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- laid before us, we should find nothing in such ' a character which might not set him on a le"vel with men of the highest stations. The

following extract, out of the private papers of an honest country-gentleman, will set this matter in a clear light. Your reader will perhaps

conceive a greater idea of him from these acstions done in secret, and without a witness, • than of those which have drawn upon them 6 the admiration of multitudes.'


“In my twenty-second year I found a violent " affection for my cousin Charles's wife grow.

ing upon me, wherein I was in danger of
succeeding, if I had not upon that account
begun my travels into foreign countries.
• A little after my return to England, at a

private meeting with my uncle Francis, I re“ fused the offer of his estate, and prevailed upon

him not to disinherit his son Ned. 6. Mem. Never to tell this to Ned, left he “ should think hardly of his deceased father ; “ though he continues to speak ill of me for " this very reason. 56 Prevented a scandalous law-fuit betwixt

my nephew Harry and his mother, by allowing “ her under-hand, out of my own pocket, so “ much money yearly as the dispute was about.

- Procured a benefice for a young divine, " who is sister's son to the good man who was my tutor, and hath been dead twenty years.

Z 2

66 Gave

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- Gave ten pounds to poor Mrs., my “ friend H-'s widow.

6. Mem. To retrench one dish at my table, 66 until I have fetched it up again.

“ Mem. To repair my house and finish my “ gardens in order to employ poor people after 66 harvest-time.

“ Ordered John to let out goodman D-'s sheep that were pounded by night; but not to let his fellow servants know it.

“ Prevailed upon M. T. Esq. not to take the “ law of the farmer's son for thooting a par

tridge, and to give him his gun again.
“ Paid the apothecary for curing an old wo-
man that confessed herself a witch.
“ Gave away my favourite dog, for biting a

66 beggar.

“ Made the minister of the parish and a whig justice of one mind, by putting them to explain their notions to one another.

1. Mem. To turn off Peter, for shooting a “ doe while she was eating acorns out of his 66 hand.

When my neighbour John, who hath often injured me, comes to make his request tomorrow: “ Mem. I have forgiven him.

“ Laid up my chariot, and sold my horses, “ to relieve the poor in a scarcity of corn.

“ In the same year remitted to my tenants a fifth part of their rents.

“ As I was airing to-day I fell into a thought " that warmed my heart, and shall, I hope, be 6 the better for it as long as I live. 5

& Mem.

“ Mem. To charge my fon in private to " erect no monument for me; but not to put “ this in my last will."

N° 623. Monday, November 22, 1714.

Sed mihi vel tellus optem prius ima dehiscat,
Vel pater omnipotens adigat me fulmine ad umbras,
Pallentes umbras Erebi noclemque profundam,
Antè pudor, quam te violem, aut tua jura resolvan.
Ille meos, primus me qui fibi junxit, amores
Abftulit ; ille habeat fecum fervetque sepulchro.

Virg. Æn. iv, 24.

But first let yawning earth a passage rend, • And let me thro' the dark abyss descend; • First let avenging Jove, with flames from high,

Drive down this body to the nether sky, • Condemn’d with ghosts in endless night to lie; • Before I break the plighted faith I gave :

No; he who had my vows shall ever have; • For whom I lov'd on earth I worship in the grave.'


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AM obliged to my friend, the love-casuist*,

for the following curious piece of antiquity, which I shall communicate to the public in his own words.


* See Spect. N° 591, N° 602, No 605, No 614, and

N 625

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OU may remember that I lately trans

mitted to you an account of an ancient 6 custom in the manors of East and West-En! borne, in the county of Berks, and elsewhere*, " If a customary tenant die, the widow shall " have what the law calls her Freebench, in all “ his copyhold lands, dum fola & casta fuerit; ☆ that is, while she lives single and chaste; “ but if the commits incontinency she forfeits “ her estate; yet if she will come into the 66 court riding backward upon a black ram, with 56 his tail in her hand, and say the words fol

lowing, the steward is bound by the custom $6 to re-admit her to her freebench'

Here I am, “ Riding upon a black ram, " Like a whore as I am ; $And for my crincum crancum, “ Have lost my bincum bancum ; " And for my tail's game, “ Have done this worldly shame ; “ Therefore I pray you, Mr. Steward, let

“ me have my land again *.'

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• After having informed you


Lord Coke “ observes, that this is the most frail and slip

pery tenure of any in England, I shall tell you, ? since the writing of that letter, I have, according to my promise, been at great pains in Seç SPECT. N° 614, and Note ibidem.


searching out the records of the black ram; • and have at last met with the proceedings of • the court-baron, held in that behalf, for the

space of a whole day. The record faith, that a strict inquisition having been made into the right of the tenants to their several estates, by

the crafty old steward, he found that many ' of the lands of the manor were, by default of • the several widows, forfeited to the lord, and • accordingly would have entered on the pre' mises : upon which the good women demand

ed the “ benefit of the ram.” The steward, • after having perused their several pleas, adjourned the court to Barnaby-bright,* that they might have day enough before them.

• The court being fet, and filled with a great • concourse of people, who came from all parts ' to see the folemnity; the first who entered

was the widow Frontley, who had made her appearance in the last year's cavalcade. The re

gister observes that finding it an easy pad-ram, ' and foreseeing the might have further occasion ' for it, she purchased it of the steward. • Mrs. Sarah Dainty, relict of Mr. John Dain

who was the greatest prude of the parish, came next in the procession. She at first made • some difficulty of taking the tail in her hand;

and was observed, in pronouncing the form of

penance, to soften the two most emphatical • words into clincum clancum: but the steward • took care to make her speak plain Englith before - he would let her have her land again.

* Then the eleventh, now the twenty-second of June, being the longeft day in the year.



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