A. D. 1697.
In the registers also, I met with the mention of several places upon
the Moors, as Street Lane, Street Houses, Hawcaster-rig, &c. which
gave occasion to search for the remains of some Roman antiquities ;
and so intent was my mind upon those discoveries, that I could scarce
rest till I had surveyed the several places as I met with the names
of them. These I communicated to the late Dean of York, the learned
Dr. Gale, and to Dr. Lister, for information; but without my knowledge,
the letters were printed in the Philosophical Transactions, which I
was so surprised with, that my dear wife was solicitous to know what
was contained in that letter that made me blush, when Dr. Lister wrote
that he had communicated my letter to the Royal Society, where it had
the unexpected hap to meet with approbation. Upon other discoveries
afterwards, Dean Gale, without giving me the least notice of it, proposed
me to the Royal Society, who, upon his recommendation, (who had entertained
too great and favourable an opinion of me,) admitted me Fellow; at which
time were also admitted, Dr. Bentley, Dr. Hutton, (the King's physician,)
Mr, Stepney, and others, (with whom I ought not to be named the same
day,) of which, see Sir Godfrey Copley's letter to Mr. Kirk, and the
Dean's to me (St. Andrew's Day, 1697), wherein he gives me notice of
the printing of some of my letters, and wishes me joy of the respects
due to my —————
This unexpected honour and the new correspondence that attended it with Sir Hans Sloane, the secretary, the famous Mr. Evelyn, Mr. Chamber-layne, &c. supported me under Dr. Manlove's frowns.
It may not be amiss to insert here a passage relating to the excellent Archbishop Sharp, who coining to confirm, preached incomparably ; we were forced to go a full hour before the bells ceased, to secure places in our own pews, the church being so crowded as was never known in the memory of any person living; and his Grace owned afterwards, that though he had preached before vast auditories both at London and in the country, yet he had never seen the like. At the conclusion he spoke most affectingly as to the office of confirmation, concerning which the Vicar had preached the preceding Sunday, when was also read a most excellent and moving exhortation, (which my Lord after told me was that agreed upon at the Jerusalem-chamber.) The day after, his Grace was pleased to honour me with a visit, attended by my dear friend, Mr. Thorn-ton, and most of the clergy, to whom I heard he spoke very honourably of me ; but he knows me not to be so very defective (to use the best word I can) as I know myself to be.
But as his excellent sermons did more endear our most pious Vicar to me, so my attendance upon them disobliged Dr. M. exceedingly ; whose expressions I thought too warm, and his resentment too passionate, for what in my opinion admitted of a much better construction, especially when he knew that I with Mr. Bryan Dixon, and two or three more of far greater estates than myself, had each advanced thirty shillings above our usual quantum to make him more easy. Good Mr. Tallents,* author of the Chronological Tables, was of a more moderate spirit, from whom I now received, in manuscript, his sermon at the funeral of Mr. Henry, senr., who (as appears by his life since published by his son, my dear friend) was of a like Catholic spirit with our
good Vicar Mr. Killingbeck. I received from both these some valuable books, manuscripts, and autographs, which I valued as tokens of their respects. Much of the comfort of this life consists in acquaintance, friendship, and correspondence with those that are pious, prudent, and virtuous.
What time J could spare from business was spent in transcribing a large manuscript fol. of Mr. Hop-kinson's, containing the pedigrees of the nobility and gentry, to which dear Mr. Thorn ton made some valuable additions from the writings of the families he was concerned for as counsellor, and other notices from the registers of many parish churches, that upon the whole, it was very useful to me in the Ducatus Leodiensis, and was my employment in the morning till day-light, and the evening; after, what hours I could spare in the daytime, were spent at the request of Mr. Archdeacon Nicholson, in revising the first part of his Historical Library, consulting what authors I was master of, to discover lapses and make additions, for which I received the acknowledgments of the learned and ingenious author. The little skill I had in historical antiquities, procured me the respect of several eminent dignitaries, and frequent letters from Lambeth and Bishopthorp.
But I was called off from these more agreeable diversions, by the sickness and death of relations and others : that of cousin Hicks was more easily borne, he being very aged and having served his generation, being the only person who was four times chief magistrate of this corporation. The sickness of Mr. Samuel Ibbetson was very piercing, not only as having an extraordinary share in my affections as a Christian friend and neighbour, but as my estate was too deeply and unhappily involved in his concerns ; and though he recovered that illness, and I used all the means I could devise to perfect the accounts betwixt us, yet could never prevail to have them proceeded in, after I had once told him that the method we were in was certainly wrong ; and so it appeared afterwards, not only to other merchants, but even by the concession of his son, as cunning as he is. This lay me under a temptation almost to suspect the probity of the deceased, though covered with the greatest pretensions to religion, and was a sad requital for all the kindness in advancing monies, and not to mention my acting about this time as a commissioner for his brother Hatfield (without the least gratuity) in a Chancery suit; and the good opinion that my friend, Dr. Nicholson of York, had of me, was very serviceable in procuring a wife with a considerable fortune for his son, which was a good foundation for his present greatness. Besides letters written in favour of the matter, I was obliged to meet both the fathers at Tadcaster, where the terms were agreed upon, and after to go with the younker to York, where the writings were no sooner sealed, than we were surprised with the most dismal news of the sudden death of his father, Mr. Samuel Ibbetson, who riding out with his brother Hatfield to Hunslet, was brought dead to his mournful habitation.
