A. D. 1701.
A.D. 1701. A threatened trial at the Assizes about the Mill, obliged me to go to York, where I spent several days in a fruitless attendance, for they durst not try the cause. The uncertainty of my stay there made me walk it, and I took great pleasure in tracing the Roman way upon Bramham Moor, and inquiring for urns and other antiquities, sometimes found in their burying-place, near Bontham-bar, at York. Neither the Archbishop nor Dean were in the country, both being to preach before the King ; but I met with , other good friends that made my time easy, Chancellor Watkinson and Dr. Ashingdon, both natives of Leeds, Dr. Fall, the Precentor, and Dr. Pearson, dear Mr. Thornton and Justice Kirk, Major Fairfax and Mr. Hodgson, chaplain to the Lady Hewley, who has new built a stately hospital for ten widows, the building whereof, and the purchase of the ground, cost above a thousand pounds.
The perplexed affairs of my poor brother, Jerry Thoresby, and my brother-in-law, Idle, obliged me to undertake a longer and more expensive journey, to prevent their utter ruin. I began my journey to London on that account, 9th June, 1701.
Dr. Gibson, (now Bishop of Lincoln) was particularly obliging in showing me the library and palace at Lambeth; also Dr. Burnet, Bishop of Sarum, who gave me original letters of the Princess Sophia and Duke of Gloucester, with two MSS. of his own, and showed me the original Magna Charta, and the seal of King John.
Dr. Moor, Bishop of Norwich, showed me some very great curiosities in his invaluable library, both manuscript (as prayers written by Queen Elizabeth's own hand, a volume of Letters of Lord Burleigh) and printed, with the emendations of the noted authors, written propria manu, as Jos. Scaliger Dan. Heinsius, Junius, Casaubon, Bishop Pearson.
Amongst the entirely printed books, I was surprised to find one Liber Catholicon, Anno MCCCCLX. almd in urbe Moguntina, which is five or six years before Tully's Offices, hitherto reputed the first printed book.
His lordship introduced me to his grace, the Duke of Leeds, who was at his noble seat at Wimbledon : the way thither was the pleasantest that ever I travelled, his lordship having keys to pass through the King's gates, that we had gardens on both hands. His Grace entertained us most courteously, and told us some remarkable passages concerning the Czar of Muscovy, there and at Lambeth ; but what more concerned me is the Bishop's kind advice to me, as to the dizziness in my head, to drink our Leeds Spa water for a considerable time, and to use a flesh brush to help the circulation of the blood, &c. But of all the nobility, none was so agreeable to me as the truly noble Earl of Pembroke, whose incomparable museum of medals, entertained me several days. I shall recite some of his lordship's instructive observations, for the benefit of my dear son. I was most surprised with the Roman As, of a pound weight, and one of eight ounces, which even their own historians are silent in. They were afterwards gradually reduced to one ounce, and half an ounce. The entire As, of whatever weight, has Janus's head upon it: the Semissis, or half As, is marked with S.: the Triens, with .... points ; the Quadrans, with . . .; the Sextans, with . . ; and their Stips unci-alis, with . ; as originally containing so many several ounces. They had also their three sextulae piece (or semiuncia) and sextula.
His Lordship also showed me great variety of the silver denarii, which, when worth ten asses, was marked X: when the value was advanced to sixteen of the copper asses, then with XVI: the quina-rium is marked with V or half X. His Lordship has also several double denarii, and the double of them again, or silver medallions, originally of the worth and weight of four denarii, such indeed as I had never seen before. His Lordship's humanity and condescension were extraordinary ; for, not thinking this kindness enough, he desired me to make him another visit, and he would show me other views, which I, modestly declining, (considering his Lordship's public station, being President of his Majesty's Privy Council, and one of the Lords Justices,) but my Lord would have me promise to dine with him the next day at three, when the Council would be over, desiring, in the mean time, the perusal of my manuscript catalogue of my coins.
