advice and councell.”  It may be supposed that he took up his residence here accordingly.  However that might be, it seems he retained the place over after, and executed the duties, attached to it with much credit to himself, and to the satisfaction of the body corporate and the rest the community.  He was doubtless very good lawyer, but more distinguished perhaps as an antiquary, to which pursuit he was much devoted, in which his acquirements we supposed to have been very considerable.  His brother-in-law, Sir William Dugdale, and Parkin also, make honourable mention of his antiquarian attainments, [1003] and is such a case they p. 1004must have been very competent judges.  To archaiological objects in the adjacent and surrounding country he paid much attention, and still more to those that appertained to this town, his collection for a history of which is supposed to have been very complete, and excited for a long while very high expectation among his cotemporaries.  But they were all sadly disappointed; for it was never suffered to see the light: and though the corporation, after his decease, endeavoured to procure it from his son, and offered for it what must have been at that time a handsome gratuity; yet it does not appear that they were able to obtain it.  What became of it afterwards no one can tell: but it is most probable that it has long ago been irretrievably lost.  Had it been preserved, and fallen into the present writer’s hands, it might (as was hinted at p. 821,) have rendered this work far more worthy than it now is of the public patronage.  In Parkin’s History of Freebridge (p. 293,) the death of Goddard is placed in 1671, which we suspect to be a mistake for 1677, as the application to his son was made about the beginning of the next year; and it is not likely it would have been deferred for so long a time as seven years.  However that was Guybon Goddard seems clearly entitled to have his name enrolled among the memorable men of Lynn.

8.  William Falkner, D.D.—He came to this town in 1658, recommended by Dr. Arrowsmith and Dr. Tuckney, and was engaged as an assistant to Mr. Hoogan, p. 1005who had succeeded Dr. A. as senior or principal minister of St. Nicholas’ Chapel.  Falkner was then Fellow of Peter-house in Cambridge; so that there is no reason to suppose him the same as that William Falconer, M.A. of Aberdeen, whom, according to Granger, Wood in his Fasti mentions, under 1671, as incorporated into the University of Oxford, and one of the first exhibitioners at Baliol College.  At the death or removal of Mr. Hoogan, F. appears to have succeeded him as chief minister, and in that situation he is supposed to have continued ever after; though, considering the prominent appearance he made among his brethren, it is not likely that he was left without other preferments.  His residence here was about 24 years.  He died April, 9. 1682: nor does it appear that he was then an old man; about 50, perhaps, or very little more.  We have not been able to learn the character of his public ministry and pastoral labours, or how far he therein resembled Horne, or Arrowsmith.  But, as a scholar and writer, he must have stood high among the Lynn clergy, and even among those of the whole diocese; for he was very learned, and his writings for the most part, were well calculated to render him famous among his brethren, and gain him the approbation and applause of the highest dignitaries of the church, and the chief functionaries of the state, or civil government.  For passive obedience and non-resistance, and the whole tory system, then the darling doctrine of the clergy and the court, he was a warm and able advocate.  Nor was he less so for the church of England, against the Romanists, on the one hand, p. 1006and our protestant sectaries, on the other.  How he would have stood, had he lived a few years longer, or till the eve of the revolution, it is impossible to say.  But it is certain that many, who were to the full as torified as he in the reign of Charles, changed their minds and their tones greatly during that of his successor, so as to caress as friends and brethren, those very sectaries and schismatics, as they used to call them, whom they had before endeavoured with all their might to distress and crush.  That Dr. F. would have done the same, had he lived so long, is more than we are warranted to affirm, through we would fain hope that such would have been the case.—Among the books of which he was the author were several pieces of divinity, which first perhaps appeared separately, but were in 1684, two years after his death, printed together in a quarto volume.  As it has never fallen in our way, we can say nothing of its merits.  But his principal publications seem to be the following; 1. Libertas Ecclesiastica, an english octavo volume, published in 1674, and spoken of, by Granger, as a book of merit.  2. A vindication of Liturgies, or set forms of prayer: printed in London in 1680.  This was animadverted upon and answered by the memorable Dr. Collinges of Norwich, an eminent ejected Minister, first in a piece entitled, “A reasonable account of the judgment of nonconforming ministers, as to prescribed forms of prayer; with a supplement in Answer to Dr. Falkner of Liturgies;” and afterwards in another piece, entitled, “The vindication of Liturgies, lately published by Dr. Falkner, proved no vindication, &c.”  3. Christian Loyalty: or a p. 1007discourse, wherein is asserted that just Royal Authority and Eminency which in this Church and Realm of England is yielded to the KING.  Especially concerning supremacy in Causes Ecclesiastical.  Together with the disclaiming of all Foreign Jurisdictions and the unlawfulness of Subjects TAKING ARMS against the King.  This is a most notable production, and it seems not a little unaccountable that it did not immediately procure him a mitre.  It is much in the way of Sir Robert Filmer, and the rest of our great Tory-writers, and scarcely inferior to the very best of them.  It was printed in London in 1679, and again, it seems, in 1684, which shews that it was well approved of and sought for.  Dr. Falkner dying, as was said, in 1682, was succeeded at St. Nicholas’ by a Mr. Killeingbeck, of whom we have heard nothing further.

Section XI.

Biographical Sketches continued—Littel—Pyle—Hepburn—Rastrick—Browne—Keene—&c.

9.  Thomas Littel, D.D.  He is supposed to have settled here, as one of our officiating clergy, pretty soon after the revolution; but whether as vicar and principal minister of the town, or as Lecturer, or in p. 1008an inferior station as the Vicar’s curate, we cannot positively say.  It is certain however that he soon succeeded as vicar or chief minister of the town, and continued in that situation for a great many years.  Though a Doctor in Divinity, he is supposed not to have stood high among his brethren and contemporaries as a scholar, a preacher, or as a divine; but there were traits in his character that were of no unamiable cast, especially in regard to his attention to the edification of the common people.  In more recent times he would probably have been deemed a methodistical clergyman, which is not mentioned here as dishonourable to his memory, but rather the contrary, as it is the opinion of the present writer, that if a reasonable portion of methodism were imbibed by the clergy, it would render their ministry more popular, and prove of material advantage to the lower orders of their auditors.  In Dr. Littel’s time, a great many of his hearers, of the poorer classes, as it would seem, became desirous of improving themselves in religious knowledge; and the course that appeared to them most likely, or the best for attaining that object was to establish private meetings for free discussion, or serious conference.  Whether they had been led to this from something of the kind that existed among their dissenting neighbours here, we are not able to say; but it is certain that such exercises are much more common among dissenters than among churchmen.  However that was, it seems they were not disposed to put the plan in practice without consulting Dr. Littel, who was then vicar of St. Margaret’s and chief minister of the town: and it does not appear that p. 1009he urged any material objection, or gave them any serious discouragement.  But he was aware that it would not be safe or proper for him to countenance such a measure without the privity and permission of his diocesan.  He accordingly applied to Dr. Moore, who then filled the see of Norwich, and who, in his answer, dated September 10. 1697, appeared no way hostile to the measure, provided it were properly conducted; though he said, however friendly he might be to the design, yet he did not find he had any power by law to constitute and authorize such assemblies.  Nevertheless he consented to allow the experiment to be here tried, under certain regulations.  This episcopal letter is on the whole a very curious document, and not dishonourable to his lordship’s memory; but it is too long for insertion here.  He cautioned them to avoid all discussions about state affairs, and whatever might tend to give umbrage to government; and he advised them to meet in small rather than large companies: which advice was probably adhered to.  However that was, the intended measure was soon put in practice.  For six or seven years the meetings seem to have been kept in private houses, under certain general regulations.  But in 1704 the plan was further matured, new rules of conference were drawn up, [1010] p. 1010and the meetings afterwards were generally if not constantly kept in the Vestry of St. Margaret’s Church, till the death of Dr. Littel, which happened in 1732.  p. 1011The Society then languished and dwindled away, so that in the year 1744 it was reduced to six members, whose names were Colins Banister, James Cowell, Joshua Edwards p. 1012senr. Adam Holditch, John Lee, and William Rayns: It appears to have been dissolved soon after, having existed about fifty years; and for a long time no memorial of it remained, except in some old papers which fell into the present writer’s hands accidentally.  This Society had formed a library, a catalogue of which it also in this writer’s possession.  What became of the books at last, does not appear.  We know of nothing more creditable to the memory of Dr Littel, than the countenance he afforded to those serious people.  It is supposed that his successor in the Vicarage of St. Margaret did not also succeed him as the patron of this Institution.

10.  Thomas Pyle M.A.  Of the birth-place and the early part of the life of the rev. T. Pyle, whose name is still mentioned with veneration by the few who remember him as a preacher, we have not been able to obtain any account.  So rapid is the neglect or the forgetfulness of oral tradition!  From his epitaph we learn indeed that he was born in 1674.  About the year 1698, he was examined for ordination, at Norwich, by the celebrated and truly honest William Whiston, at that time chaplain to bishop Moore, who has stated in the interesting Memoirs of his Life, that Dr. Sydal and Mr. Pyle were the best scholars among the many candidates whom it was his office to examine.  It is probable that he was ordained upon the title of one of the curacies of St Margaret’s parish, as he married, in p. 10131701, a Mrs Mary Rolfe of an affluent and respectable family in Lynn, and in the same year he was appointed by the Corporation to be minister or preacher of St. Nicholas’ Chapel.  He published some political Sermons in the years 1706, 1707. and especially in the year 1715.  In these discourses he vindicated and enforced those principles to which we are indebted for the expulsion of the Stuarts, and for the elevation of the Brunswick family to the throne.  About the same period he became generally known as the author of a very useful Paraphrase on the Historical Books of the Old Testament, and another on the Acts, the Epistles and the Revelation of the New Testament.  Soon afterwards he enlisted himself as a writer in the Bangorian Controversy, and was a strenuous and able advocate of the civil and religious principles of Bp. Hoadly.  He appears to have been on terms of particular friendship with some of the greatest and best men in the Church of England, such as Dr. Sam. Clarke, Mr. Jackson of Leicester, Dr. Sykes, Bp. Hoadly, Dr. Herring, afterwards abp. of Canterbury; and equally so with some eminent dissenting ministers, particularly Dr. Sam. Chandler and Mr. Rastrick of Lynn.  Many years after his death his youngest son, the rev. Philip Pyle, published several volumes of his “Sermons on plain and practical Subjects.”  His writings are characterised by a perspicuity and manly sense, rather than by any elevation of style, or by a graceful negligence; and yet in the delivery of his sermons, so impressive was his elocution, that both in the metropolis and in the country, he was one of the most admired p. 1014preachers of his time.  The flowing lines were sent to him on his Sermon preached at Lincoln’s Inn, May 4th. 1735, on Gen. III, 19.

What sounds are these!  What energy divine,
What master-strokes in every precept shine!
While from thy lips the warm expression breaks,
What heart but melteth as the preacher speaks!
Thy voice is nature, and thy diction clear,
It strikes like music on the listening ear.
—“Vain foolish man to murmur at thy fate,
The bounteous hand of heaven still leaves thee great;
Still makes thee first of beings here below,
Still gives thee more of happiness than woe.
To lazy indolence this world may seem
A barron wilderness; an idle dream;
Thistles and brambles to the slothful eye,
But roses to the hand of industry.
’Tis sordid avaries, with her sneaking train,
Ambition, who torments herself in vain,
Th’ unnumbered lusts that prey upon the mind,
Fix the primeval curse on human kind.
By their brow’s sweat their bread the labourers earn,
But then no passions in their bosoms burn:
Soon as the evening shade the day-light close,
Unbroken slumbers crown their soft repose;
And when the morning dawn salutes their eyes,
Anteus-like, with double vigour rise.
No stings of conscience! no remorse from sin!
They feel the noblest paradise within;
Content serene, that sunshine of the soul,
With her warm beam invigorates the whole;
Her blossom, health! her fruit, untainted joy!
Nor pain nor death her relish can destroy;
In unpolluted streams her pleasures flow,
No weedy passions in her bosom grow.”
—Thus faintly have I sketch’d thy glorious plan;
Which fills, improves, adorns the inward man.
Still urge thy generous task, to cleanse the mind,
Till from the dregs of passion ’tis refin’d;
To prune each vice, each folly of the age,
Each wild excrescence of this earthly stage.
Tho’ old in goodness, to the world resign’d,
Still want thy heaven to give it to mankind.
p. 1015Religion’s friend! and virtue’s strongest guard!
That heaven alone such merit can reward,
Its joys approach no tongue but thine can tell;
Doubt not to taste what thou describ’st so well.

With such talents, and with such connections, it cannot easily be accounted for, that Mr. Pyle should remain during so long a life in a situation of comparative obscurity.  Sir Robert Walpole was the member for Lynn; and both the political and religious opinions of Mr. Pyle were calculated to recommend him to queen Caroline, who then impartially dispensed the dignities of the Church.  Perhaps the spirit of the man was not thought sufficiently accommodating for an introduction to a court; or, like the late Dr. Ogden of Cambridge, from some deficiency of external polish, he might be deemed not producible.  A passage in Abp. Herring’s Correspondence with Mr. Duncombe seems to be decisive on this point.  “Tom Pyle is a learned and worthy, as well as a lively and entertaining man.  To be sure his success has not been equal to his merit, which yet, perhaps, is in some measure owing to himself; for that very impetuosity of spirit, which, under proper government, renders him the agreeable creature he is, has, in some circumstances of life, got the better of him, and hurt his views.” [1015a]  From whatever cause, p. 1016with the exception of a Prebend of Salisbury, which he received from Bp. Hoadly, he was only in succession Lecturer and Minister of Lynn St. Margaret, and vicar of Lynn All-saints—all truly but a poor and paltry pittance for such a man, and from a church which had such immense abundance of good things to bestow; most of which too were actually bestowed on far unworthier objects.—The following Letters which passed between Mr. Pyle and Abp. Herring are highly characteristic and interesting.

“My Lord,

In the universal acclamation of joy for your Grace’s promotion to the Primacy of all England, may the feeble voice of an old man be heard, the short remainder of whose life, will pass off with a pleasure that nothing could have given, but seeing at the head of the Church, a Prelate so affectionately attached to the interests of Truth, Virtue, and Liberty.

I am, my Lord, your Grace’s most dutiful Servant.
Tho: Pyle.”

 

p. 1017“Dear Sir,

Your kind wishes for me give me spirit, and make my heart glad, for in good faith, I have been teazed and terrified with this exaltation; and thus much I will venture to say for myself, it sha’nt make me proud, it sha’nt make me covetous, it sha’nt make me ungrateful or unmindful of my Friends, but it frights me, and I fear has robbed me of the most precious thing in life, which is Liberty, but I will assert as much of it as I can, and not be for ever bound to the trammels of a long tail and ceremony, which my soul abhors.

I saw S—. Ch—r the other day.  I really affect and honour the man, and wish with all my soul that the Church of England had him, for his spirit and learning are certainly of the first class; and I regard him the more because he resembles you and your manner.  You talk of age and all that, but if I may judge from your letter, your eyes are good, your hand is steady, and I am sure your heart is warm for your friends, and those good things you mention, Truth, and Virtue, and Liberty, but that sort of warmth will certainly go to the grave with you and beyond it.

I am, Dear Sir, your affectionate Friend,
Tho: Cantuar.” [1017]

Kensington. 17. Dec. 1747.

p. 1018From the part which Mr. P. took in the Bangorian Controversy, and the terms of particular friendship on which he was known to live with Bp. Hoadly, we may be very sure that there subsisted between them a frequent correspondence.  Copies of two of the letters that passed between them are now in the hands of the present writer.  He has no reason to suppose that they ever have been published, or are likely to be so, unless they appear on this occasion.  Thinking it highly probable that a sight of them cannot fail of gratifying many of his readers, he takes the liberty without further ceremony to introduce them in this place; not at all apprehensive that their contents will any way disparage the memory of either of the memorable personages by whom they were originally written,

“My Lord,

You may remember that when by your kind aid the affair of M—m was concluded in my Son’s favour, I presented p. 1019my humble (and said it should be my last) petition to you, begging of you to be pleased to bestow on him a living that might consist with M—m, and that you were so good as to promise to give him any living you had not then engaged to dispose of otherways.—An incident has lately arisen of such a nature, as, I am sure will excuse my repeating the above-named request to your Lordship, with the utmost earnestness.—My Lord, Mrs. Bilk the D. of N—ch’s W. with her husband’s good liking, and out of the esteem she has long had for me and mine, and especially for my son Ph—. has been pleased to propose him as a H. for her niece, the only child of Mr. Arrowsmith: such a proposal from one who can and will make a considerable addition to the very good fortune that the young lady’s father can give her, is a great proof of her esteem for my son, who has been much with her from his childhood: and what she requires on my part is that I use my interest in your lordship, and mention her as joining with me to beg of you to confer a handsome living on my Son.  This will crown all the instances of your beneficence towards me.—I want words to express the joy with which a happy success in this affair would carry me thro’ the small remainder of my life, and make me yield it up to its bounteous Author; or to describe the tearing anxiety that would accompany a disappointment from your refusing what I humbly ask.—Wherefore I beg of your lordship to make me feel the beginning of that satisfaction I have already in view by such a reply to this petition as may be pleasing to the excellent friends I am herein concerned with, and so highly obliged to, and to the heart of an old servant who has loved you all his life, and served you as well as he could (would to God it had been better) & will love you till death and beyond it.  I am,

my Lord, yours &c.  T. P.”

 

“Dear Sir,

6. Feb. 1752,

You cannot rejoice more sincerely at any good that falls on any part of your family than I do: tho’ you may feel it more paternally.  In answer to what you propose, I first p. 1020say that I was 75 years old on the 14th of last November.  What may happen God only knows.  But if it shd be both physically and morally in my power to serve your Son, you may depend upon it without the force of the strong expression you make use of.  For my own inclination will in such case do it.  And the regard I have for the D. of N—ch (and his lady, tho’ unknown, only by report) and for Mr. Arrowsmith, to whose faithful services and exemplary behaviour I was long ago a witness at Stretham, will not at all abate but increase the inclination.  I cannot suppose that by what you say you can mean such a living as would make void M—lksham which your son told me was worth 250l. per ann. for that would be to [1020] . . . entirety a valuable living very hardly obtained; but one that would be an handsome addition to his income.  And this must be one within the canonical distance.  Nor do I suppose that the chapter of Salisbury will ever enter into measures for an exchange of Mlkshm &c.  I wish you would tell me freely what you understand by an handsome living, assuring you of my sincere disposition to do any thing in my power agreeable to your own wishes.  I have without doubt several good livings in my patronage.  But you must remember that when you mentioned your request for your son Ph. first, I told you of engagements, and I now tell you that since that, I have not had one vacancy, as far as I can recollect, of a living in Wilts of about 130l. per annum.  I think myself obliged to speak plainly, that nothing may be expected from me that I cannot pretend to perform.  I have, and have had, for some years, two absolute engagements upon me for two of my best livings or such of a secondary sort as will be accepted of till better fall.  And I am very sure, you are not the man that would say a single word to me towards the immorality of falshood or breach of promise.  And I have the very same opinion of the goodness of heart of those worthy persons who have entered into this affair with you.  As to actual vacancies, it is our duty not to wish for any by death.  And they are very uncertain, p. 1021and improbable to happen during the remainder of my life, tho’ my health is surprisingly better than it was in my younger days.  With all these considerations of my age, and the precarious condition of all human affairs, if you will take my word, you will find me if alive, as sincere a Friend, as you yourself can wish to find.

Your affectionate &c.  B. W. [1021]

Mr. Pyle, as was said before, obtained the lectureship, and became the preacher at St. Nicholas’ chapel, and one of the ministers of the town in 1701.  In that situation he continued till 1732, when he succeeded Dr. Littel as vicar of St. Margaret’s.  This situation he held till 1755, being no longer capable of discharging the duties annexed to it.  He accordingly gave in his resignation, both to the Dean and Chapter of Norwich, and also to the Mayor and corporation of Lynn, early in the Summer of that year.  How his resignation to the former was worded we know not, but his resignation to the latter, of which we have obtained a p. 1022was expressed in the following words: and addressed to the elder Cary, then in the second year of his mayoralty.—

“Sir, A long decline of life, and absolute incapacity of attending on such a ministry as that of Lynn, calls upon me to resign it to some hands able in due manner to discharge it to the good-liking and satisfaction both of the Dean and Chapter of Norwich and of the mayor and corporation of Lynn.  But I cannot nor ought to do this, without paying my just and most grateful acknowledgements to yourself, Sir, with the former magistrates, and the rest of the gentlemen of your Body, for the favours they have, for a long tract of time conferred upon me, and in particular for their tender and generous indulgence towards me in these last years of my age and infirmities.  I request, Sir, you will please to make your hand the conveyor of this only return left in my power of thankfulness to them, accompanied with the sincerest wishes of every kind of good that can finish the welfare and prosperity of an ancient, generous, and loyal society; wishes from the heart of yours and theirs most affectionate humble Servant

Tho: Pyle.”

May 28th. 1755.

This Letter is supposed to have been dated from Swaffham, where, on account of its healthy situation, he resided the two last years of his life; and where, if we are not mistaken, he also died on the last day of the ensuing year.  He was buried in the Church of Lynn All-Saints, where a latin epitaph honourable to their memories, is inscribed on the stone that covers the p. 1023remains of him and his wife.  She died the 14th of March 1748, aged 66: and he died the 31st. of December 1756, aged 82.  This was 58 years after the commencement of his ministry.  He was succeeded in his pastoral charge at Lynn by the late Charles Bagge D.D. whose ministerial as well as literary character must have been widely different from his; and yet it does not seem to have made any mighty difference as to the audience, who, it is presumed, went on much as before, praising the successor in terms very similar to those they had been wont to apply to his predecessor.  Thus it often happens after the departure of eminent men, both in the church and in dissenting congregations.

11.  Edmund Pyle D.D. was the eldest Son of the former, and a native of this town.  In piety and inflexible integrity he is supposed to have been much inferior to his father; and the same was probably the case as to literary attainments, theological knowledge, critical skill, and ministerial talents: but he was certainly a man of no mean parts, as many of his letters that are still extant sufficiently evince.  He was educated at Cambridge.  When he went into orders, or where he officiated immediately after, does not appear; but in 1732, upon the death of Dr. Littel, and the appointment of his father to be his successor, he then succeeded to the vacant place, and became the lecturer, or assistant preacher and minister of this town; which situation he held till the year 1751, when he resigned in favour of the late Mr. Vann Eyre, and became chaplain p. 1024to Bp. Hoadly, and a Prebendary of Winchester.  After the Bp’s death, which happened in 1761, he is supposed to have resided during the remainder of his life at his prebendal house in that city, and to have died there in 1776.  At Lynn he was deemed proud and unsociable, which character he, probably, might deserve, for we have sufficient evidence that even the gentry of this town, for the most part at least, stood so very low in his estimation as not to deserve his associating, or holding any communication with them but what was unavoidable: which to be sure was not altogether commendable, considering that he stood to those very people in the relation or character of one of their pastors.  But it is certain that he could at times divest himself entirely of every appearance of superciliousness and reservedness, and behave towards those whom he esteemed in a very free, familiar, engaging and entertaining manner.  Of this his letters still extant are a very good proof, [1024] and the same is corroborated p. 1025by the testimony of some of his contemporaries who long survived him.  His two brothers, Thomas and p. 1026Philip, who were much younger than he and lived long after him, though not inferior to him in point of piety and moral worth, were yet thought to be much p. 1027so in point of acumen, or quickness of intellect, and literature.  They had also three sisters, all well spoken of, and that is supposed to have been all the family their father left.

p. 102812.  George Hepburn (or Hepborne) M.D.  He is supposed to have settled here about the commencement of the last century, as a physician; in which character he soon acquired high reputation, so as to be placed at the head of the profession in this part of the kingdom for near if not quite half a century.  He was the favourite physician of Sir Robert Walpole the then prime minster of this country, with whom he spent much of his time at his princely seat at Houghton: and he was also employed in the same capacity by the principal nobility and gentry of this county.  Very striking and diverting anecdotes are related of him during his long residence in these parts: but they are hardly proper to be inserted in the present memoir.  He was certainly a very eminent and distinguished physician.  p. 1029His posthumous fame is not yet extinguished, as he is still remembered and mentioned, with the utmost respect whenever the conversation leads to the recollection of our eminent men of the last century.  His reputation in the latter part of his life was become so very considerable that he was seldom to be found at home, being almost always attending one or other of the great families in the country.  The town-practice consequently devolved upon the two other physicians, Browne and Lidderdale, both of whom were skilful and judicious practitioners.  But as he lived to a very advanced age, it so happened that his eye sight gradually failed, and he became quite blind some years before he died.  Having a large family to maintain, and being perhaps during his extensive practice not very economical, he would towards the close of life have been reduced to great difficulties, had it not been for two pensions which he then very seasonably obtained; one from George II, through the interest and friendship of Mr. Pelham, of 100l. a year; and the other from Dr. Maxwell, a rich relation of his own, of double that sum; which placed him above want, and rendered his situation tolerably easy and comfortable.  In Walpole’s life time, and during his long premiership, while Hepburn was at the height of his fame, and in extensive practice, there might be no obvious or urgent season for befriending him and making provision for him in a similar way; otherwise it cannot well be supposed that that minister would have neglected it.  But now the case was altered; the once celebrated and much sought physician was become old and blind, and no longer capable of following his profession, and gaining as theretofore p. 1030the means of supporting himself and family.  Something therefore was to be done for him, or he would sink into penury and want.  It has been reported that though his practice was extensive, yet his fees were but moderate, considering the length and expence of his journeys, with the great attendance often required by his patients.  So that his not dying wealthy was less owing to his improvidence and want of economy or frugality, than to the ungenerous and niggardly conduct of his patients or employers.  Correspondent with this is said to have been the experience of others of our physicians since his time, particularly the late Dr. Hamilton, who never could boast of the great liberality or munificence of our opulent families, altho’ he was for some time our only physician.  In short, this writer does not recollect having ever heard that any physician grew rich here by his practice, however extensive, unless it was Sir W. Browne, and it is generally understood and allowed that he really could do things which most other people could not.  Dr. Hepburn died in 1759, at the very advanced age of ninety.  He was a North Briton, as were also many, if not most of our eminent physicians.  We have not been able to ascertain in what part of North Britain he drew his first breath, but rather suppose it to have been in East Lothian, and at, or near Haddington. [1030]  Nor have we been able to discover at p. 1031what university he was educated, but think it most probable it was that of Edinburgh, where so many eminent men of the same profession have been since educated.  Dr. H. was twice married, first in 1693, to one of his own country-women, who died in 1707, aged 30.  There were several children by this marriage.  He afterwards married again, and his second wife was a Lynn woman.  By her also he had some children, two of whom at least survived him.  But they were remarkably and vastly inferior, in point of genius and capacity, or intellectual endowment, to those of the first marriage.  His eldest daughter married a Mr. Young, and was the mother of the late Miss or Mrs. Dorothy Young, a lady of distinguished intellectual and literary talents.  Another daughter became the wife of Dr. Lidderdale an eminent physician who settled here in the early part of George the second’s reign; and died here, in 1766, much regretted, as he is said to have stood high in the public estimation.  The other daughter by the first wife lived single; but was a very extraordinary character, and stood unrivalled all her life time among the wits of this town.  Her keen sayings, and stinging repartees p. 1032are still fresh in the recollection of her surviving cotemporaries.  Between her and her father’s daughters by his last wife there was a most striking and humiliating contrast: they being but little distant from idiocy.

13.  William Browne M.D. afterwards Sir William Browne, Knight, F.R.S. and President of the Royal College of Physicians.  Though he has been already noticed repeatedly in the course of this work, yet as he made so conspicuous a figure here in his day, and our materials relating to him not being yet exhausted, he seems justly entitled to a place among these biographical sketches.  He was born about the beginning of the year 1692.  The place of his birth we have not been able to discover, but think it to be at some distance from this town.  We have understood that he was introduced here by the means and under the patronage of the Turner family, to which he became afterwards implacably hostile.  His settlement here must have taken place at an early period of his life; for his name was enrolled among our free burgesses in February 1718; which must have been some time, perhaps two or three years, after he had first taken up his residence here.  Yet he seems to have previously resided and graduated both at Cambridge and Oxford, for he denominated himself M.D. of both Universities.  However that was, he appears to have soon got on fast in the way of his vocation, so as to obtain a large share of popularity and practice, especially among the middling and lower orders of the community, which he is said to have turned to very good account.  And he is understood to have made much more of his p. 1033patients, in the pecuniary way, than Hepburn was able to make of his among the higher orders.  Having become the popular physician and favourite, or what we may call the man of the people, he grew quite regardless of the favour and good opinion of the gentry or higher classes.  As to the gentlemen of the corporation, he held them very cheap, and treated them at times with the utmost disdain, looking upon them as his inferiors, and taking precedence of the very mayor himself, which gave no small umbrage, as was observed before, at page 900.  This took place as early as the year 1723: and this hostility to the body corporate appears not to have undergone any abatement during the remainder of his residence here.—Before we proceed further we will beg leave here to subjoin the account given of him in the Encyclopedia Londinensis, the substance of which is as follows—

Browne (Sir William,) an eminent physician, settled originally at Lynn, where he practised with great success and profit.  Having acquired a competency by his profession, he removed to Queen Square, Ormond Street, London, where he resided till his death, which happened March 10, 1774, at the age of eighty two.  By his will he left two prize medals to be annually contended for by the Cambridge poets.  By his lady, who died July 25, 1763, in her 60th year, he had one daughter, mother to the present Sir Martin Browne Folkes, bart.  Sir William Browne was a very facetious man, and the active part taken by him in the contest with the licentiates, in 1768, occasioned his being brought on the p. 1034stage, in the farce of the Devil upon two Sticks.  Upon Foote’s exact representation, of him, in this farce, with his identical wig and coat, tail figure, and glass, stiffly applied to his eye, he sent him a card, complimenting him in having so happily represented him; but, as he had forgot his muff, he had sent him his own.  He used to frequent the annual ball at the ladies boarding school, Queen square, merely as a neighbour, a good natured man, and one fond of the company of sprightly young folkes.  A dignitary of the church being there one day to see his daughter dance, and finding this upright figure stationed there, told him he believed he was Hermippus ridivivus, who lived anhelitu puellarum, ‘by the breath of girls.’  At the age of eighty on St. Luke’s-day, 1771, he went to Batson’s coffee-house, in a richly laced coat, embroidered waistcoat and band, and fringed white gloves, to shew himself to Mr. Crosby then lord Mayor.  A gentleman present observing that he looked very well, he replied, “he had neither wife nor debts.”  When he lived at Lynn, an extremely censorious pamphlet was written against him, which he nailed up against his house door, for the gratification of all who chose to inspect it.  A great number of lively essays, both in prose and verse, the productions of his pen, were printed and circulated among his friends, Among those written during his stay in Lynn were, an Ode in imitation of Horace, ode 3, lib. iii, addressed to Sir R. Walpole, on his ceasing to be minister.  The Pill Plot; to Dr. Ward, a quack of merry memory, then in the town; written Nov. 30. 1734.  He also translated from the latin original, Dr. p. 1035Gregory’s Elements of Catoptrics and Dioptrics, to which he added 1. a method for finding the foci of all Specula, as well as the Lenses universally, as also magnifying or lessening a given object by a given speculum, or lens, in any assigned proportion.  2. a Solution of those Problems which Dr. Gregory has left undemonstrated.  3. a particular account of Microscopes and Telescopes, from Mr. Huygens; which was published at Lynn.  His other works are, 1. Opuscula varia utriusque Linguæ Medicinam, 4to 1765—2. a Farewell Oration, 1768, 4to—3. Fragmentum Isaaci Hawkins Browne completum, 1769, 4to—4. Appendix ad Opuscula; six odes, 1770, 4to—5. A proposal on our Coin, to remedy all present and prevent all future disorders 1774, 4to—6. A New years Gift, 1772—7. Corrections in verse, from the father of the College, 4to—8. Speech to the Royal Society, 1772—9. An Eulogy and address, 1773—10. a Latin version of Job, left unfinished, 4to.”

From the above sketch the reader will perceive that Sir William Browne was a person of no common cast, or ordinary genius.  Men of his sort are not to be seen every day: and when they do appear they are sure to attract observation, and are apt to make a stir wherever they happen to fix their residence.  Sir William was at the head of the party which opposed the ruling body here for most part of his long residence in this town: and he appears to have acted his part with no small skill and dexterity, and with considerable effect.  When the squabble assumed any thing of a literary aspect, p. 1036Dr. Pyle seems to have been his chief opponent.  At other times he had the whole corporate body at him, and it must be said that he generally defended himself and repelled the attacks of the whole host of those philistines very stoutly and successfully.  There is great reason to believe that the opposition which he and his friends so long maintained here, was often of real and not small service to the town.  At the contested election in, 1747, he bore a very conspicuous part, as appears from Dr. Pyle’s Letter already quoted.  The part he acted on that occasion is supposed to have laid the foundation of that intimacy between him and Mr. Folkes which issued in an alliance between the two families, by the marriage of that gentleman with Sir William’s only daughter and sole heiress.  The issue of that marriage is our present Sir Martin; and Sir Martin’s Lady is the daughter of that same Sir John Turner, between whom and Sir William Browne there was such inveterate and sworn enmity.  After the Church was rebuilt in 1747, great complaints were made of the unfair disposal of pews, &c. so as to exclude in a great measure the common people from the privilege of sitting within hearing of the minister.  Sir William was one of those who set their faces against this grievance.  How far he and his coadjutors succeeded in obtaining redress does not appear.  But whether they succeeded or not, the part they then acted was proper and praise-worthy.  Our worthy knight, no doubt, performed many other deeds that were equally commendable, and others, it seems, that were not so.  Among the leading traits of his character have been reckoned undaunted assurance p. 1037and consummate vanity. [1037]  He died at his house in Queen Square, whence his grandson, Sir Martin, had his remains brought down to Hillington, and there buried in the p. 1038family vault belonging to that gentleman’s ancestors.  His Epitaph, or monumental inscription he had prepared long before he died, and had an elegant engraving of it set up conspicuously in one of his own apartments.  It was in latin.  This writer has seen a transcript of it long ago, but has not been able to get a sight of it lately.  According to a rough draught of a translation of if, p. 1039which he has now before him, he understands that the beginning of it would read as follows, in English.—

“Sacred to the memory of Sir William Browne, knight, President of the Royal College of Physicians, London, and F.R.S. one who much pursued study and business, and by God’s help surmounted the knowledge of Physic; and every night and day, as his strength would allow, cheerful to give health to mankind.  Even that labour was pleasure to him.  Alas! to be beheld thus doing no more!  Yet asserting that he lived happily, well content, his time fulfilled; as a guest fill’d with life he departed, being a man who thought nothing belonging to mortals foreign from him.  He died the — day of — in the year — aged —.  He was born on the birth day of Cicero, the 3rd of January 1692—Country!  O be perpetual! and free!  Let my soul be with Christosophists, viz. with Newton, Boyle, Locke; far from mad-men, and from some sort of wisemen — — —” [1039]

p. 104014.  Thomas Lidderdale M.D.  He is said to have been an elegant and an accomplished scholar, as well as an excellent physician.  The land of his nativity, as well as that of Dr. Hepburn, was North Britain; and it appears that he was related to some of the first families in that country: and such was the respectability of his character after he removed to England, that he attracted the notice and obtained the friendship of some of the first personages in this kingdom.  He was born in 1709, and settled as a physician in this town about the year 1731, where he continued ever after to the day of his death, which happened in 1766.  As to his descent, we learn that he was the “second son of David Lidderdale of St. Mary’s Isle, by Eleonora the eldest daughter of Sir James Dunbar of Mochrum, bart. by Isabella, 2nd. daughter and coheiress of Sir Thomas Nicholson of Carnock, bart. and Lady Margaret, eldest daughter of Alexander 2nd earl of Linlithgow and Lady Mary Dowglass, daughter of William, tenth earl of Angus or Dowglass.”  This we have learnt from his Pedigree, which is now in the possession of a very respectable gentleman of this town, and which leads us back, by a long line of ancestry, through the Dunbars of Mochrum and Carnock, earls of Dunbar, of Murray, of March, heroes of the Holy War, earls and princes of Northumberland, kings of Scotland, &c. up even to the Saxon kings of England.  So that in this view it could be no disparagement to any family in England, or out of it, to cultivate the acquaintance or friendship of Dr. Lidderdale.  But it is certain that he derived far more real honour and dignity from his own personal worthiness, p. 1041or respectability of character, than he could possibly do from his whole long catalogue of illustrious ancestors: and that, no doubt, was what raised him so high in the estimation of his numerous acquaintance in this country.  Like other younger sons of respectable families, he appears not to have had much of this world’s goods bestowed on him by his father, beyond what was spent upon his education, which seems to have been excellent, from the high reputation he sustained as a scholar.  The rudiments of learning he is supposed to have received at one of the grammar-schools of his native country; at one of whose universities he probably spent sometime afterwards; but he finished his education, if we are not mistaken, at the university of Rheims in France, where he received the degree of M.D. which was also conferred upon him afterwards by the university of St. Andrews.  It is not very likely that he had begun to practise before he came to England; for he arrived in this town, and took up his residence here, as a physician, at the early age of twenty two.  His introduction here he probably owed to his countryman, Dr. Hepburn, who was then advancing in years, and on the verge of his grand climacteric, though he lived near thirty years after.  Our young physician soon attracted the notice and esteem of the enlightened and literary part of the public; and being patronized by Hepburn, he presently came into good practice; but like that of his patron, it seems to have been chiefly among those of the higher class.  It appears, from one of his letters, that he was employed by p. 1042the Townshend family from the very commencement of his practice; and of that family he is known to have retained the esteem and friendship to the very last.  The Walpoles, Cokes, and Bedingfelds, the Hares, the Hostes, and most of the great families in these parts were numbered among his friends.  With such high connections, it might be expected that he could not fail of being placed in easy, if not in affluent circumstances.  It did not however so turn out.  A sine cure office or place in the custom-house was all he obtained from the favour and affection, the interest and admiration of those honourable and noble personages, besides the fees of attendance in the way of his profession, which appear scarce ever to have corresponded with the length of his journeys, and the time he was often required to spend in attending upon his patients.  But many beside him have found the smiles of the great very unproductive of solid advantages.—About seven years after he had fixed his residence here, he married Miss Susan Hepburn, the third daughter, if we are not mistaken, of his great friend and patron, Dr. Hepburn.  He was then 29 years old, and the lady some few years older.  They lived together about 28 years, when he left her a widow with one daughter, said to have been an extremely amiable and accomplished lady, whom the mother long survived; one dying in 1787, and the other in 1796, at the very advanced age of 92.—How much the doctor felt the unproductiveness of his practice, and the scantiness of his income, some years before he died, and how anxiously he wished to better his condition and be placed in easy circumstances, will appear from the two p. 1043following Letters, one written to the right honourable Chas. Townshend, then secretary at war, and the other to general Townshend, afterwards Marquis Townshend.  The first was dated at Lynn Oct. 10, 1762, and worded as follows,

“Sir,

Having been now upwards of thirty years a Norfolk Physician; where my practice has been attended with greater reputation than self-interest or money; it is no small mortification at last to find myself totally neglected and forgotten, among the many promotions and medical preferments which have been made for sometime, and are still daily making—Greenwich Hospital, or some Almshouse, I had reason to believe was intended for me, but that is gone with other things—I now, Dear Sir, beg leave to throw myself at your feet to dispose of me as you think properest and best, whether in a Physical or Civil capacity, I entirely submit to your determination and pleasure.  Indeed I am almost worn out in the service of this county, and am no longer able to undergo the fatigue of winter journeys and slavery; neither is the practice of physic, or manner of residence in the country the same as when I had the honor of prescribing for your truly noble grand-father and his family at Rainham.—Your generous humanity, and known friendly disposition towards me, will I hope plead my excuse for the freedom of this Letter, and remind you of one who has long been, with the most cordial affection and fidelity, Dear Sir, Your most obedient and devoted humble Servant,

T. L.”

The other Letter was dated April 19th, 1763, and expressed thus,

“Dear General,

It gave me real concern that my health would not allow me to pay my personal respects at Cranmer, during your short stay in Norfolk—Indeed I have now too much reason p. 1044to fear that my constitution and age will not permit me long to undergo the fatigue and slavery of business in the country, where I have hitherto practised with more reputation than profit; I therefore hope you’ll pardon my present solicitation for some appointment (through your interest and favour) that may render life less laborious to myself, and not useless to my family.  Having upwards of thirty years disclaimed any application or pretensions but those of my connection, and long endeavoured to be serviceable in this county, I rely upon your friendship and favour to dispose of me as you shall think properest and best, without any particular attachment to the Profession of Physick, where so many, of a younger date and less service, have been put over my head.

