A. D. 1724.
Jan. 1. Read Whitby ; then writ to my dearest son, whom I dread to be indisposed, till eleven; at prayers ; then dined with the Bishop, Sir William Milner, and other good company, at cousin Wilson's.
2. Read and writ as usually till eleven ; afternoon, upon the Manor concerns, and diverted with a manuscript writ by my friend Mr. Lucas, concerning his native country.
7. Even, concluded the perusal of Mr. Lucas's manuscript, in folio, wherein he has showed much reading, and his digressions, though long, are instructive.
16. Read Whit by, having finished the fourteen Epistles of St. Paul, according to the order of time in which they were writ, and not as placed in the Bible.
19. Evening, concluded St. Paul's description of his own Religion, by Dr. Synge, Archbishop of Tuam ; the former part polemical against the Romanists, the latter practical and affecting, both excellent.
21. Morning and forenoon as usually, till after to visit Alderman Cookson, indisposed; till three at Church; then read remainder of a Narrative of what happened to Richard Lily, a clothier's boy, written by Joseph Shepherd, of Satan's appearance to him, and accusing him for Sabbath-breaking.
28. Read Whitby; writ till eleven; at church ; concluded the life of Monsieur Fenelon, Archbishop of Cambray, a very pious and devout prelate, though in communion with the Church of Rome, yet censured by her.
30. Morning, the vicar preached suitably to the Anniversary fast, from Joel ii. 17, Public calamities should be attended with public mourning. Afternoon, walked to the Rev. Dr. Brooke's, whose importunity kept me till past six.
Feb. 1. Read Whitby till nine; at cousin W.'s about Sir Griff. Boynton's affair for my Lady's arms, those of the Sykes's ; afternoon, abroad to get the relation of the apparition of Thomas Parkinson, in his sickness, from his nearest relations, and after, from the woman who fell into a swoon upon the sight of it, knowing that he himself was at King's Cross, beyond Halifax: evening, read Whitby and the Companion to the Altar.
13. Forenoon, as usually ; after, at cousin W.'s and Alderman R.'s till four; at church, when Lieut. Filmer was buried with great pomp; an ingenious gentleman, some of whose works are published, in poetry: called to inquire after some poor sick persons that are prayed for.
16. Die Dom. The Vicar, from Gal. vi. 10, " Do good unto all men," preached suitably to the occasion, (the brief for the burning of Wetherby).
Mar. 11. Read; making up two parcels for London and Cambridge : Mr. Pollard made a good plain sermon from Eccles. xii. 7, concerning the certainty of death and the uncertainty of the time. I dined with Mr. Tottie, and afterwards visited Parson Robinson, but got to church, where were three funerals; after read; was pleased with some melancholy lines in a pleasing poem upon Westminster Abbey, in describing the dying monarch :
His fading eyes no darting terrors wear,
His dewy forehead pale, no more severe;
Nor from his lips observed directions flow,
But faltering prayers, and inward plaints of woe.
Struggling in dying agonies he lies,
And sees his friends draw off with swimming eyes.
* * * * * *
See learning's ruin in the southern aisles,
Where death exults in more than common spoils,
Where Spanheim sleeps and Camden . , .
Thus death impartial levels in the grave
The young, the old, the conqueror and the slave.
There Cart'ret's hopeful youth submits to fate,
And Parr's decrepid age, though summon'd late.
29. Die Dom. The Vicar preached well from 2 Pet. ii. 21, showing the folly and danger of an apostate state. Are Christian privileges so great ? then ought we diligently to labour for them. Is error so dangerous ? then ought we to watch that our footsteps slip not. Afternoon, Mr. Day showed well that the Lord's Supper is a feast upon a sacrifice as well as the passover; we lie under the same necessity to receive the sacrament as the Jews the passover ; all leaven must be put away, none permitted in the house—none in the soul. This afternoon were three or four funerals, Mrs. Sleigh, &c.; a sickly season ; fifty within three prayed for ; after, read in Mr. Kil-lingbeck's manuscript sermons.