The day after, was courteously entertained, and had excellent company at dinner, Dr. Wake, (now Archbishop of Canterbury,) Dr. Lock, Mr. Secretary Southwell, and Dr. Woodward. Afterwards, my Lord took me into his incomparable museum, where the variety and number made me forget some that were perhaps most remarkable ; Roman coins, with capita jugata ; others, with a head on each side ; others, rare for the metal, as a genuine Otho in copper, found at Smyrna, a Constantine the Great in silver ; others rare in any metal, as Diadumenianus and Annius Verusa which is an unique, neither the Emperor or King of France having one.
His Lordship also showed me a view of coins of several languages ; besides those of Greek and Latin, were Hebrew, Arabic, Syriac, Punic, Palmyran, and Runic : and in another view, these various metals, viz. gold, silver, copper, brass, electrum gold and silver mixed, gold and copper mixed, silver and copper in circular plates, or rings, unmixed, in the same coins; monies of iron and lead, both consular and imperial; leather, that of Leyden ; and horn, Queen Christina of Sweden : in another view, a strange variety of counterfeits, in some the metal genuine, but inscription false; in others, one side of the medal genuine, the other counterfeit; in others, one part of the metal right, the other side soldered to it wrong; with a medal of the two famous Paduan brothers, whose counterfeits are not only hard to be distinguished from the originals, but preferred to bad ones, though genuine.
The 5th instant I again waited on this noble Lord, (at his own appointment,) who most courteously showed me those of the British and Saxon coins, and took notice, with pleasure, of my Runic piece of Thor; then his views of the Danish and Norman. I chiefly took notice of such as I was doubtful to whom to ascribe them, but being since inserted in the printed catalogue, need not be here recited, nor the fourteen distinct denominations of English silver money, from a farthing to a twenty shilling piece, which, when I was going to note, his Lordship most courteously wrote them for me, which I treasure up as a valuable autograph, His Excellency also acquainted me with the perfect history of milled money, from the first of Queen Elizabeth upon the side, to those upon the edge in Oliver's, or Commonwealth's time : the first that are lettered upon the edge were indisputably English, for though his Lordship has of the French before that time, they are manifestly hooped on, not as Simon's, upon the money itself. His Lordship also asked for my Album, wherein he wrote that of Plautus, (so suitable to every good Christian as well as virtuoso.) " Illud satius est quod satis est."
My Lord's kindness kept me full late, but though I returned alone some miles in the dark, yet well contented ; and to conclude my notes upon this invaluable museum, this truly noble Earl appointed the 14th to show me other views, particularly the Greek; all the famous states and cities in Magna Grecia, and the successors of Alexander the Great in the four great kingdoms ; and because he said it was not to be got here, but he had correspondents to procure one from beyond sea, he presented me with De Wild's Sdecta Numismata, and gave me a quarter shekel of Agrippa, in memory of the two great feasts of the Jews, viz. the Tabernacle and the First Fruits, mentioned in the Ducatus Leod. and referred to by De Wild, &c.
I have been more particular in relating what this truly noble lord instructed me in, because not to be met with in any printed author or manuscript that is likely to come to the notice of my dear sons, for whose information this is written. I shall be more brief in what follows.
That noble Lord, Baron Spanhemius, Envoy from the King .of Prussia, and author of that learned book, De prsestantia et usu Numismat. Antiq. desired to borrow the manuscript catalogue of my coins, and told me upon perusal, that he wondered how a private gentleman could attain such a treasure. Disuse had made me very unfit to hold a continued discourse in Latin, so that when Dean Gale was not with us, we had a sad broken mixture of Latin, Dutch, and English.
This being the first time I was at London since my admission into the Royal Society, I subscribed my name in the book; the formality of the Vice-President's taking me by the hand and publicly pronouncing me (in the name of the Society) a Fellow of the Royal Society, and the^reat humanity of Sir James Hoskyns, who then filled the chair, Sir Hans Sloane, the secretary, Abraham Hill, Esq. the treasurer, &c. may be seen in my Diary.