I am, with the utmost regard,

Dear Sir, &c.

T. L.”

The former Letter was not the first the Dr. addressed to that correspondent on the same occasion.  We have seen the copy of another, of a prior date, which he wrote to him to the same effect.  But these applications or solicitations did not succeed.  The Townshends did nothing for him or his family in his lifetime, whatever they did afterwards, though nothing could exceed their professions of respect and esteem for him.  The place he got here in the customs was not obtained by their interest, but by that of Lord Orford and Sir John Turner: and he continued in vain to wish and hope for further preferment to his dying day.  But however unproductive his practice had been, and much as he had felt on that account, his death was said to be generally and deeply regretted; as appears from the following paragraph in the public papers of that time, drawn up, it seems, by a celebrated character, who was one of his warm admirers—

p. 1045“Lynn Regis Norfolk, April 18. 1766.  On Friday the 11th. instant died here extremely lamented by the whole county, Doctor Thomas Lidderdale, a physician no less eminent for his skill and happy penetration, than for his wit, learning, and probity.  His sudden sallies in conversation were so equally fortunate with his premeditation in prescribing, that his power over dulness, and disease, may be said to have been alike irresistable.”

Several Epitaphs, or monumental inscriptions, were also composed for him about the same time, some in latin and some in english, of which the following is one of the most remarkable.

“Sacred to the Memory
Of Thomas Lidderdale, a most eminent Physician,
in investigating the causes of diseases acutely sagacious,
in his practice as remarkably successful.
They to whom he restored health deservedly regret their loss,
The sick will wish, but wish in vain, for a physician
of equal abilities.
He possessed a vein of polite wit, and inoffensive humour,
ever flowing, ever new.
His sentiments, conversation, and actions were all
highly becoming a man of probity and a gentleman.
His Friendship, his Advice, his best services
were wanting to none.
With such sentiments, heightened by such an
amiably moral character, it is little to be wondered
that his life should be dear, and his death afflicting
to all.
If polite literature is held in deserved estimation by men,
If piety, and the duties of humanity are regarded by God,
To his memory will be paid lasting honours
on Earth,
To himself will be given eternal rewards
in Heaven.
He died the 11th. of April 1766 Æt. 57.”

Dr. Lidderdale could, as we have seen, boast not only of the professed esteem and friendship of the great, but, as was before hinted, could claim kindred with some of them, particularly the Stair family, to which he is said to have been very nearly related.  The following paragraph on the death of the great Lord Stair, being found among his papers, in his handwriting, was probably drawn up by him—

“Saturday May the 19th. 1747.  This night p. 1046died in the 78th year of his age, at his lodging in the Cannongate, the right honourable Field marshal Joan earl of Stair, one of the sixteen peers for Scotland, knight of the most ancient order of the Thistle, governor of Minorca, General of Marines, Colonel of the royal regiment of Scots Grey Dragoons, and one of his majesty’s most honourable Privy Council—A nobleman of the most rare abilities, being endowed with every virtue that could either accomplish the Statesman, or adorn the Warrior.—The Court of Versailles and States general will tell of his wisdom, and prudence, while the plains of Ramillies, Oudenard, Malplaquet, and Dettingen will continue lasting monuments of his bravery and conduct.  Where shall we begin his Encomium?  How equally qualified either for Camp or Court; how great without pride; now amiable without vanity; how just without rigour; how wise without arrogance, and bountiful without ostentation: supporting the highest dignities with decency, humanity, and moderation, only to be found among the truly great; being possessed of every talent which can render man great in himself, and beneficial to his friends and country.”

It is reported that Dr. Lidderdale had a genius for poetry, and would sometimes amuse himself in writing verses, and particularly epigrams, one of which is said to be the following—

“God and the Doctor men alike adore,
Just on the Brink of Danger—not before:
The Danger past, both are alike requited;
God is forgotten and the Doctor slighted.”

The following Copy of verses by the revd. Joseph Sympson, to the memory of Miss Lidderdale, whose excellent character has been already noticed, will not it is hoped be deemed an improper conclusion to this article.

In vain Maria, we the healing Art
Implor’d his balmy succours to impart:
The healing Art, despairing of his power
That well he knew diminish’d every hour,
With mournful visage from thy couch withdrew,
While hence to bliss thy gentle Spirit flew.
   And sure, meek Saint, the just decree of Heav’n
To thee no Indian Paradise has giv’n;
No verdant hill surrounded by the floods;
No flow’ry valley in the depth of woods;
Thou sought’st thy native place, the seats divine;
The native place of ev’ry soul like thine!
Had Angels on thy bosom fix’d their eyes
They ne’er had seen a faulty thought arise:
All there was guiltless as a Hermit’s dream,
p. 1047All mild as is the Sun’s departing beam:
No wayward passions with malignant strife
Disturb’d the peaceful current of thy life:
The soft affections, loving and belov’d
Alone its surface tremulously mov’d.
To live as Virtue bids is fame most high;
The second praise is virtuously to die;
And both to thee are due—as on the bed
Of tedious pain thou long reclin’d thy head,
Calm resignation ever smoothed thy face,
And unto sickness lent a languid grace;
While Hope and Faith, fair sister Seraphs near,
Still whisp’ring holy comfort in thine ear,
With radiant finger pointed out the way
That leads the good to everlasting day.
Tho’ thou among the bright ethereal choir
Again behold’st thy much regretted Sire,
No perfect bliss thy tender heart can know,
Reflecting pensive on thy Mother’s woe;
For ah! thy piercing glance still sees her mourn
In pious melancholy o’er thy urn,
Yet let not this invade thy breast with care;
For Hope and Faith, the same seraphic pair
That brought to all thy sufferings sweet relief,
Have stay’d below to mitigate her grief:
Ev’n now they kindly check the rising sigh
And close the opening sluices of her eye,
Nor will they quit her till from sorrow free,
She joins in Heav’n thy sainted Sire and thee.

We may here further observe, that among the friends and correspondents of Dr. Lidderdale are found the names of Dr. Heberden, Dr. R. Taylor, and Sir John Pringle.  Between him and the latter however there was a kind of relationship, by the marriage of a sister of his to Sir John’s brother, the issue of which marriage was the late admiral Pringle.  Sir John used to correspond with the family long after the death of Dr. Lidderdale, and so we presume did also the admiral, p. 1048as miss Lidderdale and he were so nearly related.  But we are not sure that that lady and her mother received many favours or much assistance from that quarter.

 

Some additional papers relating to Dr. Hepburn’s royal pension having fallen into the author’s hands since that article was printed off, he begs leave to take some notice of them here, by way of postscript or supplement to that same article.—It was there observed that the doctor had obtained a royal pension by the interest and friendship of Mr. Pelham.  After the death of that minister a fresh application for the continuance of the pension became necessary, and this application was made to the succeeding minister, the Duke of Newcastle, and through him to the sovereign.  The following is a copy of the Letter from the doctor on that occasion, dated May 14. 1754.—

“My Lord,

The grateful remembrance of my happy success in applying to Mr. Pelham 4 years ago for his Majesty’s Bounty, soon determined me to address your Grace for its continuance, in whose congenial generous breast I was sure to find the same benevolent disposition.  But lest the prolixity of the Narrative, by which it was proper to inform your Grace of the present state of your petitioner, should possibly put a stop to the timely inspection of the whole, I have thrown that apart, to be considered whenever your Grace shall think proper.  Meantime confiding entirely in your Grace’s favour, I beg the honour of being admitted, My Lord,

Your Grace’s most obedient and truly faithful humble Servant

G. H.”

The Narrative, above alluded to, was as follows—

“My sight has been declining for seven or eight years past.  But in the year 1750 (the 80th. of my age) I became almost quite blind, as I have now for two years past been altogether so.  Having lost most of my business with my sight, and as the distribution of my small fortune among six daughters whilst I could see had left me but a poor pittance to subsist on, I implored Mr. Pelham’s assistance for his majesty’s Bounty, which he was pleased with great alacrity to undertake: and with what zeal and address he performed it does not obscurely appear from what he was pleased to tell me at Holkham (where I had the honour to thank him Viva Voce) viz.  That he never knew his majesty grant a favour p. 1049with more cheerfullness than he did this.—The Earl of Leicester has annually done me the honour to receive this royal Bounty from Mr. Pelham’s own hand; two noble securities for one hundred pounds.”

To the above Letter an answer, of which the following is a copy, was received from James West Esq. first Secretary of the Treasury, dated May 16. 1754.—

“Sir, I am directed by the Duke of Newcastle to acquaint you that his Grace has received your Letter, and that you may be assured his grace will be the means of the same royal bounty being continued to you as was in Mr. Pelham’s time.

I am, Sir, Your most humble Servant,

J. West.”

To this Letter an answer was returned in the following words (dated May 19. 1754)—

“Sir, The honour his Grace the Duke of Newcastle has done me, by your Letter of the 16th. instant, is extremely obliging.  But his Grace’s readiness to oblige has enhanced these obligations beyond expression.  I must therefore humbly beg my noble friend’s assistance how to acknowledge them as I would, as well as to receive, the royal favour so frankly promised.  Meantime I beg his Grace to believe that my breast is full of all the gratitude that is possible to be expressed.

I am with very great esteem, Sir,

Your obedient humble Servant

G. H.”

It may be here just added, that though Lidderdale could not boast of the generosity or munificence of the Townshends, the case was somewhat otherwise with Hepburn, as appears from the following copy of a Letter dated July 11th. 1756, from him to the then Lord Townshend.  The copy, probably in the handwriting of one of his daughters by the last marriage, is as follows—

“My Lord, The singular testimony of your Lordships regard (which I lately had the honour to receive from Mr. Case) has, like the Sunbeams p. 1050of Summer to a decayed plant, giveing (given) warmth and springly vigour to the winter of my age.  A warmth, my Lord, which has filled my breast with greattitude (gratitude) that will last as long as blood circulates in the veanns (veins) or the heart continues to beat in the breast of,

My Lord, Your Lordship’s ever obliged, most obedient,

And most thankful humble servant.

G. H.”

When the kindness of Dr. Maxwell, in settling upon his uncle Hepburn the very handsome annuity of 200l. a year, was noticed above, it should have been also observed that the nephew had very great obligations to the uncle, and owed perhaps almost every thing to him in regard to his good fortune or advancement in the world.  The following Letter from Hepburn to the Duke of Devonshire, then Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, where Maxwell was in the meantime stationed as a surgeon in the army, may serve to throw some light upon that subject.—

“My Lord, The honour I have had for many years of being known to, and sometimes taken notice of by your grace at Houghton in Norfolk, has fixed in me such a firm opinion of your grace’s humane disposition, that it is without the least diffidence I now presume to write to your Grace, in behalf of Mr. Maxwell, a surgeon, the bearer.  His near relation to me, My Lord, claims indeed my endeavours to serve him; but much more his own merit.  However as consanguinity too often occasions partiality, I choose, my Lord, and think it much more equitable to leave him to produce vouchers for his character from among the military officers of the best rank in Ireland, where he has served near twenty years—Let this have the honour to introduce him to your Grace, as my nephew.  Let the merit of whatever boon he may beg of your Grace (if any) depend upon the voice of those Gens D’honneur who have been so long constant witnesses of his behaviour and practice.—And now, my Lord, as in full assurance of your Grace’s good nature I have ventured upon this Letter, so ’tis in your Grace’s Goodness, I only can hope for pardon, and beg leave to subscribe myself, Lynn Jan. 12. 1739–40.  My Lord, Your Grace’s &c.  G. H.”

15.  John Rastrick M.A.  In the order of time, or seniority, his name in this list ought to have preceded several of the former ones, as he was many years older than even Pyle and Hepburn; and in point of learning and piety, or real respectability of character, he was probably not inferior to any one that has been yet named p. 1051of the former inhabitants of this town.  He was born in 1649, at Heckington near Sleaford, in Lincolnshire.  Of the situation, or circumstances of his parents we are uninformed.  They probably ranked among the reputable yeomanry of that place.  Their son, being designed for the ministry, may be supposed to be placed at a proper age at one of those seminaries in the country where youth are prepared for the university.  Having acquired the rudiments of classical learning, he was sent to Trinity College in Cambridge, where he finished his academical education and obtained the degree of M.A.  He then went into orders; but when that was, we have not learnt.  He probably officiated afterwards as curate for sometime; but that could not be long, for he became vicar of Kirkton, near Boston, in 1674, when he was about 25 years of age.  No sooner had he settled at Kirkton than he felt the arduousness of the charge he had undertaken.  His congregation was large, and the parish of great extent.  How much his mind was improved with these considerations, and how anxious he was lest he should fail in the due execution of his office, will appear from his own testimony on the subject, in a Letter to a friend:

“The number and distance of the inhabitants, (says he) gave me a very sensible concern, and I was very uneasy under the burden that lay upon me: I knew not what to do for so many souls, that were also most of them so remote from my dwelling, nor how to discharge my duty in a place, that (as a learned, pious, and worthy clergyman, my friend told me) was as large as some of the dioceses of the primitive church.  Catechising, and preaching to such as p. 1052would come under them, was not all I had to do.  But I could not forbear being concerned with such as would bring their children to baptism, or offer themselves to the Lord’s Table, how to carry it, and answer the Church’s expectations, with satisfaction to my mind, and fidelity to my highest trust.  In catechising and preaching, I could suit myself, my doctrine, and discourse to the condition of the people; but (by the rules and orders of my publick station) in administering sacraments and applying the seals, (especially baptism) I saw I must treat them all alike.  Yet if catechising and preaching be to prepare men for sacraments for themselves or theirs, it undeniably supposeth, that the latter are not to be given to such in whom the former hath no effect, nor to their children.  Qualifications for privileges I knew were necessary, but where those were wanting, it was impossible I should apply these without a relucting mind: and therefore whatever I might have been in the capacity of a lecturer, or bare preacher, yet as a pastor it could not be, that I should be unconcerned in acts of discipline and government, and in judging of my own ministerial performances of that kind.”

Such is his own account; and there is no reason to doubt of its correctness.—Having carefully formed an idea of his line of duty, he set himself in good earnest upon acting up to it; but here he met with insuperable difficulties, which troubled and plagued him exceedingly, and forced him at last, to resign his living [1052] and quit the church of which he had been many p. 1053years a minister, and which he would probably have continued still to be, had he been permitted by his ecclesiastical superiors to act with honesty and a good p. 1054conscience, which they however were no way disposed to allow him to do.  Thus was he forced to resign his vicarage of Kirkton; after he had held it 14 years, while numbers of sporting, fox hunting, and loose living incumbents were suffered to retain their situations with impunity and without the least check or remonstrance.  But though he quitted the ministry, he did not immediately withdraw from the communion of the established church, for we find him communicating sometime after at Frampton, where his friend Ishmael Burroughs was curate, who himself afterwards left the church and became pastor of a Presbyterian congregation at Wisbeach, where he continued the remainder p. 1055his days.  We are not sure that either he or Rastrick engaged in the ministry among the Dissenters, or even actually joined them, till after the Revolution, when the Toleration Act made it perfectly safe for them so to do.  It does not appear at what time Burroughs undertook his charge, or entered upon his ministry at Wisbeach; but it appears that Rastrick entered upon his ministry and took the charge of the Presbyterian congregation at Lynn in 1701, [1055] for we find that he was minister here 26 years; and he died in 1727.  The commencement of his ministry here was therefore 14 years after he had resigned or quitted Kirkton, and perhaps 30 years or more after the commencement of his public ministry: so that at the time of his death he had been in the ministry between 50 and 60 years.  How and where he spent his time during the interval between his quitting Kirkton and his settling at Lynn, we have not been able to discover.  Wherever it was, he spent it no doubt, in a manner worthy of himself, or of that integrity and goodness of character which he so uniformly and so well sustained through life.  Old members of that congregation used to say, 30 years ago, that he settled here as successor to a Mr. Williams, who, as far as we can find, was the only minister of that society during the 25 years, that intervened between the death of Mr. Horne and the arrival of Mr. Rastrick.  Of this Mr. Williams we have not been able to obtain any further information.  Where he came p. 1056from, what was his character, how long he was settled here, what became of him, whether he died here or removed elsewhere, must of course be all left among the uncertainties.  When Mr. Rastrick came to settle at Lynn, he had been 14 years in a state of separation from the Church, and therefore a kind of dissenter.  The Presbyterian was the denomination he appeared most to approve, and it was that which he afterwards joined: but he had too much moderation, and too little of a sectarian spirit to be admired by any existing party.  Dissatisfied with many things in the Church, he was far from approving of all things he saw among the dissenters.  This made him often think and say (as he tells us) that, as things then stood in England, “he was neither fit for Church nor Meeting.”  That this unprejudiced or unbiassed disposition of his should not insure to him the admiration or esteem of his new friends or connection, but would tend to lower rather than exalt him in their estimation, and so prove prejudicial to his interest among them, must not be deemed very strange or wonderful; especially as he was pretty free in expressing his disapprobation of what he thought amiss.  That such was the case appears from his own testimony: “My conscience beareth me witness, (says he) That in my more private station in all the places where I have served, I have not been sparing both in preaching and practice, to express myself, and set myself against the corruptions and errors of Dissenters, tho’ it has been so much to my hindrance and disadvantage in outward or worldly respects.”  In another place he says, “In the mean time, I hope (in the p. 1057strength of Christ) to abide in the true catholic and apostolic christian faith and church, and in the true protestant reform’d religion: and (as to the church of England so called) a mere nonconformist, not addicting myself to any faction, sect, or party of christians, as such, under what denomination soever.”  All this is very honourable to his memory: and it may help in some measure to account for a person of his learning and talents remaining all the residue of his days the minister of a comparatively obscure and poor congregation, (as this at Lynn, at best, certainly was,) while many respectable and opulent congregations were in want of such pastors, or were supplied by men of far inferior abilities and attainments.  The same may also help to account for those difficulties and trials he afterwards experienced from his congregation, or from certain individuals that composed a part of it.  Such troublers or disturbers a moderate, liberal-minded minister is pretty sure of finding in most dissenting congregations.  A thorough-paced bigot, or sectary, has a far better chance of escaping them, or at least of obtaining their countenance and co-operation.  Rastrick kept his mind open to conviction; as appears from the change which took place in his sentiments in the latter part of his life, when he embraced the opinions which distinguished Clarke and Jackson among the churchmen, and Peirce and Hallet and others among the Dissenters.  It is somewhat remarkable that both Pyle and he were then proselyted to those opinions; so that the Church and the meeting here became equally heterodox.  This change in his sentiments appears to have p. 1058extended further than what related to the athanasian trinity, and to have soon divided the congregation into two parties, one approving and the other disapproving of his ministry. [1058]  It is probable that much, if not most of his discomfort here sprung from this source.  This difference of opinion, however did not, in his time, produce separation; for they all continued, as far as we can learn, to attend on his ministry, while he lived, notwithstanding their diversity of sentiments.  The malcontents not only were Athanasians, but appear to have been also strongly tinctured with Calvinism, and even with Antinomianism; which indeed has been thought to be little, or rather nothing more than “Calvinism run to seed.”  To them it is no great wonder that Mr. R’s ministry proved unacceptable, or that they should cause him some disquietude and unhappiness.  That such was really the case, may be inferred from his very Epitaph; and it is further corroborated by oral tradition, as well as by the contents the prefer to a MS. volume of his, left by him ready for the press; though, for some reason, to us unknown, it never was published; and it has been now many years in the possession of the present writer.  This volume was certainly far more worthy of publication than thousands that have been published since, and that are still daily publishing.  It is entitled, “Plain and Easy Principles of p. 1059Christian Religion and Obedience; or, The Necessity of keeping Christ’s Commandments, in order to our preserving an Interest in his Favour, Demonstrated from John 15. 10.  By John Rastrick M.A. sometime vicar of Kirkton near Boston in Lincolnshire, and now minister of the gospel at King’s Lyn in Norfolk.” [1059]  It p. 1060is a sensible and notable performance, and contains many striking and curious thoughts, [1060] especially in the appendix, where the trinitarian controversy, and that relating to the person of Christ are more particularly adverted to and discussed.  We are assured that he intended p. 1061to publish this work himself; but being by some means prevented, he left instructions at his death for his son to do it afterwards: which yet he did not do, despairing perhaps of its convincing, or having any good effect on the malcontents, and fearing it might irritate them further, and so preclude the possibility of re-union, or a restoration of harmony in the congregation.  But whatever consideration it was that prevented the publication of this volume, it is certain that harmony was never restored, or a re-union effected between these two parties: the discontented or antinomian party went off afterwards, in the son’s time, and formed a kind of Independent Society, which after assuming various shapes, and undergoing divers changes, produced the Baptist congregation here, which now meets at the new chapel in Broad Street.  Mr. Rastrick died in 1727, at the advanced age of 78. [1061]  He lived, as did also his son afterwards, in that house in Spinner Lane, now occupied by Mr. Dennis, behind which stood the chapel, both of which, if we are not mistaken, were his own property.  He left behind him several things in MS. some of which, beside the volume above noticed, are now in the possession of the present writer.  The whole is written p. 1062in a very small hand, and with singular neatness, for he, as well as his son, was an admirable penman.  He was doubtless an eminent scholar, and reckoned a very good mathematician, which is not unlikely, as he was cotemporary and of the same college with Barrow: nor is it very probable that that generation of Dissenters had among them many if any names of superior learning and respectability.

p. 1063Of his writings not much went through the press, which we may presume had not been the case had he lived in later times, or under more auspicious circumstances.  Of his printed works the present writer has not heard of any except the following: 1. “An Account of the Nonconformity of John Rastrick, A.M. sometime vicar of Kirkton, near Boston, in Lincolnshire; containing the occasion and circumstances of his secession from that place.  In a Letter to a Friend.”  [It was printed in London, in 1705; and the friend to whom it was addressed was Dr. Edmund Calamy.]   2. “A Sermon at the ordination of Mr Samuel Savage, at St. Edmund’s Bury, April 22. 1714.  With an exhortation to him at the close.”—3. “Two letters to Mr. Ralph Thoresby of Leeds, giving an account of a great number of Roman coins found at Flete in Lincolnshire, and other antiquities found at Spalding, &c. and printed in the Phil. Trans. No. 279, p. 1156, &c.—4.  “A supplement to the latter, printed in the same work, No. 377, p. 340.”—His unprinted, or unpublished works appear to have been much more numerous and considerable; but they got into different hands after the son’s death, and most of them perhaps have been since lost.  Some of them were in the possession of the son’s successors Messrs. Mayhew and Warner, and some in that of the late Dr. Lloyd.  What became of them we know not.  The two following articles with some other loose papers came into the possession of the present writer—1. The MS. volume before mentioned, entitled “Plain and Easy Principles of Christian Religion and Obedience; or the necessity of keeping Christ’s Commandments, in order to our preserving an interest in his favour, demonstrated.”  [It would make a duodecimo volume of 250 or 300 pages, and may be called an ingenious and elaborate piece, written out with great care and singular neatness.] [1063]  2. “A Short Catechism; containing p. 1064the chief heads of the christian religion, and faith of Christ.”  It is carefully and neatly written like the other MS. volume, yet it does not appear to have been intended for the press, but rather as a present, or new-year’s gift to his children, the name of one of whom, Hannah Rastrick, is prefixed to it in her father’s hand writing.—The smaller MSS. are some of them in prose and some in verse, for Mr. R. like one of our present mathematicians, [1064a] would sometimes leave those profound or severer studies, and amuse himself with writing little poems; but with this difference, that these productions of the former were only meant for the amusement or gratification of his own children and family, or the small circle of intimate and particular friends, and not for the inspection and admiration of the public at large, like those of the latter. [1064b]  Without attempting to draw any further parallel or comparison between our present or former race of mathematicians, we shall here close our memoir of the venerable John Rastrick.

p. 106516.  William Rastrick.  He was the only son, or at least the only surviving son of the former: and he was every way a son worthy of such a father.  In point of p. 1066genius and learning, virtue and piety, or real respectability or exemplariness of character, he has always been understood as nothing inferior to him, or to any one of his contemporaries either in this town or in all this part of the kingdom.  The very servants, and all those who were most intimate in the family, and who had therefore the best opportunity of knowing and judging of his private p. 1067and real character, always deemed and spoke of him as one of the best of men and most exemplary of christians.  Knowing how much his father had been teazed and tried by one part of the congregation, he never would undertake the pastoral charge: but used to exchange with the Presbyterian minister at Wisbeach, at those times when the Lord’s Supper was to be administered here; which must have been very inconvenient to a man of his retired and recluse habits.  Like his father he exceeded any of our townsmen of his time in many branches of knowledge, especially the mathematics.  His superior skill and judgement would accordingly be resorted to on such difficult occasions as required extraordinary scientific expertness or accuracy.  In how many instances his townsmen were indebted to his superior attainments, it is impossible now to say: but the best plan of the town that has yet appeared, with different views of it and of some of its principal buildings, drawn by him, may be reckoned among those instances.  Except such productions we know not of any thing else of his that has been published: nor do we know of any thing from his exquisite pen that is now extant beside his Account of the Ejected Ministers, in latin.  Of this notable production there are now in existence at least three copies; two in his own hand writing, one of them deposited in Dr. Williams’ Library, in London, and the other in St. Margaret’s Library, in Lynn: the latter written with almost inimitable neatness.  The third copy is a fair transcript of the latter, in two different hands, and in the possession of the present writer.  It is entitled, “Index Eorum Theologorum Aliorumque No. 2257.  p. 1068Qui propter Legem Uniformitatis, Aug: 24 An. 1662, ab Ecclesia Anglicana secesserunt, Alphabetico ordine ac secundum gradus suos depositusCura ac opera Gulielmi Rastrick.”  Then follow, by way of motto, Zech. i. 5. in Hebrew; Heb. xi. 38, in Greek; a passage from Erasmus in Latin; and one from Locke, in English.  At the bottom of the page stands 1734, denoting, as it would seem, the year in which the MS. was written.  Mr. W. R. lived after that about 18 years, and died in the first week of August 1752, just 25 years after his father; near to whose grave, if not within the same, his remains are supposed to have been deposited.  He was buried on the 9th of that month, as appears by the parish register.

17.  Anthony Mayhew.  He succeeded the former as the minister of the congregation; and was a minister every way worthy of such a predecessor; for a man of superior worthiness, or of a more excellent character was rarely to be found any where.  He was a native of Suffolk, and had been many years in the ministry, chiefly in Hampshire, if we are not mistaken, before he settled in this town.  After he had been here some years the old chapel in Spinner-Lane was deserted, and a new one erected in Broad-Street, where Mr. Isaac Allen now officiates.  He died Aug. 15, 1783 at the age of 76; about six years after he had resigned his pastoral charge, when he was succeeded by

18.  William Warner.  He was a person of a most amiable disposition, and of respectable parts and learning.  He had been educated in London, under doctors Savage, p. 1069Kippis, and Rees, and came to Lynn in 1777, by the recommendation of those eminent tutors, in consequence of an application from Mr. Mayhew and the congregation.  He was here about three or four and twenty years.  His health had been deciding some years before he died, which made him wish for a more favourably situation, which at last offered itself, at Hapton near Norwich.  But he lived not long there; for he died early in 1802 [1069] at the age of 46.  He was born at or near Nailsworth, in Gloucestershire, where he is supposed to have several near relations still living.  He married one of the daughters of his worthy predecessor Mr. Mayhew, who still survives him, and is no way unworthy of such a father and such a husband.  His funeral sermon was preached at Lynn by one who knew him intimately above twenty years, and knew him to be a man without bigotry and without guile.  The congregation declined in his time, after his death the chapel, by some odd management, went into the hands of the Calvinistic Methodists, under the name of Independents, though it was said to be the property of the Presbyterian Board in London.

19.  Sir Benjamin Keene, Knight of the Bath, was born at Lynn, in 1697.  He was the eldest son of Charles Keene, Esq; a merchant and alderman of this borough, who served the office of Mayor in 1714–15.  Young Keene was probably educated at the Free School in this p. 1070town, and was thence removed to Pembroke Hall in the University of Cambridge, where he took his degree of civil law.  He afterwards continued his studies for a few years at Leyden.  It is said that the misfortunes of Mr. Keene, the father, in trade, first recommended the family to the humanity and the protection of Sir Robert Walpole, who afterwards acknowledged that the talents and integrity of the son, in a public station of peculiar difficulty, had more than repaid his beneficence.  In July 1724, Mr. Benjamin Keene was appointed the British Consul at Madrid, and in 1727 Minister Plenipotentiary at the Spanish Court.  He was afterwards sent Envoy Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Court of Portugal, and then removed with the character of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Court of Spain.  It was before observed, in the biographical sketch of Sir R. Walpole, that it was the great and meritorious object of that minister to preserve his country in a state of peace: his instructions on this point appear to have been executed by his pupil, Mr. Keene, with equal ability and dignity.  At an early period of the clamour on account of what was called the Spanish Depredations, [1070] the origin of the differences, and the difficulty of adjusting them, were thus clearly explained by the Ambassador in a letter to the Secretary of State—

“Upon the whole, the state of our dispute seems to be, that the commanders of our vessels always think, that they are unjustly taken, if they are not taken in actual illicit commerce, even though proofs of their having loaded in that manner are found upon them; and p. 1071the Spaniards on the other hand presume, that they have a right of seizing, not only the ships that are actually trading in their ports, but likewise of examining and visiting them on the high seas, in order to search, for proofs of fraud, which they may have committed; and till a medium be found out between these two notions, the government will always be embarrassed with complaints, and we shall be continually negotiating in this country for redress, without our being able to procure it.”

No efforts were, however, to be left untried by the parliamentary opponents of Walpole to force him into a war; and while they incessantly inveighed against the pusillanimity of the minister, they did not scruple to give their sanction to the most exaggerated accounts of the insults permitted and exercised by the Spaniards, and indeed to the most incredible tales of horror.  A transaction which had occurred seven years before, and which was now worked up into “the fable of Jenkins’ ear,” as Burke justly calls it, was made the vehicle of popular frenzy; and it required the full exertion of ministerial sagacity and influence to elude an immediate rupture.  The pacific overtures of Sir R. Walpole were most ably seconded by Mr. Keene, whose address overcame the dilatoriness, the punctilios, and the repugnance of the Spanish Court; and a convention was signed at Madrid, which promised all the advantages which the most successful warfare could have procured.  But no reasonable concession could satisfy the people of England: their haughty and insulting language at length disgusted and provoked the Spanish p. 1072nation.  The terms of the convention were, in consequence, not fulfilled; Mr. Keene was recalled, and the declaration of War against Spain was hailed in England with a frantic enthusiasm.  “They now ring the bells,” was Sir Robert’s observation, “but they will soon wring their hands.”  Burke, whose veracity will not be doubted, declares that he had seen and examined the original documents concerning these important transactions, and that they had perfectly satisfied him of the extreme injustice of this war with Spain.  He even says, “some years after, it was my fortune to converse with many of the principal actors against that minister, and with those who principally excited that clamour.  None of them, no not one, did in the least defend the measure, or attempt to justify their conduct, which they as freely condemned as they would have done in commenting upon any proceeding in history, in which they were totally unconcerned.”  It is sufficient to add, that after a disgraceful period of seven years’ hostility, after a dreadful expense of blood and treasure, the right of English Subjects to navigate in the American Seas, the original source of the differences between us and Spain, were not even mentioned in the articles of the ensuing peace!!

Mr. Keene was again appointed to the same honourable station, and in 1754 his majesty George the second was pleased to give a fresh and public mark of approbation of the ambassador’s conduct, by dignifying him with the knighthood of the order of the Bath; and as the king of Spain graciously performed the ceremony p. 1073of investing him with the ribband, Sir Benjamin, in allusion to that particular ceremony, took for his motto “Regibus Amicis.”  He died at Madrid 15. December 1757, at the time when he was about to return to England, with a view of retiring from public employment, and to be created a Peer of Great Britain. [1073a]  His great abilities as a minister, exercised and improved by long and important services; the liberality and magnificence with which he supported the dignity of his public character, without any attention to the increase of his private fortune; and unusual esteem and affection for his person, which his many amiable qualities procured him at the court where he resided, were universally acknowledged, and made his death, especially at that critical juncture, a real loss to his country.  His remains were brought over from Madrid, and buried at Lynn, in St. Nicholas’ chapel, near his beloved parents. [1073b]  p. 1074A sarcophagus of white marble is placed over his grave, having on one side a medallion bust of the deceased, and on the other a bas relief of Peace trampling under foot the emblems of War, and pointing to ships and bales of merchandize.

20.  Dr. Edmund Keene, a younger brother of Sir Benjamin, was borne at Lynn in 1714.  Through the interest of Sir Robert Walpole he was educated at the Charter-House, and thence admitted of Caius College, Cambridge in 1730.  He was elected Fellow in 1737, but afterwards he removed to St. Peters’ college, on being appointed Fellow of that society in 1739; and he was made Master of Peter-House in 1748.  He was elected Vice-chancellor of the university two succeeding years, 1749 and 1750.  In 1753 he was promoted to the see p. 1075of Chester; [1075] and in 1764 the Primacy of Ireland was offered to him, which he declined: but (as it is related by Bp. Newton in the account of his life,) “he urged his request to Mr. Grenville, that, upon the vacancy, he might succeed to the see of Ely, which was the great object, the aim and end of all his ambition.”  In 1771, he “succeeded to his heart’s desire, and happy it was that he did so; for few could have borne the expense, or displayed the taste and magnificence which he did, as he had a liberal fortune, as well as liberal mind, and really merited the appellation of a builder of palaces.  For he built a new palace at Chester, he built a new Ely-house in London, and in a great measure a new palace at Ely, left only the outer walls standing, formed a new inside, and thereby converted it into one of the best episcopal houses, if not the very best in the kingdom.  He had indeed received the money which arose from the p. 1076sale of old Ely-house, and also what was paid by the executors of his predecessor for dilapidation, which altogether amounted to about 11,000l.  But new houses require new furniture.”—Such is the detail of narrative old age.  Bp. Keene published only two or three sermons on the usual state occasions: he is said to have been an attentive prelate to his diocese, particularly in reserving to himself the appointment of all the curates in those parishes which were without a resident incumbent.  He died in 1781.

21.  Thomas Chesterton.  He was born at or near Downham, in Norfolk, about the year 1715.  When he was of a proper age to be sent to school he was placed under the care of a respectable clergyman in that neighbourhood, who had a number of other pupils, the sons of reputable families, who generally turned out well, and did him no small credit.  Among young Chesterton’s schoolfellows there, were the late revd. Thorogood Upwood, Mr. Philip Case, and others of equally creditable connections.  His superior genius for learning was known and acknowledged by most of his fellow pupils, many of whom in making their exercises were often not a little indebted to his assistance.  While in that seminary he was well grounded in the rudiments of the Latin and Greek languages: nor did that satisfy him, for he continued ever after to press forward unweariedly for further literary improvement; till he acquired an intimate and accurate knowledge, not only of the Latin and Greek languages, but also of the Hebrew and its kindred tongues, the Chaldee, Syriack p. 1077and Arabick; of the latter of which he composed a Grammar, which was well thought of by good judges.  He acquired likewise no slight knowledge of the Persian, Coptic, and Ethiopic languages: so that it was not without reason that some literary characters, even in the establishment, who were well acquainted with his attainments, looked upon him as one of the best scholars in this county.—It should have been observed that after he left school, being designed for the medical profession, he was placed with a Mr. Harvey, a Surgeon and apothecary of very extensive practice in this town.  After he got out of his time with Harvey, he married and went into business for himself: and being well respected in the town he soon came into good practice.  Having from the first been a frequent attendant on the ministry of the younger Rastrick, he by degrees imbibed his principles and became a decided nonconformist.  Afterwards, in consequence of having some scruples about infant baptism, he renounced that practice, professed himself a Baptist, and joined a Society of that denomination at Downham.  He was soon after encouraged to engage in the ministry, and having an invitation to settle with a congregation at Colnbrook in Buckinghamshire, he accepted the same and removed to that place, where he continued several years.  He afterwards resigned his pastoral charge there, and removed to London where he followed his medical profession (as he had also done at Colnbrook) and preached occasionally.  The congregation he was now chiefly connected with was that which met in Eagle Street under the ministry of the late Dr. Grifford of the British p. 1078Museum.  His health now declining, and his property at Lynn and other parts of Norfolk requiring a nearer residence, he returned back to this town about 1765, after an absence in all of about ten years.  He now resumed the medical practice, chiefly to introduce his son into business, who was brought up to the same profession.  It so happened at this juncture that the people who had formerly seceded from Mr. Rastrick’s congregation, and had formed a sort of Independent society, were without a minister: their late minister, William Eltringham, commonly called captain Eltringham, having removed from them to another congregation.  These people invited him to become their minister, and he accepted their invitation.  But he was not long comfortable among them.  They soon became as unsatisfied with him as they had been with Mr. Rastrick, though not on the same pretence.  The connection between him and them was consequently dissolved.  His health was now declining so fast, that he was obliged to relinquish the ministry and every other active employment.  After languishing for some time, and mostly in most excruciating pains, he died on the 10th of May 1770, at the age of 54.  His disorder was said to be an ulcer in the bladder.  He was pretty highly orthodox, but, by all accounts, a very pious, as well as a very learned man.

