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Apprenticeship Customs

Wednesday, 25.—We came to Alnwich on the day whereon those who have gone through their apprenticeship are made free of the corporation. Sixteen or seventeen, we were informed, were to receive their freedom this day. In order thereto (such is the unparalleled wisdom of the present corporation, as well as of their forefathers), they were to walk through a great bog (purposely preserved for the occasion; otherwise it might have been drained long ago), which takes up some of them to the neck, and many of them to the breast.

Tuesday, May 8.—I rode [from Stockton] to Robinhood’s Bay, near Whitby. The town is very remarkably situated: it stands close to the sea and is in great part built on craggy and steep rocks, some of which rise perpendicularly from the water. And yet the land, both on the north, south, and west, is fruitful and well cultivated. I stood on a little rising near the quay, in a warm, still evening, and exhorted a multitude of people from all parts to “seek the Lord, while he may be found.”  They were all attention; and most of them met me again at half an hour after four in the morning. I could gladly have spent some days here; but my stages were fixed: so, on Wednesday, 9, I rode to York.

Sunday, July 8 (London).—After preaching at the chapel, morning and afternoon, I took horse with Mr. P---. We had designed to ride only two or three hours, in order to shorten the next day’s journey. But a young man, who overtook us near Kingston, induced us to change our purpose. So we only rested about half an hour at Cobham; and leaving it between nine and ten, rode on softly in a calm, moonshiny night, and about twelve came to Godalming. We took horse again at half an hour past four and reached Portsmouth about one.

After a little rest, we took a walk around the town, which is regularly fortified; it is, I suppose, the only regular fortification in Great Britain or Ireland. Gosport, Portsmouth, and the Common (which is now all turned into streets) may probably contain half as many people as Bristol, and so civil a people I never saw before in any seaport town in England.

I preached at half an hour after six, in an open part of the Common adjoining to the new church. The congregation was large and well behaved; not one scoffer did I see, nor one trifler. In the morning, Tuesday, 10, I went on board a hoy and in three hours landed at Cowes, in the Isle of Wight; as far exceeding the Isle of Anglesey, both in pleasantness and fruitfulness, as that exceeds the rocks of Scilly.

We rode straight to Newport, the chief town in the isle, and found a little society in tolerable order. Several of them had found peace with God.

At half n hour after six I preached in the market place, to a numerous congregation; but they were not so serious as those at Portsmouth. Many children made much noise, and many grown persons were talking aloud almost all the time I was preaching. It was quite otherwise at five in the morning. There was a large congregation again; and every person therein seemed to know this was the Word whereby God would judge them in the last day.

In the afternoon I walked to Carisbrook castle, or rather, the poor remains of it. It stands upon a solid rock on the top of a hill and commands a beautiful prospect. There is a well in it, cut quite through the rock, said to be seventy-two yards deep; and another in the citadel, nearly a hundred. They drew up the water by an ass, which they assured us was sixty years old. But all the stately apartments lie in ruins. Only just enough of them is left to show the chamber where poor King Charles was confined and the window through which he attempted to escape.

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