A. D. 1699.
I now renewed my correspondence with my kind and learned friends, Dr.
Nicholson (Bishop of Carlisle), Dr. Gibson of Lincoln, Mr. Evelyn, Dr.
Lister, Dr. Cay, &c.; and on the 16th, wrote to the Archbishop of
York, in return to a kind letter and agreeable present of autographs,
received last night, together with a most valuable manuscript containing
his Grace's curious and critical remarks upon the English coins, which
is indisputably the best that ever was written upon that subject. At
his request, I made some additional.
The learned Mr. Boyse, being come from Dublin, to this his native place, lodged at my house till his marriage with Mrs. Rachel Ibbetson. The sermon he preached relating to the sufferings of the French Protestants, was very moving, there being once about eight hundred churches, in which the true worship of God was constantly celebrated, which are now demolished, one thousand five hundred pastors banished, their flocks scattered, and many thousand families forced into exile, &c. for whose relief public collections are being made. The Vicar also preached excellently upon that occasion.
The Judge (Sir Littleton Powis) being invited by the Corporation, the Mayor, &c. waited on his lordship to see the museum ; but it was a greater happiness to me that not long after, John Boulter, Esq. (Lord of Harwood) favoured me with a visit, and has ever since, for above twenty years, been a kind friend and noble benefactor to me and mine, having sent me more and more valuable curiosities than any one person living.
I received a most comfortable letter from my Lord Archbishop of York, answering many objections against my conformity, and gave me great satisfaction.
My dear aunt Idle's business calling me to York not long after, I took Bishop Thorpe in my return, and after much discourse upon the subject, I showed his Grace, Mr. Howe's letter, whereupon he most kindly offered that if Mr. Howe, or any other, would make particular objections, he would answer them for my sake, and justify my deserting their communion for that of the Church : but I being now satisfied in my own judgment would not give his Lordship the trouble. His Grace also brought me acquainted with the famous Dr. Burnet, Bishop of Sarum, from whom I received some kind letters about MS. Bibles, and also a specimen of the writing of the blind gentlewoman at Geneva, mentioned in his letters to Mr. Boyle, that are in print. My correspondence with persons of learning and curiosity increased much: I find a memorandum, that by the same post, I wrote to two at Cambridge, two at Oxford, and three at Gresham College. Dr. Bentley, being now in his native country, was obliged by the famous Mr. Evelyn to give me a visit at Leeds.
I particularly lamented the death of my friend, Mr. Torre, a famous antiquary, who died of a contagious disorder then prevalent, in the prime of his days, a comely proper gentleman, and more likely to have wrestled through it than my poor weak wife. Dr. Manlove also died of it at Newcastle, enjoying his quadruple salary but a little time.* My sister, Thoresby also died of it; but she caught the distemper at Cowton, where in two months and two days time, it cut off three generations of adult persons, my cousin Johnson and her daughter Betty, and my aunt Savage,f (relict of Charles Savage, Esq. seventh son of Thomas, the first Earl Rivers ;) also my brother's only son, John Thoresby, which name reminds me of a passage I heard at another funeral ; viz. that of Capt. Pickering, of Tingley, where were several old soldiers, particularly Mr. Robert Gledhill, (whose son the Colonel, John Gledhill, is now Governor for the King in Newfoundland) which Robert, was of Oliver's life guard, and told me, that at the famous battle at Marston Moor, he saw thirty thousand of the Parliament forces beat out of the field, and run away ; he would gladly have persuaded my father to do so with him, but could not, for he was one of the few that rallied and stayed upon the field till the victory turned to their own side.
Dr. Manlove's harshness did not so far alienate my affections from that poor afflicted people, but that I endeavoured to do them all the kindness I could: and since few could be prevailed with to be of my sentiment as to conformity, I did what was possible for me to procure a moderate as well as a pious man to supply the famous Mr. Sharp's place, and accordingly writ by their messengers to Mr. Henry, of Chester, to have procured Mr. John Owen, a noted divine, and good antiquary, on which account we had a correspondence, but it succeeded not: his knowledge in the British tongue making him doubly serviceable in those parts where he preached to the Welsh as well as English. Amongst all the ministers that preached in the vacancy, many of whom coming from distant parts, procured some or other to introduce them to see the museum, none was more acceptable than Mr. Rastrick, which many wondered at, because he had been once a conforming clergyman, and I on the other hand, was now come off from them entirely to the Church, but when any thing of that nature was started in company, it was managed with that temper that gave no offence to either, both laying the stress upon the essentials of religion, wherein all are agreed; and we after maintained a friendly correspondence about antiquities found in Lincolnshire, and some natural observations, inserted in the Philosophical Transactions.
In the choice of a minister there was great heat, and many angry disputes betwixt the two parties. Mr. Fenton moved to have the matter decided by lot, but the neighbouring ministers opposed that, as not lawful but in extraordinary cases, where it could no otherwise be determined, and not barely to avoid heats. I proposed to give their votes by balloting, whereby both passion might be avoided, and persons might vote with the greater freedom : and this method was embraced.