22.  David Lloyd, L.L.D.  He was a native of Cilcennin in Cardiganshire.  After having spent some time at school in that neighbourhood he was sent to the grammar school at Caermarthen, then a very reputable seminary.  He went afterwards to Jesus College in Oxford, p. 1079where he took the degree of L.L.B. and afterwards that of L.L.D. [1079]  After having acquitted himself very creditably as usher at some school in the vicinity of the metropolis, he was chosen master of the Lynn Grammar School in 1760; which situation he filled with great reputation to himself, and equal advantage to his pupils for the long space of 34 years.  It does not appear that this school was ever in so flourishing a state under any other master, unless it was in the time of Mr. Horne, who was so long at the head of it, as was before observed.  Dr. LL. was unwearied in his attention to the literary improvement of the youth placed under his care, and to the forming of them to be useful members of society in the different departments for which they were designed; in which he appears to have been in no small degree successful, as may be seen by the number of those who were once his pupils and now usefully occupy very respectable stations of life.  The Doctor went into orders late in life; (at the age of 50 or upwards) and having no preferment in the church he preached but seldom, confining himself entirely to the duties of his other profession.  He died in 1794, and was buried in the chancel of St. Margaret’s church.  A stone with the following inscription marks his grave—

Sacred to the Memory of
The revd. DAVID LLOYD, L.L.D.
Master of the Grammar School in this town for 34 years;
Who departed this life Nov. 19. 1794, aged 60 years.
In him were united, with all the virtues of private life, those inestimable
qualities which ought ever to characterize the instructor of youth.
To the authority of a Tutor he added the tenderness of a Father,
Multis ille bonis flebilis occidit.”

p. 108023.  Robert Hamilton, M.D. F.R.S. and F.R.C.P. Edinb. was another of the former inhabitants of Lynn who deserved well of his fellow townsmen and of the public at large.  He was born at Edinburgh Dec. 17. 1721; and was a younger son of James Hamilton, who was bred to the law, and was at one time deputy keeper of Holyrood-House, under James Duke of Hamilton, its hereditary keeper.  He was educated at the High School in his native city, and was there at the time of the memorable affair of captain Porteus.  When of a proper age he was placed with a surgeon and apothecary at Leith, where he remained three years.  After having attended the lectures of different professors at the university, upon the materia medica, pharmacy, botany, anatomy, surgery, &c. he was at length obliged to quit these studies, and procured a birth on board the Somerset man of war in 1741, having previously undergone the usual examination at Surgeon’s Hall, London.  He continued in that line, or as a navy-surgeon, for about seven years, when the peace of Aix-la-chapelle put him out of employment.  He came to Lynn in 1748, to see a brother who was married here and settled as a merchant; and having heard of, and engaged a situation at the neighbouring village of Great Massingham, where there was a vacancy for a surgeon and apothecary, he settled there in August that same year, but continued there only till October 1749, when he removed and settled at Lynn: and not long after he married a Miss Hawkins, the sister of his brother’s wife.  He now went into business, in partnership with Mr. Young, a grandson of Dr. Hepburn.  A vacancy for a p. 1081physician happening here in 1765 by the death of Dr. Lidderdale, he was advised to procure a doctors degree, in order to become his successor, which advice he at length complied with, and in May 1766 received that honour from St. Andrew’s, the diploma being signed by no less than ten professors.—Not long after he relinquished the practice of pharmacy, and pursued those of physic and midwifery, which he followed the remainder of his life, with considerable applause, and general approbation.  He died Nov. 9. 1793, and was buried in St. Nicholas’ chapel, regretted by a large portion of the community. [1081]

 

p. 1082Before we entirely close this part of the work, and proceed to the conclusion, or to give a view of the present state of the town, it may not be improper here, by way of Postscript, to rectify some slight mistakes, and to supply certain omissions that have been discovered in different parts of the preceding sections, since the sheets have been printed off.

In the first place, the author wishes he had, at page 137, somewhat enlarged the memoir of that eminent president of the R. S. Martin Folkes Esq; the maternal grandfather of Martin Folkes Rishton Esq; of this town; and especially that he had more particularly noticed that ingenious, elaborate, and masterly publication of his, the Tables “of the English Silver-coins, from the Norman conquest to the present time;” and “of the English Gold Coins from the 18th. of Edward III, when gold was first coined in England, to the present time.”  The work is comprised in one volume quarto, and was printed in 1745, for the society of Antiquaries.  It is a work of the highest authority, and of the greatest use and importance to those who wish to be thoroughly p. 1083acquainted with the subject there treated of; and might, perhaps, he consulted with no small advantage by our senators and others in the present precarious state of our currency.

At page 961, the author now finds that he was mistaken in saying that both the old members were returned at the contested election 1784.  Walpole indeed was returned with Molineux, yet not the old member of that name, but a relation of his, who for a long while after continued to be one of our representatives; to what benefit or advantage to the town or nation, the present writer is not able to say.—The author has been blamed for passing over in silence the Ball and Supper given at our Town-Hall in commemoration of the Revolution, on the 14th. of November 1788, pronounced, as it is said, by both Mr. and Mrs Coke to have been “equal in Splendor and more comfortable than that given at Holkham.”  The fact is, the author had quite forgotten it; and as it was kept so much out of time, he is still inclined to think that it was given more out of vain parade, than, out of real gratitude for that great and interesting event.—Another omission the author has been reminded of is, “that in April 1797, prince William (now duke) of Gloucester visited Lynn, and after reviewing the Volunteers, and dining with the mayor, was presented with the freedom of this ancient borough.”—The execution of Peter Donahue, serjeant in the 30th. regiment of foot, for forgery at Lynn in 1801 is another omission suggested to the author; and also the condemnation of Robert Nichols, the year after, for sheep stealing: to which might have been added the fatal disaster of the Ferry-boat, this present year, by which ten persons at least perished.—It will be the author’s endeavour to set all these matters right in a Table of remarkable events at the end of the work.

p. 1084CHAP. VII.

Impartial view of the present state of the town and its vicinity: containing introductory observations, brief account of churches, chapels, almshouses, workhouses, charitable and social institutions, religious sects and confraternities, the corporation, the shipping, trade and commerce, exports and imports, population, &c. &c.

This town, or at least its western vicinity, being that part of Marshland that lies contiguous to the town, has of late experienced an unexpected and most striking change, in the sudden resort thither and settlement of a number of characters in high life, consisting of peers, courtiers, statesmen, nabobs, royal physicians, naval and military commanders, &c.  This may be reckoned among the wonders of these eventful times.  It is marvellous in the eyes of most people, and has filled all Marshland with astonishment, so as to make its homely and unlettered inhabitants ready to lift up their voices and cry out with the ancient Lycaonians, “The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men!”—or with a celebrated English poet, “Descending gods find their Elysium p. 1085here!” [1085]—The enormous price given by these new-comers for the estates they have purchased has greatly astonished the whole country, being about double the current valuation, or what lands usually fetched here before: and as some of them are said to be deep in political and state secrets, these purchases have excited strong suspicions of the tottering existence and depreciating state of all funded property.  For had such property been really safe and good, these sagacious persons would hardly have withdrawn theirs and thus deliberately bury it in the bogs of Marshland.

Those changes also that have recently taken place within the town are many of them very curious and striking.  The late improvements in the Streets, by the new paving of them, &c. might indeed be pronounced proper and commendable, had not the expense fallen so heavy upon that large portion of the community who were quite unable to bear the pressure of any additional imposts, and could hardly stand under the weight of those that had been previously imposed.  Here the projectors and promoters of the scheme appear in a very unfavourable light—inconsiderate and unfeeling in a very high degree.  But it is in their rage p. 1086for innovation they appear in the queerest light.  Considering what they have done in that way, it seems really a wonder that the very name of the town itself has escaped them, or that they did not take it into their heads to bestow upon it some new and whimsical appellation, as they have done to almost every part of it, and even some of principal Streets.  Checker Street, for instance, has been by them called King Street, though it had borne the former name for many ages.  The Grass Market and Damgate, which were always before considered as two distinct Streets, (and had borne those names perhaps 500 years, if not much longer) are by them converted into one, and called Norfolk Street; a name that might with equal propriety have been given to Broad Street, or High Street, or any other Street in the town.  All this, if not superlatively fantastical and absurd, is certainly childish and ridiculous enough.  But we will pursue the subject no further.

Among the recent changes in the town, those that have taken place in the Workhouse and the Hall must not be here forgotten or overlooked.  The new order of things in the former place, (the Workhouse,) is expected to produce a saving to the town, to no small amount, without any material detriment to the paupers, that are there maintained: and this expectation, it is to be hoped, will not issue in disappointment, like too many of our former golden dreams.  As to the Hall, the spirit of economy and retrenchment seems to have become there now quite triumphant.  Such public days p. 1087as those of St. John and St. Michael, so remarkable heretofore for festivity and hilarity, are now become like days of fasting and humiliation.  Not only the sumptuous dinners and convivialities of former times have now totally disappeared, but even the poor pittance of a bit of cake and a glass of wine, has been actually withheld, even from the worshipful members whose attendance on those days was indispensable, and who may be looked upon as the very pillars and atlases of our ancient municipal constitution.  After all it is not meant here to censure this new frugal plan.  It may be very necessary and highly proper, as the world goes; for it certainly corresponds with the complexion and exigencies of the times, which require the strictest economy and utmost frugality from almost every description of our dear countrymen, to enable them to go on with any prospect of success or comfort.  But here it was only meant to state a historical fact, too remarkable to be entirely overlooked.

Section I.

Brief account of the Churches and Chapels.

In an account of the churches of Lynn, the first place, no doubt, is due to that of St. Margaret, which was founded about the close of the 11th, or commencement of the 12th century, by Herbert de Lozinga bishop of Norwich; memorable for his simoniacal offences, and subsequent architectural expiations.  Among the latter were the cathedral and episcopal palace at Norwich, p. 1088the great church of St. Nicholas at Yarmouth, and this of St. Margaret at Lynn.  The latter according to a certain ancient deed or register was built by him at the request of the men of the town of Lynn.  But if that was the case, it seems their contributions proved by no means adequate to the magnitude or exigences of the undertaking; for the work it seems went but slowly and heavily on, till he had recourse to that notable and wonderful expedient of offering forty days pardon, or an indulgence for that time in all manner of licentious or vicious courses, to all who would contribute towards the completion of the sacred edifice.  The work then went on prosperously, was soon finished in a magnificent style, and the indulgence effected what an appeal to the most pious considerations would probably have failed to accomplish.

St. Margaret’s church, King’s Lynn

Herbert dedicated this edifice to St. Margaret the virgin, [1088] or, as some say, to saint Mary Magdalen, St. p. 1089Margaret and all the virgin saints; which probably made Mr. Britton in the Beauties of England call it St. Mary’s church, a name which does not appear to have been given to it by any body else.  This church has been so often re-edified and repaired since its first erection, that but a small part of it, as it now stands, is supposed to be as old as the days of Lozinga.  If there be any, it seems to be towards the west, or south-west end, where the style of architecture appears to bespeak much higher antiquity than any other part, according to the opinion of the best judges.

The church in its original state is supposed to have been of greater dimensions, as well as more magnificent, than it is at present; and it was certainly the case in later ages, and until the last century, when the spire fell on the body of the church and demolished a great part of it.  This happened in 1741.  Soon after the eastern tower lanthorn was taken down, from a fear (groundless it seems) that it might also fall, as the spire had done, and occasion irreparable damage.  It was therefore done to preserve the eastern part of the church.  The West end being demolished by the fall of the spire, an act of Parliament was procured for re-building the body of the church.  The king, it is said, contributed a thousand pounds, and lord Orford 500l. towards the work; and it was completed in 1747. [1089]  It is much p. 1090smaller than the former, but is still one of the largest and handsomest parish churches in the kingdom:—it also abounds with the tombs of our principal townsmen p. 1091of other times; (and so do the other churches of St. Nicholas and All-saints,) with endless monumental inscriptions, which those who are fond of such compositions may find at large in Mackerell’s volume, which contains little else.  But they would take up too much room in this work.  This church had formerly at least three chapels attached to it, or comprehended in it: one dedicated to the Trinity, one to St. John, and one if we are not mistaken, to St. Stephen; only one or two p. 1092of which now remain.  That of the Trinity was taken down very lately, in the progress of our paving-act improvements: and long before that the whole north side of the church-yard was laid open and made a part of the street, or market place.  A new burying-ground, however, of a much larger extent, has been since laid out adjoining to St. James’s Church-yard, on which a neat small chapel has been erected, merely for the purpose of reading the burial service.  Had the friends of the establishment contrived to build it on a larger scale, in order to have divine service there on Sunday evenings, it might have answered a very good purpose; and such a place would have been much filter for delivering evening lectures than either of the two great churches, both of which were originally constructed for very different purposes, it is to this omission of having evening lectures in the churches, that the methodists and other dissenters owe their crowded audiences, and not to the greater purity of their creeds, or the superior abilities and respectability of their ministers.

N. W. view of Chapel & Burial Ground

2.  St. Nicholas’s Chapel.  Both Mackerell and Parkin have employed their pens in describing this respectable fabrick.  But a much better account of it, and the best, no doubt, that has ever yet been given, came from the pen of the revd. Edward Edwards, one of the present ministers of the town, and has appeared in the 7th. number of the 3rd. volume of Britton’s Architectural Antiquities.  From that and other accounts we learn, that this chapel, was built in the latter part of the 14th century on the site of another erected about p. 1093two centuries before, and of much smaller dimensions.  Mackerell seemed much puzzled to determine to what Nicholas this sacred building had been dedicated, whether the proselyte of Antioch, mentioned in the book of Acts, or the bishop of Myra of the same name, who so stoutly opposed the Arians at the Council of Nice.  After all, it seems not very likely that it was either of them, but a namesake of theirs, of a much more modern date. [1093]  This, however, is a question in which few of the readers of this work will feel themselves much interested.

p. 1094This elegant edifice is supposed to be the largest parochial chapel in the kingdom.

St. Nicholas Chapel

“It measures (says Mr. Edwards) 194 feet in length from East to West, within the walls, and about 74 feet in breadth; having no transept or distinct choir.  The interior consists of a lofty nave, with two lateral ailes.  The latter are divided from the former by eleven arches on the north side, and ten on the south:—the space of one arch at the S.W. angle being occupied by the base of the tower.  The place of another arch, at the east end, is taken up by a vestry on the south side, and a similar apartment, over the vault of Sir Benjamin Keene, towards the north, leaving a kind of recess between, of the whole width of the nave, for the communion table.  The distinguishing characters of this structure, as seen within, are lightness, simplicity, and perfect uniformity of style; the tower alone being of an earlier date than the rest of the fabric.  The pillars are slender, having the horizontal section of the shaft nearly in the form of a truncated lozenge, relieved by shallow flutings, and raised about four feet from the ground upon corresponding bases.  They have no capitals, but small brackets which support p. 1095the inner ribs of the Arches.  Opposite the arches, in the side ailes, are an equal number of windows: between the windows are niches and canopies.  The east and west windows are very large, with a pleasing mixture of curved and rectilinear tracery, and embattled ornaments upon the transoms.  The former is divided into nine days, or lights, by eight vertical mullions, and the latter has eleven-days, or vertical compartments of glass.  More ornament has been bestowed upon the doors than on any other part of the building.  The western door-way in particular, is divided by a mullion which supports an elegant niche, and is adorned with other sculpture in stone.  The small south door-way is in the same style, as is also the larger door-way towards the north.  The front of the South Porch is still more elaborate, being covered with a variety of minute decorations.  The roof of it is handsomely groined with stone.  At the intersection of the ribs are some heads and figures in bold relief, but much obscured with whitening: in the centre is a figure of the Almighty Father with a globe in one hand, and the other lifted up as in the act of blessing those who approach his temple. [1095]  In the circle surrounding this compartment appear to be angels in the act of adoration; and at a little distance towards the windows, are two crowned heads p. 1096of a male and female, which might be intended for Edward III and his queen Philippa.  The inner roof of the chapel is of oak, in a plain and simple style, yet with a sufficiency of ornament to harmonize with the rest of the building.  The beams and cornices and relieved with carvings of the strawberry leaf, which was so great a favourite with our ancestors; and overall the upper windows there were originally figures of angels with outspread wings, represented as playing on various musical instruments.”

The original chapel, built by bishop Turbus, or de Turbe, about the time of king Stephen, (the middle or latter part of the 12th century,) having proved too small for the accommodation of the inhabitants, it is understood to have been taken down and rebuilt upon its present scale, in the latter part of Edward the 3rd’s reign, and of the 14th century: “For the pope’s bull to that effect is stated by Parkin (p. 595) to have been granted to the mayoralty of Jeffrey Tall, or Talbooth, who served that office in 1371 and 1379.  And it is recorded that in the latter year, pope Urban VI sent his bull hither, which was received with great veneration, to authorise and allow the baptizing of infants and others in this chapel.”  This is supported by the authority of Parkin and Mackerell, and corroborated by the gravestone and history of William de Bittering.  Moreover “the figures of a lion and an eagle upon the summit of the South porch, are thought to be the armorial supporters of Edward III: and there was very lately in the centre of the west window, a figure greatly resembling the usual portraits of that monarch, with three crowns upon his sceptre.  p. 1097The ornaments which surmount the two canopied niches in the buttresses on each side of the western door, also appear very like the crest of the same king, as it is represented in his first gold coin, the quarter florin.”—[see Folkes’ Tables p. 121.]—Repeated efforts were made to render both the original chapel and the present one independent of the mother church; but those attempts were always opposed and frustrated by the bishop.  But it really seemed sometimes to be considered as independent by the inhabitants; and the parish of St. Nicholas occurs in old records as distinct from that of St. Margaret: and in the reign of Philip and Mary the extent of each parish, and the limits or boundary that divided them appear to have been accurately marked out.  Afterwards, however, the managers of St. Nicholas’ parish were found to encroach on their neighbours of St. Margaret; which produced a dispute between them that occasioned the interference of the Hall to put a stop to it, by declaring afresh the proper bounds of each parish.  This happened in 1585, as appears from a passage in an old record, now in the hands of this writer, mostly extracted, as he thinks, from the Hall-Books of those times. [1097]  About fourteen years after, as we learn from the same document the p. 1098corporation’s title to St. Nicholas’ church yard was seriously disputed, but it is not said by whom. [1098]  The last effort to establish the independency of this church and parish was in 1609, but it was then crushed by the consistory court at Norwich, and set for ever at rest.  At present the two ministers serve this church and that of St. Margaret alternately; and it would be no very easy matter, perhaps, to find any two churches that are better served.  At the general dissolution of the monasteries, the impropriation of these churches was purchased by the corporation; but it seems that the provision they made for the ministers was more ample formerly than it has been latterly.

3.  All-hallows, otherwise All-saints, or South Lynn ChurchMackerell, from its nearness to the site of their convent, infers that “that this church did formerly belong to the Carmelites or White Friars”—he might as well have inferred that St. James’s formerly belonged to the Grey Friars, and St. Nicholas’s to the Augustinians, as they stand equally near to the sites of their convents.  He also informs us that it has been used for a parish church, ever since the abolition of the Carmelite convent; as if South Lynn, (or Suthsoken as it was anciently called) had been without a parish church till the reign of Henry the 8th; than which there cannot be a more groundless supposition.  Of its former state, in other respects, his account is more correct: “This p. 1099fabrick (says he,) though it cannot be said to be large, yet it is a neat, regular, and solid structure, built in the form of a cross, within a fair cemetery, or church-yard, well walled and fenced in.  The steeple is square and flat, with proper battlements round it.  In the middle is a streight pinnacle, upon which is placed a weather-cock, and has five tuneable bells.  Here are two convenient porticos, one on the south side, and the other at the west end.  The dimensions of the whole here follow—From east to west within, 139 feet; from north to south, 48 feet; length of the cross isle, 83 feet; height of the steeple, 83 feet; height of the spire, 31 feet.  The body consists of three alleys, and in a cross isle besides the quire are very many grave-stones for monks, and others, [of the different orders of friars] who came thither about the reign of Henry III, and here settled, building themselves convents in different parts of the town” [as divers protestant sects have also done in more recent times.]—Of this Edifice, in its more modern state Parkin says; “This church is dedicated to All Saints: it is a regular pile built in form of a cross, with 3 isles and a chancel, covered with lead; the whole being about 140 feet long; breadth 48 feet; cross isle 83 feet long.  At the west end was a strong tower—and 5 tuneable bells.  The tower fell down in 1763, and part of the end of the church, which is now repaired with a strong brick wall; on the top of which is a kind of cupola of wood, &c. in which hangs one small bell.—At the dissolution this impropriate rectory being in the crown, was assigned to the Lady Mary (afterward queen Mary) and was valued 11l. 0s. 9d.—[a very small sum compared with its p. 1100present value, or annual product.]  In the 20th. of James I. it was possessed by Sir John Jolleys,” [and at present by Sir Martin Browne Folkes bart.]  The vicarage is in the gift of the bishop of Ely; but is a very poor one, and said to be worth very little if any thing more now than it was 150 years ago.

All Saints Church of South Lynn, published April 1810, by W.
Whittingham, Lynn

4.  Old Lynn, or West Lynn Church; otherwise West Lynn St. Peters.  This edifice, as its last name implies, is dedicated to St. Peter; meaning, as we presume, the apostle so called.  It stands on the western bank of the Ouse, nearly opposite to St. Margaret’s.  It is not the original church of old Lynn; nor does it stand on the same spot: that stood to the east of it, and within the present bed of the river.  It is said to have been destroyed, together with the church-yard, about the 56th. of Henry III, or 1271, by an inundation of the sea; or rather, perhaps, by the vast increase of fresh water in this harbour, from the addition of the Grant, the Ouse, and the Nene, about that time, to those other rivers which before had their passage to the sea by this town.  The present church, it seems, was erected very soon after, on a piece of ground which the rector, William Pakenham, had procured for that purpose; who, to avoid all disputes, allowed the former patron, the prior of Lewes, the soil or ground, and the right of patronage.  To this new church was afterwards added a chapel dedicated to our Lady, in which was her image: also a chauntry, endowed with much land and divers tenements; all which was seized by the crown at the dissolution, and granted afterwards to the p. 1101L’estranges of Hunstanton.  This church is a rectory:—it is covered (says Parkin) with lead, and the chancel with reed; and he adds, “it has a square tower with 3 bells.”  So much for this consecrated fabric.

5.  North Lynn church, or, (as we may call it) Lynn St. Edmund’s, from its being dedicated to a royal saint of that name.  Of this sacred structure not a vestige now remains.  We have been able to discover neither the time when it was built, nor yet when it disappeared.  But it was probably built soon after the death, or canonization of king Edmund, called the martyr, to whom it was dedicated.  It seems to have stood many ages; for it was standing in the latter part of the reign of Henry VII; and it probably stood a good while after that; even to the time of the reformation or later.  It appears from Parkin’s account, that it was standing at the beginning of the 16th century; for John Byrd, the then rector, and who calls himself parson of OLD LYNN, (which, by the bye, seems to imply that the name of old Lyn was then applied to both parishes,) by his will dated 1505, wills to be buried in the chancel of this church.  This proves that it was then standing, and that there was no apprehension entertained of its being in any great danger of falling, or of being swallowed up by the waters.  Yet it certainly underwent that catastrophe sometime after though perhaps not very soon: so that both church and church-yard were completely swept away.  It is supposed they stood in the present bed of the river, somewhere nearly opposite to the fort, or the block-house.  Since that period the North-Lynn p. 1102rectory has been a sine cure.  Repeated attempts, if are not mistaken, have been made since (though in vain) to have this benefice bestowed on the corporation, for the better maintenance of the ministers of the town.  One of those attempts was made in the reign of Charles I, as is evinced by the following extract from the Hall-books—“1647, Dec. 17.  Ordered a Letter to Mr. Alderman Toll and Mr. Recorder, to acquaint them with the death of Mr. Scott, minister of North-Lyn, and to get that living by some means to be bestowed on this town toward the maintenance of the ministers thereof.”—The present incumbent, being also one of the ministers of the town, the object then had in view may be said to be in some measure secured during his life-time.  But it is not certain, or even very likely, that it will be secured any further.

Section II.

Brief account of the different dissenting chapels in this town.

Of all our present sects the Jews and the Catholics seem to claim the precedence in point of antiquity.  The former composed a part of the population of Lynn at a pretty remote period; and the treatment they here experienced ought to be spoken of only in terms of the utmost reprobation.  They were pillaged and massacred in the most brutal manner, and had their very habitations p. 1103burnt and destroyed, as has been related in a former part of this work. [1103]  There are still some Jewish families resident here; and we believe they have always had a synagogue in the town.  It was for many years in Tower Street; but that has been lately pulled down, being part of the premises which the Methodists have purchased for the purpose of erecting there their intended magnificent and capacious temple.  We have not learnt that the Jews have yet been able to procure another synagogue; but we may suppose that they will not be long without it.  At present they probably meet in some private apartment fitted up for the purpose, till a more suitable place can be obtained.

As to the Catholics, they were formerly our predominant sect, and constituted the established church of England and of Lynn, for near a thousand years.  They have long been reduced here to a small society, and are not at present likely to become more numerous or considerable.  They have generally a priest stationed among them.  Their present chapel is a small room in Ferry Street, and those who attend are, of course, but few in number.  The present minister is a French emigrant, of fair character, and very well respected in this town, to whom many of our townsmen are indebted for the proficiency they have made in the knowledge of the French language.  The Roman Catholic religion being no longer the religion of the state, it has ceased to be oppressive or formidable to our other religious communities; and p. 1104it is supposed to have lost (at least in these kingdoms) much of that intolerant and sanguinary character which distinguished its professors in former times.  By many the Catholics in these realms, and especially in Ireland, are thought an oppressed people; and it is much to be wished that every just reason for such an opinion might entirely be done away.

3.  That respectable body of protestant Dissenters, who have assumed the name of Friends, and are by others called Quakers, have long had a place of worship in this town, and formed a reputable part of its population.  It seems that some of our townsmen have been of that denomination ever since the year 1655.  George Fox himself visited this town in the course of that year, and preached here with considerable effect.  A Person was sent about the town to apprize the inhabitants of his arrival, and invite them to give him a hearing, especially the more sober and pious part of them, together with the officers of the garrison.  A large congregation appears to have assembled, many of whom were much affected by the sermon: consequently, as we learn from Fox’s Journal, a fine meeting or congregation was formed here, “who had come from the hireling teachers to sit under the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ.”  From that time to this it is supposed that there has always existed here a society of Friends or Quakers.  Fox, however, was not the first of that Denomination who visited Lynn.  It was visited, as Sewel informs us, by Thomas Briggs two years before, who warned the people to repent, but appears not to have been much listened to, p. 1105and even to have met a very unchristian reception—“a great mastiff (says Sewel,) was set upon him; but the dog coming near, fawned upon him, and would do him no harm:” so that the poor brute behaved to him much better than those of his own species.  But it has often so happened to those who endeavoured to reform the world and turn mankind from the errors of their ways.  Fox visited Lynn again in 1662, when some of his Friends were confined here in prison.  We find that he preached here then with acceptance; which was, probably, what excited the magistrates to have him apprehended and imprisoned; but before they could effect their cruel purpose, he escaped out of their jurisdiction.  Where those of his persuasion held their meetings here in those troublesome times does not appear, but they afterwards met in the Cross Yard near Lady Bridge, which continued to be their place of worship till the erection of their present place in New Conduit Street.  This is a neat, but small place; though quite large enough for their congregation, which is supposed to be now much smaller than it has been in former times, as is also the case in most parts of the kingdom—the modern Quakers having but a small portion of that zeal in disseminating their principles which was manifested by their early ancestors.  This is to be regretted, as some of those principles are certainly very excellent, and deserve every possible exertion to disseminate them throughout the world.  Of the particular tenets of the Quakers a full account may be found in Barclay’s Apology, and also in Clarkson’s Portraiture of Quakerism.  They have p. 1106no preaching among them, here except when a stranger comes, as they have no public friend or minister among themselves.  They have three burying places in this town, which may indicate that they have had here three different meeting houses.

4.  Presbyterian Chapel.  Though the Presbyterians seem to be of somewhat longer standing in this town than the Quakers, yet it does not appear that they had here a separate place of worship as early as they.  They appeared here as a distinct sect soon after the Restoration, in consequence of the ejection of Mr. Horne from the vicarage of Lynn Allhallows, and from the established priesthood.  His acknowledged piety, learning, and respectability of character, were likely to gain him adherents as an ejected minister.  The number of those who adhered to him on that trying occasion we have not been able to learn; but it is certain that they soon formed themselves into a separate society, and report has said, that they met for some time at a place fitted up for the purpose in a certain yard or alley in Black-goose Street.  They afterwards removed to Spinner Lane, behind the house now inhabited by Mr. Dennis, where they fitted up and converted into a decent chapel, a round house, originally erected for a Glass-house.  Here the congregation assembled during the whole ministration of the two Rastricks, and part of that of Mr. Mayhew.  After he had been here some time, the old chapel falling into decay was given up, and the congregation then removed to a new and neat chapel which they had erected in Broad Street, which p. 1107was a more eligible situation.  Mr. Mayhew about the 70th year of his age resigned the ministry, and was succeeded by Mr. Warner, who was the minister of this chapel from 1777 to 1801, when he resigned his charge and removed to Hapton.  Before his removal the congregation had been for sometime declining, not for want of abilities in him, but rather for want of a larger portion of sectarianism and proselytism.  Several of the principal members were removed by death, some before his departure, and others soon after.  Of the remainder, those of them who might be expected to retain some attachment to the cause, fearing the expense which might attend any exertion on their part to revive and support it, now dastardly quitted their post, and ingloriously sneaked back into the bosom of the established church, and have ever since, as might be expected, constituted some of its most useless members.  In consequence of that defection and desertion, the Calvinian Methodists, under the name of Independents, thrust themselves in, and got possession of the chapel, to which they could apparently have no more right than the other Methodists, or even the Quakers.  Indeed it would seem that they had less right to it than those, as the Lynn Presbyterians had always been Arminians from the beginning.  It was always said by Mr. Warner, that the place, in the event of the extinction of the Presbyterian interest here, according to the chapel deeds, would become the property of the Presbyterian board, in London.  As to the Trustees, if they knew their business, they could not suppose that they had any right transfer to another and hostile denomination p. 1108the possession of the property with which they were entrusted.  This we notice as what we conceive to be due to historical truth, and to the memory of the Presbyterian congregation, which existed so usefully and reputably in this town near 150 years, and whose ministers were in general among the chief ornaments of the place for learning and respectability of deportment.—The Presbyterian chapel was about 40 feet by 25, with a gallery fronting the pulpit.  It has been since lengthened to about 58 feet, with the addition of very narrow side galleries.  It is but ill planned, and supposed not capable of containing so many people as either the Methodist or Baptist chapels.

5.  Baptist Chapel.  This also is situated in Broad Street, and not far from that of the Presbyterians.  It has been lately rebuilt, and is a neat handsome place, about 46 feet by 26, with deep galleries in the front and at both ends.  The dissenters of this denomination are not of so long standing at Lynn as those treated of under the two last articles.  They were gathered and formed into a society here in the reign of James II, by the ministry of the worthy and memorable Thomas Grantham, who was indefatigable in his endeavours to enlighten and reform his countrymen, and establish them in what he deemed to be scriptural christianity.  Till a proper place of worship could be procured, it is understood that he was allowed to preach in the Townhall; and he appears to have been treated here with much respect, owing perhaps to his respectable connections, the Granthams being then one of the first p. 1109families in Lincolnshire.  He was what is called a general Baptist, and therefore not what was then, or would be now, deemed orthodox.  He never settled here, but went mostly about, as an apostle or reformer, to promote what he conceived to be the pure religion of the New Testament.  He succeeded in gathering and establishing many congregations in different parts of the country, but chiefly in Lincolnshire and Norfolk.  The latter part of his time he resided mostly at Norwich, where he gathered a congregation, in spite of the intolerance and bitter enmity to dissenters, which continued to rage there, even after the revolution: and there he died at the beginning of 1692, at the age of 58. [1109]  p. 1110About that time or a few months earlier, the congregation at Lynn became the objects of persecution from the ruling powers here.  They were proceeded against upon the conventicle act, although both their place of worship and their minister had been regularly licenced.  An account of this dark and disgraceful business has been given before at page 861.  How long the congregation was enabled to withstand this persecution we have not been able to ascertain.  Perhaps it was soon after borne down and crushed.  We are sure that it had become extinct long before the denomination was again revived here about the commencement of the present reign by the ministry of Mr. Chesterton.  The society then formed was calvinistic, and so more orthodox than the former, and so it still continues.  It was dissolved about the time of Mr. Chesterton’s death, but again revived and reorganized about the year 1777; since which time it has been kept up, though not always without some difficulty.  Their present minister is a person of good report, and it is hoped he will be long comfortable and very useful in his situation.

6.  Methodist Chapel.  This place, situated in the North Clough Lane, is very well contrived and neatly fitted up.  It is about 42 feet by 30, with very deep galleries in front and at both ends.  It is so constructed as to be capable of accommodating, perhaps, a greater p. 1111number of hearers than any of our other chapels; yet such has been the late increase of Methodism here, that it is now become too small for the audience; and therefore for their better accommodation, a new and very capacious, as well as elegant and splendid place is now about to be erected in Tower Street, which is expected to be completed by next Michaelmas.  The expense of this intended erection is estimated at 4000l. or more.  As to the old place, it is likely to be soon desecrated and converted to a granary or warehouse, or place for some such secular and unhallowed use: and though it would be a very commodious place of worship for any other description of christians, yet it is understood that it would not be obtainable for such a purpose, from, as it would seem, the low and tradesman-like consideration, that it would not be quite safe to have it occupied in the same line, lest it should prove detrimental to the trade of the new shop.  The present writer remembers the Methodists a persecuted sect, classed among the heretics of the day, and much spoken against every where.  They were then meek and passive, and not apt to brand those of other denominations with bad names, or fix upon them the odium of heresy.  The case is greatly altered since: they were then weak, but are now powerful; they were then few, now they are numerous, and their numbers daily and rapidly increasing.  They consequently assume a high tone, and join in the cry of heresy as loudly as any of our persecuting sects—especially against anti-trinitarians, or unitarians, and universalists: and yet it is certain that the public mind, p. 1112or national opinion is no more inimical to persons of those denominations at present, than it was to the Methodists fifty years ago.  Let the Methodists think of this, and learn a becoming measure of moderation and good neighbourhood.—What has happened to themselves may also happen, in a course of time, to those whom they now so very bitterly and violently decry, and so unmercifully stigmatize and anathematize.

7.  Salem Chapel.  This is a new place of worship, erected the latter pact of last year, (1811,) in consequence of the dismission of Mr. Finch from the pastoral office in the Baptist congregation, on account of some difference of opinion about satanic influence, and some other speculative and abstruse points.  The place is about 50 feet by 30; and so larger than any of the other chapels here: and when galleries are erected, (a measure already in contemplation,) it will be capable of containing a larger audience than any of them.  It is at present well attended, and supposed likely to continue so.—Mr. Finch’s dismission from his late situation in the Baptist chapel, [1112] and especially the manner in which it was transacted, being disapproved by many of the hearers, who were much attached to his ministry, measures were soon adopted to retain him still in the town, by erecting for him a new chapel, where things should be conducted on a more liberal plan, and in the true spirit of protestantism, to the exclusion of all human creeds and formulas, and the admission of the scripture p. 1113as the only religious directory, or sole rule of faith and practice.  In a society so formed, the essence of christianity, it was hoped, would be exhibited as consisting in the imitation of Jesus of Nazareth, a submission to his authority, and reliance on him, arising from the firm persuasion or belief of his Messiahship, or that he is indeed the Christ, the Son of God—of which the New Testament affords such clear and ample evidence.  Whether or not that hope will be realized, must be left for time to determine.  The persons chiefly concerned in this new undertaking are not anxious to identify themselves with any one of our religious parties or denominations, though they wish to maintain peace and good neighbourhood with them all.  If they ever connect or identify themselves with any one party, it will probably be a liberal, though small body of those called general Baptists, [1113] one of whose ministers, the worthy and respectable author of the Sketch of the Denominations of the Christian World, was unanimously invited to assist at the opening of this new chapel, when his services gave entire and abundant satisfaction.  The first sermon he preached here, being also the first that was delivered in this new place, has been since published, with an Appendix, containing an account of a late very curious correspondence between him and Mr. Berington, a learned Catholic priest, which it is supposed must render p. 1114this publication very interesting.  Except the stated minister, Mr. Evans is the only one that has yet preached in this new chapel; but it is understood that the occasional service of any worthy minister, of whatever denomination, whether reputed orthodox or otherwise, who passing this way may be disposed to address this congregation, would not be here rejected.  It may therefore be expected that ministers of different views on many religious subjects will be found sometimes officiating in this new pulpit; which seems very well to accord with the avowed principles of these people, who profess a readiness to hear what any serious and pious religionist may have to say, and then to judge for themselves of its reasonableness and accordance with the scriptures.  It is hoped they will carefully persevere in this laudable course, trying all things, and holding fast that which is good, however unfashionable such a mode of proceeding may appear to have now become in the religious world.

Having now finished the account of places of worship, it may not be improper to add here a few supplementary observations before we close this section.  First then it may be remarked, that religion at Lynn exhibits the appearance of considerable diversity; which diversity is allowed by the higher powers, for which they are certainly not to be censured, as religious liberty is one of the first and most undoubted rights of man.  Accordingly there are here Jews and Christians, Catholics and Protestants, Churchmen and Dissenters, and the latter of various orders and descriptions—all at present p. 1115quite unannoyed and undisturbed, except what may be occasioned by the bigotry and malevolence which some of them too often manifest towards others of a different way of thinking.  This is disgraceful enough to our sectarian bigots, and shews how little they have yet learnt of Christ, and how ignorant they still are of the spirit of his religion, notwithstanding their loud pretensions to superior knowledge.

Each of the great bodies or sects, with which most of our religious communities here are connected, has its particular constitution, which is its law of confederation and great bond of union, and may be said to be no less definable than our boasted and admired English Constitution.  All these sectarian constitutions answer pretty well the end of their formation; but do not all discover equal legislative capacity, or profoundness of judgment in the different framers of them.  Some of them are such as can reflect but little credit on the skill or judgment of their constructors, while others discover such profound sagacity, deep penetration, and accurate knowledge of mankind as would not have disgraced a Solon or a Lycurgus.  Of this latter sort is the constitution of those respectable sectaries called Friends or Quakers, as appears from Barclay’s Apology, and Clarkson’s Portraiture.  Of this sort too is the constitution of the Arminian or Wesleyan Methodists, of which the fairest, and fullest, and best account this writer has seen, or knows of, is in Nightingale’s Portraiture of Methodism; which is a moderate size octavo volume, and well worth the perusal of all who wish to p. 1116become more intimately acquainted with the history and character of this rapidly increasing sect, which is said to be likely soon to swallow up all the rest.  However that may happen, it seems very certain that Methodism, from the nature of its constitution and organization, is calculated for a wide and rapid increase, far beyond any otter existing sect now within the British dominions.  What may render this more credible to the reader is, that there are now about 30 preachers of this denomination, (including those called local) belonging to this town and circuit, all in very constant employ here, or in the surrounding villages; which seems a pretty fair specimen of their present state throughout the realm.  This is not mentioned to disparage their exertions.  If they think their cause of superlative importance to mankind, let them persevere, while they use no other, or worse means to insure success, than pious persuasion and fair argument.  If they succeed and become the most numerous body of religionists in the country, let them by all means be the established church of England.  Where would be the harm of that?  We know of none: at least, if they were to be constrained at the same time to renounce and quit forever every remnant of a bigoted or intolerant spirit towards their dissenting neighbours. [1116]

p. 1117Section III.

Hints relating to the state of Deism, Scepticism, Free-Masonry, &c. in this town.

