The Sussex Coast - online book

A Literary & Historical travel guide to the Sussex Coast

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252                   THE SUSSEX COAST
here how Englishmen of the middle classes actually passed their lives . . . how they waked and played—eat, drank, rode, and smoked, swore and prayed—quarrelled and amused themselves." If Samuel Pepys has a world-wide fame and Thomas Turner merely a local reputation, it is only because they were placed in different spheres. Other Sussex diaries have been published, but they are not to be compared with his; the Stapleys of Hickstead belonged to the quality, but from their journals we learn little more than the punc­tiliously methodical way in which they settled their accounts with their neighbours, and nothing more interesting than the capture of a salmon trout thirty-eight inches long, or the sharing of the meat among neighbours when animals were killed.
But Mr. Turner favours us with his views on many points of really permanent interest; he read the standard works of the day, he was interested in national affairs. On July 18, 1756, he wrote : " Oh, my country ! my country !—oh, Albian, Albian! I doubt thou art tottering on the brink of ruin and desolation this day! The nation is all in a foment upon account of loos­ing dear Minorca." (England has survived the loss of Minorca though she still is tottering on the brink of ruin.) Another reference to national affairs, to the Peace of Paris in fact, is rather incomprehensible; on May 5, 1763, he wrote: "I think almost every one seems to be dissatis­fied with this peace, thinking it an ignominious and inglorious one." We would gladly have more details as to why a treaty which placed England in a prouder position among the nations than she had ever occupied before, put Canada and
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