Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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42                   Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
Manners and morals go, as a rule, together. When the former are gross—and Thomas Turner's dairy is full of evidence that they were such in the middle ranks of society ioo years ago—we maybe pretty sure that the latter were not very pure. The matter-of-course tone in which Mr. Turner sets down certain family facts which, in the present day, supposing them to occur, would be kept out of sight as much as possible, indicates that they were comparatively ordinary occurrences. Thus he records, on May 26th, 1764, that " My brother Moses came to acquaint me of the death of Philip Turner, natural son of my half-sister, Elizabeth Turner (the boy we had the care of, as also his maintenance, according to the will of my father). He died this morn about five o'clock of a scarlet fever, aged fifteen years."
And again, immediately after this, " In the morn I went
. over to Framfield, and, after taking an account of the gloves,
hatbands, favours, &c, I set out for the funeral of Alice
Stevens, otherwise Smith, natural daughter of Ben Stevens,
at whose house she died."
Upon these facts, occurring in families of good repute, the Editors remark, " Natural children one hundred years ago were considered the most natural things in the world." The example was set by the higher classes. " Mistresses " were an established part of the household of a great man 100 years ago, and when they had lost their early bloom the ladies were, according to Macaulay, handed over to the domestic chaplains as wives. That the conjunction was not so very unequal we may conclude from some of the entries in this diary in respect to the clergy—amongst them the
following:—" Mr.-----, the curate of Laughton, came to the
shop in the forenoon, and he having bought some things of me (and I could wish he had paid for them) dined with me and also staid in the afternoon till he got in liquor, and being so complaisant as to keep him company I was quite drunk. How do I detest myself for being so foolish!"
The great nobleman in the neighbourhood of East Hothly
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