Considering the easy faith, or aversion to incredulity, which our townsmen, in common with most of their dear countrymen, have generally shewn, on almost all subjects and occasions, it may seem rather odd that there should be found here any religious unbelievers; and yet such is really the case.  A very large portion of the community, comprehending not a few persons of reading and some reflection, appear to be at this time, either unconvinced, or decided disbelievers of the divine authority and truth of christianity.  Nor is this perhaps much to be wondered at, when the case is duly considered.  To many, no doubt, this unbelief, or infidelity, proves very convenient and desirable, as it frees them from almost every moral restraint, and leaves them much at liberty to follow and gratify their vicious and lawless inclinations.  Upon this ground we may pretty safely account for the scepticism and unbelief of most of our avowed infidels.  These too, seem to be the very worst of them, as they are more inexcusable than that other sort, who viewing christianity through the medium of its corruptions, hastily reject it altogether, as utterly unworthy of their credit or acceptance.  But it may be said, “they are very wrong, in determining so hastily, without looking into the New Testament, and examining it as it is delivered there.”  Very true.  But who among our numerous christian sects and parties, will dare, for shame, to reproach them on that account, while they themselves, with all their professed veneration for p. 1118that book, make no scruple to deviate from it, whenever their interest or policy, or the established formulas, creeds, or customs of their respective parties require them so to do?  One takes up the Athanasian Creed, and says, “this is christianity; and except a man believe it he cannot be saved, but must, without doubt, perish everlastingly.”  Can it be any wonder that an honest and rational enquirer should startle, and say, “if this be christianity, I cannot believe its divine authority, or that it came from God, for I am very sure that such a self-contradictory farrago can never have proceeded from him.”—Other articles in great abundance, all equally absurd and incredible, and very prominent in the creeds and observances of the religions world, might be here added, and which professing christians and christian ministers are daily representing and recommending, as unquestionable parts of christianity, and most worthy of our belief and reception.  In viewing christianity through the mists and fogs of its numerous and enormous corruptions, it is certainly not very wonderful that many who are not disposed to bestow much time upon religious enquires should be discouraged, so as to stand aloof, and deem the divine authority of it incredible—and if they are very blameable for so doing, still no small portion of the blame must be imputable to those who have so greatly tarnished the beauties of christianity, and obscured its truth, by presumptuously introducing, supporting, and advocating those corruptions.

After all, the Deists are not to be deemed the worst enemies of christianity.  Its most dangerous foes are to p. 1119be found among its pretended friends and admirers, who would fain persuade us that our public and national transactions are all, forsooth, very christianlike and evangelical: and so by divesting christianity of its morality, and reducing it to a mere state engine, they do all they can to render it incredible and contemptible in the eyes of all reflecting and honest men.—Thus the American War, with all its enormities—the African Slave trade, West Indian system, Caribbean war of extermination, with all their horrors—the late war, with all its follies—Pitt’s reign of terror, with all its espionage and profligacy—our days of thanksgiving, fasting, and humiliation, with all their hypocrisy and solemn mockery—the Copenhagen expedition—the whole Irish system, and every public deviation from wisdom and moral rectitude, have been represented by these men as very justifiable, and thoroughly consistent with the dictates of christianity.  These people consist of courtiers and statesmen, placemen and pensioners, laity and clergy, (even most of our prelates and dignitaries,) and in short, the whole of that immense multitude who live upon the public loaves and fishes, or expect to come in for a share of them.  That they should profess the religion of the state, and be very clamorous too in its defence, is natural enough—as well as that they should be very ready to defend and justify all our public or state measures; but it is not quite so clear that they are more friendly or favourable to christianity, properly so called, than our professed deists: on the contrary, by identifying their monstrous corruptions with christianity, they may p. 1120be said to be its worst enemies; in comparison with whom, our professed or avowed deists are feeble and harmless adversaries.  The deists of this town are said to be very numerous, and would, if formed into a society, constitute, perhaps, the largest congregation in the place: but they are not of a gregarious or congregating character; [1120a] and they know in general so little of the New Testament, or uncorrupted christianity, that their objections seldom affect any part of it—their assault being chiefly directed against its outworks, or rather its corruptions: and for every attempt to expose and explore them they deserve every honest man’s thanks.

2.  Free Masons.  The origin of this numerous sect or fraternity, as well as that of the Gypsies, is involved in great and impenetrable obscurity.  It is in vain to look even to the most knowing of its own members for any information upon that subject, that may in the least be depended upon.  Almost every thing they urge or allege about it is evidently and ridiculously false and fabulous.  They tell us that the art and mystery of Masonry was first introduced at the building of the Tower of Babel, and from thence handed down by Euclid, who communicated it to Hiram, [1120b] the Master Mason p. 1121concerned in the building of Solomon’s Temple; where was an excellent and curious Mason that was chief under the grand Master Hiram whose name was Mannon Grecus; who taught the art of Masonry to Carolus Marcel, in France, who was afterwards elected king of France; and from thence was brought to England in the reign of king Athelston, who ordered an assembly to be held once every year at York, which was the first introduction of it to England. [1121]  At other times they say, that masons first appeared in England A.D. 43, when they built the monastery of Glastonbury.  They might as well have introduced them at the building of Stonehenge, or at the commencement of Druidism, and erection of the druidical altars.  But it probably slipt their memory.  Others, indeed, though they seem not to have belonged to the craft, have actually supposed them to have sprung from the druids, who like them had a method of making themselves known to one another by certain secret signs; as is also said to have been the case with the Gnostics and some other ancient heretical sects.  Others, however, carry the origin of the order still farther back, even beyond the Flood, and name Tubal-cain as one of the grandmasters of that period; in proof of which they refer to a certain document, which they call, an original Record.—Such wild and extravagant pretentions exhibit p. 1122Free-Masonry in a very queer and unfavourable light: and they ought never to have been countenanced by any of the members who had any regard for their own characters.

Not only about their origin or extraction, but also in what relates to their subsequent history, are the Free-Masons chargeable with propagating the most idle fabrications.  Thus they tell us a most strange tale about the grand master Hiram, called also Hiram Abiff; how three out of the 15 fellow crafts conspired to assassinate him, which they effected as he was coming out of the Sanctum Sanctorum, where he had been praying.  This was at noon day.  They hid the body, afterwards buried it, and then absconded.  These ruffians, whose names were Jubela, Jubelo, and Jubelum, were afterwards discovered near Joppa, by three other fellow crafts, who had gone in pursuit of them.  They were then brought before king Solomon, by whose orders they were all three executed.  Hiram’s body, being by the king’s order dug out of the grave where the three masonic ruffians had buried it, was afterwards solemnly interred, forsooth, in the Sanctum Sanctorum.—The tale is pretty long in some of the masonic books; but this is the substance: and it is very disgraceful to the fabricators and the propagators of it, as it discovers a glaring propensity to the most sottish and profligate kind of lying.—Much might be here added to the same purpose; but this it is hoped will induce the members of this community at Lynn, to review and reject this and every other exceptionable part of their system.

p. 1123As to the mode of admission, parade about the cardinal points of the compass, where the master and inferior functionaries are stationed, and their forms about tyling the lodge, setting the men to work, and calling them off to take refreshment, &c. &c. they may be all harmless enough, or at least, comparatively so: yet to the serious by-stander, or uninitiated, they can hardly fail of appearing in no small degree frivolous and childish.—Many indeed have deemed the whole system or institution of masonry a designed burlesque upon scripture and religion.  But though there may be many circumstances that would seem to bear that way, yet such is the unquestionable respectability of many of its members that it is very certain such a design could never have met with their concurrence or countenance.  The fact, that such characters do really belong to this community seems also to prove that there must be some good points pertaining to masonry, which recommend it to their approbation, and hide in a great measure, or at least appear to counterbalance the defects above mentioned.  In particular, it is said, that those of this fraternity, not only are much given to conviviality and good fellowship, but also abound in acts of kindness and charity, especially among themselves, and towards their brethren in distress; and even that they are generally among the most active promoters of benevolent deeds, or good works in the places where they reside.  If it be really so, it will account for that warm attachment to masonry which many well disposed and respectable persons have often manifested.  In short, when we consider the fair and estimable characters of many of our masons, the p. 1124order appears respectable: but, on the other hand, when we advert to the forged and absurd tales, and to those idle forms, customs, and ceremonies that are attached to the institution, we cannot help wondering how those worthy members can patiently or possibly endure them, or quietly continue in the connection.  But they conceive, no doubt, that the good preponderates, or that the excellencies of masonry outweigh its defects, and satisfy their minds with that consideration.  Be it so, it is not meant here to judge or blame them for so doing: they have certainly a very good right to think and act for themselves, so long as no one is thereby wronged or injured.

The present form and organization of the masonic sect appear to be but of very recent origin, and cannot perhaps be traced beyond the era of the revolution.  The fraternity soon after began to assume something like its present appearance; and as it consisted mostly of rather suspicious characters, it was for a long while deemed a tory or jacobitical institution.  It did not spread very much before the accession of the Brunswick family; after which it multiplied apace, but was still thought to consist, chiefly at least, of disaffected persons and friends of the pretender.  In process of time, however, that reproach was completely done away, when it came to be known that not only courtiers, but even some branches of the reigning family were among its members.

The first regular lodge in this town was opened at the White Lion Inn, October 1. 1729.  Since which time p. 1125there is supposed to have always existed here one or more regular lodges.  There are now here three lodges.  Two of them deem themselves to all intents and purposes regular and orthodox, but are not willing to allow the third to be so.  What is the real ground of this difference, or what it is that constitutes masonic regularity or irregularity, orthodoxy or heterodoxy, is beyond the competency of the present writer to pronounce or explain.  He has been informed by some of the Lynn masons, that the whole number of them now in this town, (exclusive, as he understood, of those of the irregular lodge) amount to above five hundred: from which it would seem that masonry is here at this time in a thriving and flourishing condition.  As to their great and boasted secret, we shall not presume to guess what it may be, but shall most willingly let it quietly remain among the mysteries, without the least solicitude or wish for its discovery.  Nor will we so much as mention the heavy charge which professor Robison and the Frenchman brought some years ago against the whole order; believing as we do that it was totally unfounded.

3.  Society of True Britons.  This institution did not last long.  It seemed not to have any very important object in view.  The dignified name it assumed, with the pompous formalities of its organisation, could not therefore insure its permanence.  It was established with no small parade, with Governor, Deputy governor, Secretary, Sword-bearer, &c. together with laws and a constitution, which all the members were solemnly to swear to observe, and keep inviolate.  The first meetings p. 1126of this memorable Society were held in the autumn of 1749; after which they were conducted for sometime in great form: but their proceedings appeared in general very much like a burlesque upon all corporate bodies and social institutions.  This might be very easily exemplified, but it would probably afford the reader but little gratification, as we cannot find that the society proved of any material benefit to church or state; or to the town itself—some of whose leading families, however, such as its Bagges and Brownes, were among its members. [1126]  But we will here dismiss the subject and close this section.

p. 1127Section IV.

Brief account of the Almshouses of Lynn; and also of its Purse-clubs or Benefit Societies.

Of St. Mary Magdalen’s Hospital, or the Gaywood Almshouse, which stands a little way out of the town, a pretty long and circumstantial account has been already given, in another part of the work. (see p. 530, &c.)—Exclusive of that, there are here three almshouses, which are all within the town, but of more recent origin than the former.  Of these three, by much the most ancient is the Bede-house, or old women’s almshouse, over against the New Burying-ground.  Near to this, and seemingly about the spot now occupied by Mr. Bonnett’s school and dwelling, stood formerly an almshouse for old men; which being the southmost of the two, was probably the reason why the other, according to some old writings, went by the name of the North-house.  These almshouses appear to have been founded in the 14th century, by some of the original members of one of our ancient Gilds, that of St. Giles and St. Julian.  It p. 1128is not quite clear that they owed their origin to that gild itself, but rather to some of its most charitable and opulent members; such as Edm. Bellyter, (or Bellyete,) merchant; Tho. Constantyn, Esq; and Margaret, his daughter; and Wm. Inot, merchant.  The gild was constituted in 1384, but the date of the erection of these almshouses, is involved in considerable obscurity, so that it seems uncertain whether it occurred previously or subsequently to that year.

But whenever they were erected, and whether by the persons above mentioned, exclusively, or by the gild at large, it is pretty evident that they became in no long time the property of that gild; and there is reason to believe that they continued so till the dissolution of the Monasteries, when all the gilds shared the same fate.  At that time the property of this gild, as well as that of others still more opulent, fell probably into the hands of the corporation.  For some reason, the men’s almshouse was dissolved, but that of the women, or Bedehouse, as it was then, and is still called, was continued, under the patronage of that body.  It does not clearly appear how many persons were originally maintained in these two houses.  But we learn that the men’s house had in it seven chambers, and the women’s six.  Supposing therefore that but one person occupied each chamber, the number between both houses would be thirteen; but if we suppose that two were placed in each chamber, (as might be the case in those times; and more than two cannot be supposed;) then the whole number would p. 1129be twenty-six.  The question, however, is now immaterial, and requires no further attention. [1129]

When the Bedehouse came into the hands of the corporation, it seems they divided each of the chambers into two, so as to make twelve, instead of six, as we find is still the case.  This probably accounts for one half of them being without a fireplace, which is not likely to have been the case originally: and it has certainly been very inconvenient ever since to those who have occupied those chambers.  It is therefore to be hoped, that when Mr. Cook’s legacy is obtained, this inconvenience will be soon remedied.  The number of occupants now, as well as for a long time past, is twelve: eleven women, and the reader; who is a sort of chaplain, reading prayers and guiding the devotion of the sisterhood, mornings and evenings.

Till the last summer, (1811,) this house had been for some years in a very low state, and might be denominated the mansion of starvation, rather than the habitation of mercy and charity, or house of bread.  The weekly allowance to each poor woman was only thirty pence and three farthings!—a sad proof of the very low ebb to which the generosity and humanity of the patrons of the place had been reduced!  At length however they awoke to a sense of the unseemliness of this mock charity, and very commendably added another thirty pence to the weekly allowance of each inmate, or pensioner.  p. 1130This addition has materially benefitted them, and ameliorated their condition, and the present writer wishes he had it in his power to name the individual from whom it originated, who certainly has deserved well, not only of the poor pensioners themselves, but also of the community at large.

Soon after this fortunate augmentation of the allowance or income of those poor pensioners, intelligence arrived of a still further provision being made for them, by a gentleman lately deceased, of the name of Cook, [1130a] who lived in London, and left them by his will 2000l. in the 3 per cents; the interest whereof to be applied in augmentation of their weekly income.  This charitable bequest, which is likely soon to be transferred into the hands of the corporation, as the trustees or guardians of these poor pensioners, will add it is to be hoped, another half crown to their weekly allowance; which will render their situation very comfortable, compared with what it has been of late years.  To have each chamber destitute of a fireplace furnished with that needful appendage, [1130b] would be to most of them a still further and very desirable accommodation.

p. 1131By an old MS. volume which has very lately fallen into the hands of this writer, he learns that one John Loneyson, or Leneyston, [1131a] by will bearing date in 1594, endowed this almshouse, and gave it an annuity of 10l. from 75, (or 76) acres of pasture, called out marshes, or salt marshes, lying and being in South Lyn, anciently purchased of Charles Cornwallis and George Nicholls Esqrs. and demised to Elsdin by the corporation in the 2nd. year of James I. [1131b]  How far this corroborates or contradicts the Tablet in the church, which made such stir among our townsmen last year, may deserve some consideration from the member of the Hall.

Beside the above endowment in land there was a sum of money amounting 600l. left by divers persons to this almshouse, the interest whereof to be applied to the support or maintenance of the pensioners: and as money bore then a higher interest than at present, the annual product of this provision amounted to no trifling sum.  This money was placed in the hands of the corporation; 400l. of it laid out at interest, and 200l. employed in buying or trafficking in rye; whence it was sometimes called rye money.  In short the 600l. and the 10l. a year p. 1132before mentioned seem to have constituted formerly the chief of the funds of this almshouse: only in extraordinary cases, such as sickness, the pensioners were relieved by voluntary contributions. [1132a]  It should be here further noted that it appears from the said MS. that in consideration of the above funds, the corporation formerly paid yearly in money to this almshouse 44l. and moreover 8l. 4s. by 9 chaldron of coals and 200 sedge—making in all 52l. 4s. which, including the afore-mentioned extraordinary charges, is said to surmount the interest of the whole money given; which might well be supposed to have been the case. [1132b]

p. 11332.  Finkel-Row Almshouse, or Valenger’s Hospital, in South Lynn.  This house was founded in 1605. by Thomas Valenger, gent. then Town-Clerk of Lynn, for four poor men to dwell in gratis.  We cannot learn that he endowed it with any land or money, though it is said that some land does now belong to it, an advance in the rent of which, two years ago, occasioned an addition of 3d. a week to be made to the allowance of each pensioner.  Last year there was a more considerable addition, of no less than one shilling a week, made to that allowance; making it in the whole 4s. a week, which is the amount of the present weekly allowance of each of them: and this sum is paid them weekly by the overseers of the parish.  As Mr. Cook, mentioned under the preceding article, has left 700l. in the 3 per cents to this charity, each pensioner, it is supposed, may shortly expect a further addition of 2s. a week or more to their present allowance.  Like the Gaywood hospital, this house was originally designed for men; but it has been now for a good many years converted to the use of the other sex, and has been ever since occupied by four poor women, who have in it now very comfortable dwellings, the house having been rebuilt in 1806.

3.  Paradise Hospital, or Broad Street Almshouse.  This house appears to have been founded in 1676, by p. 1134one John Heathcote, otherwise Helcote, of whom some mention has been already made, at page 827.  He dying while the work was unfinished, the completion of it was undertaken and effected the year following by the famous Henry Framingham.  Of him also some mention is made in the page last referred to, as well as in page 861.  It is probable that the former died intestate, without having made any provision for the endowment of the almshouse, and that his heirs were not disposed to complete the plan which he had formed.  However that was, Framingham appears to have then stept forward and purchased the premises, for the laudable purpose of completing the benevolent institution which the other had projected.  This house is pleasantly situated, in the field called Paradise, on the east side of Broad Street, with which it communicates, and from which is its only entrance.  It consists of a chapel and twelve apartments or dwellings, all opening into a quadrangular court, to which there is an entrance by a gateway from the street.  Those dwellings are occupied by 12 poor men, one of whom officiates as chaplain, and is called The Reader; in consideration of which he has an additional pension or allowance.  Attached to those 12 apartments are as many little gardens, which lie on each side of the entrance from the street.  Framingham, it seems, endowed only 11 of these dwellings: the other endowed a long while after, by one of our alderman, whose was John Goodwyn.  The present weekly allowance of each of these 12 pensioners is 3s. 6d. with the addition of 15d. to the chaplain, which makes his weekly allowance 4s. 9d.  The 11 lay brethren have each a chaldren of p. 1135coals yearly, and the chaplain a chaldron and half.  They have beside, the interest of 250l. which they receive half yearly.  This it is presumed is a pretty correct account of the present state of these pensioners; but it must not here pass unnoticed, that Mr. Cook, the charitable benefactor of the other almshouses, and whose memory ought to be very dear to all our pensioners, has left to this house the sum of 2000l. 3 per cent stock, for the augmentation of the weekly allowance of the 12 poor occupants: when this bequest therefore is obtained, which is now very soon expected, it can not fail of considerably bettering their condition.  But what an indelible disgrace is the benefaction of Mr. Cook to the memories of all those overgrown wealthy Lynn men, who have departed this life without the least apparent spark of benevolence, or one charitable thought towards their indigent neighbours.

Besides its four Almshouses, (including that of Gaywood,) Lynn is also distinguished for divers other charitable institutions, and particularly for a great number of those called benefit societies, or purse clubs, which amount to upwards of twenty.  Most of them consist of men, but some few are made up of the other sex; [1135] p. 1136which in most places we believe is rather an unusual case, as it has been generally supposed that such societies would not succeed.  Here, however, they are said to have succeeded, and to have proved very beneficial.  Their plans and constitutions seem well formed, and their rules and orders have been circulated in print.  These societies, as might be supposed, hold their meetings in private houses, those, probably, of some of their most opulent and active patronesses.  Of the societies of this description which consist wholly of men, some are of a superior order, and designed particularly for the benefit of females or widows.  One of those, if we are not mistaken, is called, “The Provident Society for the benefit of widows;” and another, “The Benevolent Viduarian Society.”  The latter was established Nov. 5.1807. and the former several years earlier.  Both of them, if we are rightly informed, secure to each widow an annuity of twenty pounds, which to most cannot fail of being a very desirable object.

The meetings of these two societies, and of all the rest that belong to the men, are kept at different public houses in various parts of the town: [1136] and it is probable p. 1137that they are the most suitable places, upon the whole, that could be easily obtained for that purpose.  It may be here further observed, that we scarce ever hear of any thing in the conduct of those who attend at these meetings, that is palpably improper, unbecoming, or exceptionable.  So that the rules and orders of these fraternities appear to have taught the members in general to pay a due respect to a propriety or decency of behaviour, so as to fit them to be better members of the community.  This consideration not a little enhances the use and importance of these friendly and fraternal institutions, as manifestly conducing to the cultivation of good manners, civilization, and moral improvement.

But in an account of our Benefit-Societies, and provident, benevolent, or charitable institutions, the two following charities ought not to be forgotten—1. The Lying-in Charity.  This was set on foot in 1791, by the late Mrs. Elizabeth Gibbons, in conjunction with Mrs. Keed, Mrs. S. Newham, &c. for lending Child-bed Linen p. 1138to poor women: and it is said to have been the means of affording great relief to those who were the objects of it.  It has been assisted and supported by subscriptions from several Ladies, amounting for the last year to 37l. 6s.—As it is known to have proved very beneficial, it is to be hoped that it will be long continued.—2. The Stranger’s friend Society. [1138]  This has been set on foot here by the Methodists, but has been supported by many others of the inhabitants, and rendered very useful to the poor.—An account of the state and proceedings of this society is published annually: about which time a sermon is also preached at the Methodist Chapel, for the benefit of the institution.  Those who are appointed by the society for the office of visiting the distressed poor, are directed to assist them by prayer and religious instruction, as well as by their alms.

☞ Before he entirely closes this section, the author feels it incumbent upon him to confess, that since the last sheet was printed off, he has, upon further consideration, become less confident of the annuity mentioned at p. 1131 being originally left to the Bedehouse.

p. 1139Section V.

Brief account of the Schools, with some hints on the present state of Education at Lynn.

Before the Reformation, the education (such as it was) of the children and youth of this country was committed chiefly to the monks and friars; and carried on in the convents and religious houses,—of which description were even the very universities themselves, if indeed they are not so still.  Lynn had then many of those convents and religious houses; and it seems probable that each of them had in it a school, of some sort or other.  But they were all schools for boys; and yet but few, compared with the whole number of the Lynn boys of those times, can be supposed to have been so fortunate as to get there admitted.  As to the girls, there was then no such provision made for their education: and they seem to have been, in that point of view, as little regarded as if our ancestors thought, like the Mahometans, that women had no souls.

Among the inconveniences occasioned by the general dissolution of the monasteries, one of them must have been that of being deprived of those conventual schools.  How long the town continued without any substitutes for them, we are not able to say.  Something probably might be done in the reign of Edward, though we have not been able to discover any clear proof of it: only the fact may be supposed, as it is well known that many schools were established in that reign, and endowed with some small fragments of the abbey-revenues.  Indeed there is some reason to conclude that there was a school, on a very small scale, established here by the corporation, p. 1140almost immediately after the dissolution, as appears from the following passage in an old memorandum book, extracted chiefly, as it would seem, from the Hall-records—“1538, Sept; 29. Thomas Person, prest, late ffryer, was chosen to be Charnell Prest: He to have for his selary viiil. iiiis. and licence to preche iiii tymes every Quarter, and frely to teche vi Child.[ren.]”—The last expression necessarily implies the establishment of a school for the education of six children: and as the teacher was the charnel priest, it may reasonably be concluded that the school was kept at, or over the charnel house.  That also being the place where our Grammar School was kept till the erection of the present building, it seems not improbable that this little school for the education of half a dozen boys may have been the origin of that seminary.  How long our means of education were confined to one solitary establishment for six boys, we are not able now to say; but we could discover no appearance of the existence of any thing further till above forty years after the dissolution of the convents, when a respectable seminary, on an extensive scale, began to give additional dignity to the character of the town.—We will now proceed to give a cursory view of our principal schools, and present state of education.

1.  The Grammar School.  This has long borne a respectable character among the grammar-schools of this country.  It is supposed to have been established about the middle of the reign of Elizabeth, as we have been able to trace it no further back than the year 1580, when we find it an established school, and its master’s name Iverye. [1140]  He died in 1590, p. 1141and was succeeded by Alex. Roberts M.A. who had a stipend of 20 marks a year, and the house where his predecessor lived.  He becoming one of the ministers of the town, was succeeded in 1593 by Nic. Eston M.A. of Pemb. Hall, Cambridge.  Eston in 1597, was succeeded by John Man M.A. who in 1608, was succeeded by Hen. Allston, on condition that he considered himself as holding the school only during the goodwill and pleasure of the Mayor, A. and C. C.  He appears not to have been on the best terms with the corporation; and about 1613, was succeeded by a Mr. Armitage.  He dying in 1618, was succeeded by Mr. Robt. Robinson.  He died in 1626, and was succeeded by Ambr. Fish, who shortly after gave up his charge, and was succeeded, 11. May 1627, by Robt. Woodmansea M.A. of Loughborough.  He removing in the spring of 1634 (or rather 1635,) had for his successor John Rawlinson M.A. of St. John’s Col. Cambridge, p. 1142who removed, as it seems, in 1637, and was then succeeded by Edw. Bell M.A. who, if we are not mistaken, held the place 40 years; and dying in 1678 was succeeded by the memorable John Horne M.A. who held the mastership of this seminary still longer; even no less than 51 or 52 years, with much credit to himself and no small advantage to his numerous pupils.  He was succeeded May 21. 1730. by Charles Squire; who was succeeded by — Pigge; and he by John Danville, and he by John Knox, who resigned in 1760, [1142a] when he was succeeded by Dr. David Lloyd, who continued at the head of this seminary 34 years, and supported during all that time a character no way inferior, perhaps, to the most eminent of his predecessors.  He was succeeded in 1794 by his eldest son Henry Lloyd D.D. the present Hebrew Professor at Cambridge.  Upon his resignation in 1797, he was succeeded by Richard Scott, who in 1803 was succeeded by the present master, the rev. Martin Coulcher. [1142b]

p. 1143The course of education in this seminary, is similar to what is usual in most of our endowed grammar-schools, or free-schools.  Its original object seems to have been to teach the rudiments of the learned languages, which still forms a principal part of the plan; but like the generality of our modern numerous and respectable boarding schools, it has now for many years embraced divers other objects, and even all those branches of education, the knowledge of which is now deemed necessary to fit our youth to become men of business, and useful and accomplished members of society.  The endowment to this seminary is about 60l. a year, and a handsome dwelling-house for the master; for which he is to teach a certain number of freemen’s children gratis: but it is only in grammar or classical learning; for which reason they are but few in number; and he depends chiefly for his support upon those pupils he derives from other quarters.  In some cases those who go from this seminary to the university, are entitled to certain exhibitions or pecuniary aids, which some well disposed persons deceased have bequeathed for the benefit of such young scholars.

Our other boy-schools are now pretty numerous, and are entitled to different degrees of estimation, from those of Messrs. Coulton, Smith, and Bonnet, down to those of our veriest or humblest abecedarian pedagogues, who yet are doubtless very useful in their sphere.—Of girl-schools there are here likewise a great many, and they also are of different sorts, and descend, like the p. 1144former, in various gradations, from the respected boarding schools of Miss Nichols and Miss Henderson, to the liliputian seminaries of those homely dames whose pupils are made up of young misses and masters of two, three, and four years old.  The two schools here first mentioned, (those of Miss N. and Miss H.) are very respectable; and the former has been so for a great many years, and still maintains its character with undiminished reputation.  But as these good ladies can be in no want of any encomium or praises which are in the power of this writer to bestow, he will here drop the subject.

We must not however close our account of the Lynn schools, without noticing those which are formed on the Lancasterian plan; of which there are two here established—one for boys and the other for girls.  Of the latter the following sketch, it is presumed, will be found pretty correct.

The Charity School for Girls was founded by voluntary subscription, at a meeting of ladies held at the Town-hall, April 13. 1792, and opened May 28 following.  It provided instruction, in reading, sewing, and spinning, with some portion of clothing, for 30 children.  A room in Purfleet street was for some years hired for the purpose; but in 1805 a much more suitable apartment, adjoining to the north tower of St. Margaret’s Church, was fitted up by the subscribers: and the school has been since extended to 50 girls, under the direction of Miss Harriet Howell, who has successfully adapted the new or Lancasterian method of education to the instruction of girls—This school is now supported p. 1145in a great measure by taking in plain work; as the whole amount of the subscription, for the current year is only 49l. 7s.

The other charitable seminary, that for boys, and which in fact is our proper Lancasterian school, is of much later origin than the preceding.  Of its rise and progress the following brief account, we doubt not, will be found pretty accurate—

“It is remarkable that in so large a town as this, there was no public charity school for boys prior to the year 1808.  Complaints were loud and universal of the number of idle and disorderly boys, who were rioting in our streets, and sometimes committing great depredations upon the property of individuals.  But the very magnitude of the evil seemed to discourage all endeavours to remove it.  The expense of educating so large a number upon the old plan of instruction, which required one master to every 30 or 40 boys, precluded all hope of raising an adequate contribution from the public; and no effect could not be expected from a private person commensurate to the existing evil, of so large a portion of the population being destitute of all moral or religious instruction.  But the rise of the new system of education, by which one master can teach almost any number of boys that one room can hold, soon attracted the attention of those who felt for the rising generation: and as this improved system was then practised only by Mr. Joseph Lancaster, in London, an application was made to him for a master.  Upon which he kindly offered to come down, and gave a public lecture at the assembly room upon the subject, p. 1146February 8. 1808.  Several resolutions for the establishment of a school in this place, by his assistance, were immediately agreed upon; a committee of 15 subscribers for the management of the institution, were afterwards nominated; the Corporation granted the use of a building well adapted for the purpose, and on Wednesday, May 11. in the same year, the school was opened for 230 boys. [1146a]—The success and the utility of this institution have fully answered every reasonable expectation which could be formed respecting it.—The annual subscriptions for the present year amount to 111l. 6s.

Besides these schools, which are under the direction of the clergymen of the establishment, there are here two sunday schools under the direction of the dissenters.  The chief of these, and of the longest standing, is under the care of the revd. I. Allen, and kept at his meeting house, in Broad Street; but it is supported by the subscriptions of persons of different denominations, churchmen as well as dissenters. [1146b]  It has existed some years, and is deemed a very useful institution.  The other is of more recent origin, and at present on a much smaller scale, and is kept at the Baptist meeting house.  It is only for boys; whereas Mr. Allen’s is for both boys and girls, but chiefly the latter.  In his last annual account, if we are not mistaken, Mr. A. has represented both these schools as only one school, making the whole number of scholars 249—143 girls, and 109 boys.  Of p. 1147the latter about 60, as we are told, belong to the Baptist Sunday School.  These institutions, it is to be hoped, will long prove very useful to the town.—But we must not omit here to mention that the Lynn Sunday Schools originated with the Methodists about 25 years ago.  The school which they then established was carried on with much spirit, and to very good purpose for several years; but was at last given up in favour of an extensive day-school, which was then planned, and which it was supposed would render the other unnecessary.  But either that day-school was not established, or it did not succeed; so that the Methodists were too hasty in discontinuing their school, which if we rightly recollect, consisted of about 200 children. [1147]

From the foregoing account the reader may form some idea of the present state of education in this town.  The Lancasterian schools have answered the most sanguine expectations of their patrons and promoters, and especially the boy-school, which has hitherto given abundant satisfaction, and has greatly conduced to the credit both of the managers and the teacher.  The dispute which has agitated other parts of the kingdom as to the respective merits of Bell and Lancaster, will, it is to be hoped, not materially affect this town.  For though the Church Catechism is taught here, which the present writer thinks in part very absurd; yet if the young pupils think at all as they grow up, and advert to the new p. 1148testament, that absurdity will not long have any very strong hold upon their minds, or remain a great while unperceived.  As they will be enabled to read the scriptures, if they will take the trouble of searching them, and judge for themselves, they may be soon very capable to determine how far the Church Catechism and the Common prayer book are to be deemed necessary appendages to the inspired writings.

As to our schools of the better sort, or of the higher order, we judge that they are as well conducted as those of the like description in most other places.  Some indeed have found fault, especially with those for female education, for what may be called too much uniformity, or not varying more the course of instruction, and adapting it to the ranks, circumstances, or prospects of the respective pupils.  Hence the tradesman’s and petty farmer’s daughters are taught music, drawing, and other genteel accomplishments, in common with those of the squire, the merchant, and opulent farmer, who are expected and designed to move in a much higher sphere.  In giving the former the education of fine ladies they are supposed to be unfitted for that station in life in which they are likely to be placed, by having their minds filled with such high notions as can but very ill accord with their probable future destiny.  This therefore has been deemed contrary to the dictates of reason, and every just rule of prudence and propriety.  But however absurd this may be, the blame seems not imputable to the governesses of these seminaries, but rather to the parents or guardians of those pupils.  Nor would it be very safe p. 1149perhaps for our governesses to remonstrate with these, or even so much as hint on the absurdity or impropriety of such an indiscriminate and preposterous course of instruction, as it would be taken as a reflection on their superior wisdom, or their competency to dictate the proper line of pupilage for their young relatives.  But it is not intended here to insinuate that the circumstance in question is peculiar to our Lynn Boarding-schools: on the contrary, the same is supposed to be very much the case in many, if not in most other places.  If however it be so improper as many have supposed, it would no doubt, be very desirable to have it discontinued.  But the world is not very likely soon to agree to discontinue all improper practices.

☞ Here before he begins another section, or proceeds any further, the author begs leave to apprize the reader of an error he has committed at page 1134, in suggesting that Framingham endowed 11 out of the 12 dwellings in the Broad street Almshouse.  He has understood since that he endowed but ten, and that the eleventh was endowed by Ald. Goodwyn, and the twelfth by the elder Hogg, great grand father of our present alderman of that name, and founder of that respectable mercantile family.  This correction is made, as due to the memory of the said Mr. Hogg, which stands much higher, as a benefactor to the poor, than that of any of our wealthy men who survived him.—It is also due to the sacredness of historical truth, which demands as much fidelity as a statement of facts upon oath in a court of judicature.

Section VI.

Sketch of the Corporation, with cursory remarks on its power, possessions, privileges, &c.

The Corporation of Lynn was established in the reign of king John, which is not mentioned here as a circumstance p. 1150redounding to its honour, or yet to its dishonour.  Our corporations might be very proper and useful in those feudal and barbarous times, as a check to the despotism and tyranny of the barons and feudal lords; but in the present state of the nation their propriety and utility are very far from being obvious; seeing such places as Birmingham, Manchester, and Sheffield, appear to have done full as well, and thrived quite as much, without any chartered immunities, or such a privileged order of men, as our most famous or favoured corporations.  It is not however to be expected that these dignified bodies will readily descend from their elevated situations, and place themselves by the side of their unprivileged neighbours.

The Lynn Corporation is generally considered as consisting of a Mayor, Recorder, Lord High Steward, twelve Aldermen, eighteen Common-councilmen, town Clerk, Chamberlain, two Coroners, and several inferior officers. [1150]  The power, privileges, and possessions of this body are very considerable, so that their dignity and consequence seem not a little superior to those of some others of our corporate bodies in different p. 1151parts of the kingdom.  Their various immunities are distinctly specified in their numerous charters, which they obtained of different sovereigns, from John to p. 1152Charles the second.  But as it seems to be intended shortly to publish those Charters, it may be needless to say any more here about their contents.  There has been a pretty general wish for some time to have these documents published in English, that the freemen might know the full meaning and extent of the oaths tendered to them in taking up their freedom, of which not one in twenty of them are supposed to have at present any adequate idea: and as there is known to exist now in the town a fair translation of them, it is hoped and expected that it will ere long be made public.  In that case the dignity, power, and prerogatives of this privileged body will be sufficiently explained, and our future p. 1153freemen will be enabled to discover the nature and extent of the obligation imposed upon them by their burgess oaths.

The possessions of the Lynn Corporation in landed property &c. are said to be very considerable; and together with their various tolls, tallages, and privileges, produce a large annual income, which we are told might be considerably increased, were their lands all let to the best bidders, or according to their full value, instead of letting them in the usual unfair and partial manner, for the accommodation of their own particular friends and favourites.  With such an ample revenue as their means might be made to produce, and of which they are understood to be but the trustees of the commonalty, our corporation might be real and great benefactors to this town, and secure to themselves the esteem and applause of all their reasonable and respectable fellow-citizens; but being apt sometimes to carry themselves rather too haughty and arrogantly towards their unprivileged neighbours, they are not always in possession of the respect that would otherwise be very readily paid to them.  It is not however likely that they are much more despotically disposed than the generality of the rulers of other corporations.

The mayor of Lynn is chosen annually on the 29th. of August, from among the aldermen, by the members of the common-council: and he must be one who has not served the office previously for at least five years.  In p. 1154case he declines the appointment, or refuses to serve, without reasonable cause to be allowed, the major and aldermen may fine him in any sum not exceeding 60l. [1154a]  Also in case of such refusal, or of a mayor’s death, the common-council-men may within eight days choose any other alderman, who has not served for five years, in his room.  The new mayor being elected on the 29th of August, he is not sworn in till the 29th. of the ensuing month, or Michaelmas-day, when his official year commences.  If he should happen to be sick, so as not to be able to attend at the Guild-hall to be sworn, on the day last mentioned, it shall be lawful to administer the oath, or oaths to him at his own house, or wherever he shall be within the borough. [1154b]

Formerly it was customary to have here at the hall, both on St. John’s, and St Michael’s days, elegant entertainments or sumptuous public dinners, given at the mayor’s expense, and often much expatiated upon by former writers; but the custom has of late been discontinued, and we are not sure that it will be ever again resumed: nor are we sure that its resumption would be at all desirable; on the contrary, it seems more probable that its utter abolition would be of far greater use to the community in general, at such a time as this, as it might serve to remind us all of the absolute necessity of retrenching p. 1155and observing the utmost economy in the management of all our temporal affairs, as the only way to escape starvation and all its concomitant miseries.  For all which we have to thank the vile maxims that have directed and distinguished our public affairs for these 50 years, and especially those that characterize the administration of the last Pitt and his successors.

Of the present revenue of this Corporation, which is understood to be very considerable, we have not been able to ascertain the exact amount.  It is one of those secrets, it seems, which the members make a point of keeping to themselves, and whose disclosure would render them liable to expulsion.  It being therefore a corporation and sworn secret, we will not presume to pry any further into it.  But it is very certain that several of their present sources of revenue did not at all belong to them formerly.  Among which are to be reckoned the possessions of the Gilds of the Trinity, and St. George, and perhaps of some of the others; which were granted to the Corporation at the dissolution.  Also the profits of the Toll-booth, which were originally divided between the bishop of Norwich, and the Earl of Arundel as lord of Rising, comprehending what is called Tronage, Measurage, and Lovecop, [1155] with the baily-ship of the Water of Wiggenhall, &c.  Of these, after passing through several hands, a fourth part was vested in the prince of Wales, as Duke of Cornwall, and the other three parts afterwards reverted to the crown, and were p. 1156by Henry VIII. granted to the corporation, who have been in possession of them ever since.  The fourth part is supposed to belong still to the duchy of Cornwall, and rented from the managers of its concerns by the mayor and burgesses.—An admiralty jurisdiction within the liberties of this borough, has also been granted to this body corporate, by king James’ Charter, which will probably avail them very materially in their present dispute with lord William Bentinck.