April 5. Die Dom. Morning, read Burkitt and Nelson, in the Festivals for Easter-day, having on the preceding days read those in the Fasts for Good-Friday and Easter-eve : the Vicar preached well from Acts xxvii. 8, showing that the notion of the resurrection is a doctrine exceeding human reason ; the philosophers among the Heathen, the Sadducees among the Jews, denied it: 2, though the notion exceeds human capacity, yet is not repugnant to reason. Afternoon, Mr. Day from 1 Cor. xv. 55, 56, showed well how the entail of sin and death redounds by the grace of the Gospel to our advantage, our salvation being put into better hands than our own. Evening, read Nelson, and a funeral sermon by John Sedgfield, a clothier, born at Holbeck, now an Antinomian preacher at or about Liverpool.
7. After usual devotions at home, was all day with the Lords of Manor,
collecting arrears for self and friends, till six, at the funeral
of Mr. Ralph
8. Read and accounting till eleven ; at church ; a little in library, till seven ; at prayers; when was a mournful funeral of Sam. Simpson's wife; one child was baptised, another buried with her. and at least six children followed with the father.
20. Read and wrote till eleven ; at church ; and after, till three, had female relations from town, and till evening prayers, when James Braithwait, of G. W. was buried; Mr. Day preached well from " Remember the days of darkness, for they shall be many." Memorandum. There were two graves made for him ; one at the New Church, but, upon denial of the pulpit, another at the old, where he was buried.
May 8. Morning, read and wrote till 10, when visited by the ingenious Parson Frogget till near eleven; afternoon with Mr. Robinson ; then read and writ till evening prayers.
10. Die Dom. Mr. Kennet, Vicar of Bradford, preached well from Isa. Iv. 6, Expect not to find out the Almighty to perfection, but follow him in the works of creation, providence, redemption : afternoon he preached well from Prov. xiv. 34, and showed that it concerns a people to make good laws, and preserve them in due execution.
11. Morning, read Burkitt; writ till eleven ; at church; and after dinner, till about three, at Alderman Rooke's. This day was a considerable eclipse of the sun, (though not so great here as that nine years ago,) which I beheld at Cousin Cookson's, with Mr. Paley. Afterwards the Vicar preached well at the funeral of Widow Noble, from Ps. xxvii. 13.
13. Read but little, hasting to the pleasing office of writing for above six hundred Bibles and other practical books of divinity, to be given by charitable persons to the poor : afternoon, writ upon other occasions till evening prayers.
June 10. Read; writ to my dear son at Rick-mansworth, who being appointed by the Bishop of London to preach the Visitation Sermon at St. Albans as this day, I was desired to recommend his case to God, as in duty bound, and my daily practice since I had notice of it.
13. After usual reading and attendance at church, spent the whole day in sorting a large box of books that friends desired me to write for, to promote charity and piety.
17. Read and writ till eleven ; at church ; after dinner showing the museum to some gentlemen from Sutton-upon-Darwent, with whom rest of the day at son Wood's, till past six, when visited by Dr. Brooke, desirous of assistance about the lecture at St. John's, but I rather wish a sincere concord betwixt the Vicar and him.
26. Read not much, being hasted by the coachman that the good Lady Betty Hastings had ordered to conduct me and good old Mrs. Bainbridge (the minister's widow) to Ledston Hall, where we were most kindly received by her Ladyship and the Ladies Katherine and Margaret, her sisters, and indeed all that virtuous family, where we had prayers constantly four times a day : here I stayed with great satisfaction till the Saturday after, and found myself much better in my health by that excellent air and most agreeable conversation ; and was daily entertained by my lady with excellent sermons, as the Bishop of London's and others, and one concerning the benefit of afflictions, and that we ought to rejoice in them ; but this I thought not so proper for me, because adapted chiefly for such as suffer for religion, whereas mine are the produce of my sins ; yet in this I have often found cause of joy, and do sincerely bless a kind Providence that this distemper has, I hope, weaned me in some measure from the world, and prepared me in some degree for the great change that is approaching ; and I am very sensible of, and sincerely thankful for the mercies intermixed, that though it be a distemper I never expect (or scarce desire) to be free from, yet blessed be my merciful God, there is very little pain, but a kind as well as constant memento of mortality: I had also the agreeable employ of transcribing some original deeds relating to benefactions, as my Lady's and Mr. Boulter's, for the augmentation of the vicarage of Harwood, and this incomparable lady's for Ledsham, and two long skins of parchment, with some ingenious and pious hymns, and an admirable letter, (supposed to be Mrs. Rowe's). I also transcribed a long funeral sermon for the Hon. Mr. Vane, from Eccles. xii. 1, thinking it proper for my dear son Richard, and, being only in manuscript, not to be had elsewhere.
