Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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30                 Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
least, there are signs of little more in the Stapley and Marchant diaries. The political allusions, as to the Corona­tion Day of George I. (October 18, 1714), his death, and the accession of George II. (1727); the report about the Duke of Ormond, the great supporter of the Chevalier St. George, commonly called the Pretender, " going off at Shoreham" with Sir Harry Goring, Mr. Middleton and one or two more, are of the most meagre kind. There is a little more detail than usual about the contested election for Sussex which followed on the accession of George I., and in which the Whigs gained the victory " by a vast majority," but, as Mr. Marchant (who had Tory, if not Jacobite proclivities) insinuates, " by all manner of indirect practices." But these are " few and far between," and show the faint interest taken in politics in those days compared with present times. In one respect they seem to have had the advantage over us: there was, to all appearance, a more free mixture of classes —less separation between the degrees of social rank which made up the rural community. Mr. Thomas Marchant, although only a yeoman, farming his own land, dines and sups at Danny with the Campions and the Courthopes, and goes to Mr. Dodson's at the Rectory, and mixes with the Whitpaines, the Scutt's and other members of the landed gentry living at or near Hurst, on terms of perfect equality. One of the last entries tells us how " three of Sir George Parker's daughters supt and spent the evening here." In fact, there is no evidence of social differences or jealousies in the Marchant diary, and we are afraid that such would not be the case if one of the same rank were to keep a diary in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighty-one!
The first and foremost of our Sussex diarists, in diaristic ability, though, in order of time he came last, is without question, Thomas Turner, general dealer, of East Hoathly. He is our Sussex Pepys, and possesses many of the qualities of that Prince of Diarists. He is intelligent, frank, open-speaking, rather fond of recording his own failings, disposed
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