Before we close these remarks we may just observe, that four or five of our aldermen, and several of our common-council-men are now absentees, or live out of town—a case, it is supposed, never known here before, and which would not have been allowed in former days: for absence or removal out of town was always heretofore succeeded by expulsion, if the absentees did not think proper to resign of their own accord.  It seems somewhat difficult to account for the unexampled indulgence with which our present absentees are treated, especially as the mayor is said to find it often very difficult, on that very account, to get a Hall, or muster such a number of members as is necessary for transacting their municipal business.

Other sources of municipal revenue here, are the fairs and markets.  Of the former there are only two in the year: one of these is very considerable and celebrated, but was much more so in former times.  It is commonly called the mart, or the Lynn mart, and commences on the 14th. of February, when it is with great formality p. 1157proclaimed [1157] to last for six days, but is generally allowed to continue about a fortnight.  It is but the shadow of what it was formerly, when most of the p. 1158town and country shopkeepers were then supplied with goods till the time of Sturbitch fair, where they procured a fresh supply.  But the latter also is now sunk into great comparative insignificance.  Both of them therefore might now be discontinued without any material loss, except to those concerned with their respective revenues.  The other Lynn fair is held on the 17th. of October, and is called the cheese fair.  It was formerly, it seems, a respectable fair, but is now become so inconsiderable and insignificant as not to require or merit here any further notice.

Besides the Fairs, there are at Lynn two weekly markets, one on Tuesday and the other on Saturday.  They are kept in two different parts of the town: the former towards the north end, on a spot called the Tuesday market-place; which is a spacious area of about three acres, surrounded by very good houses, and having, on an ascent of four steps, a beautiful free stone Market Cross, of modern architecture, built in 1710, adorned with statues and other embellishments, with a peristyle round below, supported by 16 pillars of the Ionic order, as also another walk above, encompassed with an iron palisade, enriched with tracery work and foliage, enclosing a neat octagon room, on the outside of which, in niches, were standing four statues, representing the p. 1159cardinal virtues, and facing the four cardinal points.  The upper part is finished with a cupola, in which hangs the market-bell, and the whole is 70 feet high.  The foundation having given way on the west side, it is thought the building ere long must be taken down.  From the cross, in a semicircular direction on each side, extends a range of covered stalls or shambles, having a small turret at each end.  The fish-market, which formerly stood behind the cross, has lately been taken down, and since that time the fish-market is in Common-stath-yard, where a convenient building had been previously constructed for that purpose.

Market Cross, pub.D Feb.y 1ST 1810, by W. Whittingham, Lynn

The Saturday Market is kept in a convenient area opened of late years near St. Margaret’s church, where capacious shambles have been erected, over which the Grammar School is kept.  Before 1782 it was kept in that part of High Street which is next this church; but which being found inconvenient, the present spot was prepared for that purpose, and it is on the whole a good commodious market-place.  It was however, with great reluctance that the market people quitted their former station, and consented to remove to the new one, though it must have been evident to all that the latter was far preferable.  But that was only the natural effect of that strange attachment which most people feel for old habits and customs.  Both the Lynn markets are plentifully supplied with good and excellent provisions, and at as reasonable a rate as can well be expected in these strange times, when our guinea is of no more value than p. 1160the shilling of our ancestors.  But we will here close this section. [1160]

Section VII.

Present stele of Lynn, as to its shipping, trade and commerce, exports and imports, population, &c.

In former times, and even at some pretty remote periods, Lynn stood high among our English sea-ports, in regard to its shipping.  Hence, as long ago as the year 1374, when Edward the III was fitting out an expedition against France, and required his principal sea-ports to furnish ships to enable him more effectually to accomplish his purpose, he is said to have had from Lynn 19 ships, when London sent only 24, Bristol 25, Plymouth, 26, Sandwich 22, Dover 21, Weymouth 20; and Newcastle only 17, Hull 16, Harwich 14, and Ipswich 12.  So that Lynn appears to have been then among p. 1161the first of our sea-ports, as to the number of its ships, or the extent of its trade and commerce.  In after ages it is supposed to have maintained its rank among its sister ports; but we are not able to ascertain the exact degree of its weight and consequence among them during all the subsequent periods.

Of late years our trade and commerce have fluctuated with the times, and our shipping and tonnage have increased or decreased according to the natural operation of a state of peace or of war.  In 1776, being the earliest period at which any record appears to have been preserved of them, the number of trading vessels belonging to this port [1161] was 85, and the amount of tonnage 12,700; in 1777 and 1778, ( and probably in 1779,) they continued in much the same state, as appears from a MS. account which belonged to a late shipmaster: but in 1780, or 1781, there was an increase, though we cannot learn how much.  But in 1791 the ships were 125, and tonnage 17,000; in 1801, ships 108, tonnage 13,000; in 1806, ships 134, tonnage 15,600; in 1811, ships 106, tonnage 12,000.—From this it would seem, that our trade is not now in a progressive or thriving state; and though our shipping are still considerable in number, yet in point of tonnage they are less than at any former period here referred to, or probably than at any one period since the commencement of the present reign.  What effect a peace would have, it is impossible precisely to say, but the probability is, that our trade would then revive, and things revert again into their old channels.

p. 1162The trade of this town formerly to different parts of the continent was very considerable, and particularly to the Baltic; but it is now almost totally deprived of all its foreign trade; and except some little intercourse with Spain and Portugal, its trade is at present almost wholly confined to the importation of Coals, and the exportation of Corn coastwise to different British ports.  The quantity of coals imported these years is said to have been very great, and that of last year has perhaps exceeded any other year: and as that article bears a very heavy duty it has greatly helped to keep up the revenue of the custom-house.  Foreigners, under the licence system, bringing the produce of the Baltic, may also be supposed to have contributed considerably to produce the same effect.  The tables below will serve to cast some further light upon the subject, and help the reader to judge of the trade of this place for the last fifty years. [1162a]

p. 1163As to the Coal-trade, which now constitutes the chief article or main branch of our remaining commerce, and which of late has employed so large a portion of our shipping, and is thought likely to decline considerably this year (1812,) owing to the price of that commodity having been lately lowered, so as to diminish the profits so much, that it will be no longer worth the while of the private ship-owners, who are pretty numerous, to employ their vessels in the trade: and it is supposed that they will therefore be obliged to lay them up.  This seems a great hardship upon them, for which our principal merchants are much blamed, whether justly or not, the present writer will not take upon him to say.  Powerful merchants, most certainly, as well as powerful men of other professions, have before now acted very unfairly and oppressively towards their weaker neighbours.

The trade to Greenland and to Davis’s Straits, or what is called the Whale Fishery, is another branch in which Lynn has been concerned for many years: and as it is still persevered in, it may be presumed to have proved no ungainful concern.  The ships fitted out for this p. 1164trade generally sail in March and return about July.  Three or four ships have been usually employed in this trade, and sometimes more, but we understand that there are only two fitted out this year.  Some ships also of late years have traded between this town and Canada, chiefly, we believe, for timber: and as we are now quite shut out from the Baltic, this trade will probably increase.  On the whole, we presume it may be very truly said, that the trade of Lynn is at this time at a lower ebb than it was ever known to be at any time within the last hundred years or more.  When we shall have driven the French out of Spain and Portugal, and obliged Napoleon to restore all his conquests, and allow us a free trade to every part of the continent, it may be hoped it will once more revive and flourish as much as ever.

The population of Lynn is between ten and eleven thousand.  The census taken in 1801 fixed it at 10,097, and that taken in 1811 at 10,253.  But there is no reliance to be placed on the accuracy of either.  The real population probably exceeded both these numbers, and it is uncertain at which of the two periods was the most numerous.  Some have thought that it must have been in 1801, and the present writer was once of that opinion.  What led him to that conclusion was, the great and unusual number of untenanted houses found in different parts of the town in 1810, amounting in all to above one hundred.  But observing, upon further deliberation, that a still greater number of new houses, of a smaller rent, had lately sprung up in certain alleys and outskirts of the town, and all tenanted, he was induced to relinquish his former opinion, and conclude that our p. 1165population had not actually decreased.  Nor can he now help thinking the real population of the town at each of those periods to have much exceeded the numbers made out by the respective persons employed on the occasion; and moreover, that our present population is not below 10,500 souls.

Of this population, it is a melancholy consideration that the greatest part are still very ignorant and unenlightened, and never frequent any place of worship, and are in fact in a state of mere heathenism, though they are all absurdly considered as members of the established church.  It is indeed by such members that this same church is enabled so greatly to outnumber our great body of dissenters, or the nonconforming party throughout the nation.  Were only the sober and devout on each side to be numbered, it is highly probable that the established church, with all its vast wealth, and alliance with the state, would be found to be the minor party.  As to the regular communicants, it is the opinion of some, that even the very methodists alone could at present muster a number not inferior to those of our establishment.  Be that as it may, it must be exceedingly absurd and stupid to consider the ignorant, the irreligious, and heathenish part of the community as belonging to any church at all.

The religious functionaries or ministers of this town, both churchmen and dissenters, are allowed to be in general very assiduous in the discharge of their clerical and ministerial duties; and were they at the same time less subject to prejudice, bigotry, and intolerance, and more disposed to believe what their Lord and Master has declared, p. 1166that they who are not against us are for us, they would certainly deserve great commendation.  But they and their flocks are, for the most part, so deficient in the articles of christian charity, forbearance, and liberality, that they may be said to dishonour the very cause they have espoused, and the service in which they are embarked.  The more orthodox and evangelical they pretend to be, the more uncharitable and intolerant they are generally found.  Their evil spirit of intolerance and infallibility seems to carry them so far as hardly to allow those who stand without the pale of their respective communions to be worthy of even the name of christians.  Sometimes they have been heard to pronounce such as they fancied to be heterodox, as presuming to teach men to be christians without believing any one principle of that institution; as if God had endowed them with the infallible knowledge of christian truth, and constituted them judges of the very state and destinies of their fellow professors.  It was a saying in the primitive times, “See how these christians love one another;” but here it might rather be said, “See how these christian parties and sects envy, vilify, and hate one another.”  In short, they may be said to possess so large a portion of that unworthy spirit of jealousy and rivalry as would disgrace even the meanest tradesmen, or the very lowest orders of shopkeepers and mechanics: and what is still worse, they seem quite incapable of blushing for their absurd and unchristian conduct.  There are however some honourable exceptions to this representation, though they seem to be very few.  But we will now close this section, and here conclude the regular series of this history.

p. 1167Supplementary Section;

(containing divers recollections, corrections, and miscellaneous matters:)—defects in the plans and modes of public worship, or the usual proceedings in our religious assemblies—our gentry and tradesmen capriciously and absurdly distinguished—shrimp trade—water-works—brief account of certain public buildings previously omitted—additional hints relating to our grammar-school, our libraries, and present population.

To what was said of our religious sects and parties in the preceding section, under the heads of rivalry, envy, uncharitableness, &c. it might justly have been added, that they are also very deficient in their modes of conducting public worship, or their way and manner of proceeding in their religious assemblies; and particularly in neglecting as they do the reading and expounding of the scriptures.  Things would be likely to come to a much better pass, if, at least, half the time that is now spent in preaching and singing were appropriated to the important duties of reading and expounding the sacred writings.  The minds and attention of the people, in that case, would be directed to the meaning and understanding of holy writ, and a spirit of enquiry after scripture knowledge could not well fail of being effectually promoted in our respective congregations.  Instead of that, as the case now stands, or as the public ministry is at present conducted, the people seem in general as unacquainted with the scripture at the end of the year, as they were at the beginning of it, and quite unconcerned or indifferent about the matter.  They appear to attend for some other purpose—that of mere amusement, or p. 1168something very short of what they ought to have in view in attending the christian ministry.  Most preachers seem, as if afraid to lay the scriptures at large before the people, lest they should attract too much of their attention, so as to induce them by degrees to read, think, and judge for themselves, or become actual searchers of the scripture, and indisposed to take every thing upon trust from their ghostly guides: for notwithstanding our usual outcry against the papists, our priests and theirs are more nearly allied than is generally supposed.  These hints, it is presumed, are not altogether unworthy of the serious consideration of the different religionists of this town. [1168]

Except these of the learned professions, and very few besides, all the principal families of this town are in fact tradesmen; yet even these are here very capriciously and superciliously distinguished into gentlemen and tradesmen; though the former retale their goods, or sell their commodities in small quantities, as well as the latter: and surely a man who buys corn by the bushel, the coomb, or the quarter, and sells coals by the chalder and half chalder, and his deals in any small quantity the p. 1169buyer may wish, and his bottled wine by single dozens, is to all intents and purposes as much a tradesman as a grocer, a linen-draper, an ironmonger, or a druggist.  What then is the ground of this distinction?  Is it education?  No: our tradesmen in general have been brought up at the grammar-school, and the others can seldom or ever pretend to any higher advantage.  Nor do they possess minds more cultivated by reading and knowledge of the world; for there is every reason to believe that the tradesmen are at least their equals in those respects, and some of them perhaps very much their superiors.  But is not fortune or wealth the ground of this distinction?  No: many of those denominated tradesmen are known to be much more wealthy, as well as much more intelligent and respectable, than some of those who have arrogated to themselves the dignified name of gentlemen.  On what then can this curious distinction be founded?  It may very truly be answered, On pride, arrogance, ignorance, impertinence, and vulgar servility. [1169]

In treating of our trade and commerce, in the preceding section, that remarkable branch or article, the shrimp-trade, was quite forgotten; and some perhaps may think that it might as well still remain so: others however will be of a different opinion; at least when they learn that beside what has been consumed in the town p. 1170and parts adjacent, and up the country, there have been actually sent from hence to London alone, by the stage coaches, in one season, or within a year, no less then between sixty and seventy tons of shrimps. [1170]  It is a vast quantity to be sent by land, and coach carriage, to the distance of a hundred miles.  We have not learnt how long this trade has been kept up on this large scale.  It is said to have somewhat declined since the Bostonians have taken it up and become our rivals.  But this rivalship can do no harm, as London, no doubt, will readily receive as many shrimps as both these towns can possibly furnish.

N. E. View of the Kettle Mills or Waterworks

The Water-works of this town are also among the articles overlooked in the preceding part of this history.  It is agreed on all hands that Lynn is supplied with excellent water from the Gaywood river, a stream that takes its rise about Grimston, six or seven miles off.  At the Kettle-mills, in the north-east outskirt of Lynn, this water is raised into a reservoir, which is between 30 and 40 feet higher than the surface of the water in the river.  Formerly there were two engines used for this purpose.  One of them was worked by a fall of water in the river, and the other by horses.  This latter was used when the water-engine was under repairs, or in dry seasons when the water-engine had not sufficient power to supply the p. 1171town.  In very dry seasons the hire of horses was very expensive.  About the year 1779 or 1780 the water-engine became unfit for further use.  A new one being then erected on better principles, had near three times the power of the old one.  Thus the town was plentifully supplied with water for some years, and at a small expense, as the horse-engine was seldom used.  But unfortunately the corporation came afterwards to a resolution to have the town supplied with water by the force of steam.  A fire-engine was erected, which afforded an ample supply of water to the town; in consequence of which the horse and water engines were taken down.  But the corporation, neglecting to avail themselves of the improvements of Bolton and Watts, erected their engine on the old principle of Newcomen; and it was soon discovered, to the astonishment of the unlearned in hydraulics, that the expense of coals and repairs amounted to a sum so far beyond the calculation of the corporation, that it was absolutely necessary to purchase no more steam at that rate.—The town is now supplied by an engine turned by water; but as it is constructed on old principles, the town, in dry seasons, must be ill-supplied and much distressed: and as the steam engine is become unfit for further use, the town must always be without a drop of water while the water engine is under repairs, which sometimes takes up more than a fortnight.  This is an inconvenience which the town is said never to have experienced until the late alterations were made.  On the whole therefore, this business appears to have been injudiciously managed; so that it would be very desirable to see it put upon a better footing, which it p. 1172certainly ought to be, as there has lately been an advance made in the water-rate—for which no plausible reason is known to have been yet assigned, any more than for the unexpected advance in the price of beer.

In our preceding account of the public buildings, it now appears that divers of them have passed unnoticed, and particularly the Theatre, the Custom-Haute, and the Town-Hall; each of which we shall now briefly describe.  The Theatre was originally the Hall of an opulent company, which constituted one of our numerous Guilds, that of St. George.  After the dissolution of the Guilds it was converted it seems into a kind of Exchange, and after that into a court-house, for holding the county quarter sessions of the peace.  Since those sessions were allowed to be held in the town-hall it has been converted into a Theatre, or Play-house, which is said to be very convenient and neat, neither profusely ornamented nor disgustingly plain; and although not free from faults, yet they are, it seems, what resulted from the architect having to fill up the shell of an old building which had been erected for another purpose.  The usual time of performing here is in the Spring, when the inhabitants are entertained by the Norwich Company.

The Custom House was erected for an Exchange, in 1683, by Sir John Turner, the founder it is supposed of that family.  It is a handsome free-stone building, with two tiers of pilasters, the lower of the Doric, and the upper of the Ionic order, with a small open turret, p. 1173terminating in a pinnacle.  In a niche, in front, is a statue of king Charles the second, that most religious king, as his bishops and clergy used to call him, even in their addresses to the deity.  This building contains several commodious apartments, well suited for the accommodation of the respectable collector of his majesty’s customs and his numerous underlings.—It has been noticed before that the revenue of this house, in 1806 amounted to 84,200l. and the last year (1811,) to 75,300l. which is said to exceed the revenue of most houses of the same description in the kingdom. [1173]

Custom House, published Oct. 1, 1810, by W. Whittingham, Lynn

The Town Hall, Jail House, published April 1810, by W.
Whittingham, Lynn

The Town-hall, or Guild-hall, alias Trinity-hall, is an ancient building of stone and flint.  It consists of divers apartments, the first of which is the stone-hall, where the county quarter sessions, as well as the town sessions are held.  This hall, comprehending probably the principal part of the old Guild-hall, is 58 feet in length, by 27 wide, and proportionably lofty.  There are in it the following portraits:—Full-length of Sir Robert Walpole, who is said to have been returned for this borough seventeen times; and so firmly was it attached to him, or so completely under his control, that even after he was expelled the House of Commons he still continued member for this place: Also half length of Sir Thomas White, the liberal benefactor to young tradesmen: Likewise a half length of Sir p. 1174Benjamin Keene, the memorable ambassador to the Spanish Court, who was a native of this town.—The adjoining Ball-room is 60 feet long, 27 broad, and 22 feet high.  The adjoining Card-room is 27 feet by 27, and 22 feet in height.  Some have pronounced these rooms ill contrived and have observed that, as they are upon a line, it would have given them an uncommon elegance had the openings from one into another been in three arches in the centre, supported by pillars, instead of the present Glass-doors, which have a mean appearance.  The eye, it has been further observed, would then at once have commanded a suit of one hundred and forty-five feet, which, with handsome lustres properly disposed, would have rendered these rooms inferior to few in England.  The position of the music gallery has also been found fault with.  But on these matters we will not enlarge: nor does it seem necessary to subjoin a particular description of the Council-room and other apartments or offices connected with this building. [1174]

p. 1175As Lynn has not been much distinguished for its literature or bookishness, it can be no great wonder that it should not abound with public libraries.  Till of late years there was here nothing of the kind, except in the two churches of St. Nicholas and St. Margaret, each of which was furnished with a library.  That of the former is now no more: it was removed some years ago to the other church, by way of addition to that collection.  Both being thus consolidated or united, form what is called the Church library.  It may be said to be, on the whole, a respectable collection, consisting of the donations of divers individuals, at different times; but it has never been supported with much spirit, nor has it received any great addition now for many years; owing, perhaps, to the unliterary or unbookish character of our corporation, and of most of our great and wealthy families.  St. Nicholas’ Library, it seems, was founded in 1617, and that of St. Margaret’s about 14 years later.  This was much augmented in 1714, by the will of Dr. Thomas Thurlin, master of St. John’s College, Cambridge, and rector of Gaywood, who bequeathed to it 179 folios, 178 octavos and duodecimo’s, and 84 quartos; in all 441 volumes, valued then at 160l. which it is presumed was the best single donation ever made to this Library.  This bibliothecal collection is the property of the corporation, and is under the care of a librarian of their appointment, with an annual salary of 2l.  It is not open to the public at large, and is not therefore, strictly speaking, a public library.  It contains about 1700 volumes.

p. 1176Before the year 1797, our reading and bookish people chiefly consisted of the members of a few book-clubs, which then existed in the town; together with the subscribers to those circulating libraries, (made up mostly of novels,) which our booksellers had formed, and which constituted, if it do not still constitute, a lucrative branch of their trade; for novel-reading is carried on hereon a large scale, especially among the female part of our population; to which not a few of them probably owe all the polish, real or fictitious, which their manners have acquired.—But in the year 1797 a subscription Library was here founded, which has been hitherto in a thriving way, and it has at present upwards of a hundred members.  The rules or orders of this society consist of about twenty, and are, on the whole, well expressed and adapted to the occasion. [1176]  A general meeting of the society is p. 1177held annually, on the first Monday in July, (the anniversary of the establishment of the Library in 1797.)  Quarterly meetings are also held, on the first Mondays in October, January, and April, every year.  Each subscriber may propose what books he pleases for the Library, (except such as ape merely professional, political pamphlets, or Novels,) by entering their Titles and Prices in a book kept for that purpose.  But they must be so entered a week at least before the general or quarterly meeting, otherwise they cannot lawfully be then balloted: nor must the same book be balloted for more than twice in one year.  A librarian, (who is also treasurer) and a sub-librarian, are annually chosen; the latter gives daily attendance at the library, from eleven to one, and from six to eight.  The present number of different articles or works in this library amounts to about 600, and the number of volumes to near 1400; many of them very valuable and expensive.  They are all new books.

Here in addition to what was before advanced, at pages 1164 and 1165, relating to our present population, it seems proper and necessary to say something further upon that subject, as West Lynn, or Old Lynn, and Gaywood, [1177] which may justly be denominated out suburbs, were not included in that reckoning.  Now the population of these two places amounts to about 800, which added to 10,253, will make our whole population somewhat to exceed eleven thousand: and as this does not comprehend our sea faring people, who are very numerous, p. 1178our whole or actual population may be very reasonably and safely supposed to be now no less than twelve thousand.  Yet this is probably much below what it has been in former times.

In addition also to what was said of the pictures in the town-hall, it may be proper here just to add, that the Ball-room there contains two whole lengths, the one of his present Majesty in his coronation robes, and the other of the late Lord Nelson.  The former a copy, from an original by Sir Joshua Reynolds, and the latter a copy, from an original by Hoppner—both done by Mr. Lane, son to our present collector, and said to do no small credit to the skill and talents of that young artist, who is supposed to be the very first native of Lynn that has ever promised to rise to eminence in that line.

 

Lynn Benefactions, or Charities.

Here it was intended to close the work, by a table or summary of remarkable events, chronologically arranged; but considering that our different benefactions and charities seemed to require to be more fully stated and particularized, it was thought proper to give first a cursory view of that subject—Among these charities the first place perhaps is due to the endowment of the grammar-school; which may probably be ascribed to one of the Thorsbys, sometime before the reformation, whose Will is noticed at page 1174, and who it is supposed was that same Thorsby mentioned before at p. 528, as founder of the college in this town.  It is likely he might fit p. 1179up the place over the charnel-house for a school-room, settle on the master a house to dwell in, and an annual salary.  He was contemporary with Walter Coney, and like him wealthy, and also ready to employ his wealth in acts of liberality and charity, which has made his memory truly respectable.

Sir Thomas White, citizen and alderman of London, who lived in queen Mary’s time, was another of our early benefactors.  He gave during his life 2000l. to the city of Bristol to purchase lands of the yearly value of 120l. for which it was agreed that the mayor and corporation of that city, in 1567 and the ten ensuing years, should pay the sum of 100l. which having for that time been allowed to accumulate, was to be thus expended: 800l. to be divided in loans without interest, among sixteen young Clothiers, freemen of that city, for ten years, upon sufficient security; at the aid of which time that sum to be lent to such other persons as the desire of the mayor, alderman, and four of the common council shall point out.  The remaining 200 to be expended in the purchase of corn to be sold to the poor at prime cost.  At the expiration of nine years at the feast of St. Bartholomew he directed that 104l. should be paid to the mayor and corporation of York, to be lent by them to four young freemen of that city, (clothiers always preferred.)  The same sum the next year on the same conditions, to the city of Canterbury: the next to Reading, the next to the Merchant Tailors’ company; the next to Gloucester, and so on successively, to Worcester, Exeter, Salisbury, Norwich, Southampton, Lincoln, Winchester, p. 1180Hereford, Oxford, Cambridge, Shrewsbury, Lynn, Bath, Derby, Ipswich, Colchester, Newcastle; and then to begin again at Bristol, and to proceed annually and regularly to the other places for ever.—Lynn first received this money (if we are not mistaken) in 1594; then in 1618, then in 1642; it next became due in 1666, but was put off for three years, till 1669, on account of the seat of the late rebellion (as it was said) having been where the estate lay.  The rent was therefore lost for three years.  The next payments was made in 1693.  The next was received in 1724, the payment having been retarded because the corporations refused to allow taxes, which were unjustly insisted upon by the city of Bristol: at last however, rather than go to law, they agreed to allow those taxes.  How many times Lynn has received this money since, we have not learnt; but suppose it has been paid pretty regularly; so that our corporation ought to have now in hand a large sum to lend to poor tradesmen.  The present expence of stamps is said to have in a great measure destroyed the benevolent intention and use of this benefaction.

But one of the principal charities belonging to this town is that which bears the name of Mr. John Crane, an apothecary of Cambridge, about the time of Charles the First and the Common Wealth.  It consists of 147 acres and one rood of land, at Fleet in Lincolnshire, or rather arises out of the rental of that land, which now amounts to 395l. 10s. a year, which comes to Lynn by rotation every five years, as it belongs successively to the town of Cambridge, the university of Cambridge, p. 1181the town of Ipswich, the town of Wisbeach, and the town of Lynn.  The rental being originally only 62l. was appropriated to each of these places successively, till each of them should receive to the amount of 200l.  From each payment the sum of 20l. a-piece was to be lent to three young tradesmen, without interest, for 20 years.  The odd forty shillings to be given to the minister who should be appointed to preach, at the place which received the money, a commemoration sermon to stir up others to the like charitable deeds.  Afterwards the benefaction to continue to each place for ever, and supplied as follows; viz. to relieve honest old men and women in distress, and release from prison poor men confined there for debt.  The testator changes those entrusted with the management of this concern (as they will answer it before God) to relieve the most honest and most religious men and women in their several places, who had lived well, had a good report, and had been reduced by mere misfortune, or through no fault of their own: and he cautions them against applying any part of his benefaction to the relief of dissembling hypocritical persons.  The chief part of this statement the author has drawn, with some abridgement, from a MS. account, once the property of a former alderman.  He has not been able to learn how this charity is now applied by our corporation: only that it is at the disposal of the mayor and the four senior aldermen.

Other charities are as follow—15l. given by Robert Boston alias Tyler, to be lent from year to year to deserving objects.—Also John Strogers of Lynn, Cook, by will, p. 118225 April, 1670, gave 45l. to the mayor and burgesses, that 20s. per annum might be paid to the minister of St. Margaret’s to preach a sermon the 1st. of January, and 14s. to 14 widowers and widows in Trinity-Hall ward, and 10s. to ten poor women in Stonegate ward upon the 20th. of December; and 10l. to the mayor and burgesses to buy a piece of plate.—Also Edward Robinson, born and educated in this town, by will, dated April 12, 1770, gave a capital tenement, in Lath Street, to the mayor and burgesses, and their successors forever, upon the trusts, and to the uses, intents, and purposes following—viz. To pay 1l. to the curate of St. Margaret’s church, to preach a sermon there every Good Friday for ever—and to pay to 12 poor decayed seamen, or other decayed aged men, that the mayor, aldermen, and common-council shall elect, for life, upon each Good Friday, ten shillings apiece:—and (after paying one pound on St. Thomas’s day to the minister and church wardens of Thornham,) to distribute the remainder of the rents among such 12 poor men as shall be placed in the Broad Street Almshouse, above 60 years of age.—Also Mr. John Horn, the memorable master of the Grammar-school, by his Will dated 27 April 1731, after sundry Legacies given to his relations, directed the residue of his estate to be sold, and the produce to be paid to the mayor and aldermen, to be by them put out at interest, and that interest to be by them yearly for ever employed for binding out of poor children apprentices.—Moreover, of late years, Mary Leake, widow, of this town, bequeathed 200l. to the mayor, aldermen, and common-council, to be put out at interest, and the produce applied, as before, to p. 1183bind poor children apprentices:—also her sister Catherine Barwell, bequeathed 300l. to the same trustees, the interest whereof to be laid out in purchasing coals, to be given away to such industrious poor women as receive no parish relief.—The last, but not the least of all our benefactions, is that of the late Mr. Cook of London, who bequeathed 5000l. 3 per cent stock, in trust to the mayor and burgesses, the interest whereof to be applied for the benefit of the three almshouses in the town: viz. that of 2300l. to the Bede-house, that of 700l. to the South-Lynn almshouse, and that of 2000l. to the almshouse in Broad-Street.

To those above enumerated may be added the following benefactions.—Viz. Loneyson’s annuity of 10l. to St. James’ Hospital; from 75 acres of pasture land in the south marshes. (see p. 1134)—Also 30s. a year towards cloathing two poor widows, arising from a Legacy of 40l. bequeathed by Joan Maye to the mayor and burgesses, about 1660.—Also 40s. a year, for 7 years, to a poor scholar, a native of Lynn, who shall go thence to the university of Cambridge; being a bequest of Alex Hall, merchant of this town, who died about 1597.—Also 16s. or 3l. 8s. 8d. a year for the term of five years, (out of Nottely tithes in North Runcton) to a poor scholar, chosen out of the poorest scholars of this Free-school, by the master and vicar master of Trinity College Cambridge, and the mayor of Lynn: being the gift, it seems, of Richard Hopps.—Also John Pierson, carpenter, left 6l. per annum by his Will dated 22. Oct. p. 11841623, as follows; viz. 40s. a year to a poor scholar, who shall go out of the grammar school of this town to any college in Cambridge, to be continued during the first seven years of his abiding there; also the same sum of 40s. every Lent season to the poor people in the Lynn Almshouse, (the Bedehouse we presume;) and another sum of 40s. to the poor people in Stone gate-ward, to be distributed also in the Lent season by the direction of the mayor for the time being, or the alderman of the said ward.—Beside these there is the Token-money, consisting of the sum of about 43l. annually laid out in coals, which are distributed in single mets, or some such small quantities among the poor in the different wards.  When or whence this money originated the author cannot distinctly say, but he understands it to be of pretty long standing, and the gift of some well disposed person or persons, of other times.  He also understands from good authority that all the charities, or benefactions now in the gift of the corporation, amount to the annual sum of 498l. 16s. exclusive of the endowments of the different Almshouses. [1184]

p. 1185☞ Since the above was sent to the press, the author got sight of a curious old book which belonged to a former town-chamberlain, (Jos. Cooper senr.) in which p. 1186the following charities are recorded.

Mrs. Titloe, about 1613, left a Legacy to the town, the interest whereof, amounting to 11l. annually, to be paid to Emanuel College Cambridge: 8l. of which to be paid to two scholars that have gone from this Free-school thither: the remaining 3l. to the fellows towards the repairs of the chapel.—Also Matthew Clarke, alderman, gave 10l. the interest to be divided among 20 poor widows in the 10 wards, [interest then at 10 per cent.]—Also Mrs. Jane Gurlin, maid, gave 20l. to be lent out for three years gratis.—Also Wm. Cleave Esq. of London, gave a house situated at the corner of Grass-Market, let at 13l. per annum, the rent to be distributed to the poor of St. Margaret’s parish, at the discretion of the minister, church-wardens, and overseen of the same.—Also Gyles Bridgman, alderman, (mayor in 1679) gave 100l. to the mayor and burgesses on trust, the interest to be paid for ever to the master and widows, or sisters in the almshouse (Bedehouse) by way of augmentation of their weekly pensions.—Also, Nov. 10, 1721, Mrs. Margery Brock, gave 20l. the interests to be laid out in coals, and given to 4 poor widows in St. Margaret’s parish for ever.”

In the same book also stand recorded the sources and amount of our Christmas Coal-Charity, thus expressed,

Here follows what is given to the poor in money and coals at Christmas.

p. 1187

l.

s.

d.

Mr. Graves and Mr. Sendall gave 20 nobles each

13

6

8

Mr. Clarke the interest of 20l. to 20 widows of the ten wards.

1

0

0

Mr. Strogers to three wards

1

14

0

Mr. Peirson to Stonegate ward

2

0

0

Alderman Holly interest of 100l.

6

0

0

Alderman Auborne to the ten wards

9

10

0

Likewise is Coals

9

10

0

Total

£43

0

8

Then it is added,—

And on New Year’s day among the poor children in the Work-house

1

0

0

And near Easter Sunday to the poor (pensioners) in St Mary Magdalen’s Hospital.

3

0

0

And to those in Framingham’s Hospital.

3

0

0

And to those in St James’s Hospital (Bedehouse)

3

0

0

And for a Sermon on Midsummer-day

1

0

0

£11

0

0

Then it is also added, that Alderman Auborne’s Charity was first disposed of at Christmas 1741.

But it must not be here forgotten that this same old book also discovers the origin and founder of the Lynn Grammar School, which had we obtained a sight of in time, would have saved us those useless conjectures at pages 1140, 1160, 1178.  The passage alluded to is as follows—

Mr. Thos. Thorisby, alderman, and sometimes mayor, built a chapple adjoining to the south side of the church of St. Margarets, and gave to the master of the Charnell House, (now the Free School,) certain lands in Gaywood, to the value, of 8l. per annum, for teaching Grammar and Songs, and also for singing p. 1188durges, (dirges,) dayly in the said chapple: which land became forfeited to the crowne, and invented in the Corporation by Charter of Edward VI.”

Thus is the origin of our grammar-school at last sufficiently cleared up, which seems to have been founded in the reign of Edward IV, or that of Henry VII, when Thorsby flourished and was thrice mayor of this town.—see more of him at p. 528.

 

TABLE OF EVENTS.

A TABLE of memorable, or somewhat remarkable events, relating to this town, from the Conquest to the present time; including what is most worthy of preservation in Mackerell, and divers private MSS. belonging to certain of our most curious townsmen: the whole chronologically arranged and brought down to the present year—1812.

A.D. 1066.  This year the French conquered England, and their commander, the Norman Bastard, seated himself on the English throne, which was also possessed by his descendants for many generations: Lynn of course felt the effects of this revolution and readily acceded to the new order of things.  Stigand, archbishop of Canterbury, and his brother Ailmar, bishop of Elmham, were before the great men that bore sway here; but they were now ousted, and their power and possessions transferred by the Conqueror to two of his French adherents, Odo bishop of Baieux, in Normandy, his half brother, and Herfast, one of his own chaplains.  Frenchmen then got possession of almost all the land in the kingdom, and they were the progenitors of most of our present noble families; so that our House of Lords is now in a great measure made up of their descendants.

1100.  About this time St. Margaret’s church was built by bishop Herbert, who granted long indulgences to the people to commit all manner of sin, by way of encouragement or inducement to contribute towards the completion of the sacred edifice; as if he thought that to give people their full swing in all manner of iniquity, was the surest way to make them pious and liberal.

p. 1189About the same time was also built the Benedictine Priory, on the south side of the church.

1144.  A Priory at Gaywood was founded in honour of Mary Magdalen, whence it is still called St. Mary Magdalen’s Hospital.  The priory has long disappeared, and has been succeeded by the present Hospital.  The founder’s name was Petrus Capellanus, who died in 1174.—see p. 530, &c.

1190.  A terrible riot and commotion here, and in many other parts of the kingdom, excited, it seems, for the purpose of plundering and massacring the poor Jews, who were then settled in great numbers here and in many of our great towns.  Of what then occurred here see vol. I. page 391 of this work.

1204.  This town was constituted a Borough by royal charter, and its chief magistrate was at the same time, or soon after, denominated Mayor, see page 393.  These honours were the royal gifts of king John, who repeatedly visited this town.  His last visit was in the autumn of 1216.  He soon after died at Newark, and was interred at Worcester, where his remains were discovered in 1797 in a state of remarkable preservation, considering that they had lain in the ground near 600 years.

1233.  King Henry 3. granted his first charter to this town, in confirmation of that of his father, 28 years before.

1268.  The same sovereign granted our corporation a second charter with more ample privileges, in consideration of the faithful and laudable service, and valiant assistance which our burgesses had rendered him in the late troubles of his kingdom.

1271.  Lynn said to be then a fortified town: but it was probably so ever since, or very soon after it received its first charter, if not before.

1330.  The queen dowager Isabel took up her residence at Rising Castle by Lynn, where she continued to reside afterwards as long as she lived, which was 28 years; in the course of which time her son Edw. III. his queen Philippa, and their son the black prince, repeatedly visited her there: and there can be no doubt of their having also frequently visited this town in the mean time.

1340.  The king and queen were at Rising for some time, as appears by the account rolls of Adam de Reffham and John de Newland of Lynn, who sent his majesty at the same time a present of wine.—Previous to the king’s arrival the queen dowager sent her precept to the mayor of Lynn, for 8 carpenters to assist in making the necessary preparations.

1344.  The king and his court were here for some time, as appears from certain letters which he sent from hence to the bishop of Norwich, then at Avignon, to be there delivered by him to the pope.

1349.  A dreadful plague or pestilence, which had broke out in the north of Asia, made its destructive way soon into Europe, and now to p. 1190England.  It is said to have raged so much in some countries that scarcely a tenth part of the population escaped.  It was called the black death, and is said to have swept away in Norfolk alone, 57,374 persons, from January to July, and 7000 of them in the town of Yarmouth.  We cannot find how many perished then at Lynn, but the number was doubtless very great, as the disorder then raged terribly throughout the whole county.  Most of the clergy seem to have then perished; hence we are told that 850 persons were, by the bishop of this diocese instituted and collated to benefices which had now become vacant—50,000 persons were carried off in London, and as many at Paris.—see p. 358 of this work, and Andr. 1. 372.

1369.  An order was made that no Roadsman should charge more than 3s. 4d. for pylotting in any stranger’s ship from the channel to the town.

1380.  The pope granted his license for christening in St. Nicholas’s chapel; which must of course, in the public estimation, have added greatly to the sanctity and dignity of the place.

1381.  An ordinance made for the inhabitants of this town to merchandise.—Another account says—it was an order, or ordinance for settling of merchandise in this town—both seem too ambiguous and mysterious to make out.  But it was in the reign of Richard 2. when many strange ordinances were made, and many vile measures pursued.  Except his mother, and especially his queen, whom his subjects used to call the good queen Ann, [1190] there was about his court but little that could be deemed respectable.  His favourite method of raising money was by a loan: a few instances of the respective sums he demanded of his subjects as they stand in the Fædera, will shew the comparative wealth of Lynn, and other places at that period.—From London 10,000 marks: from York, Gloucester, Salisbury, and Lincoln, each 200 ditto.—From Cambridge, Canterbury, and Southampton, each 100 ditto.—From Bristol, 300 ditto.—From Norwich, 500 ditto.—From Lynn, 400 ditto.

1384.  Our bishop Spencer went abroad at the head of a crusade, or army, of 50,000 foot and 2000 horse, to fight for pope Urban, against pope Clement: for there were then two heads of the catholic church, which made it a perfect monster.  In this memorable crusade great numbers of Norfolk and Lynn people were doubtless enlisted.