July 4. After eight days' agreeable entertainment with manuscripts and other papers at Ledston Hall, I took leave of the excellent lady and good family, and returned safe to Leeds, and found my family well: the harness broke, but the horse and charioteer performed well. There had been a fire at Mr. T.'s the confectioner's, that burned down three rooms, but was suppressed by the engine, without farther damage.
7. Morning, read and writ as usually, then visited by some gentlemen from London and Newcastle, with whom dined at Mr. Dennison's; was well pleased with the company of Mr. Ord, F.R.S. ; after evening prayers visited cousin Cookson ; read Burkitt. 11. Read and writ till eleven; at church; after, showing museum to Mr. Melville and his ingenious sister from Dublin ; with whom after at Mr. North's to see some of his delicate paintings, till evening prayer; then with Mr. Lucas and H. till past nine.
13. Read Burkitt, till sent for by Alderman Rooke, who kindly accommodated me with his chariot to Wakefield, where very courteously received by the Bishop of Peterborough, from whom I received a letter of thanks last night ; had intelligence of some public affairs, and returned home safe, though one of the four mares was too frolicsome, that once endangered us.
14. Morning, read and writ till eleven ; at church ;. and after, till near three, to visit Sir D'arcy Dawes and Sir Wm. Milner, with the two ladies, at the good Alderman's ; then to visit cousin Kirshaw, confined to his bed by his late journey.
15. Forenoon as usually ; after finished the perusal of Dean Barwick's Life, wherein are many curious remarks, though some perhaps too unkind against good Bishop Brownrigg for pusillanimity, as well as against Bishop Gauden and Dr. Walker.
19. Die Dom. Read Mr. Doughty's commemoration sermon at King's College Chapel, Cambridge, lately sent me by my dear son Richard.
20. Read and wrote till four, had a coachful of foreigners from Germany and America, to see the museum.
23. Read and wrote till eleven ; dined at Alderman Rooke's, with the Bishop of Peterborough, &c. with whom till four.
25. Morning, rose early, in expectation of four fellows of University College, Oxon ; but they not coming till eleven, I went to church; afternoon, trifled in library till evening prayers.
26. Die Dom. Read a sermon preached on New Year's-day, at the funeral of three sons of Joseph Naylor, at Luddenham chapel, all grown young men, and buried (of the small pox) in one grave there.
27. Morning, read Burkitt; wrote to the Bishop of Peterborough ; afternoon, to visit Dr. Brooke, and endeavour to prevent a breach with the Vicar.
31. Read and wrote till eleven ; at church ; afternoon, the Vicar, from 2 Peter i. 10, " Give diligence, &c." preached a funeral sermon for good old Mrs. Bainbridge, to whom he gave a large and deserved commendation.
Sept. 3. Much of this day showing the museum, there being much company because of the races at Chapeltown ; after evening prayers, rejoiced with my dear son Thoresby from Hertfordshire.
6. Die Dom. My son Thoresby preached very well from 1 John iii. 4 ; afternoon, a stranger, from Sheffield, preached very zealously, yet was I too litle affected.
10. Forenoon, as usually ; after, visited by the noted poet, Mr. Wesley ;* then at Alderman Rooke's.
13. Die Dom. Mr. Day preached well from Ps. xxxiii. 13 ; afternoon, my son Thoresby preached excellently from " Be angry, but sin not;" but going immediately to visit cousin Kirshaw, and after, staying supper at Dr. Brooke's, noted not the heads.
This is the last entry made in the Diary. During the whole of his life Mr. Thoresby had entertained apprehensions of an attack of apoplexy, on account of frequently recurring pains in the back of his head. In October a paralytic stroke reduced him to a state of great mental and bodily weakness ; and on the 16th of October 1725, a second stroke put an end to the life of this industrious, intelligent, and religious antiquary.