I returned post haste with the son, who seemed not near so much concerned (by his outward appearance) as myself, nor, indeed, as to secular affairs, had that reason, for the annual payment to the father ceased; whereas, my concerns were more intricate and dangerous, and, I have great reason to bless God, that the melancholy it brought me to, and the ill state both of body and mind, attended by cold clammy sweat, and insuperable dejection of spirits, did not for ever incapacitate me for this world and another.
This sad accident deferred the marriage for a month ; and then I was (much against my inclination,) obliged by their importunity to go to cousin Nicholson's at York, to the solemnization thereof, which was the more suitable, because without the usual vanities. Upon our return to his house at Leeds, though I stifled my sorrow all that I possibly could, yet the repeated sight of my late dear friend's picture, which I could not keep my eye from an earnest view of, so affected me, that an unusual quantity of blood violently gushed out of my nose in an astonishing manner, so as I never had in my life before. The death also of Alderman Idle, my mother's only surviving brother, was a great loss to me, he being a person of good natural parts and authority, (the only magistrate appointed a commissioner by act of parliament,) might have been a support to me after the hardships I met with from Mr. Ibbetson's
family; but instead of that the affairs of his pious relict were perplexing enough, especially that of Mr. Shipley and the tolls, which took up much of my time, but I thought I could never do enough for my dear aunt, who had supplied the place of a mother to us in our childhood, and I am particularly thankful that I was of real use to her and the public. When Ripon demanded tolls of the inhabitants of Leeds, she sent her tenant, W. P., of W., to see if I could find any thing in my manuscript collections to that purpose, and I happily found the copy of King Henry VIII.'s charter, and a reference where the original was lodged, which being borrowed of the Vicar, was produced at the assizes and got the victory, theirs being only granted by Queen Mary.
But the multiplicity of affairs, my own upon the unhappy mill account, and others for relations and other friends, that I could not deny, occasioned a great consumption of time, and, not having any reference to eternity, occasioned great perplexity in self-examination preparatory to the sacrament, when I found abundant cause of sorrow. I had now so far lost the favour of my quondam pastor, and was not yet so intimately acquainted with our good Vicar, as to make my moan to either of them ; but a kind and merciful God provided me a dear friend and counsellor, Richard Thornton, Esq. a person learned in the law, yet a man of peace and piety, who was very useful to me both for this world and a better, and to him, being my intimate friend, I could unbosom myself, and we had now as frequent and more endearing conferences about spirituals, as formerly about temporals ; for he was not only learned and ingenious as a lawyer, historian, and antiquary, but very pious and religious, his deportment and affections in prayer very move-ing, and being easy of access, we discoursed with freedom about the sacrament, and particularly about communicating at the church.
At length being convinced it was my duty to comply, I resolved upon it, but having some fears of unsuitable communicants that might divert my thoughts, my dear friend readily condescended to leave his usual place with the magistracy, and retired with me into a more private corner of the quire, where our good vicar, Mr. Killingbeck, administered to us both, and blessed be God, it was a comfortable ordinance. But this put the Doctor into such a fret that he sent three of the chief of the society to acquaint me with his resentment, and refusal, for my supposed fault, to administer the sacrament to others who had made none. I argued that what I was charged with was at worst but inexpedient by their own concessions, but in my judgment, after the strictest scrutiny, not only lawful but my duty. His resolution and doom were very grievous, and so perplexed me that I was scarce able to manage my secular affairs ; and observing not only his, but the strangeness of near relations, and those tradesmen whom he could influence, it cost me much sorrow. This my compliance with the Established Church had a contrary effect upon others, who caressed me too much upon it : and this had also its inconvenient concomitants and consequents, for it seems some of the principal aldermen, upon a consultation, resolved to bring me into the corporation, the notice whereof was both a surprise and uneasiness to me. Other arguments were of no weight with me, but the plea of being more useful in my generation at length prevailed with me to accept the place of an assistant, or common-council-man, wherein my vote was of equal authority with those of the superior order, so that at the Vicar's request, and other friends, I appeared at the court, and took the usual oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, but boggled at the declaration relating to the covenant, which I argued could have no influence upon me who was then unborn. This occasioned a demur, and the roll of former subscribers lodged in my hand till a resolution was made, I prevailed with a friend at London to consult the famous judge Rokeby, who said it was cams omissus that it was not repealed in the Act of William and Mary that relates to corporations, but that the general practice since makes it void, and that it is neither used, nor offered to any at London, Exeter, Bristol, Coventry, Liverpool, &c. whereupon I privately burnt the roll, and it has never been tendered since. After this I was a little more easy, when I had got it under the hands of a great majority of the corporation, that they would never give their votes to remove me into a station that I was as averse to, as unfit for; though cousin Milner and others of my best friends could never be prevailed with to subscribe it: but I feared no real damage from that quarter, and he being mayor, matters went on successfully in public and private.
The peace was proclaimed with great solemnity ; the assistants appeared first that day in new gowns, and a new seat was also prepared for them'at church, next to that of the aldermen.
Proposals were now first made for making the rivers Aire and Calder navigable. I accompanied the Mayor and Mr. Hadley, the hydrographer, to view the river; Justice Kirk and I followed the windings of the river, and measured it with his surveying wheel, till wearied : left the rest to the servants and others. We lodged at Ferry-bridge, ten miles by land and twenty by water. Mr. Hadley affirmed it was the noblest river he had ever seen, that was not already navigable.
The next day we went to Weland ; this journey brought me to a greater intimacy with the ingenious Mr. Kirk, who lent me his observations upon the registers at Adle, and other curious papers to transcribe, and presented to me a small book, but a great curiosity, the Manual of Prayers, by Mr. Harrison, our great benefactor, who had presented it to Mr. Layton, Mr. Kirk's grandfather, which I had in vain enquired after for many years past.