1399.  Sir William Sawtre, (minister of St. Margaret’s,) prosecuted here for Lollardism, (much the same with what we call protestantism,) and forced to recant; but relapsing soon after, he was taken up and burnt for his reputed heresy.  He is called the English proto-matryr.—see more of him at p. 580, &c.

p. 11911403.  Two fierce factions sprung up here and disturbed the peace of the town for 30 years; at their heads were two aldermen of that time, Wentworth and Pettipas.—see p. 364, &c.

1417.  Our mayor and aldermen and other merchants obtained from Henry V. a warrant to elect an alderman for Denmark and Norway: of which see more, p. 485.

1446.  King Henry VI. came to Lynn and ordered the sword to be borne before the mayor.—Next year the sword was carried before the mayor for some time, and then before the bishop as formerly, the mayor following him.

1449.  King Henry came to Lynn again, and ordered the sword to be carried before him. [1191]

1469, or 1470.  About this time Edward IV. (put to flight by the great Earl of Warwick,) came to Lynn out of Lincolnshire; and in crossing the washes lost his baggage and money, according to some of our MS. accounts.—One account says that he arrived here on Michaelmas Day, 1470, and took shipping here for Flanders on the 2nd of October; so that his stay was only three or four days.  At that time we are told that he pardoned Robert Gregory, Coney, and company, who had probably sided with the house of Lancaster.  The Red Mount is said to be the place at which he then took up his abode; whose buildings must have been very extensive and capacious, as he is said to have been attended by a large retinue.  It may also be supposed a place of strength, and the most so of any at Lynn, or a kind of fortress; for in a place of no other description would so wary and able a leader choose to trust himself for so many days and nights together, as he was then circumstanced.

1471.  March 9.  Edward landed here on his return from Flanders, in his way to London.

1476.  Walter Coney built the roof of the cross aisle of St. Margaret’s church: also the Trinity chapel there, which has been lately pulled down.

1482.  A great law-suit between the town and the bishop about the right of holding the Court Leet.  It does not appear which party gained the cause.

1493.  A great fray between the inhabitants and the under sheriff of the county.  But neither the occasion, not the result or consequence is mentioned.

1493.  King Henry VII. his queen, his mother, and his eldest son Arthur, with a numerous retinue, visited this town; and were lodged p. 1192and entertained at the Austin Convent, which then stood behind Mr. Rishton’s house, and partly it seems on the same site.  It was doubtless a sumptuous edifice, and the most suitable for the accommodation of the royal visitors of any place then in this town.—see p. 513, &c.

1501.  The town-walls new cast, with mortar, broken glass, and terras.

1502.  Thomas Thorisby built the south part of St Margaret’s church, the college, and the south gates.  It was then his third mayoralty.  It does not appear at what time he founded the Grammar School.

1506.  The service suspended in St. Margaret’s church, and christenings performed in the Charnel house—the occasion not specified, or how the affair terminated.

1510.  A suit between this town and Cambridge about the toll of Stirbitch Fair:—the precise ground of the dispute not stated.  Nor is it clear who gained the cause.

1512.  Parishioners of St. James’s rose against the Prior, for certain wrongs he had done them—such as cutting down the trees in the churchyard.

1515.  A woman burnt in the Market-place, for the murder of her husband.

1519.  Cardinal Wolsey came to Lynn in great state, and with a princely retinue of lords, knights, and gentlemen, as was his usual manner of travelling.

1520.  Thomas Miller now became mayor for four years successively.  In the meantime he had a law suit with the bishop for precedence, or the right of having the sword carried before him; and is said to have got the cause.  A few years after his lordship lost most of his consequence here, being obliged by his sovereign to resign his temporal jurisdiction at Lynn to him, in exchange for the abbey of St. Bennet in Holme: at which time the name of the town was changed from Bishop’s Lynn to King’s Lynn.

1527, (or 1528, according to other accounts) Mary, queen dowager of France, and sister of Henry VIII, with the duke of Suffolk, her second husband, came to Lynn, and lodged (as Mackerell says,) at Mr. Coe’s place: but nothing further is said of Coe’s place, or yet of Coe himself.

1531.  A maid servant boiled to death in the market-place, for poisoning her mistress.

1535.  A Dutchman burnt in the market-place for reputed heresy; in other words, for presuming to think for himself, and acting conscientiously—which was deemed a crime in former times, and is so deemed still in some places.

p. 11931536.  The four great orders of Friars, together with the other religious orders, were here suppressed, which was followed by the dissolution of the convents and other religious houses, which diminished in a great measure the respectable appearance of the town.

1537.  William Gisborough, a friar, was hanged here, and his father at Walsingham, for attempting to relive their order, in opposition to the royal decree.—Two marts or fairs were also then instituted here, one at the assumption, the other at the purification of the Blessed Virgin.

1540.  The town much afflicted with hot burning agues and fluxes, on which account there was no mart kept.

1541.  The East Gates repaired, and the king’s arms set up there.

1546.  The Gilds and Chauntries suppressed, and their possessions seized by the king:—His majesty now also granted his licence for uniting South Lynn to the borough, it being before unconnected with it, and a separate jurisdiction.  This however seems not to have been brought to full effect till about ten or eleven years after, in the reign of Philip and Mary.

1549.  St. James’s church demolished, (all perhaps but the cross aisle which still remains; though there is said to be some further demolition of it in 1623.)—also what is called Kett’s rebellion now occurred: one body of the insurgents had a camp at Mousehold heath, by Norwich, and another body of them had a camp here on Rising ChaseLord Willoughby in the meantime was governor of Lynn, which he secured against all the attempts of the insurgents to obtain possession of it.

1553.  Lord Audley came to Lynn, and proclaimed Lady Jane Grey queen of England, the mayor and corporation concurring with him: but Jane’s party did not prevail—the voice of the nation being decidedly in favour of Mary.

1554.  Trinity Hall underwent considerable alterations; the council room being divided from the Stone-hall; &c.—The South-gates then also covered with lead.

1555.  A whale caught near this town—one account calls it a small whale, and another calls it an enormous whale: both describe, it as no less than 40 feet long.

1556.  The pipes taken up, which formerly supplied the Austin Convent with water from Wootton common.  That convent being dissolved it no longer wanted that supply.  But it shews how well provided it was in its day.

1558.  The plague was in the town, and carried off great numbers of the inhabitants: among them the mayor and four aldermen—one account says, the whole five were mayors successively, in the course of that year; in which case five mayors must have died here in the course of the year.

p. 11941559.  Rood-Lofts and Images taken down, the ground at the east end of the churches levelled with the other parts, and the windows furnished with glass, instead of wooden shutters.

1560.  Several persons came to Lynn by order of the privy council, to take the state of St. James’s Church, but were opposed by the corporation: of the strict correctness of which some doubt may be entertained.

1561.  Popish relics and mass-books burnt in the Tuesday market place.

1562.  Sir Nic. Le Strange entered into a law-suit against Lynn, for the house of Corpus Christi: (the hall, we suppose, belonging to the late Gild of that name,) but nothing is said of the ground of the action, or how it terminated.

1564.  Marshland inundated, and much stock lost, especially in Tilney and Terrington.

1566.  Chimes first set up in St. Margaret’s, which played a different tune each day of the week.

1567.  St. Margaret’s Spire, with divers little crosses and ornaments on different parts of the church, shot down by a Dutch ship that lay then in the harbour.  Which seems rather a blind and queer kind of a tale.

1568.  Popish vestments and relics brought from St. John’s and Tilney, and burnt in the market place.

1569.  Marshland drowned, to the great loss and damage of the inhabitants, many of whom were forced to leave their houses, and glad to save their lives in boats which came to their assistance.

1570.  Monday and Tuesday, the 2nd. and 3rd. of October, Marshland and Wiggenhale overflowed with salt water, so that from Old Lynn to Mawdlin bridge there were not left ten roods of the bank whole and firm, to the great damage of the whole country, (see p. 116.)—Quere, If this flood and the preceding were not the same: some careless writer of memoranda antedating it under 1569?—another account seems to have post-dated it under 1570.

1574 or 1575.  Earthquake and plague in this town.  Also in the latter year Henry Wodehouse, vice admiral of Norfolk, seized two fly-boats here by process, which the mayor refused to serve, and thereby brought great trouble on himself and several others.—In one MS. the admiral is called Sir Thomas Wodehouse.

1576.  Commissioners of Sewers cut off the water from Sechy river, which worked the town mill, which caused great loss; no less than 1000 marks having been laid out to bring the water hither.

The Queen about this time coming into Norfolk, was presented by our corporation with a rich purse, finely wrought and adorned with p. 1195pearl and gold, containing 100 old angels of gold: the whole valued at 200l.

1579.  The town-ditches from the South-gate to Kettle-mills scoured, and the walls also repaired and cast with black mortar.

1581.  That part of St. James’s church that had not been demolished repaired, and fitted up for a workhouse, to employ the poor in the manufacture of Bays; which not found to answer the cost, was afterwards given up.—St. Nicholas’ also was then repaired at considerable expense.

1582.  Ringing having been here for some time disused, certain young fellows, attempting to revive it, were opposed by divers of the aldermen, which occasioned no small disturbance and the spending of a great deal of money.  But it is not said in what way it was spent, or how the affair ended.

1583.  Gaywood river new cast, from the Kettle-mills to the Purfleet bridge.

1584.  Lynn again visited by the Plague; on which account the mart was removed from Damgate to the Tuesday market-place; where it has been kept ever since.

1585.  The stone-bridge (High Bridge) taken down, and two arches of brick added to it.  The drain in Webster’s row, (Broad Street) also vaulted over with brick.

1586.  The manufacture of Bays having failed, divers poor people were now employed at the Work-house in dressing hemp and making strings and tows for the fishermen.

The stone bridge, or High Bridge, was now also new built: that is, as we presume, the houses on each side, which had been pulled down: for the new arches had been built the year before.

1587.  The pinnacle or top part of St. James’s steeple taken down, and the remaining part made flat and covered with tiles.—Sir Robert Southwell, admiral of Norfolk, with several commissioners and justices held a court of admiralty at Lynn, at which sixteen pirates were condemned, most of whom were executed at Gannock.

This year also John Wanker’s wife and the widow Porker, were both carted here for whoredom, a crime which appears to have been then greatly discountenanced in this town; so that those found guilty of it were put in a cart, or fastened to its tail, and driven or dawn, through the whole town, as spectacles of detestation.  The business is now managed differently.

1588.  The memorable Feast of Reconciliation, which far excelled all our other Lynn Feasts, was this year instituted.  It was a meeting of the mayor, some of the aldermen, common council-men, and the clergy, held the first Monday in the month, to check discord, reconcile differences, p. 1196and decide all manner of controversies among the inhabitants.  It was well calculated to do good, and did much good, no doubt, while it was duly attended to; but is become now as a tale that is told, and seems like other feasts to be now fast passing towards oblivion.—This year Lynn is also said to have furnished a pinnace to oppose the dreaded Spanish Armada.

1589.  Five sail of ships from this town formed part of the squadron of Drake and Norris in their expedition against Spain; and it is said they returned home safe without any loss.

1590.  One Margaret Read burnt here for Witchcraft—a reputed crime deemed in those days as atrocious as murder, if not much more so.  The history of Lynn is sadly stained and disgraced with accounts of these executions, or rather legal murders committed by the magistrates.—The same year the foundation of the South-gate was secured from the danger of being undermined by water.

1594.  A violent storm or tempest, which began September the twenty-first and lasted till the twenty-fourth.

1596.  A new wind-mill erected at Gannock—occasioned probably by the difficulty of obtaining a sufficient supply of water to work the town water-mill.

1597.  The great Mill-dyke from Sayer’s Marsh new cast.  But the Mill afterwards seems to have been in general but ill supplied with water.  It was at last given up, after having been the grist mill of the town time immemorial.  It stood by the Lancastrian school and new bridge.  The lane below took from it the name of Mill-lane.—Great sickness and mortality in the town this year; particularly from March to July, when 320 persons are said to have been buried in St. James’s church yard.—Other accounts place this mortality in the following year.

1598.  One Elizabeth Housegoe executed for Witchcraft.—Another legal, but most foul murder committed by Lynn magistrates.—One MS. mentions two men of war, as fitted out this year, at the expense of this town and Yarmouth.

1602.  A severe shock of an Earthquake felt here on Christmas Eve.—also the Windmill removed from the South gates to Kettle-mills: but not by the earthquake, we suppose.

1604.  A man executed for a rape, on a child under ten years of age.

1605.  King James’s Charter was this year obtained, which greatly augmented the privileges of the corporation; particularly in exempting them from the jurisdiction of the Lord High Admiral, and investing the mayor and burgesses with that power within this borough and its liberties.  This Charter is long and its grants most ample.

The town-clerk, Vallenger, also this year built the South Lynn Almshouses, for four poor men. (see p. 1133, 1160, and 1185.)  A p. 1197great fire broke out in High street, in which a man and his wife and family perished.  The Cistern at Kettle mills was made.

1606.  A vessel of one hundred tons overthrown in this haven, in February, and not recovered till April.

1607.  A very high tide, which flowed up quite to the Tuesday market-cross.

1616.  One Mary Smith executed here for Witchcraft on the twelfth of January:—one account says that she was burnt, and another that she was hanged; but all may safely say she was murdered.  Alexander Roberts, one of the Lynn clergy, is said to have given an account of her execution, in a treatise he published that year on Witchcraft.

1617.  St. Nicholas’s Library founded by the mayor and burgesses.—One Dr. Pearse gave 1000l. to the corporation, they to pay for it 5 per cent. interest; but they disclaimed and would not accept it. (see Joseph Cooper’s book, and Hall books No. 7,)—It is not said how the interest was to be applied.

1620.  Two large fishes cast here on shore, one thirty feet long, and the other eighteen yards; but Mackerell is loath to believe the latter to be so large, and thinks it could be only eighteen feet.—The old custom-house now pulled down and rebuilt.—eight or nine ships driven up to St. Germans, and several sunk at the Ball, so as not to be seen at low water or dead neap. (J. Cooper’s MS.)

1621.  A man drawn up by the rope of St. Margaret’s great bell and killed.—The people prohibited going to Gaywood Fair; but the reason not told.

1623.  St. James’s church underwent additional demolition: one account says, that it was now “entirety pulled down,” which must be a mistake, as the cross aisle is still standing, and forms a principal part of the present workhouse.

1626.  St. Ann’s Fort erected, and furnished with a number of great guns from the Tower.  The house adjoining, and the piazza, or covered walk, supposed to have been erected about the same time.

1628.  Chimes said to be now first set up in St. Margaret’s: but it seems to be a mistake, as we had heard of chimes there many years before, (see under 1566.)  Chimes are also said to be now first set up at St. Nicholas’s.—On the 20th. December this year, the four varlets, or sergeants at mace being absent from the mayor, his worship caused them to be cried in different parts of the town:—what success attended this curious experiment, or whether his worship ever found his lost or strayed sergeants, does not appear.

1629.  The Bedehouse repaired, and a pipe laid to it conveying thither St. Margaret’s water.—Writing school established in the chamber over the Butcher’s shambles, in Saturday market.—Those shambles p. 1198furnished with a weighing stool to weigh children.  But it seems an odd idea, to have children taken to the butcher’s shambles, to be weighed like hogs or sheep.

1630.  April 29.  The White Friars steeple, or tower of the Carmelite Convent in South Lynn, fell with a tremendous crash.—Draining of Paradise now took place, which seems to have been before in a hoggish state—The great muck-hill, at the East-gate, spread over St. Catharine’s ground, close by.—One Beane, a tailor, indicted for ravishing his maid, but got off, on paying a fine of 50l.

1631.  A high tide, overflowing the lands about the town, deprived it of fresh water for a long time.

1633.  The Ferry-boat sunk, by which eighteen persons were drowned.

1634.  The mayor, Thomas Gurling, buried his wife, and married another the next week.

1635.  Five lads, who were here at school, going to wash in the river, near the Ball, were there drowned.

1636.  The Plague again in this town; on which account sheds or pest-houses were erected under the town walls for the diseased, where about 200 persons are said to have died.—Also 4th. November, a terrible storm here; fourteen sail of ships lost in the harbour, and all hands perished, according to one account.

1637.  An order arrived from the archbishop, for the ground at the East end of the churches to be raised, railed in, with steps to ascend thither, and the communion tables, or alters to be there placed.  This was one of Laud’s high-church projects, and one of those that increased the public discontents, and hastened his and his sovereign’s downfal.—The town this year assessed 200l. towards building a ship of war.—[Three years before, the town, according to one account, was also assessed 1192l. towards building a ship of war, of 800 tons, and 260 men.]  Twelve Grampuses here cast on shore, seventeen, eighteen, and nineteen feet long.

1638.  The town store of gunpowder lodged in the Red Mount.  Two weekly foot-posts appointed for London: to go by turns, and have 30s. a year for their wages.—The water-rent of a Brewhouse and Malthouse fixed at 5l. a year, and of a Brew-house only at 3l.

1639.  Thomas Toll, mayor elect, being very ill on Michaelmas day, had the oaths administered to him in bed, at his own house.

1640.  March 13.  The sheriff’s precept arrived for the election of two members for this borough, to serve in the parliament summoned to meet at Westminster on the 15th of the following month; when Messrs. Doughty and Gurlyn, the two senior aldermen, were chosen, with an allowance of five shilling a day while they attended their duty in the senate.—12 October about 3 weeks before the meeting of the Long p. 1199Parliament, the mayor, William Doughty, apprised the Hall of two Letters just received from the Earl of Arundell, one to the mayor, aldermen, and burgesses, the other to the mayor himself, to induce them to return certain persons of his nominating and recommending to the said parliament.  On which it was unanimously agreed and resolved, not to choose any other burgesses to serve in parliament but such as are resident and inhabitants within the corporation or borough.  Messrs. Thomas Toll and John Percivall, two of the alderman, were accordingly chosen as representatives of Lynn, in that memorable parliament: and they were the first ever elected here by the voice of the freemen of large—the Hall only, or some part of it, being till now the only and sole electors of our parliamentary representatives.  [Some, perhaps will be ready to say, that the case is not much otherwise, even at present.]

1641.  A sword-fish of an uncommon size came up to the town and was taken.  The town now also began to be fortified, and seven pieces of brass ordnance or cannon were sent hither from London.  Everything, in short, both here and throughout the kingdom, was fast advancing towards the great crisis which the nation soon after experienced.  [How much that period resembled the present, may deserve some consideration.]

1642.  The three gates (the East, the South, and Gannock,) furnished with draw-bridges.—Captain Sherwood, of Norwich, with a troop of dragoons appeared before the town, and came close under St. Catharine’s wall by the East Gate, demanding entrance, which the mayor and townsmen refused: the gate being shut; and bridge drawn.  The Earl of Manchester soon after appeared with a strong force, and commenced the siege of the town on the 28th of August, and on the 16th of the following month the town surrendered to him, with the loss of only four men killed, and a few wounded.  According to the terms of capitulation every foot soldier of his had 10s. paid him, and every foot officer a fortnight’s pay; which, according to Mackerell, amounted to 3200l.—We are told that our principal Lynn commanders or warriors on this occasion were Sir Horace Townshend, Captain Kirby, Capt. Atkin, Capt. Morse, Capt. Gurling, Capt. Wharton, Capt. Brady, Capt. Davy, Capt. Marsh, and Lieut. Porter:—all very loyal and royal, no doubt, but ingloriously conquered by their jacobinic and democratic assailants.  During this memorable siege, in the afternoon of Sunday, September 3, an eighteen-pounder from a battery on the west side of the river entered St. Margaret’s church at the west window in sermon-time, took off a great part of one of the pillars, and terribly frightened the whole congregation, but no body was materially hurt—all left the church in the utmost terror and confusion.  p. 1200[Of these matters, and subsequent proceedings and regulations here, see Part IV. Chap. IV. p. 754, &c.]

October 9. same year (1642) there was an order of the Hall, (or of the new constituted authorities,) that the Charters should be read by the Town-Clerk, in English, “that those of that body might the better understand what then were sworn to maintain.”—We cannot discover that any thing of the kind was ever thought of here, but at this time of republican predominance: at all other times the members of the Hall, as well as the freemen at large, were called upon to swear to maintain certain unknown rights—a something they knew not what.—Nineteen out of twenty, perhaps, of our present freemen have been thus solemnly sworn, which must render those freemen the most disreputable and contemptible part of our whole population: for what can degrade any man more than to submit to swear what he does not understand?

1643.  January 2.  Parliament ordered that the mayor, aldermen, and common council of Lynn, should pay and allow their two representatives, out of the town stock, as large an allowance per diem as they had used to pay any of their aldermen that had represented that town in parliament.—The corporation would fain have evaded this expense—partly on the plea, that the whole body of freemen had a voice in the election of these two members, and not the Hall alone, as usual; and therefore that this payment should not rest solely on the latter.  But their chief plea was poverty, and having no town stock.  It was however not admitted, and our corporation at last agreed to pay their two representatives 5s. a day during their attendance in parliament.

March 20.  Oliver Cromwell (then called Col. Cromwell) visited this town, and was entertained here at the expense of the corporation. [1200]—The curious painted glass, in the windows of St. Margaret’s church, taken down this year, and replaced with plain glass.

1644.  Ships coming hither from places infected with the plague obliged to observe quarantine fourteen days, one half in the roads and the other in White Friar’s Fleet—Col. Valentine Wauton was now governor, and Miles Corbet recorder of Lynn—both of whom sat afterwards as judges at the king’s trial, and finally suffered among the condemned regicides.

1645.  In February Sir Thomas Fairfax visited Lynn, and was entertained at the expense of the corporation.—Dorothy Lee and Grace Wright were also murdered here legally by the magistrates; or, in other words, hanged for witchcraft.—The plague visited the town again this p. 1201year.—Col. Hobart became now governor, and Guybon Goddard deputy recorder of Lynn.

1646.  The eleventh of May this year was rendered not a little conspicuous among our memorable days, by a most curious resolution of the Hall, expressed as follows in our volume of extracts—“It is this day ordered that alderman Th. Rivett be requested to send for Mr. Hopkins the Witch-Discoverer to come to Lynn, and his charges and recompense to be borne by the town.”—This year also the charge of the Town Records was committed to one Ticket Browne, who had been turned out for erasing and falsifying them, thirteen years before.—The town having suffered much by means of Lord Paulet, parliament ordered reparation to be made out of his estate.—see p. 761.

1648.  A woman was hanged here, for killing her child: Her name supposed to be Rose Warne, of whose penitent death Mr. Horn, then vicar of South Lynn, published an account.—The ruinous state of the town being now represented to parliament, they voted “2000 oaks for reparation thereof.” see p. 761.

1649.  Lease of three Ferry-rights granted to John Bird, at 10l. per annum, and a brace of well-fatted Swans to the mayor.

1650.  An insurrection of royalists now took place in this county, and the Lynn garrison employed in its suppression.—One Major Saul was then taken and hanged here in the Tuesday Market-place, see p. 769.—Dorothy Floyd (or Lloyd,) murdered by our magistrates: (that is, hanged for witchcraft:)—one of the blessed effects, we may suppose, of Hopkins the witchfinder’s late visit.—October 16.  Shops ordered to be shut up every Thursday during Lecture-time, to the end that people and their servants might attend the hearing the word of God—This order was issued by the very people who had sent for the witchfinder; so that we cannot attach much merit to it.

1651.  Lynn petitioned parliament against the erection of Denver Sluice, which was probably no injudicious step.

1652.  The Lynn garrison dissolved.

1653.  One Say hanged here for killing her husband—one account says it was by poison.—The South gate was now let to Henry Bloy at 1l. 5s. a year, and the East gate to James Browne at 1l. 15s. which shews that the town had then more intercourse with the country by the East than by the South gate.—There being before this year only six corn meters, but they were now increased to ten.

1654.  The town obtained a very advantageous charter from the Protector, of which we have not been able to get sight of any copy or transcript.  It was probably destroyed at the restoration.

1655.  Lynn now again garrisoned.

p. 12021656.  The generals Rippon and Desborow elected members for this town, and their charges (we suppose 5s. per diem) ordered to be paid by the corporation.—St. George’s Hall now converted into an Exchange.

1657.  Front of the Free-School-Master’s house rebuilt at the charge of the corporation—Rent of the two gates advanced from 1l. 5s. and 1l. 15s. to 15l. a year, which seems to indicate the thriving state of the town during the protectorate.—During this and some of the preceding years, a mighty stir was made here for the suppression of vice, and especially of profane swearing, excessive drinking, and tippling, which greatly affected the publicans, or ale-house-keepers, who were then very heavily fined, which occasioned great discontents and complaints on their part and that of their customers.—The money thus raised said to be applied towards paving and improving the town.  Of that stir see pp. 773, &c.—The mayor now agreed to take forty shillings instead of two fatted swans from the Ferry-man.

1658.  St. James’s church yard became the parish being-ground, there being no longer any room left for burying in St. Margaret’s churchyard.—One Dorothy Warden, alias Billins hanged for killing her child.—Oliver died, and was succeeded in the Protectorate by his son Richard, to whom an Address was voted by this corporation on the 8th of October.

1659.  Jan. 3.  The right of electing burgesses or members of parliament determined to be in the Hall, and not in the freemen at large: the two members, Toll and Lloyd were accordingly now elected by the Hall.—Jan. 14.  Ordered that the chamberlain take of all townsmen who build Booths at the Mart, 6d. and of strangers 10d. a foot for their ground.

1660.  April 13.  The freemen at large claiming again, rather clamorously, a voice at the election of burgesses, the Hall thought proper to give way; Hare and Walpole were accordingly elected by the freemen at large.—May 29, 300 Young maids, dressed all in white, (200 of them at the expense of two wealthy individuals,) paraded through the principal streets, by way of joy and triumph for the king’s restoration, see p. 797.—Divine service now performed at St. Margaret’s, in summer at 5, and in winter at 6 o’clock in the morning, which had not been the case for the last ten years.

1661.  Alderman Keeling expelled the Hall for non-residence.—Rent of South-gate tolls lowered from 15l. to 5l. a year.

1662.  An impost of 1s. per chalder laid on all coals brought by strangers, and applied to the relief of the Poor, who were here then very numerous and much distressed, notwithstanding, the blessed restoration.

1663.  Several Friends or Quakers were now also imprisoned here for nonconformity, which shews how friendly the restoration proved to liberty of conscience.—“Many musters and shews (says Mackerell,) were performed by the Trained Bands, who took the oaths of allegiance and p. 1203supremacy to the king with all imaginable chearfulness.”—Tolls of the East gate let for one year at 11l.

1664.  Price of coals advanced this year from 17s. to 30s. and upwards.—Lord Townshend elected lord high steward.

1665.  The plague again this year visited Lynn and committed great ravages; on which account the gates were shut and even the mackerell carts not suffered to enter.

1666.  Plague continued and no Mart kept—markets also discontinued, and all communication with the country suspended.

1667.  A woman, named Wharton, hanged for killing her child.

1670.  Duke of Richmond and lord Townshend entertained here at the expense of the Hall—great fear here of a Quo-warranto for issuing farthing tokens—Worsted Weavers petition parliament to have a Dyer and Calender settled here.—Proclamation relating to decayed houses: [to be seized by the corporation unless timely repaired.]

1671.  August 11.  Sir Robert Steward apprizes the corporation of the king’s intention to visit Lynn in the course of the following month: 100l. is therefore ordered to be paid into the Chamberlain’s hands to provide for that occasion.  Provision was accordingly made, but his said majesty did not come.  Nov. 10.  The whole banquet provided for the king, voted to the mayor for the sum of 10l.

1672.  Address to his majesty acknowledging his grace and favour in pardoning the corporation for coining farthings.—Duke of Ormond, &c. entertained here at the expense of the Hall.

1673.  Giles Alden, common council-man expelled the Hall for non-residence or frequent absence.

1676.  William Pearson hanged here for shop lifting.—Mr. Helcote laid the foundation of Broad-street Almshouse, which was next year completed by Framingham.

1677.  One John Swift, a shop-breaker, hanged.

1678.  Application made by the Hall to Thomas Goddard Esq. son of the late Recorder, Guybon Goddard, for his father’s MS. Collections relating to the antiquities of this town—but it is supposed without success:—20 guineas however were offered for them.—The elder Turner began now to acquire consequence here, being, as Mackerell says, common council-man, mayor-elect, parliament-man, and captain of the Trained Bands, all in the space of two years.

1679.  The corporation signified their intention, not to have any in future to represent the town, in parliament, but some two of their own townsmen.—Wm. Basset, M.D. resigned his aldermanship; deeming its duties incompatible with those of his medical profession.  [What would he have thought had he gone out of town to live?]—One John p. 1204Page, an old offender, was hanged here this year: one account says, it was for breaking open several shops.

On the 3rd of July this year, there was a great fire at Market-Dereham, which burnt a great part of that town, and reduced the sufferers to great distress; which Lynn affected deeply to commiserate, and a collection was made here for them, amounting in all, if we are not mistaken, to 110l. but it ought surely to have been more, considering the state of the case, and that the aldermen went about to collect through their different wards:—(which appears from the book of Extracts so often referred to)

1680.  Sir Henry Hobart and Sir Taylor returned burgesses for this town.—A grampus was taken 22 feet long and 7 feet deep.—Mackerell says, that St James’s church began now to be made a spinning-school for the collectioner’s children; but we know not what he meant by Collectioner.

1681.  The mart this year kept in Common Stath yard.  Nov. 4. a committee appointed to report if the said yard was convenient for keeping the mart there in future—[it probably did not appear to them a convenient place for that purpose, so that the mart was kept there but one year.]

1682.  The mayor, with several aldermen and common council-men met the king at Newmarket, and there presented an Address to him.—A committee this year appointed for erecting a public workhouse: accordingly we find that St. James’s church was now fitted up for that purpose.—Two new May-poles were also this year set up in the town; one in the Market place and the other at the Fort.

1683.  Lord Mowbray, Earl of Arundell, Lord Lieutenant of the county, entertained at the public charge.—The governor and guardians of the workhouse incorporated, under the dignified names of Master and Brethren of St. James’s Hospital.

1684.  The Earl of Arundell, Lord Lieutenant of the County, and now Duke of Norfolk, again entertained here at the public charge.—New altar-piece set up at the church, which cost near 200l.—Our Charters were now also surrendered to the king, who on that occasion conferred on the two aldermen, Turner and Taylor, the honour and dignity of knighthood.—On the 18th. of August this year it was ordered at the Hall, that every new-elected alderman, in lieu of the customary treat, should pay 10l. and a common-council-man 20 nobles, for the benefit of the new work-house; which was continued above 40 years.—(see under 1725)—None now admitted to their freedom unless they had taken the sacrament within the preceding year.

1685.  Febr. 10. James the second proclaimed, and an address to him agreed upon, four days after—Nov. 9.  The may-pole in the market place taken down to be replaced by the king’s statue.—The two p. 1205aldermen Turner and Taylor elected members for the town.—Petition transmitted and recommended to them concerning the decay of the stocking trade here by the introduction of weaving, instead of knitting.  See more about it under 1690.

1686.  April 13.  The anniversary of their majesties coronation kept here with no small pomp and parade; and the king’s statue set up at the same time with extravagant rejoicings, in the market place, where the may-pole had formerly stood.

1687.  This town presented a very loyal address to his majesty, agreed upon 19th. September.—In November Lord Cornbury and others visited Lyon and were entertained at the public charge.

1688.  Sunday 29th. of January being appointed a day of Thanksgiving for the queen’s pregnancy, was kept here with wonderful solemnity: the mayor and whole corporation, in their formalities, attended at morning and evening service, to render thanks to Almighty God for so signal a blessing; and after evening service they repaired to the custom-house to drink the king’s health with a bonefire.

29th. of June another thanksgiving day was kept here, for the queen’s delivery and birth of the prince.—The king was also now loyally addressed.—Such was the loyalty and piety of our ancestors in the reign of James the second.—His majesty after seizing the charters, and removing several members of the Hall, and replacing them with others whom he thought better of, had his pious projects, and paternal plans and purposes suddenly interrupted and frustrated, by the arrival of the Prince of Orange on the 5th. of November—which brought on the Revolution.

1689.  The convention parliament, having met on the 22d. of January, declared the throne abdicated, and offered the same to the prince and princess of Orange, which they soon agreed to accept; and they were crowned on the 8th. of April.—On the 27th. of September the Fort guns at St. Ann’s, which had been removed to Hull, were returned, and placed in their former situation.

1690.  In our extracts from the Hall books, the following passage occurs, under the date of Jan. 17th.—“On Petition of the Hosiers of this town in behalf of the poor, against the new invention of weaving worstead hose, whereby many thousands of poor are destitute of employment.  It is this day ordered and agreed that a Petition from this house (the Hall,) to the honourable House of Commons, representing that grievance, now read, to be sealed with the common seal of this Burgh.”

Aug. 29.  Henry Framingham, now chosen mayor, remitted the usual fee of 100l.  In other respects he was an unfeeling, intolerant being, as appears by the shameful persecution that was carried on here during his mayoralty, and that of his immediate successor, against one of the dissenting ministers and his congregations—see p. 861, &c.

p. 12061691.  Dec. 21.  Benjamin Holly’s fine of 30l. for declining the mayoralty mitigated to 21l.

1692.  March 13.  Fishing in Gaywood river, as far as the double bridge, declared to be the right of the corporation.

1693.  King John’s cop repaired at the expense of 12l. 10s.

1694.  Great inconvenience having arisen of late from large ships occupying Dowshill, Purfleet, Mill, and Whitefriars Fleets, to the exclusion of Keels, Barges, Boats, Lighters and other open vessels, whereby many of the latter, left exposed to the violence of the flood and ebb tides were damaged or lost.—the mayor, aldermen, and common council, on the 29th. of January this year, ordered that no person thenceforth do lay, or suffer to be laid, any vessel of the burden of 20 tons or upwards, in any of those Fleets, otherwise than ancient and accustomed ship seats, &c. under the penalty of 3s. 4d. for every tide they did as offend—the mayor reserving the power of permission on extraordinary occasions.—4th. June, Meter’s pay fixed at one penny each chalder of coals of freemen, and two pence of strangers; and on tonnage goods, a pence a ton of freemen, and 4 pence of strangers.

1695.  March 11.  The Hall signed an address to his majesty, in the feature of an association, to stand by and assist him against all his enemies.

1696.  Outgoings or expences in maintaining the water-works for the last ten years exceeded the income by 288l. 13s. 6d.—The expenditure being 1427l. 7s. 8d. and income 1338l. 14s. 2d.

200 sail of Colliers and coasters, in running for Lynn deeps in a storm, were all wrecked, and near 1000 persons perished.  (Norfolk Remem.)  Scarcity of coals, and price greatly advanced.

1697.  The Hall gained a cause in a trial with Leonard Hutton, before Lord Chief Justice Holt.—They also petition parliament for the removal of the dam and sluice near Salter’s Load, and preserving of navigation.—The Bagges, Brownes, and Scarlets, now begin to make some figure here.

1698.  Pictures of Edward VI. and James I. presented to the Hall by alderman Robinson.—Juggard succeeds Haslewood as Lecturer.

1699.  John Cary succeeds, Osborne as writing master, and is to teach 6 poor boys gratis, and to instruct all the children in the Church Catechism.—This is the first prominence of the Carys.—A ship now sent to Norway for pump-wood, or timber for water-pipes, at the adventure and charge of the mayor and burgesses.

1709.  Another ship freighted to Norway for pump-wood for the water-works.

1701.  The Head Porters and Meters being convicted of bribery and defrauding the king of his dues, were all discharged; but about a month p. 1207after some of them were restored, by giving bond with one security in 20l.—August 29. the elder Pyle appointed Lecturer.—Nov. 24. Noblemen, knights, esquires, and clergymen exempted from tolls here.

1702.  Dr. Little succeeds Mr. Fysh as minister of St. Margaret’s.

1703.  Sept. 24. The Boale, or World’s End, with the houses thereon, and the rights and duties attached to the same, bought of Robert Elsden, by the corporation, for 130l. and 20l. more at the end of five years from that date, (see p. 873)—Towards the latter end of November this year, happened that dreadful national calamity commonly distinguished by the name of the great storm, of whose effects here, see p. 874.

1704.  The gloom of the former year succeeded and dissipated by the triumphs of Marlborough at Blenheim, which occasioned great rejoicings throughout the kingdom, of which Lynn largely participated, as appears by its address to the throne, see p. 874.

1705.  The gentlemen of the counties of Bedford and Huntingdon prefer a serious charge of arbitrary and exorbitant exactions, or extortion against this corporation, see p. 879.

1708.  Lynn harbour said to be now in a most wretched and alarming state, see 888.—In the course of this year also, according to one of our MS. accounts, two children were hanged here for felony, one eleven, and the other only seven years of age.

1714.  Dr. Thurlin’s library deposited in St. Margaret’s church, in a commodious place fitted up for its reception, to which the old church library was at the same time removed: a faculty being obtained from the bishop.—The same year the first commemoration sermon for Framingham was preached at St. Nicholas’s, by Mr. Pyle, for which he had 20s. and 10s. more for reading the Will—which, are still continued.

1715.  The first rebellion in behalf of the Pretender broke out.  See p. 894.

1719.  January 26. Ordered that none be admitted into Gaywood Hospital under 60 years old.

1720.  John Cary junior (father of our late alderman of that name) elected master of the Writing-School—the aldermen Berney and Scarlet being then Governors and Inspectors of the same.

1721.  Our corporation now, apprehensive of losing the navigation of the Cambridge river, (from the representation of a Mr. Stafford of Denver,) which they thought proper to communicate to the corporation of Adventurers.  The result not stated.

1723.  Two new galleries erected in St. Margaret’s church, on the sides of the organ loft; with projections for two particular families.—This year (or during the mayoralty of William Allen, which commenced p. 1208at Michaelmas,) Thomas German (says one MS.) was hanged here for burglary, on the gallows out of the South Gates—Cooper’s MS. calls him Jarmey, in a memorandum which reads thus—“1723: A night watch set up for all the year, and the king’s watch dropt here, being one Jarmey, who broke into several houses, and was hanged for the same out of the South Gates.”—The same MS. referring to the same year, has this passage—“A great fleet of ships lost on Christmas day; Mr. Vinkerson’s ship right against West Lynn church, laden with coals.”—Dr. Browne this year gave great offence to the Hall and especially the mayor—of which see p. 900.

1724.  The chapel chimes, which formerly played but one tune, were this year altered, and made to play several tunes.

1725.  Ever since 1682 it was customary for each alderman upon his election to give 10l. and each common-council-man 6l. 13s. 6d. towards the Workhouse: but this year Mr. Thomas Allen, being chosen alderman, refused to comply with this custom, and thereby occasioned the cessation of those laudable donations.  (Cooper’s MS.)—From the book of Extracts it seems it was in 1726 Mr. T. A. became an alderman.—The harbour now in a most wretched state, see p. 901.—And this year 1725 (if we are not mistaken, for the last figure is not very plain) Cooper’s MS. mentions a great tide, which happened on the 8th. of March, and came into a Warehouse in Puddin Lane, where was a quantity of unslaked lime, which being wetted became so hot as to set some deals that lay there on fire, so as to endanger the firing of the town.  He seems indeed to say that it was a piece of iron heated by the quick lime which set the deals on fire.