After the meeting was over, I had the opportunity of taking a more particular view of the curiosities in the public museum, to which were added some Roman plasticks I had brought from York, and had duplicates of for myself. I was invited by many eminent persons to see theirs in particular, of which Dr. Woodward's was most curious in natural curiosities of fossils, gems, minerals, ores, shells, stones, &c. of which he made me a noble present, since inserted in the printed Catalogue. He has also, besides a good library, a curious collection of Roman antiquities, not only of urns, but gems, signets, rings, keys, stylus Scriptorius, res turpiculae, ivory pins, brass fibulae, &c. The famous Mr. Evelyn, who has published a great number of very rare books, was above measure civil and courteous, in showing me many drawings and paintings of his own and his lady's doing; one especially of enamel was surprisingly fine, and this ingenious lady told me the manner how she wrought it, but I was uneasy at his too great civility in leaving an untold heap of gold medals before me, &c.
He afterwards carried me in his coach to his son Draper's at the Temple, and showed me many curious pieces of his ingenious daughter's performance, both very small in minature and as large as the life in oil colours, equal it is thought, to the greatest masters of the age. He gave me a specimen of some prospects he took in Italy, and etched upon copper by his own hand. Dr. Hook also, aged and infirm as he was (being one of the virtuosos that met in Bishop Wilkins' lodgings at Oxford before the formal constitution of the Society), was very courteous, and gave me the description of his new invented Marine Barometer.
But above all, the Secretary, Dr. Sloane (now Sir Hans) in whose inestimable museum I was most courteously entertained many a pleasant hour : he has a noble library, too large rooms well stocked with valuable manuscripts and printed authors, an admirable collection of dried plants from Jamaica, the natural history of which place he has in hand, and according to the engraved specimens will be a noble book. He gave me the printed catalogue and some Indian seeds : he has other curiosities without number, and above value ; Bishop Nicholson (who is a competent judge, having been in those parts) says, it vastly exceeds those of many foreign potentates, which are so celebrated in history.
At Whitehall also I was courteously received by Sir Christopher Wren, the King's architect, who has built more churches since the fire of London, than, perhaps, any one person in the world ever did. His ingenious son showed me his valuable collection of Grecian medals; of their several states and colonies, and gave me the printed catalogue, though he has too modestly concealed his name.
These and others (too numerous to be inserted) were all of them Fellows of the Royal Society, and so more particularly obliging to me as a younger brother; but I had also the opportunity of seeing whatever else was curious; and in the first place I ought to mention the famous Cottonian library at Westminster, where I was surprised to find so vast a number of valuable manuscripts crowded up in so small a cell.
I spent what time I had to spare in viewing three of them. Istly. Original Charters of Saxon and Norman kings, to note the different characters of the several centuries ; 2dly. Original letters of sovereign princes, ancient and modern ; 3rdly. A volume of those of learned authors, at home and abroad : and what success I have had therein, may in part be seen in the Ducatus Leod.
I was frequently at the immense library of my kind friend, the Bishop of Norwich, where I always found fresh entertainment; as with Wickliff's MS. English version of the Bible, shown me by his son, Mr. Chancellor Tanner, whose Notitia Monastica sells now at a great rate. Amongst the civilities of my friends, I ought particularly to remember that of Dr. Fairfax, brother to the late lord, and uncle to the present, who has lately published the Memorials of the Lord Thomas Fairfax, the General, which he presented me with.
I visited also good old Mr- Humfrey, a noted author: he gave me his Vindication of Bishop Stillingfleet and Mr. Baxter, just now published, with autographs of noted persons. The celebrated Dr. Hicks also, was very civil in showing me several original charters in Saxon and Latin, communicated to him by the Lord Somers, a true patron of learning in men of all denominations, who got him a quietus from some inconveniences he was under as a nonjuror, and sent it under seal, as a present to the Dr., without his knowledge, and without fees.
The very courteous Parson Stonestreet has a good collection of Roman coins, and a most surprising one of shells, a thousand several sorts from all parts of the world, curious for their form, size, colour, &c. I cannot conclude better than with two of my countrymen, Yorkshire authors, William Petyt, Esq. of the Temple, who with his brother, Silvester, are also considerable benefactors, and Robert Dale, Esq. of the Herald's Office, whose civilities rendered a letter to the King-at-Arms needless ; for he readily showed me the MSS. in that College, and particularly the pedigree of my family, which is attested by the King-at-Arms, and carries it up to the reign of King Edward the Confessor, whereby it also appears that Archbishop John Thoresby was a younger brother of this family.
