Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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196               Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
—a captain in the 9th Regiment of Foot—recognised the highwayman, and called upon him by his name to give himself up. The only reply was a shot from Allen's gun or pistol, which laid the unfortunate young man dead on the spot. The soldiers who accompanied him immediately fired on the robber, and so gave him a better end than he deserved. The nieces of young Sargent were co-heiresses of the Lavington Estate, and it was their fate to become the wives of two remarkable men: Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford and of Winchester, and Henry Manning, Cardinal of Rome.
Sussex soil, we have said, is not stained by many atrocious crimes. But one of the most atrocious crimes ever committed on it, and which, by the wholesale extermination of a house­hold, closely resembles the Mars and W'illiams tragedies which terrified London at the commencement of this century, and have been so terribly described by De Quincey, was committed at Ditchling in 1734. The perpetrator of it was a Jew pedlar named Jacob Harris, who, whilst travelling the country with his wares, put up his horse at a public-house in that lonely part of the country, Ditchling Common, and whilst his host, named Miles, was engaged in cleaning the animal in the stable, seized the opportunity to attack him, and, as he thought, deprive him of life by cutting his throat with a razor. Leaving him for dead, he entered the house, and, meeting the servant-maid, who, it is supposed, had been alarmed by the noise of the struggle in the stable and was descending the stairs to see what was the matter, he attacked her too and murdered her. Then, mounting the stairs, he entered the room where the wife of the landlord was lying on a sick bed and destroyed the poor woman by cutting her throat. He then plundered the house, which, it would seem, was the motive for these wholesale murders, and made his escape. But only for a short time. We have said that he left Miles for dead; but he had not carried out his barbarous act so effectually in this instance but that Miles was able,
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