1726.  Henry Southwell, a freeman, charged by the corporation (unjustly it seems) with having violated his oath of freedom, and threatened with disfranchisement.

1727.  The mayor, Mr. Thomas Allen issued an order to the barbers, to prohibit them to shave on Sundays—of which see p. 910.—February 3rd. this year the above Henry Southwell was disfranchised.

1728.  The decree of disfranchisement against Mr. Southwell was rescinded On the 29th. of April this year; of which see further at p. 902, and 3.—Of this year’s mayor, Goodwin, and his successor Taylor, see pages 910 and 11.

1730.  April 6.  Our corporation made a remonstrance to the corporation of the Bedford Level against repairing Denver Sluice: which was probably very right.

1731.  Great complaints of the decrease of trade &c. here this year.  But among the occurrences of this period the most deplorable and shocking was the murder of Ann Wright, a publican, by one George Smith, who had been let into the house in the dead of the night by the servant, Mary Taylor, for which she was burnt at a stake in the Tuesday p. 1209market-place, and the man was hanged on a gallows, 17 yards distant, on Thursday the 1st. of April, see p. 912 and 914.

1738.  Law-suit between the corporation and alderman Thomas Allen, who was charged with attempting to evade the customary payment of 1d. per quarter for corn sold by him to unfreemen.  See p. 918.

1741.  On the 9th of September a violent hurricane which blew down the spires of St. Margaret’s and St. Nicholas’s and did immense damage all about the country.—St. Margaret’s spire falling on the body of the church demolished a great part of it—the rebuilding began in 1742, and was completed in 1747.—see pp. 919, 20, 21.

1742.  State of the harbour growing still worse, an application to parliament on that occasion was made the latter part of this year: see p. 922, &c.

1745.  The second rebellion in behalf of the Pretender commenced: of its effects at Lynn, see p. 926, &c. also pp. 1073, and 4.

1747.  A contested Election this year between Turner and Folkes; and the most violent perhaps ever witnessed in Lynn: for the particulars see p. 947 to 952.—A great many here now made free gratis, see p. 931.

1749.  Charles Holditch executed for burglary, see the page last referred to.

1751.  William Chaplain, for the murder of Mary Gafferson, was hanged in chains on a gibbet upon South Lynn Common, see p. 932.

1753.  The New Walks laid out and the trees planted.—Also the Tuesday Market-place new paved.—One Jumper condemned for the murder of Jones, was afterwards reprieved and transported for life.

1754.  One Elizabeth Neivel stood in the pillory.—Also one Hannah Clark ducked for scolding.

1755.  Certain profitable appointments attached to our Recordership, and the mayor’s annual salary settled at 100l.—see 933, and 4.

1759.  The West Norfolk militia reviewed on Sayer’s Marsh, by the Earl of Orford, previous to their being called out on actual service.

1760.  Mayor secured from any charges incurred through neglects of gaoler and serjeants.—October 29. the king died in his 77th. year.  In his reign Methodism sprung up in these kingdoms.—see p. 934, 5, etc.—The present inglorious era and disastrous reign now commenced.

1761.  The tower of All Saints or South Lynn church fell down, to rise no more.  See p. 943.—About the same time a large whale was taken here near Darsingham, 56 feet 9 inches long, and 34 feet 4 inches in girth, see p. 944.—A man and his wife transported, he for 7, she for 14 years, the cause not noted.

p. 12101763.  December 2.  A dreadful high wind and tide here, which did great damage among the shipping, many of which were wrecked on the coast: cattle and sheep also in vast numbers were drowned in Marshland, and about Snettisham, &c.

1764.  The town served a vile trick by the mayor, which they seem to have submitted to very tamely, see 945.

1765.  A shocking murder committed here by one Rudderham.—See 945, and 6.

1766.  January 27. Rudderham hanged here for the above murder of Leonard Wilson, near the Rope Walk.

1768.  A great contested election here between Turner and Molineux.  See 946.

1769.  The corporation had a great law-suit with Mr. Carr, about the fleet on both sides of Littleport-bridge.  Of this affair see p. 952.—Two men in a boat carried away by the strong current of a land-flood on the 10th of April to sea, and picked up there and brought home on 19th.

1770.  Our corporation suddenly became mighty patriots and violent lovers of liberty.—see 953.—Pilling hanged here for a rape.

1771.  Wilkes visited Lynn, to the no small joy of our patriotic corporation, who entertained him sumptuously and conferred on him the freedom of this ancient borough.  See 954.—Different temper of the town when Thelwall, another great patriot, visited it above 20 years after.  Ibid.

1772.  St. Margaret’s church damaged by a thunder storm.

1779.  On new-years day there was a strong gale and a very extraordinary tide, the highest known here in the memory of man; which overflowed and demolished the sea banks in many places, and did vast damage in and about this town.—The Lynn armed association was also formed in the course of this year, under the command of Captain Thames Day—and continued embodied till 1785.  See 958.

1782.  A woman, named Howard, stood here in the pillory—we know not for what crime.—Towards the close of this year Beeton robbed the mail; and he was executed the 17th of the following February.  See 960.

1783.  Isaac Levi, a Jew lad, robbed, by one Robert Fox, on the road between Lynn and West Winch, and left apparently dead; for which Fox was hanged, 7th. of September, on Hardwick common.

1784.  Another contested election here, when Mr. Fountaine was one of the candidates, but was unsuccessful.—See 961.

1785.  November 5. the Recorder being ill, the mayor, William Bagge, sat as sole judge at our sessions, and upon the conviction of John Bradley and another person, his said worship passed on them the sentence of transportation:—but with what solemnity, if any, we have not p. 1211learnt.—So late at the 24th of November this year, a Mr. Berry brought to town some young rooks from Mr. Fisher’s Carr at Tilney.

1788.  On the 5th of November the centenary of the revolution was here kept by a select party.  The same was then done at Holkham and other places . . . see 965, and 1083.  About nine days after, it was also kept here at the Hall, by the corporation, with no small parade, and thought by some to rival if not excel the Holkham Fete.—A strange report of an extraordinary adventure of one of our Greenland captains this year—see p. 964.—The autumn and winter of this year were distinguished by the king’s memorable illness, which almost broke the hearts of half his subjects, and overwhelmed the whole nation with grief and dismay.  In this affliction Lynn, without doubt, shared largely:—but it happily proved not of long duration.

1789.  On the 12th of February his majesty was pronounced to be in a state of progressive amendment; and by the 18th of March he was deemed fit to resume the royal functions.  The joy and exultation of the public now equalled their former grief and dismay, and they might be said to have gone from one extreme to the other.  On the evening of the day last mentioned this town was most splendidly illuminated, and exhibited the most unequivocal tokens of its joy, and demonstrations of its loyalty.—See p. 969.—The 23rd of April was observed as a day of thanksgiving for the king’s recovery.—See p. 970.

1791.  The law-suit between this corporation and that of London was determined in favour of the Dentons and other London freemen.—See p. 970.

1792.  Effects of the royal proclamation against tumultuous meetings and seditious writings, and of Reeves’s Crown and anchor association manifested here.—See p. 973.

1794.  In consequence of great complaints of the defective and decayed state of the Fen Drainage, the Eau-brink Cut was proposed and approved of as a remedy.  Our trained bands or armed association again revived—and the Lynn Volunteers, infantry and cavalry, landsmen and marines, blunt-shooters and sharp-shooters, made their appearance among us.  They consisted of different corps, but the most numerous was commanded by Colonel Everard, which was about three years after disbanded:—most of the others still remain, see 977, &c.—A violent thunderstorm happened this year, when a young girl was killed here by the lightening.

1796.  February 23.  Eleven persons lost their lives in attempting to cross the river in the Ferry-Boat—see 978.—The preceding day a Marshland man, of the name of Fuller, going to see the wild beasts, and putting his hand to a Lion’s mouth, narrowly escaped being torn to pieces by him.—April 25.  The Free-masons, went in procession, from the Maid’s Head Inn to St. Margaret’s church, where a sermon was preached to them by Dr. Lloyd, the present Hebrew Professor at Cambridge; p. 1212all this preparatory or introductory to the instituting and consecrating a new lodge of Lynn Free Masons: see p. 1120, &c.

1797.  A whale, measuring 44 feet, caught in Lynn channel.—An improved method of cleaning Wheat seed discovered by some of our farmers: see p. 979.—The subscription Library established this year; of which see p. 1176.—In April this year, prince William (now duke) of Gloucester visited Lynn, and, after reviewing the Volunteers and dining with the mayor, was admitted to the freedom of this borough.

1798.  Lynn and Freebridge Yeomanry Cavalry, under Colonel Taylor, embodied.  Divers other such corps in our vicinity sprung up about the same time—the martial ardour of the time extended even to the priesthood.—On 29 Dec. this year the Thermometer said to be at 3 below 0: see p. 981.

1799.  The Lynn and Wisbeach Packet, and also the inglorious Income Tax commenced their progress and operations: the former with far less success than the latter.—A great controversy soon after arose here about the termination of the century; one party placing it at the close of this, and the other at the close of the following year: so that the controversy rested on this curious ground, whether or not 99 was equal to 100.

1800.  St. Catherine’s Gates, commonly called East Gates, taken down after having stood above 700 years.—Sept. 3. The dearness of provisions caused here a considerable commotion among the common people; and Mr. Forster, a flour merchant, was very roughly treated by some of them.—The attempt of Hadfield upon the king’s life, at the theatre, this summer, caused no small agitation here and throughout the nation: two very loyal addresses were now presented to his majesty, by our corporation and the inhabitants.

1801.  The old building or tower, called the Black Mount, on the town walls, fell this year without doing much damage, as the ropers had just left it, being their dinner time.—816l. 9s. subscribed here this year, to furnish the poor with pease-soup, which was served out to them from the Town Hall thrice a week, by reason of the extreme dearness of provisions.—Also one Peter Donahue executed here for forgery.—The Peace of Amiens excited no small joy here, and the town was illuminated on the occasion.

1802.  A grand Fete given at Refley Spring, when a whole sheep, roasted (says one account,) was served up at dinner, as a peace-offering to the friends of Refley [which friends of Refley, we may suppose, were the gods worshipped there that day.]

1803.  The first act for paving and improving the town was now obtained.—The new-road, from the South gate to St. James’s End, was also made this year.—Also the new Burying ground and Chapel consecrated, by the then bishop of Norwich, Dec. 14.

p. 12131806.  In the course of this year there was a very high tide which demolished the remaining ruins of our Lady’s Chapel on the Bridge.—St. Nicholas’s Chapel this same year thoroughly repaired and greatly improved at a considerable expense.

1807.  His royal highness the duke of Clarence, attended by Earl Cholmondeley visited Lynn, (13. October,) and they were both presented with the freedom of this borough.

1808.  The names of many of the Streets of the town were this year most capriciously, childishly, and confoundingly changed; and the rage for changing names appeared now so predominant, that some began to expect no less than that the town itself was to receive a new name.

In the summer of this year the Lancasterian School was established here, of which see page 1145.

1809.  In the month of October this year, the memorable Jubilee took place, which was kept and solemnized here with the greatest hilarity and exultation, as if the commencement of the present reign had been the introduction of the very millennium itself.  It was a political manœuvre; and not the first to which the British public have been the dupes.

1810.  This year a negotiation took place, and was carried on for some months, between Mr. William Corston of Ludgate Hill, London, and the Lynn Court of Guardians, in consequence of a proposal from the former, to furnish employment for the female children of the Lynn poor, in plaiting of straw and knitting of hats, on certain terms and conditions: viz. To be provided with a proper house for the manufactory, and a dwelling for the superintendents, together with the loan of a large sum of money, on proper security, for seven years, without interest.—This notable treaty was opened in March, and after a number of Letters had passed between the parties, it was closed by a Letter from the Registrar to Mr. Corston, dated Sept. 15. of which the following is a copy—

“Sir, I was duly favoured with your Letter of the 20th. of August, inclosing answers to my questions respecting your plan for employing the female poor of this borough, which, with the sketch of the proposed building, &c. transmitted to Mr. Dixon, I laid before the Court of Guardians at their meeting, holden on Thursday last; who after having given the matter their most mature consideration, instruct me to inform you, that they entirely decline acceding to your propositions.  I therefore return you the several papers, requesting you will be pleased to accept the thanks of the Court for the trouble you have had in the business.  I am, &c. J. Smeatham.”

So the affair ended; happily or otherwise, we take not upon us to say.

1811.  St. Margaret’s church thoroughly cleaned, white washed, and beautified, at considerable expense.—A new place of worship, called Salem Chapel erected—and premises Purchased, in Tower Street, for the p. 1214erection of the splendid Methodist minster.—Those premises cost between 8 and 900l. and the subsequent erection will cost between 4 and 5000l. more.—In the early part of this year, if we are not mistaken, Mr. Allen, one of our common—brewers, relinquished his memorable attempt to dig a well, after having sunk to the vast depth of 560 feet and spent a large sum of money without success; so that it seems now that though Lynn is situated in a bog, the ground below is as destitute of water as any spot in the kingdom can well be.  Some praise however seems to be due to Mr. A. for having so long persevered in this arduous undertaking, attended as it was with so much expense and discouragement.  Some curious fossils, and even bones; were said to be discovered there at a great depth.

On Saturday evening, Oct. 5, one of the ferry-men in a small boat, which they use only occasionally, attempting to bring over from West-Lynn too many passengers, the boat suddenly went down and every soul perished: They were 9 if not more beside the ferry-man; and the boat was capable of carrying safely not above half that number.  This fatal disaster was imputed to the perverse temerity of the boatman.

The last month of this year was rendered memorable by the death of the most singular and excentric character in the whole town, and probably in the whole county.  His name was Robert Pursglove: he was descended from very worthy and reputable parents, who belonged to the respectable society of Friends or Quakers.  With that society he himself was also generally classed, although for many years past almost every shade of resemblance between his character and theirs had disappeared.  His parents left him in possession of good property, which he managed most strangely and in a manner peculiar to himself.  He had a Ship, which he might have sold for a good sum of money; but he had it laid up, till it rotted all to pieces—a number of hay-stacks he also had, which he might have sold and turned to good account, but he would hear nothing of that, and they were left, year after year, till they were quite spoilt and good for nothing.—He had kine and other cattle, which were of course neglected and mismanaged—he lived in a large house, which he had purchased, where formerly had resided one of our first families; but he suffered every thing there to go to decay and utter ruin, till doors, windows, floors, stair-cases, roofs, and every thing became perfect pictures of desolation—his dogs, and even his swine and kine occupied some of its best apartments, all ill-fed and half starved.—In this dreary mansion of desolation he was himself at last found, in the agonies of death, resulting from an apoplectic attack, and beyond the possibility of deriving any relief from medical skill.  He is said to have often wanted food, though he left behind him property to the amount, as it is reported, of near if not quite 10,000l.—This sketch might be greatly enlarged, but this will serve to give the reader some idea of the eccentricities and peculiarities of this extraordinary person.

p. 12151812.  This year has been yet distinguished by nothing more than a miserable stagnation of trade, and a probability of the bread and beer and other necessaries of life being dearer than ever.  Nothing, in short, appears to be going on here now with vigour or spirit, but the methodist erection above mentioned and taxgathering; so that were we required to name whatever is here at present in a very thriving state, or rapidly on the increase, we should be able to mention scarce any thing besides these two articles, taxation and methodism.—As to the much talked of Evening Lecture at the Church, it will seemingly be given up at last; our churchmen not having zeal enough to effect its accomplishment.—As to the Dispensary, its prospect of success is far more flattering, and there can be little doubt now of its speedy establishment: large sums have been already subscribed, a house has been purchased, or is about to be purchased, and every thing fairly promises the sure completion of the undertaking, and the full application of its benefits to those classes of the inhabitants for whose behoof or relief the institution is intended.  That it has succeeded better than the proposed Lecture, will perhaps be considered by some people as an indication, that our wealthy churchmen are more ready to provide for the corporeal than for the spiritual accommodation of their neighbours.—Of the notable plan of economy, so laudably adopted, and so steadily pursued during the present mayoralty, to save certain expenses usually attached to that important office, some account has been given at pages 1087, and 1154.—Of the present state of the Workhouse, and the prospect in regard to the future management of it, and of the poor-rates, some further observations, in this latter part of the work, were intended; but our information is too imperfect to admit of our resuming these subjects at present: we can therefore only say, that it is to be feared our sanguine hopes of being greatly benefited by the new plan, or lately adopted system, will, after all, terminate in useless regret and vexatious disappointment.  Whatever they may do on the other side, it seems now pretty clear that our managers are not likely very soon to fall into the sin of being too frugal or economical in the application of the public money. [1215]—Among the extraordinary and memorable events of this year, the tragical exit or assassination of our late premier will be expected, perhaps, to be here noticed: and much as we do deplore that shocking catastrophe, we would fain hope it will operate as a warning to all future ministers, not to trifle with the serious complaints and sufferings of their fellow subjects.  What may be the results of that fatal and melancholy occurrence, and the subsequent changes, it is impossible yet to say.  They seem to have already produced the rescinding of the vile and pernicious orders of council, which had reduced almost half the nation to distress and beggary, and proved how easily the Americans can cramp our manufactories.  Should they also produce a p. 1216redress of the grievances complained of by the Catholics and other Dissenters, together with a thorough parliamentary reform, and a general peace, we may still escape national perdition, and even hope yet to see brighter and happier days.—The convulsion and expulsion lately experienced at the Independent, or rather Presbyterian chapel, may be also placed among the remarkable occurrences of this year.  That congregation, it is hoped, (and all our other congregations) will no longer tolerate priestcraft, or submit to be priest-ridden.  Whatever may be said of their successors who denominate themselves Independents, our Presbyterian ministers, we believe, were never chargeable with priestly domination.

FINIS.

ERRATA. [1216]

Page 638, last word of the contents of section III, for ineffetual r. ineffectual.—p. 638, l. 8, for fovourite r. favourite—p. 735, l. 9, after them a comma.—p. 773, l. 2, after conscience a semicolon.—p. 782, last line but one, after absentees, a comma. —p. 794, l. 4, for rejected, r. ejected—p. 800, l. 5, after stand, r. by.—p. 803, l. 21, after rubbish, a comma—p. 821, l. 9, for Guyborn, r. Guybon.—same page, l. 19, after even r. the.—p. 835, l. 21, for Assesiation r. Association—p. 847, Note, l. 19, for proceeding r. preceding.—p. 959, last line but one, for egregiously r. eggregiously—p. 1027, note, l. 24, for pastime r. patience.—p. 1087, l. 14, for exegencies r. exigences.—p. 1106 l. 1, comma after here—p. 1127, note, l. 5, for townsnen r. townsmen.—p. 1140, last l. for 1570 r. 1590—p. 1142, note, l. 8, after could r. not. —p. 1147, note, l. 2, after much r. to his.

Whittingham, Printer, Lynn.

FOOTNOTES.

[625a]  Such as the lawfulness of suppressing reputed error by violence, or of contending for the faith and extirpating heresy by fire and sword.

[625b]  For instance, translating the scriptures into the vulgar tongue, and putting them into the hands of the common people, that they might examine and judge for themselves.

[626a]  Bucer owns, as will be seen further on, that their converts considered this doctrine as favourable to their licentious propensities.

[626b]  “I say, (says Calvin,) that by the ordination and will of God Adam fell.  God would have man fall.  Man is blinded by the will and commandment of God.  We refer the causes of hardening to God.  The highest and remote cause of hardening is the will of God.  It followeth that the hidden counsel of God is the cause of hardening.”  [See Barclay’s Apology, Edit. 1703, p. 113, where reference is made to those places in Calvin’s Works where these expressions are found.]  Those who are acquainted with this reformer’s Institution, must know that many passages to the same purpose, and equally strong, occur there.—Others of the reformers come not a whit behind Calvin in the boldness of their language on this topic.—“God (says Beza) hath predestinated, not only unto damnation, but also unto the causes of it, whomsoever he saw meet.  The decree of God cannot be excluded from the causes of corruption.”—“It is certain (says Zanchius) that God is the first cause of obduration.  Reprobates are held so fast under God’s almighty decree, that they cannot but sin and perish.”—“God (says Peter Martyr) doth incline and force the wills of wicked men into great sins.”—“God, (says Zuinglius) moveth the robber to kill.  He Killeth, God forcing him thereunto.”  [See Barclay, as before.]

[628a]  Luth. Serm. in Postill. Evang. 1. Adv.

[628b]  Luth. Serm. Dom. 26, post Trin.

[628c]  Luth. in Serm. conviv.

[628d]  Bucer de regn. Christ. 1, i. c, 4.

[628e]  See Milner’s Letters to Sturges, 3d. Ed. p. 170, 171, &c. a work that contains a great deal of very curious matter on these subjects, and on most of the great points at issue between the catholics and their opponents.

[629a]  Calv. 1. vi. de scand. quoted by Milner, as before.

[629b]  Erasm. Ep. 1. vi. 4.—It appears by the mode of expression here used, that notwithstanding all the unfavourable and unchristian-like effects of their ministry, they actually did, like some modern, labourers in the same vineyard, boldly arrogate to themselves the exclusive name of evangelical ministers, or propagators of the genuine and pure gospel.

[630]  Erasm ad. Frat. Infer. Germ, quoted by Milner, as before, p. 172.

[632]  Mosheim, iii, 313.

[634]  See Milner, as before: 182.—Carlostadius was Luther’s first disciple of any considerable note: and he co-operated with, and supported him with great firmness and ability.  But having ventured to alter the mass, during Luther’s absence in the year 1521, and to deny the real presence, the latter commenced a furious war against him and his followers, and condemned them in terms of the utmost rancor and bitterness.  Melancthon too (misnamed the mild) now calls him “a brutal ignorant man, void of piety and humanity, one more a Jew than a christian.”—a rare specimen of mildness and meekness!

[636a]  See Milner as before, 188.—It is not said how Henry brooked all this; but it was well for Luther that he was not within his reach.  The most curious circumstance is that “Luther, in giving an account of his book, reproaches himself with having been too mild in it towards the king, saying that he did so at the request of his friends, in hopes that his sweetness would gain Henry.”—If such was Luther’s sweetness, what could his sourness, or his bitterness be?

[636b]  Milner, 181.

[636c]  Ibid, 132.—No wonder he should behave as he did to Cariostadius, whose chief crime seems to be his having acted without his authority, though in conjunction with Bugenhagius, Melanancthon, Jonas, &c.  He continued afterwards to persecute him with unrelenting virulence, and nothing would satisfy him short of absolute submission to his sovereign will and pontifical mandates.  His banishment ensued.  He appears to have been one of the best men among the reformers.  It seems, however, that Luther was at last convinced of his misconduct in this affair, and obtained permission for his return from exile.  See Mosheim, IV. 30.

[637]  See Milner, 123.

[638]  See Milner, 185, 186, where the authorities are referred to.

[642]  Their blindness generally proceeded from a fallacious kind of reasoning, which is still very common among their orthodox descendants or successors, but which, like a two-edged sword, cuts both ways.  They plead that they are the people of God, and are in the right way, so that their cause is the cause of God and truth, and therefore the papists are cruel persecutors when they deprive them of their lives or liberties.  When they are reminded of having themselves before now deprived the papists and other christian sects of their liberties and lives, they answer, that that was done very justly, as those sufferers were either seditious persons or heretics, and what they did to them was in the way of suppressing sedition or restraining heresy.  When they are told that the papists excuse and justify their own violent proceedings against the protestants much in the same way and with equal plausibility, they will answer, that what the papists assert is not true.  When they are further told that the papists insist upon the truth of their allegations and the falshood of those of the protestants, they will reply that the papists belonging to a false church and influenced by a lying spirit, are not to be credited, but as for them, being the people of God and followers of the truth, their testimony ought to be received without hesitation.—Thus their reasoning ends just where it began—We are God’s people, and therefore our proceedings are not to be impeached!  No better reasoning can be expected in defence of injustice and persecution.

[644]  Robinson’s Pref. to 3d. vol. of Saurin, p. xii.

[645]  The French protestants, or Gallic Calvinists were no less bigoted and intolerant than their brethren elsewhere.  Their ministers, in 1563, requested that in order to prevent the propagation of heresy and monstrous opinions, the king would be pleased to receive into his royal protection their confession of faith tendered to him in 1561, and the profession of it; and to provide that atheists, libertines, anabaptists, and Servetists should be severely punished.  See Priestley’s Ecclesiastical History, 6, 135.

[646]  See p. 636.

[649]  “He was called up to the cardinal (Wolsey) for heresie, where he was content to subscribe and graunte unto such articles as they propounded unto him.”  Fox A. and M. p. 1736.  This happened in 1529.  In 1531 he was cited before the archbishop of Canterbury, Wareham, on fresh charges of heresy, and forced to sign an abjuration of them—see Fox, p. 4738.  The third time he was called upon, with certain others, to give an account of his opinions, by Henry himself, on which occasion he escaped by an absolute submission of himself to his supreme head in spiritual matters.  His fourth and last recantation was when he was deprived of his bishopric, and committed prisoner to the Tower, where he lay till the end of Henry’s reign, on suspicion of heresy, and for violating the fast and abstinence of Good Friday.—It has been suggested that imprisonment did not constitute the whole of his correction or chastisement on this occasion, as Shaxton bishop of Salisbury was forced to recant his Lutheran opinions, and carry a faggot at the burning of four other protestants, in 1546; and it is not likely that Henry would have been content with less from Shaxton’s fellow prisoner, Latimer, than a solemn abjuration of his doctrine.—See Milner, as before, page, 196.

[650]  See Milner, p. 196.—Latimer’s name is to the sentence of Joan of Kent, who was burnt in 1549.  See Burnet’s Hist. Ref. part ii. b. i. rec. 35.  It also appears from Collier and Fox that he was one of the leading bishops who sat at the trial of Lambert the martyr.—See Milner, as before.

[651]  See his signature to the sentence against Van Parre; in Burnet’s H. Ref. as before.

[652a]  See Milner, 194.

[652b]  Fox A. and M.

[652c]  Collier vol. ii. rec. 22.

[653a]  Heylin Hist. Eliz. p. 89.

[653b]  Collier vol. ii. rec. 24.

[653c]  Collier, as before.

[653d]  Burnet, Collect b. ii. n. 47.

[654a]  The royal pair were married by Dr. Rowland Lee, in the presence of Cranmer, the duke of Norfolk, &c. Nov. 14, 1532.  Heylin Hist. Eliz. p. 89.  Stow fixes the marriage two months later, viz. Jan. 25, 1533.  Elizabeth was born September 7. 1583.

[654b]  The prevailing notion seems to be, that Henry’s wish for a divorce arose from his attachment to Ann Boleyn; but from a paper in the 3rd. volume of the Harieian Miscellany it appears to be unfounded.  We learn from that paper that archbishop Warham was from the first averse to Henry’s marriage with his brother’s widow, but that Fox bishop of Winchester inclined Henry VII. to be for it, as a dispensation from the pope would remove all difficulties.  It appears further that the king (Henry VII.) afterwards thought with Warham: and the day the prince came of age he by his father’s order protested against it as null and void.  His father also with his dying breath persisted in charging him to break it off.  The king continued to have scruples, and at last sent Cardinal Wolsey to France to negotiate a match between him and the duchess of Alencon about August 1527.  After that Lord Rochford came over from France with the picture of the duchess.  His daughter Ann Boleyn, who was in the duchess’ service, came over probably at the same time; and then it was that Henry set his affection upon her.—There can be no truth therefore in the report that she was the cause of alienating the king’s affections from Catherine, and his scrupling the marriage.  The Cardinal returned from France September 30, 1527; and it was not till afterwards that the king expressed to him his attachment to Ann Boleyn.  Harl. Misc. vol. 3. p. 43.

[655a]  See letter in Burnet History Ref. b. iii. p. 200.

[655b]  Burnet, p. 203.

[655c]  The two sentences, the one of attainder for adultery, the other of a divorce because of precontract, did so contradict one another, that one if not both must be unjust.  Burnet.

[655d]  Heylin, Edw. p. 28.

[656a]  Collier, vol. p. 218.  Burnet.

[656b]  See Milner’s 5th Letter to Sturges, whence the above passages or quotations are taken, mostly verbatim.

[657a]  Fuller says: “It cannot be denied that he had a hand in the execution of Lambert, Frith, and other godly martyrs,” adding that he would leave him to sink or swim by himself where he is guilty.  Ch. Hist. b. 5. sec. 2.  He elsewhere accuses Cranmer of arguing against the aforesaid Lambert contrary to his own private judgment; and remarks that “as the latter was burnt for denying the corporal presence, so Cranmer himself was afterwards condemned and died at Oxford for maintaining the same opinion,” b. 5. sec. 6.

[657b]  She is also called Joan Butcher and Joan of Kent—“When he (Cranmer) was on the point of passing sentence upon her, . . . she reproached him for passing the like sentence upon another woman, Ann Askew, for denying the carnal presence of Christ in the sacrament; telling him that he had condemned the said Ann Askew not long before for a piece of bread, and was then ready to condemn her for a piece of flesh.”  Heylin, Edw. vi, p. 89.—As three other protestants, Lassels, Otterden, and Adams were burnt with Askew for the selfsame cause, there is every appearance that Cranmer was as instrumental in their punishment as he was in that of Askew.  (Milner, 207.)

[657c]  See the process of their condemnation in Burnet’s Collect. of Rec. part ii, b. 1, n. 35.

[658a]  In 1538 a special commission was granted to Cranmer, with two other bishops and six other persons, to try summaris el de plano, even though they had not been denounced or detected, all Anabaptists, &c. and to deliver them over to the secular arm.  Collier vol. 2. sec. 46.—Within a month from the date of this commission, viz. Nov. 24. I find two Anabaptists burnt, and four bearing faggots.  Stow.—About a year after this, by virtue of a special commission, Cranmer with certain other bishops tried Alexander Seaton for protestant opinions, and condemned him to bear a faggot and recant at St. Paul’s Cross, which he did accordingly.  Collier, vol. 2 p. 184.  The same year three other Anabaptists were burnt by virtue of the former commission.  Stow—In Edward’s reign certain chiefs (of the Gospellers and Anabaptists) were condemned April 12, 1549, before the archbishop (Cranmer), the bishop of Westminster, and Drs. Cox, May, Cole, and Smith.  Being convicted, some of them were dismissed only with an admonition, some sentenced to a recantation, and others condemned to bear their faggots at St. Paul’s.  Heylin, p. 73.  About the same time John Champneys of Stratford was convented before Cranmer, Latimer, and two other doctors, at which time he was forced to recant upon oath certain “heretical and damnable opinions” concerning regeneration, &c. as also to carry a faggot.  In like manner John Ashton, priest, being convented before Cranmer, abjured his heresies, &c. and took an oath to submit to whatever penance was enjoined.  Ex. Regist. Cranm. Collier part ii. b. i, rec. 35.

[658b]  Milnes, as before, p. 208.

[659a]  Perhaps she meant no more than that he was born free from that natural pollution or hereditary depravity implied in the orthodox doctrine of original sin.

[659b]  Burnet, past ii p, 111, 112.  Milner, p. 208, 209.

[660a]  The two first of these retractions are without date.  The third appears to have been signed Feb. 14.  The fourth is dated Feb. 16; and the last is dated March 13.  See Strype’s Mem. Ecc. vol. iii, p. 134.  Cranmer retracted his recantations and was executed March 21.

[660b]  Milner, as before, 210.

[661]  Stow’s Annals, an. 1546.  Milner, p. 173.

[662a]  Hist. Ref. part ii. p. 226.

[662b]  Heylin’s Hist. Ref.  Edward IV, 1550.  Milner, 174.

[662c]  Strype’s Mem. Eccl. p. 440.

[663a]  Strype’s Mem. Eccl. B. 11. c. xxiii.

[663b]  Camden, Appar. ad Annal Eliz.—Milner 175.

[664]  The unfavourable and ill effects of the reformation on the manners, and morals of the people, both at home and abroad, must be chiefly ascribed to some of the great defects of the system—some of its most prominent features or distinguishing doctrines, as was before suggested—such as justification by faith without works, predestination to perdition as well as to salvation, or election and reprobation representing all human characters and actions (even the most horrid crimes), as emanating or resulting from the decrees of Heaven, or will of God—doctrines which certainly cannot be said to be favourable to practical holiness or virtuous living.  Yet they form a main part of what has been called evangelical religion ever since.  As to their licentious tendency, Luther is known to have gone very far, and expressed himself very strongly on the above doctrine of justification; even so as to speak very slightly of the Epistle of James, calling it “dry, chaffy, and unworthy the apostolic spirit,” for no other reason than its manifest opposition to his views of this doctrine.  He probably deemed that Epistle far inferior to his own writings when he called himself the second Elias and the Chariot of Israel, and said in his book against the king of England, “My ministry and calling are of that excellency that it is in vain for princes or any persons on earth to expect submission or forbearance from me.”  Be this as it may, it is evident, from Bucer’s testimony, (see p. 628) that the reformed converts made a great handle of that doctrine, and considered it as excusing and encouraging their licentiousness: and Bucer was a witness of the effects of the reformation in England as well as on the continent.—As to those reformed doctrines relating to the Divine Decrees, or predestination to perdition as well as to salvation, and which are commonly comprehended under the terms Election and Reprobation, their loose and licentious tendency, must be obvious to every unbiassed mind, seeing they place good and evil, virtue and vice, truth and error, right and wrong, as it were upon a level, and in effect annihilate all the distinctions between them, making the worst as well as the best of human actions to be agreeable to the will of God and the offspring of his eternal counsel or purpose.  Where such doctrines prevail it may be expected that moral restraints will be soon overpowered.

[668]  So far they were evidently of use, and their suppression was a real and public loss, in that view and as things then stood.

[672]  In the days of Wickliff, and for a good while after, there was among the common people a spirit of revolt against papal tyranny and corruption; but that spirit had been suppressed and extinguished before Henry had begun his work of reformation.  Between his work and that of Wickliff there was a wide and striking difference—the former originated with the court, the latter with some thinking men at Oxford; the former was carried on by royal caprice, orders of council, and acts of parliament, the latter by the diligent and persevering exertions and eloquence of private individuals of integrity and learning, who were convinced of its importance, and who travelled on foot about the country to instruct and enlighten the people, in order to improve their manners, their morals and their religious principles.

[673]  This might be the reason why so many places of worship besides the convents, and which had no connection with them, were here laid by and demolished at that time—such as the church or chapel of St. James, those of St. John, and of St. Catherine, &c. the demolition of which, except for the reason now suggested, must appear exceedingly unaccountable.—As to the church or chapel of St. Catherine, of whose site the author expressed much uncertainty at p. 559, he now begs leave to inform the reader that he has been since led to conclude, from some old MSS. that it stood in that small field without the East gate, on the left hand as we go out of the town, and which is now enclosed from the road by a brick wall.  It appears that it retained the name of St. Catherine’s ground long after the church had disappeared.

[674]  Many of them could hardly read; and as to preaching, it was what few of them were capable of.  To supply that deficiency the Book of Homilies was provided, and the reading of those homilies, for a while, appears to have supplied the place of preaching.  But the plan was ill calculated to instruct and enlighten the common people, though it might be of use to their superiors.

[675a]  Hist. Ref. 1. 317.

[675b]  Hist. Ref. as before.

[676]  Burnet Hist. Ref. as before.

[678]  Of the prodigious popularity and reputation of the friars, see above at page 495.

[680]  The following is thought a pretty correct statement of the numbers of worshipers that might be accommodated in each and all our present places of worship—In St. Margaret’s church; 1322; in St. Nicholas’ chapel 1066; in All Saints, or South Lynn church, 388: in the Methodist chapel, 500; in the Independent chapel 450; in the Baptist chapel 500; and in that of the Friends or Quakers 100.—Thus all the churches might admit 2776; and all the Dissenting chapels about 1500, or 1550—in all 4326.  But it is well known that the number of those that do actually attend falls greatly short of 4326, and we may very safely venture to affirm that they do not exceed 3000: so that there must be here between 7 and 8000 people whose minds are strangers to religious impressions, and whose conduct is very little regulated or affected by any sound moral principles.  Would it not therefore be very desirable to increase among us the means of religious and moral instruction?  Some more new chapels, under proper direction, might prove of no small benefit to the town, and help to bring from darkness to light another third part of its population.  This hint deserves consideration.

[682]  For an account of the Lynn Gilds, see above, Part iii. ch. v. p. 403.

[684a]  Thus in the old ballad of Truth and Ignorance, the latter, who is represented as a rustic, says,

Che’ll tell thee what, good fellowe,
      Before the vriars went hence,
A bushel of the best wheate,
      Was zold for vourteen pence:

And vorty egges a penny,
      That were both good and newe;
And this, che say, myselfe have seen,
      And yet I am no Jewe.

(Andrews, 2. 282.)

These lines were quoted before imperfectly.  They are now given correctly in the original orthography.

[684b]  We allude principally to the poor-rates and paving-tax, which are certainly most severely felt, and likely to be still more so.  The former by frugal and wise management might, doubtless, be greatly reduced, without any material detriment to the poor: and the latter ought never to have existed till the times proved more favourable.  When the project was brought forward it was firmly opposed by a large body of the householders: but it was carried against them, very wrongfully.  They were told that the work would be completed at the expence of about 13,000l. and it has already far exceeded, if not doubled, that sum: yet the work is not finished.  Thousands have been lavished, merely to suit the convenience, or gratify the caprice of a few opulent families, without being of the least use or benefit to the town at large; which must have been exceedingly disingenuous and dishonourable.  So great was the liberality which the paviers experienced at Lynn, that they are reported to be satisfied to do their work at Norwich and Yarmouth, 25 per cent. under what they had here.—In short, the managers, or rather the mis-managers of this concern, went on lavishly and blunderingly, till they could go no further.  They were aground for sometime this last autumn, and had probably remained so over the winter, and the summer too, and thrown the whole town into the utmost confusion, but for the timely assistance of a certain individual, who on this critical occasion stood in the place and acted the part of that good man noticed in holy writ, who by his wisdom delivered the city.  Eccl. ix. 15.

[687]  See Martin’s History of Thetford chap. xiii. p. 170.

[688]  The Surrenders seem to have been all much of the same cast and tenor, and so were probably the confessions which accompanied them, a copy of one of these is given by Burnet, and is as follows—

“Forasmuch as we Richard Green, abbot of our monastery of our blessed lady St. Mary of Betlesden, and the convent of the said monastery, do profoundly consider, that the whole manner and trade of living, which we and our pretensed religion have practised and used many days, does most principally consist in certain dumb ceremonies, and other certain constitutions of the bishops of Rome, and other forinsecal potentates, as the abbot of Cistins, and therein only noseled and not taught in the true knowledge of God’s laws, procuring always exemptions of the bishops of Rome from our ordinaries and diocesans: submitting ourselves principally to forinsecal potentates and powers, which never came here to reform such disorders of living and abases as now have been found to have reigned amongst us.  And therefore now assuredly knowing, that the most perfect way of living is most principally and sufficiently declared unto us by our Master Christ, his Evangelists and Apostles, and that it is most expedient for us to be governed and ordered by our supreme Head, under God, the king’s most noble Grace, with our mutual assent and consent, submit ourselves and every one of us, to the most benign mercy of the king’s majesty; and by these presents do surrender &c.”

The Surrender follows in common form, Signed by the abbot, subprior, and nine monks, 15th Sept. 30th year of that reign.—From these samples one may from an idea of the tenour of the surrenders and confessions which went from Lyon.  See Burnet, vol. I. Col. rec. p. 150.