Having brought my poor brother's affairs to a better period than I expected, I returned home, and was mercifully protected from many dangers that others suffered at the same time ; and when being arrived at Leeds, 19th July, where I found my dear and children well, I had uncomfortable wrangling with the country creditors.
After my return, I was agreeably occupied in writing to my correspondents of the Royal Society, (many of which letters are inserted in the Philosophical Transactions,) and others, particularly Mr. Milner, of Cambridge, our late learned Vicar, who desired an account of such coins of Claudius and Agrippa, as might illustrate that passage of the famine mentioned Acts xi., also in disposing of Lord Wharton's Bibles, procured for the poor children, orphans, and servants, who, hearing that they were come, came in such great crowds, that I was almost suffocated with the heat.
Sept. 17. Read Bishop Hall before secret prayer, but was constrained to put off family prayer and reading till noon, by an uncomfortable business with Mr. Hatfield, of Hatfield, to whom, and upon Mr. Ibbetson's account, paid about 301, that I fear I shall never recover a penny of. Lord, sanctify all afflicting dispensations to this poor family ! Afterwards, endeavoured to divert myself amongst Mr. Hillary's papers, at widow P.'s, who gave me several of his, and a yet greater benefactor's autographs, viz. Mr. Harrison, who built the new church.
20. With Mr, Kirk, of Cookridge, of whom glad to hear of the successful attempt for a public register of lands in the West Riding, which will be of use in future ages as well as the present.
22. With parson Dixon, a native of this town, now Vicar of Mask, making an end of the accounts and mortgage betwixt him and cousin Atkinson of Burmantofts, to the mutual satisfaction of both parties. Concerning this good honest Vicar (who served an apprenticeship here before he went to the University) who is a peaceable and pious man, I have from good hands heard a doleful story concerning his grandfather, who, either from age or other infirmity, being in a melancholy dotage, one day wandered till he got to Pontefract, and being weary went into a house, (where the maid, being gone out with her sweetheart, had left the door open,) and sat him down in a chair by the fire-side. The maid, returning in a fright, cries out " Thieves !" Her master, rising hastily out of bed, brings his faulchion and cuts him in pieces; the poor creature only crying, " So, so, enough, enough!" but died of the wounds immediately, which brought the master of the house into almost as melancholy a state the rest of his life.
30. All day at Mr. L.'s, assisting Alderman Dixon in receiving fee-farm
rents of manor, and my own arrears. Discoursed with him about Bailiwick,
which reminds me of what was omitted yesterday, that at the Court, (where
we elected the Mayor and two assistants, Mr. J. Ibb. and Mr. S. lies,)
man produced a copy of an old account said to be Mr. Hillary's, relating to the bailiwick, which seemed to make against us, but was a cancelled paper, and, as I apprehend, ten or fifteen years before the real purchase of the five parts that they indisputably have a right to. Now, my argument is, that if the Corporation really purchased and paid monies for the nine parts of the Bailiwick in the year 1639, \what need they purchase the five parts (part of the feaid nine) in 1665 ?
Oct. 12. Deferred family prayer and reading till noon, being to wait upon the new Mayor in his formalities. In the way called to wait upon my Lord Fairfax, from whom lately received a very kind letter ; had also Sir William Lowther, and other country justices, in the cavalcade.
Nov. 3. With Alderman Dixon, and other lords of the
manor, and in the evening received a kind visit from the excellent Mr.
Archdeacon Nicholson, of Carlisle, (who has been near ten years in performing
it,) and his cousin Mr. Archdeacon Pearson, to whom, after supper, showed
part of library, &c. Had the ingenious Mr. Thornton's company.
4. Was to show the two Archdeacons our remarkable cloth-market:, treated all three after the old manner at a bridge and shot for 6d. Then showing Mr. Nicholson some of the Roman coins, taking particular notice of such as relate to Britain. Dined with them at Mr. Thornton's: afterwards visited the Vicar, and in the evening at a treat at Alderman Preston's; stayed late with ditto good company, that again prevented of reading before secret
22. Walked with Mr. Pawson, &c. by Coning-shaw (near Nevill Hill and Priestcliffe, &c.) to Os-winthorp, to the funeral of Alderman Skelton, aged 83 years.
