A. D. 1705.
Jan. 15. I rode to Bradford, to the funeral of Dr. Sharp, the only son of the late excellent Mr. Sharp, my dear friend and incomparable preacher; was much troubled for the loss of so hopeful a gentleman, who died in his prime. I lodged at Mr. Waterhouse's, and sat up till two taking extracts from the registers of the nativities of the Archbishop and other noted authors. I was not long after at the funeral of an ancient friend, Mr. Adam Hargrave, sen. : the Vicar preached excellently, though death delay till 87, yet it comes certainly. Was also affected with his admirable sermons upon Christ's coming to judgment, and in drawing up the Memoirs of the pious, as well as valiant, Captain Win. Fairfax, drawing the pedigree of the descendants of the two sisters of our famous benefactor, Mr. Harrison, in order to distribute his charitable bequests (at the request of his nephew, Mr. Robinson,) and engrossing it upon parchment, cost me much time; but I cannot do too much for so grand benefactors to the town of my nativity. I wrote, also, at Mr. Robinson's request, an account of his excellent father, once Vicar of Leeds, and at Dr. Kirshaw's, of his grandfather, Parson Sikes, of Kirkheaton, both since printed in Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy: they were both very pious as well as loyal clergymen.
I was also well pleased in serving dear Mr. Thorn-ton, in transcribing some extracts from Domesday-Book, and other matters from MSS., relating to the Manor of Wakefield, which he durst not intrust another person with the notice of, which cost me. several days' labour ; but I cannot do enough for that best of friends.
The election of knights for the Shire, obliged me with many others to ride to York ; I took Bishop-thorp in my way, and was most kindly received by his Grace, but found too much company upon this public occasion. The Earl of Carlisle promised me an original letter of Count Tallard, now prisoner in England, but his non-performance showed him too much a courtier. I lodged at Mr. Gyles's, with dear Mr. Kirk, with whom I went to wait upon the two candidates. I met with many learned and ingenious gentlemen; Mr. Molesworth, now Lord, Mr. Gale, who are both for publishing some rare MSS. and after with Dr. Watkinson, Dr. Fall and Dr. Pearson, since removed to their eternal habitations.
I went also to see the house (in Oldwork) where the famous Mr. Pool* was born.
During the season for drinking the water at our Leeds Spa, I made several sallies upon the moors and other parts of the parish, whither the remains of antiquity, in the names of places, induced me to view them, as Coning-shaw (or the King's-grove) near Ossinthorp, the Regia villa; the Deins and Hell-dike ; which are since published in the Ducatus Leod : as also the Mosses ; walked also to discourse with a descendant of the CJaphams, concerning Sir Sheffield Clapham, a famous warrior, born in this parish. I rode also with Mr. Thornton, to see How-ley-hall, where was a stately entrance from the Por-ter's-lodge to the front of the hall. I took copies of the inscriptions, but was disappointed of the family pictures, as the famous Sir John Savile, first Alderman of Leeds. This hall is since demolished, and the materials sold, omnia vanitas !
July 22. Mr. Hodgson, of Christ's Church, and chaplain to the Earl of Derby, preached excellently at Leeds, where were present also Mr. Neville, of University College, Mr. Jackson, minister of St. Alban's, in Hertfordshire, who, with Mr. Killingbeck, the vicar, are all natives of the town or parish of Leeds. There were also two-and-twenty couples spurred, (to use the local word) in order to marry this day: but it was a more melancholy reflection .that was occasioned by my computations of the numbers of the births and burials, with the marriages in several decads, that either the town and parish is not so populous as forty years ago, or the registers are not so carefully kept.
August 16. Being this day forty-seven years of age, I do heartily subscribe to that great truth of the inspired preacher, vanity of vanities, all is vanity ! which must be owned by all men, being acknowledged by persons of contrary extremes, as here by King Solomon, who owns he had got more wisdom than all before him, and now by one who must confess surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man, yet have I learned this by dear-bought experience, that all is vanity, not only of carnal pleasures, which indeed deserve not to be put in the balance, but those more refined of learning and study, except what is some way or other directed to the supreme end of all, viz., the glory of God and salvation of the never-dying soul.