[689]  There were then dissolved 645 monasteries, 90 Colleges, 2374 Chauntrys, and 110 hospitals.  The yearly revenue of the whole amounted then to 161,100l. a sum equal perhaps, to 3 or 4 millions of our money, which must be far less than the present ecclesiastical revenue of England and Ireland.  From a part of the above fund the universities were indulged with some additional colleges and professorships; and six new bishoprics were erected.  An immense sum too accrued to the king from the furniture, clocks, bells, lead, &c. of these edifices; and even from bullion, 5000 marks of which were found in one abbey.  See Andrews, 2. 282.

[699]  These have long been deemed here among the chief of sinners, as tippling and other vices are supposed to have abounded through their patronage or connivance.

[702a]  Mr. Man was minister of South Lynn till 1646, when he was succeeded by the worthy and learned John Horne, who was not likely to restrain his parishioners from eating meat in Lent, or require the sick to take out licences on that occasion.  Of this memorable person we shall have occasion to say more hereafter.

[702b]  This Thomas Lilly was a respectable ancestor of our present representative in parliament, Sir Martin Browne Folkes, and original proprietor, it is supposed, of that gentleman’s valuable possessions in South Lynn.  His daughter and sole heiress married Sir William Hovel of Hillington, and was grandmother of Martin Folkes Esquire, president of the Royal Society, and of William Folkes Esquire, the father of Sir Martin.

[704]  Those Licences and Dispensations seem to have been no longer at the disposal or option of the parish ministers, for there was an office in London opened expressly for that purpose, as we find by an advertisement which appeared in the said Mercurius Publicus of Feb. 26. 1662, and the two following weeks, and which was expressed as follows—“An advertisement—The Faculties Office for granting Licenses (by Act of Parliament) to eat flesh in any part of England, is still kept at Paul’s-Chain, near St. Paul’s Church-yard.”  The present writer cannot find when this notable office was first opened, or how long it existed, but thinks it not very likely that it was laid by, or shut up before the revolution.

[712]  This is said to have been remarkably the case in a certain excursion which her majesty made to Coventry.  The mayor, recorder, and corporation met her on the road at some distance from the city, with what they deemed an appropriate or suitable address.  Versifying being then much in vogue, and the queen herself rather fond of such compositions, they had their address drawn up in that way, which the recorder read before it was presented to her majesty.  It was but short, and said to run thus,

“We men of Coventry, are very glad to see,
Your gracious majesty.  Good Lord, how fair you be!”

Which drew from her immediately the following, not very gracious answer.

“My gracious majesty, is very glad to see,
You men of Coventry: Good Lord! what fools ye be!”

Loyalty abounded then, it seems, at Coventry, not only among the members of the corporation, but also among those of the cathedral.

Accordingly, on the following Sunday, Mr. Thomas Boyce, the clerk of the cathedral, had a hymn composed on purpose to celebrate this royal visit, and do honour to his sovereign, which he thus gave out, just as the queen was entering the church—“Let us sing to the praise and glory of God, a hymn of my own composing—

Re—joice Tom Boyce, re—joice,
      And echo Coven—try,
For that our gracious queen is come
      To see poor we, we, we!”

One would fain hope that wisdom is not at quite so low an ebb at this time, in any of our corporations or cathedrals as it seems to have been then at Coventry.

[715]  Each of our Convents is supposed to have been furnished with a library.  But what became of those libraries after the dissolution does not appear.  They were probably destroyed: for we learn that although Leland was employed to survey the libraries throughout the kingdom, and preserve the choicest books, yet Bale says that those who got possession of the religious houses at the dissolution of them, generally took possession also of the libraries, reserving the books, some to serve their jakes, some to scour their candlesticks, and some to rub their boots with: some they sold to the grocers and soap boilers, and some they sent over sea to the bookbinders, not in small quantities, but at times whole shipfulls, to the great wondering of foreign nations.—“A merchant (he says) bought the contents of two noble libraries for 40s. a-piece.  This stuff he used for more than ten years instead of grey paper to wrap up his goods with, and yet he hath enough remaining for many years to come.”  (See Seward’s An. vol. 1. 49.)  All this discovers some strange mismanagement on the part of the government.

[717]  This Fort is a platform battery, mounted with ten eighteen pounders, planted here in 1627; but having no defensive cover, could be of little use if the town were attacked from the river side.  Of such an attack, however, Lynn could never be in much danger; the difficulty of approach that way by men of war, forming its best security.

[720]  We are told that there is a copy of Paramo’s book now in Dr. Williams’s library in Red-Cross Street, London, and a most extraordinary production it appears to be.  It was undertaken under the patronage of Don Gaspar de Quiroga, then abp. of Toledo, and Inquitor general, and first printed at Madrid in 1614.—It begins by proving God himself to have been the first inquisitor—He convicts Adam and Eve of pertinacious heresy, infidelity, apostacy, and blasphemy.  God cited Adam, otherwise the process would have been null.  On Adam’s appearance, He enquired, that is, made inquisition into the crime.  The man accused his wife, then the judge questioned her: He did not examine the Serpent, because of his obstinacy.—The examinations were secret and separate, that there might be no collusive lying.  He calls no witness; the inquisitor overlooks the reason, that there were none to call, and affirms that conscience and confession are a thousand witnesses, and save the judge all the trouble, except that of condemning.  The whole was done secretly, that it might be a precedent for the holy office; and so closely does this holy office observe the precedent, that they make the dress of penitent offenders after the very pattern of the clothes which God made for Adam and Eve, and confiscate all the property of a heretic, because Adam and Eve were turned out of paradise.—The author further maintains, that Abraham was an inquisitor, and Sarah likewise; for she turned Ishmael out of doors for idolatry.  In this manner he goes on through the Pentateuch, and the books of Joshua and Judges, finding inquisitors all the way through.—David was a staunch inquisitor.  Zimri, who slew his master, was of the holy office: so was ElijahElisha and Jehu also are among the heroes of persecution; and Nebuchadnezzar most unexpectedly proves to be an inquisitor also.—Under the Gospel, Christ was the first inquisitor: the lice, which devoured Herod, and the rulers who spoiled the Jews, only executed the sentences of death and confiscation which he had pronounced.  James and John, who proposed to have the Samaritan heretics destroyed by fire, were inquisitors, of course.  Then follow the apostles, and after them the popes. &c.  Thus the divine origin and authority of the horrid inquisition is proved from scripture—and proved as plainly and conclusively too, as many venerated religious tenets and usages are now every day proved by some of our most renowned protestant writers:—for instance the precious contents of the athanasian creed, the popular rite of infant sprinkling, and the whole ceremony of what is called christening.  The scriptures seem no less violated or abused, in being brought to support these, than they are in being brought to support the inquisition.  Let us therefore not be too severe on Luiz de Paramo for writing such book as that here noticed.

[723a]  Mackerel says that she was hanged; but the above account is supposed to be the most correct.  See Mackerel 233. and Tour of Norfolk, last edit. 253.

[723b]  That notable book the present writer has never happened to meet with, or he might, perhaps, have been able to throw some further light upon this dark and doleful transaction.

[727]  See Granger’s Biographical History, 2. 409.—Hopkins appears to have wrote and published an account of his own exploits in the way of his vacation; but the present writer has not met with it.

[732]  The distinction between some of those, as pointed out sometimes by our law writers and others, is not a little curious: conjurers are said to differ from witches and wizards, in that the former endeavour by prayers and invocations to compel the devil to say or do what they command him; whereas the latter deal rather by friendly and voluntary conference with the devil, or familiar, to have their wishes obtained in lieu of blood, or other gift offered.  Both conjuration and witchcraft differ from enchantment or sorcery.  The sorcerer is supposed to have personal conferences with the devil, and by the use of certain superstitious words and incantations, or by means of images, is said to produce strange and preternatural effects.—All these false and wild notions must have originated from knavery and imposture, on the one hand, and credulity and superstition on the other.  Juggling, or notable skill in the arts of dexterity might promote the imposture; but as to infernal agency, it will not be very wise and safe to give any credit to that part of the story.

[734a]  Andrews 2. 46.

[734b]  He was probably superior to the generality of his brethren, and therefore became suspected of being in league with Satan and the infernal powers, according to the curious and absurd notions which then prevailed.

[736a]  The author did not advert to the date of this law, when the last sheet was printed, or he would have said seventy or eighty, instead of sixty or seventy years, in page 725.

[736b]  Blackstone, iv. 61.—It is somewhat remarkable that France set us the example of prohibiting those bloody prosecutions for witchcraft, even in the reign of Lewis xiv. who thought proper by an edict, to restrain the tribunals of justice from receiving informations of witchcraft.  It was right certainly to follow Lewis xiv, and the French in this instance; but one could have wished we had set the example to them, and not they to us.

[737]  And if such was not always the case, they must, in those exceptions, have proceeded from extreme ignorance, or self delusion, as is the case also with many religious visionaries, who pretend to extraordinary gifts and divine revelations.  In either case, therefore, it must have been extremely hard and cruel to take their confessions as any evidence of their reputed or supposed guilt, or proof that they had actually made a contract with the devil, and had been endued by him with extraordinary knowledge and miraculous powers.

[739]  See Encyl. Brit. vol. 18. under Witchcraft.—The above sketch may suffice to give the uninformed reader an idea of what is called witchcraft; of the existence of which the present writer has expressed his disbelief.  He is aware, however, that the word is used in our translation of the scriptures, but thinks it there misused, and applied to a different matter from what our language meant by that term.

[740]  Even such men as Henry More and Dr. Cudworth could brand as atheists those who denied or doubted the reality of witchcraft.

[742]  See Encycl. Brit. as before; where other matters relating to this vile subject, and equally disgusting, are related.  The above statement reflects no honour on the memory of our ancestors.  But that we are better, or less brutal and savage than they cannot be proved from our Indian history, our American War, our blowing up the Spanish frigates, our sacking and burning Copenhagen, or the recent cruelties exercised in Ireland.

[744]  The circumstances which led, as it is said, to this trial, being not a little remarkable, may be here related for the reader’s edification.

“Lord chief justice Holt, who had been wild in his youth, was once out with some of his raking companions on a journey into the country.  Having spent all their money it was resolved that they should part company and try their fortune separately.  Holt got to an inn at the end of a straggling village, and putting a good face on the matter, ordered his horse to be well taken care of, called for a room, bespoke a supper, and looked after his bed.  He then strolled into the kitchen, where he saw a lass about thirteen years old shivering with an ague; he inquired of his landlady, a widow, who the girl was, and how long she had been ill.  The good woman told him that she was her daughter, an only child, and had been ill near a year, notwithstanding all the assistance she could procure from physic, at an expence which almost ruined her.  He shook his head at the doctors, and bade the landlady be under no further concern, for that her daughter should never have another fit.  He then wrote a few unintelligible words in court hand on a scrap of parchment which had been the directions to a hamper, and rolling it up, ordered that it should be bound upon the girl’s wrist, and remain there till she was well.  As it happened the ague returned no more; and Holt, having continued there a week, now called for his bill, with as much courage as if his pockets had been filled with gold.  ‘Ah! God bless you,’ said the landlady, ‘you are nothing in my debt, I’m sure; I wish I was able to pay you for the cure you have performed upon my daughter; and if I had had the happiness to see you ten months ago, it would have saved me forty pounds in my pocket.’  Holt, after some altercation, accepted of his week’s accommodation as a gratuity, and rode away.  It happened that many year’s afterwards, when he was lord chief justice of the king’s bench, he went a circuit into the same county; and among other criminals whom he had to try, there was an old woman who was charged with witchcraft: to support this charge several witnesses swore that she had a spell with which she could either cure such cattle as were sick, or destroy those that were well: in the use of this spell they said she had been lately detected, and it having been seized upon her, was ready to be produced in court: the judge then desired it might be handed up to him: it appeared to be a dirty ball, covered with rags and bound many times round with pack-thread: these coverings he removed with great deliberation, one after another, and at last found a piece of parchment, which he knew to be the same that he had used as an expedient to supply his want of money.  At the recollection of this incident he changed colour, and sat silent: at length, recollecting himself, he addressed the jury to this effect: ‘Gentlemen, I must now relate a particular of my life, which very ill suits my present character, and the station in which I now sit: but to conceal it would be to aggravate the folly for which I ought to atone, to endanger innocence, and countenance superstition: this bauble, which you suppose to have the power of life and death, is a senseless scrawl which I wrote with my own hand and gave the woman, whom, for no other cause, you accuse for a witch.’  He then related the particular circumstances of the transaction, and expatiated on the evil of such prosecutions: and it had such an effect upon the minds of the people, who now blushed at the folly and the cruelty of their zeal, that the poor woman was acquitted, and was the last that ever was tried for witchcraft in that county, and, as some say, in this kingdom.”

This anecdote is related in the Brit. Biogr. vol. 7. and more at large in some other biographical works.

[747a]  See Beauties of Engl. Vol. 7.

[747b]  The above trial before lord chief justice Holt, is said to have been the last, but its date we cannot discover.

[749]  The cart was overturned on the 5th of May, 1808.  On the following Sunday Evening, the 8th of the same month, as the minister of the parish informs us, “a considerable number of people assembled together, as it grew dark, and taking with them the young women ridiculously supposed to be bewitched, about ten o’clock proceeded to the house of Wright Izzard, which stands alone at some distance from the body of the village.  When they arrived at this solitary spot, so favourable for the execution of their villanous designs, they broke into the poor man’s house, dragged his wife out of bed, and threw her naked into the yard; where her arms were torn with pins, her head was dabbed against the large stones of the causeway—and her face, stomach, and breast were severely bruised with a thick stick that served as a bar to the door.  Having thus satisfied themselves, the mob dispersed.  The woman then crawled into her house, put on her clothes and went to the constable, who said, he could not protect her, because he was not sworn.”  The humanity, protection, and assistance which she could not find at the constable’s very happily for herself she found under the roof of a poor widow; who unlocked her door at the first call, wrapped up her neighbour’s bleeding arms with the nicest linen rags she had, affectionately sympathized with and comforted her, and gave her a bed.  But, horrible to relate! the compassion and kindness of this poor woman, were the means of shortening her days.  “The protectors of a witch are just as bad as the witch, and deserve the same treatment!” cried the infatuated and savage populace, the next morning.  This so affected and terrified the poor companionate widow that she actually died soon after.—The next evening, that of Monday the 9th of May, Ann Izzard was a second time dragged out of her house, when her arms were again torn with pins till they streamed afresh with blood.  Alive the next morning, and apparently likely to survive this attack also, her enemies resolved to have her ducked, as soon as the labour of the day was over.  On hearing this, she hastily quitted her home, and took refuge in the house of the minister of the parish; where the vile wretches durst not follow her.—The worthy clergyman, for taking her part, and becoming her protector, lost the good opinion, and incurred the detestation of a great part of his parishioners; and if he and his friends had not had recourse to the strong arm of the law it is impossible to say where the madness would have ended.—See Preface to a sermon against Witchcraft, preached in the parish church of Great Paxton, July 17. 1808.  By the rev. J. Nicholson, curate of that parish.

[751]  Of these occurrences, one relates to a certain farmer, not far off, with his neighbours, and a cunning man whom he went to consult on an interesting occasion.—It was intended to relate it somewhat circumstantially, as it proves the general belief in Witchcraft which still prevails among our country people: but for certain reasons, needless here to mention, we refrain for the present.—Another of those occurrences appertains to the town, and to such of its inhabitants who profess to think most freely for themselves, and to search most diligently after truth.—How little these good people have yet got beyond their blind and boorish country neighbours in some important points of doctrine, and how unlikely they are at present ever to make much progress in scriptural or religious knowledge, will appear from the mighty offence or alarm which many of them are said to have taken at a late attempt of one of their ministers to correct some of their absurd and stupid notions relating to the devil.  Among these devout alarmists, or rather at their head, are said to be the revd. S. N. and the revd. I. A. two gentlemen of about equal respectability, as well as equal profoundness of understanding.  But why need we to wonder at any thing of the kind at Lynn?—it is not very long ago since some of these very people took upon them to pronounce a certain case of insanity to be verily a case of diabolical possession: and as they thought the demon to be of that kind that would not go out but by prayer and fasting, they actually kept praying and fasting meetings for the express purpose of dislodging the foul fiend!—But these follies may, perhaps, be more properly castigated when we come to exhibit the present state of the town.  We will therefore defer, till then, the final execution of the business.  But it is really most disgusting to think, after the millions this nation pays annually to its moral and religious instructors, how ignorant the greatest part of the people still are.  Most of these instructors must either be ignorant themselves, or desirous that the people should continue so.  In either case, it is a shameful consideration.—With ten or twelve thousand pastors of our national church, and two rich and famous universities, nurseries of new pastors, all maintained at an annual expense, perhaps, of no less than ten millions sterling: (not to mention the numerous pastors and teachers belonging to all our other sects, maintained also at no small expense,)—with all these, we will venture to say, our country ought to be much better taught, and in a far more enlightened state than it now is.  But while our pastors and teachers are either too ignorant to enlighten the people, or influenced by hypocrisy, fear, or worldly policy, so as to be loth to disturb the minds or offend their bigoted hearers, by attacking their favourite errors and endeavouring to undeceive them, there seems but little chance of our ever getting much further informed or enlightened.

[759a]  It was a perfect Helter Skelter, no doubt; but it was well it passed so harmlessly.

[759b]  In the same MS. it is added, that “a night or two before the surrender, most of the powder and shott were conveyed away by some of the town”—It was well, the commissioners of the besieging army, at the ensuing treaty, did not know of this, or they would probably have imposed upon the town much harder terms.

[760a]  Rushworth.

[760b]  Page 182.

[762a]  Those sufferings, as to loss of lives, seem to have been inconsiderable: even during the siege we hear of but four of the townsmen killed, and a few wounded.  They made not many sallies, nor did they wait till the town was stormed, or the case might have been very different.  We have seen no account of the loss of the besiegers.

[762b]  We do not presume that our list is yet complete: many more murders for what was called witchcraft, were probably committed here than we know of.

[764]  Near two years after the above visit from Cromwell, Sir Thomas Fairfax appears to have visited this town: accordingly the following memorial of it stands in the town books—“Feb. 17, (1644,5.) ordered that Mr. Basset, chamberlain, shall pay for the Sack and Sugar at the entertainment of Sir Tho. Fairfax to this Towne.”

[765a]  His name is differently spelt.

[765b]  This plainly shews it had been previously customary to allow the members so much per diem, or appoint them daily wages while they attended their duty in parliament: and it was no doubt very right and proper, though it has been long ago discontinued.

[765c]  The mayor and corporation had before, it seems, taken upon themselves to send whom they pleased to parliament, without allowing the freemen at large to have any voice on the occasion.  But the members sent to that parliament appear to have been chosen by the freemen at large: and they were the first ever so chosen here; as we learn from one of the old MSS.

[766]  It seems by this, that the members had been used to receive their pay at the close of each session, and not before.

[767]  They had also, about two months before, lent the parliament 100l. out of the town-stock, as appears from the town records.

[768]  The celebrated and patriotic Andrew Marvell, member for Hull, who died in 1678, is said to have been the last who received an allowance from his constituents for his parliamentary services.

[769]  Presuming that a view of some of the principal documents on which the above statement is founded may prove acceptable and satisfactory to the reader, the author takes the liberty of introducing them here from a MS. Volume of extracts from the town-books, in the handwriting of one of the former aldermen, whence some of the preceding quotations have also been drawn.—With regard to the short parliament of 1640 we meet in this MS. the following Note—

“March 13. (1639, 40.)  This day Mr Mayor, (Thomas Toll Esq) brought in and caused to be openly read in the House a Warrant or precept directed to him from Thomas Windham Esq. High Sheriffe of this county of Norfolk, to elect and choose according to Law two Burgesses for this Burgh to serve in the parliament summon’d to be holden at Westminster on the 13th April next coming: and Mr. Mayor, the Aldermen and Common Councell have now accordingly chosen Mr. Doughty and Mr. Gurlyn, two Aldermen of the said burgh, to be burgesses to serve in the said parliament for this borough; and have agreed that Indentures shall be presently made and sealed according to law between the High Sherife and the said Electors: and yt is farther ordered and agreed, that the said two Burgesses, during their service in the said parliament, shall have payd and allowed them, by the town, for their wages, five shillings a day apiece.  (Wm. Doughty and Th. Gurlyn were the eldest Aldermen.”)

Of the election for the ensuing, or long parliament the following notice occurs—

“1640, October, 12th.  This day two Letters were by Mr. Mayor (Wm. Doughty Esq.) offered and read in the House, the one sent to the mayor, Aldermen, and burgesses, by the Earle of Arundell, Lord Gridall, the other to Mr. Mayor himselfe, the effect of both Lrs. being to elect a burgess to serve in the next insuing parliament, Contain[ing] whom his lordship hath nominated in his said Letter, and that it is unanimously agreed by this House, that they will choose no other burgesses to serve in parliament but only such as are resident and inhabitants within the Corporation.”

In this instance the Corporation discovered what may be called a dignified and independent spirit; and what was no less to their credit, they also discovered a regard for rectitude and equity, in allowing the freemen at large, as was before hinted, to have a voice now, for the very first time, in the election of their representatives.  Of the parliaments of 1653, 1654, and 1656 we have spoken already: Of that of 1658, or rather 1659, we have the following notice in the same book—

“December 31. (1658.)  This day Mr. Mayor (Henry Bell) brought into this house a precept to him directed, from John Hedley Esq. Sherife of Norfolk for election of two burgesses to serve in the next parliament, to be holden upon the 27th. January next, for this burrough of King’s Lynn, which was read in this House, and it is thereupon ordered that the election of the said burgesses to sitt in parliament be made in this House by the members of this House according to the antient custome, on the 3rd January next, and that publication and warning thereof be made, to the end all persons concerned in the same election may take notice thereof.”

Four days after, the following note occurs, relating to the same election—

“January 3rd.  Whereas severall burgesses of this burrough, of the commons at large, have made their requests to this House, that they might be admitted to join with this House in the election of burgesses to sitt in the next parliament, it is ordered that the resolves of the Committee of Priviledges of the last parliament, and the Parliament’s orders thereon concerning elections be first read to them.”

Then it is added—

“This day upon further debate, it being adjudged by this House that the right of election of the burgesses is at present in this House, according to the aforesaid order, it is therefore ordered that this House doe proceed to an election accordingly: and that in case the Commons at large shall after such election persist in their desires to have the Precept for the elections of burgesses to be read unto them, that the same be read unto them accordingly, for their satisfaction.”

Then it is added in another paragraph, as before—

“This day the Mayor, Aldermen, and common Councel have elected and chosen Mr. Th. Toll, one of the aldermen of this burrough and Capt. Griffith Loyd to be burgesses for this burrough in the next parliament to be holden the 27th instant.”

Next after this we read as follows—

“January 5th.  This day by order of this House the Common Seal is taken out of the Treasury and affixed unto ane Indenture for the election of Mr. Alderman Toll and Capt. Griffith Loyd to be burgesses in the next parliament for this Burrough of King’s Lynn.”

Thus the affair then ended, and the freemen at large were excluded from any share or concern in the election.

[774a]  We accordingly find the following items in one of the Church books within the first year after the siege—

Received by virtue of severall warrants from Mr. John May maior.—1644,

July 13

Of I. Hinderson, ostler, for an oath sweareing in Mr. mayor’s hearing

00l.

01s.

00d.

Dec. 23.

Of Mihill Turner, alehousekeeper, for suffering tippling in his house

00.

10.

00.

Dec. 24.

Of John Say, alehousekeeper, levied for the same offence

00.

10.

00.

Mar. 6.

Of John Pratt, dier, for tippleing in the said John Saves house

00.

03.

04.

Mar. 7.

Of Margarett Freeman, alehousekeeper, for suffering tipling in her house

00.

10.

00.

Mar. 15.

Of Phillip Murrell for loytring in time of church service on a Lords Day

00.

05.

00.

Mar. 16.

Of Richard Porter, pinner, for an apprentice boy of his offending in the like

00.

01.

00.

This is the first account we meet with of these proceedings here; but a great deal in the same way occurs in the memoranda of succeeding years.

[774b]  See Abstract of Town-books under 1650.

[775]  Under that year the following articles occur in the church-warden’s accounts, May 6. (received) from Hillar Browne, by the hands of Capt. Wm. Mann, levied upon the said Hillar Browne by him, for profanely swearing seven oathes, 7s.

July 9.  Levied by vertue of a warrant from Mr. John May maior, by distraining and selling twelve puter platters of the goods of Wm. Churston, for that the said Wm. and Jone his wife were convicted for profanely swearing each ten oathes, 1l.

[776]  Under 1646 we find as follows—

April 18.  Levied upon Roger Gaunt by virtue of a warrant from Mr Edward Robinson, maior, for neglecting and refusing to serve overseer being chosen, 1l.

Nov. 4.  Levied upon Peter Dixon, a baker, by warrant from Tho. Toll, maior, for travelling on the Lord’s day 10s. whereof 12d. to John Gray informer.

Nov. 22.  Levied upon one Smith, a smith, of Wisbeach, for the like offence 10s. whereof to a soldier that informed 12d. and to the Court of Guard 12d.

Nov. 23.  Levied upon William Tabbott and Francis Pollard for the like offence 20s. whereof to John Rainer and William Disborough informers 2s. 6d.

Nov. 24.  Levied upon Mr. William Edwards of Swinstead, for the like offence 10s. whereof to Thomas Lyny, a soldier, informer, was given 12d.

Feb. 9.  Levied upon Daniell Rose for drunkeness 5s. and for 3 oathes sworne before Mr. maior 3s. but because he was poor he had 4s. given him, as to the poor.

Feb. 24.  Levied upon a servant of William Marches, innkeeper, for convicted drunkenness 5s.

March 10.  Levied upon James Yates for 2 oathes 2s. whereof to Miles Lawes, poor lame and blind, 12d.

March 12.  Levied upon a stranger at Peeter Lawes, innkeeper, for travilling on a fast day, 5s.

March 26.  Levied upon another stranger, for the same offence, 5s. to Brian Middleton, informer, 12d.

Aprill 15.  Levied more upon Richard Paule, alehousekeeper, for suffering tipling in his house, 10s.

May 22.  Levied more upon the said Richard Paule, alehousekeeper, for breaking of the assize of beere for six quarts 6l. convicted by oath of John Gibson, woolcomber.—More upon Katherine the wife of the said Rich: Paule, for swearing ten oathes, 10s.

May 24.  Levied upon Thomas Forster, Christopher Pert, and Dorothy Goreing widdow, three alehousekeepers, for drawing beere without licence, each of them 20s.—3l.

June 22, Levied upon a stranger, for profanely sweareing one oath, 1s.

July 21 Levied upon Edward Arther, alias Logstone, and John Mason, alehousekeepers, for drawing beere without licence, each of them 20s.

July 26.  Levied more upon William Medcalfe, alehousekeeper, for the same offence 1l.

Oct. 15.  Levied upon William Greene, alehousekeeper, for the same offence 1l.

[779]  “Mony collected in St. Margaret’s Church for charitable uses by breifes, since the feast of Easter 1653, to the feast of Easter 1654, by the then present Churchwardens, for the said yeare, Thomas Grinnell and Robart Greene.

Imprimis—Collected for the poore inhabitants of Drayton in Shropsheire, for a loss sustained by fyre, and paid the 13th. of October 1653, to Robt. Blessed of King’s Lynn 1l. 17s. 4d.

Collected for the poore inhabitants of Newmarkett, in Southfolk, for a losse sustained by fyre, and paid the 9th. of February, 1653, to George Howard of the same towne, 1l. 9s. 3d.

Collected for the poore inhabitants of Long Sutton, in the county of Lincolnsheire, for a losse sustained by fyre, and paid the 28th. of Febr. 1653: to Elizabeth Plunkett of the same towne 1l. 13s.

Collected for the poore inhabitants of the towne of Bungaye, in Southfolke, for a losse sustained by fyre, 1l. 15s.—[N.B.  This is said not to have been paid; but no reason is assigned for that.]

Collected for the poore inhabitants of Malborowe, in Wiltsheire, for a losse sustained by fyre: 224 houses and a church being consumed by the said fyre, which losse did amount to 70,000l. and was collected in the church, and paid 11th. of March 1653, to John Basset Esq. then maior, appointed to receive the same, the sum of 6l. 13s. 10d.

Collected for the natives and distressed people of Newe England, and that from house to house, within this parish, and paid unto Mr. Joshua Greene the 20th. of November 1653, 25l. 13s.

Moneys collected in St. Margaret’s Church for charitable uses, in the year 1654.

Collected for the inhabitants of Glosco, (Glasgow) in Scotland, for a losse sustained by fyre to the vallew of 1,000000l. the 23d. of Aprill 1654, which was paid unto Mr. John Basset, then maior, the sume of 3l. 10s. 10d.

Collected for a Greation, (grecian) towards the redemption of those that were prisoners in Argeare (Algier): their ransome amounting to 12,000 dollers; and paid unto him 13th. Sept. 1654.  5l. 4s. 6d.

Collected (again) for the towne of Drayton, county of Salop, for a losse by fyre, and paid unto Pollicarpus Tooke, the 4th. of February 1654, 2l. 3s. 1d.

Collected by the ministers and church-wardens, from house to house, for the poore Prodestance (protestants) in Savoy, the 17th. of June 1655, and paid to Mr. Tho. Greene, then maior, 47l. 15s. 9d.

Among subsequent collections we find 10l. 1s. for the relief of the distressed protestants in Poland.

[783]  The number, if we mistake not, is eight; the recorder, three aldermen, and four common-council-men.  What blame is imputable to them, may not be easy to say.  We are willing to suppose it may not be very much; at least, not so much as what belongs to their resident brethren, who have it in their power to strike off their names from the list of members: and though it may not be of any material consequence to the community at large if they be still continued on the list of members, or if eight, or even eighteen more were to become absentees and retain their respective memberships; yet in point of good policy it may not be quite the thing, lest the unprivileged part of the townsmen should by decrees take it into their heads, that it would be no very serious cause of alarm if the whole corporation, except the mayor, recorder, and town clerk, were to set out in a body to make the tour of Europe, or to perform a voyage round the world.

[787]  We also learn that the expense at this period of taking up one’s freedom in this town (according to ancient custom) amounted to only 7s. 3d. which was divided as follows, viz.  To the prisoners 4d.—to the poor 1s.—to the officers 1s.—to Mrs. Mayoress 1s.—to the town-clerk 1s.—for the Seal and Burgess-Letter 3s. 4d.—(whereof 1s. 8d. to Mr. Mayor, and 1s. 8d. to the town-clerk,) total 7s. 8d.—The expense is a good deal more now; but to those who obtain their freedom by inheritance, or servitude, it is far from being exorbitant.

[790]  See Laing’s excellent History of Scotland, where the fact here alluded to is clearly stated and established.

[792a]  Kimber.

[792b]  Ibid.

[796a]  Hist. Purit. IV. 270.

[796b]  In 1657 and 1658 our reforming magistrates carried on their rigorous measures with so high a hand that not a few of the drawers, or publicans, were heavily fined, and 30 of them, as was said before, actually imprisoned.  No less than 300 tickets were also, in the mean time, issued or given out against different defaulters, as we learn from one of the MS. accounts of that period.

[797]  They were not all, it seems, the daughters of respectable or opulent families: 200 of them, if we rightly understand one of our MSS. were poor girls, clothed at the expense of Captain Wharton and Mr. Kirby, two newly restored aldermen, and both flaming royalists.  It was very natural for the young girls to be then brisk and joyful, if it were only to find themselves unexpectedly, and all of a sudden, so well and gayly clad.  The other hundred lasses may be supposed to have been clothed at their own expense, or that of their parents and friends.

[800]  The following hints from Kimber may serve to throw some further light on the above Address and the circumstances that led to it.

“Such was the animosity between the court and country parties at this time (1679) that it looked as if the year Forty-One was going to be acted over again; which probably had been the case, if the king’s necessities had occasioned him to make the parliament perpetual, as his father had done—if Scotland had not been so effectually enslaved, by a standing army which the court kept there, that they had not power to stir—and if the bishops and clergy had been as disagreeable to most of the people as they were at that time.  Besides, all the staunch episcopalians, fearing the presbyterians might again subvert the established church, forgetting the dangers of popery, joined themselves so firmly with the court, as to make it at last formidable to the other party.  During the repeated prorogations of the present parliament abundance of addresses were presented from all parts to petition for its speedy sitting; which being highly distasteful to the court, means were found to have a number of counter-addresses, expressing the greatest abhorrence of such petitions, as an infringement upon the prerogative, which they took care in their expressions to advance as high as possible.  And so the nation became divided into two parties, Petitioners and Abhorrers, soon known by the names of Whigs and Tories, which the parties, by way of reproach, gave each other: Tory being the name of an Irish robber, and Whig signifying sour-milk, an appellation first given to the Scotch presbyterians.”

Thus it appears that the Lynn corporation were then rank tories, or Abhorrers—that is, they abhorred liberty and loved slavery.  How much things have changed among us for the better since, is a question that we will not now attempt to resolve.

[803]  See Mackerell 253, 254.

[805]  This prince afterwards, in 1715, made an unsuccessful effort to recover the throne of his ancestors, to which he and many others thought he had so undoubted right.

[806]  This was perhaps the expulsion from the Hall of the mayor, town-clerk, five aldermen, and eight common-councilmen, by order of Council, and appointing others who were thought better of (and who were among the present addressers) in their room, by royal mandate.  Among the latter was Henry Framingham.  This happened in June.

[812]  It is somewhat remarkable that our present members are descended from those two gentlemen who represented the town so long ago.  One of the Walpoles has represented it almost ever since, and a moiety of the representation of Lynn is now considered as almost hereditary in that family.  One of our present members is generally on the right and the other on the wrong side in the House: for they are mostly on opposite sides.

[820]  A late friend of the present writer assured him that he was once servant to her grandfather, who, if he rightly recollects, was a baker at Downham.  His enormous vanity, after he grew rich, caused people often to advert to the meanness of his origin.

[826]  The author has a Norwich farthing of 1667, which it a year earlier than any of those of Lynn that have fallen in his way.  Very few of these tokens appeared before the restoration.  They became then very common for ten years or more.

[832a]  1673 according to our reckoning.

[832b]  What follows is somewhat abridged occasionally.

[834]  The above trial cost the people of South Lynn 42l. 1s. 1d.—The following are some of the items of their bill of costs—“For six horses hire to Thetford 1l. 16s.—Expences in our way out and home 6s. 6d.—Six men’s diet and horse meat at Thetford, 1l. 11s. 5d.”—A bill of costs or expences on a similar occasion at present, would make a very different appearance.—We cannot dismiss this subject without suggesting a wish, that this had been the very last foolish and disgraceful lawsuit that our corporation have been engaged in.

[837]  Of this affair Burnet speaks as follows—

“A bill of indictment was presented to the Grand Jury against Lord Shaftsbury.  The Jury was composed of many of the chief citizens of London.  The Witnesses were examined in open Court, contrary to the usual custom: they swore many incredible things against him, mixed with other things that looked very like his extravagant way of talking.  The draught of the Association was also brought as a proof of his treason, though it was not laid in the indictment, and was proved only by one witness.  The Jury returned Ignoramus upon the bill.  Upon this the Court did declaim with open mouth against these juries; in which they said the spirit of the party did appear, since men even upon oath shewed they were resolved to find bills true or ignoramus as they pleased, without regarding the evidence.  And upon this a new set of addresses went round the kingdom, in which they expressed their abhorrence of that association found in Lord Shaftsbury’s cabinet; and complained that justice was denied the king: which were set off with all the fulsome rhetoric that the penners could varnish them with.”  H. O. T. 2. 153

[838]  See Burnet H. O. T. 2. 535.

[840]  From the preceding extracts it appears that the corporation affected or pretended to have surrendered their old charters voluntarily, or as their own free and spontaneous act and deed: hence they speak of having done it with one assent and contentfreely surrendering—as the act and deed of the mayor and burgesses, &c.  Whereas it was all the effect of constraint, or imperious and unavoidable necessity.  The same was the case with the monks and friers at the reformation, previously to the dissolution of the monasteries: they all solemnly declared, in their instruments of surrender, that they acted freely and without compulsion, though the contrary was well known to have been invariably the fact.  Thus it is very clear that the surrendering of the charters as well as of the convents was a scene of hypocrisy and falshood.

[841]  The Charter here alluded to, (being the 2nd. and last of those obtained from Charles II,) contains the following clause—

“PROVIDED always, and full power and authority to Us our Heirs and Successors by these Presents we resume, and from time to time and at all times hereafter the Steward, Mayor, Recorder, Town-clerk, and all or any of the Justices of the Peace, or of the Aldermen, or of the Common-Councell, or of the Coroners of the Burgh aforesaid, or of other officers, members, or ministers of the same Burgh for the time being, at the will and pleasure of Us, or of our Heirs and Successors, by any of our order or any order of our Heirs and Successors in Privy Councell made and under the Seal of them signified respectively to remove, or to declare to be removed, and as often as We and our Heirs and Successors by any such our order made in Privy Councell declare the same Steward, Mayor, Recorder, Town-clerk, and all or any of the Justices of the Peace, of the Aldermen, and of the Common-Councell, or of the Coroners of the said Burgh for the time being, or of the other Officers, members, ministers, to be removed from their respective offices aforesaid, That then from thenceforth the Steward, Mayor, &c. &c. of the same Burgh for the time being so removed or declared to be removed from their several and respective offices, Ipso Facto and without any further process, really and to all intents and purposes whatsoever, are and shall be removed, and this as often as the case shall so happen, any thing to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding.”

This sufficiently shews how completely in the king’s power this memorable Charter placed our corporation, so as to be no longer any better than mere and miserable tools and vassals of the court.

[843]  The oaths being dispensed with seems to imply that some of them were catholics, or that way inclined.  Their places and new honours, however, they did not long retain; for about a fortnight before the arrival of the prince of Orange they were all in their turn displaced, and the old ones were restored: only Mr. Cyprian Anderson was readmitted and chosen mayor.  Of this event one of our old MS. histories gives the following account—

“On the 20th of October John Davy was displaced and Cyprian Anderson was chosen mayor, by reason of the king’s proclamation for restoring Corporations to their ancient rights and priviledges; at which time all those members that came in with the New Charter, or by Mandamus, were displaced, and the old ones put in again: at which sudden alterations all expressed great satisfaction, appearing by the people ringing of bells and firing of guns: and on the 22nd. Mr mayor bringing home the mayoress out of the country was met with near a hundred horsemen and received with firing of guns and ringing of bells, and all sorts of people striving to exceed in their acclamations of joy.”

Thus it appears that even Lynn, at last, came to partake in some degree of the then prevailing national aversion to the system or measures of the court.

[845a]  They were again brought back and restored to their former places at the end of about eleven months; for it is noted in the Town Books, under the date of Sept. 27 1689.  “The Gunns, &c. were returned from Hull.”

[845b]  That nobleman, if the author is not mistaken, was the last protestant duke of Norfolk before the present.  He was very active after the arrival of the prince of Orange in promoting the cause of the revolution in this county, and nowhere perhaps more so than he was in this town.  For we find that he came here himself on that occasion, assembled the inhabitants and harangued them, in the market-place and elsewhere, so successfully, that he seemed to have brought them over altogether to his own way of thinking before he left the town.  It is therefore probable that the change which then took place in the politicks of Lynn was in no small measure owing to his exertions.  A remarkable anecdote concerning him used to be related by some ancient people at Norwich 30 or 40 years ago, the substa