28. Received a very kind letter, with a transcript of an ancient pedigree of our family, from the time of Canute the Dane to the year 1665, attested by my kind friend Mr. Dale, of the Herald's Office ; diverted therewith.
Dec. 3. Within, consulting MSS. and Mon. Anglic. &c. concerning the vicarage, &c. designing an account of the church and chapels, &c. at the Archbishop's request.
5. Transcribing letter to my Lord Archbishop, and writing to Dr. Sloane, Secretary R. S.; a little with the ingenious Mr. Thornton, and after with Mr. Mayor.
6. Writing letters to the Dean of York, Dr. Woodward, and Mr. Dale, in return of their kind letters.
12. In my walk towards the garden, finished the second Letter concerning the Archbishop's right to continue or prorogue the whole Convocation, sent me from an unknown hand by the London carrier, but suppose either from Mr. Gibson, (the Archbishop of Canterbury's chaplain,) or my Lord Bishop of Norwich, who gave me the former letter, which letters seem to me not only modest and judicious, but to be absolutely in the right as to the controversy betwixt the Upper and Lower House, &c. Lord, grant a spirit of love and union ! My Lord Archbishop told me since, Mr. Gibson is the author.
14. Took a hasty view of a very noble monument, (said to have cost TOO/.) lately erected for the second Lord Viscount Irwin, (son to the first, and brother to the present Lord.)
15. With the Mayor and several of the corporation ; sent for the treasurer, who was directed not to pay any of the public stock upon private notes, (as has been too common of late,) of any of the aldermen, but by order of the Court of Mayor, Aldermen, and Assistants.
17. Collating the edition of the Prayer-book in Queen Elizabeth, with the present and the Scotch Liturgy, &c. Afternoon, assisting poor cousin At-kinson, of Burmantofts, and Parson Dixon, Vicar of Mask, from whom received a kind present of what the sea-shore in those parts affords of natural curiosities.
18. Then being a delicate frost, took a walk to Bishopthorp ; had my
dear's company and daughter Grace's two miles; then the company of a
book over the moors, &c. Stayed not the least, (because of the shortness
of the days,) till I came at the Ly-b.ian Hercules at the Street houses,
arid there only the heating of one mug of ale, but, blessed be my gracious
Preserver, got very well to my journey's end ; was most kindly received
by my Lord Arch-
bishop and his whole family, Dr. Deering, Mr. Richardson, &c. ; had also the additional happiness of the excellent Mr. Thornton and Mr. Archdeacon Pearson's good company ; passed the evening most agreeably in discourse.
19. After family prayers (as last night) went with my Lord Archbishop, Mr. Thornton, and Mr. Pear-son, in his Grace's coach, to York, it being the public fast. Afterwards made a visit to the learned Dean, but could have little discourse, being sent for to the Chancellor's, good old Dr. Watkinson, where had also the precentor, Dr. Fall's, company, &c. Afterwards returned with my Lord Archbishop, who, when we were got out of the bar, came out of the coach, and we all walked to Bishopthorp, a pleasant and short walk. After the excellent and serious prayers appointed upon this occasion, we supped, and, after family prayers, had instructive converse with rny Lord and the rest of the good company. Sat up late; yet still longer kept my dear bedfellow (good Mr. Thornton) awake, by a melancholy relation of my losses, and the piteous circumstances of my poor family, which discourse was accidental or providential, (for I designed it not,) but had thereby the happiness of his prudent and affectionate advice and wishes. Lord, direct me in my concerns!
20. Having retired and stayed family prayers, took leave of my Lord Aichbishop, and ditto excellent company, and returned on foot, (though my Lord Archbishop several times most kindly offered me his own saddle-horse,) had a pleasant walk, and got home in good time.
24. Afternoon, writing to my Lord Archbishop, consulting the commissions of pious uses for what has been given to the several chapels within this parish, by his Grace's special order, who has begun a noble and useful manuscript of the endowments, Sec. of the churches and chapels in the whole province, that nothing once devoted to pious uses may be lost. Finished the Museum Tradescantianum, (save his plants,) now Ashmoleanum at Oxford, wherein many valuable curiosities.