In this interval I read the excellent Bishop Usher's Annals of the Old and New Testament, a very useful work, but this English edition incorrect; Josephus; Selden's Titles of Honour, a very learned and curious work; Wood's AthenseOxom'enses, a very useful, yet injudicious work; Sir John Spelman's Saxon Psalms, wherewith I have been often much affected, in gratitude for the Divine goodness, in affording our forefathers, in these remote isles of the Gentiles, the Scriptures in their native tongue, and with the fulness and significance of the expressions ; and in manuscript, Mr. Morris's Account of the Siege of Pontefract Castle, the last that held out for King Charles I., and first that declared for King Charles II., Dr. Sampson's MSS. wherein are recorded many remarkable providences.
I generally read the printed authors in Divinity or History till light, and then digested loose papers, autographs, (of which I received many learned foreigners' from Dr. Hudson) till church-time, ten before and three or four in the afternoon, except when diverted by visitants to see the Museum, from almost all the counties in England, and some from Scotland and Ireland, with others from Harnborough and other transmarine parts, that being stinted for time, I only took a mere cursory view of Dr. Hicks's noble Thesaurus.
Amongst the many visitants were Sir Thomas and Lady Willoughby, since Lord, and at another time, Bishop Nicholson and his cousin, Archdeacon Pear-son, with the vicar and many clergy in the forenoon, and Judge Bury, with many of the long robe and the magistrates, in the afternoon ; with whom, at the treat, till near nine, and was invited by the Judge in the next morning, who expressed great satisfaction ; but I was most pleased with the instructive conversation of my old friend, the Bishop of Carlisle.
I must not omit, that this year the new charity school in this town
was finished, and furnished with
forty poor children, decently clothed in blue, and wholly maintained, who first appeared in public, March 24, 1705, the second Easter in the same year. Lawyer Wilson condescended to be a collector with me : it cost me much time, but seemed a necessary employ at first, for the encouragement of so necessary a charity.
But I endeavoured to ease myself of another matter, and accordingly made a resignation of my place in the corporation. The officers watching my going to church, used to serve their summons to court, when I had much rather have been at my study than at their extravagant treats ; but, after a quarter of a year's fruitless endeavour, I was constrained to continue in my station, under pretext of a useful man, whereas, I am fitter for an obscure cloister, (if for any thing at all,) than a public station : at long run, having got it under the hands of two-thirds of the court, that I should never be advanced, without iny consent, I thought myself secure, (not fearing Alderman Milner and some of my best friends, who yet refused to subscribe the paper.) I continued for some years, and was not wholly unserviceable; but after some years, by the deaths of some, and unexpected removal of others, I was in danger from the adverse party, and therefore getting a resignation strictly drawn by dear Mr. Thornton, and duly attested, I sent it to the court, and though it was at first rejected, the messenger turned out and door locked, yet it was at last accepted, and, upon my payment of 20l.fine, I was dismissed, though a new order had made it 501. for every one that resigned his gown.
I had now more leisure and more freedom in distributing the Lord Wharton's Bibles, which, by experience, I found to be a troublesome but very useful charity. I sometimes catechised above fifty poor children on a Lord's-day night, and afterwards heard two sets of them the appointed Psalms, that 1 have been fatigued and almost stifled, but revived to see the zeal of so many, some of whom came many miles.
I ought to mention one thing, for the information of my poor children, that the two closes at Sheepscar were not sold for any debt of my own, but upon the executorship account, for which I had advanced more monies than my proportion came to; but brother Rayner and brother H. either could not or would not advance theirs, and I being joint executor, was liable to be sued in Chancery, that they were sold for the discharge of father Sykes's bonds. Others took advantage of my natural temper, and dread of suits ; but I had more peace within.